Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650

I still remember a few years ago when people used to wait for their turn to audition these “flagships” on a headphone meet. Back then, the headphone world was ruled by the trio consisting the AKG K701, the Beyerdynamic DT880, and the Sennheiser HD650. They were immensely popular back then, and everybody wants to have a piece of the three. Choosing the proper headphone become more than a simple decision. The headphone you choose ultimately would determine which “clan” you belong to, and you shall be prepared to defend the headphone’s reputation to the point of death. It wasn’t until Sennheiser introduced the $1,400 HD800 (and followed by the other manufacturer’s $1,000 offerings) that the trio quietly slides down into the background, compelled to give up their lordships.

These headphones may not command the same bragging rights they once had, and like everybody else, I too have moved to $1,000 headphones and $1,000 custom IEMs. And yet, I feel that I owe these guys a proper review, perhaps for sentimental or nostalgic reasons. Besides, what headphone site can be complete without a 701/880/650 review? Now that we actually have many other headphones that are better than them, it may be the best time to write an in-depth review of the three. After all, the new-toy syndrome and the subjective fanaticism should be long gone by now.

The landscape has changed considerably from the time when these headphones were still the “top-of-the-range” of the respective brands. Back then, headphone amplifiers were very scarce, and one of the problems that people had with these headphones is that they don’t run very well from an Ipod or a laptop’s headphone out. You’d often hear statements such as “without a proper amp, you cannot see the full potential of the headphones” and others like that. Now, we have more options on amplifiers than the actual headphones, and even entry level products such as the Matrix M-Stage or the Ibasso PB-1 can be used to drive these headphones with fairly good results. Additionally, good quality sources are also more common these days, making it easier to enjoy high quality hi-fi from these headphones.

Another change in the landscape is on the actual enthusiasts. I would say that the crowd is more mature and more learned these days. It’s common knowledge that the trio requires a good amp, and you almost never see these headphones being plugged into under-powered systems anymore. Finally, there is no denying that people’s preference on sound have changed. Three years ago, Grado was a big name among headphone enthusiasts. Perhaps one out of three headphone conversations would involve a Grado. These days, adjectives used to describe the Grado sound (i.e “bright”, “harsh”, or “piercing”) tend to reflect the negative vibes people have on the Grado brand. Many ex-Grado fans have actually turned to the Sennheiser HD650, which used to be the headphone they loathe. The phrase “Sennheiser veil” is less often used now, and people started to associate the HD650 with positive adjectives such as “smooth”, “pleasing”, and “refined”. The AKG K701 fan base has also been in decline, as the new detail-lovers seem to prefer the Beyerdynamic DT880 over the AKG. As I’m writing this article, I can probably say that the K701 have the smallest fan base today, compared to the DT880 and HD650.

A while ago, I wrote an article outlining the black and silver driver screen differences of the HD650. Today, I feel that the variations may be more complex than a simple black and silver version. Nonetheless, I am using the silver-screen version of the Sennheiser HD650 for this review. The Beyerdynamic DT880 that I’m reviewing is the newer version, since the older DT880 (2003) have been discontinued a long time ago. The newer DT880 comes in three impedance ratings: 32 Ohms, 250 Ohms, and 600 Ohms. The 600 Ohms is supposedly the most refined of the three, and that’s the version that I use here. The AKG K701 used is just a plain old K701. Although I heard rumors that the K701 also comes in two different variations, I’ve actually never heard of the “other” variants, and every K701/702 I’ve listened to sounds like the other.

A word of warning: this ends as a 4700 words article. If you are serious about these headphones, then you may be willing to read the whole thing, as every pages contain quite a deep evaluation about the headphones. If you don’t feel like going through six pages of content, you can skip all the pages and go straight to the last page for the conclusion. Then, if you don’t agree with the conclusion, you can go back to inspect the detailed report to see how I ended up with those conclusions.

Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650
2.56 (51.29%) 62 votes

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281 Comments

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Dragoonv

    oh and the V-shaped sound that people are complaining about the DT990 is not really there for the 600ohms.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Tim

    Hi Mike, thanks for the great review as always. It's good to see a good comparison between these headphones which would be as high end as most people would go.

    It would be interesting to see how the HD600/580, RS1i and AD2000 fit into all of this. It appears that the 3 headphones you reviewed all fit into playing more or less the same category with no headphone particularly suited to dance, hip hop or rock/metal.

    I'm actually looking for a pair for monitoring work for some electro house dance music production. Any suggestions at the moment? I was considering the M50 or DT880 but was also told that the HD600 might do the job.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Tim,
      Initially I planned to include the 600/580, RS1, and AD2000 into the mix. But as you can see, it's already a very long article and so I'll try to write about them on a separate article. At least I have a 580/600/650 being prepared at the moment.

      Yep, unfortunately none of the trio fits dance, hip hop, or rock/metal. I don't think that the RS1, the HD600, or the AD2000 is good for dance and hip hop. They should do better for Rock and Metal though.

      I am not familiar with doing actual monitoring for a production, but you can try either the M-50 or the DT880. The DT880 is a bit light on bass quantity, so I don't know if that would make your mix a little excessive in the Bass. The M-50 has a better balanced frequency response and would be my first recommendation.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    .Sup

    Tim

    HD600 is not good for electronic music, you need something faster. M-50 would be much better or something from AKG.

    Peter

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks Peter. Yes, the HD600 is not good for electronic music.

      I find the monitoring line from AKG (240, 271) to be too mid centric, with not enough bottom end punch and also a laid back treble. I still prefer the M-50 in that sense.

      • Reply November 12, 2010

        Tim

        Thanks Peter & Mike!

        It'll be used in conjunction with KRK Rokit monitors and my JH13pros (plus ipod earbuds…) so I'll have a good mix of speakers to compare to but for late night sessions the m50 would be my go to headphones.

        I'll give them all a try before buying but it's good to have a list of things to look out for when testing.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Zuqi

    Wow, that's the review I am now looking for, thanks Mike.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, Zuqi. Feels nostalgic, doesn’t it?

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    zsero

    Mike, it seems that you made a / problem with the images, their URL is wrong.

    They link like this:
    http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701

    (just started reading)

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks zsero. I’ll fix it after this.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Dragoonv

    I own DT880 DT990 250ohm and 600ohm, and HD650.

    Make this short. For the DT series always for the 600ohm ones.

    If you are into only classical or natural instruments go for HD650.

    If you are into all kinds of music go for beyer.

    For me DT990 is better than 880.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      The problem with the DT880 for music listening is on all three areas of the frequency response:
      1. Treble: too much, too hot
      2. Mid: too little, too dry
      3. Bass: not enough weight.

      I don’t understand how you can recommend that kind of a frequency response for “all kinds of music”.

      I’ve never heard how the DT990 sounds, but a friend told me that it has an even sharper treble than the DT880.

      • Reply November 12, 2010

        Dragoonv

        I am not sure. I think it all comes down to personal preference.

        HD650 was like the favourite out of them, but after a long period of use. I found the sound signature of HD650 was tiring to listen to. (DEFINITELY NOT BAD SOUND)

        Thats say if the sound HD650 has the sweetness of honey. It's like having to eat honey all the time. One day, you will think it's just a bit too SWEET.

        The DT's has the sweetness of honey dew. It is not as sweet as the honey but you can always enjoy it for a long period of time.

        If you listen to the beyers for a long time, you will actually get used to it.

        I have a friend who really disliked my DT990 at first place compared to his HD650. He bought a second hand DT990 shortly after just for the cheap price sake. Now he actually spend more time on his Beyer than the Senns.

        He said he will only listen to the Senns if its classical or acoustics which I agrees with him. Totally.

        DT990 have much better better resoultion and sound stage compare to DT880. For the 600ohm 990. I think it is actually pretty balanced. Just the mid is still a bit recessed.

        I think thats why people usually use tubes with it.

        I think you should definitely get a pair of DT990 600ohms.

        By the way, the DTs takes freaking hard to burn in.

        Usually 1000+ is recommend. I have no idea why beyer would sell a phone that will only produce the best sound after maybe few month after purchase. zzz to that

        • Reply November 12, 2010

          Mike

          Very interesting. Especially on the 1000+ hours of burn in.

          • Reply November 13, 2010

            Dragoonv

            I know, I didn't believe it at the start. I think it something to do with a glue they put on the driver on the DT990s.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Niall

    Nice review. I really enjoyed the way you approached this and while there are relatively cheap Chinese amps that can drive these headphones reasonably well, many folks aren't convinced.

    Unfortunately this whole clan rubbish still exists and is something I don't understand at all :(.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, Niall. The clan thing still exists? Are you KIDDING, man? 😀

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Jose

    Wow that was long, although not your longest. Thanks for such a comprehensive evaluation. Of the three the least I like is the HD650, with the K701 my favourite, maybe I am to accustomed to their sound. I am neutral on the DT880.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks for the kind words, Jose. Wonder how your view on the K701 is after reading the article.

      • Reply November 11, 2010

        Jose

        I am with you in most parts about the K701, they remain as one of the best for classical. The HA160 is a match made in heaven for them by the way, what do you think? Where I differ is with the HD650, which I do not like at all, nothing about it makes me smile, ugh! I guess I am an AKG fanboy. Even after using the HD800 and LCD2 I can still enjoy the K701 very much, specially with chamber music.

        • Reply November 11, 2010

          Mike

          Having the HD800 and LCD-2 in your resume does look good. I can pardon the AKG fanboyism. 😉

          I can imagine the midrange of the K701 would be sweet for chamber music.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Jazz1

    Great comparisons! As a fan of the HD-650 (and HD-600) I really liked confirmation of what I thought about my headphone tastes. Your treatment of all three headphones should help people gravitate towards what should work best for them. My tribe approves 😉

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Lol@Jazz1. A Sennie fanboy, huh. 😉

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    TheMiddleSky

    Great review mike! 🙂

    Yeah I agree with you about “lack of focus” in K701, but also with the same reason, that’s what make me like the K701 for live rock recording and new age songs. 🙂

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, MiddleSky!

      Doesn’t see too many new age music fan lately, especially not in our forum where everyone seems to be into Rock and Progresive.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Eric

    Very interesting comparison. As an owner of recabled HD600's and recabled K701's, and a previous owner of stock cable K701's, I can see why you feel that the K701 has less detail than the HD650. The stock wiring on the K701 is quite bad (it utilizes the steel wires in the headband for part of the signal path), and masks a lot of potential detail from ever reaching the K701's drivers. When I compare my Cable Pro Panorama recabled HD600's with my Equinox recabled K701's, I notice that the K701 sounds a touch more detailed in the micro detail area and is also cleaner and more precise overall than the HD600's especially in the treble regions. The rest of my system is comprised of an Apogee ONE recording interface hooked to my iMac going into my Corda Stepdance headphone amp via a Cable Pro Earcandy Lite mini to mini interconnect. It would be very interesting to see what you thought of the headphones in recabled form, and to see if there were any shifts in your opinion on the performance of each headphone. Anyway, great job on the review. I'm sure it will be helpful to many people in the midrange headphone market.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks Eric. The single entry cable compromises the signal a little. But the difference is quite big, and I’m not sure if a recable can turn that around. Have to listen to you your recabled K701 one day.

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Brendon

    This was a very engaging read ! Only problem is that I have an HD650 and since you say it scales up so well with a better amp I am going to have to lessen my already abused wallet and buy something better.

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks Brendon. The HD650 will suck you up into a circle of never ending upgrade circle. It would be better for you to give it as a gift to someone you don’t like. 😉

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    iyayy

    i couldnt really figure out what was missing on k701.. it just sounded plain boring.. learned something new. thx. 🙂

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, iyayy. 🙂

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    Mampus

    Speechless, what a GOOD review from Headfonia 😀

    Well done Mike, i guess you’ve prepared this for a long time… 😀

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Did you even read the review? I wasn’t particularly kind to you Beyer there. 😀

      But now I know that you are a true gentlemen. Readers like you keep this site going.

      • Reply November 12, 2010

        Mampus

        Read it word by word Mike. No prob. 😀

        IMO, it's so much fun reading review from every site (especially audio forum), even our 'hero' isn't appreciated by the reviewer 😀

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    jimmy

    Hi Mike, actually I am interesting in Beyer. How do you conclude the difference between dt880 and dt770 ?
    thanks

    • Reply November 11, 2010

      Mike

      Well, one is open and the other is closed.
      Generally the sound signature is very similar, with a strong treble presence and not too much midrange body. I haven’t been listening to the 770 very much, and so I should stop my comments there.

