Beyerdynamic DT880 Comparison

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by wadec22, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    Since the hype machine had recently gotten it’s hands on them, I wanted to revisit them. Many of us have experience with at least one or two models and see it as possibly Beyerdynamic’s best headphone. I wanted to see again what the difference is between not only the 250 ohm and 600 ohm versions but do some analysis of the “black edition” that is all over the place. Below are my data analysis and subjective observations.

    Testing gear & notes;
    • MOTU Ultralite mk4->Monoprice THX 887->miniDSP EARS
    • My measurements were done following miniDSP manual and recommended curve. I had wanted to move to something more recommended here but I wanted to stick to my comfort zone to minimize variables. Obviously my measurements are only comparable to each other and void against anything else.

    Disclaimer
    • Proper headphone measuring is hard AF. I have been doing it for a year, reading a lot of stuff here and on the old Changstar site. I am certainly NOT good at it yet. I have about 50 sets measured under my belt and continue to learn. I welcome constructive criticism on my measurements.
    • Level matching here is super tough. The Beyerdynamics are not outstanding at matching driver set. My miniDSP EARS has one channel that is 1db more sensitive and the pot on the THX leaves some channel matching to be desired as well. In addition, these headphones are more sensitive to the treble variation in regards to positioning. The bass seems less affected (good headphones for folks who wear glasses).
    • My images are watermarked with my logo. It’s probably not necessary but this round up took a lot of my time and I don’t need some jackass stealing them and re-posting on his YT site like happened with Marv recently. My logo is cheesy here, but again, I value my time more than the money in this case and it matters to me, so yeah….
    Now, here are the units tested;
    • DT880 pro 250 ohm (standard version with silver pads)
    • DT880 premium 600 ohm (standard version with silver pads)
    • DT880 Pro Black 250 ohm
    • DT880 Premium Black Edition 250 ohm
    • DT880 Premium Black Edition 600 ohm
    My observations on aesthetics and build;
    • All sets are made in Germany
    • Standard 250 ohm pro – coiled cable, snap on headband, tightest clamp, only thing in the box is a waterproof travel pouch. Silver ear pads are super soft. The silver pads are still the nicest velour pad material of any headphone I have tried. Grills are metal.
    • Black Pro model – black, soft but slightly scratchy ear pads with a stiffer foam inside. Same headband, cable, travel pouch… Grilles are painted with white markings to pop more.
    • Standard 600 ohm premium edition – straight, annoying 9’ cable. Nicest “case” – faux leather siding, zipper, internal cutout foam. Great for storing on your desktop or office area. Silver velour pads. Faux leather headband, cleans nicely but is the least comfortable of the lot. Less clamp. Metal grills.j
    • Black 250 ohm & 600 ohm – same straight 9’ cable. “case” is a more travel friendly clamshell but it has no padding on the inside and is less stacking friendly for an office or desktop. Pads are same as Pro black above and therefore less comfortable. Headband appears to be the same as on the T90. Very soft and well padded. It is super comfy but also collects lint & dust like crazy. I also envision this headband being a soaking pad for hair product or oil on your head. Most comfortable headband but my OCD prefers the others for cleanliness. The grilles are plastic and the impedance is stickered on the inside of the headband. These units feel like they cost the least.
    Measurements;

    First up is the PRO 250 ohm standard model. There is nothing really note-worthy here. Slight bass bump, slight scoop in the mids, infamous 8k peak. There do not appear to be any resonances or ringing in the treble, so if the FR bump doesn’t bother you, you are good. If it does bother you – you can probably skip reading anything else here.

    [​IMG]

    Here was my first surprise of the round-up. I re-measured, re-tested over and over to confirm the results. ALL the BLACK editions measure with the exact same FR. In comparison to the standard Pro model they have a slight bass boost, slightly more scooped out mid section and a slightly reduced 8k peak. By slight, I mean 2-3db.

