Brief impressions: Beyerdynamic T51p, T90, T1 and A20
I would like to thank Thomas at Polar Audio for lending me these samples for a week, I thoroughly enjoyed my week with them. I try to write as honest an opinion possible.
Transmission type - Wired
Headphone design (operating principle) - Closed
Headphone impedance - 60 ohms
Headphone frequency response - 10 Hz - 23,000 Hz
Construction - Supraaural (on-ear)
Cable & plug - Straight connecting cable with mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) & ¼“ adapter (6.35 mm)
Net weight without packaging - 174 g
Comfort excellent just right amount of clamp. Light. Isolation good, fine for walking in street. Build excellent but cable could be thicker, great carry case.
Sound: warm full bodied with great detail and subtleties in music easily picked out. Extra body helps when out and about, soundstage limited.
Lows are very well controlled and great extension, fast in attack and recovery they can keep up with faster paced rock music. The lows don't exactly hit hard but they have great accuracy and body. There is a bump in the mid bass, which helps bass guitars sound more pronounced, but the sub-bass backs these up so they don't sound too flat. The lows are definitely in greater quantity than neutral, but this is a must for portable cans, for the lows are what disappear first with outside noise.
Mids sound slightly behind the lows but have a very natural if not a tad warm tone to them. Very well separated and detailed. Vocals do come over very lush and easy to listen to. There are not peaks or dips which make vocals sound shouty or sibilant. Both male and female vocals fair very well. Electric guitars still have good crunch and energy, acoustic guitars sound fantastic with tone and decay very well portrayed.
Highs are slightly subdued compared to the rest of the sound. On one hand this is good as they never become fatiguing and always remain a more lush warm sounding headphone, which is great for on the go where you can't pay attention to every minute detail. On the other hand they do sound a little too warm, and loose some detail, the highs are very well controlled and never become splashy, but they never wow you with fantastic sparkle and shimmer. They do however extend very effortlessly, and also decay is perfect, along with the detail being easy to pick out if you listen for them. The highs are definitely not aggressive or in your face.
The soundstage isn't particularly wide, due to the portable use this is not too much of a problem, and still a lot better than the Sennheiser HD25-1 II. imaging on the other hand is great and very precise, and also instrument separation is excellent, everything is very well separated even though the soundstage isn't huge.
Overall a killer portable headphone that is well built, comfortable and great sounding. This does come with a price but I see them lasting a long time with care. The sound is a bit on the warm side but with enough detail for most listeners, which is great for easy out and about listening, the treble leaves a little to desire, but at least your not getting a headache from brightness on the way to work.
Transmission type - Wired
Headphone design (operating principle) - Open
Headphone impedance - 250 ohms
Headphone frequency response - 5 - 40,000 Hz
Nominal sound pressure level - 102 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)
Construction - Circumaural (around the ear)
Cable & plug - Gold vaporised mini stereo jack plug (3.5 mm) & 1/4" adaptor (6.35 mm)
Build excellent mainly metal with velour pads, comfort excellent. Open back, long cable but 3.5mm jack with screw on 6.3mm adapter.
Sound: spacious and airy sound.
Lows are tight, very well separated and defined. They don't lack any extension or punch, the lows are very balanced and in line with the rest of the sound. They don't lack body and are in just the right amount for my tastes, spoke people might want a little more quantity. Amping is key, using my JDS Labs O2 these are on the brighter side but the lows are still very well done with good body and depth, whereas using the Beyerdynamic A20 amp these warm up a little, giving them a little extra body.
Mids are very airy and clean, no warming from the lows here. They can become a little sibilant with some recordings, but most of the time they are fine. Both male and female vocals fair excellently with guitars having great power and never lacking in detail. Acoustic recordings sound very real and clean.
Highs can be a little bright sometimes, with a little peak in the upper mids/lower treble which can lead to a little harshness. Treble sensitive users are better off with some Sennheisers maybe, as these have abundant treble. I wouldn't say they were bright, but they are a little treble happy sometimes. The highs are crystal clear and extend effortlessly, with micro details picked out easily.
Soundstage is wide but not huge for an open backed headphone, they have a very airy and accurate presentation, but not the widest or deepest soundstage. Imaging is spot on, as is instrument separation.
