Long known among professional circles for their excellent monitors, Beyerdynamic has a reputation to uphold when it comes to their line of DT headphones. That's why it was a big deal when the DT 1770 Pro headphones were announced this past year.
Based on the design of the legendary DT 770 over-ear studio monitors, the DT 1770 Pros boast Beyerdynamic's high-end Tesla drivers instead of the original dynamic speaker design. With a massive upgrade in the hardware department, fans of the original DT 770s will find a lot to like in these new cans.
We had the opportunity to take the headphones for a spin at CES 2016, and found ourselves duly impressed. Still, the hefty $600 price tag may not feel worth it to everyone.
Familiar looks, new flair
Fans of the older DT 770s will find the DT 1770 Pro headphones warmly familiar. They're similar in appearance to the 770s and have a sound not unlike inimitable studio monitors. And if you look at these cans just right, you'll catch an Abrams-esque glint off the metallic lettering.
However, these are very distinct headphones in practice. In a departure from the originals, a coiled (or straight) cable plugs into the left cup with a removable mini XLR connection and a standard TRS pin plug on the other end. An included 1/4-inch adapter is great for use with higher-power amps—a kindness considering their 250Ω resistance.
The same metal forks hold both of the ear cups, and the metal band sports a very familiar padding. If you like how any of the existing DT series fit you, there should be absolutely no difference in comfort level when you slip on the DT 1770 Pros.
Taking a cue from Beyerdynamic fans, both the leather and the velour pads celebrated by bespectacled headphone fans are included in the packaging. Either way, the traditional Beyerdynamic design with huge ear cups and soft band padding makes for a very plush experience.
While outside appearances are one thing, it's what's on the inside that's really dazzling. Beyerdynamic has made a bunch of little updates that elevate the DT 1770 Pros over the old DT 770s by drastically boosting the cans' flexibility in the studio.
Clear sound, comfortable feel
The new DT 1770s have a lot riding on them. Not only do they basically name-check the beloved DT 770s, but they also serve as a showcase for Beyerdynamic's second generation of Tesla drivers. We've generally been very impressed by past Tesla drivers. By allowing the headphones to exert an extreme amount of magnetic force over the speaker elements, the drivers in the DT 1770s can move faster than a traditional paper cone design—which should make for clearer sound reproduction.
That's what Beyerdynamic is going for, at least. We won't know for sure until we get the DT 1770 Pro headphones into our labs for testing.
However, even a cursory listen will highlight an extreme bass emphasis—just as we saw with the DT 770s. While this can be a little too bass-rich if you're using the headphones exclusively for mixing, it will give you a good idea of how most consumer-oriented headphones will interpret your tunes.
You can definitely keep these headphones in the studio. But you'll also want to use a portable amplifier of some sort if you're looking to get the most out of them. Sure, you could drive these cans off of lower power sources if you wanted—but why would you? Without adequate juice, you might as well opt for a cheaper pair of headphones and leave the DT 1770s for someone willing to make the effort.
That's not to say we don't understand why you'd want to take these headphones everywhere—they're damn comfortable and they isolate far better than you'd expect. If you're happy with your existing Beyerdynamic headphones, these are sure to feel just as good.
Worth the plunge?
While most headphone model names seem like alphanumeric gibberish, it's no accident that the DT 1770 Pros bear a striking resemblance to the beloved DT 770s. And when you add in those premiere Tesla drivers, well, it's safe to say there's a lot riding on these.
After spending some time with the DT 1770 Pros, we have to say we think Beyerdynamic's bold bet is about to pay off. Even on the hectic trade show floor, the DT 1770 Pros sounded sublime. You'll need a proper setup to take full advantage of them, of course, but these seem to do a good job at just about everything.
Our first impression of the DT 1770 Pros is a good one. But if you're not planning to spend a lot of time in the studio or with a custom setup, the cheaper DT 770s will probably do the trick. The $600 DT 1770 Pros are a pricier purchase to be sure, especially since they require the additional expense of an amp. To be fair, the DT 770s also benefit from amps—especially the 250 and 80 ohm versions—but the 32 ohm DT 770 Pros would be a fine choice if you primarily want headphones to use with your smartphone or laptop.
Still, if you love the DT 770s but are intrigued by what Beyerdynamic can do with its Tesla drivers, the DT 1770 Pro headphones are definitely worth checking out for yourself.