Fairly huge comparison: Senn HD457/497, HD555/595, BeyerDTX700/800/900, DT440/660/860
Jul 11, 2004 at 5:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 5, 2002
Recently, I had the opportunity to borrow lots of Sennheisers and Beyerdynamics for a few days.

Here I've tried to communicate some impressions and feelings from the testing.

NB! This is by no means a scientific controlled test, just me having some fun over a few evenings. Also note that none of the borrowed phones were fully burned in, they were all completely new when I got them.

Sennheiser HD457 (Headroom: $35)
Sennheiser HD497 (Headroom: $60)
Sennheiser HD555 (Meier-Audio: $155)
Sennheiser HD595 (Meier-Audio: $210)
Beyerdynamic DTX700 (beyerdynamiconline.com (UK) $70)
Beyerdynamic DTX800 (beyerdynamiconline.com (UK) $87)
Beyerdynamic DTX900 (beyerdynamiconline.com (UK) $103)
Beyerdynamic DT440 (Meier-Audio: $155)
Beyerdynamic DT660 (Meier-Audio: $190)
Beyerdynamic DT860 (Meier-Audio: $235)

(The ones I own)
Beyerdynamic DT880 (Meier-Audio: $265)
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (Headroom: $229)
Beyerdynamic DT231 Pro (Headroom: $59)
Audio-Technica ATH-W1000 (Adiocubes: $459)

(The ones I used to own)
Beyerdynamic DT831
Sennheiser HD600
Sennheiser HD280 Pro

[size=large]Sources: [/size]
CD-player: T+A CD 1230 R (Costs $2000 new)
Portable: Sony MZ-R900 Mindisc (mostly used to check compatibility with portables)

[size=large]Amplification: [/size]
MAD Ear++ with Auricaps, Alps Blue Velvet and an excellent 5-star GE triple-mica 5751 tube. ($435)

[size=large]Cables: [/size]
Just a Cardas 300-B Micro interconnect. Headphone cables are all stock.

[size=large]Music used:[/size]
- "Heat" Original Soundtrack (Kronos Quartet, Terje Rypdal, Moby, Lisa Gerrard etc.) (1995)
- Nick Cave: "No More Shall We Part" (2001)
- AC/DC: "Live" (1992)
- Faithless: "Sunday 8PM" (1998)
- Diana Krall: "Live In Paris" (2002)
- Massive Attack: "Protection" (1994)
- Pink Floyd: "The Divison Bell" (1994)
- Mark Knopfler: "Sailing to Philadelphia" (2000)
- Nils Petter Molvær: "Khmer" (1997). A Miles Davis inspired norwegian trumpeter, who sometimes includes hard techno rythms.- Rage Against The Machine (Their debut album from 1992).
- Roger Waters: "In The Flesh - Live" (2000)

[size=large]How I tested:[/size]
Nothing exhaustive, just listening a few hours with each set, to get the feel for them, then trying to switching between them all to the same piece of music to hear the subtle (and not so subtle) differences. One CD at the time.
I've mostly compared the borrowed phones, but used my own phones for "recalibration" of myself from time to time. I've listened to the phones in the same sequence for all CDs, HD457 first and DT860 last. CD sequence is as below, "Heat" first, then Nick Cave etc.

[size=small]"Heat" Soundtrack[/size]
HD457: Dark and muddy. There's not a veil here, it's a friggin' sail. Lots of fairly bloated bass. Doesn't reveal many imperfections in the recordings, though. Bass is quite overpowering on some bass-heavy tracks. Did benefit from equalizing with the Minidisc.
HD497: Much better than is littlebrother. Tighter bass with a nice punch, not so overpowering as HD457. Quite bright, detailed and direct, actually. Maybe too much?
HD555: More balance here. Slightly dark mids in places. Soundstage is wider. Not bad.
HD595: Improves on littlebrother in every aspect. Brighter and more detailed, especially the mids are better. Nicer soundstage. Bass is about the same, maybe a tad more midbass in HD555.
DTX700: Hmm...nice bass. Nice highs too. Brighter and not as balanced as HD595. Harder and more aggressive bass than the HD5x5. Quite forward and detailed, can be a little harsh sometimes. Especially the heavy Moby track suffers from this, but that isn't a good recording.
DTX800: Softer and darker highs. Even more bass, but still not overpowering, could be tighter, though. Better, fuller midrange. Bass guitars sounds more complete. Lacks some of DTX700s details in the extreme highs, but is not as harsh. The heavy Moby track is much better.
DTX900: Combines best parts from its littlebrothers. Nice full midrange and great details. Bass is tighter and more controlled. Hmm...I'm impressed.
DT440: A tad softer and different highs than DTX900. Midrange is quite improved. Hmm...I think I actually prefer the DTX900s highs. Good bass, though.
DT660: Ah, this is better in every aspect. Fairly bright and forward, but not harsh. This is a damned good closed phone.
DT860: More balanced than DT660. Slightly darker. Magnificently smooth and full midrange. Difference from DT660 isn't as big as you would expect, it's just more refined perhaps. However, these are some incredible headphones.
DT880: Man, the DT860 and DT880 are pretty similar-sounding, but I think the DT880s got the edge, it's upper midrange is just a tiny bit more smooth and warm. The DT880 is ever-so-slightly darker, I think.

