Beyerdynamic are a company who haven been around for so long and always been known from their quality products, which come straight out of Germany. I wanted to review some of their gear for the website which lead to me getting in contact with Polar Audio, the distributor for Beyerdynamic in the UK. They could not get me a review unit but could bring around their products for a day for me to try out with my only sources and amplifiers and compare to my other headphones. The rep that came round was very friendly and after I helped him get his boot of audio goodies in we got listening. He seemed in no rush and I got a good amount of time with each item and I made listening impressions as I went along with the plan to write this article on the models. After the day I had certainly found the Beyerdynamic love, especially with the closed models, and really hope that I own a product or even some products of theirs in the future.
The first product I want to talk about is the DTX 501p which is their latest entry-level portable headphone and certainly worth talking about.
Beyerdynamic DTX 501p – A Great Entry:
£65. This is the going price for these headphones which is not too much considering that in this article I am going up to gear that is pushing the big 1000 quid mark. It has the p in its name which is something that signifies in any Beyerdynamic product that is a portable headphone, meaning low impedance and a short (length for you trouser pockets) cable so that you can plug into your phone or DAP and go. No need for an amp like some of their models has.
I will start off by saying that they come with a really nice travel pouch which is not something that all headphones in this price have and this was a nice quality one fitting the folded down headphones into it nicely. That was another thing I really liked, how it folded down nicely making it indeed a very portable package.
The build was fine in the cable and the cups felt nice and solid but I did have a few concerns with the plastic headband that was also rather thin. The rep did say because of it being so portable he uses this with his iPhone daily and the build has not causes him one problem but I remain to be cautious about it. The quality of the pleather pads on the headphones was great. They had a beautiful memory foam effect and a very good clamping, enough to seal but not causing any pain.
The sound like the rest of the product was consumer orientated. It has a bass boost but was not over the top at all with fairly nice depth and was actually not too slow, and gives a nice impact too. The midrange was warm and a bit recessed with slight bleed from the bass but I never found myself straining to hear vocals but I would like just a bit more presence but it is by no means underwhelming here, in fact it has nice balance and strong timbre so gives off a confident performance all in all. The treble is rather zippy and has a nice but of low treble sparkle but it does not have great extension into the deep highs.
Overall the sound is a nice V shape that is great for most consumer genres be it rap/hip-hop to pop and for general out and about use they tick most boxes as a package. I think this is one of the best offering I have heard in the price range and it is an impressive start into Beyerdynamics offerings although you may find yourself jumping up the hierarchy rather quickly
Beyerdynamic DT880 and DT990 Premium – The Classic:
These are two of the three classic Beyerdynamic cans that you see a fair bit in the street, in films (non to pitch perfect) and are generally well regarded. I did not get to hear the last of the trio, the DT770 but got to hear both the DT880 and DT990. The 880 and 990 share the same driver but the 880 is semi open and the 990 fully open. Both of these come in three versions for different uses. You can get them in 32 ohms, 250 ohms and 600 ohms so what you get is mainly for what your uses will be. Want to go out and about and just use your phone or DAP as a source then the 32 ohm version is the way to go, maybe use your hifi stereo system, then the 250 ohm or maybe you have a full sized dedicated headphone amp at home, maybe even Beyerdynamics very own A1, then you will want to get the 600 ohm version.
These come package with a ¼ inch adapter jack as well as a nice big foam padded storage case that fits them nicely and can also be used as a nice but large travel pouch.
The build quality was typical German and but that I mean sturdy and competent. Comfort is great, especially with included velour pads and there are plenty of aftermarket pads for these if you feel a need to upgrade them. Isolation is not terrible with the DT880 as they are semi-open and could b used as portable but the DT990 are full open and certainly could not.
These have aged very well considering they still go pound to pound with all the latest headphones, I would easily take qualities of these over the latest best portable cans such as the Sennheiser Momentum and Logitech UE9000 which is saying a fair bit as they are both good headphones. Because of the lack of time I will talk about both together, there were differences across the spectrum but they both share a signature. The biggest and most obvious difference was the soundstage where the 990 were more open for sure.
Both of them had an amazing bass. Fast and with a powerful impact in the mid-bass with a fair amount of boost and detailed and well textured deep bass with great rumble. The elevation is spot on and the power in impact will impress. Most people crazy about bass will love these for it and if you do not like too much bass you should still be fine. The bass is also rather dry and not very warm which sound accurate with great timbre. As for differences between the two the DT990 did have a clear bit more bass but they both have the same properties. So for the rest of the review just take things as the DT990 having more bass so further behind mids.
Midrange is slightly behind. It also seems to work towards a slight drop in the higher mids and this is where I really want more presence with these headphones and why I did not fall in love with them like I did some other models. Overall though the dry tone is nice timbre was smooth with a nice sense of realism and detail retrieval is to be taken seriously.
Treble I found to be quite wild and eccentric with great sparkle and details but some times just a bit over bearing. Quoting from a comment I received on my YouTube videos, ‘the treble can make for an experience with guitars’ and this spot on. Some times just plain screechy but sometime they sound very good with great energy. Presence in the higher registers of the treble was also very impressive showing off more than what you get with the T70 and T5p.
