beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium Headphones

General Information

Proving that not all headphones are created equal, the award-winning Beyerdynamic DT 880 high-end headphones combine the strengths of both open and closed technologies to reproduce the complete sound spectrum in stunning detail. The high frequencies sound crystal clear without ever coming across as unpleasant, the balanced mids sound analytical and strong, and the bass is voluminous without being too obtrusive. In total, the phones produce a rich frequency response of 5 Hz to 35 kHz, making everything from classical music to hip-hop to big-budget movie soundtracks sound rich and immersive. The DT 880 headphones are also extremely comfortable during extended listening sessions, with a single-sided cable, replaceable soft ear pads, and a padded headband. And as an aesthetic bonus, the phones offer classic grilles made of high-grade steel. Other features include a semi-open back design, an innovative bass-reflex system, a gold-plated 1/8-inch mini stereo jack plug, a 1/4-inch adapter, and a black carrying case. Made in Germany, the phones weigh 10.4 ounces and carry a two-year warranty.

Also available as customized DT 880 MANUFAKTUR (see LINKS).

Latest reviews

Pros: Comfort, soundstage, value
Cons: Synthetic, bright, EQ will sound terrible every once in a while on a certain sound
I have these in the "standard"/premium version (straight cord), 250 OHM, and in the limited edition chrome finish.

I got these headphones because I wanted something that was neutral for production that was also a great value without being too expensive. I have tried several other headphones in the past (KRK 8400, ATH MSR7), however I found that they had terrible soundstage and were too analytical (KRK 8400) or just wrong sounding (MSR7, brightness that I did not appreciate). I had never tried semi-open or open headphones, so I was hoping they would fix the problems I've had with headphones in the past by their simply open nature.

Looks
These headphones look great! I really like the look of them. I also saw what the original ones look like and these blow them away. The chrome finish is beautiful and understated. The headphones give off a kind of "Gotham City" vibe.

Fit/Comfort
This really is an area where the headphones excel, but I would say that it's not really a matter of actual comfort you can feel, but rather a "weightlessness". When I wear these, there is no sensation of pressure points or grip on the earpads especially (headband is just a tiny bit less), that's why I don't really want to use the word comfort, because I don't feel like I'm feeling much of anything, good or bad. They do not feel super lightweight though in my hand, but they give that off on the head. I have an angular face (think thin), so most headphones sit directly on my upper jaw bones. I am used to feeling headphones in one way or another. Bonus points for having a completely SMOOTH adjustment system, there are no notches, you can get them perfectly fit for sure.

They seem to be durable and made well too. They are not flimsy.

I'm not sure if my ears or large or small, but I find these to be a good size. I wear them slightly forward, so back of earmuff touches my ear, but then I let it go, nothing to extreme.

They are 100% compatible with glasses, in both the tightness aspect and how the frame seal will not disrupt the soundstage or EQ. Keep in mind I have glasses with thin sides.

The only downside I would say is that in extended listening sessions they could come as loose. It's not like I could dance with these or rock out, they would just slip off - and this is with little to no break in time. If you want a more sealed feel, you need to get the Pro version with the coiled cable.

Sound
I read comment on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/40uauo/sound_of_beyerdynamic_dt880_premium_after_years/cyx86hi/) that I quite agree with if I were sum these headphones up: synthetic, soundstage, and bright.

The main attribute I would say is synthetic above all. These do not sound speaker-like or "natural", they sound a bit "headphoney", just that cliché of headphones never being able to measure up to speakers, but having their own strenghts in the areas of hearing detail and how you don't need to treat them like you would treat a room with speakers. It's really a combination of the soundstage and the EQ that bring you to this synthetic place. You can get used to it and it has it's place, but it's not "real". I would be concerned with how these translate if using them for music production purposes and such, but I say that only as a consumer, not somebody who actually works in the industry. It does seem that far off though. I would say that this synthetic quality is a negative overall, but it's not horrible. Keep it in mind though. Around the time of buying these, I also bought the Massdrop HD6XX and those headphones are the polar opposite of these in many ways. They have a speaker-like sound and things are harder to place.

The soundstage on these headphones is great, but again, it has a bit of that synthetic quality. Everything is easy to place and separate and you can really make out different tracks. I love it for this quality, however, at times, I feel like it's gone a bit too far, like I'm not sure if I'm really hearing it how it was actually intended.

