Beyerdynamic were my favoured headphones when in the recording or radio studio back in the day and soi t was greatt1_persview to get the opportunity to try out some of their headphones made specifically for the home and audiophile marketplace.

Here we’re taking a listen to the top of the range T1 semi-open headphone which retails at 949 EUR.

The T1s arrive in a stylish aluminium box designed to look a little like a professional flightcase and is well padded inside. This inspires confidence immediately and gives you some indication of Beyerdynamics’ professional and studio heritage. There’s a certificate of authenticity and that’s it – straight forward, no messing.

The cable is a good length for home use at around 2.5m and looks to be a no-nonsense (thick) design terminated at the end with a Neutrik quarter inch jack. The cable is fixed to the headphones and so there are no opportunities for playing with alternatives.

Looks-wise the T1s are pretty conventional looking with circular cans that cover the whole ear. They are an attractive champagne colour for the most part with the cans being attached to a metal frame. It’s a simple enough design that works well with the cans pivoting vertically to ensure the correct fit over your ear. They clamp firmly but not uncomfortably to your head and you can shake your head quite vigorously without them moving about, so those predisposed to exercise should be fine with these. The earpads are good and thick and made of a velour material which is pretty comfy over longer periods of listening.  The head band is well padded and covered in leather – it’s not as comfortable as the HifiMan HE-560s but it’s pretty good and should cause no one any issues. Adjustment of the length of the headband is a simple slide affair which you can do whilst the T1s are on your head. They weigh in at a 530g which is pretty light when compared to the likes of the Audeze headphones we’ve had in for review.  All in all these look like well thought out and built to do what they are supposed to do which I really like.

The T1s have drivers that are angled towards the ear and are quite a bit off centre and to the front of the can with each driver achieving over 1.2 Tesla (the SI derived unit used to measure magnetic fields) which Beyerdynamic say is twice the value of traditional headphones. As a result of the increased magnetic field the voice coil used in the T1s is more compact than in traditional headphones but still efficient. The actual membrane that makes the sound is what Beyerdynamic call a three layer “compound foil” and all in this makes the T1s a 600ohm load.

Using my reference headphone amplifier on the end of the Valve Audio Devices DAC10 using the computer to deliver FLAC files the T1s went plenty loud enough but plugging them into the HiSound Studio DAP required cranking the volume pretty much up to the max to get a decent volume. With this in mind I’d suggest that if you are considering using the T1s whilst out and about you will need to use an external portable headphone amplifier.

The Sound 

These headphones throw a really good soundstage that feels quite natural and not overemphasised and I think this is down to the way the drivers are angled towards your ears. The soundstage isn’t as wide as the final Pandora Hope VIs and yet there is a good out of the head feeling that seems very natural. There is a definite accuracy to the positioning of instruments in there without any exaggeration, some may think that this is a narrowing of the stage but I thought it gave a more “real” feel to the music. There is also a good front to back feeling to the soundstage, particularly around the ears (if that makes sense) which is again down to the positioning of the drivers.

Clarity is really very good with T1s and whilst the midband is really gorgeous it’s not to the detriment of other frequencies. On David Crosby’s Croz his vocal is presented very nicely and with a little warmth that seems about right for his vocal style. There’s a part of the vocal on Time I Have which is obviously an edit and it’s very easy to spot this on the Beyerdynamics. Bass is really nice and tight but not overblown or bloated – this leads to a very nice and natural sound on this record which I really enjoyed. Other headphones we’ve tested have the feeling that they go lower but on this kind of music I certainly never thought I was missing anything at all.

However, popping on Daft Punk’s Homework album I did need to push the volume a little higher than normal to really get the full effect of this album. Once the volume is cranked up though, you are given a really dynamic and balanced sound which again really appealed to my personal taste. Again, it’s a feeling that nothing is over done and what you are getting is a pretty much straight forward interpretation of what is going on on the record. Some will prefer a headphone that pushes to the fore a certain frequency band and others will love this no messing approach.