  • Reply November 12, 2010

    glac1er

    Thanks for the review, Mike. Definitely one of my most enjoyable read here. The article has a nostalgic feel to it especially if you get into this hobby when those three are pretty much top-of-the-line headphones. I particularly agree that these headphones have a very specific soundsig that won't cover all genres equally well, unlike say, a HE5LE with the right amp.

    I actually feel that the HD650 is too rich-sounding through your beta22 for my preference and music listening, which is simple pop/rock/dance, etc. It sounded really visceral with organ music though. I am interested on what you will write about the HD580/600/650.

    • Reply November 12, 2010

      Mike

      Quite nostalgic for a reason, huh? I agree though, the HE5LE with a good amp would cover far more genres than the trio. Fortunately, the HE5LE works very well with inexpensive amps such as the Matrix M-Stage or the EF5.

  • Reply November 12, 2010

    David

    Very good review… as usual 🙂

    This may help a bit on people deciding which phone to get… But, nothing replacing the experiencing yourself…

    If possible, get all what you want to listen… Like Mike, he got all the three, then listen to all of them… If you don't like it, then sell it (that's the sacrifice, but you will never got the feel just by reading or relying on someone else opinion)

    I did that with HF2, K701 and HD580 (supposed to sound close to HD600)… at least for my taste now, HF2 is my choice. There's something about K701 that makes me keep it. But I found out that HD580 is not for my taste… (hey… maybe I don't have the right amp for HD580… but I cannot fork my wallet further..)

    Maybe someday I'll get HD650 and DT880/990 to try…

    • Reply November 14, 2010

      Brian

      Sir, clan Grado represents yo!

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, David. Definitely, nothing beats trying the headphones at home with your own music and set up.

      It's nice now that we have a big community interested in headphones, as that makes it easier to unload any gears that you don't like. This makes trying out different stuff much easier.

  • Reply November 12, 2010

    donunus

    This has got to be one of the best if not the best review of these three cans that I've read. Ive owned the dt880 and the k701 and heard the hd650 briefly.

    I and am only holding back from getting the hd650 because I currently can't afford the sources and amps that I want/or want to try to get that perfect synergy to get them to sound their best.

    As for the K701s, I hated their dry and airless sound and also agree with you about their soundstage performance. I also used the term plasticky a lot with the k701s and have been bashed for it LOL. The lack of air and plasticky sound in the k701 is probably just due to the brightness in the lower treble and abrupt roll off above that making that tshhht sound instead of making a smooth tishhh and psssss sound of a natural attack and decay of real instruments… but this is the dealbreaker for me with these cans. The bass can be improved too but its hard to analyze the bass when something else annoys me so much more 🙂

    As for the dt880s, they had a fun tight bass but ultimately the mids were too sterile and the highs were too fatiguing for me.

    Do you have an hd800 vs hd650 review here somewhere? From reading your descriptions of cans that I've already heard, I think I can already predict if I will like the hd800s by reading your comparisons.

    Cheers

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Donunus, the T-amp that David lent me may just be the answer for affordable HD650 amping. 🙂 No, it's not the cheap chinese stuff you get on eBay.

      Actually I don't have a HD800 vs HD650 review (doh). I don't know, the price point seems to make a review irrelevant. Briefly:
      – HD650 more musical, HD800 more neutral
      – HD800 far better technically, on every aspect, and not just the bigger soundstage and less veil often reported.
      – HD800 actually less demanding on amp power, but has even higher scalability than the HD650 (it improves even further with the good amps).
      – HD800 very critical of source
      – HD800 less bassy, but also weaker PRaT than HD650.

      • Reply November 16, 2010

        donunus

        Ahh thanks for that Mike. It seems like something that personal taste will play a big role with. Sometimes the technically better can isn't always the best thing for the everyday music lover out there.

  • Reply November 13, 2010

    Professor00179

    Ok, Mike, you probably new what I was going to ask. You know – the stuff about choosing one headphone for the rest of your life with a high-end system and which one would it be… etc. But you pretty much anwered that in the review and it seems like you have more love to the HD650 than to the other two.

    Seems like it's gonna be my next step in the headphone journey.

    I have a question about how well balanced beta22 (you got it balanced, right?) worked. People often say that HD650 benefit really a lot from a fully balanced setup. What I would like to know is whether you think that having ~ $2500 for a high-end rig it is worth to go fully balanced or a very good high-end single-ended AMP of the same class would be just as good.

    I am also going to finally create a profile on headfonia forum. Seems like you have a plenty of interesting discussions here.:D

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, Professor.

      The balanced Beta22 is a magnificent amp that happens to pair wonderfully with the HD650 and the HD800. However, it is not exactly the perfect amp pairing for every headphone out there. I find my Zana Deux to have a better and wider match with other headphones than the Beta22. The Beta22 is more capable technically, but the Zana is easier to get to sound right. The Beta22 is more transparent of the source, where the Zana is more forgiving. For instance, I can enjoy old analog recordings very well on the Zana, where the Beta will show every problems on old/bad recordings. This is true regardless of you having a balanced or single ended version of the Beta22, as the character of the sound is the same, only the balanced drive will improve some things.

      So, I do think that balanced is not ultimately better. Some headphones just don't improve from going balanced very much. So, I wouldn't put too much weight on it. The necessity of having a fully balanced source is also a big limitation, as many great sounding sources only come in single ended versions. Ultimately, building a top-end single ended rig is much easier, and will sound just as good, or even better due to synergy, than a balanced rig.

      • Reply November 16, 2010

        Professor00179

        That is quite a bit what I expected. Also the Zana should pair nicely with HD650 since it was designed using these headphones… I think.:D

        • Reply November 16, 2010

          Mike

          Yes. The Zana pairs very nicely with the HD600, 650, 800, and also Grados.

  • Reply November 13, 2010

    Eswar Santhosh

    Excellent review, Mike. I've been looking at these three for a long time, but was always drawn towards HD600 for some inexplicable reason. Now, I'll wait for your 600/650 comparison to confirm whether 580/600 is the headphone I'm after.

  • Reply November 13, 2010

    Daniel

    Another great review Mike. When I had my AKG 702 and Grace M902 the sound though super detailed always left me wanting more. I've then eventually came to realize what I wanted was musicality and naturalness to the tonality of the presentation. I was simply not getting that with the AKG 702. To me, the AKG 702 is like taking a microscope to the music. The sound was too clinical and sterile for me. The AKG 702's are really best to just monitor music, it is the perfect headphone for music producers. After selling my AKG 702 I've then taken the custom IEM route ( Westone ES5, JH13 Pro ) and have gotten what I've always wanted: Detail, Clarity and Musicality. I can finally now close my eyes and let the music do it's…thing. =)

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Sounds like a good musical journey, Daniel. I'm waiting for Westone to send me a sample of the ES5. 🙂 Will compare it to the JH customs. 🙂

  • Reply November 14, 2010

    Brian

    I was looking for something to read to make me fall asleep quicker before I chanced upon this article. Well Mike, thanks for making me stay awake longer as this article is a very fun read!

    Man… this brings back a lot of nostalgia when people swear that you have to recable the HD600/650 to get "maximum" performance or when people swear that you have to get the NOS 2003 version of Beyerdynamics DT880 600 Ohm to hear the true "Beyer" house sound! We sure have come a long time, folks.

    Well, I have nothing to say to your conclusion as I pretty much agree on all counts. Perhaps there are more similarities than differences in both of our tastes after all and I have to say that this is probably your best article to date.

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks Brian, for the kind words. I know you have something better coming your way. 😉

  • Reply November 14, 2010

    Budi

    I think you sum it quite on the spot with K701, its a headphone with no characteristic, its a boring headphone. Don't get me wrong, it's a great headphone that present you an experience of say between upper mid-fi to entry high-fi depending on components used. If a right components (amp,dac) are used, it will give you an instant huge wow factor (soundstage, neutrality) BUT once you go beyond it, there's nothing more to be discovered.

    It's not a fun headphone and not making you wanted to really bother to think ( the next time you listen to a different headphone and tracks ) "wonders how would this sound with 701"……I dont know about you but I dont bother. This is one of the main reason I parted with my 701

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, Budi, for the comments. Quite an upgrade there from the K701 to the Omega2. 🙂

      Let me know when your BHSE have arrived. 🙂

      • Reply November 17, 2010

        Budi

        Wont be till next year…..lately i have not made any payment except my initial down payment to Justin. Just made a major purchase (non audio related) so gotta hold back on spending. Maybe I will pay one more installment by December then sometime on Feb then wait and hope for the best

    • Reply November 23, 2010

      David

      I think, that's the original intention of K701 made… it is not intended for home use… but for studio use… it should not make record engineer dancing or taping with the music.. (they should keep monitoring the music content/material)

      just people that start using it for home listening that make it live in wrong world…

      I guess, the same intention is for what Beyer DT880 created…

      HD650, on the other hand, is admitedly stated by Sennheiser that it is created to please the listener… thus home audio user…

      look, going to extreme, I honestly sometimes enjoying music more when some songs played on my mid-fi car audio… because even with my far-from-detail-freak HF2, I keep hearing information that does not add usefulness to the music… (for example, on a track with acoustic piano, hearing the clucking/clacking sound of hammer hitting the string, IMO, is disturbing rather then useful.. )

      • Reply November 23, 2010

        Mike

        Yes, definitely that's very true. It's very clear that the AKG and the Beyer is developed for studio use. I think that as the manufacturers see that there is a potential customer market for their flagship *monitoring* headphones, they decided to push sales to that segment.

  • Reply November 15, 2010

    donunus

    Actually Budi the K701 does have a characteristic. Its called Artificial and Sterile LOL. Sorry AKG for the bashing but it would have been less prone to this criticism if it wasn't called a reference headphone 🙂

    • Reply November 17, 2010

      Budi

      Lots of people talk about artificial but I cannot sensed the artificial-ness of it. Its just that most of the times when I listen to 701, its just present the music in its own (boring) way. I cannot wear too long this headphone, not because its fatigue but simply because I feel I need to stop. Maybe this is what people called artificial ??

      • Reply November 17, 2010

        donunus

        Well, the two terms Artificial and sterile are interrelated IMO. Artificial meaning the instruments/acoustic space don't really sound believable or like they would sound in real life. I know its hard to also get that exact realism with cans in this price range but some other cans have a better "suspension of disbelief" factor making you feel more like you are listening to some real musicians playing in a real space. Also when I call something sterile its a way of saying that it is boring. But more than that, boring because of its inherent coloration. I know this is a subjective thing when we talk about certain house sounds being more enjoyable than others but I guess some sounds just trigger something in the brain that fools it more than others into thinking that something sounds more real even though you are listening to reproduced sound.

        • Reply November 17, 2010

          Mike

          Good explanation, donunus.

        • Reply August 9, 2011

          ghost2031 S23

          i’ve never heard the K701 but i can definitely confirm that my AKG K501 have that feeling of being in the same room with the musicians. actually thats what my father said when he was listening to them, i always just thought they sounded “real”.
          but yeah another thing that i see is, the K701 getting a lot of hate. and i mean hate and bashing.  fanboyism exist not only in the videogame world.

  • Reply November 15, 2010

    Mampus

    @Brian:

    As i know there isn’t DT880/600 2003. The 600 ohm Beyer only exist in 1980 (M and S version) and 2005 version 😀

    Peace 😀

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Dude, you are the master of Beyers! 😀

  • Reply November 17, 2010

    Rasmus

    Hi Mike, I've read a few of your HD650 reviews, and, you've convinced me! They are now om my christmas wishlist, and if I don't get them, I'll just by them myself 😀

    But in all the reviews you mention that a high quality amp is necessary to get everything out of thesm, so my question is now: ARe internal PC-soundcards, with build-in amplifiers, good enough to get the max out of the HD650's? (I'm thinking specifically of the Asus Xonar Essence STX)

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Reply November 17, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Rasmus, the amplifiers I was talking about were more to the likes of the Beta22 and the Zana Deux, both sold commercially for $2,000+ 🙂 The soundcard should do okay, but far from what I'd consider optimal. This is one of the practical problems of the HD650.

  • Reply November 17, 2010

    Chris

    Great review as always! I wonder though, it isn’t a fair comparison, although neither is the HD 800 being compared to these, how would the Audio Technica AD700 stack up to these 3? At $90, it seems like an interesting comparison to these headphones. The bass is weak, but everything else should make an interesting comparison.

