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I truly believe these are one of the best Classical Music headphones I've ever heard

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by davidmahler, Jun 22, 2011.
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  1. DavidMahler Contributor
    When I first tried these I was underwhelmed.  I had a preconception that because the headphones were closed back that they would resemble the DT770 in a way and have that extra impact bass.  These headphones are in fact so pronouncedly different from every other Beyer I've tried, that I wasn't sure what to make them at first.  They are flat as my ears have ever heard!
    As I began to try out different music with them, I was fascinated by the way they represented sound.  The bass is there, but not ultra "impactful" and the midrange feels extremely revealing and the highs while present are not fatiguing.  The soundstage depth is also very good here.  Since trying these I have been more inclined to do some critical listening away from my Home Rig - something my girlfriend appreciates! :)
    I was listening to Mahler's 5th Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado with the Berlin Philharmonic and it occurred to me that more than any other headphone I've ever heard directly out of an iPod, the DT660 represented something very honest and accurate and made classical music sound alive in a way which I did not ever dream was possible with just an iPod.  I plugged these into my TTVJ Millett 307a at home using an MSB Platinum DAC III and I was just stunned at the refinement.  It sounded absolutely amazing with the Beyerdynamic A1 as well.  For my enjoyment, these do classical better than DT770, DT880, DT990 and is on par with the T1 and T5P in classical.  The T5P which I reviewed as a classical portable, I feel now is perhaps eclipsed by the DT660.  I want to attempt to bring this headphone to the forefront for classical music lovers looking to have a portable option.  I don't recommend this headphone for rock or pop and certainly not hip hop, but for classical music......I would recommend this headphone over many pricier headphones even when amped on the most glorious of systems. 
    I am posting my Headphones.com review below.  I hope others who have the DT660s will comment below.  This headphone certainly deserves much more attention.
    If you’re looking for a full-size headphone to listen to classical music right out of your portable player, then there is no better choice than the Beyerdynamic DT660.  Not only is the sound perfectly suited for classical music, but the isolation provided by the closed back ear cups is perfect for office use. 
    These, like other Beyerdynamic full-size headphones are extremely comfortable.  The ear cups encapsulate the ear in soft black velour.  I am able to sleep in these – and sure enough, I have! It’s easy to lie down with because of the one-sided cable.  But perhaps the most impressive feat of this headphone’s design is the superb amount of isolation offered by the closed back design.  While these do not have an active noise cancellation feature, they attenuate outside noise very well – the best I have heard for a headphone without an active noise canceling feature.  The headphones also have a 90 degree swiveling ear cup feature, for easy storage and wearing when not in use.  I would have preferred if the headphones swiveled so that if you are wearing them on your neck, the ear cups would rest on your collar bone rather than face outward leaving the metal back to sit against your collar bone.  Even still, it is a nice feature to have for storage purposes.
    These headphones are a classical lover’s dream.  Out of a portable player I find they offer a more realistic portrayal of orchestral, chamber and piano works than any other headphone I have encountered.  The bass is not overwhelming here.  Many headphones emphasize bass for the visceral effect it has.  With many genres this coloration is a fantastic enhancement, but with classical music, this coloration can often detract from the listening experience.  The DT660 are extremely EXTREMELY flat/neutral – to the point where some listeners may find that it lacks a bit of a “wow-factor”.  The mid-range feels flat and the treble while nicely extended has some slight roll-off in the higher end of the region, presumably to reduce fatigue.  Those who pair the DT660 with electric instrumentation (pop/rock) and/or heavy percussion (hip-hop/reggae) will probably perceive them as excessively bright and or lacking in weight and depth.  But for classical music these headphones are a great success.
    When recording orchestral musicians onto a prerecorded track, I often reach for these.  The closed-back design prevents much sound from reaching the microphone.  The headphones are tuned in a way which spotlights most acoustic instruments and therefore I don’t typically EQ the cue-mix. 
    Very rarely do I feel that headphone was tailored with a specific-type listener in mind.  If you find that your iPod has been unable to satisfy your desire for realistic classical presentation, then the DT660 are the headphones you are looking for.  They are tuned with the ear that prefers air over oomph.
    Sound Quality: 9.5 (tuned for neutrality – best with classical music)
    Comfort: 9
    Design & Features: 8.5
    Isolation: 7
    Value: 10
    d956 likes this.
  2. swbf2cheater
    how about a free sample of the DT600 to test this theory? :) hehe, this model and the 440 are two beyers i skipped over but after reading this i seem to want nothing more than to kick myself
  3. blacknile
    Hi - thanks for your impressions on these interesting headphones. Would you now care to add a few comments on how these would perform and compare to other popular Classical-music headphones given non portable sources?
    I'm sure you realise that shouting for miracle when some headphones work particularly well with a portable player - and a specific brand and model only for that matter - only draws a pretty incomplete picture, especially in a forum that advertises itself as "meeting place for headphone hi-fi enthusiasts".
    Would your considerations still apply in a non-portable context? Many people including me listen to classical music on vinyl, sacd, cd, flac, etc, how would these headphones perform given other hi-fi components earlier in the chain?

