Beyer Dynamic DT 880 Premium 600 OHM Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.38462/5,
  1. asymcon
    3.0/5,
    "Not my cup of tea - but likely perfect for most people"
    Pros - High sensitivity for such impedance, extended bass, undistorted treble
    Cons - Lacking frequency balance, V-shaped response (smiley face), soundstage too shallow & small
    I was quite disappointed with my DT880. I thought they'd make for excellent christmas present, but I was really wrong.
    First thing I noticed is very pronounced treble. While it might be OK for listening, e.g. after burn-in and "you'll get used to it", that was not why I got the headphones! I bought them for music production and that treble peak would push me towards equalization the wrong way, which is simply unacceptable for reference headphones.
    Reference means something that is uniquely and objectively transparent, from which can one "reference" sound. 
    Mid-range is severely attenuated, I didn't hear much of it so can't comment on this.
    Bass, that's probably the strongest point. Very deep, but feels detached from the rest of the spectrum. 
     
    It fell short on all of the vintage "truly reference pairs" I happen to have - AKG K240DF, K240 Monitor and K141 Monitor, all in 600Ohm.
    96dB/mW sensitivity is rather good, there were no problems with volume on all my devices, including portable players. Amplifier, while truly not necessary didn't improve the sound a bit (JDSLabs Objective2), that further proves it's transparency, but not headphones.
     
    I tried listening at low volumes close to 50dB, but the spectrum problems were there, clear as day. 
     
    As for soundstage, there are hints of 3D in it, but it's too narrow and shallow to precisely position instruments. K240DF is way more reliable in this regard, with clear distinction between front & back, which makes orchestra positioning in DAW much easier. That term Diffuse Field Equalized was not thrown there in vain. 
     
    Overall I cannot recommend this pair. Good for audiophiles, but not for producers & engineers. 
  2. poikkeus
    4.5/5,
    "Comfortable, attractive headphones that sound outstanding"
    Pros - Accurate, comfortable, attractive, airy - with a surprising richness
    Cons - Non-detachable cable, requires an amp
    There are two ways to listen to a DT880 - without an amp, or with one.
     
    Without an amp, the DT880 at 600 Ohms is pure and clean, and you're going to capture surprising highs backed with tasteful lows. The DT880 has never been a bass-monster; this headphone is not well suited for bass-heavy music like dub, hip-hop, and reggae. However, unamped, this headphone will satisfy only part of the time. Tunes that have louder volume will sound full and satisfying; laid-back tunes may seem that they need a little more punch. And volume means a lot for many tracks.
     
    Amped, the situation changes entirely. (By "amped," I mean it's connected to either good-sounding computer, or a suitable portable amp.) Formerly wan music has detail and punch. Unlike some headphones, which can be picky with source material, the DT880 sounds appealing with a symphony, or playing an old demo tape.
     
    But how does it compare to a world-class headphone like, say, Sennheiser's HD800? You might not be interested on putting down so much money for a pair of headphones, but the difference is obvious. There's more of a sense of space - thanks to the angled speaker design and bigger ear cups. There's more richness in the trebles, and more streamlined bass. Comparing the two headphones, you get a feeling for "the law of diminishing returns." At what point does a pair of headphones do the job well, and at a good price?
     
    At DT880 costs around $300 new, under $200 used and in good condition. That's less than a fifth of the price of the HD800. It's a solid value.
     
    But no matter the price, the DT880 (600 Ohms) demands some kind of amp to fully flesh out the sound. 
    Music Alchemist likes this.
  3. HeretixAevum
    4.0/5,
    "I can see why it's considered a classic, but not quite what I'm after"
    Pros - Quality Bass, Neutral mids, Articulate and extended treble, Solid build quality, All day comfort, Serviceable, Fairly priced
    Cons - Bass and treble quantities not optimal, Lack of warmth / Analytical, Earpad wearing, Headband adjustment very prone to wearing out
    Build Quality and Design
     
    Beyerdynamic headphones are often touted as being built like tanks, and I have to agree that they are very solid indeed, but not without their flaws. The main body of the DT880 is a combination of plastic and what I assume is aluminium. The grille and forks are very solid aluminium, with the latter having a subtle brush effect which adds a nice feeling of quality. The premium version which I have has some aluminium wings (also brushed) on the headband which I really like, and the "DT880" badge on the grille is another nice addition which justifies the 'premium' name. The remainder of the cups and headband assembly is a solid, dark grey plastic which gives no impression of flimsiness or cheapness. The earpads are a silver-grey velour and the headband padding is a black pleather, both of which are high quality. The cable is single entry, 3 metres long with a solid rubber coating and terminated in a 1/8 inch jack with a 1/4 inch screw-on adapter. The DT880 feels substantial and well put together, with no hint of it falling apart. It's just a good demonstration of German build quality and sensibility. 
     
    Good quality materials typically lend themselves to looking at least decent, and I think that's the case with the DT880. 
     
