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Over-Ear item created by _Spanky_, May 6, 2010
Pros - Great tonal balance, imaging and isolation
Cons - Inefficient, slight bass emphasis, very long break-in required
Sony MDR-7509HD (my last headphones)
Sennheiser HD380 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro-80
Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro - Show quoted text -
Tonal accuracy is very good. I am using as a reference my home theater with Sunfire XT ribbon hybrids and Bag End professional mastering subwoofers. The all important mid-high region is spot on. Bass is slightly emphasized, true, but the degree is exaggerated IMO.
Transients are very good, bordering on excellent.
Imaging is very good, bordering on excellent. Bettered by semi-open and open headphones, but they have their own drawbacks.
Comfort is very good - one can adjust the spring tension to one's preference - very nice feature.
Isolation is Good to Very Good - a bit above mid-pack. I haven't seen a variation in this aspect amongst closed backs, excluding super high isolation special purpose cans.
Main drawback is load/efficiency. In my experience these can not be adequately be driven by either a laptop sound card or by an MP3 player, even the powerhouse Cowon D2. I have a Turtle Beach USB DAC/amp at work, and a Total Airhead for travel. Without amplification, sound suffers substantially.
Note that if you are listening to these without a few hundred hours use on the phones, you aren't getting the full sound quality. Over time, I found that the bass became less prominent, mids/highs smoother, and imaging improved substantially. These phones have one of the longest break-in periods of any audio product I have ever owned.
I can and do listen to these all day long at work and on the plane. Very non-fatiguing, highly recommended.
Pros - Fun, reasonable soundtage for closed, decent comfort, nearly unbreakable, decent isolation.
Cons - Exagerated midbass, mids lacking, some sibilance.
I find the DT700 pro/80 are a pretty reasonable can to start off with if you are looking for something that is good for rock. The 770 are fun and, while the midbass can be too much for some forms of music, I don't generally have problems with it. There is some sibilance in some songs, but not generally enough to greatly detract from the music. The clamping pressure may be too much for some people, but is good for people who like to move (drummers). Isolation is more than adequate for most situations, although they aren't all that portable. The 770 do their best with rock IMO, the recessed mids are less audible there. In the same situation, I would likely buy these again.
These cans can also be used as a hammer in a pinch.
Pros - Fun Bass
Cons - Mids? What mids?
A bass lover's phone for sure. Can be fun with the right music. But the bass is of the one-note "whump" variety and that gets boring. Still, can be good with rock. I've noticed some pretty sucked out mids, though, so vocals suffer. And for a bass-head phone, the highs can get pretty brittle. Not at all a balanced presentation, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun. Everyone should give these a try. And they're built like a tank.
Pros - Bass, durability, comfort
Cons - Rattling/distorting drivers
These headphones are my first pair of high-end (probably mid-fi to some) cans and after a year or two of use, I have mixed feelings about them. When I first got them, of course they were a HUGE step up and I loved the bass from them, they were the perfect headphones to me. I was hearing sounds I had never heard before in music, hearing imperfections and low-quality sounds as well. However, one thing I've learned on this site and in time with various equipment, terms like "quality" are largely based upon a users' prior experience with other products. I went from some really terrible $20 and $30 over the ear headphones that were just "ok". The jump to these cans was tremendous.
However, after learning more and being able to nit-pick "quality", I think there's quite a bit of room for improvement. A few things in this area would be sibilance (I think it's called) where the higher sss sounds, sound like they were encoded at 64kbps or something. While this isn't hugely noticeable, it can get annoying if you really listen for it. Another thing would be driver distortion, sometimes the driver can get contaminates on it which can ruin the lower frequencies. From reviews and posts though, there almost seems to be a defect in some drivers where no matter how much people clean, it never goes away. I find that usually, for me, cleaning does help. Typically some low-strength tape works such as painters tape, getting around the black foam and whatnot.
While there are those downsides, I still fully enjoy these cans. I'm happy with what I paid and how much use I've gotten out of them and will still continue to get out of them. I don't know that I would recommend them to a mid-fi user but someone that is just beginning to get into quality audio and likes gaming or movies, this is an excellent pair of headphones. There are also plenty of mods to these cans to help improve the quality and if you really like the style but want something better, there's the DT880 or DT990 models that are more expensive but you do get more.