[size=small]Nick Cave "No More Shall We Part"[/size]
HD457: Nick sounds darker than ever, but not in a good way. Lots of the great details in his voice disappears. Bass suits this better, not so overpowering, and an ok punch. Much of the intense nerve in the songs are often lost because of lacking upper mids. EQ could help.
HD497: Ahh, more than enough details and energy. Quite intense and forward sounding, but the mids are lacking a little. Much more enjoyable than HD457.
HD555: Hmm...different, but better than the two 4x7's. A much more balanced and "whole" soundstage. Not as energetic as the HD497, but more realistic. Just a feeling: Does Nick sound a bit nasal? Things sound a bit hollow.
HD595: Now we're talking. This is quite delightful, actually. Takes the HD555 and improves just about everything. A brighter and more detailed midrange. Does reveal more imperfections, though. Pianos sounds terrific! Nick doesn't sound nasal anymore, either.
DTX700: Sounds "closer" than HD595. Detailed highs, but lacks smooth, warm midrange of HD595. Nick's voice isn't quite as full as it should be, but very detailed. A little harsh on a few occasions.
DTX800: Warmer and darker. Nick's voice is a little fuller, but lacks some detail. Wider soundstage. More bass.
DTX900: Better on all grounds. Fascinating combination of the best sides of 700 and 800. I'm still impressed.
DT440: Wider soundstage than DTX900, and slightly better midbass. There's something I don't like about the upper mids and highs, it's kinda veiled and dark and loses some detail.
DT660: Veil is gone. Bright and detailed, but not harsh or shrill. If I had to pick a weak spot, it might be the upper midrange, it could've been smoother (nitpicking). Nice, fast bass. Excellent closed phone!
DT860: Wider and more balanced soundstage. Fixes midrange spot of DT660, but is it a little colder? Less midbass, I think. Still incredible!
DT880: Still got an edge because of the smooth, warm midrange, but these are broken in, mind you. DT860 might have a higher resolution, but sounds a wee bit colder.

[size=small]AC/DC: "Live" '92[/size]
Again thick and dark. Quite energetic, so they suit AC/DC better. Something's wrong with how some of brighter riffs sounds. Kinda swirly and hollow sounding. Almost MP3. Not very pleasant.
HD497: Better than above, but not great. The bright riffs sounds a tad more right now, but the snare drum doesn't. It's compressed and MP3-like. Strange...is this a bad recording?
HD555: At last, improvement. But still not good. A kinda boxy sound. Bad soundstage.
HD595: Sounds the best of the four Senns, but this can't be a very good recording. Although...I checked with the DT880 and DT770, and both sounds way better than the Senns, the DT770s really rocked. Still the recording sounds compressed and old.
DTX700: More energy than HD595, but emphasizes bad recording. Sounds a little hollow.
DTX800: Darker highs and more bass, which suits this recording. Not as tiring.
DTX900: Colder and thinner than 800, but general quality is better and more revealing (unfortunately).
DT440: Wider. Riffs sounds metallic (not a good thing). I prefer DTX900.
DT660: Good rocking energy, even it's forward and bright. Not bad at all.
DT860: Makes the best of this bad recording, but I'm not sure which phone I prefer, the DT660 or this. The DT860s higher resolution work against it here.
DT880: I didn't bother.

