Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 Ohm Review

DT 770 Pro 250 Ohm
DT 770 Pro 250 Ohm
Specification
Type
Closed back circumaural
Driver Type
Dynamic
Impedance
250 Ohm
Sensitivity
96 dB SPL
Weight
270g
Links

Today we are looking at the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 Ohm version. Now I have a love/hate relationship with closed backed headphones. On the one hand, I appreciate the isolation and at times the increased bass performance vs an open-backed dynamic. However, for many years I struggled to find a decent closed-back headphone, for a reasonable price that had the right combination of comfort, build quality and sound quality. Whilst it is relatively easy to find a cost-effective and good quality open back, closed backs are quite hit and miss. Having tried several closed backed headphones over the years from the likes of Sony, a whole host of gaming headsets, Sennheiser and much like seemingly everyone else back in 2014, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, I never really found a closed-back headphone that I truly liked.

That is until I tried the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. So what is it about the DT 770 that all the others fail to achieve? Well let’s get into it

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Wheezy Reviews is currently in lockdown thanks to the current world crisis that’s going on. My partner is working from home and that means I’m using closed-back headphones more than open-backed at the moment. Whilst I prefer open backs, sometimes you need isolation. And when you’re in isolation and need isolation. What better headphone than the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro?

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro has been around in various guises for decades and has been a mainstay in professional audio since it was released. There are currently several versions of the 770 available, the particular variant I have here is the 250 Ohm version and is a couple of years old now. I originally chose the 250 Ohm version for two main reasons. First, because the 250 Ohm version was said to be less bass boosted and more neutral than the 80 Ohm version. But also because this one came with a coiled cable and I do love a coiled cable. Seemed like a win-win to me.

A quick overview of the spec, we are looking at a closed-back headphone with a 250 Ohm and 96dB SPL dynamic driver and they weigh 270g. This is a rather inefficient headphone that requires a lot of power to drive. Actually, this is easily the most inefficient headphone I’ve ever used. You won’t be running these off of any low powered mobile devices or low powered audio interfaces. If you have a phone with a particularly good headphone output then you might be fine but for most people a headphone amp is an absolute must for the DT770 250 ohm version.

Construction is a mix of metal and plastic. Ear cups are a durable but lightweight plastic with a rather old school design. Often copied but never bested. Yokes and headband are metal. With the headband we are looking at spring steel with a removable leatherette cover, held on with poppers and easily replaceable. Padding is excellently deep and supportive. Perhaps one of the most comfortable headbands on any headphone I’ve ever used. The shape and curve allowing an even weight distribution across the head.

Ear pads are big and round with a soft and plushly padded velour. The padding at first doesn’t seem all that deep and they are not memory foam. But personally, I find these exceptionally comfortable. They are also easily removed and replaceable. The front of the driver plate is lined with a soft foam that again protects the ears should they rub.

Something to note about the earpads is they can change the sound a fair bit as they wear. Primarily and generally, you are going to find the bass is stronger with new pads but can decrease as the pads age. Some say that the treble spike is reduced as the pads age too but I think much less so than the bass. Something worth noting.

Clamping force I would probably say is medium. Not as heavy as the DT 1990 Pro, but heavier than the HD 599, perhaps similar to the HD 650, maybe a touch more.

There is also a good amount of vertical and lateral movement and adjustability of the earcups to help with the fit. Adjustment is done with a ratchet method. However, they don’t hold their position especially well. Adjustment is super easy to do when the headphones are not on your head, perhaps a bit too easy. Once on the head, the spring tension against the adjuster makes them more difficult to adjust and they hold their position well.

All in this is one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. I am often sat at my desk wearing these for hours upon hours at a time with no discomfort whatsoever.

The DT 770 Pro has a single-sided cable and the righthand driver is connected to the left with a thin wire that runs externally and then under the headband cover. There is a small amount of slack to account for the headband adjustment. This is a bit of an old school design and one that I thought would annoy me a little but I never found it bothersome. It does tend to become uneven on each side over time but that’s easily resolved.

This does seem like an odd design where a lot of headphones would try to hide their cabling for a cleaner look. However, this is not just an old school design quirk but more of a feature.

The DT 770 Pro is a professional workhorse headphone. Every single part of this headphone is replaceable because the DT 770 has been designed to be easily serviceable. Features such as the headband cover held on with poppers and the externally routed cable are all designed with this in mind.

So you might be wondering then, why the cable is non-removable. And I do agree that this is a point of pain. I would much prefer to see Beyer switch to a mini XLR just like on the DT 1770 and 1990. However, in the unlikely event that the DT 770 Pro’s cable does break, you simply pop open the lefthand earcup which is really easy to do. Desolder the cable and solder in a new one. Sure it’s not as easy as replacing a removable cable with a connector but it’s not all that difficult. The most important factor here is that Beyerdynamic actually makes all of the parts for the 770 readily available. You could do a full rebuild with off the shelf parts whenever you want. What’s more many of the parts are interchangeable between the DT 770, DT 990 and DT 880 which have all been around for decades. How many other headphones can you say have this level of repairability?

