So I'm probably not like most people on this site/who bought these headphones. I don't have a collection of listening devices or other audio equipment. I just graduated college this spring and only just this year started becoming more critical and discerning of my audio devices.
From August 2014 to about September 2018, my headphones were SMS Audio, which from my understanding now is probably just a degree or two above Beats in terms of quality. But hey, they were Star Wars Boba Fett headphones, so that was all I needed. I listen to music very often, though, and they literally started falling apart by September last year, so due to endorsement by my brother, I got an AIAIAI TMA-2 set of headphones, mine with the S-04 speakers and microfiber earpads. I thought those were pretty high quality, though I've heard mixed things about them in more audiophilic discussions.
Beyond that, my only other recent headphone experience was my gaming headset, a Logitech G933 which I got for no other reason than that Battlefield 1 has a specialized mix setting for Logitech headsets, so I figured they must be pretty good then. I got that in December 2016 and stopped using it earlier this year when one day I found that the left speaker was quieter than the other, which is not desirable. Beyond that, I thought they were good headphones, and I enjoyed their 7.1 surround sound feature, which according to a Linus Tech Tips video comparing a variety of 7.1 headsets, Logitech's seemed to be one of the best.
All of this is to say that I barely have any idea what the heck I'm talking about compared to most people here. So this review is really only valuable to people in a similar situation to myself of being a novice to high-end audio equipment, or it can possibly be entertaining to seasoned audiophiles who want a laugh.
Why I Bought It:
I didn't have much need to replace my AIAIAI TMA-2. Like I said, they sounded good enough to me, and I haven't even had them for a year. However, they start to feel a little uncomfortable at the top of my head after sitting with them for a while (they oddly don't cause any discomfort if I'm moving around, however). And when my Logitech G933 started malfunctioning, I needed a new headset for gaming.
Originally, I was going to shoot for another gaming headset. Around that time, conveniently enough, Logitech had just released a newer revision, the G935, with better speakers. I also considered looking into Astro's newer A40 or A50, as I also had an A50 4-5 years ago that I liked, but it had some malfunction of its own that I couldn't solve, so I ended up selling them.
But like I said, earlier this year I became more discerning of my audio purchases, started asking questions to audiophiles online, and came to the simple conclusion: sound is sound, so I didn't need a "gaming" headset, and instead I could find something that sounded better for both games and music.
This was compounded by the discovery of Dolby Atmos for Headphones, a $15 software license that turns any headphones into surround sound headphones, and according to the aforementioned Linus Tech Tips video, it's just as good if not better than my previous Logitech surround sound. This now opened up any headphones for me to use with surround sound on both my PC and Xbox.
That was another demand of mine. I play a lot of video games, and I do so across many devices. PC, Switch, Xbox, PS4, and sometimes other older systems. I needed a versatile headset, not one that requires an amp or any special equipment.
I also don't like the idea of open-back headphones. Those seem to be more preferred among most audiophiles, since it offers a more natural, less enclosed sound, but in my know-nothing opinion, if I wanted that, I'd use speakers (and I did get myself a nice pair of Klipsch R-51PM speakers back in May). If I'm wearing something on my head, I want the sound to be private, and for the headphones to block out outside noise as much as they can.
So when I saw the DT 177X GO hit the scene back in May or so, I had my eyes on them immediately. The DT 770's and 1770's were already a pair of sets I had seen when researching headphone options around that same time, since they were closed-back, but they couldn't be driven by 3.5mm jack, so I couldn't get them. Seeing what appeared to be a new and improved version that could be used on just about anything was really appealing, especially for the discounted price of $370.
However, it wasn't in the budget for me at the time, even though I considered it heavily, so I passed on it. I just chose to enjoy using my Klipsch speakers for a while until I had the money for a new pair of headphones. When the email came in late September that the 177X was back, I gave it another look over, but $450 was still a lot. But one night a month ago I was up suffering at 3 AM or so due to a really bad cold, staring at the page, and saw Cholly's critical review of them, and that was what sold me. Seeing someone speak on both the pros and cons of the headset, as well as ways to rectify the cons, made me feel more confident about the headphones, so I pulled the trigger and purchased them.