With the Made In Japan version of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water I again found I needed to turn the volume up quite a bit to get the full effect of the record. There’s bags of detail at lower volumes and it’s all there, but to get real excitement from these headphones I believe you need to turn up the volume a bit.

I think a really good test for headphones is listening to house and techno and so to Deep Dish’s Yoshiesque Vol II, an absolute masterpiece of a mix album. You get a total insight into the record from the very opening lines of Finally and the slightly effected vocal. All the little nuances to the mix are there and when the beat does kick in it’s powerful and taut which is just right for this kind of music. The little touches in the mix fly around you head and there’s a good deep feel to the basslines. Some headphones struggle to keep pace with this kind of music and get lost in everything that is going on but to the Beyerdynamic T1s credit they manage to stay up with the action and are an exciting listen. t1_sideview

The obvious comparisons here are going to be the HD 800s from Sennheiser as they come in at around the same pricepoint, the Sennheisers are slightly more expensive at £999. It’s a very close call indeed but the Beyerdynamics have it by a short nose I’d say. I loved the bass on the Sennheiser cans but with the T1s it just seems to be subjectively more appealing. They’re a tad more explosive and exciting to listen to. On the negative side they’re not as comfortable.

Comfort 

By no means are the T1s an uncomfortable headphone and I found myself able to listen for long periods without any discomfort at all. The HifiMan HE-560s were better on the headband but worse on the ears and the Sennheiser HD 800s were better on the ears and slightly easier on the top of the head (they’re lighter after all).

The earcups cover the whole of the ear very comfortably indeed, but the velour fabric can become a little “itchy” after long periods of wearing them. They clamp firmly to your head but this isn’t overly done and so they remain comfortable in this aspect.

Conclusion 

I liked the Beyerdynamic T1s a great deal and in some respects they could be the final headphone you’d ever need to buy. When paired with a headphone amplifier they come alive and offer a dynamic and explosive sound that is full of detail.

They don’t have the lushness of the Final Hope Pandora Vis and overall are a more balanced headphone with a slight warmth to the midband. The Sennheiser HD 800s offer a crisper top end but I prefer the more balanced approach of these cans, but only by a hairs breadth.

Bass is good tight and powerful without being over done in any way and whilst the soundstaging is better on some of the headphones we’ve had in for review (Final and Audeze) it’s up there with the best with the little nuances of the stage being particularly apparent around the ears in a front to back sense.

I believe the T1s are suited to a wide range of musical styles and offer a clear window into what is happening, with bags and bags of detail but not so much that they become a pain to listen to.

Beyer Dynamic are perhaps best known for their studio kit and it’s clear that the T1s have benefited from this experience, but to their credit they also manage to bring their credentials to the living room too.

On the negative side, you will need to have a good headphone amplifier on hand if you want to get the best from these as they do need to be driven quite hard.

Stuart SmithRECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Sound – 8.85
Comfort – 8.15
Fit and finish – 8.25
Value – 8.5
Overall – 8.44

Recommended for those looking for a dynamic and yet balanced headphone that is very good across all the musical styles we tried them with.

 

And now Linette’s thoughts on the Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones 

Beyerdynamic have been making headphones and microphones for a long time….the company was founded in Germany 90 years ago and has become a bit of a byword for Germanic excellence.

The T1 was the first headphones in their range to use their Tesla technology which, without going into the entire science bit, makes the drivers more compact and more efficient.

Straight out of the packaging and the presentation case really does scream understated German class…..they come in t1_box_1their own embossed, brushed aluminium flight case.

The ‘phones themselves are also very classy looking. Again brushed metal but with a slightly golden grey hue.  They are industrially sleek and I really like the subtle styling like the ‘herringbone’ detailing on the earcups and the cut out T1 logo on the sides.  They are described as semi-open, whatever that means…I thought headphones were either open or closed, but apparently these are somewhere in between.

