Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO – Closed Back “Studio Reference” Headphones
Beyerdynamic’s Update of a Classic Studio ‘Phone’; Big Time Boogie & Moderate Cost Make This an Obvious Choice in Its Price Class
Up to Bat
What a wonderful assignment I was given by The Head Honcho several weeks back. I have a set of Closed-Back Reference Quality Studio Headphones in the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PROs here, and up just after this are the DT 1990 PRO Open-Back Reference ‘Phones, an abundance of riches here for sure. These are both very special products and offer the listener a sound that best suits one’s listening habits and desired sonic signature. More about that later. Let’s get started.
Quick Look at The Product and Design
The DT 1770 PROs have a tremendous pedigree. This is an updated design from the original 1770s with improved ergonomics and comfort level. Two different ear cups offer a tunable result (and are also a bit different in the isolation department depending on ear cup chosen) along with a single mini-XLR that engages at the bottom of the left cup to get the party started. Nicely done I might add, with two different styles of cable supplied (coiled cord or straight cord) as well.
The Star of The Show is the new Tesla T2 diaphragm – a 3-layer 45mm “Compound Membrane” that allows for greater sound pressure level (“SPL,” the fancy term for volume) with far less distortion. Although Beyer provides little information about this Compound Membrane, I can share with you that there is a very real intelligence to this design. I tried to see how the DT 1770 PRO would go into breakup and I could never get this to happen – even under real high SPLs and with complex material. Other headphones make a decided crack or spit-like noise to let you know that they are in despair. The DT 1770 PRO was very graceful about this. Love it.
OK OK – Talk to Me About the Sound Mr. TAF
OK – how did they sound? In a word… Amazing. These headphones had it right just out of the gate. I played several different tracks and I couldn’t complain in any instance. There ARE competitors to this headphone that I know are very good, but you get a well-balanced, nicely detailed result with these as the following tracks proved out.
I started with Kari Bremnes, which was extraordinary. Lovely recording to begin with but the way the 1770s transported her voice’s haunting nature was striking. The placement was just spot on. Separation of vocals from instruments was conveyed with a stark and deep background which was easily translated and just awesome in nature. “Skrik” off of Kari’s Løsrivelse was really a stand out for me (Kari Bremnes– Løsrivelse). A special shout out to the background voices here of Bård Meland, Kyrre Klevberg, Nils Arne Helgerød, Svein Tore Ringøen, Tor Sørbye Conductor [Dir.] – Grete Helgerød (information provided by discogs.com). I highly recommend this track and this disc. To be enjoyed!
The Eva Cassidy “Fields of Gold” from Best Audiophile Voices II (Best Audiophile Voices II Premium Records (2) – PR27840XRCD) elicited goosebumps – I was really moved. The tonality was really spot on but just as impressive was the decay on this track. “Fields of Gold” is an all-time favorite for sure… but here, her rendition (besides a tad too much reverb) was serene and had that sound that had me immersed deep into the music field.
I find these XRCDs to be very good to excellent all of the time. If you’d like to read a bit more about these go ahead and check out this web site (and featured info re XRCD)… http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=1479 Whether you agree with Dr. Waldrep or not (as he’s known to be more than a little bit shall we say – combative) he is a very good source of information re CD Engineering and Mastering. I have in my private music collection a sensational live rendition of the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances recorded in Colorado (can’t say more). This particular recording on the 1770s was jaw-dropping. Stunning. The layering was evident, and I defy anyone to tell me that a Closed Back Headphone can’t adequately render layering and textural nuances. I was really impressed. I couldn’t help but wonder how much better it could get with some of the other technologies that are out there. That said, I was so overwhelmed I went back and did a double check on the price of these headphones. Looks like under $600 everywhere.
Boogie on Down
This headphone delivers abundant SPLs with very low distortion as mentioned. The Boogie Factor was evident when I tried the DT 1770 PROs with some very challenging material.
I used the old standby – Sheffield Labs Drum Record (Jim Keltner / Ron Tutt– The Sheffield Drum Record Label: Sheffield Lab – LAB-14). The tracks on this album vary in nature (as do the prolific drummers – Keltner and Tutt) but this Bill Schnee engineering masterpiece has stood the test of time.
Impressive – concussive, playful and bombastic – all of that and more, each conveyed eloquently and precisely. Bravo Beyerdynamic – Bravo DT 1770 PRO. Color me impressed.
A Few Quick Adders Before Concluding
The look and feel of the DT 1770 PROs out of the box are tremendous. As previously mentioned, they come with two separate earcups and two separate connection cords. You can always tell the pride that a Maker has in their products by the way they are packed, and the 1770s are really well done and executed when it comes to the packaging. As well, everyone who saw them in my office/listening room marveled at how they “felt.” The touch/feel test was an overwhelming positive for this headphone. They mean The Business, and they have that “aura” about them. The matte finish was a delight to touch and the Sprung Steel chassis/backbone was elegantly executed. The headband was beautifully finished, and I marveled at the positive connection of the mini-XLR (single) connector. Let’s not forget the semi-hard carrying case – a super-cool adder and worth mentioning here.
An Important Last Decider or Two and the inevitable Comparisons
As mentioned at the outset, these ‘phones come with two different ear cups. The basic difference was a bit more isolation with the leather materialled cups versus the velour type, which was not quite as “isolated” but to my “ear-feel” a better choice for longer listening periods. YMMV, but what a glorious option to be able to call on out of the box. In either case, I never experienced ear-fatigue which does plague many Closed Back Designs.
I should also comment that the Clamping Factor was good to very good (as I would expect with a headphone designed to be in Studio use every day). Very comfortable for extended listening sessions.
I have on hand the lovely Focal Elear Headphones and they were probably a tad better at rendering the details. They did not have the dynamics that the 1770s had, however, and I value this a great deal. I’m told that the MrSpeakers AEON Flow Closed Back is probably the very best “natural competitor”, but alas, I did not have these on hand for the ultimate Closed Back Shoot Out. I hope to hear these in the not too distant future.
I’m really going to hate sending these back. I enjoyed every day listening with these and while I am aware of some keen competition in the price class from more than a few vendors, I feel one cannot go wrong with these. A Solid choice for those who desire DRIVE and a PASSIONATE DELIVERY in a headphone. Great Balance and Texture to boot. These could easily be my “Daily Driver” but before giving them this last accolade I need to juxtapose these to the DT 1990 PROs as well as two other competitors that are in the house at the moment. That said…