DT880 vs MS-Pro

This is an adaptation from the results of some testing I did at the request of someone on the Headphonic forums.


It's almost comical switching between the Alessandro MS-Pro and the Beyerdynamic DT880s.


Every time I switch from the 880s to the Pros I think "Man, these are crap! Tinny, bassless ... horrible". After a little while  I switch back to the 880s and think "Man, these are crap! It sounds like I've got my head in a fishbowl! Muddy, no instrument separation, way too laid back mids... lifeless!" :D


The reality is, at least for me, both of these phones take some ear burn-in time, particularly if you've been listening to the other set. I hate to imagine how HD650s would add to the mix, seeing as they're meant to sound very dark compared to the 880s :p


I've had similar reactions with the 880s and my other phones (DT531, UE SF3, KCS50) - I actually had to stop listening to the 880s when I first got the SF3s, because they were really interfering with my appreciation of them.


The DT880s win hands down in terms of bass, and they do a very decent job everywhere else too. On Massive Attack's Angel I think I actually preferred the 880s to the MS-Pros, and maybe on Miles Davis' Blue In Green too. Diamonds and Guns is terrible on the Pros - I'm assuming it's the recoding quality. The 880s are definitely more comfortable, but I don't find the Pros uncomfortable.


I've always found male vocals (lower mids?) on the 880s to be too laid back for my liking. It saps the life out of grunge, punk and some metal. That's one of the reasons I kept my 531s. Female vocals on the other hand are usually very nice, as is what little electronic-ish stuff I have (Propellerheads, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack).


Despite being lighter in the bass department, something like DecksAndDrumsAndRockAndRoll sounds fantastic on MS-Pros. It's an album that also sounds awesome, though very different, on the 880s.


Overall though, for me the separation, clarity and pure fun of the Pros still wins out. They have so much more of a live, and alive, feel. Ecstasy of Gold/Call of the Ktulu are amazing on the Pros, though you don't get to 'kick to the side of the head' that you do with the 880s when the bass drum comes in at the start of Ktulu.


I could happily live the the MS-Pros as my only set of phones, even driven directly from an ipod. The 880s on the other hand like decent amplification and their downfall with male vocals means that, for me at least, they'll remain something I pull out only when I'm looking for a certain sound.



WAV - > Gen 6 Ipod Classic -> Apple Dock -> poweramp in of NAD 3150 (bypassing the preamp) -> Grado extension cable -> phones.


Test tracks
Angel - Massive Attack
Yell Fire! - Michael Franti
Doo Wop - Lauryn Hill
Amoxycillin - Magic Dirt
Geek USA - Smashing Pumpkins
Right where it belongs - Nine Inch Nails
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Money - Pink Floyd
Zebra - John Butler Trio
Blue In Green - Miles Davis
Ecstasy of Gold/Call of the Ktulu - Metallica
Diamonds and Guns - Transplants
Detox - Strapping Young Lad
Pushit - Tool

All of DecksAndDrumsAndRockAndRoll - Propellerheads

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