Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › DT 770/880/990 questions for my specific needs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DT 770/880/990 questions for my specific needs

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for new all-purpose headphones (gaming, music [pretty much only rock music], and movies) in the price range of like $200, though that's rather flexible. I searched for at least a couple of hours here on the forums, and a lot of people seem to recommend the DT series of Beyerdynamic (770/880/990), and I still have a few lingering questions about them (though I'm not necessarily closed to other headphone recommendations). I've read many threads that compare the DT series headphones, though I haven't found them particularly useful because I don't understand the terminology used.

 

First of all, it may be relevant to explain the reason I'm looking for new headphones, as that might help with more accurately determining what's right for me. The reason I'm looking for new headphones is because I'm just sick of the Grado SR-225 that I've had for a couple of years, for several reasons. First of all, I find the bass lacking, but more importantly: they're the most uncomfortable headphones I've ever worn, there's occasionally a buzzing sound on the left side which I can only get rid of if I blow into the inside (forgive my terrible command headphone anatomy terminology :P), and the cords between the left and right side are constantly twisting.

 

I tried my brother's Sennheiser HD-280 headphones to compare with the Grado's. They were comparatively very comfortable, though I found the bass too overwhelming. I'm not nearly as good at describing sound as you guys are, so perhaps "overwhelming" isn't the right term, so let me use a real life example of what I'm referring to: I don't particularly like "theatre-like" bass; it just sounds too unrealistic to me. By the way, as for open vs. closed headphones, I didn't notice much difference when comparing them, so that factor isn't too significant for me.

 

Now, with the DT series, a lot of the difference between the 770/880/990, from what I've read, is that of the bass. If I found the Grado's lacking in bass and the HD-280 too overwhelming in bass, where might the three DT models fit on that spectrum; which is least theatre-like but not as weak as the Grado's? As for my gaming needs, I'm not a particularly competitive gamer, so I don't want headphones like the AD700 which have spectacular directional accuracy at the cost of

 

Also, I'm not sure what an "amp" is, though I don't think I have one. I figure this is worth mentioning, because most people on head-fi seem to have amps, so I'm not sure if not having an amp means that a particular headphone won't be a good choice any longer. I have a desktop computer with an ASUS Xonar DX sound card. Will I even notice a difference in quality between $100 headphones and $300 headphones given my setup and given that I'm not really much of an audiophile?

 

Finally, there are sometimes different versions of the DT models, especially the 880, in terms of their ohms. I don't know anything about ohms or what effect they have or anything, but I gather that certain ohms work well with amps and others don't. So in any case, I'm wondering if there's a particular ohm that suits me best given my ampless setup?

 

Thanks! Sorry I'm such a noob when it comes to this stuff :(

post #2 of 32

Ohms = resistance.  The higher the number, the harder a can is likely to be to drive properly (more likely to need more amping.  However, it is not the only factor.

 

Start here and see if it narrows things down for you:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-6-10-2012-ultrasone-pro-2900-added-many-edits

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

Ohms = resistance.  The higher the number, the harder a can is likely to be to drive properly (more likely to need more amping.  However, it is not the only factor.

 

Start here and see if it narrows things down for you:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-6-10-2012-ultrasone-pro-2900-added-many-edits

Like I said, I searched for a long time, and I most certainly came across that thread and read it in its entirety. I still find myself asking the questions I posed, though.

post #4 of 32

From the All-rounder list, the best sounding for music (again all-round) are:

 

AKG Q 701

 

Dennon D7000

 

Beyer DT 880

 

All three of these are excellent cans that are neutral to neutral-ish (D7000 being the least so).  All three need or greatly benefit from amping.  Since I don't listen to my serious music from a computer, I have no idea how your current sound card will work with any of them.  Maybe someone like PurpleAngel can help you with that.

 

The semi open Q701 has great detail and clarity and probably the best sound stage of the three.  It has the least bass of the three.  They are very comfortable.  They are a steal at the $235 to $240 Amazon wants for them.  They come in 3 colors (price sometimes varies by color).

 

DT 880 (I have the 250 Ohm Pro version) is very detailed semi open can.  The 250 Ohm version provides the best balance between what it takes to drive them and sound quality.  They are detail meisters and very unforgiving of bad recordings.  Their ear cups are smaller than the 770 & 990, which means they are the least comfortable of the three.  Buying the Pro version(s) will save you money with little if any sound difference (per Beyer).

