beyerdynamic DT 700/900 Pro X Over-ear Headphones Review
Professionally oriented headphones that won't break the bank. Are these two new beyers too good to be true, asks Matthew Jens?
DT 700 PRO X | DT 900 PRO X
US$299 | S$399
I'm not going to hide it; I am an unashamed beyerdynamic fanboy. There's something about the combination of a super-comfortable yet robust offering aimed at the professional market that I find irresistible. I work in live events myself and see the DT 770 PRO everywhere. Built like a tank and comfortable enough to fall asleep in, it has a reliable sound signature that can be used as a reference point for any number of sound systems. It's one of my all-time favourite phones for home listening, too – happily coexisting in both pro and home environments is a neat trick.
So imagine my excitement when after many years, beyerdynamic unleashed the DT 700 Pro X and the DT 900 Pro X! Priced slightly higher than their older siblings – which were introduced back in 1985 – they share similar characteristics but with neat upgrades, including new transducers. Like their older siblings, the 700 is closed, and the 900 is the semi open-backed variant. This then begs the question: do these new models live up to the legendary names of their predecessors?
The robust construction of these cans is immediately apparent upon first inspection. The metal yolks, the hard plastic, the firm sliding mechanisms – yep, it's a tank. Let's face it, the working professional has no time to fluff about with niceties or luxuries, and Beyerdynamic reflects exactly that within these new models.
Thankfully, the company has included a (single-ended) removable cable. This topic is a sore one for owners of the DT 770, who were stuck with a moulded cable. Many moons ago, I even modified a pair of the classic DT 770 headphones to have a removable cable. It looks like those days are behind me now! However, the earpads are now glued on, which is a shame as the previous models had a more elegant pad removal system. This one seems to require unsightly adhesives to get the job done. Unfortunate, considering the higher price compared to its older counterpart.
Weighing 350 grams, both variants of this headphone continue the legacy of being comfortable with a solid build. The clamping force is just right, and the headband padding is adequate for long listening sessions. As they don't fold, these will eat up as much bag space as any other full-size over-ear headphones – so they are better suited for home or work use instead of being taken with you on public transport. Besides, beyerdynamic still sells the amazing Lagoon ANC if you're on the move.
The new models feature a refreshed proprietary 48-ohm driver named the Stellar.45. In real terms, the older DT 770 and DT 990 shared an ancient 45mm driver, which was finally turfed in favour of this new version. A bold move, considering the old version was touted for its ability to reproduce faithful, reliable renditions in any environment. Which, mind you, I was nervous about losing – but it turns out that my fears were in vain.
Out of the box, these headphones initially sounded a little bright, but it didn't take long to realise that I have been saturated by Audeze and Apple products of late, which are always going to be warm by comparison. Powering the beyerdynamics with my trusty Macbook Pro (while on the run) and the Vincent KHV-1pre headphone amplifier (at home), I've put both of these headphones through their respective paces. Over time, my opinion changed. Instead of finding these bright, I found them to be satisfyingly analytical.
If the similarly priced Grado headphones are a comfortable lounge chair, a glass of whisky and an open fireplace, then, by comparison, these would be a surgical mask, scrubs and a scalpel. Not unpleasant to listen to, but highly skilled and technically proficient! While emphasising transients and upper mids, the low end is still deep-reaching but doesn't have a slam that will satisfy bass heads. It will, however, render basslines with enough texture and accuracy that they are trustworthy and reliable in a studio setting.
Coming in at a similar price to the Sennheiser HD 560 S, it's hard to pick my favourite between the two beyerdynamic DT 700 and 900 versions of the new Pro X headphone. Both offer a reassuringly neutral, accurate and analytical listening experience. Both are reasonably priced, accurate, comfortable, and built like a tank. This is a combination that's not to be underestimated these days, as it's one that few headphones possess.
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.
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