    • Reply November 18, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Chris, yes the AD700 is a great headphone. However, the AD1000PRM and AD2000 models would be more appropriate to be compared to the 701/880/650. Unfortunately, we had to keep limit the review to the trio.

  • Reply November 19, 2010

    Earfonia

    Very nice comparison for the old school trio from Europe 🙂 Any chance for the Asian cans? 😀

  • Reply November 23, 2010

    BBS

    I love the condescending attitude of this article and the comment about geners everyone should listen to (sarcasm). The vast majority of audiophiles aren't interested or cannot afford $1000 dollar headphones. . . . Anyway, I love my HD 650s for a variety of music, they are drastically underrated on head-fi. I'd love to try the DT 880s one day though.

    • Reply November 23, 2010

      Mike

      not sure I understand the sarcasm there. o.0

  • Reply November 25, 2010

    Eric

    This review is awesome, Mike! It reflects my experience with K701 and HD650

    Regarding your reply to Tim’s comment, would there be any article that incorporate the ATH-AD2000 and Grado RS1? I guess that would be an interesting article.

    Keep up the good work buddy!

    • Reply November 25, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks, Eric. I've been having difficulty getting an ATH AD2000. Without it, I don't think the RS1i will have a proper comparison.

      I initially thought to make this article a five-way shootout, but after discussing it with Hadi, we agree that it'll be best to do only the trio. The main reason is depth. I wanted to write a fairly in-depth comparison, and three is the maximum number for that. If we had included the RS1 (and even we could've included the DT990), then it wouldn't be as thorough as this one.

      But an AD2000 and RS1 comparison certainly would be fun in the future. Perhaps even throw the HE-5 into the mix.

      • Reply November 25, 2010

        Eric

        That would be an exciting article, Mike. It would be the "Ultimate Rock Cans Showdown" 🙂
        Look forward into it buddy! Thanks.

        • Reply November 25, 2010

          Headfonia

          Lol.. the T1, the LCD-2 and the HE-6 has taken over the title. 😀

  • Reply December 1, 2010

    Mike

    I don't get it, Dave. What do you mean? o.0

  • Reply December 1, 2010

    dave

    its up to the producer to make it sound interesting.
    if it sounds punchy on the k701s, it willll be punchy on almost all systems. if it sounds thick, with depth, on the k701s, it will sound thick on most systems. the sound stage is so wide so you can accurately place instruments and hear exactly where they are in relation to other instruments
    the bass is to be heard, not felt. i need to hear my bass, not feel it.
    i assumed that's what they were for… anyways, my two pennies

    • Reply December 1, 2010

      Mike

      Exactly! That's what I mean. A monitoring headphone needs to be neutral and flat — that's why I think the K701 and DT880 were meant to be monitoring headphones.

      Sennheiser on the other hand clearly stated that they were developing a music listening headphone, not a monitoring headphone with the HD650.

  • Reply December 1, 2010

    Dexon

    Lol, K701 hate club. What are you all listening to? I guess mostly shitty recordings. All music that sounds plasticky on K701 is badly produced music. 95% of today music is produced to sound good when it's played through boom boxes and oomph sounding equipment. I've never heard tighter bass from any other phone. Certainly not form HD800 or T1. And to my ears microdynamics are far better on K701 than on any other phones I listened to. Is it perfect? Of course not. Its timber is totally shifted and unnatural. Soundstage super wide but no depth and imagining is poor either. Annoying peak at upper mids and so on. But compared to HD650 or DT800, K701 are far superior phones to my ears and with present prices, a bargain.

    • Reply December 25, 2011

      Karl Leung

      The K701 hate club stems from all the negatives about it you listed.  And remember, you’re the only one that has listened to pristine recordings with decent headphones *rolls eyes*. Also that joke of a headband..honestly, what were AKG thinking? Not to mention people who’ve listened to the older K601 and a mass amount of people preferring that over the K701. Also Headroom’s 50HZ  square wave response graph indicates differently about your ‘K701 has tighter bass’ argument. 

      • Reply June 1, 2012

        SoundEskimoo

        this article really outdated, since AKG make fixes with K702 and smooth bassy Quincy Jones Q701.
        I hope you write them down to enrich headfonia content, Mike.
        kudos for your K550 articles, you had good impressions K700-derivative sound signatures

        • Reply June 4, 2012

          Mike

          Thanks, man. I will try to do an update.

          • Reply June 10, 2012

            SoundEskimoo

            You’re welcome Mike. Really enjoyed reading headfonia articles

    • Reply March 21, 2013

      AKG user

      AKGs have “tight bass”? Try NO BASS.

  • Reply February 3, 2011

    Zuqi

    Hi Mike, happy Chinese new year!
    I have two questions:
    1. my set up is an ipod classic and I will buy a relatively powerful PORTABLE amp in future (now waiting for pico power amp to release :<), which headphone of the three shall I go for? For classical music only.
    2. If I go for byer 880, based on my set up, which impedance shall I choose? 32,250 or 600?
    Regards

    • Reply February 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Zuqi,
      If you’re going to listen to classical music, I think all three of them are good. Personally my favorite for classical is the HD650as it is the only one that can give a good impact on symphonies.

      The ALO Rx should be a good companion for classical as well.

      • Reply February 3, 2011

        Zuqi

        Thanks Mike

    • Reply February 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      If you go with the Beyer, go with the 600 ohms version.

  • Reply April 4, 2011

    Van

    I have got 2 questions.
    1 Which has the best mid?
    I am deciding between HD650 and K701 here

    2 About K701 bass. People seem to said they don’t have any impact. Is that true?
    Not any impact at all? Or just less than other phone? Say I am coming from MS-1 (non i)

    Thank you for the review

    • Reply April 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      The K701 and the HD650 has good mids, both in their own way. The K701 is
      smooth but a little texture-less. The HD650 is thicker and darker.

      About the bass, the K701 has quite a weak impact. Perhaps more or less
      on a similar level of the MS-1.

      • Reply April 7, 2011

        Van

        Thanks a lot 😀

  • Reply April 10, 2011

    Bendoran

    I have to disagree completely with the part of the review focusing on the Beyerdynamic DT 880 600 ohm. Your impressions couldn’t be farther from mine. I am very sensitive to harsh treble and clinical presentation in hifi, which sends me running at the speed of light. The DT880 are neither clinical nor hyper-detailed. The treble, while revealing, is just the sweetest I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard lots of headphones (Grado, Alessandro, Audio Technica, AKG). All the Grados I’ve heard (< 325 ) sound grainy and cheap in comparison.
    The bass on my system is thick and layered and sounds absolutely gorgeous. The mids are recessed??? This must be a joke. I listen to jazz, classical, blues, fusion. These are just marvellous for all of these mid-heavy genres. It's great to have diversity of opinions and share points of view but this sounds a bit too much for me. Maybe you have a problem of synergy with your sources?

    • Reply April 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Bendoran,
      I think the main differences you have in your impression is due to the
      recording you listen to. Most people agree that the Beyer monitoring
      line headphones have a bright treble and a thin mids. On the good jazz,
      classical, and blues recordings, it would not be as evident as it is on
      an average rock recording.

      • Reply April 12, 2011

        Bendoran

        But that is certainly not a fault with the headphones is it?

        If most people listen to hyper-compressed rock remasters (we all know of the so-called loudness war, sadly) or low-bitrate lossy files, how are the headphones to blame?

        I own several original vinyl pressings by AC/DC, Cream, Beck, Jimi Hendrix etc and I can assure you that there is no hint of brightness and “oversharpening”. Just a gorgeous balanced sound.

        Also the fact that “most people agree” on something gives no clue of the real quality of the headphones. Especially in this field, many people go on with the flow and build consensus about headphones they have never even owned. Eg I’ve heard so many times the mantra “grado headphones have no soundstage”. IMHO, the concept of soundstage as related to headphones is overrated. The difference between Grados and other headphones in this respect is not as big as the amount of posts on the subjects would lead us to believe. Having owned several Grados, if I hadn’t read about this supposed absence of soundstage, I would NOT have pinpointed it as one of the major faults of the product.

        Please apologies if this seems like a personal attack, it is not. I’m giving another opinion on a product that is being bashed for literally *nuances* in its sound signature when 99.999999% of the product is amazing. Also, I’m in no way affiliated with the brand neither I have any form of brand loyalty. I’ve owned Sennheisers before and liked them a lot. Also I use a pair of AKG K240 MKII in the office, which I find impressive when amped decently.

        • Reply April 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks for the thoughtful post, Bendoran.

          Yes it is certainly not a fault on the DT880 if they carry a signature
          like that. After all, they were made for monitoring — and that sound
          signature really makes sense for monitoring.

          I understand if you are totally happy with the DT880. But when I said
          that “most people agree”, I am not referring to the internet circle. We
          have a lot of headphone meets here in Indonesia, at least one meet in
          one week where I live, and so we do have quite a big group of headphone
          enthusiasts. Even among the Beyer owners, no body ever argues that the
          DT880 is bright and is lacking midrange body. That’s just the way the
          DT880 are relative to the other headphones on the market. Again words
          like “bright” is not a “fault”, but I still need to come up with
          descriptive adjective to properly describe the sound characteristics. In
          the same way the word “dark” is properly applied to the Sennheiser
          HD650, and it is not meant to be a negative comment either.

          Now, you happen to be listening to vinyl, which everyone knows, excel in
          mids body (especially in comparison to the digital sources), and you’re
          also listening to the classic Rock recordings which are more laid back
          in the treble and also quite full in the mids. That combination would
          sound quite good I suppose — and that is why you are saying that the
          sound is “gorgeous and balanced”.

          Everyone who writes to me, being satisfied with their rig, always blames
          me for using one kind of an adjective while to their ears the only
          adjective I should use for their headphone is “neutral” or “warm”. The
          other day another reader writes about the Audez’e LCD-2 which is a polar
          opposite in character to your Beyer (LCD-2 is dark), and he claims that
          the LCD-2 is “what real music sounds like” (or something along those
          lines). With the right recording, source, and amp, any good headphone
          would sound “neutral”, “natural”, or “what real music sounds like”. But
          if I limit myself to those pleasing words, then my reviews certainly
          wouldn’t be too informative to the other readers who’s looking for a
          recommendation.

          I hope you’re getting the general picture here.

          Regards

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Hariz Razali

    Greetings.

    I am new to the audiophile territory. Currently owning SR60i and have set on getting a DT880/250 Pro soon. What is your opinion on pairing the cans with E7 and E9 combo setup?

    I would spend a little bit more on the dac/amp but I’m in a somewhat tight budget.

    • Reply April 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think it would make a decent entry level set up.

      • Reply April 18, 2011

        Hariz Razali

        Thanks for your opinion. 🙂

        • Reply April 18, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well, that’s not too much of an opinion isn’t it?

          You can also look into the Audinst HUD MX-1.
          http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

          And the Tiny Tube:
          http://www.headfonia.com/uber-muzik-tiny-tube-dac/

          All three are good entry level pairings for the SR-60i and DT880.

          • Reply April 18, 2011

            Hariz Razali

            Awesome. Now that you mention it, I’m a person who really like to listen to the vocals (I assume this is in the mid range?). I don’t really mind the harsh treble as I’m used with the Grado sound and liking it.

            Now, hopefully my local store could bring them in.

            • Reply April 18, 2011

              Anonymous

              Mmm…. perhaps you will like the Tiny Tube better.

              The Audinst’s vocal isn’t that forward.

              • Reply April 19, 2011

                Hariz Razali

                Just wondering, what do you think of GoVibe Peak amp? Any experience with said amp?

                • Reply April 19, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  I noticed it is the new amp from Govibe, but I haven’t had the chance to listen to it.

        • Reply April 18, 2011

          Anonymous

          Actually,
          Come to think about it again, I think I’d probaby go for the Audinst given the DT880 and the SR60 headphones. The synergy is *probably* going to be better than the Tiny Tube and the E9+E7.

          The DT880 in my opinion needs a boost in the mids and slightly more body on the lows. The SR60 can also use the same lower mid, and bass body boost.
          Both headphones are bright, so the relaxed treble of the Audinst would also pair fairly well.

          In short comparison, the E7+E9 is relatively laid back in the mids.
          The Tiny Tube has nice mids, but the treble isn’t as relaxed as the Audinst, and bass body isn’t as much as the Audinst.

          Hope that makes sense.

          Cheers.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    oboeguy

    Hey Mike,

    I’m also new to all of this, somewhat, but I was wondering what your recommendation would be for a DAC/amp set up (regardless of portability) for the K701’s at ~$250 or less, especially for classical instrumental coming out of a Mac?