 

D7000 is being discontinued by Denon so get them quickly, if you want them.  They are closed and have the best and most prominent bass in this group.  They are smooth like a good whiskey.  They have excellent sound.  When properly amped they have a very good sound stage for a closed can, but don't expect them to exceed the open ones on this list.  They are at least as comfortable as the Q 701.


Edited by KG Jag - 6/17/12 at 12:11am
post #5 of 32
The Denon D7000 doesn't NEED amping. It benefits just like any and every headphone ever (going by the typical Head-fi hyperbole), but need is a bit excessive. They sound great off anything, amped or not. They are very sensitive.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The Denon D7000 doesn't NEED amping. It benefits just like any and every headphone ever (going by the typical Head-fi hyperbole), but need is a bit excessive. They sound great off anything, amped or not. They are very sensitive.

 

Mine sound very different when properly amped.  Sound stage is massively improved--deeper & wider.  Clairty and seperation of musical voices goes to an entirely new level.  The sound is tightened.  For what I paid for these headphones (and I got a great deal), they need proper amping to produce the music they were designed to produce and in the way it is meant to be heard.


Edited by KG Jag - 6/17/12 at 2:56am
post #7 of 32

In the $200 range and sticking with Beyer for bang for buck reasons in every respect, you said you don't like theatre-like bass but you felt the Grado's bass was too little - I think the Beyer DT 770 Pro may be too much bass for you. Beyer DT 880 maybe too little but maybe not. Beyer DT 990 Pro is a happy medium between DT 770 and DT 880 but again may still be too much for you as it does have theatre-like bass. 

 

I'm thinking that the Beyer DT 880 Pro might be a good choice for you as it's cheaper and has slightly more bass than the non-Pro version but is still very much detail king etc.

post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thommohawk View Post

In the $200 range and sticking with Beyer for bang for buck reasons in every respect, you said you don't like theatre-like bass but you felt the Grado's bass was too little - I think the Beyer DT 770 Pro may be too much bass for you. Beyer DT 880 maybe too little but maybe not. Beyer DT 990 Pro is a happy medium between DT 770 and DT 880 but again may still be too much for you as it does have theatre-like bass. 

 

I'm thinking that the Beyer DT 880 Pro might be a good choice for you as it's cheaper and has slightly more bass than the non-Pro version but is still very much detail king etc.

Which DT 880 should I get? There's 250 ohms, 600 ohms, 32 ohms, and a 250 ohm "Pro" version.

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelius View Post

Which DT 880 should I get? There's 250 ohms, 600 ohms, 32 ohms, and a 250 ohm "Pro" version.

I say get the cheapest one (Pro 250-Ohm) because you going to have to put out some cash for an amplifier anyway.

Check the Head-fi "Headphone For Sale" thread for used ones.

The Asus Xonar DX is a good sound card, except it headphone amplification is not great.

On eBay they sell single tube headphone amplifiers, $50-$130, ships from China takes 10 days.

I think the best one is the Indeed MK2 with a 6922 tube.

Amazon sells a Muse brand for $65

 

A low cost ($65) solid state amplifier is the SMSL SAP-100 (eBay).

 

The Fiio E9 ($115) would do the job.

 

Would you have a budget for getting an amplifier?

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelius View Post

Which DT 880 should I get? There's 250 ohms, 600 ohms, 32 ohms, and a 250 ohm "Pro" version.

 


The Pro 250 Ohm version is the best value and fit for most folks. 

 

If the 600 Ohm version is right for you, you probably are very experienced and unlikely be on asking the likes of us.  If for whatever reason you are buying this former flagship of the line to use unamped with an ipod, phone, computer or other portable device--then the 32 Ohm makes sense.

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I say get the cheapest one (Pro 250-Ohm) because you going to have to put out some cash for an amplifier anyway.

Check the Head-fi "Headphone For Sale" thread for used ones.

The Asus Xonar DX is a good sound card, except it headphone amplification is not great.

On eBay they sell single tube headphone amplifiers, $50-$130, ships from China takes 10 days.

I think the best one is the Indeed MK2 with a 6922 tube.

Amazon sells a Muse brand for $65

 

A low cost ($65) solid state amplifier is the SMSL SAP-100 (eBay).

 

The Fiio E9 ($115) would do the job.

 

Would you have a budget for getting an amplifier?


I just don't understand. What is an amplifier? What does it do? Why don't "average people" have amplifier? I've never heard of one or seen one used. Does it even have a noticeable difference in sound quality to a non-audiophile? Sorry, these are probably silly questions around here, I'm just really new at this. I tried searching, but I can't find any threads asking "what is an amp?"