    Sound Quality
    There are a few negative conceptions floating around about the DT880s and their sound signature. The most common is that it’s an analytical headphone, which was the most interesting aspect for me as I’d never heard a headphone that had earned that moniker before. Generally this is said to mean that the headphone does not have a ‘musical’ tone and that it sounds cold, clinical and dry.  Other items of discussion about the DT880 is that they are too bright, recessed in the mids, and weak (and even muddy!) in the bass. Here is what I found:
     
    Bass is the thing I think is most disagreed upon with headphones, since it seems to be what  most people out there notice immediately (Show a good headphone to a friend and they’ll almost certainly comment about it). There are wildly differing expectations for bass quantity. One man’s “Noticeably boosted” is another man’s “Under-represented”. In my personal opinion, I have to say the DT880 does have less bass than I would consider optimal for listening pleasure, as well as too little to be truly neutral. Don’t get me wrong, the DT880 does not have what I would consider “weak” bass, I would say it’s “moderate” in level. It’s not totally and utterly underwhelming and lacking in presence to these ears, but more would be better, most notably in the sub-bass region. Of course, that’s the area that open back dynamic headphones historically struggle with, so I didn’t exactly expect a stellar sub-bass response.  What is there, though, is of great quality. It’s tight, quick, textured; a quite articulate bass response. This is definitely a bass response that earns the right to be differentiated from “one note” bass. Quite good in quality, but lacking in quantity for me.
     
    I think the midrange on the DT880 is dead neutral. I’ve owned headphones that have been forward and recessed in the mids, and I really can’t say that either of those terms really describes the DT880. I know that many say that this headphone does have a recessed midrange, but if it is then it’s very, very mild. The midrange sounds very flat and even handed (which is supported by measurements). It's also very clear and revealing, with great separation. 
     
    *Rest To Come*

    Update 17/11/2016

    I will unfortunately have to abandon this review for the foreseeable future. I no longer own the headphones and I really can't be bothered finishing this review off memory. I stand by the scoring, and my comments in the summary, pros and cons concisely sum up my thoughts on the DT880. It's a good headphone, it really is. It's the most satisfied I've been with a full sized can since starting my headphone journey in 2010, resulting in me keeping them for a good 2 and a half years. But, in the long run, I decided that the sound was a bit too cold and analytical, and maybe slightly too bright and lacking a little bit of body for me to enjoy anymore. By no means bad, but I prefer something a little warmer and musical sounding.

    The next headphone I'll be giving a shot will be either the HD650 or 600 in an attempt on really finding my end-game headphone for home use. Whichever I end up with I shall review next. 
     
  4. TomKure
    4.5/5,
    "Extended, clear sound with a bit of an edge to the treble"
    Pros - Very close to neutral; deep bass (not the deepest)
    Cons - Sometimes slightly sibilant, HD650 has more detail and speed with no sibilance at all (imo)
    More than adequate sound considering the price I got them for (~$300). Clearer sound then the HD650, sounds like the DT has slightly deeper bass also. But I cannot help but feel like the HD650 are slightly faster in mids and highs and therefore have also more detail in these areas, even though the DT has more treble. Sometimes the treble sounds like it is too pronounced, but it is more than tolerable, often rather enjoyable. I prefer the HD650, but often listen to the DT880 to enjoy the enhanced sound clarity (more treble, less lower midrange/higher bass compared to the HD650). I like them. The sound just "makes sense".
  5. Mshenay
    5.0/5,
    "Open Back Mi-Fi Perfection "
    Pros - Airy sound, delicate mids, speed, sense of openness, sound stage and layering. Timbre
    Cons - no isolation, bright [I like bright cans but some don’t] lacks intimacy, bass for some may not be heavy enough

     
     
    Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 600ohm (With ZXAC Fully Balanced Recable) [$235 Used]
     
    Personal Back-Story  
     
    I recently re-purchased my Beyerydanmic Dt 880’s back! And this time I made the upgrade to the 600 ohm variant.
     
     
    Pros: Airy sound, delicate mids, speed, sense of openness, sound stage and layering. Timbre
     
    Cons : no isolation,  bright [I like bright cans but some don’t] lacks intimacy, bass for some may not be heavy enough
     
    Build [5/5]
     
    Classic Beyerdynamic Build quality, although these are a tad more fragile than my pro series headphones, the adjustment device is located outside of the head band, as opposed to the pro series which feature the extension mechanism within the head band. In addition the head band itself is not as well padded. The headphones are very well built and comfy like the pro series.
     
    Very Sturdy
     
    Specs
    Semi-Open  Back Dynamic Operating Principle
    600 Ohm Impedance
    96 db Sensitivity
    5 - 35,000k response
     
    Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4.5/5]
    Simple and to the point, extend the head band and slap em on! There is no isolation due to the semi open back design, and the fit is very simple and straight forward. Despite being the Premium Model, it’s almost as comfy at the Dt 990 Pro, yet the DT 990 Pro is still my most comfortable headphone!
     
    Price to Performance : [5/5]
              Top notch, versatile enough to handle any genre, and tough as nails.