Speaking of the cable, the 250 Ohm version of the DT 770 comes with a coiled cable which may have been my primary reason for buying this one over the 80 Ohm version which unfortunately only comes with a 3m straight cable. They also come with a 3.5mm mini-jack and a screw-on ¼” adapter. Non-removable this cable maybe, but at least this one is my favourite type of cable so it doesn’t bother me.

On that note, it is actually quite popular to mod the 770 with a removable cable. That’s something I will be doing with this pair soon. I’ll be uploading a video of that, as long as I don’t destroy them in the process.

Before we move on to sound lets talk about the intended use case for these headphones. According to Beyerdynamic, the DT 770 Pro has been designed as a studio headphone for control and monitoring purposes. They do not make any claims that this is a reference headphone or that it is designed with mixing and mastering in mind. This is important to note as many people incorrectly believe that monitoring headphones are used by professionals for critical listening, mixing and mastering. Closed-back studio headphones or ‘monitoring’ headphones are designed as a general-purpose headphone with sound isolation in mind. They are used for live events, tracking during recording, monitoring levels, field recording etc.

The sound signature of many monitoring headphones is almost an afterthought to sound isolation. I mean how important is the ultimate audio fidelity when you’re playing along to a click track to record your part on a recording? Headphones like the Sony MDR-7506 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are classic examples of this type of headphone. Unfortunately, many of the features of these headphones that make them excellent for monitoring, makes them a rather poor home use headphone for listening to music casually or critically.

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, however, is a rather different headphone to these other more aggressive isolating headphones. Its durable and serviceable build and supreme all-day comfort are tell-tell signs that this is more than simply a monitoring headphone. Instead, the DT 770 Pro is more of a general-purpose studio workhorse. The DT 770 Pro is a series of well-executed compromises that makes them one of the most well rounded and versatile closed-back headphones available. Especially in their price range.

The 770 doesn’t isolate quite as well as the M50x for example, the choice to go with deep velour earpads rather than shallow pleather for a more comfortable and more open sound does mean that sound does leak from the 770 more than it does the M50x. However, unlike the M50x, the DT770 actually sounds quite open and has a really decent soundstage. In fact, the soundstage is so good they give some open-backed headphones a good run for their money. On that note, it could be argued that the lack of soundstage and forward aggressive sound signature of the M50x is actually desirable in a monitoring headphone, one in which the headphones job is to make sure you hear the important stuff and isolate. But whilst the 770 is probably not as good a monitor as the M50x, it is a much better all-rounder.

In terms of sound, many people would say they are not a neutral headphone and that’s quite true. But contrary to popular misconception, they are also not an aggressively scooped ‘fun’ V-shaped headphone. They ride a compromise between both. Perhaps why they are so very popular with musicians and creators. They have enough energy to be inspiring rather than pan flat and lifeless. But not so much of an exciting signature to be way off of accurate. Actually, Beyerdynamic almost seems to have landed somewhere close to Harman’s idea of neutral, perhaps by accident or design I don’t know. With the only significant exception being the almost-a-signature Beyerdynamic treble spike around 8-9kHz. Something I like to refer to as Mt Beyer. I think a lot of peoples misconceptions about the 770 comes from the fact that there is quite a bit of difference between each version of the 770 in terms of sound signature. The 80 Ohm version is said to be much more bassy than the 250 Ohm. Actually, if Harman is your ideal or your idea of neutral then the 250 Ohm version is pretty damn close. Apart from that treble spike.

Measurement taken with MiniDSP EARS rig using MiniDSP HPN compensation

I should add that I do have the 80 Ohm version here for test and there is a lot to talk about with relation to the differences between them and we also need to discuss the issue of unit variance. I’ll have more to say about that during my 80 Ohm review, so stay tuned for that.

The one complaint I hear most often about the whole range of DT770’s is the treble can be a bit shrill and harsh. And that’s not an unfair complaint. But in my opinion, when put against the likes of the M50x, these are actually not so bad. Furthermore, this is just another one of those compromises that is offset somewhat by how well the DT770 Pro handles EQ.

I use my 770 for general purpose use at my desk. Most of the time that means watching Netflix, playing video games, watching YouTube and other general web content and of course listening to music. But when it comes to listening to music I would much prefer to use one of my open-backed headphones over any closed back. But that’s not always possible due to my partner being around and the necessity for isolation. And for this, I’ve no problem adding a bit of EQ to sweeten the DT770 to taste.

