The competition to produce the best sounding headphones continues to get stiff each and every day, from the cheapest budget headphones though the mid-rangers right to the top best most bleeding-edge headphones money can buy. The sound has become incredibly good. This is good news for the music enthusiasts, producers, and DJs alike. All these development developments also leave the consumer confused about which pair to spend their money on, remember you have to spend that dollar wisely because you only spend it once.
The DT 880 series from Beyerdynamic offers one of the best studio headphones in the industry. If you are into mixing and mastering you might have decided to go with the DT 880 series but might be having a difficult time in deciding whether to go with the Pro version or the Premium version, that’s what we are here for, to help you make an informed decision and get value for your money.
Both of these headphones are 250 Ohms and might not sound so loud in some of your phones, tablets, iPods, and laptops without an amplifier, for the sake of getting the best out of each we used amplifiers while testing them. These headphones as you might assume are very similar in a lot of ways but have a few detailed differences meant to suit everyone’s different needs, so without wasting much time let’s get right to it.
DT 880 PRO
Before sharing my views let me outline the specs first, the DT 880 Pros have 250 Ohms impedance, they are open-air type, they have a frequency response of 5 Hz to 32 kHz, they weigh 295 grams without the cable, they connect with a threaded straight 3.5 mm jack, nominal THD:<0.2% distortion, screw-on 6.3 mm adapter and they also come with a 3m long undetachable coiled cable.
The DT 880 Pros feel solid and are of high quality but the headband adjustment slider mechanism gets stuck in some positions and fails to fixate in some positions, though this is not common it is rather frustrating when it does happen.
A portion of the frequency response region is not exactly flat but isn’t that distorted either and doesn’t have any resonances, this makes them sound better in the mids than most headphones. Overall the sound is very bright for a semi-open set but still leaves room for improvement.
Channels are greatly matched on the DT 880 Pros, deviations between channels are rare but when they do occur they are mostly inaudible. The comfort of these is out of this world, the ear pads are over-ear designs that incorporate the largest of ears and they do not exert any pressure on the outer ear allowing long sessions without your ears getting hot. The headband does not feel as comfortable but isn’t so bad, it certainly doesn’t contribute to someone cutting their session shot.
DT 880 PREMIUM
Likewise I will start by outlining the specs of the Premiums. They have 250 Ohms impedance, they are semi-open air type, they have a frequency response of 5 Hz to 35kHz, they weigh 290 grams without the cable, they connect with gold-plated 3.5 mm jack, nominal THD:<0.2% distortion, screw-on 6.35 mm adapter and they come with a 3 m long undetachable straight cable.
The Premiums look a lot like the Pros but are somewhat more premium, they combine both the strengths of open and close studio headphones to get the best of both sides. The headband adjustment slider mechanism also gets stuck in some positions and they really need to do something about that. The DT 880 Premiums sound a lot better in the mids than the Pros.
The channels are nicely matched but the deviations are audible to some extent which is not so great compared to the Pros. Those familiar with Beyerdynamic products will agree that they offer the best comfort.
The DT 880 Premiums are no exception, their ear pads are over-ear designs that incorporate the largest of ears and they do not exert any pressure on the outer ear allowing long sessions without your ears getting irritated. The headband is visibly much thicker than that of the DT 880 Pros, this does a great job in bringing that lost comfort the Pros could not offer hence allowing even longer sessions.
The over ear pad design in both the DT 880 Pros and the Premiums is one of my best features, the pads themselves are incredibly fluffy and incredibly comfortable since they don’t apply any pressure to the ear.
Though the DT 880 Pros have a rather uncomfortable headband, the Premiums correct that mistake by bringing that chunky comfortable headband and they weigh a bit less than the Pros as well, making them ideal for those long sessions in the studio.
We all know the pain of having to buy new gear and begin to get used to it all over again simply because you couldn’t repair the old one you were used to. Well, that will not be a problem with both the DT 880 Pros and the Premiums, nearly every part on these is replaceable and Beyerdynamics stocks most of these parts just in case an unforeseen event occurs.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER
For such high-end gear, one would expect the best features and I would say the fact that the cables on these headphones are not detachable is a disappointment to me, I would like to see them remake these with a detachable cable such that I can choose to use a shorter cable or an even longer one to just suit the mood and the task I would be undertaking.
The glitches in the adjusting system are so frustrating because sometimes you end up putting them on in an uncomfortable fit, though the system itself is not a bad one. Improving the efficiency of that system would be great.
Both the DT 880 Pro and Premium headphones are great choices, but in this case, the pricing is not so different and it all comes down to what you really need in your headgear, to sum it up I would say the Pros produce a better sound in the mids than the Premiums but the Premiums are better in a whole lot of other areas, they have a wider frequency response, weigh less and have better comfort on the headband.
If you are looking to use your headphones both in-studio and on your iPod or on your phone I would suggest the Pros since they sound louder without an amplifier, but if you work in the musing industry producing, the DT 880 Premiums are your pick because they will allow longer sessions with their comfort.