 

Money isn't really an issue for me, though I don't want to spend insane amounts. I wouldn't want to spend more than maybe like $400 for both an amp and headphones. But I still need to be convinced about needing an amp in the first place.


Edited by Aelius - 6/17/12 at 2:31pm
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelius View Post

I just don't understand. What is an amplifier? What does it do? Why don't "average people" have amplifier? I've never heard of one or seen one used. Does it even have a noticeable difference in sound quality to a non-audiophile? Sorry, these are probably silly questions around here, I'm just really new at this.

Money isn't really an issue for me, though I don't want to spend insane amounts. I wouldn't want to spend more than maybe like $400 for both an amp and headphones. But I still need to be convinced about needing an amp in the first place.

All speakers require an amplifier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier). Doesn't matter what they are, or who you are. Headphones are speakers. However, what is often meant here by "amp" or "amplifier" is a free-standing dedicated headphone amplifier. Which is a specialized device designed to handle headphones. A lot of higher Z or less efficient headphones need such a device to reach appropriate output levels or even have a flat (this is relative, I'll explain) response.

On the flat response note, see this:
http://www.afrotechmods.com/reallycheap/soundcard/sennheiser.htm

Not all headphones are as reactive as the Sennheiser HD 600, but the Beyers you've selected generally are. An amplifier makes sense in that case, beyond whatever is built-in to your mp3 player or the line output of your computer/etc. If your player/source machine has a headphone driver in it (a lot of CD players do, some computers have built-in headphone amps, or can be upgraded to such) then it will probably be suitable for hooking up your equipment. Otherwise, you can get an inexpensive device to satisfy this need; FiiO makes a number of affordable options. There are other choices as well.

Now, onto the headphone question - if you found the HD-280 too bassy, there's not many closed headphones I can think to suggest. I would look at the HD 598 (also from Sennheiser) and the K701 or Q701 (both from AKG - you may also find K702 mentioned, they're all from the same cloth). I like the AKG option better, coming from the SR-225s, but if you find the top-end too aggressive, go with Sennheiser. Any of these will be a big comfort improvement over the SR-225. redface.gif

Onto the next bit: "Ohms" - the Ohm is the SI unit of electrical resistance (R). Read the technical stuff on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm), but what it refers to here is nominal impedance (impedance (Z) is complex resistance in an AC system - again, Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_impedance). The common claim is that "lower ohm rating means easier to drive" (as an aside, whenever I see "ohm rating" I absolutely want to scream - it's impedance); this is un-true. Impedance is one specification that we can consider when trying to figure out how much of a PITA a load is, but we also have to look at sensitivity and how reactive the load is. Go back up to the Afro Tech page, the HD 600 is reactive, and as a result it's FR will change fairly dramatically as you change the output impedance (Zsource or Zout) of your amplifier; something that's fairly stable will fluctuate less, and is less "picky." Then you have to consider other things - higher Z means the load "sees" or "wants" higher voltage but lower current while lower Z means the inverse. Sensitive, low impedance cans are very easily handled by devices like iPods but may also pick up and carry noise if the output isn't as clean as we'd like (two extreme examples that I love to pick on are the Beyer DT48A.00 (which is an audiometric headphone) and the Beats Pro - they're both very low Z (5 ohms and 18 ohms, respectively) and absurdly sensitive (the DT48 is something like 135 dB/V while the Beats are around 120 iirc - these get LOUD)). There's also sensitive and high impedance cans (HD 600), and insensitive and low impedance cans (HE-6) and insensitive and high impedance cans (xtal radio sets, other old crap).

Generally speaking anything that's designed to drive headphones will drive conventional headphones without a problem, although it may have a higher noise floor than we'd like, or imperfect channel balance, or whatever else. So those are valid considerations (and those are things we'd worry about with hooking up speakers too). Higher quality amplification usually solves those problems (or at least addresses them - note that quality and price do not correlate).

You can find more complex and detailed threads on this topic, but that's roughly the nutshell explanation.