[size=small]Faithless: "Sunday 8PM"[/size]
HD457: Not bad. Ok bass and energy, not too overpowering, but a little bloated and slow. Some details are lost and the midrange is kinda strange, woolly and a bit distant perhaps. When the songs gets complicated, the 457 struggles.
HD497: Ah, improvement. Much more detail, and it suits this music style quite good. Nice energy, but mid-bass might be too much for some, it's not tight enough. Overall a good show.
HD555: Much more balanced, but a tad less energy. I think the midrange and extreme highs are the HD555s main problems. It just loses some details and sounds a little distant.
HD595: Again, better in all aspects. More energy than HD555, and still very balanced. Less bass than the two 4x7's, but much easier to live with. Largest soundstage of the four. I like this.
DTX700: A bit brighter and harsher that HD595. Lacks the nice, warm midrange of the Senn. Harder, snappier bass.
DTX800: Deeper, but sloppier bass. Warmer and more forgiving. Suits this music quite nicely.
DTX900: Again, a amazing combination of the other DTXs. Everything is sharper and more energetic. Real bassheads and those who like their phones warm might prefer the DTX800.
DT440: More distant and wider. Warmer, but there's still something wrong in the highs. I prefer DTX900. Better midbass/lower midrange, though.
DT660: More details in midrange, but slightly colder. Just about everything is better.
DT860: As before, fixes midrange of DT660, adds warmth, but differences are less than expected.

[size=small]Diana Krall: "Live In Paris"[/size]
HD457: Well, it's mud and darkness again. Diana is way behind some curtains and the guitarist must be out on the street...
HD497: Diana is sitting in the same room as you, but the guitarist is a little shy still. Some of the midrange is just overshadowed by highs. Overall not too bad, but it could be better.
HD555: This is better. Every musician is in the same room. A little dry-sounding, though. Diana's voice is missing some emotion and details, but nothing showstopping.
HD595: Ahh...excellent! A wide, full soundstage with lots of details. Great balance and warmth, drips with emotion. Better on all accounts. If I must mention something negative, it must be that it is maybe too forward for this kind of music, it can be a little tiring, but this is nitpicking. I can definitely live with this sound.
DTX700: Again brighter than HD595. Highs aren't as refined as the Senn. An example: Clapping doesn't sound as full or realistic, also quite harsh. Sometimes highs sounds a tad plasticky.
DTX800: Suits Krall better than DTX700. Sounds fuller and smoother. Kinda romantic. Loses some fine details in her voice, but also some of the harshness.
DTX900: Yep, again the excellent combination of its littlebrothers, but DTX800 isn't far behind with it's warmer presentation.
DT440: Hmm...still dark and distant, but suits Diana quite nicely. This music should be a little laid-back and smooth, not overly detailed. Nice lower midrange that brings forth guitars and basses. Best outing thus far.
DT660: More details and intimacy. A tad more punch in drums and basses. More energy too. Not as smooth as DT440, and soundstage is slightly smaller.
DT860: Hmm...also combines the best of its littlebrothers. Detailed, but still smooth and full.
DT880: Diana's voice is slightly smoother and warmer. Soundstage has widened a little. Damn, the DT880 knows how to handle female voices. I would choose the DT880, but I have NO problems living with the DT860.

[size=small]Massive Attack: "Protection"[/size]
HD457: Slow, bloated bass that drowns details in midrange. I guess it's good for the dedicated bassheads. I couldn't live with this without some EQ.
HD497: Better, faster bass. Kinda congested or "downsized" midrange. Detailed highs. An ok match for this bassheavy CD.
HD555: Much leaner bass than HD497, but overall more balanced. Much extended soundstage. Darker, but more refined. Nice and warm. Highs are a tad veiled, but not too bad.
HD595: Brighter and more detailed. No veil. Wider soundstage. Treats the female voices very nicely. Slightly deeper bass, but not as pronounced as the two HD4x7s. Difference is not as big as before between 555 and 595.
DTX700: Brighter, more plasticky upper midrange and highs. Bass is plenty, and of quite nice quality. Smaller soundstage. Still a little harsh sometimes.
DTX800: Yep, more bass, which is on the verge of being too much for this CD. Midrange and highs suits CD better. Overall a better match than DTX700.
DTX900: History repeats itself. It's just better than the two others, but 800 is closer.
DT440: Wider and more distant. Bass is about the same as DTX900, maybe a tad more balanced, but not more fun.
DT660: More details and bass. Slightly more forward and direct. Midbass is nicely detailed.
DT860: Wider, more balanced and refined. Smooth, but detailed midrange. Excellent stuff.

I didn't bother writing down the impressions from the other CDs, as they were very similar to the others.

