Along with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones are one of the more recognizable staples of recording studio audio gear over the last few decades. The DT 770 line is still going strong, and has a few different versions—including the DT 770 Studio, the $179.99, closed-style, circumaural (over-the-ear) model reviewed here. The sound signature is ideal for tracking, but also detailed listening—you needn’t be a musician or engineer to enjoy the crisp, excellent clarity and accurate bass depth produced here. For those seeking high frequency accuracy and bass depth (when it’s in the mix), the DT 770 Studio headphones are a winner, and earn our Editors’ Choice award.
One note: The DT 770 Studio model is identical in build to the DT 770 Pro (80 Ohm) model. The only difference is the name and the logo on the outer earcup panel. So you can read this as a review for both models.
The black and gray DT 770 Studio is a bulky, circumaural pair that is quite comfortable in spite of a large frame. A closed design is ideal for tracking, as sound leakage is kept to a minimum. Gray velour earpads are generously cushioned, as is the removable, replaceable, snap-shut headband cushion. Inside the earcups, dynamic drivers deliver an estimated frequency response of 5Hz-35kHz.
As mentioned, the DT 770 Studio is equivalent to the Pro (80 Ohm) model, but there are also 32 Ohm and 250 Ohm versions—the former intended for mobile devices and the latter for studio mixing, while this model is designed for studio tracking.
So if you’re looking for headphones made for use with mobile devices, look elsewhere—the DT 770 Studio’s non-removable cable connects to the left earcup, is 9.9 feet long, and has no inline remote control. It would be nice to see a removable cable here—there are plenty of effective methods to ensure removable cables don’t pop out of the earcup during tracking.
The cable terminates in a 3.5mm connection, but a 0.25-inch adapter for stereo and professional gear is included. Also included is a drawstring nylon protective carrying bag, complete with a name tag for you to fill out.
For testing, we connected the DT 770 Studio to an Apogee Symphony I/O. On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones deliver thumping, powerful bass depth, but don’t invent bass where it doesn’t exist. This track has heavy lows, and the headphones have the ability to go deep and reproduce them, but there’s just as much clarity in the high-mids and highs.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with less deep bass in the mix, provides a better sense of the DT 770 Studio’s general sound signature. The drums on this track can sound overly thunderous on headphones that do too much bass boosting, but they can also sound thin in flatter-response models. Through the DT 770 Studio, the drums sounds fantastic—crisp definition, but also a round, full bass depth that is accurate, clear, and not at all weak. Callahan’s baritone vocals also have a wonderful low-mid richness to them that is matched by high-mid treble edge and clarity. The attack of the acoustic guitar strums is bright and beautiful, and more so than usual, we get a solid sense of the dynamics on this track and the space it was recorded in.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop’s attack is perfectly delivered—ideal high-mid presence means its sharpness is one of the dominant factors in the mix, but it never sounds thin nor brittle. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with gusto, but this is an example of an element that definitely sounds heavier and deeper on highly bass-boosted headphones. The vocals here get plenty of high-mid and high frequency presence—it might be too much for some listeners. But it’s all in the name of clarity, and it never veers too far into overly sibilant territory.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound phenomenal through the DT 770 Studio. The lower register instrumentation has such beautiful richness and depth, without ever sounding like it is boosted or threatening the dominance of the higher register brass, strings, and vocals, which maintain their prominent role in the spotlight. It’s a bright, detailed sound that allows the brass stabs to shine, but in the occasional moments when there is a little sub-bass in the mix, you hear it all.
There’s very little not to like about the classic Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio. They stack up against the top headphones for tracking out there—with more body and depth than the less expensive, but always reliable, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. We’re also fans of the Sennheiser HD6 Mix for general studio use. And, if you’re looking for an accurate model that isn’t designed for the studio but still features excellent balance, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 can be used with mobile devices or at home. Beyerdynamic’s DT 1990 Pro headphones deliver a solid audio experience for mix engineers, but they’ll cost you. If we had a time machine, we would give the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio our Editors’ Choice award when they were first released in the 80s, but take this review as confirmation that they still hold their ground against newcomers today.