Way back before headphones became a multi-billion dollar industry, the options available for people to buy were rather meager. You mostly had earbuds, a selection of on-ears (predominantly Sennheiser) and professional monitor headphones, and never the thrice should meet.
In the past, people were perhaps afraid of professional headphones. They were ugly, had ridiculously long cables and were harder to find than consumer models. As good as they are, the $199 Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio does little to overcome that stereotyping -- they're quite industrial looking, have a three-meter long cable and are only available from the Guitar Center (and other online music stores). All of this is a shame, because the Beyerdynamics are actually more suited to everyday use than the company's own, consumer-focused version of the DT-770 Pro.
While other fantastic monitor headphones have crossed over to the mainstream -- Audio Technica's ATH-M50X being the prime example -- the DT 770 Studio remains firmly in the pro category. The DT 770 Studio is an 80 ohm variant of the DT 770 Pro which itself comes in a number of different flavors, including the aforementioned 32 ohm (easier to power) personal version which is also $199. That 32-ohm model also has different ear pads. They're faux leather and a bit of step down from the softer, more comfortable velour pads on this model.
The DT 770 headphones make their professional-use origins known, from the rigid plastic cups to the padded headband and snaking internal cables. The headphones feel solid, while also remaining lightweight and offering a luxurious fit. The earcups are a soft grey plush material which also adds a level of comfort.
The headphones offer an 80ohm impedence and a pair of 45mm drivers. The headphones are a closed design which means they are well-suited to their original audio monitoring purpose, but also offer decent isolation for on-the-go. That is if you can find somewhere to stow the three-meter (10ft), non-removable cable.
I used the headphones for a number of weeks as my main headphone and thoroughly enjoyed them. Whether I plugged them into an iFi iDac or Cowon Plenue 1 player the DT 770s always gave a balanced performance.
Previously, the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and Sony MDR-1R had been my go-to headphones but these Beyerdynamics are quite tempting. They may not be the most sensitive headphones in the world, but give 'em enough juice and they'll reward you with a commanding performance.
For example, the Beyerdynamics were a little more detailed than the ATH-M50 on Alt-J's "3WW" and also more dynamic. The "All these three worn words" chorus was a little muted in the Audio Technica's hands.
If you like synth bass -- and who doesn't love a bit of Bobby Brown now and then? -- you'll also likely prefer the smoother response of the Beyerdynamics. The deep-deep outro riff of "Life" by Beta Band was a little lopsided through the AHT-M50s but each of the notes was decidedly more, even through the 770s.
Both the Audio Technica and the Beyerdynamic had a slightly forward treble which made the tambourine parts on Spoon's "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" more prominent than I've heard on some other headphones, including the wireless Bowers and Wilkins PX. But both headphones had me tapping my feet to the insistent backbeat.
I also tried the 32-ohm DT 770 Pro and wasn't as impressed. While it's ostensibly designed for use on the train or similarly loud environments, the sound was too thin to use for very long. I just wanted more "oomph" while listening to Queens of The Stone Age's "Villains" album and the Pro model couldn't supply it.
If you want a pair of non-fatiguing headphones that are built to last, the DT 770 Studio joins a long line of dependable studio reference headphones. While models such as the Sony MDR-7506 are a much better value, the Beyerdynamics offer better comfort and are well worth a listen next time you're picking up a bag of plectrums.