Build, Appearance and Functions
There is more similarity in the basic build of both DT880 and DT990 Beyerdynamic headphones than differences. As a matter of fact, it might not be that easy to tell the two apart without a closer examination. In overall, though, the build is all that you need. It is fantastic in several aspects. Beefy parts, resistant design, solid materials and great feel, name but a few, are just part of what you are likely to experience with either of these headphones. The materials from which they are made do not just feel hefty, despite their overall lightweight, but are of high quality as well. Especially, the cable is comparatively thicker, nicer and easier to use given the perfect connections both at the jack pin and headphones themselves. And, my experience with the headband is one of a kind. It is very versatile and despite how rough a person you may be, bending or straightening either of these products will result in no damage.
Actually, these two products look very fantastic. But, given a closer personal look, DT880 dominates over DT990. Its superior appearance makes it one of the most premium looking headphones ever made. The only stark difference in appearance between the two is just the DT880 doted earcups. DT990 earcups, as you know, lacks those dots. So, the difference is quite minute actually, but I do find DT880 good looking of the two. Of course, that may not be the case with many of you given the variations in preferences and personal opinion.
Generally, the two headphones give superior performance. But that does not apply to all functionalities. There is an issue with the headband adjustment which, in my opinion, is still inferior to that of D2000. Unlike the D2000’s superior headband adjustment, the Beyer headphones can be a little bit harder to adjust to your preferred size. However, that problem is somehow mitigated by the dots inside the earcups that guides you on the maximum adjustment you can have. In fairness though, I would say that Beyer headphones are not that bad when it comes to headband adjustment, but are also not the best when compared to the king of adjustment itself, D200.
Initial and Long-term Comforts:
When it comes to comfort, the bottom line still remains. These Beyer headphones are very comfortable for sure. But, that is only to some limited extent. First, the earpads are not just soft but feel comfy as well. Two, the headband is comfortable to given the fact that it is well padded. The only problem with the initial comfort, for me, is the shallow earcups, especially those of DT880. Some clarity is needed here. Look, this might not be a problem to all users, but given the variation in users’ ear sizes, Beyer would have been a little bit more considerate. People with small ears may not find it a big problem, but those of us with either medium or comparatively bigger ears will most likely feel uncomfortable while wearing them. In addition, the flat and curved foams within the earcups of DT880 and DT990 respectively can also mean a lot to different people. As for me, DT880 feels uncomfortable while wearing or taking off the head as compared to DT990. Hence, DT990 performs better than DT880 in regard to initial comfort, although both should have, at least, somehow a deeper earcup to accommodate everybody.
Long-term comfort is often overlooked by many people. However, it is significant as well. Almost all headphones, even the best ones like AD700, give sporadic comfort. Hence, the feeling you get at the initial stages is not the same as the one you after wearing the headphone, say, for two hours or more continuously. Regardless of how soft they may be, they will certainly feel different after a continuous wear. This is also the case with both DT880 and DT990. But, after a half an hour, DT880 of extended wear, DT880 can be somehow irritating. And given my personal experience with the two, I find DT990 comfier down the road. I think the main reason for this could be due to the curved DT880 foams. You can’t just wear them for long as compared to DT990 which, given my experience, passes the test in this area.
Bass, Overall Sound and Treble
In fact, it is here that where both DT880 and DT990 are worlds apart. They differ more when it comes to bass than anything else. Again DT990 has a superior bass than its counterpart. How about safety? Compared to DT990 booming bass, DT880 has a softer and variable bass. It is neither too loud nor too low, but it is medium, softer and variable depending on the type of music being played. And I find that safe and favorable. After all, you don’t need a headphone which can put you at risk of ear damages, a risk that DT990 promises with its loud sound. So, if you are a fan of either rock or just some laid-back listening, then DT880 will be preferable for you.
Overall Sound and Treble:
Treble is what it is to own a Beyerdynamic headphone. First, they are energetic, bright and detailed given the quality of treble they produce. However, too much of everything can be dangerous at times. The same applies to both DT880 and DT990. They can be a little bit too bright, especially for me. After listening to HD650, you will realize that the Beyerdynamic headphones sound imaginary resemble an inverted pyramid’, too much treble and little bass. So, in a way, the sound is more or less dry, hollow and lacks body although it is still detail and sharp. The question is: is that what you need? As for me, I would prefer something different. But that is not to say these headphones have bad sound quality after all.
How do DT880 and DT990 compare? I will tell you that the inverted pyramid scenario can be identical with DT990 than DT880. There can be a bit of a hustle in listening to DT990. It has somehow an enhanced bass and a little bit too much treble. Too much will definitely blur the middle and too much can consume the entire spectrum. So, what do you end up with? A twisted sound, and although some people may still like it, it is never amusing to me. The bottom line therefore is, DT880 outperforms DT990 in regard to these aspects, but these Beyerdynamic headphones should do more in order to compete with some of the top performers like HD650 in this area.
Recommendation and Conclusion
Message to those with DT880:
Compared to DT990 owners, you have a safe and secure headphone. It is better in several aspects. And there is no doubt that you a fun of medium and softer bass and not too much treble sound. However, if, by any chance, you are considering something different, a bit of upfront and brighter music, then DT990 will be the best for you. It has an extended comfort, a fantastic build and can be comparatively cheaper. But is if you like where you are, then you are likely to stay with DT880 for longer.
Message to those with DT990:
I don’t what you were looking for when you chose this headphone. But from what I have written above, it seems like you are all fans of characteristically loud bass and high treble. What I refer to as twisted sound. Nonetheless, should you want something softer and safer for your eardrums, then I prefer you consider purchasing DT880. It is easily controllable and has a balanced bass. No sizzling treble, a characteristic of DT990.
Conclusion:Beyerdynamic headphones are still great despite some small problems here and there. That is the nature of all products. Not any I know is 100% perfect. So, you can buy one for personal experience. They don’t just have the superior appearance but are dry, energetic, upfront, and detailed. In overall, DT880 stands out as the best among the two.