  • Reply April 26, 2011

    Hariz Razali

    Hello Mike, It’s me again.

    I’ve recently purchased DT880/250 with GoVibe Peak amp and currently listening to it. Man, it’s a whole new experience from my Grado SR60i though I somehow miss the Grado signature sound. I just want to say that you really helped me on deciding this purchase. Thank you.

    • Reply April 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      Glad you’re enjoying it, Razali.

      How is the Govibe Peak?

      • Reply April 26, 2011

        Hariz Razali

        Since this is my first amp and an audiophile tier headphone, I really can’t tell. Tested it with my Grado, I noticed the bass has been improved and the treble is not as harsh as it was.

        Now all I need is probably a DAC or a soundcard. 😀

        • Reply April 26, 2011

          Anonymous

          Improved bass and better treble sounds good. 🙂

          Try the Tiny Tube DAC or the Audinst HUD MX-1. Should pair well with the
          Grado or the Beyer.

          http://www.headfonia.com/uber-muzik-tiny-tube-dac/

          http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

          • Reply April 26, 2011

            Hariz Razali

            I should note that the bass improvement is very little but this is with the bass switch off (located at the back of the amp).

            I have also recently got a hold of one of the guys working with Audiohub, might be getting one of those Tiny Tubes from them soon.

            • Reply April 26, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, the Tiny Tube is good. 🙂

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    Sean

    Thanks for a very indepth review of these 3 classic cans. I too actually own all these 3 cans, the DT880 (2003 older version), HD650 and the K701. I concur with your findings, K701 is the hardest to recommend. My favourite headphone ranges from HD650 for Jazz and vocals and the DT880 for Classical.

    Just a note wrt a good amp for the DT880, I find that the Meier Audio amps pair very well with the DT880. Meier Audio amps tend to be warmer amps (when paired with the K701, the sounds is way too warm – to the point of being dull), and when paired with the DT880, tames the DT880 treble. Also, I find that the DT880 do have very deep, very accurate and surprisingly very impactful bass when amplified properly (I run mine with the older Meier Audio Corda Aria amp). Try the DT880 with a Meier Audio amp if you are able to and let me know your thoughts!

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Sean,
      I have listened to the 2003 version of the DT880 and find it warmer and
      different sounding than the newer DT880s (the one in the picture).

      As for the Meier amplifiers, I heard that the older models like the Aria
      amps are warmer sounding. But I believe the newer Meier amps are dryer
      and more articulate like on the Concerto and the Stepdance (portable).

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    Onecolorist

    Hi Mike. I wanted to see if you had the JH-3A on order. I would be very interested in hearing your impressions! Thanks, Jeremy

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jeremy,
      Unfortunately no. No JH-3As for us.

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jeremy,
      Unfortunately no. No JH-3As for us.

      • Reply May 4, 2011

        Onecolorist

        Will you be? Have you heard about it? I know there is often hype about a new product but, this one may be warranted.

        • Reply May 4, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yea, I think the JH3A is going to be awesome. It’s just that JH Audio told me there are not going to be any sample units for it, and the price tag is a bit steep for me.

          I know you’re not going to have any problem finding impressions on it on Head-Fi though.

          • Reply May 4, 2011

            Onecolorist

            Thats to bad. While I know I will find other impressions, I have grown to trust your ear! I think you provide the most balanced, detailed and unvarnished reviews on the web. I would donate to a fund to get you one! Thanks for responding.

            • Reply May 4, 2011

              Anonymous

              Oh, that’s very nice of you man. Well, who knows, maybe we can get lucky.

  • Reply June 14, 2011

    Donunus

    Just read this review again and I noticed you included the he6 as one of the headphones that tend towards the dark side. What do you mean by that? The he6 is bright as hell LOL

    • Reply June 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Donunus,
      I must be drunk when I typed that.

      Thanks for the correction man.

      • Reply June 14, 2011

        Donunus

        LOL Ok Maybe you were thinking of LCD2s hehehe

        • Reply June 14, 2011

          Anonymous

          That’s it! It shouldve been the LCD-2.

  • Reply June 29, 2011

    Vieri_interfc

    Mike, ive just bought the dt880/600 Pro. Why it doesnt look the same as your pictures above. My 880 doesnt have the plate on the housing. It is just a spray written dt 880 pro. As well the box was written 250 ohm. But there’s a sticker written 600 ohm. And in the jack there was written 600 ohm.

    • Reply June 29, 2011

      Vieri_interfc

      And also the housing (cup) hanger on my880 is black, while yours is light grey.

      • Reply August 7, 2011

        guest

        Vieri: indeed, you have the pro model whereas the pictures are of the consumer model.

    • Reply June 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      HI Vieri,
      I believe yours is the DT880 PRO, while mine is the DT880 PREMIUM.

       

  • Reply September 13, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,
    What is the best set-up for HD650? Thanks for ur recomendation.

    • Reply September 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Budget?

      • Reply September 13, 2011

        Anonymous

        500 bucks for Amp, for sources..I have laptop Toshiba portege,iphone 3 GS,BB Bold, LG-T35 wireless,sony dvd player. Do I need  another good sources….???If yes, I have another budget about 300 bucks, but I prefer  a portable one. Thanks Mike.

  • Reply September 29, 2011

    Eskimoo

    hi Mike,

    im agreed with you about HD650. This headphone is magnificent , scaling so good with more expensive setup. if you got upto 2000$ budget, at least should buy one in our life. 
    altough many disagreed and said K701 better than HD650, especially in instrumental/classical genres, which usually AKG shines.
    everybody ears not built the same, right?

    Beyerdynamic? only for treble-lover ears. 
    how DT900 scales with those threes? especially DT880 focused heavily on monitoring, dry sounding.

    i think K701 from practical standpoint successfully shrinking hard-to-drive K1000 to K701. that’s a technological achievement , you know.
    People said that K701 “is easy to listen” version of K1000. more bodied bass, more warm, less edgy treble, smoother, have pin point accuracy.
    AKG play safe with its own way, compared to those two, definitely quite cheap setup you can buy for a hifi audiophile setup.

    • Reply September 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, thanks Eskimoo.

      • Reply September 30, 2011

        Anonymous

        how dt900 scales with those threes? just wondering.

        • Reply September 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          DT900? Never heard of it Eskimoo.

          • Reply September 30, 2011

            Anonymous

            lack information about it.
            okay . thanks

          • Reply September 30, 2011

            Anonymous

            Yea I think it is one of the newer Beyerdynamic headphones but if I’m not mistaken it’s positioned lower than the DT880-990 models? 

            Anyway Lieven in Belgium just received the new T70 headphone and he’ll be writing a review for us. 

          • Reply October 4, 2011

            Anonymous

            disqus dashboard didn’t show your message below this. i missed your comment.

            between DT770 (closed), DT880 (semiopen) and DT990 (full open), isnt the DT990 is the highest one? seems on the same league of K701 HD650.

            T70 the T1 tesla derivative? wow!

            • Reply October 4, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes by the numbering the DT990 is the highest, but normally people don’t regard the DT990 as being higher up than the DT880 or even DT770. For these beyers I tend to think that they’re just open/semi/closed variations of the same basic design, whereas on the AKG and Senn line up, it is much clearer which model is the higher up headphone.

          • Reply October 4, 2011

            Anonymous

            ups! DT990, not DT900.

            so on the same basic design, beyerdynamic Full-open cans not quite on same ballpark as sennheiser and AKG? both their top-of the line based on FULL-OPEN design.

            • Reply October 5, 2011

              Anonymous

              No no no that’s not what I’m saying.

              What I’m saying is that the DT770-880-990 are roughly similar sounding headphones all with one Beyer house sound, similar technicalities, only different in closed/semi/open back housing — which alters the sound a little from one to the next.
              Whereas say with AKG K501-601-701, or Senn 558-598-600-650 the differences are more distinct, both in sound signature and technicalities.

              • Reply October 6, 2011

                Anonymous

                oh, i got it. on beyerdynamic the signature not big enough between series.

                so semi-open DT880 favorable than Full-open DT990?
                i thought, full-open cans always the state of the art than semi-open cans?

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Jonnyhambone

    Thanks for the great review. I’ve been close to getting the 880’s (600 ohm model) but haven’t been able to test run yet. I have a pair of Grado HF-1’s that I love the sound of and a Woo Audio 6SE tube amp. I listen to everything but a good amount of aggressive rock/punk/metal – think the 880 sounds like a good match? Thanks again!

    • Reply September 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Can you look elsewhere other than the DT880s? I think it would be too bright for rock/punk/metal recording. Though the detail, speed, articulation would be perfect.

      • Reply September 30, 2011

        Jonnyhambone

        The common description of them as bright and the treble-happiness has been what’s stopped my purchase so far.  I had thought maybe the warmth and mellowness of my tube amp would make the dt880’s just right, but of course, can’t say without hearing.  Any other recs. for under $500?!  thanks for your response!

        • Reply September 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          How is that HF-1 sounding to you for your music now?

          • Reply September 30, 2011

            Jonnyhambone

            well the Grado’s tend towards bright too I hear, but the HF-1’s don’t seem overly so to me.  I had a silver ALO cable for my last portable amp and that really brought out the bright in the Grados.  The Woo dials that back a lot and has made the HF-1’s sound really good to me.  Some music – acoustic guitar-based stuff esp. – is still a bit sharp.  I don’t have comparison headphone re: the limited soundstage that many report with the HF-1’s – I think a bit more instrument separation would be a good thing for me – but I do like the sound overall. 
            The Woo, as you note, isn’t super mellow, but it ‘holds down’ the recordings for me…maybe that’s an indication that I’d like less bright treble?  The Woo really tames the the sharper corners of the music I play through my Grados and warms it all up nicely.  I’m not very good at describing this but hopefully it makes some sense to you.
             

            • Reply September 30, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes that sounds like a fairly accurate description of the HF-1. And the HF-1 is a bit mellower unlike typical SR-60 to RS-1 line up Grado. One question I would ask though, isn’t the HF-1 a little too slow (in terms of pace and attack) for those metal tracks?
              Now a $300 for metal and punk and rock. That’s actually very good to get. You want more soundstage, but what a wider soundstage does is that it actually diffuses the energy on fast-paced Rock and Metal music. Hence I think it’s good to stick to relatively small soundstage for those music.
              You can upgrade to the SR-series Grados like the SR325 and that’ll give you a little better soundstage but also more treble. So yes, maybe not the best choice. I want to recommend you the Sennheiser HD25-1 it’s a closed headphone and not quite Reference class territory like the Trio in this review. But sound signature wise it has been very popular to my friends who listens to Rock and Metal.

        • Reply September 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Oh and the WA6SE is not quite the mellow sounding tube kind. It’s very smooth, but the pace is still relatively quick and clear.

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Reticuli

    Odd.  Other than deep bass extension, the Q701 tests better than the other two (or 4 if you include the K version) and similar in bass extension to even the 650 but with better control.  I wonder if the soundstaging issue is the result of it being the most accurate, as headphones should theoretically be paired with a crossfeed circuit or DSP.  The lack of microdynamics could also be the result of being run with non-zero-ohm headphone amp.  The AKG should need well under 5 ohms and a massive draw of current to run correctly.  I’d also be interested in how the ESP950 stock sounds in relation to these, but that’s for purely selfish reasons 😉  Still, I know the Ortofon O-One also has a slight lack of center imaging and has those S-Logic baffles.  Maybe the driver angle on the AKG is contributing to that.

    • Reply September 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      As it is in any scientific field, test results don’t always agree to what is actually observed in the field. In that case we need to go back and evaluate both the test results and the field observation, and even try to explain the logic behind the discrepancy.

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Jake

    Mike, thanks for the great review.  I have the DT880/600’s and like them a lot.  But eventually I’d like to purchase another full size set of phones to complement them (for different music/mood).  (I also have TripleFi 10 and ER-4P IEMs, but I use those on the go).

    For budget in the $300 range, is the HD650 a solid bet?  I’d prefer not to get something too close in character to the DT880’s.

    I have the HiFiMan EF-5, an Audio-GD NFB-12, and soon a Bottlehead Crack w/Speedball – would any of those do justice to the HD650 or do I need to spend more?

  • Reply October 1, 2011

    CR

    Get the HD650, Can’t go wrong with them.  If not, you would second guess yourself and eventually wish you had bought the HD650.  I just got mine yesterday, brand new from auth dealer for <$300.