Here's some other direct comparisons between the different phones, also the ones I own.

[size=small]HD595 ($210) vs. DTX900 ($103)[/size]
This is maybe a little unfair as the Sennheiser costs twice as much as the Beyer, but I tried it anyway.
The HD595 looks better, and is more comfortable to wear, no question. They're both lightweight. The Senn also feels more solid and classy. Beyer is much easier driven by portable equipment, but Senn isn't as difficult as HD600/HD650. The Beyer's pads are smaller than the Senns, so they will press against the ears of most people, but it isn't too bad. When it comes to construction and ergonomics, the Senn wins quite easily.
Soundwise, they aren't quite as far apart as the price suggest. The HD595 is darker, smoother and more balanced overall, but the DTX900 got some very nice highs, which are detailed, but not harsh. Bass is more pronounced. This makes it more energetic, and sometimes, more fun. This is particularly noticable with Rage Against the Machine, which doesn't rely much on a sweet midrange, the Beyer just rocks harder. The DTX900's lower midrange seems a little distant, but above that it picks out fantastic amounts of details. The Senn picks out more details in the lower midrange, but not much more.
The HD595 is more refined and balanced, but does it sound twice as good as the DTX900? No, I don't think so. If you combine construction and ergonomics, it's a closer call, but I still think the DTX900 is better value. People who find the (stock) HD600 bright enough, might not agree with me.

[size=small]HD595 ($210) vs. DT860 ($235)[/size]
Quite close in price, so this could be interesting.
The Beyer is heavier, bigger, foldable and more durable. Both are big enough to encompass large ears. As the Senn is a little lighter, it might be the most comfortable for most. The Beyer is damn sturdy, though.
Soundwise, the Senn is quite a bit darker, warmer and distant, but the Beyer conjures up amazing amounts of details over the whole frequency range. I guess someone will call the Beyer cold and analytical, but that is because it doesn't color the sound at all, it picks up everyting in the recording, it opens up the whole range. Harder bass too. Both are damned fine phones, but I choose the Beyer DT860. I prefer its open, detailed and energetic presentation, but I also sold the HD600 in favour of the DT880. If you have an overly bright system, the HD595 might suit you better. Also, DT860 can be a bit ruthless with bad recordings.

[size=small]DT660 ($190) vs. DT770 Pro ($229) (Battle of the closed)[/size]
Old, established classic against new kid on the block.
I really like the DT770, it might not be the most balanced phone, but when properly amped, it's damned good fun, and excellent for gaming and movies.
Both isolate about the same, the DT770 maybe a bit more. The same goes for general comfort. DT660 is heavier, but I'm sure the DT770 would survive longer when abused, it would probly survive nuclear winter. DT660 is driven easily by portables, DT770 isn't.
Soundwise, the DT660 definitely is more balanced, but lacks the fun subwoofer-effect. Midrange isn't as subdued, or as warm. Hmm...the DT660 is actually one incredible closed phone. It's better than the DT770, but not necessarily more fun, no phone goes as deep. There are still music I enjoy more with the DT770, but the DT660 is like a closed DT860, which is very impressive. The winner is DT660, but I'll keep the DT770 for films, gaming and and some music. If you're looking for a good closed phone, PLEASE consider the DT660.

[size=small]HD497 ($60) vs. DT231 Pro ($59)[/size]
I thought I just do a quick one, as they are similarly priced.
Size of pads are about the same, but the Beyers are velour, and much more comfortable. Both are easily driven by portables. Of course, the Beyer is also closed, which is good. DT231 wins construction and ergonomics.
I actually haven't listened to the DT231 in ages, as my girlfriend has been using them a lot. But this is a nice phone.
Soundwise, the HD497 has a more powerful bass, but the DT231 is much more balanced, it actually HAS a midrange. The Beyer is also more refined and smooth, its highs are downright pleasant and earfriendly. Hmm...I'm surprised...the Beyer is better on just about every count, and it isn't even silver. :)
To be honest, the HD497 doesn't stand a chance. Although, in favour of the Senn, it isn't broken in, but I can't imagine it changes character enough to be a competitor to the DT231. Very interesting.

