Headphone Showdown: Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro VS Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro
It’s Thursday, and it’s time for the headphone showdown!
(I say this at the top of every one of these because originally, I was doing these on the same day of the week, once a week. But now I just do them whenever, and I feel like declaring the day of the week for no reason is funny)
Today it’s two great headphones from Germany’s Beyerdynamic, the company that invented the dynamic driver.
These headphones share a number of parts, design concepts, and are priced similarly in the $160 range. So it’s not an easy choice to make as to which one is “better.”
Beyerdynamic’s DT770 Pro is a headphone that’s been loved and questioned in equal measure for over 30 years.
Fans enjoy its extreme comfort, rugged build, and punchy, accurate, glorious bass.
Detractors loathe its clunkiness, its higher-than-average power requirements, and its peaky/sharp treble response.
Its retail price is over $200, but it usually sells for around $150–$170, and is available in 3 different impedances. It’s one of my personal favorite headphones in the entire world…but I won’t say it’s perfect. Rather, its particular quirks just happen to fit my particular quirks.
Custom One Pro
Take a DT770 Pro, add a bunch of features designed to appeal to the average consumer, and BAM, you’ve got a Custom One Pro.
These use the same basic design language as the 770s and even some of the same parts. But they add new ear pads, a new headband pad, a removable cable, removable faceplates, adjustable bass ports, and a new driver with a more laid- back tuning.
The result? A headphone that feels like it was designed to appease critics of the 770’s. They too are MSRP’d around $200, but usually go for between $150-$170. A couple of years ago they added a Plus to the name, because it now comes with a bunch of extra stuff in the box by default.
These are like two different versions of the same good song.
The DT770 Pro has a slightly v-shaped, powerful, crisp sound. The bass is well-extended, awesomely velvety, punchy, and just wonderful. The mids are a touch withdrawn and bristling, but with a speed that rivals open-back headphones.
And the treble is…an acquired taste.
If you like a little zing and a little pep in your treble, the DT770 should be your first choice. But if you crank these up too loud, they will probably fatigue you over time. By slamming your ears with treble. “Beyerdynamic treble” is one of the most hotly-debated topics in the audiophile world. You either love it, or hate it.
I kind of love it.
Pivoting over to the Custom One Pros…they lose that zing in the treble and gain a little bit of midrange volume. They still have accurate bass for days, especially if you open the bass ports all the way up. Though you’ll probably want to leave them somewhere in the middle.
The Custom One Pro is an easier listen in all of its different bass positions. But in sacrificing the “Beyer treble,” the headphones lose a little of their character.
I love the sound of both of these headphones. But if you forced me to pick one based just on the sound signature…I’d probably go with the 770’s.
A good percentage of my music listening centers around female vocals, acoustic instruments, and pop punk…and the airy, crisp nature of the 770’s is just a little better suited to that. I also do audio production work, and I think the 770’s are better for that too.
But I like the sound of the Custom One Pros 95 percent as much. They just don’t quite have that fun “Zing!” But they retain most everything else that makes the DT770’s sound good, and it’s fun to try out the different bass modes.
Winner: 770 for me, COP for most other people
I think the Custom One Pro is slightly more comfy on first blush, but both of these are excellent for long wearing sessions. And it’s in longer sessions where the DT770’s strengths emerge.
The padding on the DT770 is a little more dense and stiff, on both the headband and the ear pads.
The Custom One Pro has a softer leatherette on its headband pad, and its less-dense foam is better at conforming to my head quickly.
Both of these models use deep circular ear cups, and in spite of them not being ear-shaped I have no trouble fitting my ears inside. And the foam at the back of the cups is very soft.
Now let’s talk about sweat. Everyone’s favorite topic!
Do you hate sweat build-up around your ears during a long session? Then you’ll probably want the DT770’s. The velour material is breathable, and doesn’t heat up my ears as fast as the Custom One Pro’s do.
Neither headphone totally disappears on my head because they both conform very well to the shape of my skull and they both have a decent clamp.
