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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Review

Beyerdynamic knows high-end audio, and it shows on the DT 880.

August 02, 2013
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

Beyerdynamic knows high-end audio, and these ultra plush velour-clad headphones perform admirably. It seems a bit crass to holler about how attractive these headphones are, but they really are the complete package with the performance to justify the very high $399 pricetag.

Design

Easily the most attractive thing on your desk

If you've shopped around and looked at more than one set of Beyerdynamic cans, you probably noticed right off the bat that the DT 880s look... well... pretty much the same as any other set of cans from the famed German manufacturer. It's not a bad thing, and in fact it's a great design—those huge ear cups distribute weight very well, and every point of contact with your skull is well-padded and soft. These are built for long listening sessions.

Huge ear cups distribute weight very well, and every point of contact with your skull is well-padded and soft. Tweet It

The major tradeoff of this set of cans is that they aren't indestructible, so don't roll over that long 9.84-foot cable with your chair. If you manage to break the plug, cable, or other easily-destroyed part of these headphones, you're out of luck (unless you're a competent soldersmith).

For those of you using serious audio equipment, look into buying the 250Ω or 600Ω versions—that 1/4 inch adapter that threads onto the plug won't really see much use unless you're using your cans with a high-power system anyways, so those of you with the 32Ω version of the DT 880s will probably forget this attachment even exists.

manufaktur.jpg
The array of options are dizzying, but give it a whirl if you've got extra cash.

If the simple metal aesthetic isn't enough for you, buying your DT 880s through the Beyerdynamic website will lead you to its MANUFAKTUR option—giving you a world of new possibilities in terms of aesthetics. We're seeing more companies allow their consumers tailor high-end headphones to their liking, but this is probably the most extensive set of options I've ever seen online!

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In Use

Real velour, Zapper approved

All that being said, users of the DT 880 will find that plush velour ear pads are not only very comfortable, but pleasurable to wear. I can best describe it as cupping your outer ears in one of those cuddle blankets you see in the mall.

If you think these are a good fit for the office, I caution you to reconsider. Tweet It

High comfort means a great match for those of you who really just like to kick your feet up on the desk and listen to high-fidelity music. You can listen for hours without discomfort—long periods of blissful listening. If you often watch movies at the computer, these are a great pickup.

If you think these are a good fit for the office, I caution you to reconsider. Because the backs of the DT 880s are semi-open, they leak sound like crazy. If you think your chattering coworker is bad, everyone else around you will absolutely lose their cool after you subject them to distortion-y versions of your music for hours on end. Additionally, your DT 880s wil not block out much sound at all, so definitely leave these at home if you want to get the most out of them.

Audio Quality

In this case, flat is a good thing

Novice users may not like the "flat" sound of the DT 880s. That's okay, but Beyerdynamic gave these cans audio performance close to the actual "studio sound" that many companies claim, but rarely ever deliver. If you were to mix with these headphones, the result might not be ideal, but it'd be orders of magnitude better than using Beats. Don't ever do that. That's an awful idea.

You'd be very hard-pressed to find a fault with the performance of these cans without taking matters of taste into account. Tweet It

As with most of the other Beyerdynamic high-end offerings, the DT 880s offer super-good audio quality—there are no audible flaws, and these cans perform on-par with higher-priced competitors. However, just because they're expensive doesn't mean that they're automatically the best choice for you. If you're someone who needs extreme emphasis on bass notes and you don't know your way around an equalizer, look elsewhere.

It's hard not to be effusive in praise for these headphones when the distortion is so low; and they treat most sounds equitably, too. There's a very slight bass bump, but overall most notes very evenly emphasized outside of a range commonly associated with high harmonics. As a human listener, you'd be very hard-pressed to find a fault with the performance of these cans without taking matters of taste into account.

Conclusion

Yowza

Despite the option for a 32Ω set of headphones, nobody should really be considering the DT 880s—or any open backed headphones—for mobile use. However, if used in the right situation, these cans are gold—despite the silvery exterior.

If you're looking at buying the Beyerdynamic DT 880, chances are good that you're looking for something to sit by the computer or home hi-fi system, so audio quality and comfort will be the most important factors in your buying decision. Should that be the case, give these cans a good, hard, look—they certainly live up to their hype online, and should stand up to even the worst critics.

I'm a grump, so my word is basically iron-clad—try 'em out: The numbers speak for themselves. You may balk at the price, but these are a set of headphones that'll last, feel amazing to wear for long periods of time, and perform extremely well. They definitely give you a decent return on your investment, and that's a prized commodity when talking about high-priced equipment: The prices (and claims) can get a bit silly, but with this set of cans you're getting a tangible return on your money.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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