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.
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 FIT AND FINISH
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.
ALL ABOUT THE SOUND…
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.
FULL SIZE FOR PORTABLE USE RATING CHART
Sound Quality: 9 (bass emphasis)
Design & Features: 8.5
Edited by HeadphonesCom - 6/27/11 at 7:46am