     
    Sonic Test Process
     
    Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]
     
    Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.
     
    Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.
     
               In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances
    Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage
    Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone
    Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact
     
     
              Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks
              Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging
              Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks
              Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real
              Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra fast tonal shifts
     
    Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]
     
    Lisa Ekdahl [Sings Salvadore Poe] Of My Conceit {16bit 44100hrz sample}
              Vocal Jazz track,
    Highs-  The upper range of the vocals and guitar notes
    Mids- Lisa’s vocals, along with the lower notes on the guitar and piano
    Bass- a touch of bass in the vocals and the lowest guitar  notes.
     
    Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile [The Goat Rodeo Sessions ] Where’s my Bow? {16bit 44100hrz sample rate}
              This song is a new age classical composition.
    Highs- upper most range of the stringed instruments, primarily of the, Viola, Violin
    Mids- presented by all the stringed wood instruments
    Bass- focus primarily on the Cello 
     
    David Chesky- [Jazz In The New Harmonic]-Transcendental Tripping 
              New Age Jazz, Binaural  
    Imaging- a binaural recording, a wonderfully real 3D presentation
    Overall Balanced Sound Response  {Percussion}- looking for balance
    Highs-drums, cymbals,Brass horns
    Mids-Brass Horns,  upper mids of Double BassPiano 
    Bass-Double Bass
     
    Kenji Yamamoto-[Metroid Prime Sountrack[-Chozo Ruins {16bit 44000hrz sample} 
                  Ambient Orchestral Sound Track 
    Sound Stage- a very high energy and multi layered track, with so many individual pieces working together a large sound stage is crucial. In addition the tracks features a lot of fading sounds  
    Balanced Frequency- The mood of the track set by the balance of frequency, any coloration takes away from the collective beauty of the track as a whole.
     
    Benga [Invasion EP] Evolution {16bit 441000 hrz sample}
              Good ole Dub Step, -Will be Eq’d to determine how headphones handle eq
    Highs- all about the cymbals,
    Mids- Playful Brass horn like intro and outro, only notable mids
    Bass- the Bass Wobble is the focus here

    Metallica [Master Of Puppets] Welcome Home (Sanitarium) {16bit 44100hrz sample}
            Metal
    Speed- this track features a very simple layering of instruments, but the mirco details in the guitar solo's make or break the track. 
    Highs- guitar, cymbals classic metal tune, smooth sweet highs in the guitar
    Mids- guitars, vocals, also looking for speed in the quick tactile hits of the guitar riffs
    Bass-Bass Guitar R.I.P Cliff, only the best quality for his bass lines!
     
    Matisyahu- [Live At Stubb’s]- Exaltation
              Live Reggae –listening for the little bits of extra noise that are often present in live music [detail retention]
    Highs- Upper range of the guitar and the cymbals
    Mids- Vocalsguitar and upper range of the Bass Guitar also taking note of the drums
    Bass- all about that bass guitar and Kick Drum
     
     
    Sound
               
              Sound Signature- Very clean, a slight tilt towards the upper mids and treble, although the headphone features a lower mid resonance which adds a nice touch of body to the lower mids and upper bass.  The headphone is also very quick, and light on its’ feet.  Over all an incredibly balanced and airy sound, filled with many details and excellent 2D and 3D sound stage.  Brighter than neutral
     
    Dynamics- quick and effortless
    Timbre- very real,  mids are life like, treble how ever may be slightly brighter than natural but is not fake or exaggerated
    Speed- very quick, shows quickness with all genres
     
              Sound Stage:  A  wide sound stage, great instrument separation, and good 3D  and 2D placement of instruments.
     
    Amplification Need or Suggested –for the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Premium an amp is required, as a 600 ohm headphone it requires an amp with a large voltage swing, OTL tubes pair nicely with the  Dt 880 600 Ohm 
     
     
     Highs- airy with a touch of bright sweetness, great energy. Brighter than neutral
     
    Mids- very real, a delicate sense of weight, good timbre tone and body. Not intimate 
     
    Bass- VERY deep and tight, great impact and solidity. Too lean for EDM without eq 
     
     
     
    Recommend Genre ; Jazz 
     
     
    Songs
     
    Lisa Ekdahl _ Of My Conceit
              Vocal Jazz
     
              Highs-  The airy nature of Lisa’s voice is well maintained, the extra touch of treble and air from the Beyer adds a nice intimacy to her voice, almost as if she’s whispering in your ear  
              Mids- Very airy, tone is nice good body, very delicate weight as well.  While the airy treble is intimate, the mids are very neutral and linear. Not extra weight or body at all.
              Bass- Perfect, wonderful timbre, good tactile nature.  
     
    Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile [The Goat Rodeo Sessions ] Where’s my Bow? {16bit 44100hrz sample rate}
    New age classical composition.
     
    Highs- The violins are very playful, there is a lovely bright and airy nature to the Dt 880,  detail retention is top notch. I can hear the separate notes of the two violins. One to my right the other to my left.
     
