This is really a part two of my previous review about the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. I previously reviewed the 250 Ohm version which I have been using for a couple of years now. Recently I also got hold of the DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm version, same build and comfort but slightly different sound. Do I like it more than the 250 Ohm version? Let’s get into it.
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I’m not going to go into huge detail about the build and comfort of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm as it is the same as every other DT 770 Pro. If you want to see why I think this is one of the most well built, durable and comfortable headphones around then check out my review of the 250 Ohm version now and then come back here.
However, briefly, the 80 Ohm version is the same mix of plastic and metal, with comfortable and replaceable pleather headband and nice soft plushy velour earpads. However, on this version, we have a 3m straight cable whereas on the 250 Ohm version it used a coiled cable. And just like the 250 Ohm version, this one also has a 3.5mm jack with screw-on ¼” adapter. Also just like every other DT 770 Pro every part of this is replaceable and user-serviceable should any part break, Beyerdynamic makes all parts readily available. This truly is a general-purpose studio workhorse headphone.
Apart from the cable the only other difference between the 250 Ohm and 80 versions of the DT 770 Pro is in the sound. It is often said that the 80 Ohm 770 is an aggressively v-shaped sounding headphone and the 250 Ohm version is much more neutral but perhaps a little brighter. I really only partially agree with this idea.
I actually purchased the 250 Ohm version first based on the idea that it was the more neutral headphone but also because I prefer a coiled cable. The 250 Ohm is really not neutral in old school terms, it would certainly be considered too bassy and bright. But actually, as someone with a preference for a sound signature close to the Harman target, I found the 250 Ohm version to be reasonably close in the bass and mids but way too bright in the treble. This is not something that overly bothered me as 99% of my time using the 770 is for general-purpose listening and gaming rather than music. On the few times, I wanted to listen to music I would apply some EQ to bring down some of the treble energy.
Based on the hearsay I was really expected an aggressively scooped v-shaped headphone from the 80 Ohm version with much more bass. However, this has not matched with my experience. Perhaps just like the 250 Ohm version, it is definitely not neutral by old school standards, but again closer to the Harman target. In fact, I don’t find the bass to be much different to the 250 Ohm version, it is brighter than Harman for sure, but not as much as the 250 Ohm version.
There is actually quite a bit to talk about with the 80 vs 250 Ohm versions but also the 770 in general. And let me preface the rest of this sound section with how I use the DT 770 Pro and thus how I judge them for my own personal preferences so you can understand that for me they might work very well, but they might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
I primarily use the DT 770 Pro for movies, TV, YouTube and other web content, video games and other general-purpose listening. I don’t tend to listen to much music on these, much preferring to do so on open-backed headphones. Keep that in mind, my criteria on how good these headphones are, might not match with yours.
However having said that, at least with this particular 80-ohm unit I have here, I really like the sound signature for music, much more so than the 250 Ohm version I have.
Ok so, just like the 250 Ohm version we have the same decent imaging and excellent soundstage for a closed-back headphone. This is a soundstage that rivals some intimate open-backed headphones.
Bass is big and has a decent authority. In fact, I would say that bass on the 80 Ohm version is faster, more dynamic, has more authority and is overall of much better quality than the 250 Ohm version. It is, therefore, both more technically able and much more enjoyable. This is something that really surprised me.
Interestingly the bass on this 80-ohm version I have here is less boosted and less extended than on the 250 Ohm version I own. But because it is much tighter and more articulate the bass quality is that much better. It has much more energy and impact.
Mids are about the same as the 250 Ohm version, not to my ears particularly recessed. Actually, I don’t think the DT 770 Pro is v-shaped at all, but rather w-shaped based on the appearance of the graphs. I guess it depends on what you consider to be neutral. I have a preference for a Harman style bass shelf and I don’t consider that to be v-shaped. Although there is a dip between 100Hz to 300Hz that may bother some people and could give the impression of a recessed midrange. However the rest of the midrange up to around 3kHz is certainly not recessed.
