Actual Headphone Review: 2003 Beyer DT880 vs. 2005 Beyer DT880

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Steve999, Jun 15, 2018.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Page 1 of 2
2
Next
 
Last
  1. Steve999
    NEWLY REVISED AS OF 6/17/2018 (actual father's day) !!!!

    I am comparing the 2003 Beyerdynamic DT880s vs. the 2005 Beyerdynamic DT880 "Premiums." My wife got me the 2005 DT880s for father's day. I talked her into letting me open them early. I am not allowed to open any of my other father's day presents early.

    Note: You would not believe the amount of blistering and unwarranted criticism I have received for what was a very simple review! I guess that's the Sound Science section of head-fi for you. Enter at your own peril. I have responded to the criticisms as annotated.

    I have not written a headphone review for over 10 years so I am a bit rusty. For what, 15 years, the 2003 DT880s have been my favorite headphones, bar none. But just two years after the 2003 DT880s came out, the 2005 DT880s came out, and in 2005, I was like, what the heck. But I never bought a pair of the 2005 DT880s. But I was like, Beyer, that was cold. And they are selling for a really low price now. So my wife got me the 250 ohm versions of the 2005 DT880s and they arrived today. I think that's about the same ohms as the 2003 version I have. That's my technical analysis. Response to criticism: Okay! The listed nominal impedance of the 2003 DT880s is exactly 250 ohms. You dragged it out of me. Response to criticism: In case you are not confused yet, there are also the DT880 250-ohm "Pros," in addition to the 250 ohm 2005 model DT880 "Premiums" I will talk about here. The "Pros" have a slightly higher clamping force and some differences in the cable. I am not talking about the 250-ohm "Pros" in this review. Although Beyer says straight-up on their web site that they sound exactly the same as the DT880 Premiums. Response to criticism: And as if that were not enough the DT880 "Premiums" come in three difference impedances--25 ohms, 250 ohms, and 600 ohms. To pick out which DT880 Premiums you would want you would ideally go around "impedance matching," which to me does not sound like a good time at all. I actually read in the Beyer literature that the 250 ohm versions were the most suitable if you are going to use them for varying types of audio setups (portable, computer, home hi-fi, overly expensive, etc.).

    Response to criticisms: I did some objective testing. The 2003 DT880s have flat backs and the 2005 and newer DT880s have rounded backs. I tested this by putting the backs of each headphone on a flat surface. The 2003 DT880s were just lying there on the table on their flat backs. The 2005 model DT880s would roll around a little bit on the table. I used the same part of the same table for both tests, with a blindfold on. That's the easiest way to tell them apart. That may help to account for the perceived differences in sound I will describe to you if you will just hold on a second.

    New information about money: Even though these were a father's day gift, I checked, and the 2005 model 250 ohm Premium DT880s can be had for between $170 to $200 new, which I would put in the category of a "massive incredible bargain." The best I can tell the 2003 model DT880 runs about $150 used, which, given the shortage of supply, is probably reasonable. I would never sell mine. Well I guess I would. Every headphone has a price, as they say. But it would be for a lot more than $150 because of what they are worth to me personally and because it would be a pain to find another pair.

    Now some truly cool cat at head-fi recently offered to sell me some Senn HD800s at a completely awesome price. And I researched a lot and I decided I would probably like the 2005 DT880s better. But I felt a loss. I had thought about buying something and this capitalist society left a hole in my brainwashed heart when I did not get it. So probably that is why I asked for the 2005 DT880s for father's day. So here they are and I opened them early. I will write my review in a FAQ. Response to criticism: Although this review contains passages of deep philosophical reflection and moral and scientific insight, which will shake our sense of self-identity to its very core for as long as we walk the earth, I have written it in the guise of parody, for the purpose of plausible deniability, along the lines of Voltaire and Galileo, for whom things did not turn out so well anyway.

    Q: Do the 2005 DT880s sound obviously different from the 2003 DT880s?
    A: Yes, obviously so.

    Q: Can you prove it?
    A: Yes. I just told you. Are you calling me a liar?

    Q: Did you have any expectation bias?
    A. No. I can think for myself, thank you.

