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Review: Beyerdynamic DT770M

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Explanation: I realize that this will be of very little interest to most Head-fiers. Most probably have no reason to ever consider the M over the regular DT770 models, and in fact a good number probably haven't even heard of them. But that is not my reason for writing this review. Quite simply, there is not very much information about these headphones out there on this, our world wide web, a situation which I hope to alleviate in whatever small way I can. I bought these more or less blindly, and so I would like to share my experiences in case anybody else ever finds themselves in the same situation.

 

Background: Not very long ago, I learned that I am prone to earwax buildup, a problem which is exacerbated by frequent use of earplugs or IEMs. Being a drummer I require the use of both quite often, and so I began to search for an alternative. I needed something that could isolate as well as, or at the very least close to as well as a pair of earplugs, and it had to be something that didn't require me to stick it inside my ears. Of the limited options I was able to discover, the Beyerdynamic DT770M seemed like the best I was likely to find, so I placed an order.

 

Description: The Beyerdynamic DT770M is an alternate version of the popular DT770, with supposedly strong isolation for use by drummers or monitoring in noisy environments. Physically, it is the same as the other DT770s, only with pleather earpads, and an in-line volume control. Concerning the pads, they are much shallower than the normal velour ones. My ears pressed up right against the drivers, and I noticed that it got hot and sweaty in there pretty quickly. Build quality is good, exactly the same as you'd expect from any other DT770, only the in-line volume control seemed unnecessarily bulky, and was made of cheap and flimsily put together plastic. The DT770M has an 80 ohm impedance and 105 dB sensitivity, so it's not too hard to drive. It worked ok with my portable player.

 

Functionality: Beyerdynamic claims that the DT770M have a noise attenuation of 35 dB. That's higher than the quoted attenuation of many earplugs, and matches the lower range of what Etymotic claims for their IEMs. Well, it is an outright lie. Either that or it's an intentionally misleading spec based on a meaninglessly high frequency. While playing drums, I compared them to Ety mc5s and some regular foam earplugs. I wouldn't even say the DT770M isolated half as well as either. In fact, they didn't really isolate better than any other typical set of closed headphones, which is to say they are completely useless for the drumming or monitoring purposes they were intended for. Is it possible I just didn't get a good seal? Perhaps, but quite frankly I don't see how. They fit very snugly on my head, and I have pretty small ears which had no problems getting a circumaural fit inside the cups. There are some reviews on retail sites where people claim they have excellent isolation as advertised, but I'm not sure I believe in those peoples' credibility. I've known many drummers and musicians over the years, and I'm one of the only ones I know who takes even the slightest precautions to protect their hearing. (Yet I'm the one with ear troubles. Thanks irony!) The DT770M might seem like they isolate some if you've never worn earplugs before and you are blasting music through them. Of course, I could just be crazy.

 

Sound: But what about the sound? They are DT770s after all. How does it compare to the regular versions? It doesn't. Unfortunately, whatever it is that they did inside the cups to try and make them more isolating killed the drivers. There is absolutely no extension in either the bass or treble, and I don't mean just deep sub-bass or really high treble. I mean even the bass or treble you would expect from an already rolled off headphone is missing. Grados would be bass monsters in comparison. All that's left are some mids, and what's there is extremely muddy, smeared, and compressed. If I had to describe them in two words, those words would be "Immanently Unlistenable." A $20 pair of earbuds from Walmart would probably be a big improvement over these, and they cost $200! I know that they were meant for more utilitarian purposes and high fidelity sound isn't their main selling point, but for crying out loud!

 

Conclusion: So all in all, the DT770M fail miserably in every way. They don't even partially fulfill their main purpose which is isolation, and on top of that they are probably the worst sounding headphones I've ever heard. They don't even deserve to be used as a paperweight. Thankfully I was able to return them right away.


Edited by manveru - 7/29/12 at 1:59pm
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

 


Conclusion: So all in all, the DT770M fail miserably in every way. They don't even partially fulfill their main purpose which is isolation, and on top of that they are probably the worst sounding headphones I've ever heard. They don't even deserve to be used as a paperweight.

 


This hasn't been my experience with these headphones at all. I find the isolation to be extremely good. We use these headphones for rehearsal with a rock band. Live drums in a small room with microphones on the drum kit fed with vocals, guitars and bass into a mixer into headphone amps and then into these headphones. They do a superb job of isolation so you can hear the drums clearly from the microphones but are not deafened with the sound from the drumkit in the room. As for the sound quality, they are very good. They have been voiced for sound in the diffuse field in other words to sound more like speakers in the room. This means that Front of House sound engineers can swap between listening to the PA and then headphones and get a similar tonal balance. For this they work very well. If I don't need isolation I do prefer to listen on my open backed sennheiser hd650s but the beyers do the job they are designed for. There is plenty of detail, a good balance and isolation or they would be completely unsuitable for monitoring purposes. I can only think the reviewer above didn't manage to get a good fit for some reason.

