The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is one of the most popular and beloved headphones for professional sound engineering with a rich history and a wide range of uses.
Our DT 880 Pro review will extensively evaluate:
- The design, comfort, build, and sound quality
- And recommended amplifiers for this premium audio device.
We’ll also explore how the DT 880 Pro stands up against its competitors in the saturated studio-grade headphone market and provide alternatives for those unsatisfied by the DT880 Pro’s offerings.
So, whether you’re a music enthusiast or a professional sound engineer, stay tuned as we unravel the intricacies of the DT 880 Pro.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro are semi-open studio headphones known for their neutral, balanced, and analytical sound signature. They utilize 45mm neodymium drivers for detailed and spacious sound. With a diffuse-field equalization target, they aim for a natural tonality suitable for mixing and mastering. The mids and treble are transparent, while the bass is tight and lean. The semi-open design provides good isolation, soundstage, and ventilation. While they excel at revealing nuances and details in recordings, the lack of bass impact limits enjoyment for casual listening. With a durable build, replaceable earpads, and multiple impedance options (32, 250, and 600 ohms), the DT 880 Pro are reliable studio headphones tailored towards audio professionals.
The ideal target audience for the DT 880 Pro includes musicians, studio recording engineers, and music enthusiasts who value an accurate and neutral sound signature for critical listening or music production engineering, such as recording, mixing, mastering, or tracking.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro package includes:
- The headphones
- A 1/4″ adapter (a must-have!)
- A carrying pouch
- A few other things
DT 880 Pro Specifications
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Driver Size: 45mm
- Diaphragm: Mylar
- Voice Coil: Copper
- Distortion: < 0.2%
- Impedance: Available in 32 ohms, 250 ohms, and 600 ohms models
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 35kHz
- Sound Signature: Neutral sound, balanced, and analytical
- Earcups: Semi-open design
- Earpads: Soft velour pads
- Cable: Coiled (32/250 ohm) or straight (600 ohm)
- Headphone jack: 3.5mm gold-plated plug with 6.35mm adapter included
- Sensitivity: 96dB (32 ohm), 96dB (250 ohm), 94dB (600 ohm)
- Max Input Power: 100mW
- Weight: 295g (32 ohm), 290g (250 ohm), 350g (600 ohm)
- Other: Single-sided cable, low distortion, diffuse-field equalization target
Design & Comfort
The DT 880s are professional studio headphones, ideal for long hours of sound mixing and mastering, thanks to their supreme comfort level and neutral sound profile.
These headphones are designed with a padded headband and soft, circumaural ear pads that ensure a comfortable fit, even during extended studio sessions. The DT 880s are, without a doubt, some of the most comfortable headphones for long studio sessions. They’re light, durable, and analytical.
Regarding the best headphones for musicians, the DT 880s certainly makes the cut.
Now, there’s one little hiccup – they don’t come with a microphone. So, if you’re into gaming or need to do any vocal communication, these might not be your first choice. But honestly, I’m so enamored with my DT 880s I hardly notice.
As semi-open headphones, the DT 880 PRO doesn’t offer much isolation. They’re not the best choice for public transit or an airplane, but in a quiet environment, they’re perfect.
The DT 880 are handcrafter in Gemrnay and can seriously take a beating! It has a resilient headband made out of spring steel, with a thick cushion that can simply be replaced if needed. The metal forks and yokes are super sturdy and will hold up if you accidentally drop them.
What’s more, metallic grilles on the ear cups contribute to the DT 880 Pro’s refined design, which is a huge plus because it’s far sturdier than the pricier DT 990 Pro.
The all-metal construction of the DT 880 Pro also adds to its durability. If you treat them well, they can last for years of demanding use. That being said, there are a few issues you might run into, such as the headband slider getting stuck or won’t stay put, or the replaceable velour earpads may wear out after some time. But with proper care and maintenance, these can be easily replaced and should be no cause for worry.
The DT 880 Pro also features a secure fit and a coiled cable for the Pro model, enhancing its long-lasting build quality. Made from premium materials, this semi-open design headphone is not only robust and durable but also offers replaceable parts, ensuring its longevity.
The DT 880 Pro headband significantly improves comfort and durability. Made from strong spring steel and metal yokes, it’s built to last. Even with its solid construction, it provides excellent comfort with its soft, removable padding.
Replacement options include high-quality leatherette and soft velour, further improving the DT 880 Pro headband experience. The dimensions of the DT 880 headband replacement are 215 x 90mm (8.46″x3.5″) with a cushion thickness of 11mm (2/5″), ensuring a great fit.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones feature velour ear pads, approximately 100mm in diameter.