Now as far as the Beyer models - Beyerdynamic is the only manufacturer that I'm aware of that offers multiple impedance versions of it's headphones. Apart from confusing the hell out of consumers, I don't see any good reason for it. There are threads that talk about any differences between models as well. Other manufacturers do not do this, so don't take any of the "learned wisdom" from the Beyer discussion to task with any other manufacturer. It's just not that important of a specification once you get into amplifiers/devices that either follow IEC standards or are incredibly robust (or both), and step away from Beyerdynamic's DT line.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


All speakers require an amplifier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier). Doesn't matter what they are, or who you are. Headphones are speakers. However, what is often meant here by "amp" or "amplifier" is a free-standing dedicated headphone amplifier. Which is a specialized device designed to handle headphones. A lot of higher Z or less efficient headphones need such a device to reach appropriate output levels or even have a flat (this is relative, I'll explain) response.
On the flat response note, see this:
http://www.afrotechmods.com/reallycheap/soundcard/sennheiser.htm
Not all headphones are as reactive as the Sennheiser HD 600, but the Beyers you've selected generally are. An amplifier makes sense in that case, beyond whatever is built-in to your mp3 player or the line output of your computer/etc. If your player/source machine has a headphone driver in it (a lot of CD players do, some computers have built-in headphone amps, or can be upgraded to such) then it will probably be suitable for hooking up your equipment. Otherwise, you can get an inexpensive device to satisfy this need; FiiO makes a number of affordable options. There are other choices as well.
Now, onto the headphone question - if you found the HD-280 too bassy, there's not many closed headphones I can think to suggest. I would look at the HD 598 (also from Sennheiser) and the K701 or Q701 (both from AKG - you may also find K702 mentioned, they're all from the same cloth). I like the AKG option better, coming from the SR-225s, but if you find the top-end too aggressive, go with Sennheiser. Any of these will be a big comfort improvement over the SR-225. redface.gif
Onto the next bit: "Ohms" - the Ohm is the SI unit of electrical resistance (R). Read the technical stuff on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm), but what it refers to here is nominal impedance (impedance (Z) is complex resistance in an AC system - again, Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_impedance). The common claim is that "lower ohm rating means easier to drive" (as an aside, whenever I see "ohm rating" I absolutely want to scream - it's impedance); this is un-true. Impedance is one specification that we can consider when trying to figure out how much of a PITA a load is, but we also have to look at sensitivity and how reactive the load is. Go back up to the Afro Tech page, the HD 600 is reactive, and as a result it's FR will change fairly dramatically as you change the output impedance (Zsource or Zout) of your amplifier; something that's fairly stable will fluctuate less, and is less "picky." Then you have to consider other things - higher Z means the load "sees" or "wants" higher voltage but lower current while lower Z means the inverse. Sensitive, low impedance cans are very easily handled by devices like iPods but may also pick up and carry noise if the output isn't as clean as we'd like (two extreme examples that I love to pick on are the Beyer DT48A.00 (which is an audiometric headphone) and the Beats Pro - they're both very low Z (5 ohms and 18 ohms, respectively) and absurdly sensitive (the DT48 is something like 135 dB/V while the Beats are around 120 iirc - these get LOUD)). There's also sensitive and high impedance cans (HD 600), and insensitive and low impedance cans (HE-6) and insensitive and high impedance cans (xtal radio sets, other old crap).
Generally speaking anything that's designed to drive headphones will drive conventional headphones without a problem, although it may have a higher noise floor than we'd like, or imperfect channel balance, or whatever else. So those are valid considerations (and those are things we'd worry about with hooking up speakers too). Higher quality amplification usually solves those problems (or at least addresses them - note that quality and price do not correlate).
You can find more complex and detailed threads on this topic, but that's roughly the nutshell explanation.
Now as far as the Beyer models - Beyerdynamic is the only manufacturer that I'm aware of that offers multiple impedance versions of it's headphones. Apart from confusing the hell out of consumers, I don't see any good reason for it. There are threads that talk about any differences between models as well. Other manufacturers do not do this, so don't take any of the "learned wisdom" from the Beyer discussion to task with any other manufacturer. It's just not that important of a specification once you get into amplifiers/devices that either follow IEC standards or are incredibly robust (or both), and step away from Beyerdynamic's DT line.

