The best headphones I’ve ever listened to are not by Bose or Sony

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro X headphones are available now for $199 on Amazon.
  • They deliver high-level sonic clarity that you’d find in far more expensive headphones.
  • They’re wired only. If you need a Bluetooth connection, you’re out of luck.

Beyerdynamic is well-known in the industry for making headphones that convey a neutral sound; nothing overly-produced or extreme. The audio from their products is typically clean and accurate, and you can be certain that you’re hearing sound the way the artist intended; without pushing toward trends such as too-heavy bass or disappearing mids. 

The DT 770 Pro X headphones are labeled for “professional use” with good reason. Their sound is completely neutral. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.

Also: This Bose Bluetooth speaker has no flashy features. Here’s why that’s a good thing

In today’s market of products with overly-produced sound, it’s refreshing to put a pair of headphones over your ears and hear such accurate production. I would go so far as to say these headphones would feel right at home in a recording studio, where it’s an absolute must to hear the music exactly as it was recorded. The DT 770 Pro X headphones have sonic accuracy in spades.

View at Amazon

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro X tech specs

  • Stellar.45 driver with a frequency response of 5 – 40KHz and an impedance of 48 ohms.
  • Replacement ear pads and headband
  • Sound pressure level @ 1 mW/500 Hz: 98dB
  • Sound pressure level @ 2 V/500 Hz: 112dB
  • Maximum short-term power handling capability: 210mW
  • Ambient noise cancelation: 16dB
  • Nominal headband pressure: 5.5N
  • 3-meter removable cable (mini XLR cable connection) with both ¼” and 3.5 mm plugs
  • Closed-back design
  • Transmission type: Wired
  • Weight: 305g

Because these are wired headphones (no Bluetooth!), I was able to plug them into my amp and listen to the aural bliss that is Rush’s 40th-anniversary “Moving Pictures” on vinyl, and it was glorious from start to finish. Even though I do prefer to hear vinyl through my KEF speakers/SVC sub, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro X headphones presented this album with such clarity that it was almost like hearing the album for the first time (which is crazy, given how many times I’ve listed to it over the decades). 

Every note, beat, and phrase carried such dimension that I could close my eyes and imagine I was right there, at Le Studio, watching Geddy, Alex, and Neil record one of the greatest rock albums of all time. 

Also: I replaced my expensive Klipsch soundbar with this JBL, and it surprised me in the best way

One very challenging track off of this album for headphones is “YYZ”, but the Beyerdynamics handled it perfectly. I’d go so far as to say this is the clearest I’ve ever heard the song on any pair of headphones I’ve ever used. The sound of “YYZ” was so good, in fact, that I’m afraid the Beyerdynamics have ruined every pair of headphones I own and I won’t be able to listen to it with any other device, lest I long for the sonic clarity of the DT 770 Pro X. 

They’re that good.

I listened to the entire “Moving Pictures” from start to finish, without interruption, because I couldn’t pull my ears away. After that, I thought I’d give a listen to what I believe is one of the finest-mastered albums of my lifetime (remember “Q Sound”?), Queen’s “Innuendo.” Words cannot describe how good this album sounded from a pair of $199 headphones. From the first moment Freddie Mercury counted the song in, I knew this was going to be special.

Also: These earbuds sound way too good for their price point. And that’s not even their best feature

And then the magic of Queen happened, and it was glorious. Having a pair of reference headphones to hear this album through should be on every lover of music’s bucket list. 

ZDNET’s buying advice

OK, if you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth headphones that deliver thunderous bass over all other frequencies, these are not the headphones you want. If you like the idea of hearing your music exactly as it was meant to be heard by the artists, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro X headphones should be at the top of your list. At $199, you’re not going to find a better pair of over-ear headphones capable of delivering accuracy on this level. Straight up. 

There is no app for these headphones, no bells, no whistles; just honest, clear, and dynamic sound. If that sounds like Nirvana to you, then run (don’t walk) to your favorite online retailer and purchase a pair. You won’t regret it.

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