  • […] به دقتش معروفه و made in Germany هستش …. Amazon.com: beyer dt880: Electronics Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650 | Headfonia DT880/HD650? علت فروش: از کسی خواهش کرده بودم برام یک مدل که […]

  • Reply October 8, 2011

    Cartel535

    Mike, I have a DT880, the 600Ohm model. I’m actually using a FiiO E9 + E7 for his amplification. And I started to ask myself if a tube amp would be better, my budget is aroud U$200,00, and I will still be using the E7 as a DAC.

    So my question is: I will get a better perfomance with tube amps? The difference will be this big?

    • Reply October 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think a $200 tube amp would mostly work to change the sound signature to a warmer, smoother and fuller mids sound for the DT880. If that’s the sort of sound that you are looking for, then I’d say go for it. But I am not sure if there is a good $200 tube amp.

      • Reply October 8, 2011

        Cartel535

        My sound signature now is, very very bright, you tested the FiiO by yourself I think you know what I mean. More mids and a smoother sound for the DT880 its perfect for me.

        For the amp, I was thinking in a little dot mkIII, or something like that. What do you think?

    • Reply October 8, 2011

      Jake

      Bottlehead Crack (OTL tube amp) sounds great with my DT880/600’s and cost about $230 shipped, but it’s DIY.  Not very difficult to build.

      • Reply October 8, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks, Jake.
        I’ve heard good things about the Bottlehead Crack.

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      borizm

      FiiO E7 + E9 is not an audiophile equipment (I have it and it getting dust) – everything else will be better, especially any good multibit DAC without opamps + simple A-Class buffer.

      • Reply November 14, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks, Borizm. It makes a good entry level set up.

      • Reply December 25, 2011

        Karl Leung

        Eh no. I’m an audiophile but really, learn your science. Fiio E7 + Fiio E9 is a very good starting combo. Stop drinking the Head-fi source sub-forum Kool-Aid. Head-fi is fine and great for in0ears and headphones but for sources etc… oh gees, it’s a sorry state. There is a darker side to Head-fi people. DW, I used to frequent there but yeah, the darker side got to me. Lookup ‘NWAVGuy’ in Google and read.

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      It would depend on which amp. Any good candidates for $200?

  • Reply November 6, 2011

    Jackson Taylor

    Mike, on the tube amp topic for the DT880s, the Darkvoice 337 is said to pair well with them, since it was made around them. I have the 650s with it and I do find them boring, and I am not enough of an audiophile to understand what slow/fast mean, but I just don’t feel the music. I am using a portable amp as a DAC over USB and I just ordered a PS Audio DLIII so hopefully that clears things up with the combo, since it shouldn’t be the amp because it is such a premium high end amp, the DV337. If that doesn’t fix it up, then I’ll order some DT880/600s and see how that goes. PM me on Head-Fi as jtaylor991 if you would like. Do you have an account there?

    • Reply November 6, 2011

      Lieven V

      Hi Jackson, let’s keep it on Headfonia ok? 😉

      I have a Lafigaro 339, which you probably know is related to the 337 from Darkvoice (if you don’t I’ll explain) and the HD650 sounds gorgeous on this amp, I haven’t heared any other amp make it sound this good. When friends come over they always pick the 339 as best amp for the Senns, it’s really great. So if you don’t think it sounds good then it probably is, like you say, a problem higher up your chain. So try with a dedicated DAC and see how that goes. Btw, I don’t like the 600ohm Beyers on the 339.

    • Reply November 6, 2011

      Lieven V

      Hi Jackson, let’s keep it on Headfonia ok? 😉

      I have a Lafigaro 339, which you probably know is related to the 337 from Darkvoice (if you don’t I’ll explain) and the HD650 sounds gorgeous on this amp, I haven’t heared any other amp make it sound this good. When friends come over they always pick the 339 as best amp for the Senns, it’s really great. So if you don’t think it sounds good then it probably is, like you say, a problem higher up your chain. So try with a dedicated DAC and see how that goes. Btw, I don’t like the 600ohm Beyers on the 339.

      • Reply November 6, 2011

        Jackson Taylor

        Yes I know of LaFigaro stemming from Darkvoice, so the 339 sounds like the version that came after mine (there is a DV337SE though). I won a PS Audio DLIII on ebay the other day for $500 and I hope I can pay soon so it can arrive soon and I can see what the 650s are really like. I don’t feel the music with the 650s out of the DV337 like I do my Beyer DT770 Pro 80ohm headphones, which seems impossible, but it’s true. I felt alive when listening through the beyers on the amp and I switched to the 650s and all I could comprehend was duuuuuullllllllllll -_-
        So yeah I hope I’m right as I’d like to keep this amp since it’s be impossible to sell without a loss higher than I’d like, unfortunately.

        • Reply November 6, 2011

          Lieven V

          Maybe the lush Senn sound just isn’t for you. The Senns and the Beyers are very different , yet very complementary. I don’t think your issue is amp related 🙂

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Anonymous

            Yes I think it’s more of a headphone issue, rather than the amp.

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Anonymous

            Yes I think it’s more of a headphone issue, rather than the amp.

        • Reply November 6, 2011

          Lieven V

          Maybe the lush Senn sound just isn’t for you. The Senns and the Beyers are very different , yet very complementary. I don’t think your issue is amp related 🙂

      • Reply November 6, 2011

        Jackson Taylor

        Yes I know of LaFigaro stemming from Darkvoice, so the 339 sounds like the version that came after mine (there is a DV337SE though). I won a PS Audio DLIII on ebay the other day for $500 and I hope I can pay soon so it can arrive soon and I can see what the 650s are really like. I don’t feel the music with the 650s out of the DV337 like I do my Beyer DT770 Pro 80ohm headphones, which seems impossible, but it’s true. I felt alive when listening through the beyers on the amp and I switched to the 650s and all I could comprehend was duuuuuullllllllllll -_-
        So yeah I hope I’m right as I’d like to keep this amp since it’s be impossible to sell without a loss higher than I’d like, unfortunately.

      • Reply November 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks, L.

        Jackson I was going to refer your question to Lieven since I know he has the Lafigaro and the Beyer DT990 (which is very close to the DT880 in sound).

      • Reply November 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks, L.

        Jackson I was going to refer your question to Lieven since I know he has the Lafigaro and the Beyer DT990 (which is very close to the DT880 in sound).

  • Reply January 4, 2012

    Guest

    Old school already? I thought they are all pretty recent.
    Regarding monitoring purpose, I am not a audio pro myself but I did some researching for a recording purpose headphone. From what I read it seems that any high end headphone is equally recommended. For example just look at amazon, any of the three is highly popular. Much more crucial is the operator ability to ‘translate’ or gauge how the music will sound in other system from the sound of the headphone.
    About the car analogy, I tend to disagree as difference type of car have difference purpose, think of IEM, noise cancelling, closed monitor, wireless, high end, and such. For me I like to compare it with beverage. There is sweet, sour, hot, cold, soft, hard, juicy, creamy. Different taste for different occasion.

    For the last note, I don’t think your first page is written really well. There is a lot of questionable statement. What do you base it from? Internet exposure?

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    Ed

    Hi Mike
    Do you have any experience with the AKG Quincy Jones Q701?
    Some say its a rabadged K701, some say its an improved K702 some say its something totally different. Which of these argument is true?
    There is no review of this model on the website so could you review one please.

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Ed,
      I have no experience with the Q701s. If I were to make a guess it’s probably some variations in the age of the pads, variations in manufacturing that leads to slightly different sound. I don’t think AKG designed a new driver for the Q701.
      Here is what I wrote a while ago that may help to explain the differences: http://www.headfonia.com/test-burn-in-and-production-variations/

      • Reply January 17, 2012

        Ed

        Thanks.

  • Reply February 11, 2012

    Jano Lisboa

    Hi, I’m trying to put together a home studio.
    I’m a classical musician that works in the Munich Chamber Orchestra and also have a piano quartet. The problem is that I’m also currently working on a rock project of mine and I’m recording a cd soon.
    I need some very good headphones to work at home at night. This headphones need to work well with the classical recordings I edit from my chamber music festival and other concerts and also for my rock project (kind of Nine Inche Nails-Muse-Radiohead-Queens of the Stone Age).
    I’m thinking of buying as audio interface either the Apogee duet 2 or the RME Babyface , and the speakers Adam A7X.

    The headphones will be for me to take them to the venues I record the classical performances and for home use when it’s too late to use the speakers.

    I also have the old HD25’s, Shure SE530 and recently bought the new version of the triple driver earphones Earsonics SM3-v2. 

    What do you suggest as the best headphone option for me? Are those audio interfaces good enough for them? Do I need something better? (the classical recordings are not intended for comercial release but the rock project will be – although I will go to a proper studio to record the guitars, drums and voices and send it to Abbey Road Studios for mastering)

    Thank you and excuse my long message! Cheers!

  • Reply March 10, 2012

    swede92

    Hi Mike sorry I have comment here before, but I am confused now I want a closed headphone and I been looking between the Beyers Dt880 and Denon ah-d2000 both cost the same here in sweden. I have the denon ah-d1100 and they are ok and little  bassy I wish it was lesser bassy, I supposed the d2000 will be bassy to. Do you think the Dt880 performs well with  music like progressiv rock like Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree I lisent a bit to every genre like classical too but most different rock genre. Should I go with 250 ohm verision if I choose the dt880? Im not planning to buy a very high end amp but I think I might buy the Asus Xonar Essence One it is a DAC/headphone amp(not the stx soundcard) it cost 580$ well it is not so cheap but we have not so many options to chose amp/dac here and I rather buy here in sweden.

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Chris,
      First of all the DT880 is not closed — it’s open back. 😉

      Now if you think that the D1100 is bassy, then the D2000 I’m not so sure it’ll be less bassy.
      Back to the recommendations, I think you should give the DT770 Beyer – 80 ohms a try. It’s a nice closed headphone with good bass, tighter than the D2000’s bass.

  • Reply March 16, 2012

    yakapo

    Mike, thanks for your review.  As a result of reading your article I purchased a pair of Q701’s.  Now, I’m in search of a headphone amp that will match well with the cans.  I listen to a wide variety of music – however my primary use for these specific headphones is live jazz.  

    Any specific recommendations?  If possible I’d like to get a usb/dac amp in one (unless you advise against it).  Also my budget is around $250.        

  • Reply March 30, 2012

    itineranti

    Hello Mike,

    I have thoroughly read your review, and although the AKGs are well critiziced, I happen to own a pair of K702s, and I’m not yet prepared to get rid of them and buy new a new pair of cans.

    I have been trying to read my way to the better Amp to drive them, capable of enough current and voltage to get the very best out of them.

    As far as I have been able to read and ask around, the Amp that keeps appearing in relation to the K702s, is the Burson HA-160. I don’t know If you could give me some advice here.

    I have also thought about the Centrance Dacport LX as a suitable DAC to pair with the Burson, using Centrance’s Reserve RCA interconnect cable, and taking advantage of Centrance’s superior DAC technology.

    My second option would go for Centrance’s Dacmini and get more DAC quality and versatility for the money, and obviously including the 1 Ohm mod that they offer.

    As usual, we head-fiers are faced with the problem of buying equipment that you can’t audition anywhere and taking a pretty big risk. It is of course not a great feeling to spend your money in such a blind way, and we are all thankful for good reviews and advice.

    I hope you can give a couple of good leads here, since among the reviewers I respect (NwAvGuy, Srajan Ebaen from 6moons and you), you are the only one I had not written to yet.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Best Regards,

    Camilo

    • Reply March 30, 2012

      Mike

      Hi,
      I think the saying that the K701, the DT880 and the HD650 are hard to drive are mostly a thing of the past. Back then it was difficult to find an amp that has enough voltage and current to drive these headphones, but I think now the majority of amplifiers released in the market should have more than enough to drive any of the three.
      The question right now is how you find the K702 to be? What areas do you think it lacks? What amplifier are you using now to drive it?

      • Reply March 30, 2012

        itineranti

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your quick answer. Right now I’m doing a pretty lousy job driving the K702s with a FiiO E7. It works great with my Grados and Ultrasones, but the K702 demands far more muscle than the USB powered E7 has to offer.

        As you well put it, there are several Amps out there that could pretty much do the job. The question is which Amp can do it best, and of course within my budget ;-). In my case, I don’t want to spend more than $1650 on a headphone rig, and yet get the best sound possible for the kind of music I listen to.

        My preferences are acoustic Jazz and improvised music, and the line-ups of my CDs and 24Bit audio files, rarely surpass 6 musicians. I’m looking for a wide soundstage, lots of detail and rich tonalities.