    Beyerdynamic’s marketing says the only difference with the Black editions is in aesthetic, it is simply not true. In my opinion, these versions seemed more geared to the masses. Swapping pads, I can tell you that the black pads seem to be responsible for the bass boost. The internal foam is slightly firmer and the material may be aiding as well. Swapping pads though, the mid scoop remains, so they are doing something with the tuning here.

    To my ear, this is tuned to be the “fun” one. It has a little more bass, slightly less controlled and tight. A good analogy would be the HD800S to the HD800. I think most here will not like the tuning. Everyday Joe probably will.

    [​IMG]

    Premium version – you can see MUCH more balanced bass to mids transition. Also MUCH more upper treble emphasis. Obviously these have more sparkle and air. The treble doesn’t bother me. The DT990, standard HD800 and DT1990 bother the heck out of my ears FWIW.

    [​IMG]

    Now, I bought all these headphones myself and due to time, money and availability there are some noteworthy omissions in my testing. Here they are with my educated guess on sound;
    • Standard premium 250 ohm – likely similar to the 600 ohm in FR, but less resolve
    • Chrome – still has the T90 headband and black pads, so likely the Black with a colored plastic ring
    • Tygr 300R – I think it’s a re-skinned DT880 but I don’t know and I don’t have enough solid information about it from anyone I trust to make and speculation of real value

    250 ohm vs 600 ohm
    • Yes, there is a difference. The 600 ohm is noticeably more resolving, but not earth-shattering so. A good analogy in my mind is the 58X vs the 6XX. Most folks here will notice in 10-15 minutes of comparison with familiar tracks. The masses probably will hardly notice. Given the difference to drive them (it is significant) I wouldn’t recommend the 600 ohm to my casual buddy or a gamer. I would recommend the majority of users here opt for the 600 ohm.
    • For anyone questioning if the 600 ohm is suddenly competitive with top tier headphones for resolve, it just is not. I have the HD800S and while the 600 ohm version is not embarrassed by it (a solid achievement given the price), it also is not the same tier of resolve. The most resolving headphones I have owned are the HD800 & HE-6se and they both are a full tier above the 600 ohm in resolve. No surprise to anyone here.


    My personal conclusion;

    The DT880 was a great value in 2005 and it’s a great value today. It’s a leaner sound signature, more analytical with a good sound stage and terrific imaging. The 600 ohm version has REALLY impressive resolution for the price. Bass lovers need not apply. Those searching for true monitoring headphones, need not apply.

    Comfort –wise, the most comfortable version would be the black version with and buy silver ear pads for it. I ran that for a bit and it is VERY comfy. Problem there again is the headband is difficult to clean and the mid scoop remains.

    I hope that you guys found all this information interesting. I enjoyed it and want to test the remaining question marks. If you powered through the full read, thanks for your time.
     
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  2. squishware

    squishware Friend

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    I have been using DT880s (600 OHM) exclusively for a long time. The Dekoni Hybrid pads fix the Bass and in my opinion make them into seriously good gear. I use them like I use my JBL 3 Series 2.1 system, for everything including movie soundtracks.
    PS: Mine are modded for 2 x mini XLRs and I have an aftermarket cable by Venus Audio.
     
  3. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    Nice. I probably need to try more pad rolling. I tried ZMF perforated Ori and perforated Universe pads on them and the mid suck-out was fierce.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The DT880-600 measurements are using the velour silver pads right? I may pick up a DT880-600. It's been a while, but the DT880 are semi-closed no? I'm looking for a headphone that isn't quite as open as the Sennheisers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  5. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    Yes, silver velour pads.

    Beyer calls them semi-open but they are open headphones. I can crank the volume on them and draw my wife's ire, same as my hd800s. Ambient for the listener is totally open as well.

    I have no idea what Beyerdynamic uses to classify them as semi-open.
     
