Thanks for the kind words everyone. Like the Senn comparison, I really enjoyed doing this one - and I appreciate the feedback.
Some answers to specific comments below:
Originally Posted by Boffy
How good is the T1 for female vocals? I am vacillating over T1 and Audio Technica AD2000X.
IMO the T1 is outstandingly, gobsmackingly stunning with female vocals. It's a very vivid presentation that IMO just lifts the upper mids - but doesn't make them peaky - rather it adds a touch of euphoria. I think this is one of the reasons they climb above the DT880 (and not subtly either). Norah Jones especially - match made in heaven for me.
Originally Posted by thirdman
Very nicely done. Bravo! Thank You.
Now, how about a Senn/BD comparo? when you are up to it of course.
I'd classify them as too different to really compare - but I have (in both comparisons) alluded slightly to the difference between DT880 and HD600, and also HD700 and T1. I don't think I'd tackle an in-depth (especially now as the HD700 are sold) - but IMO the T1 (as it should) tops them all for SQ. Value would be a tough call - difficult to go past the HD600 and DT880 if you are on a tighter budget.
Originally Posted by MrTechAgent
Great comparison !
T1s are on my list , I don't think they have the dt880 impulse response but they most definitely are more resolving , dt880 for the price though are just incredible , I think fidelity wise they are superior to the 6XX , have the 650s BTW
Yep DT880 vs HD600 comes down to preference. DT880 with their brighter and more neutral response can appear to have more fidelity. But I've always found with the HD600 that all the detail is still there - just not as apparent. The HD600 are (to my ears) more natural sounding though. The timbre and overall tone are as lifelike as I've heard.
Originally Posted by CoLdAsSauLt
I recently did some binaural listening myself and got a bit deeper into the matter. Binaural recordings are made by molding a head with outer ears. The mics are where the eardrums would be. This way environmental reflections and cues are captured along, as the head, outer ear and ear canal influence this. This makes, to my understanding, that binaural recordings are best fit for in-ear monitors. The sound plays the closest to where it was picked up. Headphones let it pass through the outer ear and ear canal again. So in fact, you hear a sound that has passed TWICE the outer ear and ear canal.
The angled drivers of the T1 (something seen in a number of Sennheiser headphones as well, in the first place their flagship HD800), project the sound in a more natural way to the outer ear, making better use of the cues and reverberations you are familiar with: your own body's. This way they manage to create better imaging and soundstaging.
In your binaural test, I would think that the "in this regard inferior" DT-880 would have less of the "over-coloration" created by passing the outer ear two times, so better preserving the originally intended spatial cues.
With normal recordings however, the T1 would have a clear advantage. It may be more clear in complex classical music, where you are surrounded by loads of instruments all wanting their own little space in the soundstage. But this is very much depending on the quality of the recording as well!
None of this is tested of course, just trying to think this through :-) So please do correct me if I'm completely lost.
I understand what you're saying here - but I personally think that the binaural HRTF benefits have less to do with the outer and inner ear canal shaping, and more to do with the fact that:
[a] They take into account the exact height and distance of each ear from each sound source
[b] They allow for natural crosstalk to occur
[c] They correctly adjust for the (dead) space of the head between each microphone - and I think this is the most important HRTF function.
It's a good talking point though - worth exploring further. perhaps someone could take it up with Jude. I think it would make a marvelous topic for a Head-Fi article. Get someone in from Chesky to explain exactly what is going on, how they set-up and why.
Originally Posted by earfonia
Another excellent review by Brooko! Congrats!
I'm curios to know how did you level both headphones with SPL meter. Do you mind to show some pictures of how you use the SPL meter to measure the headphones loudness? Any particular reason why you use 3 kHz?
I love both my T1 and DT880. Those are truly legendary great headphones! Mine is the DT880 Pro 600 ohms edition.
Let me try to predict what you're going to do with your T1 in the future:
You will cut the T1 headphone cable and terminate it with 4 pins XLR for your future balanced headphone amplifier.