The padding is generous on both the earpads and the headband but the way the Tesla drivers are placed means it seems to take a while to find a comfortable listening position with them….I also found myself adjusting quite a bit while listening.

They actually feel quite light on the head, even though they weigh in at over half a kilo (530g). Worth noting though that they actually became more comfortable the longer I wore them.

Happily they pass the ‘glasses test’ and sit comfortably with my specs on.

Once slight annoyance that I noticed was that the velour on the pads ‘creaked’ quite loudly when I moved my head…I’m guessing this is down to the velour not the actual pads so I imagine it could be cured by changing for a leather pad?

So, feeling in a Germanic frame of mind I decided to listen to some techno, one of Ben Klock’s sets from the infamous Berghain club in Berlin.  Now, seeing as this is a club that you can queue hours and hours for….only to be turned away by the fickle doorman when you finally make it to the entrance, I guess a recording of one of Klock’s sets from the main room is a more guaranteed way to actually hear some tunes!

The sound is big and intense, giving a real sense of being in a club in what was a power station.  Tremendous and defined bass and a sound that is very driving and detailed, I guess that’s thanks to the Tesla tech then.t1_mirrorview

The ‘phones do feel very isolating from the outside world but the soundstage is very open, perhaps not as 3 dimensional as the Oppo PM1 but I love the big sound that I am getting.

Florence and the Machine’s album ‘Lungs’ is next.  Florence’s voice on ‘Dog Days Are Over’ ranges from ethereal to powerful and sounds perfect throughout.  The music sounds as defined when it really gets going with very energetic drumming and vocals as it does in the more simple and stripped back parts of the song.

I put on Florence’s version of ‘You’ve got the Love’….which sounds great, but it makes me want to listen to the original (and in my opinion, best) version…the epic Source featuring Candi Staton tune was the song me and Mr Hifi Pig got married to after all!

The Beyerdynamic T1s really deliver on bass, vocals and everything else in the mix.

The good mix of vocal and bass without anything being too much is again evident when I put on Rudimental’s ‘Home’ album…the way this album has been recorded it can often come across as far too bass heavy but it works with the T1s.

Speaking of bass…yep, time for ‘Once again back’ by Hardfloor. The bass is dry and rumbling, right tht1_anw_09_system6_3c_1rough my head, tops are skippy as they should be and the mids are good too……I am overall very impressed by these understated, German headphones…a bit of a dark horse.

So in the interest of equality I get Gil Scott Heron’s ‘Ghetto Style’ on as I’ve listened to it with all the headphones I’ve reviewed recently.

‘Lady Day and John Coltraine’ is very engaging to listen to, I am left wanting more, which has to be a good sign.  There is that sense of being in the studio…not quite as much detail in the soundstage as the planar magnetic headphones as I mentioned before, but there is definitely something there that makes me really enjoy these headphones.

They are very well styled, well made with great materials and perhaps a bit more wearable out and about than some of the headphones that I have listened to recently, quite understated.

The detail and 3 dimensional immersion into the music is not up there with the top of the range planar magnetic headphones that I have tried but I do think they come out better than the Sennheisers HD800.  Euro for euro or pound for pound I like the looks, build quality and sound of the T1s best out of the two.

Yes again these are expensive headphones at 949€, however there are plenty of people wanting to spend that kind of money to enjoy their music privately….the T1 just adds another choice of flavour to the top level available.

I would suggest to anyone in the market for a pair of great quality ‘phones, read the reviews make a shortlist and then get down to your hifi dealer, headphone specialist or get to a hifi show and test listen to a few different ones and pick your favourite.

Linette Smith RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Sound – 8.5/10
Comfort – 8.2/10
Fit and finish – 9/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 8.4/10

Very well made, high quality and reliable headphones.  High end without screaming it in your face.

 

Review system: Ami MUSIK DDH – 1 DAC and Headphone amp, The Chord Company USB cable and laptop running Foobar 2000.

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