DT 480 a review and comparison
Nov 22, 2008 at 6:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

dclancy

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Well, I wrote a review of the HC1000 and really enjoyed doing so, and when I saw a pair of DT 480's (not the 48's) on Ebay, and couldn't find any info on them, I rolled the die and snatched them up for a song, and the opportunity to do another.
My first idea was to do a comparative review between these and my JVC x700's, as I paid the same amount for both, but threw that idea out the moment I listened to them. The only fair comparisons I could make from my limited listening experience would be to the A900 or K701.
Notes: Upon my correspondance with the seller, evidently these belonged to her husband who bought them in the 70's, listened to the for about 2 hours, then had them in storage till now. I'll take her word on this. While I'm not a huge believer in burn in, I do think the bits and pieces need an opportunity to shake the cob webbs, so I've been running white and pink noise, with various frequency sweeps. Also foam was all gone, so I took an old wife beater t-shirt, and some double sided tape and made due. Also slipped some cotton under the pads.
First impressions: Confusing. Sometimes I find the bass thick and muddled, other times it's anemic or recessed. Also I find a very nice level of detail, and a tight, but very present sound stage. This blows my A900's out of the water, which isn't saying much. K701's distinct advantages in instrument separation, and nuetrality, but the slight colorations brings a musical I've been missing since I decided to get them a companion piece (x700's).
After some more time though, I find it hard to compare very open can's to closed though. In fact, I'm not used to closed anymore, and these are unique in that the rubber cups form a suction to my head. Air tight nature, can cause a pressure seal akin to iems. Pads get sweaty, and I don't sweat much, and it's Nov. in the mid-west!
This seal allows for dead space that does not exist in my AKG's, as any or silence is like the air in an empty hall or cave where as the 480's space is more a void or a vacuum. Impressive.
But it's not all cupcakes and fundip. There's still a slight faded veil quality that is present in certain songs. I did some basic fooling with Winamps EQ to find the frequency ranges that were the culprit.
Slightly elevated in the 180hz range but practically nonexistent below, a deficit I really couldn't EQ in. Recessed in the 70, 6k and 12K. The latter two could be bumped a decibal or two to compensate though.
Accurate, revealing, detailed, but instrument separation is less than stellar. I can't help but wonder if a better source or more juice would do them justice. Also feel they suffer from being closed. Analytical enough to make me want to only use CD sources, and not lossy formats.
Instruments sound wonderful but small.
Highs pop. Symbols are sparkly, bright... yet lack presence at the same time.
Listening to Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream is pure bliss! These cans are aggressive when they want to be, and begged to be cranked another notch.
I left a post to a thread Aimless started that puts my impressions on my Cantante/480 synergy into a better perspective.
I can't imagine the synergy with an Opera and 770, but would love to hear it. Sure I hear the nuanced faults, but I get lost in the overall musicality.
The Good:
Cost me less than a tank of gas.
Surpringly articulate, and although I can EQ it's faults away, most of the time I don't want to.

The Bad:
They made a good run, but ultimately can't compete with a flagship can.
Hot, and the clamping force gets annoying after a couple hours.

The Ugly:
Good luck trying to find a pair, let alone any info on them.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 6:18 PM Post #3 of 7

Tiemen

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You got some unique headphones there, can't find anyting on the DT480 with Google.
You can bend the headband outwards, to relieve the clamping force. And leave them overnight stretched on a pile of books.
Worked on my DT150.
You could also put velour on the earpads to get rid of the sticky narure of the vinyl. I used double sided adhesive tape to put the velour on.
And I think a 48 hour nonstop burn-in will help.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 12:18 AM Post #4 of 7

dclancy

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As long as someone shows and interest, I'll follow up a bit.
I decided to do a basic foam mod to see if this would tame the bloated bass. Keep in mind, I'm of the camp that I find it hard to believe that every mod always ends with a positive result, and how burn in magically erases a headphones negative aspects.
Well, I had some left over foam from a failed rx-700 mod (it works, I just preferred the untamed bass better), so I took the circles of foam, snipped them into squares to fit between the screws, and cut a circle about wear the driver would sit, to allow air flow, but prevent extra sound from bouncing around the housing.
I didn't want to believe my ears, but it sounds (almost) as good as when I had eq'd them. Still a bit dull on the high's and nothing on the rumbling bass end. The bass is strong, tight, punchy, yet oddly neutral due to anemic low end.
Strange phones.
I already stretched the head band, but too loose and I lose that cool suction cup effect, and too tight it becomes annoying.
To anyone who comes across these in the future, two screws are hidden beneath where the double sided tape held the original foam. Try the foam mod mentioned, but be careful, as the wire attached to the driver has very little slack, so open slowly.
I would love to find out if these are any relation to the 150/250 series.
Another note: these are actually quite easy too drive.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 8:39 AM Post #5 of 7

Tiemen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dclancy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As long as someone shows and interest, I'll follow up a bit.
I decided to do a basic foam mod to see if this would tame the bloated bass. Keep in mind, I'm of the camp that I find it hard to believe that every mod always ends with a positive result, and how burn in magically erases a headphones negative aspects.
Well, I had some left over foam from a failed rx-700 mod (it works, I just preferred the untamed bass better), so I took the circles of foam, snipped them into squares to fit between the screws, and cut a circle about wear the driver would sit, to allow air flow, but prevent extra sound from bouncing around the housing.
I didn't want to believe my ears, but it sounds (almost) as good as when I had eq'd them. Still a bit dull on the high's and nothing on the rumbling bass end. The bass is strong, tight, punchy, yet oddly neutral due to anemic low end.
Strange phones.
I already stretched the head band, but too loose and I lose that cool suction cup effect, and too tight it becomes annoying.
To anyone who comes across these in the future, two screws are hidden beneath where the double sided tape held the original foam. Try the foam mod mentioned, but be careful, as the wire attached to the driver has very little slack, so open slowly.
I would love to find out if these are any relation to the 150/250 series.
Another note: these are actually quite easy too drive.



Thanks for the update.
Yes. I am interested. Because thery are so rare, and because of the striking resemblance with the DT150:
dt150_bg.jpg

Their bass was also bloated when I first got them, but tightened up considerably during break-in.
I struggle with the headband, the same way you do (too loose, or too tight).
 
Dec 6, 2008 at 2:53 AM Post #6 of 7

dclancy

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I just couldn't contain myself! Had to tell some folks who'd understand, but I'm in aural nirvana right now with these cans on.
Just received the Apogee mini-dac in the mail today, I'm not even using an external amp, just the so-so hp jack, and all I can say i wow. Voices and instruments more defined, no longer small and unrefined. Greater separation. The sometimes peaky highs (cymbals and such) are more nuetral. Well, that last one was a cool feature, a smashing hat always sounded like it came from outer space, almost distractingly so.
Listening to Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue is pure joy. Gonna shut up and listen now, had to brag.
 
Dec 6, 2008 at 11:19 AM Post #7 of 7

Tiemen

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Thanks for the update.
I had more or less the same with the DT150. At first listen, I found them so so.
But they started to grow on me, or it was burning-in. I don't know.
Now they are by far my favorite headphones on sound.
Just like some CD's you have to learn to appreciate. In the end they are the more satisfying.
 

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