        I believe the K702 is a great buy for the money, and I thought that either the Burson HA-160 paired with a Dacport LX, or the Dacmini alone would be the best options for the money.

        As I told you, I don’t have the possibility to listen to any of the components nor a combination of them, so I thought asking the experts, who have not only tried but thoroughly reviewed the products would be a good shot at my dilemma.

        I am of course open to suggestions and other ideas, but I would love to hear your opinion regarding these possible combinations.

        Thanks again for your kind contribution

        • Reply March 30, 2012

          Mike

          I think the Burson is better than the Dacmini if you are looking for a rich tonal and a more analog sound. But both are good amps I believe. You can also look at Woo Audio WA6.

  • Reply March 31, 2012

    itineranti

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks again for your answer regarding the Amps.
    One last question: Do you think pairing the Burson HA-160 with the Dacport LX would be a good idea?

    THX

    • Reply March 31, 2012

      Mike

      I would lean more toward the HA-160D or DS. Reason: better synergy between DAC and amp section.

  • Reply March 31, 2012

    itineranti

    Hi again Mike,

    Thanks for your answer regarding the Amps.
    One last question; do you think pairing the Burson HA-160 with Dacport LX is a good idea?

    THX

  • Reply April 4, 2012

    I Will be your

    Hi Mike,
    This is a really nice and helpful review! You said that you event prefered the HD650 on an exellent amp than a $1000 headphone on an average amp. It is so excited to me cuz i have read that people could identify the most difference of sound by changing an old headphone more than amp or dac. So, how many percents of the HD650’s max-power do you think a sub-$300 amps such as Schiit Asgard and Matrix M-stage can make? instance HD650+beta22 is 100% power :D. Sorry for my bad English and thank you so much!

  • Reply May 1, 2012

    derbii

    Just a tip for people trying to find an amp for DT880 600 Ohm.  I think I might have found a perfect pairing.  It’s the Bellario HA540 tube amplifier. It’s got ridiculous amounts of power and gain, doesn’t break a sweat with 880’s, it’s a layout for easily swappable tubes, but even in stock form it sounds great. It’s a very warm and lush sounding amp, but still very transparent and natural.  It’s also got great bass presence and control. Paired with Musical Fidelity M1DAC and Beyer DT880 600 Ohm, it’s the best headphone combo I’ve had so far, and I’ve had Q701’s and HD650’s paired with decent <500$ amps.
    Bellario HA540 retails for 299$ , and is made in USA.

    • Reply May 1, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks for sharing, derbii.

    • Reply August 30, 2012

      Wilson Yee

      I have the Bellari HA540 with the Q701, it is indeed a nice tube amp, very warm and smoothing sounding. However, the Q701 headband is kinda annoying, and I agree with mike’s impression on the soundstage, too wide but not deep enough, I like how the mids are presented tho, I am wondering how they compare to the DT880 600Ohm? Mostly concerning about the mid..I have heard the DT990 paired with Schiit Lyr and the recess mid made the listening experience not quite enjoyable as I mainly listen to instrument like guitar and piano.

      • Reply August 30, 2012

        derbii

        I don’t have the HA540 anymore, I found a better amp for the DT880’s, the Onkyo A-5VL integrated speaker amp with a dual burr brown 24/192 DAC. Heaps of power, more than any headphone amp I’ve heard, and much more than any DAC/amp combo, better sound than all 500-700$ head amp/dac combos (CA Dacmagicplus, Teac UD-Ho1, Asus Xonar Essence One) I’ve tested A-B in the store. In comparison, DT880 vs Q701, I think DT880 is a better headphone in pretty much every way. As Mike said in this comparison, its got a clear direction in which its going with its presentation, unlike the Q701, which sounds like it doesn’t know what it want’s to sound like. Beyers have that feel of “perfection” to them, even though they have their own special signature. I don’t feel the mids are recessed, at least not so much to be able to call it a negative point. Highs are smooth and non fatiguing. They also sound fuller to me than Q701 and have much more bass.

        • Reply September 2, 2012

          Wilson Yee

          Thank you for your reply, derbii. That makes me tempting to trade my Q701 for a DT880 :). Because I really can’t bare with the headband, it start hurting after wearing for 30 mins.I am not familiar with the speaker amp you mentioned, My current setup is Schiit Bitfrost+Bellari HA540.I just got the HA540 not too long ago, so I don’t think I will upgrade any sooner. When I do, it will probably be the Bottlehead Crack, always wanted to try DIY. As for the sound, I am guessing the DT880 has a more narrow soundstage than the Q701? and what do you mean by sound fuller?

          • Reply September 2, 2012

            derbii

            You might wanna audition the DT880 before buying it, it’s a great headphone almost without faults sonically, but try it first. In terms of comfort its definitely FAR ahead of Q701. Ear pad foam on Q701 is pretty hard and it’s way too bulky, DT880 feels perfectly sized, and pads are nice and soft, like those teddy bear toys for kids, very fluffy ear pads. Headband has a lot of padding as well, and they’re extremelly light headphones. Even though according to specs they should weigh about the same as Q701 and HD650, it feels like the Q701’s cable alone weighs more than the DT880’s. The soundstage on DT880’s is I find much better than on Q701. I actually think the soundstage on Q701 is pretty poor. Yes, its very wide and big, but it has no height and depth. Its a very unnatural soundstage. Both DT880 and HD650 do a much better job at it IMHO. DT880’s soundstage is not as wide, but it is far deeper and higher. Imagine it like a big square room when you stand in the middle. Imaging is better as well. Sounds have a clear direction, and there’s a strong central image, vocals are in front of you, not inside you like with Q701. DT880’s also have considerably more bass presence. In fact, I’d say they have more bass presence than the HD650’s, apart from the HD650’s mid-bass boost, which sometimes make the bass muddy. They don’t have boosted bass, or bass that interferes with the rest of sound, its just that deep, very textured, very smooth and pleasant bass with extreme extension that Q701’s can’t even hope to match. Imagine Q701’s as being a pair of studio monitor speakers. Then imagine the DT880’s as being a pair of studio monitor speakers, paired with a very precise and accurate small studio subwoofer. That’s what I mean by fuller sound. It’s that solid bass foundation. But don’t think that DT880 have too much bass, they don’t. For me they have the perfect amount of bass with whatever music I listen to. Highs are also smoother than on the Q701’s, but mids are not quite as forward. Vocals won’t be as “loud” as on the Q701’s, but it’s not a negative point, it might even be positive because its more neutral. Basically, for me, out of all the headphone I’ve bought, DT880’s surprised me the most because they sound totally different than I had imagine from reading reviews. I thought they would be very bass light, very bright with very recessed and thin mids, but it’s totally not like that. As for Bellari HA540, if you keep it, make sure you replace the stock Ruby tube. Even though it sounds great for a 250$ amp, it’s rubbish really compared to better tubes out there. It’s holding your DAC back. The clarity and detail you will get with a better tube is really like upgrading to a much more expensive amp. Try getting the Mullard 12AX7, they’re about 18$ for a pair, or if you can stretch your budget to about 50$ for a pair of tubes get Gold Lion 12AX7. The difference compared to stock tube is like the difference between onboard computer soundcard and a high quality DAC.

            • Reply September 2, 2012

              NubTAM94

              I’m not so sure about the DT880 having more bass presence than the HD650 when driven from the Crack though, to me it seems that when amped properly the Senns are hands down in terms of bass quantity and decay

              • Reply September 3, 2012

                derbii

                Maybe HD650’s leave an impression of having more bass because it has a bit more mid bass, but as overall, especially low bass under 60-70 hz I think DT880 definitely have more presence. The biggest difference though is the quality of bass, which is really much higher in the DT880’s. Its a very textured and detailed bass, whereas the HD650’s have a bit soft and “boomy” bass.

  • Reply May 23, 2012

    Chris Allen

    I’m reading this while drinking coffee and listening to Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” with DT990/600’s on my head and can’t help but wonder what would be the difference between the DT990s and the DT880s?

    • Reply May 23, 2012

      Mike

      I compared the two briefly, and felt that the DT880s were more linear, while the DT990 has a more pronounced treble and bass areas, making it more V-shaped.

      • Reply May 23, 2012

        Chris Allen

        So the DT880s also have a less recessed mids than the DT990s? I feel myself wanting a tad more power or pronouncement in the mids of the DT990s, so a V-shape does describe it almost perfectly. I do see in another comment that you have recommended a tube amp to help assist with the mids, but out of curiosity, is there a solid state solution that could do the same?

        • Reply May 23, 2012

          Mike

          Speaking from a simplistic point of view, yes a tube amp or a mid-heavy solid state amp (say the Graham Slee Solo SRG II) would help with the mids. In reality, however, it doesn’t really work that well as the mid-range “boost” doesn’t fill in the exact areas on the Beyer’s recessed mids areas.
          Hope that makes sense.

          • Reply May 24, 2012

            Chris Allen

            It does, thanks Mike. Hopefully I didn’t sound too confusing my self. Lol.

          • Reply May 24, 2012

            Chris Allen

            It does, thanks Mike. Hopefully I didn’t sound too confusing my self. Lol.

          • Reply May 24, 2012

            Chris Allen

            It does, thanks Mike. Hopefully I didn’t sound too confusing my self. Lol.

        • Reply May 24, 2012

          D.r. Hilerio

          I can confirm Mike’s recommendation. The DT990 sounds superb through the Graham Slee. I have the Ultra Linear though.

  • […] HD 650 og prisen over tid har sunket, kan det kanskje være en idé å lese Headfonias "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650". Den kan uansett gi innsikt. Jeg tror at beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Shure og muligens […]

  • […] om det er noen som er "spesielt anbefalt". Du kan med fordel lese Headfonias "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650". De og AKG Q 701 ligger nå i denne prisklassen. Dessuten kan du antagelig lære en del av en […]

  • Reply June 23, 2012

    Alexander Valenzuela

    akg k701,dt 880 pro and sennheiser are all dependent on good amp and how much are you willing to spend.this are all brand.while audio technica ath-ad900 can perform w/o amp but paired with the right amp you will not be discussing the 701,hd650 and dt880 pro.do yourself a favor and compare this audio technica with those phones and listen blindfolded so you are not comparing brands.i have all this headphones and i listen to music 5 hours a day and this technicas trump them all in terms of quality and accuracy provided with properly recorded music

  • Reply June 28, 2012

    Vanskelig valg

    […] DT 880 600, AKG K 701 og Sennheiser HD 650 Det kan være nyttig å lese Headfonias "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650" der de skriver om og sammenligner tidligere toppmodeller fra tre kjente og velrenommerte […]

  • Reply June 29, 2012

    LinkBack

    […] men når jeg rebesøkte dem nå for å skrive dette er "Pingbacks" borte: 3 stk. i "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650"1 stk. i "Violectric V200: The German Solid State"0 stk. i "Violectric V100: […]

  • Reply July 27, 2012

    Bose QC15 vs. ?

    […] Beyerdynamic DT880. Samtlige av de tre er bedre enn Bose. Les gjerne Headfonias artikkel "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650". Den kan gi deg en del innsikt uavhengig av hva du senere velger. Løsøreoversikt. Jeg […]

  • Reply July 29, 2012

    Nukiie Raffinato

    Good review, very useful and also remind me of what happened around the world of head-fiers.

  • […] innspill Ta gjerne en titt på InnerFidelity's "Wall of Fame". Headfonias "Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650" kan også være verdt en gjennomlesning. Man presenteres for tre moderne klassikere som […]

  • […] : BeyerDynamic DT880 Pro , versi 600ohm, 2nd Mulus. Review : http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-…nheiser-hd650/ Review : […]

  • […] nyttig innsikt: InnerFidelity's "Wall of Fame"Studio Headphones – Leading Models ComparedOld School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650The Sennheiser Trio: HD580, HD600, HD650AKG K 550 og kanskje AKG K 271 MKIIShure SRH840, SRH940 og […]

  • Reply November 9, 2012

    Frederic 77

    can anyone say something about the combination Schiit Asgard + DT 880 (600Ohm)?

  • We also should consider that Akg’s are sound best only and only if they properly amped.
    Original specs may mislead. I mean, you should pair them with a high-output power amplifier.
    Moreover, you should give a chance to Q701 too, as someone said before me.

  • Reply June 1, 2013

    Peter

    At Sound Liaison we have been using Beyer Dt 880 and Akg 702 to great satisfaction when checking for phase and such problems.

