The Beyerdynamic We Love: DT770 Anniversary Edition

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This is a double author review. Normal text is Lieven, italics are Mike. Disclaimer: Mike’s DT770 Anniversary Edition was a loaner sample from Jaben Indonesia. Lieven got his free sample from Beyerdynamic directly.

 

What is Beyerdynamic up to lately? Not only have they delivered the great T70 and Custom One Pro lately, just to name a few, but they’re back already with an all-black Limited Edition 32Ohm DT770 PRO 88 to celebrate Beyerdynamic’s 88 birthday!  I received a free sample of the L.E. DT770 88 from the Heilbronn based company directly. /Lieven

I envy Lieven for getting to keep the Beyerdynamic DT770 AE sample. I only got to spend roughly a period of one week or so as I borrowed the LE from the local Jaben. I was so impressed with the LE when I auditioned it on the store and so I asked them if I can borrow the demo unit for a review. Over the period of that one week, I grew to love the DT770 LE very much. 

Beyerdynamics, you all know I’m not a big fan.. but the Limited Edition DT770 and the COP are two recent releases from Beyerdynamic that I think is quite different from the rest of the family. First one is the Beyer Custom One Pro. The bass a little boomy, but I think Beyer has finally succeeded in creating a fun sounding headphone with the COP. I won’t say that the COP was influenced by the HD650, but it definitely has a darker, fuller low sound than the usual Beyer family is known for. Unlike the COP, the DT770 Limited Edition is not a totally new product, instead it’s a spin off of the popular DT770 line up. The Limited Edition DT770 is still based on a standard non-tesla Beyerdynamic driver. But they’ve executed it so well, I’d take this headphone anyday over the T70 or T70p. It doesn’t have the technicalities of the T1 or T5p (and I don’t expect it would), but outside from the two flagships, this model is, in my opinion, the third best Beyerdynamic model on their entire line up right now (I’ve yet to listen to the T90, but the T70 was — I’d rather be polite). /Mike

 

 

The Limited Edition Model

The DT770 LE will only be produced in 2012 in Germany and only 4000 units will be made in total, making it Limited but nut THAT limited you will hardly ever see one. Mike was talking about how basic the box and accessories are for a Limited Edition but there actually is a reason behind this, and I quote Beyerdynamic:

The box is based on the 1960’s Beyerdynamic boxes. They were just like this one, we never had a wooden box, therefore we didn’t make one for this limited edition either. The idea was to make this limited edition headphone and present it in a historic looking box. Even the graphic design was based on the 1960’s graphic design.

So there you have it. It’s more of a trip down memory lane for Beyerdynamic and that’s the reason you’re not getting any accessories (besides the ¼ plug) even though I’m sure a lot of people expect a bit more from a LE.  I actually like the LE plates on the ear cups, although the 88 printing could have been a bit more visible.

This version of the  DT770 (5 – 35.000 Hz) comes equipped with a softskin headband and pads, and while The DT770 in general is famous with its velour pads, Beyer chose to use these on the LE and of course it has an impact on the sound. Comfort wise this LE DT770 with its 270gr. does pretty good, it’s no Sennheiser HD700 but I would give it at least 7.5 out of 10 for comfort (where the Senn is 10). Enough about the looks already, let’s move on! /Lieven

Usually you expect extras for a Limited Edition headphone, something fancier and extra accessories. Nothing like that with the DT770 LE. Instead, as Lieven already mentioned, it’s a real trip down memory lane. Not a big deal, especially after hearing Beyer’s explanation for it. After all, it’s the sound we’re concerned about, not fancy boxes. /Mike

 

Sound Impressions

The special thing about the anniversary DT770 is that it’s more than a simple tweak. The pleather pads bring down the tonality to make it darker than the standard DT770. The bass is a little boomy, unfortunately, where the standard DT770 (80Ω and 250Ω) has a better control though with a much leaner body. Overlooking the boomier bass, what really gets me hooked is the zero-grain sound and the much improved soundstage depth. The DT770 and DT880 have always been relatively grainy, and it’s not until the Tesla T1 where I start to hear a grain-free Beyer. The DT770-anniversary has a zero-grain sound that reminds me of the big brother the T5p and this improvement by itself is worth having the special Limited Edition tag.