Treble is emphasised in the upper treble with the Beyerdynamic signature treble spike at 8-9kHz hereby named as Mount Beyer. However, this is less pronounced than on the 250 Ohm version, not by much in terms of overall amplitude, perhaps only a couple of dB. However, where this treble spike differs with the 250 Ohm version is how much more extended this spike is on the 250 vs the 80 Ohm. The treble elevation is much more extended on the 250 Ohm version, even remaining elevated into the air frequencies. As a result, the 250 sounds much brighter than the 80 Ohm version.
Much to my surprise I actually find I can listen to the DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm version without needing EQ and I find them really enjoyable to listen to.
Actually, when I first started listening to the 80 Ohm version I had a rather different impression. I was used to listening to the 250 Ohm version with pads that were a couple of years old. Compared to my old 250 Ohm, the 80 sounded much more aggressive and bassier.
If I show you the graphs you can see why. (Disclaimer: Graphs generated from measurements taken with the MiniDSP EARS measurement rig which is not industry standard. Therefore they are for illustrative purposes and only meant for comparison with other graphs made with this same rig).
Also be aware that these graphs were taken of these two specific units of 80 and 250 ohm DT 770 Pros. I will discuss more later about why this is important to note.
As you can see the bass is similar, the 250 has a little more extension. The dip at 85Hz is moved back to around 70Hz where there is a good 5-6dB difference at 70Hz. The treble spike is much lower on the 250 Ohm version too, by about 4dB.
Couple this with the more articulate and performant bass on the 80 ohm and it at first sounded like a much more aggressive headphone.
That was until I put new pads on the 250 Ohm version and compared them.
As you can see there is a little more extension and elevation on the 250 below 60Hz. There are the same characteristic dips at 85Hz and 200Hz, in fact, they look remarkably similar right up to the treble spike at 8-9kHz where the 80 Ohm is a couple of dB lower but the 250 has more treble extension.
Perhaps now would be the best time to address the elephant in the room with the DT 770 Pro. And that is unit variance and pad wear. The DT 770 Pro has been around in various guises for decades. The design, construction and build process has changed slightly and evolved over time. The sound has also changed slightly with this evolution. However, even with identical units from the same time frame, there is often a fair bit of unit variance. Typically this would be most noticeable at the extremes, such as in the bass and treble. But there have been more than a few accounts that two seemingly identical DT 770s sounded different.
There is added confusion with this when you also consider earpad wear. Over time as the earpads wear, the foam degrades, they become softer and more shallow, they may also wear unevenly around their circumference. The sound of the DT 770 is heavily impacted by this pad wear. Typically this means a decrease in bass and treble volume over time.
Here I can show a measurement of my 250 Ohm DT 770 with old pads, notice the channel imbalance caused by uneven pad wear.
And here is the same unit with brand new pads. Notice the dip at ~85Hz is moved back to 70Hz with the old pads. There’s a difference of about 6dB here that is definitely audible. And in the treble, the spike at 8-9kHz is also about 6dB down with the old pads.
This means that it is even more uncertain how any particular unit of DT 770 Pro sounds based on when it was manufactured, unit variance and pad wear.
That’s not good for sure. But that also depends on your use case for this headphone. This is not a headphone designed for critical listening and as a general-purpose monitoring headphone, the sound signature might not be all that important. If you are looking for a tough and durable general purpose headphone for TV, movies and video games, which is my primary use case for this headphone, this again isn’t much of an issue. However, for musical enjoyment from a consumer perspective, this is problematic. If you are looking for a closed-back for musical enjoyment, you might have to try a few units to find one that has a sound signature that you like, or you might need to be comfortable with EQ.
I’ve always said the DT 770 Pro needs EQ for the enjoyment of music. Along with the unit variance issues, this is frustrating in terms of recommending these for music consumption. If you are looking for a closed headphone more for music in this price range then you may be better off looking at the AKG K371 or the Creative Aurvana Live. But at least in this particular DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm unit, I have found something I really enjoy even without EQ. As an all in one package of sound, build and comfort, as with the 250 ohm version, the Beyerdynamic 770 pro 80 ohm works very well for me. It’s entirely possible I’ve been lucky with these 770’s I have here, but there’s just something about this headphone I really love, as flawed as it is, I can live with that. But it is a flawed headphone, and that’s something you should consider before you make up your mind.