Getting sick of Beyerdynamic left ear cup rattle
Dec 12, 2012 at 8:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

cib24

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Hello all,
 
Long time lurker and finally decided to post a question to get opinions on the best replacement headphone for my needs going forward. I currently own a pair of Beyerdynamic 250 Ohm DT 880 Pros which I have had for two years. Prior to the DT 880's I owned a pair of Beyerdynamic 80 Ohm DT 770 Pros. I replaced the DT 770's after the rattle/distortion in the left ear cup became unbearable. It would no longer happen during very low bass frequencies but would happen during any sort of bass at all. I purchased the DT 880s due to the rave reviews on this forum and the fact that the bass was less intense so the chance of any rattle and distortion should have been greatly reduced. However, just about two weeks ago my DT 880s began to exhibit the same exact rattle in the left ear cup as my DT 770s did. Fortunately the rattle only occurs during low frequency bass at the moment but it is really starting to get on my nerves and piss me off. 
 
I have taken several measures to try and correct the problem, especially since my headphones are now out of warranty, and they include:
 
  • Taking off the foam padding and removing any hair in the left ear cup and around the driver;
  • Playing bass heavy music for several hours to try to pop out a potentially pressed diaphragm;
  • Separating the three wires coming from the headphone cable in case they were causing any interference by touching one another and assuring that they are not touching the driver when put back together; and
  • Applying pressure with my left ear on the foam padding when wearing the headphones to stop any potential rattling (this seems to get rid of about 95% of the problem).
 
So far nothing has really worked aside from applying pressure but even then it only works maybe 3/4 of the time when I force any potential rattling to stop. My guess is that the circular cone which the driver is attached to that fits between the foam and plastic retaining ring is moving around when the bass hits hard. I've no idea how to keep it from moving around aside from potentially gluing the circular cone to the plastic of the headphone where it rests. And even then, it only sits on a small ring of protruding plastic anyway so I'm not sure how reliable that method is. Additionally, I don't really want to glue something and not be able to get behind it should something else go wrong in the future.
 
I thought about sending the headphones into the UK distributor which does repairs but their charges are ridiculous. About £84 fixed repair charge excluding shipping costs and a £15 inspection fee. Their variable rate repair service is £25 per 15 minutes excluding shipping costs and a £15 inspection fee. I purchased the headphones for like £160 over two years ago and I'm not about to spend 2/3 - 3/4 of the cost just to fix a driver. Moreover, I'm sort of thinking that I need to move away from Beyerdynamic anyway since this has happened on two of different models in the past four years.
 
Now that I have come to the conclusion that I will likely need to buy a new pair of headphones, I have been doing a lot of research on different headphones on this site to try and determine what would be best for my needs. I initially chose the DT 770s because I lived in a college dorm room at the time and didn't want to keep my roommate up at night or disturb him when I was gaming, watching a film or listening to music. After the left cup began to rattle sounding like the trunk of a guy's pimped out Civic with too much bass, I began looking at the DT 880s because of their more balanced character compared to the DT 770s, high levels of detail, and very good sound stage and positioning for a semi-open phone. Overall, I felt the DT 880s were a tremendous improvement over the DT 770s and have really enjoyed them ever since. The only real downside to the headphones aside from the quality issue is that they are a bit bright and the positioning could honestly be better (tried a DT 990 which was way too bright but had great positioning).
 
My new headphones will only be used on my PC as I have a pair of IEMs to go with my Nokia Lumia. I currently have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST which has a built-in amp good up to 600 Ohms. Nowadays my listening habits are comprised of about 70% gaming, 20% movie watching and 10% listening to music. My new headphones should be an improvement over my DT 880s and I suppose what I would like is the following:
 
  • Better build quality. I don't want anymore rattling or other annoyances to pop up;
  • Possibly less bright than the DT 880s but definitely not more so;
  • A touch more bass would be nice but not necessary as the DT 880 was a pretty good compromise;
  • Detail as good or better than the DT 880s;
  • An equivalent or better sound stage and better positioning capabilities;
  • Maybe less clinical sounding than the DT 880s?; and
  • Open or semi-open
 
Headphones I have come across which may or may not have some of these characteristics are the Hifiman HE-400, Sennheiser HD 650, Ultrasone Pro 900, AKG Q701, and Audio-Technica ATH-AD900 (although I want to see what the ATH-AD900x has to offer). Please help with your own opinions on what would suit my needs.
 