 

I carefully read through everything you wrote, and went to all the links, but I just find myself utterly confused. I don't even know what "input"/"output" is, let alone ohms, impedance, digital, analog, signals, resistance, voltage, current, or anything :( And for every term I don't understand, the Wikipedia article explaining that term uses five other terms that I don't understand. For instance, I don't know what an "electrical impedance" is, so I go to Wikipedia. It mentions "circuit", "current", "voltage", and "resistance". I don't know what any of those are, so I go to their respective Wikipedia articles, and they're explained using more concepts that I don't understand. I go to those Wikipedia articles, and they use yet more terms and concepts I don't understand. Basically, I can never seem to get an explanation of anything electrical/audio-related that doesn't rely on a foundational understanding which I neither have nor can easily obtain due to the inherent problem of every concept/term relying on other similarly confusing and complex concepts/terms.

post #14 of 32

All of this is really nothing new.  Back in the late 60's/early70's we had 8 transistor AM radios and home receivers.  The transistor radios didn't have much power and offered even less fidelity--so we just plugged in our single ear ear pieces.  The receivers had 1/4" headphone jacks.  All serious (and many not-so-serious) headphones (note: the plural) had the male plug for that jack.  The receivers powered our glorious (mostly) stereo sounds from FM, vinyl and reel to reel tape.

 

The major difference today is that the tiny devices play stereo almost high fidelity mp3's instead of mono AM radio.  Like the 8 transistor radios (cassette walkman, portable CD players), the portable players of today don't supply much power to push headphones.  Most quality headphones above $100 to $150 (as well as many less than that) need more to power them than the computers (without good sound cards that amp well), ipods & iphone type devices provide.  Therefore the need for an additional amp so "serious" headphones can be used--and used at or near their full capacity--with these portable devices.

 

Another change is that the modern A/V receivers have cheaped out on the "headphone out" part of the receiver.  With few exceptions, most don't push as much or as well as the old ones did.  The vintage receivers of the late 60's into the 80's are used as headphone amps.  Plug the machine that plays the music or sound into the (modern--or not so modern) into the vinatage receiver and use tthe headphone jack as was done decades before.  Stand alone headphone amps of today basically stand in for these vintage solid state and tube receivers and amps.


Edited by KG Jag - 6/17/12 at 3:11pm
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelius View Post

I carefully read through everything you wrote, and went to all the links, but I just find myself utterly confused. I don't even know what "input"/"output" is, let alone ohms, impedance, digital, analog, signals, resistance, voltage, current, or anything frown.gif And for every term I don't understand, the Wikipedia article explaining that term uses five other terms that I don't understand. For instance, I don't know what an "electrical impedance" is, so I go to Wikipedia. It mentions "circuit", "current", "voltage", and "resistance". I don't know what any of those are, so I go to their respective Wikipedia articles, and they're explained using more concepts that I don't understand. I go to those Wikipedia articles, and they use yet more terms and concepts I don't understand. Basically, I can never seem to get an explanation of anything electrical/audio-related that doesn't rely on a foundational understanding which I neither have nor can easily obtain due to the inherent problem of every concept/term relying on other similarly confusing and complex concepts/terms.

Not sure what to tell you. redface.gif

What's your frame of reference, educationally/professionally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

All of this is really nothing new.  Back in the late 60's/early70's we had 8 transistor AM radios and home receivers.  The transistor radios didn't have much power and offered even less fidelity--so we just plugged in our single ear ear pieces.  The receivers had 1/4" headphone jacks.  All serious (and many not-so-serious) headphones (note: the plural) had the male plug for that jack.  The receivers powered our glorious (mostly) stereo sounds from FM, vinyl and reel to reel tape.

The major difference today is that the tiny devices play stereo almost high fidelity mp3's instead of mono AM radio.  Like the 8 transistor radios (cassette walkman, portable CD players), the portable players of today don't supply much power to push headphones.  Most quality headphones above $100 to $150 (as well as many less than that) need more to power them than the computers (without good sound cards that amp well), ipods & iphone type devices provide.  Therefore the need for an additional amp so "serious" headphones can be used--at used at or near their full capacity--with these portable devices.

Another change is that the modern A/V receivers have cheaped out on the "headphone out" part of the receiver.  Most don't push as much or as well as the old ones--with few exceptions.  The vintage receivers of the late 60's into the 80's are used as headphone amps.  Plug the machine that plays the music or sound into the (modern--or not so modern) into the vinatage receiver and use tthe headphone jack as was done decades before.  Stand alone headphone amps of today basically stand in for these vintage solid state and tube receivers and amps.

I would agree and disagree. I would agree with the general idea, but I would disagree with specific cases. Dedicated headphone amplifiers are often not required for a lot of dynamic cans - but it really depends on the headphones in question. This is where measurements from GE or IF are helpful. For example the Denon AH-D series (the current ones) will drive quite well from more or less anything.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › DT 770/880/990 questions for my specific needs