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Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium Headphone Review

This review has been in the making for a while. I’ve actually had the DT880 for over a month now. In that time they have become the headphones that I listen to most of the time. I honestly can’t explain why maybe it’s just the convenience( already connected to the amp). Maybe subconsciously they are my favorite, or maybe its the fact they just do everything well. This is TLR Technology’s review of the Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 600 ohm headphones.

If you’re new to the website these thoughts are my own and not influenced by Beyerdynamic. You’ll also see purchase links to Amazon. This is a great way to support our website if you decide to purchase any of the products we reviewed. You can even order products that we haven’t mentioned and we might get a small kickback. We appreciate your support

beyerdynamics DT880 Black Special Edition box

The Unboxing

Starting with the packaging, like most headphones these days the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium comes in a box that’s mean to grab your attention. It isn’t crazy colorful but it does have a huge glossy image of the DT880 on the side. It’s enough to make most people at least do a double-take. Inside you’ll find a rather large semi-hard carrying/ storage case. Once you open the case you will finally find your prize. Headphone cable! and a lot of it, but there are headphones connected to one end… So that has to count for something right… The last item in the box is the gold plated 1/4 inch adapter that we’ve come to expect.

Moving onto the build the DT880 feel rather light in the hand when I compare them to like-sized headphones. The ear cups are a good mix of plastic and metal (I’m going to assume aluminum due to the lightweight).  The gimbals that support the ear cups beautifully powder-coated metal and attach the ear cups securely enough to feel durable but loose enough to allow the ear cups to sit properly on the head.

The headband on the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium is different compared to the DT880 Pro. The Premium is designed to have a more relaxed fit on your head while the Pro was designed for a tighter fit(clamp) that you’d want if you’re moving around in a studio or professional environment. The metal used in the premiums headband feels like some type of soft spring steel (It always returns to the original shape), while I think the Pros also use spring steel just a stiffer version.

They Call It Velour

The earpads and headband seemed to be covered in the same material. It’s hard to say exactly what it is (their website says it is velour). In my mind, it is like a cross between microfiber and felt. It feels extremely thick and durable. I’d even say that it feels in my opinion like the most durable headphone pad material that we have on any of our headphones. I need to mention the foam padding on DT880 headband is by far the thickest and most comfortable of all the headphones that I have right now. The foam is thicker than the foam of the $1,500 Focal Clears, and it is about 3 times thicker than the foam of the Hifiman HE4XX.

Notice the fixed, non removable cable

The cable… Oh, the cable… Where can I start. I joked about it earlier, but Beyerdynamics has provided enough cable that I can just about walk to the next room, literally. I understand the professional models include more cable to allow for movement but these are the Premium, not the Pro. When it comes to Professional headphones most of those have really long cables, however, they are coiled making them a lot more manageable. This is not the case with the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium.

Free Jump Rope Included

This cable could literally be used as a jump rope if you wanted. The cool thing is the cable seems so durable that you could use it as a jump rope and it would likely still work for years to come. If you are thinking its ok, I’ll just replace the cable… NOPE! think again. Beyerdynamic for some reason made the cable non-detachable. So unless you willing to almost certainly void the warranty to custom make the cable detachable you will likely do what I did. Coil the wire and use a velcro strap to keep it short and manageable.

I coiled the excess cable and use a velcro stap to secure it, and this still gives me more than enough cable to move around.

Specs

Before I move onto the sound I want to talk about the feel of the DT880 on your head. Initially, I didn’t like the feel of the velour ear pads. They had a scratchy like quality to them. Hifiman uses velour on the HE4XX but they felt so much nicer compared to the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium. However, after using them for a while though, that changed. I think the initial stiffness of foam and ruff edges of the velour used by Beyerdynamic breaks in after a few hours and now DT880 feels like they are not even there.

The velour ear pads take a few hours to really break in.

Again briefly touching on the headband, It’s easily the most comfortable of all my headphones. The thick padding that Beyerdynamic used along with the lightweight is a match made in heaven.