Review Part 1 - Music:
The following week, I received my DT 177X GO, and I immediately got to using them for the rest of the day.
For the record: most of my time with these headphones is spent listening to music/games on my computer. My computer uses a Creative SoundBlaster ZxR sound card. I know from discussions and comments that sound cards make audiophiles screech, but the ZxR is actually really convenient for my particular use case, and it sounds great to my know-nothing ears. Significantly better than the onboard audio, that's for sure.
I first listened to one of my favorite songs, "Deteriorate" by Demon Hunter. I'd listened to it a few times earlier that day in preparation for comparing them to my TMA-2. Taking the headphones out of the box with their pre-installed velour pads, I listened and... it sounded worse than my TMA-2's. Again, I'm not an audiophile who knows how to describe sound in proper terms, so forgive my naivete, but I'd describe the sound as "muddy." It was really low and sounded a little distorted, even. I imagine this is because a lot of the sound is absorbed by the velour fabric, so
However, I knew already from Cholly's review that the velour pads were apparently awful for the sound, so I wasn't surprised or let down. I just didn't expect it to be that bad. I couldn't even get through the whole song before I took them off and got to replacing the pads with the sheepskin ones that were described as a complete enhancement.
And a complete enhancement they were. The muddiness: gone. Everything sounded crisp and lively now. It was more what I expected to hear out of the box, and it's how I used them the rest of the day. Having that week off work, I spent several hours straight listening to music and just enjoying them. I also spent some time swapping them on and off with my TMA-2's to compare, but for some reason I couldn't notice much distinct difference between the two. More on that later.
Cholly said that the sheepskin pads were an improvement, but that the bass and treble were too intense with them. I didn't notice that explicitly, but at the end of the day, I did notice that my ears ached in a way I'd never quite felt before, which I'm assuming was because those two ends of the spectrum were a little too extreme with these pads.
Luckily, due to Cholly's (and by extension Z Reviews's) recommendation, the Brainwavz XL perforated pads arrived to me the next day. After being unsuccessful at applying them to the headset using the weird disc and notches that you use the included pads with (I like to do things properly) I just threw them on there the same way Z Reviews did. They sounded about the same as the sheepskin pads, but I noticed that my ears haven't hurt since switching the pads, even if I were to use them almost all day. They are noticeably more comfortable, though.
Again, I'm not exactly a practiced audiophile.
So, how do they sound compared to my TMA-2's and Klipsch R-51PM's, the only points of comparison I have? After a few weeks with the headphones, I was gradually able to pinpoint the differences. In short: they're definitely better.
In more detail, the bass on the DT 177X is much more subdued than on my TMA-2. My TMA-2's feel bass-boosted, which is how my previous SMS Audio headphones were as well, and what I wanted to avoid with my new headphones. The TMA-2's pound you with bass, though not too badly, whereas the 177X has noticeable bass, but not so much that it risks drowning out other details in the song. I liked the idea of having a more "reference" sound that doesn't lean to heavily on any particular part of the sound spectrum. That's a big reason why I shot for the DT 177X, and that's what the DT 177X provides: great detail across every part of a song.
In general, the DT 177X sounds overall clearer and more balanced than my TMA-2's. Noticeable upgrade.
Now soundstage and imaging is something that I have even less knowledge of than the sound spectrum, and I only heard about when looking at discussions and reviews for headsets like these. It's not something I really care about, personally. However, I believe I'm right when I say that the DT 177X has superior soundstage than the TMA-2, which is probably not surprising. I listened for soundstage in a handful of songs, but I guess I'm just not really good at noticing it.
