Some people assume that Beyerdynamic is one of those ‘stock’ brands whose products are flooding E-bay, Amazon, and other online marketplaces, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Beyerdynamic is one of the big guys in the audio gear industry, and it’s safe to say that their products are capable of going toe to toe with Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and such. Today we’ve picked DT 770, 880 and 990 for comparison, so let’s get straight to it.
|DT 770||DT 880||DT 990|
|Frequency response||5 Hz – 35 kHz||5 Hz – 35 kHz||5 Hz – 35 kHz|
|Nominal impedance level||32 / 80 / 250||32 / 250 / 600||80 / 250|
|Sound pressure level||96 decibels||96 decibels||96 decibels|
DT 770 in a nutshell
The earliest (oldest) version of the three models, the DT 770 headphones is closed-back headphones with phenomenal sound isolation and plenty of bass. These headphones are ideal for people who generally prefer listening to music outdoors.
DT 880 in a nutshell
Arguably an improved version of the DT 770, the DT 880 headphones are semi-open cans that boast a superior level of versatility in comparison to the other two models.
DT 990 in a nutshell
One of the latest Beyerdynamic DT headphone models, these headphones feature open-back headphones with superb audio performance and minimal ambient noise reduction.
Audio quality and sonic performance
Treble refers to some of the higher notes, and each of the three headphone sets has plenty of them. However, they’re all quite different from one another in this respect.
The DT 770 and DT 990 have roughly the same amount of treble, although the latter has a slightly sharper, edgier feel. Beyerdynamic’s DT 770 headphones have a sort of artificial treble, but at least there’s a lot of clarity to it.
The DT 880 has a smooth treble with plenty of crystal-clear feeling to it. Most people describe it as articulate and to some extent, even grain-free. This, however, doesn’t apply if you’re listening to exceptionally heavier styles of music, such as extreme metal and some of the hardest rock tracks.
The mids are always the hardest to discern from other aspects of the soundstage, mainly because manufacturers tend to accentuate one of the extremes (highs or bass). However, Beyerdynamic did a solid job by making the midrange decently pronounced in all three headphone models.
The DT 770 has a somewhat potent midrange, but even so, the treble and bass will easily drown it out in most unmixed tracks. The DT 880 adds a bit more details to the picture, so the vocals should sound a bit better in comparison to the DT 770.
Lastly, the DT 990 has the biggest potential, but most people find that guitar sounds appear a bit thinner in comparison to the other two models.
The bass is the most crucial aspect of the soundstage as it’s the first thing that can ruin your listening experience if it’s not correctly adjusted.
Neither of the three models has a bass that’s either not present or too strong, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that it’s balanced as it largely depends on the model we’re talking about (differences in design).
The DT 770 has the most pronounced and deepest bass. The DT 880 is a clear runner up while the DT 990 could welcome a boost in this department.
Beyerdynamic’s DT 770 DT 880 and DT 990 all feature a different type of design. The DT 770 features a closed-back design, the DT 880 is semi-open, and DT 990 has the open back design.
If you’re not familiar with design types, let’s briefly cover that topic as well so that we can delve deeper into details regarding the differences between these cans.
A model such as the DT 770 (which has a closed-back design) is for people that are looking for heavy bass headphones.
Closed-back cans have a better level of noise isolation in comparison to other types, so people who are frequently commuting and are surrounded by noise all the time would welcome this boost.
Even if a particular model with a closed-back design doesn’t feature an active noise canceling technology feature, the sheer design of the cups will prevent the sound from getting out (or coming in).
The DT 880 headphones feature a semi-open (or semi-closed) design. Simply put, this type of design is a compromise between open and closed back, bringing about the benefits (and disadvantages) of both to the table.
The truth is that semi-open headphones are much closer to the closed-back type despite what the name of the category implies. DT 990 doesn’t have a discernable sound isolation technology onboard, which makes it a bit more versatile than the other two headphone sets.
There’s slightly more (and strikingly less) bass in them, and instead of ‘blocking’ external noise and ‘containing’ the internal sounds, they somewhat ‘reduce’ and muffle ambient sounds. People around you will still hear the noise, but not music.
While DT 770 is ‘booming the music out’ to the extent where you can discern the lyrics and melodies, the DT 880 puts up crackling sounds, which won’t bother pretty much anyone. In this respect, DT 770 headphones are great for both commuting and home listening.
The DT 990 is an open-back headphone set. The first difference between these headphones and the other two versions is that they don’t have enclosed ear cups.
This provides superior ventilation, which significantly helps reduce the build-up of heat, which in turn makes you sweat substantially less, but we’ll talk more about comfort later.
Headphones with the open back design perform a bit better due to the drivers receiving a boost in breathability. The sound can ‘radiate’ in a freer way, but that could potentially be a double-edged sword of sorts.
If you are not commuting and if you’re generally not accustomed to using your headphones in crowded areas, headphones with the open back design such as DT 990 are perfect. You might feel as if the bass is not as strong or as deep, but the soundstage will appear more balanced, you’ll hear more details, and the same goes for the total volume as well.
DT 770, 880, and 990 are all genuinely comfortable to wear because they all come outfitted with exceptionally plushy ear muffs. However, there are a couple of factors that affect how much comfort they can provide for you.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones weigh a full pound, which is neither great nor terrible. They are far from being lightweight, but it wouldn’t be fair to label them as heavy either.
On top of that, they feature a closed-back design, meaning that you’ll sweat quite a bit. Even so, they’re pretty comfortable, even by a long shot. You should probably use in-ears during the summertime instead unless you’re in a room with AC.
The DT 880 headphones are drastically lighter than DT 770, weighing approximately 0.63 pounds. They are supplied with the same earmuffs, so initially, they’re equally comfortable to wear. Lastly, they feature a semi-open type of design, which somewhat helps with the sweat build-up, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the problem.
Finally, most people would say that DT 990 headphones are the most comfortable of the three headphone models. They weigh a 0.1 ounce more (which is on the margin of statistical error), come with the same muffs, but the open back design is what makes them more comfortable than the other two models.
Since the price is a definitive factor for many, let’s discuss its two main aspects – the official and street price of DT 770, 880, and 990.
On Beyerdynamic’s official website, you’ll find DT 770 headphones are the cheapest while DT 880 and DT 990 cost the same. However, the ‘street’ prices (on online marketplaces) are a bit different.
The DT 770 is even cheaper, while DT 880 and DT 990 models cost more in comparison to the price you’d have to pay if you ordered them straight from the brand, mostly because they’re newer models. In fact, DT 880 appears to be the most expensive model.
Even though all of the three headphone models are great, it seems that DT 880 offers more options to the listener. You can use them indoors and outdoors without bothering anyone and without suffering any loss in audio quality.
They’re not overly expensive, and in certain aspects, they’re identical to the other two (same ear muffs, similar weight, identical aesthetic component), but simply because they have a slightly more balanced soundstage, they have the upper hand on the DT 770 and 990.