    Q: How do they sound different?
    A: In the 2005 Beyers there is more mid-bass and the midrange has a less bright sound to it and the highs don't sound as delicate. I'm happy to compare notes but I don't really feel like arguing about this. To me subjectively the 2003 DT880s are more beautiful and the 2005 DT880s are more neutral. But they both have a beautiful sound, for me the aesthetic appeal of the sound is really quite something for both.

    Response to criticism: Someone asked why I don't switch the pads out on the two headphones to see if that accounts for most of the difference in sound I perceived. Based on my experience I imagine the 15-year-old pads have softened up and compressed so if I switched out the pads, if anything the new 2005 DT-880 drivers with the 15-year-old pads on the phones would get closer to my ears, and the 2005 DT880s would therefore have even more additional mid-bass as compared to my 2003 DT-880s--and my 2003 DT880s would have even less mid-bass because the new pads would be stiffer and cause the drivers to sit further from my ears. They take the same model pads. So for my personal uses, based on my practical experience, switching out the pads is not really worth trying and would most likely make the sound differences between the two headphones greater, rather than be a variable accounting for differences in sound between the two. This is my general form of argument. Not only will I tell you that you are wrong, but I will tell you that what you are talking about will do the direct opposite of what you think you are going to prove. Response to criticism: They also asked if I checked for sonic variations between the same models. Seriously? I am supposed to go out and by 20 of these and listen for differences?

    Q: Did you take any measurements?
    A: No. Why would I waste my time. They measure well. I looked at enough graphs to tell you that. If you want measurements google them. I want headphones that sound good. I get the feeling that headphone manufacturers know more about measuring headphones than we do, and they are not going to show us their actual honest graphs. Response to criticism--I added a reference to unreliable measurements and cherry-picked graphs to prove my point: So you just kind of see that they go 20hz to 20 khz on the spectrum and they fall in somewhere toward the middle of the mainstream of the same general frequency response pattern as other first-class headphones and I think that's the best we're going to do: http://graphs.headphone.com/index.p...e=30&graphType=0&buttonSelection=Update+Graph Response to criticism--I linked to something completely off-the-wall to make my own analysis look less kooky: And who needs measurements for the 2003 DT880s when we have this: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/beyer/dt880.html

    Q: Did you ABX them?
    A. No. That would be stupid. How could I ABX them. They feel different on your head. And what am I going to use as the X.

    Q: Which are more comfortable?
    A: The 2003 Beyers are more comfortable to me. They are both very comfortable.

    Q: Did you burn them in?
    A: No. I mean, I get why you might think it's a real thing, it's not logically out of the question, but, well, no, it's actually not a real thing.

    Q: Did you take enough time to listen to them before you wrote this?
    A: No, but I am listening to them right now and revising this over the course of a number of hours and days so that's becoming less and less of a concern.

    Q: What media, source, headphone amp and DAC are you using?
    A: You cannot be serious. Who cares. Get a life. It's all good enough. If it wasn't good enough I would know.

    Q: Have you thought about recabling them?
    A: Well, obviously, since I wrote the question, it crossed my mind as something I could make fun of, but why would I butcher a perfectly good pair of headphones.

    Q: So what's your final conclusion?
    A: If I had to ballpark it I would say that more people would like the 2005 DT880s. I would hazard a guess that the 2005 DT880s are more neutral for more people, with enough bass to better meet modern tastes. I would say that for me the 2003 DT880 sound is more subjectively beautiful and lays a broader frequency spectrum of the music out for you with more brightness and clarity, with the sacrifice being in neutrality, as they tend toward the bright side, and being a little lean in the mid-bass. Both have great bass extension, which really appeals to me, but it's not exaggerated. I give them both a 10 out of 10, very sincerely. I think they both punch way above their weight, to the point where you are going to have a hard time finding something clearly better for pure sound quality in a headphone. For objective sound quality I think the 2005 DT880s would probably win. For subjectively beautiful sound I'd give the 2003s a bit of an edge. They do sound pretty different to me though. To me, from this point out it's all about personal taste. There's no such thing as a universally neutral or ideal headphone. The best headphones seem to me to be just variations on this general pattern of frequency response. They all just duck and weave within this general pattern of frequency response. Response to criticism--in response, to prove my point, I again resort to the same cherry-picking among the same unreliable measurements: Again, some measurement type evidence of this assertion: http://graphs.headphone.com/index.php?graphID[0]=2871&graphID[1]=963&graphID[2]=283&graphID[3]=863&scale=30&graphType=0&buttonSelection=Update+Graph

    Response to criticism: I was advised that 'bright', 'delicate', 'clear', 'lean', and 'beautiful' mean nothing to the meter men in Sound Science. For better or for worse, I bet that changes when an attractive woman walks into the room. Response to criticism: I was also asked what my review has to do with science. I had a hypothesis two days ago, I confirmed it, and today it is an important prevailing theory in the field of psychoacoustic scientific study that has yet to be falsified. This is a peer-reviewed (though my peers know little to nothing about audio) landmark scientific study supporting a bold and new and superior approach to the interplay between human cognition and perception.