Stax Lambda anyone? I wish but too expensive :wink:
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM Post #2 of 7

Tony6225

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I had a similar issue with my DT990s recently and have since bought several other pairs of cans including the Sennheiser HD558, Audio Technica A900x and the AKG K550. All of these are good options for you. If you think the DT990 was a little too forward in the lows and highs, stay away from the A900x because even though it sounds good, it has a similar sound signature. I am totally floored by how good the K550's are. And for the price you can get HD558s, there is not better IMO.
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 9:25 AM Post #3 of 7

cib24

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Well, the AKG K550's are closed headphones so I'm not sure if I want to go back to that due to the smaller sound-stage and positioning capabilities. Perhaps the AKG Q701's? The Sennheiser HD 558 is similar to the PC360 right? I'm sure that those must be great but what worries me is the lack of "fun" in those headphones when not gaming. I really enjoy having a cinematic experience when watching a film or playing a single player game like Mass Effect, but at the same time I do need the capability to identify where sounds are coming from to add to my overall enjoyment. Also, I primarily listen to rock, hip hop, r&b, and metal as far as music goes. 
 
I know this makes it tough trying to ask one headphone to sort of do it all very well but I'm sure someone will have a recommendation or two which meets all or most of these criteria while not costing more than £400.
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM Post #4 of 7

Tony6225

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I didn't know that you were looking at only open headphones because I saw your interest in the A900x. In terms of sound stage, the K550 and A900x are both very good for closed headphones and are just as open sounding as the HD558. The K550 I actually find has slightly better imaging than the DT990.

The HD558 is way better than the PC360. The PC360 has the same driver as the HD555 but tuned to have less bass and boosted mids. It's made for gaming. The Q701 is a nice option that a lot of people love for the sound stage and clarity. But I find that they have bad imaging, somewhat weak bass, and they aren't as fun as the HD558/598.

Test these cans out if you get a chance. Good luck.
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM Post #5 of 7

Tony6225

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The cans that I mentioned are the ones that I've actually owned or tried enough to have an opinion on. Other good options for you might be the HE400, HFI2900, Philips Fidelio M1 or X1, or the HD600. Good luck.
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM Post #6 of 7

cib24

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Quote:
I didn't know that you were looking at only open headphones because I saw your interest in the A900x. In terms of sound stage, the K550 and A900x are both very good for closed headphones and are just as open sounding as the HD558. The K550 I actually find has slightly better imaging than the DT990.
The HD558 is way better than the PC360. The PC360 has the same driver as the HD555 but tuned to have less bass and boosted mids. It's made for gaming. The Q701 is a nice option that a lot of people love for the sound stage and clarity. But I find that they have bad imaging, somewhat weak bass, and they aren't as fun as the HD558/598.
Test these cans out if you get a chance. Good luck.

I meant the Audio-Technica ATH-AD900x which was just released in Japan on November 17th. It is the open back headphone variant and successor to the ATH-AD900. Anyway, thanks for the advice on the K550 and HD558 headphones. I will look into them and see what I come up with through my research.
 
More opinions from others are always welcome.
 
Dec 14, 2012 at 4:55 AM Post #7 of 7

cib24

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Bit the bullet and decided to try out the new Phillips Fidelio X1's first since they were on sale for £100 off of the list price in the UK by purchasing them through a promotion in Italy. You have to love the EU free trade laws :) 
 
I'm still curious about the Hifiman HE-400, AKG K550, AKG K267 and Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X (once it becomes available) so I may buy another pair in the near future to test.
 
I'm not 100% certain that the Fidelio X1's are the headphones for me but they just look so damn sexy and the price was too good to pass up so I thought I should at least try them out.
 

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