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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250-Ohm Headphone Discussion Thread

by Wayne Myers
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MSRP: $365.00
Street Price: $349
Currently available from Amazon and Full Compass

Introduction

Audio companies that make precision microphones and headphones belong to a special category in my mind. The production of instruments like these demands a special kind of engineering attention to detail that sets them apart. Beyerdynamic is one I have long admired, and I looked forward to reviewing their DT 880 Premium headphones. These are the first Beyerdynamic headphones I have had the pleasure of listening to, and as a result my assessment of the company has moved a solid couple of notches higher.

Conclusions

The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250-ohm headphones are not for the budget conscious. They are in good company at the $350 price point, where discounts are hard to find, so I have to call them a good value regardless of the serious dent they will put in your A/V gear fund. I highly recommend the DT 880s for your consideration, especially if your listening tastes favor vocals and acoustical instruments. They handle rock 'n roll just fine, too, and let you push the volume a lot further than you normally might with other headphones or with speakers. Watch those SPL levels and please keep your precious hearing safe.

The Pros:
  • Sound great with any style of music, particularly well-suited for vocals and acoustical instruments
  • Allow intimate close-up listening without harshness
  • Laser sharp imaging; wide, natural soundstage
  • Very comfortable design, good for long listening sessions
  • Leather carrying and storage case
The Cons:
  • A headphone amplifier or AVR is needed to drive them to a good listening volume

Performance Summary and Overall Performance Score
  • Imaging: 10.0
  • Soundstage: 10.0
  • Clarity: 9.0
  • Speed: 10.0
  • Frequency Response: 10.0 (Scooped Profile)
  • Overall Listening Experience: 10
  • Comfort: 10
  • Design: 9
  • MSRP: $365.00
  • Street Price: $349
  • Overall Performance Score: 9.8 out of 10

Go to the Headphone Roundup Overview for scoring and comparison details.

Go to the full review.

This thread is open for discussion about the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250-Ohm Headphones and the DT 880 review.

by Wayne Myers
AudiocRaver
 

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I had a lot of fun reviewing the DT 880s. If there are any DT 880 owners out there, or anyone who has experience with them, we would like to hear your reactions. And from any Beyerdynamic headphone owners in general.

Do you like them? How much? How would you assess them differently than I did?
 

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Great Review Wayne!!!

I have owned a set of the Beyer Dynamic DT990 since 1981 and have since purchased many sets for our recording studio. We do not use the standard AKG K240s anymore as all of our clients love the Beyers. Many feel it's like wearing speakers on your head (...due to the full and rich sound). I've also managed to mix with them (....bearing in mind the upper mid scoop) while gaining excellent results in low frequency detail.

Beyer has definitely got something going with their DT line from the closed 770s (...for drummers), the 880s on up to the 990s.

Howard.
~
 

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Hey, Howard, thanks a lot for the feedback. Even as long as Beyerdynamic is been around, I just have not run into that much of their product in use (I use their MM-1 measurement mic, which is super). It's a mystery, have heard nothing but good about them. Hearing from someone who has put a lot of their headphones to work in a serious studio setting is a real testament. And I agree, that bottom end seems to go on and on, yet is so smooth.

I am very curious how you would compare the DT 880s with the DT 990s. Could you give a brief summary?

And, I see you are a new member. Welcome to Home Theater Shack!:sn:
 

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Wayne,

I feel the 990s to be even wider ranging than the 880s. Both are great but we went with the 990s as an extreme choice to see if clients (singers, musicians, etc...) would take to them. The AKGs have been the standard studio 'cans' since before I started ('70s), so it could have been risky to throw artists off from the 'reference standard'. I personally could never get used to headphones in the studio as I am a bass player, so you can imagine I would bring my original set of DT 990s to many of the sessions I was called for.... they just sounded right.

These Beyers need a little more juice, but given the application (...studio), it has never been a problem, considering they sound so much fuller. I am still able to get great levels on my iPhone\Android devices.

Also, the price was totally reasonable... $250C initially, but Beyer has dropped the price to below $200C recently, so it was a 'no brainer' choice between the two.