    Q: So if you had to choose one headphone or the other which would you choose?
    A: I have both.

    Q: What are your qualifications for writing this review?
    A: I like headphones.

    Q: What was your testing methodology?
    A: I listened to both headphones. Response to criticism--volume matching: In comparing headphones I listened at the same volume to the same music. I also listened at different volumes to different music. In addition I listened to the same music at different volumes, and to different music at the same volume. So I think I had the bases covered there. I listened for a few hours and days and revised this review as time passed, as I received constructive and lightly humorous and sarcastic and mocking and condescending and unexplainable out-of-left field bitterly angry feedback and as my impressions evolved. I have been listening to my 2003 DT880s for 15 years. The headphones in my sig are really old. Believe it or not, the 2003 DT880s were my "new" headphones from 2003 until the day I first wrote this review. My wife and I were somewhat amazed as we both realized this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  2. overgang
    Thanks for the review, Steve, but what has it got to do with science? 'Bright', 'delicate', 'clear', 'lean', and 'beautiful' mean nothing to us meter men.
     
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    a lot of efforts just to make jokes. you're committed, that much seems factual. :wink:

    I think you forgot:
    - did you swap the pads to see if they're making most of the difference?
    - did you try any other pair to check that you wouldn't also get audible differences from pair to pair?
    - how will you prove that you have a wife?
    - can I call you dad?
    - how can I tell if you're a bot?
    - how can I tell if I am one?
    - is this the matrix?

    then we can all agree that subjective impressions are not objective, and call it a day with the pride of people who accomplished something.
     
  4. TheSonicTruth
    Also, remember that there are two, maybe three variants of the Beyerdynamic DT 880: 32ohm, 250hm 'Pro' - which I own, and a 600ohm.

    You need to examine both headphones to see if they might be different variants of that model.

    Given the same exact source, playing over same device, do you have to adjust the volume significantly when swappjng out one for the other? That's a dead giveaway that they are of different impedances and thus, different variants. Does their timber/tone differ in any major way?

    I am surprised that this was overlooked and not suggested to you on a discussion forum inside of a headphone site.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    he wrote
    so with that high level of specificity, I decided not to bring it up. ^_^
     
  6. Steve999
    You’re welcome. Thanks for reading. As to your question, I had a hypothesis, I confirmed it, and now it is an important prevailing theory in the field of psychoacoustic scientific study that has yet to be falsified.

    As to your second point, for better or for worse, I bet that changes when an attractive woman walks into the room.

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  7. Steve999

    Don't worry guys, Steve999 will handle this thread-spamming troll on a point-by-point basis::nerd:


    - did you swap the pads to see if they're making most of the difference?
    No.

    - did you try any other pair to check that you wouldn't also get audible differences from pair to pair?
    No.

    - how will you prove that you have a wife?
    That’s ridiculous.

    - can I call you dad?
    No.

    - how can I tell if you're a bot?
    Right.

    - how can I tell if I am one?
    That’s a little on the nose.

    - is this the matrix?
    Are we 10?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  8. Steve999
    I have the 250 ohm 2005 model DT880 Premiums, yet another variant. You have the 250 ohm DT880 Pros. Yours have the same number of ohms but a slightly higher clamping force and a different cable. Mine are cheaper.

    As to the rest of your points, there is no dead giveaway because I am not hiding anything, I don’t need to do anything with these headphones, and I don’t have to do anything with these headphones. To me the 2003 DT880s are brighter and there are more subtle nuances in the treble, and the 2005 DT880s have more mid-bass which also affects the lower midrange, and are pretty close to deadpan neutral (I would guess yours are even moreso because of the higher clamping force). If I had posted this in another section of head-fi I would be banned right now, or at least taking extreme flak. Instead, here, I get a moderator making fun of me.

