Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always had a thing for headphones. I’m not sure why but I had everything from the dorky large headphones that had a built in radio to the cool waterproof Sony’s which didn’t turn out to be that waterproof (as a kid it’s easy to mistake splash proof for waterproof). I guess I liked the immersion headphones offer and this hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older. I currently own the Bang & Olufsen A8, Shure E2, Sure SE210, Sennheiser PX100, Sennheiser PXC250, AKG K81 DJ, UE Super.fi 5 Pro, a UE Triple.Fi 10 Pro and my latest acquisition which this post revolves around, the BeyerDynamic DT770. I never think I have enough headphones and I always find a reason to get another one, I’m just obsessed…
If you don’t want to get bored you can skip this whole paragraph. Before I decided on which BeyerDynamic model I wanted I had to choose between closed or open air type headphones. Closed usually offer better sound isolation so that the people around you don’t hear what you’re listening to while with open air the sound leaks out and could annoy people around you. There are other advantages and disadvantages to each but since I was planning to listen to these headphones in the living room in front of my computer where Nat would be watching tv, I went with the DT770 model which is closed. If you prefer open air then you would need to check out the DT880 and DT990 models. Now that I had that sorted I had to choose which DT770 model I wanted, Amazon had 5 different models, the DT770 32 Ohm, 80 Ohm, 250 Ohm, 600 Ohm and the M. Even though all 5 headphones are the same model, they all had different sound signatures but after a lot of research I finally decided on the 600 Ohm since they supposedly were the best sounding of the group but with a big disadvantage to the rest which is they needed to be powered by a separate headphone amplifier. The 32 Ohm and 80 Ohm could be powered by the iPod directly (but could benefit from a small portable headphone amp like the FiiO E5 or a home made CMoy). The 250 Ohm require a headphone amp but can be powered by some portable headphone amps as well. The M version is for drummers while the 600 Ohm requires an external powered amp to drive. So I had to research headphone amps and once I got into that I found out I could get even better sound by bypassing my computer internal audio car by using an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter). To cut it short I ended up getting the FiiO E7 DAC and the FiiO E9 amp. The amp had enough power to drive the my headphones while the E7 acted as a DAC when connected to the E9 but could also be used as a portable headphone amp with 20+ hour of battery life when used by itself although it wouldn’t be able to power the DT770 by itself.
I listen to a variety of music ranging from downbeat like Kruder & Dorfmeiser, A Guy Called Gerald, Tosca, Dzihan and Kamien and anything from the K7 label, 90′s alternative bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Blind Melon, Radiohead, NIN, Tool etc.. to electronic music like Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Matt Darey, Underworld and Booka Shade. After having the headphones for a few weeks now I have to say I really like them a lot but slightly disappointed with them at the same time. Firstly the good stuff. These are the most immersive headphones I’ve ever had. They’re extremely comfortable since the ear cups are soft and the material nice to the touch. They also fit around my ears instead of pressing onto them which makes them less painful when listening to them for a long time. Once I have them on I don’t really notice them anymore, I could leave them on for hours without feeling any discomfort whatsoever. The build quality is amazing, they’re made in Germany and a lot of metal is used in the construction so they feel like they could last a lifetime and they should seeing how much they cost. The sound is also extremely well balanced, for example I love the Beats by Dre headphones but their bass dominates everything else and the music can end up sounding muddy. With the DT770 they’re perfectly balanced, a bit too perfect actually since sometimes I wish they did pump out more bass specially when listening to some electronic music. But that’s just on rare occasions, majority of the time they blast music wonderfully and I actually re-ripped some of my CD’s at higher bit-rates so I could truly appreciate these headphones.
But, like I just said, I wish sometimes the lows did dominate but I guess that gives me an excuse to also pick up a pair of Beats for when I’m in the mood to pretend I’m at a club. The second negative is the fact it doesn’t isolate as much as I was hoping they would. When I have the volume pretty high up the way I like it, everybody in the room could hear what I’m playing and if the TV is playing loud I could also hear it. I guess the solution to that would be to listen to music with my in-hear headphones but they aren’t anywhere as comfortable as the DT770′s.
Overall though these are pretty good headphones, the best I’ve owned and completely destroys everything I have except for maybe the UE triple.fi which I should review soon. Price wise they’re not that expensive but if you’re getting the 600 Ohm version then it adds up since you would need to purchase an external Amp to run them. I paid $244 for the DT770, $99 for the FiiO E7 and $130 for the FiiO E9. You could skip the E7 or just skip both the E7 and E9 and get the 32 or 80 Ohm DT770. The final score is a highly recommended 4 out of 5.
BeyerDynamic DT770 600 Ohm
FiiO E7 DAC
FiiO E9 Amp
FiiO L3 (iPod cable)