And these are definitely bright headphones. They are not piercing though, but they definitely lend to air and space, making reverbs on voices or instruments stand out. Bass is there, but there's no slam or impact or anything. Midrange sounds ok... not sure what to say. It's not great, it's just ok.

Every once in a while, a song will sound terrible on these. "Kesha - Let em Talk" sounds horrendous. Actually, I find that Kesha stands out as somebody who doesn't translate well to these in general. "Hymm" has a grainy, terrible clip sounds as well. I know you're part of the loudness war girl, but I don't remember hearing that many flaws!

Amping and Sources
As I'm not too entrenched with headphones, I don't have many amps or sources to do this review from. However, I do have my computer (Realtek ALC887), my phone (HTC 10), and a portable amp (DACport HD) and I found a surprising difference that I didn't expect.

ALC887: Surprisingly enough volume. Once you go -12DB, you'll still be able to hear things, but you will want to go higher and have nothing to work with (this is relevant if you do ReplayGain or DSP and need headroom to work with). Sound is a slightly bass-light, and there is a sense of hollowness or reccessedness in extended listening on vocals. Brightness that translates as "air" or "space". Probably nitpicking, for those who don't care, your search ends here. I wasn't having it though.

HTC 10: Very similar to ALC887, however like there is a lopsided, like V shape sound? Low end sounds better, but I can't explain how. EQ and soundstage sounds more "airy", like hearing reverbs on singer's voices is taken to another level, beginning stages of "uh oh". Wearing the earpads the most forward produces a LOT of treble in this configuration, ugh. It's clear that this is the most treble focused. Not having this combination either, I'm looking for accuracy and this also does not sound accurate.

DACPort HD: Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Does not sound as immediately fun as the two others, but seems to beef up the low end and not highlight the treble as much. Soundstage takes a hit, but maybe it's a bit more accurate. I would say that this is the best configuration.

Overall
I'm giving these a 3.5. The fit, comfort, and build quality are great. They are durable and without being overengineered too. The sound is "good", but for headphones that are supposed to be neutral and for music production, I don't feel they're really realistic. The brightness and soundstage of them gives them an analytical edge for sure, but I feel like it starts to venture away from reality. I think I would still recommend them though because they are not bad and I like instrument separation. They are also quite non-fatiguing; just like the fit, I could wear these for hours and the sound would not grate on me despite the brightness.
Pros: Sound quality, looks, comfort
Cons: Non-detachable cords
First off, let me just say that I am in no way an expert regarding headphones. I'm actually quite new to this whole scene. I only own the Audio-technica M40X and these headphones. The headphones are powered with my Fiio E09K amp.
 
There's already been said so much about this headphone, and I don't think about this headphone much different than any of these people do.
 
It's a great headphone, sporting a tremendously comfortable design with (in my opinion) fantastic sound quality. It's a very pleasant, and "airy" sound. This is a nice contribution to the fact that you almost cant feel the headphones on your head, due to the comfort of these headphones.
 
The only thing that really stands out to me as a fault with these headphones would be the non-detachable cables. It's pretty disappointing to see a headphone, with a pretty gigantic cord, and not being able to easily switch out that cable. Otherwise, it's a fantastic headphone, if you are a fan of acoustic music!
Pros: Smooth and balanced. Like the HD600, but with more precise timbre
Cons: Non-removable cord
I have the 600 Ohm version of these, so other impedance models will probably vary in sound. This said, I find this to be a wonderfully balanced set. They exhibit no harshness to my ears across several genres such as Rock, Metal, Pop, Jazz Fusion, and classical. I believe the timbre of the instruments is what sets this one apart from other easy listening phones like the HD600 and 650s. You can hear the resonance of wood on strings in classical arrangements, especially quartets and such arrangements. The upright bass in several of Holly Cole's releases is clear and clean. Meanwhile, that timbre is what carries the signature of the impact from bass drums and the upright bass alike. For Rock and Metal, it conveys the dynamics and power without irritation.
 
The natural sound that these produce is preserved without the phones sounding harsh or sibilant, as many of the detail champs exhibit. To me, these are easy listening cans, which don't lose the instrumental details. Unfortunately, my only two other references are a pair of HD600s and HD650s. Those are also very easy listening, but fail to convey the timbre of instruments as well as the 880 Premiums, which is what really sets them apart. Great cans for the price.

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