Now onto my only complaint when it comes to fit is the lack of clamping force. YEP! I said the lack of clamp. The ear cups swivel fantastically, the headband adjustment is a type of friction slider that is firm and holds its place. The clamping force is loose on my head and I’d say I have an average size head. I tried multiple times to bend the metal of the headband like I did on the Grado SR80e, but the spring steel Beyer uses just goes back to its original shape. I found if I snug the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium headband down pretty firmly they remain comfortable and feel less like they are going to fall off if I turn quickly turn my head. If you go for the Pro model you won’t likely have this problem.

(Sidenote: I prefer the friction fit headband adjustment Beyer uses over the ratchet type headband adjustment like focal uses. I feel like my head is right between adjustment clicks. This is not something you have to worry about on the DT880 Premium.) 

Notice how thick and comfortable the headband looks

The Sound

Lets finally get into the sound. The DT880 600 ohm headphones are hard to explain. The reason being I almost want to call them boring but they’re certainly not. They are a jack of all trades if you know what I mean. When it comes to sound they are good just about everywhere.

The treble is bright and lively but nowhere close to being too bright to my ears and I’m fairly treble sensitive. On songs like Hey Nineteen by Steely Dan, the cymbals are clean, clear, and realistic. The resolution of the vibration after the initial cymbal hit just floats in the air perfectly.

When it comes to the mid-range and vocals the beyerdynamic DT880 Premium again sounds great. There really isn’t anything bad to say. I will say the are more forward (intimate) when compared to other open-back headphones. This probably because the Beyer Dynamic DT880 has a semi-open back style. ( More on that later) Overall, again the mids are clean, clear and precise.

The bass and sub-bass are fairly good. The initial bass impact on the Drop The Bass(Pt.2) by DJ Magic Mike is solid but as the frequencies shift the bass does tend to drop out. I do want to compare a few headphones at this point though.

Using the Geshelli ENOG2 and Archel 2.5 I listened to the Drop The Bass(Pt.2) using the Hifiman HE4XX, Focal Clear and DT880. I would have thought the Planar HE4XX would have had more impact, but they didn’t. They actually had less and had the worst separation after the bass drops and shifts frequency. The Focal Clear which cost 7 and a half times more had the same initial impact as the DT880 but it maintained a solid little thump after the frequency shifts. The DT880 again comes right in the middle. Its initial impact was good, the separation was better compared to the 4xx but worst than the Clear. The bass was more present after the frequency drop compared to the 4XX.

Semi-Open Back

I mentioned earlier the DT880 are what Beyerdamic calls semi-open back headphones. Beyer says this design results in low attenuation of ambient noise. What that means in simple terms is the semi-open ear cup design blocks more outside noise vs something truly open back like the Focal Clear or 4XX. The good news is that it works. You can clearly hear things and people around you, the music you listen to will bleed out, it just does it a lot less.

There is a trade-off though. Just as with most things in life, there has to be a balance. The semi-closed design reduces the sound stage. It’s still present, but it is not as large as it would be in other open-back headphones. The upside again is there is more closed cup which results in a bit better bass. So, as I’ve stated before the sound stage is good, not great, so the Beyerdynamic DT880 continues its trend of just being good..lol

A wonderful side effect of the semi-open back design and the skill of Beyerdynamic has resulted in a headphone that is pretty good for gaming. The sound stage is medium-sized and the imaging is accurate in the space. The DT880 are fantastic if you are trying to pinpoint footsteps in a first-person shooter.

Final Thoughts

I started this review saying the DT880 600 ohm was boring, but at the same time its anything but boring. I hope you see what I mean. They are really good headphones. They are good across the board. If you looked at any of the categories I’ve touched on you can probably find a headphone that does better when compared to the DT880. The thing is I don’t think you can find a better overall headphone when you look at performance across ALL the categories I’ve mentioned. If you just want a do it all, good overall headphone, I think the DT880 is hard to beat.

******( Disclamer )*******

The 600-ohm version of the DT880 will certainly need a good headphone amp. I’d say at least 1 watt RMS should be more than enough but more power wouldn’t hurt. I’ve had great results using the Geshelli Archel 2.5, Schiit Audio Magni Heresy, and S.M.S.L. SP200 amps.

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