[size=small]DT860 ($235) vs. W1000 ($459)[/size]
Wood against plastic? Lamb skin agains fabric? I haven't actually used the W1000 too much lately, so I added this comparison.
Both phones are very comfortable, but the Beyer should be more durable and practical. W1000 looks classier nicer, though. Also, both drives portables easily. W1000 isolates more, it isn't a fully closed phone, but it helps.
Soundwise, the W1000 does quite good, actually. It's a little warmer and the midrange is even fuller. Female voices are slightly more natural. Lower midrange might be more pronounced in DT860. Midbass is actually punchier on W1000, a little surprising. Sometimes the DT860 sounds a little wider and more open, but W1000 can feel more intimate. I LOVE the W1000s with Floyd-like music. Man, it's difficult to pick a winner. If I HAD to, I probably keep the W1000, mostly because I already have a DT880...:) Is the W1000 twice as good soundwise? Probably not. Taking design into account? I think so. I like my Woodies.

[size=large]Construction & Ergonomics[/size]
HD457 and HD497:
Just about identical, except for pads. HD497's pads are made of this "pleather" material, similar to HD280Pro. Pads will rest against most ears, unless they're quite small. HD457's pads are made of cotton, I think. I actually prefer the HD457 pads, as I've never liked the "pleather" because they might squeak a little.
The overall construction is quite simple, but efficient. I think they'll be quite durable, even if they're not foldable. I'm not that fond of the esthetics, though. Too Trekkie-like and silvery, but I like my phones discrete.
Cable goes to both sides. Nothing fancy, but they're ok.

HD555 & HD595:
Now, this is much better. I actually like the look of this new design, nice curves and colors. Both seems to have the same pads, velour and about the same size as HD600. Very comfortable. Fairly lightweight, too. Lots of plastic. Would not survive nuclear winter together with my DT770s and DT880s. Only major diffence is that HD555's underside of headband is made of velour, and HD595's made of leather, a little more exclusive. Cable goes only to left side. I like the appearance and feel of these two phones, but you should treat them with care.

DTX700, 800 & 900:
All three are identical, except for MINOR differences in the side-grilles. Pads are not large enough to accomodate most ears, but the velour is soft and it shouldn't be a problem wearing these for hours. But, I extended it all the way, and that was barely enough to get the pads where I wanted them. Do note that I have a large head, I'm one of those who barely fits the DT770Pro. I doubt this will be a problem for most people. Underside of headband is a fairly soft plastic/rubber-like material which seems very durable. Generally lots of plastic. They're light, and can lie flat like the Grados, but I'm a little sceptical to the durability of the headband-cup joint. But I give Beyer the benefit of the doubt. Not too fond of the silver...again. Cable goes to left side only.

DT440, 660 & 860:
All three are identical, except for MINOR differences in the side-grilles. DT660 is of course closed, but you can't tell from looking at them. Nice, large pads with plenty of space for most ears. Curiously, the pads are cotton-like, I think they call it Jersey Cotton. Not as velvety soft as the velours, but more than good enough. I guess durability should be identical to velour. Now to the headband, which looks like the Ultrasones and the Senn HD280Pro (which I have owned). The latter has had problems with cracks appearing, but the Beyers feels heavier and more solid. The headband joints does flex a little, around the same place where the HD280 cracks. I can't imagine Beyerdynamic releasing these phones if they weren't positive about the durability. They're heavy, but comfy, so hours of use shouldn't be a problem. I wore the DT860 for most of a workday, and apart from some minor scalp-burn, I had no problems. Cable goes to left side only.

Sennheiser HD457 ($35):
A bassheavy, murky and dark phone. Bass is unfortunately not fast enough and often overpowering. It did improve with the simple treble/bass EQ on my Minidisc, but not enough. You can have much better phones for not so much more money.

Sennheiser HD497 ($60):
Much bass, but tighter and faster than its littlebrother. It's bright, forward and direct. This makes it quite energetic, but midrange is almost absent. Much details in highs, but not very refined, can be harsh with some music. I thought it was an ok value for money, until I compared it to the Beyer DT231 Pro. The Senn didn't stand a chance. With the DT231 around, I can't recommend the HD497.

Sennheiser HD555 ($155)
Looks and feels very good. Sound is balanced and smooth, but when compared to the others, it's fairly dark, distant and veiled. This loses some details. If you have a very bright system, it could be a nice match. Not a lot of energy, so it might not be the best phone if you like heavy metal and such. Overall not a bad phone for the money. If you disregard the veil, it's very nicely balanced.