When I did notice what I think is soundstage without looking for it, though, was when randomly listening to "A Walk in the Woods" by Martin O'Donnel from the Halo: CE soundtrack, and noticed that there's a sound in the music that moves back and forth between the left and right channels, and you can almost feel it moving back and forth in your head. I noticed that on my 177X without even consciously listening for that kind of thing, and when I went to try it out on my TMA-2, the effect was far less noticeable, either because the earpads/dimensions are smaller or because the bass drowns out that detail a bit.
My Klipsch R-51PM speakers are generally great, but they're pretty low on the mids it seems, which I hear is a common issue with Klipsch speakers in general. Not so on the 177X. Mids come in loud and clear. The R-51PM's have better bass with their Dynamic Bass EQ (which is essentially a smart bass boost), but I also have to bump up the mids and highs with an equalizer to round out the sound. More on equalizers later.
Another thing I noticed about these headphones very quickly was that percussion is sharp. In a good way. Drumbeats and snaps just sound so clean and crisp in a way I've never heard on anything else. It's very noticeable, and translates well into gaming, which I'll get to soon.
These headphones also sound great on my phone, an LG V40 which has a built-in 32-bit DAC that allows for more high-fidelity sound. However, I noticed a consistency issue. Usually when I plug the headphones into my phone, they sound really loud. That is, even at the default sound value of like 50, they're as loud as my TMA-2's at the max of 75. Going up to 75 makes them louder than I've ever heard out of a phone.
However, it seems that over time, or in some circumstance I haven't figured out yet, the headphones will sound quiet. Even at 75 they sound quieter than they used to sound at 50. I think it might have something to do with the power draw, and that the phone might not be supplying a consistent amount of power to make the headphones loud or something. I'm no expert, but it's a small issue I noticed.
In sum: these headphones are very balanced and crisp, but you need to use either the sheepskin earpads or some replacement ones. Phones might have a bit of trouble playing them at loud volumes.
Review Part 2 - Gaming:
This was just as important an aspect as the music for me. I'll sit for hours just gaming, and I developed an ear for really paying attention to the sound design in games ever since I played Breath of the Wild in 2017 and 10 minutes in went "What's that clanking sound?" and realized it was the axe on Link's back bouncing as he walked. A small thing, but it woke me up to how much attention to detail there can be in the sound design for these games.
The same sound signature I noted in the music review applies here. The headphones are balanced and detailed, so you hear all the cool little details in the sound design for games. It works great on Switch; Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey sound great from top to bottom, with all the nuances of sound in the environment and effects being nice and clear, and their soundtracks being played beautifully. In particular, I never noticed how good those two games' water sound effects were before I listened closely with my 177X. This Halloween, I also played through Luigi's Mansion--but not the new one, the GameCube classic, emulated on my PC. The soundtrack was nice and bassy, and all the wonderful subtleties in the sound effects and spooky atmosphere were rendered excellently.
But how are they for other kinds of games, especially competitive shooters? I don't play Counter Strike or Rainbow Six, but I do play a lot of Battlefield. Remember what I said about percussion in the music section? That applies here: gunshots in these games have bite. A high-powered sniper rifle in Battlefield 4 made me notice that, and the explosions will sound appropriately intense. I was genuinely startled by the explosion of a V2 Rocket in Battlefield V after I started using these headphones, not because it was loud, but because the sound was so realistic. I can't remember the last time something like that happened. That game's audio design is world-class, and the DT 177X does it justice.
Footsteps are loud and clear, if that's a major concern. Using Dolby Atmos for Headphones works great on the 177X, enhancing the tracking of sounds to a specific point in space. The difference isn't night and day from regular stereo, but it's somewhat noticeable. I'd just bought Battlefield V the weekend I received the 177X, and playing with them I was topping leaderboards of 32v32 Conquest games ahead of much higher-leveled players. Not due solely to the headphones, of course, but they certainly didn't hold me back, and did help me hear footsteps to be aware of enemies that I couldn't see.
These will certainly serve as my gaming headphones for the foreseeable future. No need to get specifically marketed gaming headphones from Logitech, Astro, or whatever. These do the job, and they do it better than anything I've used before.
