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Choosing Beyerdynamic DT 880, 990 or Sennheiser 598 with current price considerations.. for epic/rock/classical music

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,


I'm new to audio stuff and decided to look for some decent headphones priced under 200eu.. I've spent way too much time reading reviews and ended up with these in mind:


Beyerdynamic DT 880 250Ohm - 191eu (first choice)

Beyerdynamic DT 990 250Ohm - ~160eu

Sennheiser HD 598 - ~182eu


Music that I listen to: epic music, alternative rock, classical music and games/movies

Currently use: Koss PortaPro 


As the PortaPros are not very comfy for full day use at home, I decided to move to something more comfortable and better-sounding


Points of interest:

32Ohm versions of 880/990 are too expensive.. 

I don't have any amps(+using default/integrated PC sound).. I read someone adviced Fiio E10 for DT880 250, which will cost me an additional ~55eu

The 990 are cheaper than the 880, but ultimately, sennheiser is the cheapest as I would skip on buying the amp.

The reason why I'm considering 880 as first choice is because it has amazing ratings on just about any site with reviews out there.. beating all rivals

I like how my PortaPros sound @ high volumes.. however, my head starts to hurt :O


My questions would be:

Is 880 the best choice for me? Can I save and buy 990?

How badly will the quality suffer on 880/990 on motherboard sound with no amp?

Will there be a wow effect, coming from PortaPros?) (there definitely was when I went from 5$ noname phones to Koss)


All the best,


post #2 of 11

Sennheiser HD558 or DT990 250-Ohm headphones

Creative labs Sound Blaster Z sound card

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Is the soundcard necessary? thats another ~75eu there)

Fiio E10 or another amp still needed?

So basically what you want to say is, it's better to go for cheaper headphones + soundcard rather than more expensive headphones alone?


post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by italeks View Post

Is the sound card necessary? that's another ~75eu there)

Fiio E10 or another amp still needed?

So basically what you want to say is, it's better to go for cheaper headphones + sound card rather than more expensive headphones alone?


I'm not looking to steer you towards cheaper headphones, but as your looking for something for games and movies (along with music), I'm thinking at least part of your budget is going to go towards an internal sound card.

The SB-Z should offer better audio quality, for any headphone you might use with your computer.


With the DT880/DT990, chances are your gong to need to get a headphone amplifier (SB-Z) to make them sound their best.

So I'm think that is going to make you way over budget.


But with the HD558/SB-Z combo, I thought it might be close enough to your budget.

Or get the Asus Xonar DG or DGX, with the HD558, that combo should be with in your budget.

post #5 of 11

I suppose a good question would be what sort of sound signature you're looking for. The DT990 would be the odd one out among your selections, being V-shaped with big bass and treble. The other two are both variations on neutral, with the DT880 being bright-leaning and the HD598 usually described as comparatively warmish or slightly mid-centric (not going from personal experience here).


I can personally say that the DT880 is an excellent headphone, particularly for classical, but you'll want some kind of amp to get them up to volume. The DT990 isn't much more efficient, so the same would be true here.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm inclined towards 880 as it seems to be a safer bet than 990... I can extend my budget if its really worth it. The hd 558 just doesn't have nearly as much positive feedback as 598 or dt 880

The xonar will cost me some 25eu, its ok.. I just don't understand the dac/amp stuff

Will the DT880 require both a soundcard (xonar) AND an external amp/dac (fiio E11 ?)?



ps: I've never owned any expensive headphones and I have no idea what kind of signature I'm looking for.. I guess best all-round for that budget+-.. I have no idea what bright or dark or warm music means =/

Edited by italeks - 10/21/13 at 1:18am
post #7 of 11

Basically, it's like this:


Bright = boosted upper harmonics/treble, which will highlight detail and the upper spectrum of the sound, but which may also cause listening fatigue, which is a sense that your ears are tired after extensive listening.


Warm = pretty much the opposite. Stronger lower harmonics/bass, which will make basslines more solid and add a bit of body to vocals and instruments, but which tends to sound a bit slower and less detailed. It may or may not also have rolled off treble. More laid back and generally doesn't cause listening fatigue.


Dark = an extreme version of warm, with noticeably rolled off treble and upper midrange. A much reduced sense of energy and sparkle compared to something more neutral. Whereas warm is usually a positive thing, dark is usually a negative except in very specific situations (e.g. if there's a certain genre that sounds good with a dark signature).


The DT880 and DT990 both have boosted treble (the DT990 more so), meaning they will draw your attention to things like cymbals and higher register instruments. The DT990, however, also has a big bass bump, so it boosts the bass well over neutral. The HD598 is going to have less treble energy than the DT880/DT990, meaning it will sound comparatively warmer and will focus a bit more on bass and the body of instruments and vocals. Generally speaking, good all-rounders tend to be more neutral. The DT990 wouldn't be a good candidate for this because it has an obviously colored (V-shaped; big bass/big treble) response. The DT880 and HD598 would be better candidates because they are less colored, with the DT880 having a bit more treble than neutral, the HD598 being probably about neutral. If you're interested in lots of detail and sparkle and want a spacious presentation, go with the DT880. If you're looking for something with a little more body and a comparatively intimate presentation, go with the HD598.


As far as amping, for now, pretty much anything that plugs into a wall will be fine with the DT880. You can put off getting a "good" amp if you've got any kind of stereo with an RCA input to take the signal from your soundcard. A dedicated amp will do a better job, of course, but with the DT880 the main concern is getting them up to volume, since they're not terribly efficient. Once you've managed that, you'll get a sense what they should sound like, even if a dedicated amp would offer a more refined experience. There are certainly portable amps which will also run them, but that's not my area of expertise.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for clearing that out)

I like clarity&detail, but I'm afraid of getting headache from boosted treble (i only seem to enjoy my portapros on high volume, but thats where it gets sharp and uncomfortable -_-)

so maybe warm sound would be better for me? but i guess neither of these are warm (i'll probably order the 880 as they are only ~11eu more expensive and seem to be considered generally better than hd 598)


I guess I want to try the headphones without amp/dac first.. and decide which to buy later

Maybe I need to listen to some good quality headphones first to realize what kind of sound I would enjoy more, heh)

post #9 of 11

I'd advise you to get the crowdpleaser hd558 and a xonar sound card for a start. The hd558 features the same driver as the hd598 with different enclosure. If you remove som tape from the back of the driver unit, they are said to be identical with the hd598 sound wise.

How much does the hd558 cost you? They are said to be warmer sounding than the other headphones you consider.


Don't go too hard, you might be discouraged.

Edited by davidsh - 10/21/13 at 2:01am
post #10 of 11

You could consider ma900 as well.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've ordered the dt 880 .. I want to listen to these first to get a better picture of what I would be happy with.. if I like them i'll keep them and look into a dac/amp on. If not, I'll send them back and look for something different.. maybe hd 558, maybe something warm.


Thank you for the advice)

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