The outer surface is velour for comfort and breathability, while the inner surface is a gray fabric for sound isolation.
The pads are filled with memory foam for a snug fit and enhanced bass response. They attach to the headphones via a plastic ring and can be easily replaced.
Finally, let’s get into some details on the DT 880 Pro headphones cable.
This fixed single-sided 10-feet headphone cable terminates in a 3.5mm headphone jack gold-plated that’s come in handy many times to free me from a tangle when taking off and putting on my headset! The cable is of considerable thickness – around 1.5-2mm – and though it isn’t braided, it is still remarkably flexible and durable.
It has a plastic-like coating, likely nylon, which makes it smooth and tangle-resistant while deterring any potential EMI interference that the multiple thin strands of copper wire (likely around 30-32 AWG) might lead.
Anyone out there looking to replace DT 880 stock cable shouldn’t fret as it can be done through some soldering – high-quality wires such as Mogami 2534 or Canare F-12 connector are a commonly sought-after replacement.
However, the stock cable should last you years, despite being subject to tangling if it loses its coil shape at any time down the line. Fear not; this can quickly be resolved through some stretching and recoiling. Cable replacement only works through DIY methods or via Etsy modding services, as Beyerdynamic does not offer a service for this.
If you’re an audiophile looking for a technical thoroughbred, the DT 880 Pro is your go-to choice. Boasting an analytical sound signature, this lightweight headphone aims for clarity and precision – albeit at a potential cost of warmth and musicality.
The semi-open headphones offer an ideal mix of open acoustics and noise isolation, creating a personal music sanctuary. They are available in various impedance levels – 32 ohms for mobility, 250 ohms for regular use, and 600 ohms for professionals seeking hi-fi system compatibility.
Your first listen to the DT 880 Pro quickly reveals the important details – namely the extended treble, emphasized mid-range, and lacklustre bass. Such a wide dynamic range gives you lots of detail and airiness but can feel fatiguing for casual listening.
It shines, though, when it comes to soundstage and imaging. A semi-open design helps to provide excellent soundstage and instrument separation, lulling you into an immersive, three-dimensional experience. The frequency response, covering a full audible range from 5 Hz – 35 kHz without significant deviation in channel matching, only adds to its accuracy for critical listening and studio use.
At its core, the DT 880 Pro is a no-nonsense headphone with accuracy and neutrality as its priority – one that will no doubt please the technical purist, despite poking a few ears with its lack of musicality.
Diffuse-field equalization is an audio technique that creates a natural sound by mimicking the headphone frequency response in a reverberant room.
The diffuse field equalization that DT 880 Pro employs makes them sound more speaker-like, creating an open, spacious experience with natural sound and accurate positioning of sounds.
The semi-open design also contributes to the immersive and ambient sound of the DT 880 Pro, which is more closely aligned to the ideal diffuse-field target than other Beyerdynamic headphones like the DT 990, thus making them ideal for studio applications such as
- Analytical listening
Now, let’s delve into a more in-depth evaluation of the DT 880 Pro’s bass.
The sub-bass has a somewhat rolled-off feeling compared to its closed-back counterparts, such as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which offers a bit more impact. However, the bass extension remains good for semi-open headphones. On par with the DT 880 Pro in this respect is the Sennheiser HD 600, both of which roll off slightly quicker than the closed-back types.
In the deep bass area, the DT 880 Pro surpasses expectations. It offers clean, controlled bass with a decent amount of punch without going over the top. Much like the DT 880 Pro, the HD 600 features an articulate deep bass but falls short compared to the slight mid-bass boost found on the former.
Topping off a superb bass performance is its lifelike mid-bass; a slight boost in this range lends an air of balance to any music it produces. Here, it stands apart from the otherwise lean-sounding, flatter AKG K701, making it a fantastic choice for most genres, although EDM may require something with a bit more sub-bass rumble, which may come better from closed-backs.
Regarding bass extension, the DT 880 Pro attains around 30Hz before entering a steep downturn, which is impressive for a semi-open model but lags slightly behind planar headphones such as the Hifiman HE-400i which can offer sub-20Hz extension.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a pair of headphones to cover your bass needs, the DT 880 Pro is sure to please. It’s got everything you need, from deep bass with articulation to mid-bass warmth, all wrapped up in one pretty package.
Mids and Highs
The DT 880 Pro is home to a neutral and balanced sound signature – the perfect balance of detail airiness without any hints of being too sharp or harsh like sibilance. Plus, the slight forwardness of its midrange adds a natural, intimate layer to vocals and instruments.