Experimenting with an Equalizer:
I mentioned that I use an equalizer with my Klipsch speakers, but the way I did that was noticing that the generic "rock" and "vocals" equalizers in my sound card's software made them sound better, so I combined the two into one custom one that sounds noticeably better. With my SMS headphones, I just used the treble boost since they were bass boosted, that way I could balance the sound.
I didn't think I needed an equalizer for these headphones since they're so balanced, but when my brother wanted to try them out, he picked "Strength of a Thousand Men" by Two Steps From Hell, skipped about two thirds into the song, listened to it for a bit, then asked "Where's the bass?" He's not a basshead or anything, he just genuinely felt that bass was missing from the sound. I liked the level of bass they regularly have, but now I felt a little self-conscious. Should I boost the bass or make other equalizing measures? I spent $450 on these, might as well see if I can make them sound better, like my speakers.
I wanted to make sure I was doing this right, though, so I looked up guides on how to equalize headphones and came across a program called AutoEQ. After a couple hours of trying to use it manually, I discovered that it already had a calculated equalizer based on the waveform of the sheepskin pads provided here by Drop. The equalizer it recommended was, with a pre-amp of -5 dB:
| Type | Fc | Q | Gain |
| Peaking | 31 Hz | 1.41 | -4.1 dB |
| Peaking | 62 Hz | 1.41 | -2.1 dB |
| Peaking | 125 Hz | 1.41 | -7.6 dB |
| Peaking | 250 Hz | 1.41 | 0.0 dB |
| Peaking | 500 Hz | 1.41 | 0.6 dB |
| Peaking | 1000 Hz | 1.41 | -2.1 dB |
| Peaking | 2000 Hz | 1.41 | 4.3 dB |
| Peaking | 4000 Hz | 1.41 | 3.3 dB |
| Peaking | 8000 Hz | 1.41 | -1.4 dB |
| Peaking | 16000 Hz | 1.41 | -0.1 dB |
To my untrained eye, I'm assuming that means it's bringing down the bass and upper treble, while boosting the higher mids/lower treble, mainly. Well, I tried that, and... had mixed feelings. Some music felt better and clearer, some felt off.
The decisive factor was when I tried it while playing Battlefield. All the bite those gunshots had, all the power those explosions conveyed... gone. The game sounded just plain wrong, like something was missing.
So that's the equalizer that a fairly reputable program to determine an objective setting for equalizers says is the proper settings, and it makes things sound mainly worse. If there's someone more knowledgeable out there who can suggest better equalizer settings, let me know, because I tried to do things the objective way, and it didn't quite work out.
Or, maybe you don't need an equalizer, and these are just so well-balanced, especially with the perforated Brainwavz XL pads, that you don't need to worry too much about equalizing. Let me know.
Okay, so here's some issues I have with the headset that keep it from being perfect, though not enough to knock off a star.
For one, this thing isn't that portable. It's a pretty sizable headphone, especially compared to my TMA-2's, which will remain my headphones that I take out of the house if I need some. These don't come with a case, either, and I can't find one online. Apparently the regular 1770's come with a case, but you can't seem to buy it separately.
This isn't helped by the cable, which is a gripe that many people have had. It's way too long. Using it with my phone, you'd look ridiculous walking around with that cable. I understand that the cable is that long for people who might need it to reach to an amp or computer far away at a desk or something, but for a headset with "GO" in the title, this is not a cable that makes me want to go anywhere with it. If someone can recommend a replacement that still ends in a 3.5mm, please let me know.
Also, right out of the box, the two cups of the headphones are a little uneven. The left is a little lower than the right in some way. It doesn't affect their wearability, but I hoped that after stretching them out a bit overnight and using them, they'd become more even. It makes them look not very aesthetically pleasing when you hang them up, but it doesn't cause any functional issue. Just a weird thing to be a problem to begin with.
Great for music all-around and great for gaming. It's a beautiful-sounding, balanced, and versatile closed-back headphone, which is exactly what I wanted, and it's exactly what I got.