The soundstage depth improvement makes the Limited Edition a much more three dimensional headphone than the standard DT770, or even the DT880 and DT990. Though you get a more airy sound with the standard DT770 or DT880, mainly due to the use of velour pads, but they simply sound flat once you hear the anniversary DT770. The standard DT770 is one of the headphones with serious detail levels, so I really didn’t expect an improvement on this area. How surprising, the AE managed to pass the detail level significantly and it’s so much more effortless in producing those details (with less treble quantity too). This may not be very evident on the average pop-rock recording, but play a well recorded Jazz or Classical piece and you don’t really have to listen hard to spot the difference. Yet most of all, what strikes me as extremely awesome is how the anniversary does all these details while being smooth and effortless.

Lastly there is no more dry sounding, harsh treble of the standard DT770/DT880s. The anniversary DT770 is very smooth on the treble with excellent extension. The midrange is fuller, though on some recordings the more forward upper mids does get more aggressive than on the standard edition. On the average recordings however I think the LE is more pleasing due to the better vocal presence. Again, overlooking the slightly boomy bass of the Limited Edition, this has got to be one of the best Beyerdynamic headphones around. While models like the T1 and the T5p are technically superior, for some reason I am hooked more to the sound of the anniversary DT770 than the two flagship teslas. Compared to the T70, I don’t think there is a comparison. The T70 is a more precise headphone, but it sounds so metallic and clinical, I really wouldn’t use it for music listening.

What I find puzzling is that Beyerdynamic doesn’t say anything about the sound quality improvements compared to the standard version. Did all those sound improvements happen by accident? Probably not, but usually sound quality improvements would be the first thing a manufacturer boast about. /Mike

 

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Lieven is living in Europe and is a full time Headfonia writer and the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650. Taking pictures is a real challenge but seeing happy readers in the end is what it's all about for him.

  • sasa208

    This looks like a wonderful headphone, thank you for the great review!
    However, I have some difficulty in finding them. I have just tried the NAD viso HP50
    and I liked them very much. Within my price range of 200 euro’s at the moment. I also tried the B&W P7, and they sounded even a bit better in the mids and highs to me, more neutral maybe. But to expensive.
    Comparing the NAD especially and the P7 to this headphone, which one would you take, what is the difference?
    Thank you again!

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      I think you would find the DT770 better long-term than the P7, especially in the bass. The HP50 would be better as a lifestyle sound (like the Momentum) and the DT770 better for detail.

      • sasa208

        Thank you Dale. Do you mean the DT770 AE specifically or also the regular DT770 Pro’s? The regular Pro’s can be had for just 120 euro’s now, less then the HP50’s. The DT770 Pro AE is hard to find and more expensive as the HP50’s.
        The HP50 would be the safe choice for me, as I have already tried them and I like them a lot. The DT770 Pro AE edition intrigue me however :)

        • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

          I haven’t heard any DT770 except the 32 ohm anniversary edition. The impedance won’t make much difference if you have a capable amp, but the earpads will make a difference. Velour versus pleather makes a big difference. But if you like the HP50, which I think of as a very normal headphone, you might not like the DT770, since it’s very different.

          • sasa208

            Thank you all very much for the info! :)

            • Marc

              You’re welcome guys!

        • Marc

          I have the DT770 AE and had the 770 Pro 80. The AE is clearer an detailed. The 770 Pro 80 has tighter bass, but its sound is more v shaped and grainy. Go for AE.

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            Thanks Marc

  • John B

    I can’t find the DT770 AE anymore online, but found the DT 770 32 ohm (non-AE) instead. How do these compare to the DT-770 AE ? are the differences just about design and packaging ? Do they sound different ?

    http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-DT-770-PRO-32-Headphone-Monitoring-Applications/dp/B008POFOHM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418658782&sr=8-2&keywords=dt+770

    Thanks a lot !

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      I must have answered this question a hundred times :)
      Yes, the 32 ohm version sounds identical to the AE version. Beyerdynamic confirmed it as well. They made the 32 ohm version because the AE was a huge hit.

      You will enjoy it for sure, it still is my nightstand headphone

      • George Lai

        99 actually ;-}

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

          Euhm?