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=2871&graphID=963&graphID=283&graphID=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.