DT990s vs. DT880s or something else entirely
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BackwardPawn

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Hi all,
 
I'm looking for something to complement my AD700s for areas that they just aren't as adept at.  The AD700s seem great for classical and acoustic, but get into heavier rock or try to watch a movie, and they just don't seem to keep up.  I was originally set to buy the DT990s, but was reading some reviews on Amazon where people were recommending the DT880 instead.  Instead of trusting random Amazon reviews, I figured I'd come to the source.  I'm planning to get an E9 to drive them (and I have a Ti HD as a source), and if I didn't already own the AD700s, I might go for the more neutral 880s.  But as it is, I'm still leaning toward the 990s.
 
Anyone have an opinion on which of these is a better headphone?  Or should I buy both and keep the one I like better?  I'm also open to other suggestions.  Thanks.
 
 
Jeff
 
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TMRaven

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DT990  gives more bass impact and larger soundstage supposedly, but it'll also make brightly mastered songs sound real bad.  So unless you have a lot of properly mastered songs, you might not consider them over DT880.  There's a reason people like pairing them with warm tube amps.  880 as well, but to a lesser extent.  Beyer is known for its very energetic, sparkly headphones.  On the right songs, it sounds beautiful, but on bright or compressed songs, it tends to sound harsh and sibilant.  Again, the warm tube amp will solve this issue to an extent, but sibilance isn't as much a problem about the headphone as it is the song itself in my opinion.
 
Getting a DT880/990 won't compliment the AD700, it'll just be completely replacing the AD700.  AD700 sounds fake and off-timbre throughout its whole sonic signature after being accustomed to Beyers-- not to mention a complete lack of sub-bass.
 
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BackwardPawn

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I'm actually starting to lean more toward the 880, the more I think about it.  Especially since I'm considering a solid state amp.  I realize a tube amp is probably more in line with what I like musically, but I split my time between music, video, and games, so solid state seems to be the way to go (and while it may not be the best, the E9 sounds like it would be hard to beat for an entry level unit at under $100).
 
I'm thinking my best bet will be to order both and keep the one I like, but if the 880 sounds more like what the artist intended, that's probably my better bet.  I'm just hoping the bass isn't too light for games and movies.
 
As far as the AD700s, I'm thinking that at 32ohms, they can be used in as semi-portable cans, but if they really are redundant, they'll probably end up in the for-sale section.  They're only 6 months old, so I'm sure someone would want them.
 
 
 
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I wouldn't consider either with a cheap op-amp driven solid-state, especially not an E9. If you can afford a high-gain tube amp (around $300+) go with the 600Ohm Beyers and you'll be set for a long time. Alternatively if your budget lies around a Beyer and an E9 I'd favor a less demanding phone and possibly hold off on the amp until you can afford the pair.
 
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BackwardPawn

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I can afford a bit more than the E9, I'm just wondering how a tube amp will sound for movies and games (though music would be the higher priority).  If it makes a difference, I was intending to get the 600ohm version of whichever headphone I decide on.
 
I suppose there's an argument to be made for getting both...880 for classical and jazz, 990 for rock, games and movies.  That, plus the amp would be getting into too much money, though.  Even if I end up with that setup eventually, I have to choose one now.
 
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Well you could go with a Schiit LYR for $450, a speedball crack or darkvoice will run much cheaper but will be harder to find. The problem is your spending all this money to ultimately listen to your source so you're going to want to upgrade that, before you know it you're looking a $1,000 system. If you currently have an AD700 I would consider a cheap upgrade the AD900, the next step up would require a bit more dollar.
 
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Heya,
 
Get the DT880 and the DT990 and keep the one that you like best.
 
The E9 is not a cheap piece of junk. It's excellent for $100 and will drive those Beyers perfectly fine. You don't need a $400 amp to drive $300 headphones. One of the above with an E9 is a powerful entry level amp + mid tier headphone combination. If you need more, you should look at more headphone, and not more amp in the future.
 
Very best,
 
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I find the DT990 has a stronger bass than the DT880 and it has a tendency to make everything sound pretty good. It has a raised bass and treble whereas the DT880 is probably flatter, but sounds thinner than the 990. I found the DT880 lacking for rock music in the bass.
 
For explosions/films, I would have thought that the DT990 would be better.
 
Ian
 
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I don't even think the Little Dot MK2 drives the 600ohm beyers properly enough, so I dunno if an E9 will, especially since those 600ohm headphones like voltage over wattage anyways.
 
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Quote:
I don't even think the Little Dot MK2 drives the 600ohm beyers properly enough, so I dunno if an E9 will, especially since those 600ohm headphones like voltage over wattage anyways.

You're right, I don't know why people persist with the E9 suggestions throughout the forum. The LD2, LD3 can not power the 600Ohm Beyers.
 
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Quote:
You're right, I don't know why people persist with the E9 suggestions throughout the forum. The LD2, LD3 can not power the 600Ohm Beyers.


how about an iBasso PB1 "Toucan"?
 
 
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TobaccoRoad

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One of the common mistakes I see is people pairing the E9 amp with the 600 ohm Beyers. Shouldn't you only consider the 600 ohm if you already have the demanding amps to pair with? I mean, what's the point of the 250 ohm versions then?
 
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Yes, I barely hear a difference of dynamics between my iMac and the LDMK2 powering the 600Ω Beyer (besides the obvious huge increase in volume capacity and subdued treble by the mallard drivers)  I'm wondering that at this point it's more worth it to upgrade to a very expensive amp, or try and sell my 600Ω Beyers for a lower impedance version.  I'm getting the Denon D2000 in shortly so it'll be interesting to see if I can hear a noticeable upgrade in dynamics in that coming from iMac to LDMK2.
 
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