    Mids- Very lovely, the timbre is excellent, just the right amounts of body and weight, the tone is nice as well very natural. The upper mids have a nice sweetness to them as well, very lovely!
     
    Bass- Bass is wonderful; the Cello has an excellent and very solid weight to it, a nice delicate impact on every low note. Once again good timbre.   
     
     
    David Chesky- [Jazz In The New Harmonic]-Transcendental Tripping 
              New Age Jazz, Binaural  
     
    Highs-Excellent, airy and the upper most notes of the Trumpet are well detailed, maintain a nice edge, yet are not metallic or sibilant. In addition the sound stage is perfect, the drums are audibly behind and to the right in the sound stage. The imaging is top notch! The Drums have a nice snap, to them. Again, airy, crisp neither recessed nor overly forward.
     
    Mids-Just plain sexy, the mids are excellent, the Tenor sax just has a fantastic timbre to it, very real. Perfect balanced and weight, in addition it’s easily located to the slight right of center, with the Trumpet on the slight left of center. David Chesky him self is on Piano located a tad behind the Tenor Sax, and again the tone of the piano is great.  The individual strings that compose the unified sound are easily identified singularly, yet enjoyed just as easily as a whole.
     
    Bass-Lovely tone, great solidity and impact on the Double Bass notes, and the placement is slightly behind the Trumpet and adjacent to the piano, again the imaging is excellent. The details and texture in the bass are nice as well, you can hear the string vibrating against the wood as the Bassist changes notes.
     
     Kenji Yamamoto-[Metroid Prime Sountrack[-Chozo Ruins {16bit 44000hrz sample} 
                  Ambient Orchestral Sound Track 
    Going to only speak of Sound Stage and Balance for this track
     
    Sound Stage- The sound stage and frequency response work well together, the layering is lovely. There are sounds every where, front and center, left of center, slightly behind center, to the rear and right of center, and to the left rear of center. There are also well placed and airy… echoing high and low notes. The track is for  valley, the echo noises add depth to the sound, in addition at the top of the sound stage is… what sounds like wind. Again the layering of this track on the Beyer Dt 880 is perfect… the highs are slightly placed behind everything in the track, and despite being a “bright” can the treble do not lose there place in the sound stage. In addition… the Dt 880 maintains a nice air in between all the instruments, separation is good. Although the track is also recorded a little narrowly… while the narrow sound of the valley is maintained, the Dt 880 never create a cramp or overly busy sonic presentation; everything is placed just right within the sound stage. 
     
    Balanced Frequency- Just right for my tastes, the balance has a gentle tilt to lower treble, which for this track is mainly percussion, which is sonically behind the other sounds, there are also some echoing high notes, the air of the DT 880  gives them such a realistic timbre and presentation.  There are echoing low notes throughout the track, they are easily followed without being presented in a forward manner, adding to the ambiance of the track, lastly the mids are front and center. A gentle piano plays keeps a steady tune  in the mid center, a top of it a stringed instrument that shifts from left to right of center. Again the balance is perfect. Every individual piece works together.
                       Using an eq, really messes this track up, the bass is too forward, removing depth from the track. The gentle piano is lost, and the vocal sweeps are over powering.  [Eq setting explained in another article found here]
     
     
    Benga [Invasion EP] Evolution {16bit 441000 hrz sample}
              Good ole Dub Step, -Will be Eq’d to determine how headphones handle eq
    Highs- Cymbals have good air, the mids and bass tend to over power them in this track… thankfully The slightly bright Dt 880 prevents that! Nice energy on the highs
    Mids- Nice tone to the mids, the E Piano maintains a playful weight and a nice body, In addition the crunch of the mids in the Wobble has a nice tactility and weight
    Bass- DEEP and TIGHT, I do recommend you eq a little sub bass into the Dt 880 to enjoy Dub Step, as it helps bring a little more aggression and fun into the bass. But Either way it remains well textured with nice deep tight impact.
     
    Metallica [Master Of Puppets] Welcome Home (Sanitarium) {16bit 44100hrz sample}
            Metal
    Speed- this track features a very simple layering of instruments, but the mirco details in the guitar solo's make or break the track. 
    Highs- Nice, great sense of air in the highs. In addition a sweet notes with the upper guitar riffs,. The cymbals also have a nice sense of energy to them, very crisp.
    Mids- Electric Guitars since nicely, delicate nature of the mids retains all the speed of the guitar solos.  The vocals are also very nice, James voice has a good balance of warm tone, and crunch in it. The distorted guitar riffs as well have a good balance of crunch and mid weight to them.
    Bass- Nice bass, I miss the Bass Guitar a little, but it’s weight is always there. In addition the Kick Drum has a nice impact to it!
     
    Matisyahu- [Live At Stubb’s]- Exaltation
              Live Reggae –listening for the little bits of extra noise that are often present in live music [detail retention]
     
    To start, all the little extra bits of noise are there. Faint voices chime in every few seconds, and when the crowd cheers it’s nice and crisp, giving the live performance a nice LIVE feel to it! Feels like I’m in the front row!
     
