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More people need to hear these...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


DavidMahler here.  I put up my review for Beyerdynamic's DT660 earlier this week.  You can find it here.  Since trying the DT660s, they have since become one my most used headphones because I feel they sound highly refined, natural and spacious directly out of an iPod.  However they really excel primarily in classical music.  They come across as lacking with other genres, lacking in depth, warmth and impact.


The DT860s are Beyerdynamic's open back offering which offers up a similar sound the DT660 but with a ton more bass.  My suspicion is that more people will enjoy these over all because they sound substantially better with a variety of genres.  These do not compete with the DT660s in the classical department however.  If you are truly interested in pairing your portable player with a good classical music headphone, I'd be surprised if you could find something more perfect than the DT660.


Equally as much, the DT860 have become a go-to headphone for everyone around the office seeking to enjoy their music with their portables.  I have been asked to touch on how these compare to the 990s which also is an open headphone with a sizeable mid bass slam.  I prefer the DT990s slightly overall because I feel the bass is little more balanced and the highs have better extension.  However, the DT860s are a tad louder directly out of an iPod,  and if I were one who wanted to listen loud, but amp-less, I wouldn't hesitate to use the DT860s.


DT860 Review



Looking for great sound and comfort out of your iPod?  The DT860 are just what the doctor ordered.  At its price, the DT860 is one of the best sounding headphones on the market for use directly out of a portable player. 



The DT860 are remarkably comfortable. Like other full-size Beyerdynamic headphones, these come with plush velour cups that do not heat up much and contour very comfortably to the head.  The headphones are open back so do not expect that you will be using these while in transit or at the office without the sound leaking to the others around you.  At a 32 Ohm impedance rating and a high sensitivity, these headphones play loud directly out of an iPod.  The one sided cable is good for lying in bed and relaxing on the porch.  The headphones also have a 90 degree swiveling ear cup feature, for easy storage and wearing when not in use.  I would have preferred if the headphones swiveled so that if you are wearing them on your neck, the ear cups would rest on your collar bone rather than face outward leaving the metal back to sit against your collar bone.  Lastly, the headphones come with a very nice carrying case, featuring a leather exterior and a plush open-cell foam interior.



In a nutshell: Punchy, warm and exciting!  The DT860s are a perfect choice for rocking out with your iPod.  The bass is full, impactful and makes your rock really rock and your hip hop really pound.  These are highly enjoyable sounding headphones with a colored sound suited for a listener looking for that extra bass but not at the expense of the total sound picture.  Unlike a lot of other headphones, the DT860 have big bass, but are clear and defined and do not sound murky or muffled.  For classical music I prefer the DT660s which are the closed-back cousin of the DT860 but have much less bass impact.  Listening to some good ole P-Funk I was struck by the impact the DT860s have particularly in the mid bass region.  For this reason, I think many users will fall under the headphone’s spell, particularly since the midrange and treble remain uncompromised by the fully-bloomed bass.  I listened to Wynton Marsalis’s amazing rendition of “Cherokee” on his Standard Time album and found the headphone was able to articulate the fast pace movement of the percussion with depth and punch without sounding blurred or muddy.  Every hit had snap, but also weight. 


One of my favorite test tracks is Metallica’s “ “Enter Sandman.”  The dynamic build at the beginning of this song and the exquisitely recorded and mixed drum track allow me to hear how the headphones render cymbal transients and articulate numerous percussive elements simultaneously.  Out of my iPod, the DT860 handled the percussive elements with greater attack and intensity than most others I’ve tried.  I was heartily impressed!  Lastly, I listened to New York State of Mind by Nas to see if the headphones would shine with hip-hop.  I like my hip-hop old school, and I think the original pressing of Illmatic is a well mixed/mastered CD.  For me, these headphones excelled with rap music even over some other pricier alternatives which are aimed at the hip-hop audience.  Some hip-hop listeners will prefer even more sub-bass emphasis than the DT860s have to offer, but for my money, the DT860s are top hip-hop choice at its price point.



Beyerdynamic offers a monster of a headphone in the DT860.  For one, it’s one of the loudest full size headphones I’ve tried out of an iPod.  It sounds great with almost anything you throw at it.  If you are looking to pair a full size headphone to plug into your portable player and isolation is not a paramount concern, the DT860 should be at the top of your list.