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  9. bigshot
    Mods make the funniest jokes. Always laugh when the prison warden makes a joke. You might get eligible for parole earlier.

    Also, if you want to impress us here at Sound Science, you don’t want to start out your post dismissing tests and measurements and claiming immunity to bias. When we hear that, we pull out the razzers and stop listening to you.

    Just a couple of handy tips to help you get along better in the future....
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  10. Steve999
    I acknowledge that Castlefargh is genuinely funny, and a very nice and admirable guy, or at least it appears that way from where I sit. I hope he does not take umbrage me poking fun at him too much, at least as of after the first time. I am truly a fan of his. I appreciate what he does here.:):)

    I am not here to impress anyone. I have nothing to impress you guys with. I am here to learn and have fun.:L3000:

    parody (părˈə-dē)

    n.
    • A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. See Synonyms at caricature.
    • n.
      The genre of literature comprising such works.
    • n.
      Something so bad as to be equivalent to intentional mockery; a travesty: The trial was a parody of justice.

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  11. Steve999
    I acknowledge that, you Castlefargh, the moderator, are genuinely funny, and a very nice and admirable guy, or at least it appears that way from where I sit. I hope you do not take umbrage at me poking fun at you too much, at least as of after the first time. I am truly a fan of yours. I appreciate what you do here.:):)

    As to your first question, based on my experience I imagine the old pads have softened up and compressed so if I switched out the pads if anything the new 2005 DT-880s would get closer to my ears and the 2005 DT880s would have even more additional mid-bass as compared to my 2003 DT-880s, and my 2003 DT880s would have even less mid-bass because the new pads would be stiffer and cause the drivers to sit further from my ears. They take the same model pads. So for my personal uses, based on my practical experience, it's not really worth trying. If you see something I am missing please let me know. But now you have my curiosity. But I am a stubborn fellow. Two competing personality traits at play here.

    As you suggest, I know for pretty darn sure that the same model and make of a headphone can vary substantially and audibly from pair to pair. There are a lot of variables at play from exactly how they sit on your head to the exact properties of the drivers. I think I recall for example that Grado intentionally matches drivers for each individual headphone so that the left and right channels have a more similar sound from headphone to headphone than would otherwise be the case. It's not really worth the money or time or trouble to me to get a second pair of the newer (2005) DT880s. But your implied point is a good one. I tried not to set forth my impressions as universal truths. But they are still data points. Whether or not one thinks I am reliable is an editorial decision for them to make. I think I am reliable as far as reporting my own subjective impressions, which may well prove to be similar to those of others in the general population. In my opinion you can't get to the sound of a headphone just by measuring it and experimenting. People do actually need to listen to them and share thoughts.

    I believe I have addressed the rest of your concerns in a prior post.:v:

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  12. bigshot
    Stick around, we get the exact same kind of parody around here every day, but the posters don't realize they are making jokes
     
  13. TheSonicTruth
    All that aside, you still have not told us which variant your original pair, the 2003 DT 880s, are. They might be a different impedance than the 2005, as I listed above.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  14. castleofargh Contributor
    to put that out of the way, I did take this as a joke(I wouldn't have dared answer the way I did if I thought this was all first degree:sweat_smile:). and in general I really don't get offended about personal stuff on the web. I mean it's internet, I spent years playing online games on Euro servers. there is nothing anybody can say to me that wasn't already said to me hundreds of times by some 12year old(who happened to be better at the game than I was, that's the real infuriating part). ^_^
    I can't push you guys to say anything you like because Headfi's rules are pretty hardcore when it comes to personal attacks, but there is really no need to worry about offending me. I get offended by blatant false claims, that's my idea of an insult.
     
  15. Steve999
    Fair point. The 2003 DT880s only came in 250 ohms, as far as I know. Mine are 250 ohms.

    Here's an extended, creative, nonsense review of the 2003 DT-880s that mentions it. It could have been a parody, but it's not. It's so ridiculous I enjoy it. It does have some information of interest, though, such as, for example, they mention the ohms:

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/beyer/dt880.html

    You can see the 2003 DT880 flat backs as opposed to the 2005 and later DT880 rounded backs. That's the easy way to tell them apart.

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
Page 1 of 2
2
Next
 
Last
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page