Written by Chrono
Released in 2016, the DT 1770 Pro serves as the successor to Beyerdynamic’s classic and extremely popular DT 770 Pro. New for the DT 1770 Pro is Beyerdynamic’s 45mm Tesla driver, but like its predecessor, it’s still intended to be a professional monitoring headphone that can also be used for mixing and mastering.
Sources and Music Used in Listening Tests
The Amplifier/DACs used in this review were the SPL Phonitor XE (with built-in DAC), Grace Design SDAC + Topping A90, and the JDS Labs Element II connected via USB to my desktop computer. For the listening tests I used music from a wide variety of genres including Rock, Jazz, Classical, Acoustic, Hip-Hop, and latin. I played tracks from my own FLAC library as well as from Qobuz streaming service played via Roon (exclusive mode).
Packaging and Accessories
Unlike the DT 770, which only included a soft carrying-bag, the DT 1770 Pro includes a rather nice array of accessories.
With the DT 1770 Pro, you’ll receive a Beyerdynamic-branded hardshell carrying case, and even though it’s too large to label it as portable, it should keep your headphones and accessories safe should you find yourself traveling with them. A notable upgrade present on the DT 1770 Pro is that it now features detachable connectors, so it now includes two cables. Both cables have a single-sided 3-pin mini XLR termination on the headphone side and they feature a 3.5mm connector with a thread-on ¼” adapter on the amplifier side; the only difference between them is that one is straight and measures 3m in length, whilst the other one has a coil to it and measures 5m when stretched out. Lastly, the DT 1770 Pro comes packaged with two different sets of pads, and we’ll discuss their differences when we talk about sound.
Build and Comfort
The DT 770 was already a pretty well-built headphone, but the DT 1770 Pro definitely kicks it up notch. From the headband, to the yokes and ear cups, the DT 1770 Pro seems to be built entirely out of metal and pleather which makes it feel rugged and significantly more premium than its predecessor. There are very few headphones around the $500 with this level of build quality and sheer toughness, so rest assured that Beyerdynamic’s design here is excellent and should not cause you any issues down the line. Also, it may not be as important as the build itself, but I also really like the headphone’s aesthetic, as its all-matte-black finish feels modern, whilst the metallic-print “DT 1770 Pro” adds a nice, clean touch of contrast.
Admittedly, it may not be quite as good as its predecessor, but I didn’t find the DT 1770 Pro to disappoint in the comfort department. As a result of the all-metal build it weighs 388g, which is a fair bit heavier than the DT 770 Pro, but I personally consider that to still be relatively light, and since it’s well-distributed, I don’t think it’ll be the source of fatigue for most listeners. Compared to the DT 770 Pro, clamp force on the DT 1770 Pro is a bit tighter, but again I didn’t find it to be an issue in any way, and it’s definitely not like the vicious clamp of HD 600-series headphones.
The only comment I have for comfort is that even though their inner diameter is fairly spacious, some listener’s ears might come in contact with the inside of the pads, as well as with the driver, since they’re not particularly deep. This wasn’t a problem I personally ran into, but I could see it as being an issue for some users, so it’s worth keeping in mind.
As mentioned earlier, the DT 1770 Pro is intended to be a professional monitoring headphone for studio use. Now, I sincerely have no pro-audio experience, so for this review I’ll only be sharing how the DT 1770 Pro performed in my listening experience, which was for personal enjoyment. Additionally, I’ll be drawing some comparisons to the DT 770 Pro, since it’s the headphone it’s intended to be an upgrade on.
I was actually quite surprised when I first listened to the DT 1770 Pro. It’s very different from both the more V-shaped-sounding DT 770 Pro, as well as from the other Beyerdynamic headphones that I’ve listened to, which for me have had a bit too much energy in the treble region. The DT 1770 Pro’s tonal balance overall, then, is one I’d describe as being somewhat dark; it has pretty warm bass along with mids which possess a soft presence, but it still has a bit of low and mid treble hotness.
The bass on the DT 1770 Pro is a bit of a mixed bag for me. For extension, it’s great as it’s really able to reach far down all the way to 20hz, and it is very good at surfacing the depth and rumble of those low sub bass frequencies. However, the bass response’s tuning leaves me a little disappointed.
I don’t mind the bass having a little added warmth, but the DT 1770 Pro has a really pronounced elevation at around 130hz-150hz, which I feel knocks some of the balance out of the bass region, making it come through as a little bloated and unrefined. When using EQ to turn down those low to mid bass frequencies, I found that the DT 1770 Pro could actually be fairly articulate in the bass region, but that stock tuning made it feel a bit lacking in precision.
The mids on the DT 1770 Pro I found to be for the most part pretty good. They had a very smooth balance and a natural timbre that accurately represented lower midtones with a solid body. Though, it did sound to me as though the upper-midrange was a little bit recessed.
I traditionally would consider myself as being a little “allergic” to the region between 2K-5K, as I can easily find it to be forward or harsh, but on the DT 1770 Pro I felt as though it could actually use 2dB-3dB more in that region. So, if you’re a mid-centric listener, then you might feel as though the midrange is a little too dark or lacking in the presence that gives definition to vocals, sizzle to cymbals, and buzz to electric guitars.
The treble region on the DT 1770 Pro is pretty interesting. It’s still got two peaks, but I didn’t find them to be anywhere near as harsh as on any of the other Beyerdynamic headphones I’ve tried.