 

post #3 of 8

Thanks for the info and glad that you could return them. I think that most of us have had a similar experience where we bought some headphone that we thought was a safe bet but instead it bombed. 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOWSC View Post

This hasn't been my experience with these headphones at all. I find the isolation to be extremely good. We use these headphones for rehearsal with a rock band. Live drums in a small room with microphones on the drum kit fed with vocals, guitars and bass into a mixer into headphone amps and then into these headphones. They do a superb job of isolation so you can hear the drums clearly from the microphones but are not deafened with the sound from the drumkit in the room. As for the sound quality, they are very good. They have been voiced for sound in the diffuse field in other words to sound more like speakers in the room. This means that Front of House sound engineers can swap between listening to the PA and then headphones and get a similar tonal balance. For this they work very well. If I don't need isolation I do prefer to listen on my open backed sennheiser hd650s but the beyers do the job they are designed for. There is plenty of detail, a good balance and isolation or they would be completely unsuitable for monitoring purposes. I can only think the reviewer above didn't manage to get a good fit for some reason.


This is what I mean by other reviews that were the opposite of my experience. I wish I could get to the bottom of this. It's doubtful I got a defective pair, as there are also some other reviews which line up with mine. Like you said, it is possible I didn't get a good fit. I'm just having trouble imagining how. They fit very well, so there doesn't seem to be any reason why I should have gotten such a horrible seal. I don't doubt the possibility though. If it is true that they are for some strange reason very finicky with fit and only work for certain people, at least that issue should be known. I also have to wonder how loud you had to turn them up to achieve the effect you did (not trying to insult you in any way, I realize I may have been a little ranty in my review). For example, if one was playing along to music on an iPod and had to turn the volume up any higher than about 40% (50% max considering their slightly higher impedance) to hear everything loudly, I would consider that sub-par isolation.


Edited by manveru - 3/15/12 at 12:08am
post #5 of 8

The low frequency isolation of even the most isolating full size headphones cannot really be compared to that of IEMs. Full suze headphones isolate best above 1 kHz, and usually have virtually no isolation (or even slightly amplify outside noise) below 250 Hz. And for drumming, low frequency isolation is obviously important.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=6&graphID[]=2961&graphID[]=733&graphID[]=3321&graphID[]=533

 

As you can see on the above graph, the IEM is better at any frequency, but the full size headphones are useless to isolate bass.

 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

^^Exactly, but the DT770M is not a normal closed headphone. It's advertised as having much higher than average isolation specifically for drumming or FOH monitoring. I find eaplugs and IEMS to isolate more or less identically, and the isolation on the DT770M is rated at or higher than ones I've seen/used. That leads me to believe the spec is misleading, or they just don't work. Because of the conflicting reports, the alternative explanation is that I didn't get a good seal. What would really be helpful in that regard is if somebody successfully AB tested them against eaplugs/IEMS without music playing, as music can give you the illusion of isolation if you turn it up loud enough. Even then, I should still think they only deserve 2.5 stars, as it means the design is flawed and anyone who buys them only has a 50/50 chance of them working at all.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

What would really be helpful in that regard is if somebody successfully AB tested them against eaplugs/IEMS without music playing, as music can give you the illusion of isolation if you turn it up loud enough.

One year later..

 

Compared to the Howard Leight MAX Lite earplugs I use every day, with a SNR of 34, they isolate only half as well. It doesn't even come close to my Howard Leight Leightning L0F with a SNR of 25.

 

Hope that helps..


Edited by TomMe - 6/3/13 at 7:39am
post #8 of 8

Dude,

 

from a felllow drummer and writer in UK, thanks for your honest review of these cans.  I for one was considering purchasing these as like many others am swayed by current reviews/ manufacturer recommendations/ google searches..

 

Your review has saved us all a lot of time and money, another crafty excuse headphone retailers use is the old "you can't try these" due to: 'virus transfer from ear cups' bull, which means once again, people interested in 'really' testing out performance shell out bucks for this junk and can only road test post purchase.  

 

Sorry you lost those bucks but thank you for warning discerning musicians away from these. As a catharsis, p'raps create a funny video on youtube of you crushing them under a car wheel or hammer?

 

Goodness will come back to you i'm sure;)

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