These are serious cans for the price you can pick them up for. The DT880 at £200 is a great can you can use on the go and at home and if you want a more open sound with more bass then the DT990 is not a shabby choice for £250 although I do prefer the Sennheiser options with the HD600 and HD650, preferring my modded (basically a HD600) HD580 all day long.
Beyerdynamic T70 – Pick of the Lot:
Here we move up the price again and over 400 pounds but they can be had for a street price of roughly £275 that all in all is what I would call a bargain. The T70 comes in two flavours, the T70 and the T70p. Again the P stands for portable and the T70p has a shorter cable and only 32 ohms impedance while the T70 that I tried has a longer cable for hooking up to your home system and a impedance rate at 250 ohms, perfect for use at home with headphone amplifiers.
The overall build impressed although I was not too sure on the build of the rotating yokes as made a small screechy noise and the overall build did not match the more expensive T5p when stood next to each other. These are a completely closed, full sized headphone and they therefore isolate very nicely, and the build is not very bulky so the T70p would certainly be very portable. These come with the same padded storage case as the DT series and of course a quarter inch jack adapter.
The sound of these is the real surprise, surprisingly open, slightly warm, bright and extremely detailed. The soundstage had a nice depth too it and was generally airy and spacious, one of the biggest I have heard coming from a closed headphone for sure and this made things all that much better because I usually hate sealed headphones, mainly due to the silly claustrophobic soundstage.
The bass was nice, extending deep into sub-bass with some detail but nowhere near as good texturing and attack as the T5p. The mid-bass was nice and linear with the midrange and had nice, bouncy warmth to it. I did find the decay to be a bit longer than average but it was still very pleasant and the impact to be lacking slightly on the more negative side.
We have next to that though a beautiful midrange. It is lush, transparent and tiny bit warm. It has great balanced and the detail retrieval really does impress. Vocals are very sweet and they do not steal the stage but have great presence.
The treble is the best part however and it is what sold the T70 to me. It is crystal clear and has a beautiful peak at 10khz that gives you a nice helping of sparkle and brightness to the sound as well as emphasizing that clarity effect that I love. It was not however fatiguing at all.
If it was not for the Fostex TH900 (which is super expensive) and the T5p that I also heard from Beyerdynamic I would probably say that this was the best closed can I have ever heard, with it easily whitewashing the new Ultimate Ears headphones, anything Sennheiser has to offer and even the entire Denon range. Maybe the JVC Victor DX1000 would be more up you street if you want a warm bassy headphone but this was more to my sound signature for sure. Because of all this, the T70 (and T70p which should sound almost identical from FR graphs) have my biggest recommendation for a closed headphone.
Beyerdynamic T5p – The Sealed King
Moving up from the T70 we have the T5p that is Beyerdynamics closed flagship, priced the same as the flagship model, the T1. The price is a whopping £900 at retail but street prices have fallen just below £800. For this you get the headphone, a giant metal storage case (much cooler than what you get with the other models), soft travel case, extension cable (3m) and both an airplane and ¼ inch adapter. As this has the P next to its name it is of course a portable model and has 32 ohms impedance and a shorter than there home use headphones cable. I would not go as far to say that it is a generous package but it comes with everything you could need.
The build of this is really premium. Real leather headband and ear pads that make this just so comfortable and everything just feels prime in your hands or on your head, I will never worry about anything going wrong on this which I could not say about the similarly price Perfect Sound Dido. It of course isolate wonderfully completing the fact that it is a portable headphone that sets it apart from other similarly priced headphones.
The design of these however is rather interesting. Like the T1 it has angled driver which if found rather novel and by the sound it clearly worked but some people have found it to touch their ears which has had a negative effect. I do not know how serious a problem this is but it has not effected me.
These have a well-balanced sound that is topped off by a strong and powerful sub-bass that has great attack and strong texture. The mid-bass is not as forward and is rather fast, with better impact and less decay than the T70, in fact it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of bass response and the elevation levels were just how I like them, leaving the midrange very much intact.
The midrange had a slight tilt to the higher mids which gave it an overall bright sound and that moves into the T5ps bright treble. Back to the midrange though and it did not sound as full as the T70 but it certainly was transparent and had an abundance of details.
Treble was very well detailed and has nice peaks giving it a bright and sparkly tone. Extension is great and I must say that the treble is really top notch, if you’re in to bright treble anyway. I guess some of you could start to find these fatiguing but I found them ever so pleasurable.
The soundstage like the T70 was surprising for a closed headphone and the size was even bigger here with better depth and layering and much more accurate imaging.
These are a headphone I really want to own, they are a great package but it does come with a price tag. When comparing with the T70 I liked both a lot and could conclude that the T5p was better sound wise and even more clearly better in construction. With some songs I did prefer the T70 however and I do not think these justify the price increase, which is roughly 3 times with street prices. I think you could settle for the T70 and be very happy but if you do want that better sound and more premium build and design the T5p is the one for you.
Turn the Page for Flagships