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  6. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Almost "Made"

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    TYGR 300 is definitely not just a reskinned DT880 as it has a inner damping ring/foam (I guess is the right term?) that looks like the T1 gen 2 and drop DT177x shown in this photo:
    [​IMG]

    I would imagine the actual driver is either a DT880 or 990 driver though. I would guess its less bright due to the dampening as that was the effect on the DT177x.

    I want to get one given all the buzz around them but they are near impossible to get. Even the bundles are sold out everywhere that charged retail.

    Interestingly enough the Special Black editions appear to be tuned like the Amiron home which kind of eliminates the reason for the Amiron to exist. I imagine the 600 ohm Special Edition is even more resolving than the Amiron and costs less. DIYheavens measurements showed the same thing, pretty much a Amiron for less.
     
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  7. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Maybe because the the cups are pretty densely stuffed? Lots of heavy material filling in the insides of it from memory, and the grilles have pretty small holes too. Airflow appears pretty tightly regulated which may earn it the name, far moreso than the HD6___ line anyway.

    Sold my Beyers (DT880 Premium 250ohm built in 2010) ages ago and I can't find the pics I took of the innards; I always presumed they were stock save for aftermarket pads— there was a felt disc covering the driver preinstalled when I got em (I was the 3rd or 4th owner so cannot be sure it was out of the box) that appear to come stock with new units, but I can't get a straight answer whether it's standard across all units now because your measurements suggest otherwise.
     
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  8. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    Thanks for the image. That does appear to be the same dampening disk that is in the 177X (I actually just finished a full round of measurements on one of those as well). I agree, given the price point, I would certainly expect a 880 or 990 driver inside. Maybe my choice of verbiage is poor, but I would consider a dampening disk they already make and maybe a different ear pad to be a re-skin since there would not be any new tech and pretty minor investment in there. We'll see. I certainly plan on measuring one when they come back around. May be a bit though, I won't overpay for one. :)

    I tried the Amiron briefly. It has a similar FR but it is different tech, as in a different driver so between some sonic characteristics and a completely unique aesthetic, I don't think most people would consider them redundant if they had them in hand. however, I found the material used comfortable but again difficult to clean and the while the tesla driver is more resolving, it has it's own problems. i found it slightly fatiguing, more resolving and not as sharp at imaging as the DT880.... of course that was awhile ago and all from memory, so grain of salt for sure.
     
  9. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    felt disk is now stock over the driver. 99% sure it's on there with an adhesive, but I'm getting ready to hit the road for work so no time to pull it open right now. can do that next weekend if you'd like.
     
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  10. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    Thank you for taking the time and spending the money to run the versions through measurements!

    I own a DT880 250 ohm version. I purchased this headphone back in the late 2000’s. I find it a very pleasant headphone. To my ears, they are pretty neutral - I don’t detect any exaggerations across the spectrum (at least none I find annoying).

    They are very comfortable with stock Beyer pads. Long listening sessions are no problem with these cans.

    I recently replaced the pads on mine with silver Beyer replacements. When buying replacements, make sure the model number is listed on the replacement pad package. I made the mistake of purchasing replacement pads for DT990 and slapping them on my DT770 Pro. Yikes! Bloated, unfocused bass assaulted my ears.

    I can think of 2 negatives - one is that the cable is hard wired. Would love to upgrade the cable, but alas... I have no technical skill, and a plug and play option is obviously not an option.

    The second negative is the headband. The part resting against your head/hair can get all sticky and nasty. Black sticky stuff would come off on my fingers and the band started to degrade. I don’t put anything odd in my hair - sometimes pomade, sometimes gel. Anyway, I purchased a headband cover off of Amazon the other day, and that solved the icky sticky issue (finally got off my ass and did something after 12 years of ownership).
     