On top of that, its semi-open design grants terrific instrument separation and soundstage. Its midrange is topnotch – accurate and naturally rich in details, and the lower range ensures warmth with nary a hint of muddiness. As for its upper range, clarity sans harshness – precisely what you’d want, making you feel right at home. Of course, it further amplifies their presence to add this special touch of brilliance and detail that I look for in good headphones.
Talking about treble, the open-back DT 880 Pro excels in this area without a doubt. The elevated treble provides smoothness and immersion simultaneously but can show hints of sibilance, especially with bright tracks. Besides that, it extends up to 35kHz, enabling cymbals and hi-hats to feel ever so alive!
Regarding vocals and instruments, these semi-open over-ear headphones do an incredible job of capturing their nuances in a clean, spacious way. Studio mixing and mastering with this thing? Piece of cake. It’s perfect for it since the slightly forward mids and treble emphasis are just spot on.
Fun fact: this headphone works amazingly on tracks like Hotel California, Bohemian Rhapsody, or Stairway to Heaven.
Mixing is DT 880 Pro’s specialty. These studio reference headphones are geared for mixing applications as it has a relatively flat sound response that helps you reveal details in your mixes without coloration. The large soundstage and precise imaging aid in the paning and spatial placement of instruments, making it easier to create a balanced mix.
The neutral midrange maintains vocal authenticity, while the elevated treble sharpens high-frequency instruments without harshness. The bass response delivers clean, controlled bass for low-frequency instruments without distorting the mids, ensuring sound quality. The DT 880 Pro’s semi-open design provides a broad soundstage, ideal for accurate instrument placement, particularly in genres like classical or jazz.
Not only are you rewarded with a balance and clarity that can help you make better mixing decisions, but you also get a more spacious soundstage that helps with stereo imaging. There’s honestly no harshness either — just super analytical details with tons of benefits.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro aren’t gaming headphones, nor do they have virtual surround sound or a microphone. These are natural-sounding studio headphones with raw audio capabilities that can be beneficial for gaming, especially for competitive gaming, where sound detail and clarity are crucial.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones excel in the gaming sphere. With their relatively neutral sound signature – slightly bright yet analytical – impressive acoustic resonance and comfortable design, they’ve earned plenty of respect amongst enthusiast gamers.
The DT 880 Pros provide a wide, roomy soundstage that allows one to precisely pinpoint sounds, especially in FPS games. You don’t just hear gaming audio – with these cans, it’s almost like you’re part of the experience and the actual game. Separating background noise from foley sound effects and music has never been easier with this pair of semi-open back studio headphones.
Sure, they don’t have the V-shaped sound signature of DT 770 Pro or even DT 990 Pro that offers incredible bass extension and vigor, but the imaging and soundstage of the DT 880 Pro are superior. This makes them ideal for competitive gaming, where positional accuracy and sound localization are paramount. The ability to discern the direction of footsteps, gunfire, or other in-game sounds can give you a significant advantage in FPS gaming.
For Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones, consider these EQ adjustments:
- Utilize Oratory1990’s measurements for a balanced sonic experience with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones. This includes a slight bass enhancement, a dip at 200 Hz, and a high shelf filter to temper the treble.
- For a more resonant, bass-rich sound, gently amplify the bass and lower mids in the 100-200 Hz range. However, refrain from excessive boosting to avoid a dark sound.
- Steer clear of aggressive amplification above 2 kHz to prevent distortion, as the DT 880 Pro already boasts precise treble.
- Employ graphic or parametric EQ software like Equalizer APO, commencing with 1-3 dB augmentations or reductions and fine-tuning to your preference.
- For gaming, maintain the mids, introduce a minor bass boost for impact, and a high shelf filter around 6 kHz for treble detail.
When it comes to impedance options on the DT 880 Pros, you’ve got a few choices – 32 ohms, 250 ohms, and 600 ohms. The key difference is how much power you need to drive them properly.
The 32 ohm version has a high sensitivity of 96 dB/mW, so it can handle portable players with no problem. But the 250-ohm and 600 ohm versions need more amplifier power to really make them shine, even though the 250 ohms is rated at that same 96 dB sensitivity.
Now, the 600 ohm DT 880s have a slightly lower 94 dB sensitivity rating. Plus, with that sky-high impedance, this version needs serious juice to reach proper volume and dynamics. You’ll definitely want a dedicated headphone amp for the 600-ohm cans.