Overall another very well built, comfortable headphone from Beyerdynamic, these have a bit of a treble happy sound signature which is great if you enjoy well defined, crisp highs, but not if you're treble sensitive. These are not neutral, but have good body, great mids and sparkly highs. Amping is best for these, the O2 can drive them fine, but I find either the A20 or maybe a tube amp are better suited too these.
Transmission type - Wired
Headphone design (operating principle) - Semi-open
Headphone impedance - 600 ohms
Headphone frequency response - 5 - 50.000 Hz
Nominal sound pressure level - 102 dB
Construction - Circumaural (around the ear)
Cable & plug - Straight connecting cable with ¼“ stereo jack plug (6.35 mm)
Net weight without packaging - 530g
Comfy but snug, great cable terminated with a Neutrik 6.3mm jack, open back, well built, mainly metal with velour pads, and a well cushioned headband.
Lows are the perfect amount for me, love them, the presentation is excellent in the lows too, very precise and spacious. No lack of extension or punch, they are very well balanced with no bloat whatsoever. Just the right amount too keep you engaged and foot tapping, but not too much to become muddy or veiled. The lows adapt to whatever you're listening to, great speed and pace with rock and EDM, yet smooth and full with acoustic.
Mids are crystal clear and slightly forward in presence. Vocals have no added warm, yet they don't suffer from dryness or harshness. Sibilance is not a problem either, unless the source music is bad quality. Every breath a singer takes, every pluck at a guitar string is heard with such finesse, they are very detailed bit do not throw it at you like the Sennheiser HD800.
Highs extend effortlessly with great control and no splashiness to be heard. These have very crisp treble, and the quantity is just right too, not too much for them to become fatiguing, but plenty for most users, extracting a lot of detail but like the mids, the detail is there, yet it's not thrown at you leading to a very smooth yet detailed top end.
The soundstage is wide but not too wide, it still keeps the sound fairly intimate. The instrument separation and imaging is spot on, and pinpoint perfect. I love their accurate imaging, and wide but intimate soundstage.
I really love the T1, I prefer it to the Sennheiser HD800, in comparison the T1 have more body, and more natural sound. I find the HD800's soundstage to be artificially wide, and they love to throw minute details at you, and not always in a pleasant way. The T1 is more versatile and can handle most everything you can throw at it.
There's not a lot I can say about the T1, as to me it does a lot right. It has the right amount of everything, has the right presentation and is not too picky with amps. For review purposes I used my my JDS Labs O2 amplifier, with line out from an iPod classic and the volume knob on low gain never passed the 12o'clock position so these are not difficult to drive and sound great even powered by an O2 amp. I did use the Beyerdynamic A20 with these too, they sounded a little warmer, and also powered by an Icon Audio HP8 MKII valve amp these sound fantastic. So you can fine tune the sound to an extent with amps, but I found the O2 to give the most neutral and detailed sound, whereas the HP8 and A20 made these sound a little more musical.
Dimensions - 164 x 212 x 55 mm
Frequency range - 10 Hz - 100 kHz (-1 dB)
T.H.D. - 0.01 % at 170 mW / 250 Ω
Maximum output power - 170 mW / 250 Ω
Unweighted signal-to-noise ratio - > 100 dB (unweighted)
Channel separation - > 80 dB at 1 kHz / 250 Ω
Headphone outputs - 2 stereo jack outputs 6.35 mm (1/4") in parallel mode
Analog inputs - 1 pair RCA
Analog outputs - 1 pair RCA
Net weight without packaging - 1640 g
Solid build all aluminium. RCA in and out, 2x6.3mm output.
Great amp, which sounds great with high impedance headphones like the Beyerdynamic T1. The main flaw is the high output impedance at 100ohms it doesn't fair very well with low impedance headphones. This as a home amp for high impedance headphones is a very good amp though, the feel and finish is very premium, it can be used as a pre-amp and has a slightly warm sound signature, with a wide soundstage and good detail. Powering the T1 they have more body and weight to the sound, without loosing any of the detail, and it widens the soundstage ever so slightly. I really love the finish and look of this amp, very simplistic and minimal, if it had lower output impedance it would be an amazing amp, but maybe there is a reason behind the high output impedance. Also the amp isn't actually that powerful, my JDS Labs O2 outputs more power into the same loads at this amp.
I like this amp, and with the right pairing it sounds great. But technically speaking its far from perfect and could be improved upon.
Thanks for reading, I won't post the tracks as I listened to many different songs, including the usual I use to review products.
Photos taken by me with a Nikon D3200, no post processing was used.