I had Tom from Polaraudio round today with a few sets of headphones which we listened to over a pizza. Unfortunately it was only for a couple of hours but I thought I would post my impressions of the various models.
The music was played on a Unison Research valve CD player with upgraded DAC and through the headphone socket of my Leema Tucana 2 amp, the cheaper models were played through my iPhone too. CDs used were LHB - Dig you may find a friend (for awesome bass on track 5), Fleetwood - Rumours (you know which, Stevie Nicks on Dreams, strings on Never going back again, and you can't avoid a bit of motor racing), Tracy Chapman - Behind the wall as it's just vocals with incredible feeling, Roberta Flack - The First Time, a little bit of Talk Talk Colour of Spring and then a bit of Seb Fontaine for a change of pace .
First up was the T501p, a nice little, foldable set of headphones, with decent bass and very comfortable. On ears aren't really my thing but I thought these were pretty good for £60 or therabouts. They sounded good on both the iPhone and the HiFi, of course when compared to my speakers they lost out somewhat.
Next the T70p. Now this was quite impressive, very dynamic and exciting. Really enjoyed listening to this. Until...
The DT880. Now we're cooking. More my sort of headphone than the T70p. Tracy Chapman was just sublime, mellow, moving, engrossing, to be honest if Tom had gone to the loo, I'd have stashed those somewhere out of sight and told him a magpie had been in, seen the silver bits and well...
Then the DT990, again a beautiful sound, was switching between these and the DT880 and sadly I couldn't really disern much difference in such a short time period, I imagine if I'd had the pair for some long listening sessions then the character of each would have shown itself more readily. Speaking to Tom, the semi-open backed DT880 sound a tad warmer than the open-backed DT990 which should be ever so slightly more clinical and natural, I can see what he means, but as I say, too short a time to make such a comment for myself.
Overall pretty impressed.