After monitoring using a budget HiFi system and some Sony MDR-IF140 headphones for years, I decided it was time for something better. Part of the upgrade was to get some Yamaha HS50M active monitors. Since these monitors are small, I was particularly concerned about hearing the lower bass frequencies.
My room is a bit too small for a sub, and I often have to work at night, so I looked for some high-end headphones. Various reviews and forums lead me to consider the Sennheiser HD650 and HD600 (see purchase links). Then, I found a review in Sound On Sound magazine which included the headphones that are the subject of this review. I was a bit worried about them being only semi-open — I prefer open back headphones. But I decided to put some faith in the review.
In addition to reading reviews and forums, I compared the frequency response of various models on headphone.com.
If you click the graph on that site, you can compare the frequency response of up to 4 models. This was my impression of the graphs:
- Sennheiser HD600 — Possibly the flattest overall response, but a slight hump around 100 Hz.
- Sennheiser HD650 — Less even than the HD600 at the top end, and a more pronounced bass hump.
- Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro 250 Ohm — Flatter and more extended bass response, but a spike in the 5–10 kHz range.
As I’m basically trying to mix on a budget, I want to reveal problems — so the spike in the 5–10 kHz range did not worry me too much. I thought it might even reveal things that I’d otherwise miss. The bass response also looked good, as did the lower price, and the excellent review in Sound On Sound. That lead me to go with the Beyers.
I was surprised at how light they are, despite their size. And they don’t feel too tight on my head. I was expecting a vice-like grip, but they’re not like that at all. The only thing I would say is that my ears can feel a bit sweaty after a while, so it’s nice to take a break every so often.
They come with a nice case, but mine rarely get put away. There’s also a screw-on 3.5 mm — 0.25 ″ adapter, which seems to be of good quality.
I use them with a Musical Fidelity VCAN II headphone amp, and they sound great. I can hear kick drum thuds that I can’t hear on the monitors, and there is a great sense of clarity.
I expected these headphones to be a useful tool — and that’s all I was looking for really. But I’ve also found that I enjoy listening to music through them as well.
Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro 250 Ohm at Amazon (as reviewed)
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