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  11. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just got these in for modding experiments. Any way to tell visually what version these are? They do sound pretty well controlled despite the high degree of treble. Less fatiguing than I'd expect given the graph. Should be fun to mess with / pad roll. Will report back with all my findings.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    They are a version from the future
    logan.jpg
     
  13. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I had a pair of the DT880 Pro (all of which were 250 ohms) that I bought new in late 2014. While I thought the build quality was good and the comfort very good (clamping force is generally a non-issue for me, in fact lack thereof is more of one) the sound quality was meh. Didn't love them they way the fans did, nor hate them like the haters did. Kind of uninspiring I guess. The amount of treble wasn't really the problem for me, but rather the timbre. Just didn't sound very much like real instruments/voices. They were sold within a week after I received the hd600s. They remain the only beyers I have ever owned. I have not heard another that didn't sound worse to me than the 880s, fwiw, not that I have heard many (og t1, t70 or 90?).
     
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  14. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    looks like the first version of the DT880, introduced in 1980 and sold until 1984, until it was replaced by the DT990. it was to be the electrodynamic match to the first electrostatic headphone, the Beyer ET1000 from 1976.
     
  15. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Yup, it's just stuck on the grilles of the version I had. Don't have a pic of that specifically but it was a weak glue. I just used Elmer's to slap it back on when I was messing around with/without.

    Found the old cup inside pics, yeah "semi-open" works for these IMO:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    EDIT: Old measurements from October 2019 checking the effect of felt disc on FR. I was still trying to figure stuff out and tweaking the rig back then. As always don't compare these to anyone else's measurements, but other than that it's even more self-contained in that they're likely different from my other squiggles too, haha. This was RAW FR with mic flush against the MiniDSP EARS canal opening— presume flat plate coupler-similar but with some degree of cruddy silicone concha gain.

    Squishy pads, front foam was disintegrated at this point so it was felt disc right against my ears here. CANNOT say for sure if I level-matched these or if I kept the potentiometer steady. 1/48oct smoothing, L/Rch averages:

    No felt: YELLOW; Felt CYAN
    [​IMG]

    Distortion Rch NO FELT:
    [​IMG]

    Distortion Rch FELT:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  16. Eric_C

    Eric_C Friend

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    880 (premium, 250 ohm) was my first mid-tier headphone, so I have a lot of fond memories of it. Like everyone else has noted--and thank you @wadec22 for the measurements and comparisons--it's super comfy. They ruined other headphones for me by setting an unreasonably high bar for comfort.

    I never understood this either! Had to swap my headband twice in 8 years.
     
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  17. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    That DT880 is shown as a current model along side the DT770 and DT990 in a brochure I have from 1989. Interestingly they also used to offer a DT880 Studio model with “uncorrected high end to facilitate accurate tape monitoring and mastering”. All of these were 600 ohm headphones. I still have my DT990 purchased in 1990 for reference.
     
  18. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    you are right, it was not phased out, my mistake. although from what I understand the DT990 of 1989 was tuned much more like the DT880 of today?

    I have seen the DT880S, I think it is tuned to the IRT Munich diffuse field equalization invented in 1985, like the AKG240DF and Stax ED-1.

    http://rinchoi.blogspot.com/2014/02/stax-ed-1-monitor-legacy-from-past.html

    is the DT880M also listed in your brochure? I don't know what the M stands for. on the whole I think the vintage beyers are quite different from the modern 'reissues'. I would like to see scans of your catalog if possible - I only have Beyer catalogs from the 70s and 60s.
     
  19. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    I found some scans.

    1984 catalog below. my previous post already deemed incorrect! the DT880M stands for Monitor and is the DF-equalized model. from this text it appears the Studio is just a brighter DT880.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    1993 catalog, which does not list DT880 at all (on the other pages). DT770 and DT990 are now appended with 'Pro', in addition to the standard models

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    The DT990 was also diffuse field equalized like the K240DF. I also wrote beyerdynamic back then have a letter from them confirming the DT911 was also DF equalized. Interestingly I own all 3 headphones and they all sound different!

    The IRS 690 was a good sounding wireless headphone, reminding me of the DT990. Not sure if mine still hold a charge - need to dig them out and power them up.
     

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