    Highs- Good energy and air in the cymbals, loving the crisp snap to them, sweet notes of extension on them as well.  Upper range of the guitar is also excellent. Good balance of energy and sweet tone.
    Mids- … Vocals are great, Matisyahu has a nice warmth to his voice, that paired over top the attack of the guitar make for a great mid presentation. The Dt 880 retains all the weight and body of both the voice and guitar.  Additionally, when the crowd sings, there’s no congestion in the multitude of voices.
    Bass- Ahh, here the bass comes alive. Punchy and yet laid back.  Good texture, the bass is right where it needs to be. At the back of the sound stage, yet it’s got body and weight that Reggaes bass lines are known for.
     
  6. bl3nd
    5.0/5,
    "A perfect, magical headphone for me!"
    Pros - Detailed, clean treble, awesome mids, wide soundstage, made in Germany!!
    Cons - No detachable cable, looks ugly, bass could have more impact.
    Setup: 320Kbps > ODAC > Maverick Audio Tubemagic A1 > DT880
     
    Headphones i own or have previously owned: AKG K701 (sold), ATH-M50, Shure SE215.
     
    Let me start off by saying: Female vocals are STUNING!
     
    Build Quality:
    These are made in Germany, by hand, by real German people. Build quality is top notch. The whole headphone is made of metals except maybe the part near the drivers. These will take a beating.
     
    Comfort:
    I wasn't lying when i said these are perfect. The earpads are so soft, it feels as if pillows are on my cheeks. These are very, very comfy and i can wear them for hours. They do kind of get warm so i have to take them off every half an our for about 4 seconds then put them back on.
     
    Looks/Design:
    Could be better. This is a very ugly pair of headphones. Don't believe me? If you have them, go take a look in the mirror while you're wearing them.
     
    Sound:
     
    Bass: The bass is tight, extends all the way down there, and is textured. Sometimes i feel as if it lacks impact though, not a dealbreaker, but something to note.
     
    Midrange: The midrange is brilliant, especially when you pair them up with a tube amp. Mids are very detailed, they are not recessed in any way. I'd call them neutral. Guitars and stringed instruments sound brilliant.
     
    Treble:
    Cleanest treble i have ever heard in my life, even though i haven't heard much high-end headphones. The treble is clean, unfatiguing, and has a LOT of detail. This is one of the DT880's best characteristics. I don't think I'm going to hear better treble, ever.
     
    Soundstage: Soundstage is wide and open, imaging could be better though. There's plenty of room for detail and i never had a feeling that the sound is stuck in my head, instead it feels like im in the middle of a concert.
     
    Overall, this is an awesome pair of cans that i would highly recommend. This headphone is basically everything I wished my previous K701's (which i sold btw) were. Anyway, thanks for reading my review.
    pressureworld likes this.
  7. LiranV
    5.0/5,
    "My hearing just got better or what?"
    Pros - Really good SQ. Awesome soundstage. The highs are very good and not harsh at all for me. Build quality is great. Great for all genres.
    Cons - Don't hear low bitrate mp3's with this headphones. Some may find their bass lacking, But I think it's spot-on and goes really low.
    Besides what I could write in the Pros and Cons,
    This headphones are the most comfortable I've used, I can sit with them a whole day and my ears doesn't even sweat, you might even forget you have them on.
    Another thing is that personally I find thier design to be very beautiful.
    I'm really enjoying this cans and I think they are worth what you pay [​IMG] (Also have thier own icon which is another pro).
  8. BK201
    2.0/5,
    "Not flat"
    Pros - good bass, detailed
    Cons - bright, harsh, sibilant
    This headphone is quite V-shaped, I never quite understood why it stood evenly with the K701 and HD650. I dislike the HD650 but that didn't prevent me from giving me it a bad review, because it's quite impressive.

    Now this, no matter how I try to listen to this. It's too bright and sibilant. Even its siblings, the DT770 and DT990 gave me problems.

    The bass was the only thing that was enjoyable, it extends very deep and is good for a dynamic headphone. When listening to acoustic music it's harsh, but rock and such is less harsh as the bass somewhat masks the highs a bit. I could see this being nice for rock.

    But the detailing is not good as the K701 or HD650 or HD600. Even with that abundance of treble, it does not render low level information as I expected it to. Also the soundstage is pretty normal, not much different from the average closed back headphone. I guess being semi-open doesn't give you the best of both worlds as the HD600/650 and K701 have much better soundstages.

    It's built quite nicely and quite comfortable though. But I don't like how it sounds. [​IMG]
    asymcon likes this.
  9. yokken
    5.0/5,
    "Delicious, Sparkly Goodness"
    Pros - Airy unfatiguing treble, epic sound stage, brilliant mids, extensive and textured bass. VERY comfortable. Worth way more than what you pay.
    Cons - Non-detachable cable? Can't think of much.
    I'm just gonna start off by saying I love this headphone. It has dominated my head time since I got it. My HD650 gets no love anymore. They are just incredible. They're easily worth $400 in my opinion.
     