    d956 likes this.
  4. DavidMahler Contributor

    Haha:)  It's actually the DT660.
    I wish I could do that though.
  5. swbf2cheater
    I mean't the 660 :)  And anything is possible if you just believeeeeeee, Maybe the headphones.com sales agent will leave a present on my doorstep lol
    but in all seriousness, I'd love to hear these, I've heard nothing but good things about them and the 440 as well ;[
  6. DavidMahler Contributor


    I haven't had the pleasure of hearing the 440s!  I will be posting my review of the 860s later today however. 
  7. DavidMahler Contributor


    I feel granted the tonality of these headphones, these would perform with classical leaps and bounds above many headphones in the home rig or studio rig setting.  I touch on that a little in my opening statements.  When I connected it to my TTVJ 307a I thought it was really impressive.  Mind you it's designed with portable-player compatibility in mind, but I would be lying if I said that I  thought the Denon D7000 were competitive with these for classical even out of the home rig.  For classical I prefer the DT660 over the HD650.  They remind a bit of the bass light R10s though clearly not as refined, but even still the tonality is similar with a very distinct emphasis on the mids.
    I want to restate though that outside of classical music, I do not think these are a top choice.  With classical, I prefer the DT660s over the K701 which has also long been a top choice for classical.

  8. priest Contributor

    The DT 440 are ridiculously good. Are you only now discovering the joy of the lower-level beyer? [​IMG] Too many ultra-high end equipments? Of course all your excitement is contagious and is making me want the DT 860, which is the last thing I need right now.
  9. wae5
    Because of your glowing review I picked up a pair at Amazon today. I'm always interested in phones that are good for classical music so thank you for the heads up.
  10. BattleBrat
    Hmmm I'll add them to the list, I would like to comment however they look like what you would get if a pair of Ultrasones and a pair of Beyerdyne's did it
  11. DavidMahler Contributor


    I look forward to your impressions!
  12. DavidMahler Contributor


    So true, the headband is very reminiscent of Ultrasone.
  13. MtnSloth
    Thanks for the review! I've been trying to decide what closed portable (emphasis on good isolation) to get. Even though I listen to a lot of classical, I'm still leaning towards the Senn HD 25-1 II; but, as the DT 660s are likely to be more comfortable, I have more thinking to do. And none of this helps with saving towards some LCD-2s . . . [​IMG]
  14. DavidMahler Contributor

    I also like the HD 25 1-II but they sound very different from the DT660.  The DT660 have less bass impact but a far more natural tone in my opinion  but they really do shine only with classical.
  15. DavidMahler Contributor
    I spent the whole weekend listening to these on my home rig.  The more I listen the more I love them.  In some ways they remind me of a bass light R10 (no I'm not joking at all).  I think they sound excellent with acoustic jazz and well recorded music.
    I am willing to say something as bold as that if these headphones were priced at $1,000+ and had more exciting physical features, a substantial amount of people would be proclaiming it as the best headphone on the market today.
    I received 3 emails in the past two days from people who have bought the DT660s since I put this thread up.  And they all said something in the nature of it being amongst the best headphone they've ever heard.  I encourage you all to post your impressions.....
    musiccollector likes this.
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