First, there is a small rise at around 6K of about 2dB, which introduces some minor glare in the lower treble. Then, there is a prominent peak at around 8.5K which, despite adding sibilance to consonant sounds, didn’t come through as overly sharp. If anything, I personally found the background sizzle and the unnatural, glassy edge that the 8.5K peak added to overtones to be more of an issue than the sibilance itself. One last thing I would like to note for the highs is that I wish they had had a little better extension into the upper treble, as I felt like they weren’t quite as airy as on the DT 770 Pro, which in turn made the DT 1770 Pro feel a little more closed-in.
Resolution, unfortunately, is an area where I think that the DT 1770 Pro really falters. It’s not just that I don’t find it to have the detail retrieval capabilities that I would expect from a headphone at its price range as it’s handily outperformed by the likes of the Focal Elex and HiFiMan Ananda, but also that it doesn’t convey the same sense of clarity that you got with the original DT 770 Pro.
Comparing the two side-by-side, both and without the EQ, the DT 1770 Pro hasn’t been able to reproduce tracks as cleanly in my experience. In the bass region, it’s not as tight as the DT 770 Pro, and it feels a tiny “slower.” Then, in mid and treble range, vocal and instrument tones sound, to me, as though they had a slightly cleaner and more cohesive structure on the DT 770 Pro. Mind you, I wouldn’t describe it as being a grainy-sounding headphone, as I still found that for internal resolution it was comparable to an HD 600 and HiFiMan Sundara. However, both of those come in at around half the DT 1770 Pro’s price (depending on where you look), and the DT 770 Pro is available at roughly a quarter of the price.
Soundstage, Imaging, and Layering
One thing I’ve always appreciated about Beyerdynamic headphones is that they tend to possess good spatial qualities, and that remains true with the DT 1770 Pro.
It may not improve upon the DT 770 Pro, but it still has a pretty decently-sized soundstage which conveys a sense of distance that is surprisingly good when considering how small the ear cup enclosure is, and how close the driver is to the user’s ears; I even find that it outperforms some open-backs I’ve listened to.
Additionally, the DT 1770 Pro’s imaging is pristine, and it’s very capable when pinpointing the positioning and directionality of sound. Then, for instrument separation they’re not quite on par with the likes of the HD 600 or Sundara, but the DT 1770 Pro still did a fair job at keeping tracks from feeling cluttered or instrument lines from becoming indistinct.
Dynamics is a category where I found the DT 1770 Pro to perform quite a bit better than its predecessor. The DT 1770 Pro conveys a very good sense of punch and slam, with low notes that hit with authority and deliver a satisfying, physical impact. In the upper registers, the DT 1770 Pro aptly reproduces the strike and attack of instruments like pianos, guitars, snares and xylophones, giving them more weight and making the listening experience on the DT 1770 Pro engaging.
The DT 1770 Pro offers outstanding exterior sound attenuation, and it easily eclipses the performances offered by the DT 770 Pro. It may be because of the clamp, but generally I feel like the DT 1770 Pro consistently seals a lot better than the DT 770 Pro. As a result, I find it has some of the best passive noise isolation I’ve tried on a headphone, matching that of my ZMF Vérité Closed. Also very important, the DT 1770 Pro is just as good at keeping sound in and from leaking. Of course these aren’t portable headphones so bothering people near you isn’t a problem, but it’s good to know that if you plan on using them while talking online, then your audio won’t leak into the microphone.
Pads and EQ
As I mentioned earlier, the DT 1770 Pro includes two different sets of pads, one being made of velour and the other one being made of pleather. In my experience, I actually found both to be almost identical, with the only noticeable differences that I heard being that the pleather pads seem to slightly emphasize both the bump in the midbass, and the 8.5K peak. Worthy of notice is that the pleather pads actually provided better sound isolation, and the velour pads were already very good at that.
Now for EQ, whilst it’s peaky treble and somewhat dark bass and mids combo can be a little awkward, I didn’t find that the DT 1770 Pro had me reaching out for EQ as desperately as I would with other Beyerdynamic headphones. Still, for my tastes, I found that it could use some tweaking to bring it closer to my personal preference. If you’d like to try out my EQ preset, these are the settings I used:
- Peak at 150hz, -4dB Q of 1.41
- Peak at 3000hz, +3dB Q of 1.41
- Peak at 6000hz, -2dB Q of 3
- Peak at 8500hz, -5dB Q of 4
- Peak at 150hz, -6dB Q of 1.41
- Peak at 3000hz, +3dB Q of 1.41
- Peak at 6000hz, -2dB Q of 3
- Peak at 8500hz, -8dB Q of 4
Sincerely, I don’t think the DT 1770 Pro is a bad closed-back headphone. It has some of the best build quality I’ve seen, very good comfort, and a tuning that I think many listeners will find enjoyable or agreeable. However, at $599 it’s too tall an order for what it offers when compared to other headphones in the market, as well as its own predecessor.
If you’re not particularly into the DT 770 Pro’s V-shaped tuning and don’t use EQ, or alternatively, if you really like the build and aesthetic of the DT 1770 Pro, those are the only scenarios in which I’d recommend choosing the newer model over the original; but even then, I’d highly advise looking for them on sale, as they do occasionally go down to around the much more appropriate $400 range.
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