For two reasons:
1. T1 cable is too long.
2. It sounds better in balanced.
When you do that, you will remember me
On the SPL meter - I actually just use my iPhone and an app. I sit the iPhone inside the cup, and use the constant tone. It's only measuring to within 0.5 db - and eventually I'll get an actual meter - but it's far better doing this, than trying to do things "by ear". Typically I'll do both ear pieces (L and R) for each headphone and commonly initially run 3 tests on each earspeaker. When I'm confident I've got it right I start the tests, but also recheck about 10 minutes in to make sure the readings are still constant.
I used to use a 1 kHz tone - but switched recently to 3 kHz as that is where a lot of the vocals are featured, and I tend to raise or lower volume according to vocal content.
I like your predictions on the T1 - and a recable may be sometime in the future - but it would be for aesthetics and ease of use rather than sonics. Ideally I'd like to go detachable (mini-xlr) but it wouldn't be balanced (personally don't see too many advantages in that). Something a little lighter - and able to be replaced easily if something ever happened to the cable would be ideal. For now though - these are pretty good as stock :)
Originally Posted by MKTRV6
Really excellent review and I agree with just about everything you say.
I also have the DT-880 Pro and T1. Have had the 880's now for about 7 months and the T1's just a month. I'm running them both through various amps depending on my mission (recording/mixing, or just music enjoyment). I found the DT-880's a bit bright until I put the Mullard 8100's into my LD3. TOUCHDOWN. The sound with that combination is effortless and just amazingly pure and stress free. I see a number of people on the forums call this a basic "mid-fi" setup, but regardless of what you call it this combination sure sounds good!
With the T1's, the Mullard tubes don't have enough upper mid's for my taste and I found the stock GE tubes fit my needs better. I find they are much nicer with solid state amps then the 880's too, even though I've read all over the place that the T1 doesn't pair well with solid state amps. My experience is different, I find them excellent with tubes or SS amps. The T1, regardless of amps, is clearly superior to the DT-880 in speed. This translates to a level of clarity from top to bottom of the frequency range that the DT-880 can't achieve.
I love both these headphones and certainly the pricing of the DT-880 makes it an incredible value for the sound quality you get. The T1, on the other hand, is very expensive for the improvement you get. Yes, it's clearly better in my opinion, but you're paying a lot for an incremental upgrade. It seems to me the T1 probably will benefit from more refinement in the source and amplification than the DT-880, so I haven't yet got to a level where the T1's can achieve their utmost performance.
This morning I am doing some rehearsing for a recording I'm working on, and the DT-880's are my choice due to their lighter weight and excellent relaxed sound. That's in the living room. In my little den/studio I have the T1's set up for serious listening and will use them during the mixdown process in addition to various speakers.
I'm keeping them both!
Keep on 'rockin,
Thanks for the comments Mark. I'm actually tossing up at the moment whether to bring the DT880 to work permanently and keep them there, or whether to sell. With the T1 at it's current much lower prices I personally think it's incredible value. That doesn't take away from the price/performance ratio of the DT880 thought - they are very special cans, and I'd recommend everyone to try them as they climb the ladder.
Originally Posted by benjaminhuypham
Superb review Brooko, great as usual. I got the used T1 in excellent condition for $550 and they are worth every single penny. They are truly an outstanding headphones if you mate them with Bottlehead Crack/Speedball. I found them slightly uncomfortable to wear for long listening section, maybe I'm the only one have that problem.
Great price on those T1s. I'm going to need to build a Crack at some stage - just so I can get the curiousity out of the way. I do find that my LD MKIV does everything I want though - so it might be some time away yet. I hear what you are saying on the comfort. They are definitely heavier - but I think a lot of this is the cable. An eventual recable might help - I know I will consider it eventually.
Originally Posted by Colgin
Great write up (and it reminded me to listen to Pearl Jam "Vs" which I had not done in quite some time). I am always tempted when new prices on T1s on Amazon slip into the $700-ish range, but then wonder whether even then it is worth the price differential over the DT880. I have the AKQ Q701 but at the time I bought them a few years ago it was almost a toss-up between the AKG and the DT880.
Comes down to preference I guess. I also very much enjoyed the AKGs - owning the K701, K702, Q701 and K612 previously. If you get the chance, see if you can audition a pair of T1's. For me the price differential over the DT880 is definitely worth it - but you can only answer that question yourself. If you like the AKG and Beyer DT880 sound, I have the feeling you'd love the T1.
Thanks again for the positive comments guys.