    We do the majority of the mix on our Grimm speakers but the 880’s and the 702’s are fantastic phones also for an alternative “view”

    This audiophile album was partly mixed on these HP’s. Carmen Gomes inc:”Thousand Shades of Blue”

  • Reply August 23, 2013

    donunus

    Just read this again. Great Review Mike! Now I am just checking if you would consider the hd598 a better allrounder against these three

    • Reply August 24, 2013

      Mike

      Thanks.. no I don’t consider the HD598 a better all rounder.

      Where have you been man?

      • Reply August 24, 2013

        donunus

        Been busy with my new Baby among other things 🙂 Still lurking around though

  • Reply September 24, 2013

    chuck77

    Hi Mike, I currently have a Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball and just picked up an AudioValve RKV MKII amp. Which headphone do you recommend? I see great potential with the AudioValve amp, as most people say they pair extremely well with the power hungry AKG K1000. I do not have the budget for a K1000, but the amp sounds pretty good with my only set of dynamic headphones I have now – the DT990-250. Is there a headphone that is a better match for either of these amps? It does not have to be one of the three headphones here!

    • Reply September 24, 2013

      Mike

      I think you should try the HD650 with the Crack. I don’t know about the Audiovalve amp but the K1000 is mostly collector’s item. I don’t think the sound quality is that phenomenal, I did a review of the K1K here:
      http://www.headfonia.com/old-champ-the-akg-k1000/

  • Reply November 7, 2013

    Theo Mestrum

    Hi Mike,

    You stated the following above: “The DT880 shines with its superb clarity and detail throughout the frequency range. It would’ve been great if Beyer can add more mid and bass body, to add some weight to the otherwise “light” sound.” Well, my ears have done just that for me. At 57 my ears are swimming in the dark above 15kHz. So the DT880 and me pair up for a perfectly neutral listening experience. And if I want some veil I use the HD598 for that purpose. By the way, the HD598 is better for rock imho.

    • Reply November 7, 2013

      Mike

      You’re welcome Theo. If the Beyer works for you then that’s great. 🙂 I’m here to help people discover their music better, not to push a certain brand to the readers. Of course, being human, we all have our preferences but that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to get the same things we like. Me and L for instance, we argue on so many different things.

      • Reply November 7, 2013

        L.

        But we agree on even more 😉

      • Reply November 7, 2013

        Theo Mestrum

        Thank you for your reply. You wrote a fine article on AKG’s K550. I have
        this phone in my collection for just about a week now. It is by far the
        best closed headphone that I ever listened to. Initially it took some
        practice to secure a good and comfortable fit. Here in Holland these
        cans are a true steal. You can have them for just under $ 200. They seem
        to need a long burn-in. But to me the sound is already great. Well, I’ll wait and see if it will sound even better after a few weeks.

    • Reply November 7, 2013

      Theo Mestrum

      Thank you for your reply. You wrote a fine article on AKG’s K550. I have
      this phone in my collection for just about a week now. It is by far the
      best closed headphone that I ever listened to. Initially it took some
      practice to secure a good and comfortable fit. Here in Holland these
      cans are a true steal. You can have them for just under $ 200. They seem
      to need a long burn-in. But to me the sound is already great. Well, I’ll wait and see if it will sound even better after a few weeks.

  • Reply November 12, 2013

    STARSTERN

    maybe we can fill the mid and bass , to the dt880 ,with a good matching amp ?
    also wonder what would be a good neutral amp which would go well to all headphones ?

    • Reply November 12, 2013

      Mike

      An amp would help but only to a certain degree.

      A good neutral amp try the Lehmann Black cube or SPL Phonitor/Auditor.

  • Reply November 12, 2013

    STARSTERN

    to get the transparency of which only a dt880 provides ,and still preserve the mid and bass ,” how about a EQ ? raising the mid and low to optimum ,while leaving the high at norm’ ,plus using a amp inclined forward mid and bass ? and for the sake of discussion ,found a bass booster gadget ,wonder whether anyone has any experience with it ? and…after adding all these …????

    the

    ZO2 Personal Subwoofer

    • Reply November 12, 2013

      dalethorn

      If the EQ doesn’t leave peaks and dips adjacent to the center point of the adjustment sliders, and the EQ doesn’t rob bits from the signal, and the EQ isn’t a lifetime of work adjusting 100 or 1000 EQ points, and …..

    • Reply November 12, 2013

      Mike

      Generally you can help EQ to do corrections but they are limited. The more adjustment point you do with the EQ, the worse the result becomes.

  • Reply November 12, 2013

    STARSTERN

    ZO2 Personal Subwoofer ” the more looking at reviews and forums about it am getting more kind of excited ,has excellent rating from all over ,it kind of supposed to align the highs and lows and mids ,so then when you raise the volume you getting them all “, and not overwhelming mids as usual

  • Reply November 15, 2013

    STARSTERN

    any idea about this one had seen one time at forums giving it a high edge ;

    leckerton UHA-6S MKII

    • Reply November 16, 2013

      Mike

      I had a short listen, I think it’s a good amp.

  • Reply November 17, 2013

    STARSTERN

    it’s a good amp that’s absolute ? or rather relative ”
    in other words to get an idea of the level of good ‘it must be compared to something ‘now those which was good enough to earn you review ,to which of those comes the leckerton UHA -6S MKII closest to ??

  • Reply December 8, 2013

    Aaron Davidoff

    Hi Mike,
    Great review. Would go for the 650s if I had the money but I think i’m going to get the hd600s. any recomendation on a dac/amp? aune t1 or schiit mini combo? something under 300…
    thanks i really appreciate your opinion.

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      Mike

      Aaron,
      I’d go for the Fiio E07K/09K.

  • Reply December 14, 2013

    Robert Burns

    HI Mike

    Just came across this article of yours, excellent comprehensive review, mirrors my observations to a “T”.
    Previously read your review on the HD700s and hopefully I’ll have the same impressions once they arrive, if they’re not held up in the XMAS rush.

    • Reply December 16, 2013

      Mike

      Thank you, Robert.

  • Reply April 15, 2014

    Guest

    Great review as always Mike

    Using dt880 (250ohm) for series,
    gaming (in my opionen a surprisingly good soundstage) and acoustic. The
    X1 (Philips) which was reviewed in an own article for edm, rock and co
    (what a lovely fun headphone ^^). But what makes me curious is the senn
    hd650. How is it compared to the X1? Does it really have this veil,
    which I’m gone notice and his probelm with good dacs/khv? (have at the
    moment fiio e17 and e09k, which you recommend in your X1 Article 😉

    Kind regards,

    Patirck

    • Reply April 15, 2014

      Patrick

      sry, doublepost

  • Reply April 15, 2014

    Patrick

    Great review as always Mike

    Using dt880 (250ohm) for series,
    gaming (in my opionen a surprisingly good soundstage) and acoustic. The
    X1 (Philips) which was reviewed in an own article for edm, rock and co
    (what a lovely fun headphone ^^). But what makes me curious is the senn
    hd650. How is it compared to the X1? Does it really have this veil,
    which I’m gone notice and his probelm with good dacs/khv? (have at the
    moment fiio e17 and e09k, which you recommend in your X1 Article 😉

    Kind regards,

    Patrick

  • […] sound that’s rather wide in range in terms of frequencies. Headfonia added these in their old school trio studio headphones article. We love the detail included with these, and the more powerful the better as you go higher in terms […]

  • Reply October 22, 2014

    donunus

    This article would be cool if it was followed up with updates like the q701, and add the HD600

    • Reply October 22, 2014

      dalethorn

      Since the K712 has been selling for $349 most places, and it sounds so good, I’d recommend it highly. The Beyer T90 and T70p have been selling at huge discounts also recently, and those would be great deals if you like that sound. The HD600 has been on Massdrop in the U.S. for around $270 – a steal for that headphone. I seem to remember Massdrop has also offered DT880 and one of the AKG ‘Q’ series.

  • Reply February 1, 2015

    Milko Georgiev

    Even HD600 has too much bass. R&B and other bassy music sounds like you are in a barrel. Mids are weak. AKG K701 and K712 give enough bass and still sound balanced, natural, nice, with no offence. Boom-tataa-boom is not the root of the misic 😉

    • Reply February 1, 2015

      dalethorn

      I thought the K712 was very nicely balanced. I’m surprised to hear that the HD600 has a warmer or bassier sound, but it’s been more than 10 years since I had the HD600, so can’t compare them. But the K712 is a much newer design, yes? I think the Sennheisers are just too old, and look what they’re making now!! Momentum, Momentum junior, and (gasp) the Urbanite!

      • Reply February 1, 2015

        Milko Georgiev

        Yes K712 is an noticeable upgrade of K701.
        I’ll try Momentum, thanx for the advice.
        In my opinion Sennheiser (as many others) gives people (what they want) more disco/club feeling.

        Cheers!

  • Reply May 28, 2015

    Ritwik

    Hello Mike,
    First thank you for this great article. I am relatively a noob and just been 2-3 years in this business. Got hooked by cheap Sennheisers which are easily available here or any part of the world. From Senn 180 to PX90 to CAL! and then Logitech UE6000 to M50 and now again I was in lead for a deal this time a used K701. Honestly, I never intended to buy an AKG more so because it’s total absence from Indian market. As with almost every full sized headphone enthusiast I was too looking forward to upgrading to 600(again unavailable in India)/650. But, the added cost of an expensive amp is what is holding me down for a while. Out of the blue a K701 popped up for sale and got me interested for what great many things I have read in the forums. Still, hungry and need for a more informed decision landed me here. And, it’s been an eye opener. I actually can understand exactly what you mean by this article. Why people tend to exaggerate one or a few traits making them characterised into extremities. Now, I am clear headed. I am going with the K701 which can easily be driven unamped or might make a good pairing with my Fiio E11. I found the Fiio not to my liking on M50 or any other cans as they all have sufficient bass and Fiio sounds very closed so had put up for sale. I will keep the M50 for v-signature and K701 for vocal/instrument till I can afford a decent 650 based setup. Meanwhile, might soon upgrade to a better Fiio DAC+AMP like E17k if this pairing worked.

  • Reply June 1, 2015

    Peter Harlovic

    I really fail to understand why audio ‘reviewers’ always seem to obsess over products that produce a so called ‘warm’ sound and try to describe such products as being better for music.

    ‘Warm’ is a term people use to describe a product that overemphasiss the base and/or midbass (300hz down) which tends to drown out all detail and leave you with a completely unnatural sound.

    It also leaves me wondering when reviewers start to describe some speakers/headphones as being ‘rock headphones’ or ‘jazz headphones’ and the like.

    A speaker is a transducer – it converts electric impulses in to sound energy. A speaker does not know if it’s playing Rap, or Jazz, or Rock. It colours every piece of music / source in the exact same way.

    Ultimately the most linear a speaker / headphone measures, the more accurately it reproduces ALL source material.

    When it comes to sonic accuracy, the HD650 is very clearly the worst performing product of this trio. It’s the strongest exhageration from 200hz down, and it’s got easilly the weakest output above 3khz. It’s relatively accurate 300hz to 3khz, but even over that range ti’s no more accurate than the K701 or the DT880.

    The Beyer actually has (by a significant margin) the most accurate bottom end of these three products, with strong bass extension that’s around -3dB at 25hz. The HD650 by comparsion is -3dB at around 40hz, and the K701 is -3dB at around 50hz. Anybody who describes the DT880 as being ‘thin’ down low has no idea what they’re talking about, because no audio system that plays down to 25hz (i.e. below the typical human’s audible hearing level) at -3dB can be described as thin or lacking extension.

    If the DT880 does in fact sound ‘thin’ then that would be because of the 3-4dB dip in the midrange (between 1k-3k) and may well be made more prominant by the ~4dB peak in the highs up around 7k-9k.
    Overall, neither of these heaphones measures truly accurately, but the K701 is the closest to it. It’s almost dead flat from 600hz to 4khz (giving it by far the most accurate midrange of the three) the bottom end is not too overemphasised (as most headphones are) and the highs are much more ‘full’ than the HD650 without quite so much peakiness as the DT880.

    At this stage I’m still favourable towards the lower end K601, which probalby has the most neutral frequency response of any headphone i’ve heard – though it’s distortion levels aren’t quite as clean as the K701 and the DT880.

    I’m eager to hear the K702 however – it looks to be somewhat of a merger between the K701 and the K601, with the low distortion levels of the K701 and the more extended bottom end of the K601. Should be a fantastic model, and trying to find a place to get an audtion.
    I do really find it unfortuantely though, that so many manufacturers insist on product headphones that emphasise the bass range far too much. It really drowns out details across the rest of the audio spectrum, leaving the resulting sound coming across as very dull, overly heavy and lacking in fine details.