Sound Quality: 9 (bass emphasis)

Comfort: 9

Design & Features: 8.5

Value: 9.5

Edited by HeadphonesCom - 6/27/11 at 7:46am
post #2 of 9



Thanks for the review! At the $200 price point new, they're competing with other Beyer models already. But I definitely like that the cups swivel. If only my DT770 Pro's swiveled! That would make them much better for portable (which I use them for) use so that when I take them off, they would just lay around my neck/shoulders. The DT860 seems to do that which is nice. But they could have gone the extra mile and allowed them to turn completely in and become a real portable foldable set with full cans. I would jump on that in a heart beat.


Open-can with bass emphasis that fold. I kind of don't get it. It's like they want them to be portable styled, but... open air. I don't understand heh.


Very best, L3000.gif

post #3 of 9

I wanna know your comparisons. I see a problem that a lot of people can say "OH my god! these are the greatest heapdhones" but then they try a Grado or Senn, and then they say the same.


So please include comparison to popular headphones in your short review, and please list the title of your post, the header, as a review. Because otherwise it sounds like your just telling us you like them and not a actual review.

post #4 of 9

seems like you guys are pushing a lot of beyers lately.... mainly the lower models. im sure theyre good at their price point, but you guys seem to want to make them more. 

post #5 of 9

How is the soundstage on them what is it comparable to?

post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by caracara08 View Post

seems like you guys are pushing a lot of beyers lately.... mainly the lower models. im sure theyre good at their price point, but you guys seem to want to make them more. 

I don't really like them. They are like Grado, which I love the sound, but I can't enjoy Beyer. I see the price and hear the sound and I don't see it.

post #7 of 9
Interesting, I think I might look for some to give them a try, I'm looking for some new cans and these are a little over my budget by I might accomodate if they are as good as you say they are.
post #8 of 9

You need to give the fostex t50rp a go as well in terms of how i put it which is how lively it sounds it does it better then the dt48.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

To answer many of your inquiries:


We're are  not necessarily singling out the less expensive Beyers.  Beyerdyanmic sent Headphones.com a generous platter of headphones to review and it's been our attempt at headphones.com to review each one and give each one equal head time and consideration.  I have been a huge fan of the T1 ever since their debut, but I have reviewed them previously and it was my intent to save that review for last so that I could walk into the T1 review with all other alternatives considered.  Please find my T5P review, DT990 32Ohm review, and DT660 review here.


The DT660 (not 860) is right now my favorite headphone in a way.  It's not the best I have ever heard in all price brackets.  It would be silly for me to suggest it can compete with my Orpheus or my R10 or my Omega 2s etc.  But what I can say is that for the money and for the genre which it is best suited (classical), I enjoy the DT660s both out of a portable and on my home rig, more than I enjoy most headphones.  I can say with confidence that while the T1 may be tuned and tweaked for superior audio quality and response, the DT660s have a flat response which is unique and enthralling.  It wasn't something I expected from a lower-end model.  And it blew my expectations away.  The DT860 is a much more exciting headphone, with a richer tone and an ability to adhere to more genres and tastes.  It does not sound too dissimilar to the DT990 32Ohm, and I feel if you have the extra cash to spend, the 990s are a finer choice (though ampless not as loud).  The DT990s excel the most in their 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm counterparts.  The DT660 has nothing in the Beyer line which I've heard which deems a comparison. 


How do the DT860 compare to Sennheiser's and Grado's offerings in the same price bracket?  It's hard to make that judgment for everyone.  I would say this.  The DT860 are pure fun, but not as immediate or energetic as an SR225.  There's more bottom to the DT860, but more mid-bass to the SR225.  The soundstage is wider on the Beyers. 


Head to head (with amp) against the 598, I'd personally choose the 598.  It sounds flatter and has more midrange emphasis.  I think the 598 is an excellent all rounder, yet if I were going ampless out of an iPod, the DT860 wins for sure.


The DT860 has a very wide soundstage, but the DT660's is better even though it is a closed can.  If you like bass or even warmth, do not buy the DT660.  If you want something less expensive than an HD800 which can reveal detail very well and sounds good out of a portable player, the DT660 is a great choice, but again, it may underwhelm you if you don't know what to expect.


I will describe my findings in greater detail as I review each headphone in the months to come.


Also I will be reassessing my personal collection by the end of the summer, as many of you have PMed me asking for HE90 impressions against other Stax models and how they compare to top-of-the-line Orthos, Dynamics and IEMs.  Presently I am waiting for an Amp to be delivered to me.  After that I will put up the review.  And what I may do is include a section for headphones like the 860s, SR225 and HD598 which I don't own but do have access to, and see where they fit in to the mix.  I'm not one who believes that more money necessarily gets you better sound.  I've found that often to not be the case, but of course sometimes it's true.

Edited by HeadphonesCom - 6/27/11 at 7:09am
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