    My first serious headphone buy (HD280 5 years ago not included), I got the 250ohm version and used it with an E17 for a month; I ended up returning them to Amazon due to getting the HD600 and HE-400, both of which I ended up selling and returning as well. I couldn't justify 2 pairs, let alone 3. I got the HD650 and it changed everything. I ended up selling/returning everything. Once I got the Lyr and Bifrost, it changed everything. So that leads us to early December 2012...
     
    I had the money and decided to get myself a little sumpin sumpin if you know what I mean. I got offered a sweet deal on some great condition 880/600s and leaped at it. And here I sit, writing this ridiculous rave review about them.
     
    What I love so much about them versus the HD650, which is great, is that they're exciting. The treble is sparkly and clear. There is a nice air to the music, something spacey to it. It's awesome. The HD650 is a bit more closed in and intimate. I listen to a lot of electronic music, so I expected to like the DT880s more. What I didn't know is how much more I would like them. Now, maybe I'm exaggerating... but they're the spice that my music needs! They make everything lively. With a little EQing, the bass is thumpier and wobblier. The best part is that the Lyr has an insane amount of head room, so they never clip or distort. It's just cerebral.
     
    Versus the DT880/250s on the E17, the mids are much better and bass goes even lower. With the Lyr there's even more detail to the treble as well. I see now why almost everyone has the 600ohm model. It's just better in every way.
     
    I can wear these for hours and my ears might get a little warm but only due to sitting inside earcups for 2 hours! They're light, sturdy and have just the right amount of clamp. In contrast, I think the HD650 is a bit tighter.
     
    I think they're worth just as much as HD650s, because if you amp them right, they will reward you.
     
    Source: MBP (optical)
    DAC: Schiit Bifrost
    Amp: Schiit Lyr
    Tubes: 1972 Orange Amperex PQ (Holland)
     
    Compared to the stock GE tubes with the Lyr, the DT880s are more revealing but warmer. Bass might be the tiniest bit less? But mids are even better. They sound almost just as good as my HD650.
     
    Oh, and they work plugged into my iPad 4 @ ~80% volume. Perfect for movies and music. It's nothing special but it works!
     
    -- TL;DR --
     
    Basically to sum it up, the DT880/600s are some of the best headphones I've heard in my life, if not just due to my preferences. But their combination of detail retrieval, airy soundstage, incredible positioning, balanced but satisfying bass, and unfatiguing, sparkly treble is just...something to behold. It works well for almost everything, provided you have high quality source material.
     
    Best value at this price point, in my opinion. Other close competitor is the HD600, which is great too, but emphasizes different things.
     
    I love my DT880. [​IMG] 
  10. Quadpatch
    5.0/5,
    "Airy Detail Monster"
    Pros - Crisp detail, Superb Soundstage, Perfect comfort, Great Build
    Cons - Realistically nothing to mention
    I just finished writing this for my blog, but here is the full review...
     
     
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    It's been a while since I reviewed some headphones - to long in fact. If you followed the 'USB DAC/amp' project - I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it, but for now that's on pause while I return to headphones. Bring on the DT880 Premium - 600ohm, Beyerdynamic's UK distributor (POLARaudio) are providing me with some of their new catalogue to play with soon, but for now here is a little gem that I recently purchased

    Rewind fourteen years and I was spending my own money on headphones for the first time. It was my first year at university, I had £40 to spend and they were the Beyerdynamic DT231's. I loved those headphones - until the headband elastic deteriorated, but that was after a respectable six years of good service (the cabling and drivers never failed). Over the following eight years I moved through the manufacturers and ranges, expanding my passion as I wentEverything that I've learned since has led me to see Beyerdynamic as a rather under-appreciated manufacturer in the consumer sector. Perhaps this is due to so many over-hyped, 'style-over-substance' brands that are more about fashion and celebrity endorsements than audio quality. 


    My main reasons for choosing the £230 DT880 were: The semi-open design and the 'hard to drive' high impedance. I've been using a lot of closed back headphones recently and I'm all to aware of the audio quality advantages that open-back designs can bring. Since giving away my AKG Q701's I've lusted after that 'open' sound and it was the DT880 that caught my eye. Beyerdynamics new 'Tesla' range doesn't offer impedance values above 250ohms (accept with their flagship model, where 600ohms is the only option). So this 600ohm DT880 seemed like a great choice to give those powered headphone amplifiers a proper work-out.

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        SOUND
    The sound signature of the DT880 is very neutral*. That mantle usually brings with it a lack of bass presence that can disappoint some people in the musicality department. There is an undeniable truth to that with any 'neutral' headphone, but despite it not being suitable for bass-heads, it does still have a highly addictive quality. Yes the bass is lean / tight / detailed, but it's not as extreme as some 'neutral' headphones and not nearly as detrimental to the versatility and musicality as I'd expected. Any negative effect is mostly emphasized by lesser quality and less powerful amplification, connect it to a good amplifier however and the presence can very much impress.