Sennheiser HD595 ($210)
Headroom says it's a great alternative to the HD600, and I think they're right. I found the HD600 veiled and a little distant. The HD595 is energetic and detailed, but still quite smooth and balanced. It's still more "polite" than the best Beyers, but that might suit some people just fine. A very good headphone, which I think is worth the money. I wouldn't be surprised to find a HD595 in my collection in the future.

Beyerdynamic DTX700 ($70)
I hadn't found much reviews or info about the new DTX-models from Beyerdynamic, so I was looking forward to try them out.
This one is bright, detailed, direct and forward. Good, deep bass which is quite fast and hard. Midrange is overpowered by the highs, so the phone does feel a little cold and tiring. But this is a $70 headphone, which I find quite impressive. Sometimes the highs could sound a little plasticky.

Beyerdynamic DTX800 ($87)
Actually quite smooth and warm, but balance is upset a little by a mildly bloated midbass which can be overpowering for some music. Looses some details when compared to DTX700. Still, this is very impressive for a $87 phone.

Beyerdynamic DTX900 ($103)
This was one of the phones that surprised me the most. It really takes all the best parts of its littlebrothers and improves on them. There's great detail, without being harsh, and deep, hard bass without being bloated. Even the midrange is good! Of course, the more expensive phones are more refined, have a wider soundstage and a nicer, warmer midrange, but they cost more than twice as much! One possible negative issue, might be the durability, as I'm still not totally convinced they can take as much beating as other Beyers. Time will tell. The DTX900 is EXCELLENT value for money, and I honestly wouldn't consider the other two DTX's because of the minimal difference in price. I can't wait to hear what other think of this one.

Beyerdynamic DT440 ($155)
This one disappointed me a little. It's got a great balance and a warm midrange, but there was something in the upper ranges that didn't appeal to me. I even preferred the cheaper DTX900 sometimes. It's hard to explain, and without direct A/B comparisons, it wasn't overly noticable. I suspect my expectations were a little to high, because when I checked the price and compared it to the equally priced HD555, I actually preferred the DT440 on most occasions. Don't let my comments put you off, this is a very nice headphone for the price, it's just that the two other DT's were better.

Beyerdynamic DT680 ($190)
The only closed phone of the borrowed ones, and WHAT a phone!
I think this was the biggest surprise of the lot. The DT680 is very balanced and smooth, and got a terrific soundstage. Fantastic details and bass is nice and tight. Yes, it is fairly bright, but nothing like the "dreaded" DT831, which I once owned. When compared to the good old DT770 Pro, it lacked the fun subwoofer bass, but everthing was more balanced, especially the midrange was more pronounced and detailed. The DT660 can be quite ruthless to bad recordings and very bright systems, but overall it's one of the best closed headphones I've heard, the difference up to the DT860 is less than expected. Damned impressive. The price isn't too bad either. This is actually the one that tempted me the most to purchase, as I've been thinking of having another good closed phone.

Beyerdynamic DT860 ($235)
The most expensive of the borrowed ones. Expectations were high.
It is the most refined and balanced of all in this lot. Amazing resolution. It's not as bright as the closed DT660.
In my mind, this is the best sounding phone of all the borrowed ones, but I still prefer my DT880, by a very slight margin. It would've been nice owning them both.
It is quite revealing, so overly bright systems and bad recordings might not be the best match. In any case, this is an incredible headphone for the money. I would have absolutely no problems living with the sound of the DT860. Good show, Beyer!

[size=large]Final words[/size]
Phew, this has been an exhausting 3-4 days, but very interesting and rewarding.
It has proved that you get what you pay for. Almost without any exceptions, the sound improved when I put on a more expensive phone. This is good, and how it should be.

Please consider that none of the borrowed phones were broken in, but during the days, none changed character noticeably.

Also consider that these findings are based on one persons taste and one headphone rig. Your taste might differ.

Let me know if you've got any comments and ideas, maybe I can do some more comparisons with these phones. Also, please ask if something is unclear, my english vocabulary is quite limited.

I hope this is useful for someone.
Jul 11, 2004 at 5:36 PM Post #3 of 42


Electrostatic Elvis
Aug 2, 2001

Originally Posted by Welly Wu
I think this should be stuck in the review of headphones archives.


Thanks for the very comprehensive impressions, JensL.

Great work.

Jul 11, 2004 at 6:02 PM Post #5 of 42


1000+ Head-Fier
Dec 12, 2003
This review beats even some Head-Fi meet in terms of the quantity of headphones. Nice job, it had to be fatiguing for you to put on/off so many cans.
Jul 11, 2004 at 6:10 PM Post #6 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 5, 2002

Originally Posted by Permonic
Nice job, it had to be fatiguing for you to put on/off so many cans.

