Today we have two incredible headphones in the under-Rs. 10,000 price category. These are the Ultrasone Performance 820 and Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. Both headphones are known to excel at what they do and to find out which one is the best, we have especially created this comparison. So what are we waiting for? Let’s Go!
The Performance 820 is an entry-level headphone from Ultrasone’s stable. This headphone is made of durable plastic and certainly seems as though it will last for some time. The plastic build makes it super-lightweight. The headband is adjustable and the earcups swivel to fit your ears perfectly. The earcups can also fold flat so that you can just slip them in the carry case and take them anywhere (unlike the DT 770 PRO).
One thing that differentiates all Ultrasone headphones from the crowd is its looks. The matte black finish and silver accents make it look gorgeous. You also get 2 other colours variants i.e. red and white.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO comes in 3 variants based on impedance. While the earcups are made of hard textured plastic, the headband and earcup forks are made of metal. Thanks to this, the headphone is not as lightweight as its Ultrasone counterpart. But, what it takes away in terms of weight, it more than makes up in terms of durability. A few falls surely won’t hurt it.
BAVARIAN STYLE VS HEILBRONN ROBUSTNESS
Of course, since this headphone was made primarily for the studio, Beyerdynamic hasn’t seemed to focus much on style. Unlike the Performance 820, this headphone seems a little ‘boring’ on the looks.
Personally, I would prefer walking around while wearing (and showing off) the Performance 820 instead of the DT 770 PRO.
Coming to the comfort, well, the Performance 820’s headpad and earpads are made of pillowy protein-leather. This is quite soft and feels really comfy. This and the clamping force of the headband (ouch) gives you a great noise isolation.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO’s comfort and isolation would depend on the variant you choose. The 32Ω variant has leatherette earpads while the 80Ω and 250Ω variants have soft velour earpads. While leatherette offers better isolation, it also leads to heat build-up and sweaty ears. Personally, I find velour pretty comfortable. Depending on what you prefer, you can also replace the existing pads on your headphone for the ones you prefer.
On unboxing the Performance 820, you get the headphones, a 1.2m detachable cable and a carry bag. In the box, there was also some written material on Ultrasone (But as I mentioned before, I haven’t been able to read it yet).
This detachable cable features a mic and remote. It connects with the headphone via a bayonet connector and to your device via a locking gold-plated 3.5mm plug. My only issue with the cable is that it is a bit too thin for my liking. While a walk in the park makes no difference, I certainly have second (or even fifth) thoughts about wearing these while fighting my way into a crowded local train (so of course, for those wondering, that never happened).
PERFORMANCE 820’S WIRELESS CAPABILITIES VS DT 770 PRO’S VARIETY OF CABLES
In contrast, The DT 770 PRO has a solid and flexible cable. The 32Ω variant has a 1.6m cable and is perfect for mobile use. The 80Ω variant has a generous 3m cable which makes watching movies on your laptop real easy. The 250Ω variant has a coiled cable of the same length. This is convenient for moving about in the studio without the risk of yanking it out or sending an expensive controller crashing to the ground.
The cables end in a 3.5mm connector and the 6.3mm adapter that comes in the box makes connecting to devices easy. Again, unlike the Performance 820, this is not detachable. While that is altogether not a very bad thing, you cannot replace it easily like with the other parts of this headphone.
Another advantage of detachable cables? Well, hello wireless. The Performance 820 uses out-of-this-world technology brought back by a spaceship so that earthlings can get a taste of the advanced communities living outside our planet. Just kidding. The Performance 820 uses SIRIUS, a Bluetooth adapter for going wireless (no rocket science here). Just select the ‘with SIRIUS Bluetooth Adapter (aptX)’ variant from the product page’s drop-down.
The Ultrasone Performance 820 has a warm and smooth sound that casual listeners will certainly enjoy.
The bass is powerful, precise and well-balanced with clear and lively vocals. Overall, it is quite pleasant, in that, it does not muddy any of the other frequencies. While the mids could do with some sparkle, they still try to keep up with the other frequencies. The highs are crisp and clear. On some tracks, I felt they were recessed.
Saying that the DT 770 PRO’s sound signature is more like a flat line with a dip in the middle is simplifying it (a lot). While the 32Ω and 250Ω versions prefer to lean onto the brighter side, the 80Ω variant focuses more on the bass, though these differences can barely be perceived.
The bass is precise, velvety and does not bleed or overpower any of the other frequencies. It is fun-sounding and has a great impact. On the 32Ω and 250Ω variants, it is a bit elevated and tighter.
THE FINAL CLASH
The mids are withdrawn and recessed (which should explain the dip in the flat line). Vocals seem to be a bit quieter than cymbals or kick drums. At the same time, this recession does not have any effect on the detailing and clarity. A burn-in for a good 200-300 hours is needed to open them up.
The highs are crisp, clean and accurate. Though clear, they tend to roll off a bit early. On the 80Ω variant, I did find a little harshness as well as a little more detail.
In terms of detail and clarity, both headphones are precise and give you a detailed audio playback. The Performance 820 uses the S-Logic Plus technology. This involves the drivers being positioned a little lower so that the sound travels around your ears as it normally does instead of going directly in your ear canal (as it happens with most headphones). This results in a wider soundstage, something I enjoyed the experience of in this headphone. Listening to the live versions of my favourite songs gave me the feeling of having my very own private concert. Even the DT 770 PRO has a wide soundstage, almost 75-80% that of the Performance 820, which is pretty good for a closed-back without S-Logic.
When it comes to amplification, the Performance 820 and DT 770 PRO 32Ω can easily work with your smartphone. But, plug them into an amp and they attain a magic that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Due to their high impedance, the 80Ω and 250Ω DT 770 PRO have to be used with an amp.
In a nutshell: Both headphones are equally good but in different ways. Aspects where the Performance 820 falls short, are the strong points of the DT 770 PRO and vice versa.
Personally, I would recommend the Ultrasone Performance 820 for use on-the-go due to its stylish looks and fun sound. I’d say that the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO is better for studio use due to its robust build and sound signature.
Have you tried either headphone? Do share what you think about them in the comments.