    I have heard the DT880's detail described as over-sharpened, or artificial, but I struggle to feel that while listening. There is a real crispness to the sound and a wonderful clarity to the detail that really brought music to life for me. Part of the driving force behind the beautifully rendered detail is a strong treble presentation (apparently less so on this higher impedance model). Despite the brightness I didn't have many issues with sibilance. Driven from a high quality amplifier and the treble sparkles with the best of them and renders an articulate performance. When driven poorly the treble is the first thing to get rolled off and so doesn't cause too much of a problem there either - you just lose some detail. 


    The DT880's drivers are described as 'semi open', as far as sound isolation goes there isn't really much to speak of so they might as well be fully open in my opinion. The grills on the cups go straight through to the driver. Sound leaks, but slightly less on the outside compared to the inside. The poor isolation can kill your musical qualities if you can't control your surroundings. The up-side to this is a wonderfully airy presentation that does wonders to the soundstage, in both depth and width. Instrument separation is also superb here and I'd imagine very hard to beat at this kind of price.

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        SOUND SIGNATURE
    * A headphone's signature (or presentation) influences how much an individual enjoys their music, as much as, if not more than, things like detail and soundstage. So I'd like to take some time to clarify where the DT880's signature stands in relation to other headphones.

    I am aware that 'neutral' means different things to different people, let me try to clarify this. I have heard headphones like the V-Moda M-80 described as neutral but this is only true if you compare them to a 'bass-head's presentation like Dr. Dre Beats. Don't get me wrong, the M-80's are not bad, but they have quite a punchy bass and a treble to 'rolled-off' to be truly described as neutral or 'reference'. The Beyerdynamic DT770 pro is somewhere between the M-80 and DT880, but neither the M-80 or DT770 pro could be described as 'bass-head' or 'DJ' headphones. If you need a fair bit of bass kick to your sound and like Dr. Dre Beats be careful here (Beats have lots of bass and a muddy midrange - Audio Technica Pro700 mk2's, AIAIAI TMA-1's or most Denon's do this better, I only mention Beats to help make a point here because they're common).

    Now let's talk about the 'reference' AKG 701: If you read my review on the AKG you'll see that I found it enjoyable, but a little to bright and lacking in bass. The DT880 fixes both of these issues for me, being both less bright and having more bass weight, without straying to far from neutral. In fact I would say it's more neutral than the AKG 701 and certainly a more musically versatile presentation. The soundstage of the DT880 is similarly spacious, with almost as much crisp detail as the AKG 701, but without loosing so much bass kick, or gaining so much harsh treble.
     
        MUSIC
    Here are some music tracks and how I felt the DT880 coped with them:
    1. K.D. Lang: "Perfect Word" - This track was displayed with a real sense of vibrancy that made a highly enjoyable performance. The vocals are very up-front in this track and sound beautifully clear, but it makes a lot of the background instruments feel overpowered. Despite this it was effortless to pick them out due to the great separation and clarity of these headphones. With a stunning sense of timbre the guitar sounded beautifully textured and the subtle soundstage is treated with great finesse.
    2. SebastiAn: "Ross Ross Ross" - This whole album is a great test of sibilance (TOTAL). I was a little worried about the strong high frequencies (peakiness) of the DT880 causing discomfort with bright sounding Electronic music, but I was pleasantly surprised by how little harshness I encountered. You probably won't want to take this music to such high volumes as genres like Rock or Classical. I didn't find much issue here, ,but those who like their treble well rounded (rolled) off will probably not be to happy here. The crisp and clean detail adds an impressively bold feeling to Electronic music for me and I rarely felt the need for more bass either. At least once I'd spend a few hours getting used to this sound signature.
    3. Beethoven:  "Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op92, Allegro Con Brio" - From the very beginning of this track the DT880s display a wonderful sense of both powerful energy and delicate detail. Instruments feel clearly positioned and well layered, with hardly any sense of muddling. The detail is so nicely defined here than I got a real sense for the performers moving to create this energetic music. 
    4. Henry Jackman: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter "What Do You Hate?" - I chose this track to see how much low-end bass presence could come through. This is a piece that needs some real kick to get a good impact accross. Despite it sounding more powerful on my more bass heavy headphones, there is a better sense of space, clarity and detail here.
    5. Incubus: "A Certain Shade of Green" - I don't think I noticed just how complex Incubus music was until I heard it through these headphones and that's especially true of this track. The layering and transparency through a good amplifier is simply stunning here! Surprisingly I felt a lack of bass here more than with Electronic music but it wasn't terribly off-putting. Again I think this is something that will take a little while to get used to, I am switching between different headphones often. If you don't, it likely won't bother you.
    6. Dr. Dre: "What's The Difference" - I may dislike headphones with his name stuck on them, but he has some great songs. Most people will know that neutral headphones are great for creating music,  expect these headphones to suits this kind of music well, so let me use this example to say how versatile these headphones are. 
    I own most of these songs on CD, they are ripped to lossless audio and played from a PC. The audio is generally transferred via a generic USB cable to a DAC, using WASAPI - event style on JRiver's MC17 (buffering from the RAM). I also chose these songs because they're on Spotify, so if you have a premium subscription you should be able to find them easily and check them out for yourself in decent quality.
     