Onboard soundcards and second-rate amplifiers are usually not up to snuff. That’s why I’m convinced models like:
For those on a budget, you can connect your Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro to:
- FiiO E10K – a very popular entry-level DAC/amp combo that provides good value and performance at around $75.
- Douk Audio U3 – a budget tube hybrid amp that adds some tube warmth for ~ $50
- Schiit Magni Heresy – an excellent performing solid state headphone amp for ~ $99
For maximum results, it’s recommended to pair a DAC with the DT 880 Pro 250 ohm headphones. However, they don’t need to be particularly sensitive, so you can go with a combo DAC/amp like the Topping DX3 Pro+.
Basically, the 32 ohm DT 880s are the most easygoing for amp pairing – they’ll work decently with whatever you’ve got. But the 250 ohm and especially the 600 ohms versions will reward you with better performance if you amp them properly and give them the power they crave.
DT 880 Pro vs DT 770 Pro, DT 990 Pro & DT 1990 Pro
The Beyer line of Pro headphones have their sound flavor that makes them shine for certain listening needs.
If you want pounding bass and isolation, the DT 770 Pro closed-backs are your best bet. Their sealed design pumps up the low end. For fans of bassy headphones: read the full Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro review.
Musicians’ preferred headphones for a neutral sounding audio profile are the DT 880 Pro semi-open model. These neutral sounding headphones offer a balanced and accurate listening experience with tighter and flatter bass. If you love sparkly treble and a wide, immersive soundstage, reach for the open-back DT 990s. They’ve got that classic V-shaped fun sound.
Now the open-back DT 1990 Pros take things up a notch. You get the DT990 Pro sound with a touch more bass richness and an even bigger, more spacious soundstage.
So, in a nutshell:
- DT 770 – bass-heavy listening
- DT 880 – balanced and analytical
- DT 990 – bright and wide soundstage
- DT 1990 Pro – builds on the DT 990 with more bass and soundstage
If you’re a professional sound engineer on a budget or a serious audiophile looking for high-fidelity headphones for sound mixing, the DT 880s are an excellent choice.
DT 880 Pro vs AKG K702
When comparing the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro and the AKG K702, both headphones are highly regarded for critical listening and studio use. The DT 880 Pro delivers a balanced, neutral sound with enhanced treble, bass, and midrange, while the AKG K702 provides a more spacious, airy sound with leaner bass and subdued mids.
In design and comfort, the DT 880 Pro features a semi-open, over-ear style with velour ear pads and an adjustable headband, while the AKG K702 has an open-back, over-ear design with wider ear cups and an auto-adjusting headband.
The DT 880 Pro has a slightly lower impedance of around 250 ohms, potentially needing an amp, while the easier-to-drive AKG K702 has a lower impedance of 62 ohms.
In terms of soundstage and imaging, the DT 880 Pro excels due to its semi-open design, offering a structured surround effect and precise imaging. However, the AKG 702 provides a wider, airier space with better instrument separation.
Both models boast durability; however, the DT 880 Pro, enhanced with metal forks and a headband, proves significantly more robust than the K702.
Potential alternatives to Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones include:
- Sennheiser HD 560S: Affordable, neutral open-back headphones with excellent gaming imaging.
- HIFIMAN HE400se: Planar magnetic open-back headphones with a good soundstage, similarly priced.
- Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X: An upgraded version with enhanced bass and detail, priced around $250.
- Beyerdynamic TYGR 300 R: Gaming-friendly with a wider soundstage, less neutral.
- Sennheiser HD 6XX/650: Pricier, legendary open-back headphones with a smooth, warm sound, requiring amplification.
- AKG K712 Pro: Open-back headphones with a spacious soundstage, ideal for gaming and imaging, similarly priced.
- Hifiman Sundara: Planar magnetic headphones with a wide soundstage, suitable for mixing and mastering.
- Sennheiser HD 600: Open-back headphones with a neutral sound signature, known for detailed, natural sound reproduction.
- Sony MDR-7506: Durable closed-back studio headphones with accurate sound, suitable for mixing and monitoring.
- AKG K702: Open-back headphones with an airy sound signature, lean bass, and less prominent midrange, suitable for critical listening and studio applications.
- ATH-M50X: Popular closed-back headphones with good isolation and a balanced sound signature, suitable for mixing and monitoring.
I hope this headphone review of Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro has been instrumental in guiding your decision-making process.
As learned, the DT 880 Pro’s versatile nature makes it an exceptional choice for a wide array of genres—be it for mixing, gaming, or even casual music listening. Meanwhile, the varying levels of impedance cater to specific power needs.