Howard.
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Re: Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250-Ohm Headphone Review

Very nice review!

I have a pair of AKG phones that I really like, but I'm always window shopping for the higher price point -to see what's out there. Sounds like this pair is a very solid performer.
 

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I am sorry for being late to the party on this, I started to follow the headphone thread some time ago but lost track. So, reading your review put a large smile on my face, in part because of the following if I may be so bold:

"Symphony number seven, by Beethoven (F. Reiner, Chicago Symphony), all four movements, gave me another chance to see how close I could get to the action. With the volume up, it felt like I was standing right beside the Maestro, the soundstage wide, relaxed, and natural, the imaging precise, and details apparent that you would not hear from out in the seats. The tap of a fingernail, the crackle of a page turn, the hint of scratchiness of violin bowing up close, the little collisions and frictions involved in playing an instrument, these occasional little reality sounds could be heard from this vantage point, not distracting from the performance but giving it a human quality. More than once one of those sounds had me looking around to see if it had been made by something in my room. The strings sounded beautiful, never shrill even at high volume. I noticed a little solo melodic handoff from oboe to flute to clarinet to bassoon that had never caught my attention before. Thumps of the double basses were felt deep in the chest. A timpani strike had me turning my head for a look, and the finale with all the strings being plucked at once had me seeing individual fingertips on strings. Each instrument's location throughout was imaged with the precision that temps the psycho-acoustical brain to believe you have been transported somewhere else."

I have not read anyone review a CSO performance of this piece, let alone using headphones I own and use more than any other. While I obviously was not able to attend the performance you used, I was lucky enough to attend a night with Georg Solti conducting the CSO in Chicago a good number of years ago and it is etched on my mind. I can still see the rosin clouding off the bass bows, the entire ensemble appearing to be in the throws of musically spiritural experience.

What you described does ring true with my own pair, although they are a bit older (2003) they are also the 250 ohm size. I have heard a good deal of headphones and have not yet heard anything in this price range that compels me to put them back in their original and very classy aluminum enclosure. Indeed I do play with a nice set of Denons, they have a bigger bass but do not have the overall magic. I also have some Grado's, a Sony, Monster Turbine and whatever else but no replacements. I got the Beyer's as a match up with the Headroom Desktop Amp/Dac which is class A as you suggest. A marriage made in heaven imo.

Thank You again for the kind review and if you ever wish to try the Headroom Amp/Dac, with the external power supply, just yell and I can send it to you for review, its that good.
 

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I just ordered a pair of the DT 880 Pro 250 ohm for $196 with free 2-day Prime shipping on Amazon. The DT 880 Premium 250 ohm is now going for $282. My understanding is that the differences between Pro and Premium are actually mainly cosmetic and ergonomic (different tighter band) rather than a major acoustic difference. Perhaps a tighter seal on the head would equate to the "studio or front-of-house" volume effect, but they are semi-open design anyway so not sure on this one. Both are now a steal! I also have a Fiio E18 DAC/amp on pre-order to drive these from my laptop. On Savjac's high endorsement, I set out to find a Headroom Desktop DAC/amp -- seems they are discontinued?? After a bit of burn-in, I'll need to assess need for anything more than the Fiio I guess.

Thanks for the great review, Wayne!
 

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Mark
Indeed, it seems the stopped production and sales of this amp a short while ago. Tyll Hertsens, the guy who ran the company and made these delightful little gizmos chose to let them go and frankly I am not sure he is even there any longer having recently becoming involved in Inner Fidelity online group. He is an incredible recourse for all things on the head.
I had heard some gossip that things may change at Headroom so I went ahead and sent mine in for whatever updates they could do and it came back in very excellent shape. They changed the rca connectors and a bunch of internal gizmos for a relatively painless sum about 3 years ago I think. None the less it still works great.

I cannot comment on too many headphone amps as I have not heard many of late, however, I did buy a Nuforce Amp/Dac for the headphones and it works very well but its not quite as lush or powerful as the former.
But, it does work in a pinch and at $250 or so, I was way cheaper.

I hope you enjoy your new Headphones and if your ever in southern Indiana, let me know and you are welcome to hear whatever I have in house.
 
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