The COP’s padding is slightly more pleasant right when I put them on, but I don’t get sweat build-up with the 770's.
I’m sitting here in a coffee shop trying to decide if supple foam outweighs additional sweat build-up. These articles are silly.
Both of these headphones have an almost-identical base design.
They both use the same spring steel headband. They both have large aluminum forks holding their plastic ear cups. They both have an exposed wire running through the headband to connect the cups.
But then they start to diverge in the details.
The 770 Pro has ear cups made out of instrument case/bowling seat plastic. I love touching/tapping this plastic because I’m a weird person. The cable is permanently attached and comes in different flavors depending on the impedance variant.
The headband pad attaches with snaps, and the ear pads are made from a soft velour.
The Custom One Pro is clearly a much more recent release, design-wise. The bowling seat plastic is gone, replaced with a nice matte plastic material. The ear cup backs have detachable face plates. The buttons on the headband pad are gone, replaced with velcro. The ear pads are a soft leatherette. The cable detaches.
One stupid thing to note that bothers me: The Custom One Pro’s ear cups don’t come together fully when they’re collapsed. The DT770’s ear cups rest perfectly flush against each other. This is not a real problem for normal humans but just a weird thing I’ve noticed and mentioned in two different places now!
The Custom One Pro has a better, more fun, more modern design. But I miss that bowling seat plastic.
WINNER: Custom One Pro
These are built virtually the same. Aside from some slight material differences, many of the parts are interchangeable/identical.
In a way, that hurts the Custom One Pro. At least from a style perspective. The Custom One Pro desperately wants to be a fun consumer headphone…but it’s totally built on the skeleton of a studio headphone and it’s really obvious.
I’ve always liked the build of Beyerdynamic products, and they have a good warranty on all their stuff.
If you need the most isolation…you’ll want the Custom One Pros. The leatherette material on the ear pads means you’ll get a slightly better seal against the outside world. And if you close the bass ports all the way, isolation goes up even more.
However, the DT770 is no slouch. In spite of its velour pads, it still isolates very well thanks to its very dense ear pad foam.
These are both among the best-isolating headphones I’ve ever used that didn’t have active noise-cancelling circuitry. But the Custom One Pro just goes one tiny step further.
WINNER: Custom One Pro
The DT770 Pro comes with a nylon bag with a luggage tag on it that I think is delightfully silly. It also comes with a 6.3mm adapter. And that’s it.
With the Custom One Pro (Plus), you get two different detachable cables, 16 extra faceplates, a 6.3mm adapter, and a faceplate removal tool. That’s more stuff!
And of course the COP has its fun bass port sliders. You can adjust them to four different levels of bass, to suit your needs at that time.
What about amplification? Well the Custom One Pro definitely doesn’t need an amp, thanks to its 16 ohm impedence. Depending on the version of the 770’s you buy, you might want to have a special amp…though I don’t think it’s required.
Both headphones are a little less sensitive than the average consumer headphones, so they might not be as loud as your other stuff at the same volume setting on your playback device.
Winner: Custom One Pro
FINAL WINNER: Custom One Pro
So here we have another of these ridiculous articles where I slightly prefer the sound of the model that didn’t win.
These aren’t meant to be an exact science, they’re just meant to give you some insights into my review thought process, and to evaluate different headphones from an “average consumer” perspective. The Custom One Pro is undoubtedly a better buy for most typical listeners, unless you really hate sweat build-up around your ears or really love zingy treble.
You can’t go wrong with either of these headphones in this price range. But the Custom One Pro has more stuff that more people will like. The DT770 is still a great production tool with a sound and feel that will call out to certain people like me that love touching weird plastic.
Now, if the DT770 is cheaper than the Custom One Pro at the time you’re shopping, should you get it? Yes, probably, if you can live with its quirks! I’d only pay more for the COP if it were not more than a ten dollar difference. I got both headphones for about $150, just for the record.