        DRIVING: IMPEDANCE
    If you want to be able to run the DT880 from a portable player then it would make sense to opt for the 32ohm version. Personally, I would not recommend headphones this large or lacking in isolation as something to use 'on-the-move', but each to their own.
    I would only really recommend compromising on the 250ohm version if you know that you will be using a USB powered DAC/amp (or something similar) most often. Even then it's probably best to make sure it's got a gain boost to be on the safe side.
    If you will be mostly driving your headphones from a mains powered amplifier then I highly recommend going the whole hog and getting these - the 600ohm version. From what I have read this one has the most rolled off / nicest treble.
    [​IMG]

        DRIVING THE 600ohms
    I was surprised that even some portable devices get away with adequately driving the 600ohm DT880s. I managed to get decent volumes from the Google Nexus 7 and the iPhone 4, others didn't fair so well so this is far from ideal, just don't completely rule this out. Volume issues aside portables faired respectably well in the audio quality department (unlike the AKG 701/2 which was crippled in audio quality, rather than volume - with portables). 

    Most USB powered DAC/amps didn't fair much better than portable players in the volume department here. Of course the quality is better, but volume issues were equally as bad as portables and worse than plugging directly in to a computer or laptop.


    A mains powered amplifier is really the way to go for serious listening on the 600ohm DT880. I managed to test a few amplifiers like this, some combined with DACs - like the two Yulong machines for example (U100 / D100 mkII) and some dedicated. The Audinst HUD-MX1 is a good option on a budget, if you go for this I recommend opening up the chassis and switching the jumper to the high-gain mode. Also it would probably be best to power it from the mains in this case, which is a rare option for a USB powered DAC/amp. One of the best driving qualities I found for the DT880s was with a dedicated headphone amp (I used the Shonyun SH-301 Pro). This was fed by the Yulong D100 mkII DAC. It produced the most energetic and transparent sound. The Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2D was also superb as it brought out plenty of that lush detail and added a nice warmth to the sound. This worked really well at balancing out the DT880s bass and treble more to my liking. Presentation wise the Epiphany wins hands down here and at a fraction of the price it makes a killer combination!

    [​IMG]

        COMFORT
    This is one of the most comfortable headphones that I've tried. For it's size It's a pretty light 270g, it has soft padded ear-cups with a good level of clamping force - not too much (like the similar looking DT770 Pro) and not too little (like the AKG K550). The padded headband is simple but great for long listening - I never once felt it was touching my head (unlike the lumpy one found on the AKG Q/K701). With the soft material and an open driver it doesn't make your ears to hot either. It's also pretty easy to position the ear-cups so that nothing touches them. Beyerdynamic deserve a lot of credit here, it might seem like a couple of simple boxes ticked but if you've tried lots of headphones you will know how many miss this mark. This equals my impression from the Denon AH-D7000.
     
     ​

        BUILD
    I really like the construction of the DT880, it feels like they could withstand a knock or two without showing any signs of misuse. I really like the delicate styling of the grills and there is a lot of metal here. The armatures are not the best styled shapes that I've seen, but are thick and strong. The adjustable headband, like most Beyerdynamics from this range, is not the most elegant mechanism but once you have it where you want it there is not much to find fault with.
    [​IMG]

    Beyerdynamic offer a custom built version of the DT880 (as well as the DT990 and the T50p) - called 'Hifi Manufaktur' - direct from their website. Any of the three impedance values can be chosen (32, 250 or 600 ohms). Custom colours and textures can be picked for almost every part of the headphone individually, there is even an option of a real leather headband. You can have two lines of text engraved into a metal plate on the side. This is a very nice touch for people who like to have something unique, I wish more headphone companies would offer this service.
    [​IMG]

        FINAL WORDS
    The DT880 is a very comfortable, sturdy headphone, with a wonderfully neutral, airy sound and beautifully crisp detail. It's friendly with more equipment than you might think but takes good advantage of high quality sources and amplification to utilise it's full potential (especially true of the 600ohm version). 

    This is definitely not a headphone for bass-heads, but neither is it the most lean bass presentation that I've heard. Before the DT880 I could easily describe my perfect presentation as having quite emphasised bass, but the DT880 is reshaping what I want from my music. Yes, ideally I would like to add a slightly heavier bass presentation to this sound, but not at the expense of anything else that it offers.


    If you are looking for transparent, dynamic, open sound and have high quality amplification to power it - I highly recommend giving the 600ohm DT880 strong consideration as your next headphone. For me it has a brilliant balance of sonic features, at a stunning price and with little weakness. 

     ​

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