    • Reply June 1, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Not everyone wants the same kind of sound, A lot of people find the 880 or 70X extremely boring. Same goes for amps, the O2 in example is neutral sounding, to a lot of people that means it’s boring.

      People will always have different tastes and as long as that’s happening there will be differen sounding gear. Nothing wrong with that

      • Reply June 9, 2015

        Peter Harlovic

        The thing that’s wrong with it, so to speak, is that many reviewers give better reviews to products that they describe as ‘warm’ as if this is an objectively superior characteristic.

        Likewise reviewers will often describe a headphone that has a +5db rise in the bass as having better bass…and then go on to label another product thats closer to flat in the bass as “lacking bass” when that’s absolutely blatantly wrong.

        Reviews really should be more objective – call a product what it is. If it’s got a rise in the bass, but you happen to like that, then call it that way. There is nothing wrong with saying “productX does exhagerate the bass region slightly which is great if you like a more bass heavy sound, but if you prefer a more accurate low end then productY is more suitable”.

        Its like when reviewers try to describe one product as “great for jazz” abd another “great for hiphop”. What is up with that? A product will colour all sound in the exact same way. If you’re speaker has a 5db peak at 4khz, then your product is going to have a peaky lower treble / upper midrange regardless of what material you play through it. People say headphones with more bass are better suited to rnb – why? If the artist wants excessive bass in their track, then they tune that in to the track itself. Headphones with +10db bass will just further overemphasise the ALREADY overemphasised bass region.

        Also the use of these terms “warm”, “dry”, etc is insanity – i have no idea who came up with these silly ‘audiophile’ adjectives, but they tell you nothing factual about the sound. Everybody’s definition of “warm” is different to the next person’s. When you say warm, do you mean that the bass has a softly rising response down low? Or do you mean the treble rolls off more strongly than most up high? Or do you mean both? Nobody knows. People use these terms in reviews for headphones, car audio, hifi, you name it. Yet the terms are almost meaningless due to the ambiguity of their definition.

        When casual audio people use these methods to describe things i let it pass, but when its hardvore enthusiasts, industry professionals, etc, then it’s just…a little frustrating to those who actually want to know what the real traits of the product are (as opposed to trendy buzzwords).

        • Reply June 9, 2015

          dalethorn

          All very good points, but being purely objective (if that’s even possible), you’d be writing 5 times as much text to try to communicate to people who already are familiar with the review style and the adjectives used.

          The irony I see in this is that even in my own personal case, I’ll have a given headphone on hand for a long time – a few months to a couple of years, and at some point I hear it as rather warm, and a couple months or so later it may seem less than warm, as my current experience shifts toward warmer headphones.

          So going back to objective, I suppose I’d have to declare a certain headphone as the ‘standard’ for neutral, just for reference and all. But then, that headphone doesn’t sound neutral on all of my music. And so it goes…

          • Reply June 9, 2015

            Peter Harlovic

            But the if the headphone doesnt sound natural on all music, then its the music (not the headphone) that sounds unnatural.

            A natural audio system reflects the source, nothing more or less.

            Also frustrating is when people reply to a comparison like this I’ve for example, and then give their thoughts on the K701…based on their experience with the k712.

            These are two unique models, but little talk about them as of they are identical. Of you look at the measurements its clear that they are not. The K712 its way too heavy on the bottom end, the K702 is relatively neutrality low, and the k701 has a soft bottom end rise comparable to the k702, but doesn’t extend as low.

            So then i see people making comments like “the k702 lacks bass”, when in reality its about -3db at 30hz. For reference, that’s among the lowest any headphone will play at -3db.

            What These people really mean when they say it lacks bass, is that it doesnt overemphasise the bass – big difference.

            Many reviewers make such comments and it frustrates mean end because the consumers who read those reviews are going to potentially get the wrong impression.

            If like if reviewers were more accurate n their feedback. Instead of saying something sounds warm, just say the bass is a little over emphasised, and the treble doesnt extend especially high. Everybody understands what that means, and theres no ambiguity.

            I know it’s easier to stick to the cliche’s, but taking shortcuts wont always lead you down the right metaphorical path.

            • Reply June 9, 2015

              dalethorn

              Generally I agree, and it’s your first sentence that makes the case, for the theory at least. But, what really matters is the extant music after all. Let’s try a small experiment: We have all the world’s music, which all sounds good to OK on headphone A, but one track is not OK on headphone B. Then that track is remastered (in a good way) and now all sounds good to OK on headphone B, but not on headphone A. If we can “prove” that headphone B is still the fault because we can easily measure the midrange coloration that’s the difference, maybe we can sell that to people. But if the problem is in the treble, we don’t have any flat curves to investigate that. So we look for tonality to see if that’s accurate. Then eventually we realize that it’s very complicated because everything has minor faults all over the place, and judgements shift with every track. So I have to learn the reviewer’s tastes and judgements, and measure the reviews against that. Otherwise, I’d be comparing a thousand points of detail with every headphone, and lose the forest for the trees.

    • Reply June 1, 2015

      dalethorn

      I would say, in defense of ‘warm’ that’s not a specific emphasis, that with certain gear that have very small rough areas that contribute to a more clinical or ‘technical’ sound, an equivalent item (a headhone for example) that uses wood in the earcups can often smooth the sound creating a sense of being warmer.

      Pardon my use of imprecise phrases here, since I’m aware that simple frequency response is far, far from adequate to describe an item’s sound, or even a part of that sound known as warmness – there are so many technical aspects of sound that no review can cover them in less than 3 month’s work on each item. Innerfidelity covers a little of that with lab measurements, but it’s just a start.

  • Reply August 7, 2015

    David Whitbeck

    I’ve owned all three headphones at one time or another. Many of the comments made in this shootout I think are apt, but some are not.

    The dt880s have amazing bass extension. It is also the most accurate bass reproduction I’ve heard from a headphone (at least in the sub-$500 price bracket). It does not sound thin. In fact the bass is slightly elevated and colors the music. It is is not the upper bass that is elevated like in Sennheiser headphones but lower to mid-bass. Also the peaks in the upper-mids and treble provide this headphone with a very unique coloration. Also it is never sibilant, not at all. I’ve never heard another headphone that sounded like it.

    The q701s don’t have a “blank look.” They’re warm and dark, just not as much as Sennheiser headphones but enough that they are not quite monitor flat.

    The hd650s are indeed warm and dark, but I think that it is a head-fi myth that they are slow or need expensive amplification. They actually require the least voltage of the three headphones (based on sensitivity and impedance) and sound great out of everything but mobile devices. They are the warmest and darkest headphone of the three, but not nearly as warm or as dark as it is made out to be. They have top class detail resolution in the mid-range, I would say that it is the most detailed of the three.

    All three are close to but not exactly neutral, and are each delicately colored in their own unique way. All three are capable of impressive sound stage and imaging (for headphones anyway). All three require a desktop amp to sound their best. And all three are excellent headphones without any single one possessing a significantly improved sound quality in comparison to the other two.

    For any prospective buyer: please refrain from reading that article. It can’t tell you which sound signature you would prefer, only you can. And all three are very close to each other in quality. If you can afford it, buy all three, listen to them and then pick one and return the other two.

  • Reply November 23, 2015

    Kay

    The AKG K701 is the true neutral headphone out of the three. Even Quincy Jone’s said that he has never heared a more detailed sounding headphone and trust me he know’s more about proper music and sound then some of us will ever know.

    • Reply December 12, 2015

      Lyander0012

      As much as I like Mr. Jones’s music, I believe his opinion may be somewhat suspect since he endorses AKG headphones, not to mention they named a line of cans after him. I have yet to give the 701s or any of its variants a proper at-home listen so I’m reserving judgement for now. The K550s were my daily-use cans for a good two years before I side-graded to a DT880 250Ohm, though, and they’re supposed to be a closed K702 with slightly more bass; the fact that I lean towards my 880s implies that I may prefer them to the AKGs in this shootout, but again, I’ll give them a proper listen before making any definitive statements.

      Also, am I the only one here who prefers the Beyers to Senn’s HD650? I really can’t stand the lack of treble on the latter, though I can see why some would prefer them for extended listening sessions. The Senns may have a slight edge in comfort, though.

      • Reply December 12, 2015

        dalethorn

        Check the NobleHiFi site by Edd, and his comments on the 880 – he’s a big fan. If you’re not listening to classical or similar genres, the 650 probably tames the shrill highs in pop music pretty well.

        • Reply December 13, 2015

          Lyander0012

          Thanks for the heads up! I do love listening to classical every once in a while (I need to be in a specific mood to really appreciate it), but I gravitate to rock and acoustic with the occasional industrial album thrown in for when I need a kick in the pants.

          And I have to agree about the 650s and pop. I listened to some J-Rock/J-Pop and they sounded much less shrill on them.

        • Reply December 13, 2015

          Lyander0012

          By the by, how do the DT880s stack up against the first generation T1s? I haven’t had a chance to try the latter out yet, but I’ve been told that I’d enjoy them as they have a similar sound sig to the 880s except with general improvements in imaging, etc. The revised version’s supposed to have more bass, which I’m not too keen on.

          Cheers!

          • Reply December 13, 2015

            dalethorn

            The T1 gen 1 has a fundamental superiority in sound quality in the sense of hearing more and better inner detail (or micro detail), but first you have to get past the treble peaks, or play music that doesn’t tickle its peculiar resonances. One golden-eared musician on ComputerAudiophile noted that the T1 he evaluated could not differentiate between a Steinway and a Bosendorfer. I equalized mine to net out the biases that occur with headphones having different frequency responses, so I could get past that issue and understand the basic sound quality. In the end I let it go, because the EQ just didn’t do the magic I hoped for. But I trust Edd’s long-term satisfaction and analysis – so maybe there’s not the ultimate detail with the 880, but overall it seems to be a better bet for most music.

            • Reply December 16, 2015

              Lyander0012

              Yeah, that more or less mirrors my opinion of the older Beyers. The 880s don’t do everything perfectly, but they’re nice enough all-rounders that I can use them for pretty much any genre. Glad to hear that the T1’s more finicky, as that gives me an excuse to forego getting one and try out some nice planars instead, haha. Thanks!

              • Reply December 16, 2015

                dalethorn

                Stay tuned for longer-term reviews of version 2. There’s always hope.

                • Reply December 17, 2015

                  Lyander0012

                  Haha! I suppose it’d be overly optimistic hoping that I’ll be able to get out of spending more on cans so quickly after getting back into the hobby. Looking forward to it, and thanks for all the advice so far!

  • Reply January 19, 2016

    Gene Bodio

    Got all three as well as a few orthos, HD800, HD600, IEMs …. I’m also a recording engineer & musician of 30y. Mostly multi trk mainstream rock, both digi & 2in analog. But I’ve also done a good bit of live to 2tk.. Jazz, Vox, Acoustic….
    First, let me say that I’m in the unique position to know what my mixes sounded like. And I know what other mixes/masters sound. To my ears, the Q701s are hands down doing the best job at reproducing tracks that I know inside & out. Over every headphone I have. Their role flaw, and it’s a minor one, is it tends to roll off a few db down in the 30-50hz area. Easily fixed or adjusted for taste with any basic eq on any DAP. I’ve been using FIIO’s X7 with their native player as well as HibyMusic & Neutron. All have adequate eqs.

    My comments re virtually every other headphone I own is that they are all flawed in one way or another, and require a genre of music to complement the flaw. Too much bottom, look for light acoustic. Too much top, stay away from cymbles & electronic. Mid issues, look for a vox complement.

    On the other hand you could get the most accurate/neutral/reference headphone aka boring. Then, depending on genre or mood, eq to taste. At the end of the day, you have Headphones that can morph into fitting any need. A better prospect than buying non-neutral, pre eq’ed/voiced headphones that only works well with a given genere.

    FYI, From the HPs that I’ve tested, the AKG q701 & HD800 come the closest to neutral. But I’d give a shout out to the Hifiman i400s. From my pov, it is everything the HD6*0 is suppose to be with that beautiful planar btm and enough top end to allow for a few db of 8k shelf to bring a little sparkle into the track and open the soundstage a tad.

  • Reply September 7, 2016

    Andrew Eyous

    Great piece . For what it’s worth , if anyone requires a AZ DROSC13f , my wife filled out and esigned a sample document here http://goo.gl/GFMujH

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