Heh, you can't imagine... I thought I was going to develop blisters...

Fun, though.

Jul 11, 2004 at 6:39 PM Post #7 of 42


1000+ Head-Fier
Aug 27, 2003
Thanks for your impressions and a job well done.I am really sort of surprised the DT860 came out as well as it did.When I play mine through the 0 ohm jack it is really not that impressive but when I play it through the 120 ohm jack it is really something.
Jul 11, 2004 at 6:41 PM Post #8 of 42


1000+ Head-Fier
Oct 25, 2003
I have the feeling the Mr. JensL prefers a brighter sound than a lot of people here. Very comprehensive review! Now you've got me considering the 860...
Jul 11, 2004 at 7:01 PM Post #9 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 5, 2002

I have the feeling the Mr. JensL prefers a brighter sound than a lot of people here.

Yeah, maybe...
I like details, but not harsh details, like the DT831 sometimes has.
I've found that if a lower quality headphone tries to be too detailed, it turns grainy and harsh. The HD497 and DTX700 are good examples of this.

To put it a little into perspective; I liked the the (stock) HD600, it was smooth and wide, but the DT880 just had some more details without being uncomfortable and too direct.


I am really sort of surprised the DT860 came out as well as it did.When I play mine through the 0 ohm jack it is really not that impressive but when I play it through the 120 ohm jack it is really something.

Well, maybe the tubes smooth out some of the highs? It's supposed to work nicely with lower impedance phones like the Grados. My W1000's (40 ohm) were quite improved when I got the Ear++ (upgraded from a Creek OBH-11).
Jul 11, 2004 at 7:26 PM Post #10 of 42


1000+ Head-Fier
Aug 25, 2001
Thanks for the review. When I first read the review, I was thinking what in the world motivated you to torture yourself and listen to a bunch of headphones in such a short period of time. To me, it would seem more like work than fun.

Its nice to read more reviews about Beyerdynamic headphones. I think the shootout section was well done and it really helped put certain things into perspective.
Jul 11, 2004 at 10:00 PM Post #11 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 4, 2003
Thanks a lot for this very nice review.

After relaxing a bit from your odyssey through headphone-testing, could you please say a bit more about the differencies between the DT880 and the HD595.
Jul 11, 2004 at 10:27 PM Post #13 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 5, 2002

Originally Posted by Sisyphos
Thanks a lot for this very nice review.

After relaxing a bit from your odyssey through headphone-testing, could you please say a bit more about the differencies between the DT880 and the HD595.

Well, the HD595 is more relaxed and laidback than the DT860. Also it's a little warmer. I'd say it's more romantic, perhaps. The Beyer got more and deeper bass. You will get more resolution with the Beyer, which makes it feel more open and airy.
But these are MINOR differences. Both phones are excellent.

Buildwise, the Beyer is better. Yes, it's heavier, but more durable. It's more practical because it can fold up. It's easier to power with a portable. The Sennheiser looks classier, though.

Any particular things you are wondering about?
Just let me know.

Jul 11, 2004 at 10:32 PM Post #14 of 42


500+ Head-Fier
Jan 16, 2004
Thanks JensL, for undertaking this, well, operation

Sort of makes me regret not buying the DT660's when they first came out (was looking for a closed headphone during that time). However, I'm still not impressed with the new headband though. I don't see why they couldn't just stick with a tried and true one.

Then again, maybe I'm merely spoiled by the incredible build quality of the DT770's and HD25's
Jul 11, 2004 at 10:39 PM Post #15 of 42


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 5, 2002

Originally Posted by Mr.Radar
How is the bass on the DT660 and DT860? Especially on the DT860 you didn't really comment much on that.

Yeah, you're right, I didn't mention that much. A pity, because both are excellent.

They were very similar, but the DT660 got a little more midbass, which makes it quite fun. It's not DT770-like fun, but not bad. It's a really tight and fast, I can't imagine it being bloated or overpowering with any well-recorded music.

The Massive Attack CD got a lot of nice things happening in the bass-frequencies, both lowbass and midbass. Neither phone had any problems distinguishing these frequencies, so that it wasn't just a bloated mush.

I guess the DT860 is more balanced and "correct", but I think I had more fun with the DT660.

Users who are viewing this thread