I don’t think for music that the 770 sounds bad by default, far from it, but it’s not perfect and that’s ok. It is very track dependant, I can tolerate the DT770 pro without EQ sometimes, but I prefer a little tweak particularly to bring down some of that treble spike.

So how do they sound?

A short summary would be a description of the frequency response. W-Shaped. A lot of people will tell you that the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is v-shaped bright and bassy. There may be some truth with the 80 Ohm version, or maybe not. However, for the 250 Ohm version, I don’t think this is not the case. Bright it can be, in places, for sure. But in terms of bass, it’s not all that boosted. In fact, I think its fairly neutral, at least in terms of my ideal preference curve, but that depends on your definition of neutral.

Sure bass has a decent amount of authority but it’s not overly boosted. In fact, when compared to the Harman target and for my own tastes its pretty much spot on. I wouldn’t call this a bass headphone at all, but it does have an excellent amount of extension. It’s not the most articulate and detailed bass, it’s not especially quick. But its also not flabby and bloated either. Again with the compromises.

There’s a dip at 200Hz where the upper bass meets the low mids, not to the point of audible hollowness. In fact, to me, it’s a lot less audible in real terms than it looks like it would be. And perhaps that’s because the low bass is much more prominent. This recession at 200Hz probably cuts an area that could otherwise make the 770 sound overly warm, boosted and bloated. That’s my feelings on it, you might be bothered by that dip but it doesn’t seem to bother me. Its also something that is easily EQ’d out.

Mid-range is not at all recessed. At least not between 300Hz and around 2kHz. In fact it’s also pretty flat between this range. The result is it sounds just right to me.

In the low treble between around 3.5kHz and 4kHz there is a bit of a dip. Again it looks worse on graphs than it does in terms of audibility. However, it is there. Again not something I have an issue with. Treble on the 770 performs quite a bit better in terms of detail than the bass does, and does an excellent job for a reasonably priced closed-back. In fact, the only issue I have with the DT770 is from 6kHz up. Mt Beyer is something that either you will have an issue with or you won’t. As I said before, it is quite a track dependant and can make certain vocals and instruments sound a little shrill and harsh. Again this is easily EQ’d down, I’d much prefer to have one big peak than lots of sharp peaks and dips that are much more difficult to EQ out, which is what has ruined certain other headphones for me.

Just a quick look at some reference track examples

Hotel California – Eagles

Bass has a good, warmth and fullness. 12 string is nicely bright and detailed with a good reproduction of the reverb. This is not an exceptionally detailed and/or analytical reproduction of this song, instead, it’s a much more musical one and its one that I’m really enjoying.

Moanin’ – Charles Mingus

Maybe a little busy. Baritone sax at the beginning has a big full authority that sounds rather good. But the alto sax on the right borders on shrill in places. Bass is decently full but the low end is not especially detailed or articulate. It’s not the tightest or fastest bass and it’s perhaps overall a little warm for jazz.

Polaris – Deadmau5

This is very close to my preferred tuning, the extra energy in the upper treble helps to bring forwards the hi-hats, tss sound. But otherwise big deep and impactful bass, with a full warmness that does not lean towards bloatedness. Full and yet bright and cutting synth lead. There are moments where the synth lead does tend to be a bit too bright. It stands out as a little too much against the otherwise reasonably balanced rest of the frequency spectrum. This is almost certainly Mt Beyer rearing its head.

All in all the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 Ohm is a series of well-executed compromises that adds up to an excellent package as a whole. Superb build quality and serviceability. Supreme all-day comfort. Excellent soundstage for a closed back. A good somewhat neutral bass and midrange. The weaknesses being the upper treble spike and the non-removable cable. In truth, the non-removable cable is a non-issue. The default cable is a tough construction that shouldn’t break but is easily repaired if needed. However, for casual music listening, driving a steamroller over Mt Beyer to flatten the curve is probably necessary. But overall a rather excellent sounding headphone.

You might say, well you can get the CAL or K371 and they sound better. And they might do, and that might be the right choice for you, if you find them comfortable and they are durable enough for your use case. But can you drive your car over the CAL and then rebuild it replacing broken parts where necessary? I didn’t think so. Yeah its an extreme example, but it gets my point across. Also whilst I much prefer the sound signature of the K371 for its technical performance and accuracy, I find the 770 much more comfortable for daily use. Whilst it’s not perfect I think that the combo platter of reasonable price, build, comfort, sound quality and ability to handle EQ are a rare mix of qualities in a headphone that I think makes the DT 770 Pro one of the best closed-back headphones around. And not just closed backs, this is one of my all-time favourite headphones of any type.

I’m gonna have some more videos soon about the DT 770. I’m going to try my hand at modding and I’ll also be doing a review of the 80 Ohm version too so make sure you stay tuned.


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