Beyerdynamic DT880 (2005) Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Beyerdynamic Model DT880 (2005)
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 290 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Aluminium Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 250 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 5 - 35000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$280
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 7.7 Bass Impact 6.7
Bass Quality 7.7 Mids Quality 8.0
Highs Quality 7.3 Soundstage 7.7
Detail 8.0 Portability 3.0
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 8.0
Durability 8.0 Improvement With Amplification 7.0
Value for Money 7.3    
Overall Score 7.7 Total Reviews 3

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member chunkage on 25 Feb 08  07:19
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value5

While not quite in the class of the AKG K701, the updated DT880 has a rounded metal cup design and competitive value that makes this an attractive audiophile phone. In many cases, this can be distingushed from the 2003 model by a flat metal cup design (and the aluminum carrying case). These have become less of a bargain recently compared to a few comparable phones.

- If you're a fan of the DT880's spacious soundstage, the latest version has even more spaciousness. It's well suited for classical detail, though works well in a variety of genres. The soundstage, exaggerated to some, can give an emotional distance to tracks.

- As with the '03 version, this has a treble bias. That's to say, it has good detail that's well controlled through its range. A few complain of sibilance, but this depends on your source - and taste in music. I enjoy assertive treble, so it's not a problem for me.

- Both DT880 versions have a tendency to sound "dry" - a contrast to the fuller-sounding K701. The "dryness" contributes to an austere sound, but also shaves off some treble detail and warmth. For me, this seemingly small issue left for an unsatisfactory coldness over long listening periods.

- No question, these are uncommonly comfortable headphones. It would be hard to find more comfort in a phone.

- Value has suffered with this version. While the K701 can be had for $250-ish new, the DT880 hovers around $299.

I ended up selling my DT880 in favor of the AKG-K701 - treble detail was finer, and overall fuller. with a wide range of music.

Review by Senior Member audiomagnate on 17 Jan 07  09:22
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value8

I got my 2005 DT880s about three months ago. My first impression was "Wow! Are these comfy!" The gray velour feels absolutely wonderful. I still find them extremely comfortable, and even use them for extended late night movie viewing sessions.

My second impression was, "Wow, are these bright!" They sound wonderfully detailed on good recordings, but if you pop in an compressed, poorly done, overly bright recording, your listening session might just end right then and there. It's easy to understand why tube amps are so popular with these headphones.

One thing I'm very sensitive to in full sized cans is what I call "cuppyness". I use it to describe the cup sounding resonance that I hear in nearly all circumaural phones, especially on vocals. It's there in the 880s, but to a very minor degree. Otherwise, the midrange is as good as I've heard in a non electrostatic. Not exactly forward, but what I'd call intimate.

The bass is just lovely. If there's no deep bass in the recording you might think they're a little thin sounding, but then all of the sudden along comes some deep bass and there it is, in all its non bloated glory. I tested them with Audacity, and they put out useful, undistorted information down into the mid twenties.

To sum up, these are are fantastic deal at their new street price, especially if you think most of the high end Sennheisers sound a little dull. They're built like a brick outhouse, they're very comfortable, and they sound wonderful except on bad, overly bright recordings. Highly recommended.

Here are my ratings:

Bass Extension 8.0 Bass Impact 6.0
Bass Quality 8.0 Mids Quality 8.0
Highs Quality 7.0 Soundstage 7.0
Detail 8.0 Portability 2.0
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 8.0
Durability 8.0 Improvmt W/Amp 7.0
Value 8.0

Review by Member CanCan on 24 Nov 07  18:30
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value9

The DT880 is a reference grade set of cans. The low bass extension and quality is similar to the K601, but since it is semi-open, or semi-closed, whichever way you look at it, the bass seems a bit different. It's mainly a psychoacoustic phenomenon that fools you into thinking the DT880 is fuller, but it's not. The K601 mids are a bit better, but then that's AKG's strong point anyway. You don't beat AKG in the midrange at the same price point. Treble is more extended and louder on the DT880, but again, that's the DT880's strong point if you like extended and somewhat bright treble, without harshness. The DT880 and K601 are direct competitors, and there is no winner between the two. The particular type music, amplification, source material, mood of the day, phase of the moon, or whatever........you can like one better than the other, then the next day the other wins your favor.

The DT880 is definitely comfortable and looks durable. You can't go wrong if you can swing the purchase price. Careful shopping will get you some for under $250. It's the perfect partner for the K601 if you want to check out particular aspects of a recording. For instance, on a lot of ABBA's late recordings which were very complex, you can check out Agnetha and Frida's vocals or a guitar track with the K601 and then study some of the instrumental parts stuck back in the mix such as Benny's keyboard work with the DT880. Each has an uncanny ability to unravel nuances in the music in its own way. Frequency response curves do no fully describe how they complement each other. Combining the price and getting a more expensive set of cans will NOT get you the same resolution you can get out of both cans. The biggest difference will be the way they treat the mids, not the treble difference. Neither set of cans ever irritate you and you can pull listening sessions that last for hours. At the same time, both cans are fairly dynamic and pull you into the music.

If you own several good cans, make sure the DT880 is one of them. Like the K601, it can put the spotlight on certain aspects of music without getting musically irritating or physically uncomfortable. For that reason, I gave away my Grado SR200 as it was irritating in the long run by comparison. The overall sonic flavor lies somewhere between Grado and Sennheiser, and beats both of them in ultimate extension in bass and treble.

Beyerdynamic DT880 (2005)