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
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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