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Beyer T1
HANDMADE IN GERMANY
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Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

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Beyer T1

Beyer T1 Tesla (open back, 600 Ω, 12.2 oz./346g without cord, about $1,400). larger. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link to it at Amazon or at B&H Photo-Video when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

 

November 2013   Beyer Reviews   Headphone Reviews   Audio Reviews   All Reviews

 

Introduction         top

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The Beyer T1 are clean, detailed, open-sounding and well-built professional headphones. Many people consider the T1 as the finest dynamic headphones on Earth. If you want crystal clarity and definition, these are it. Any errors in response are a very slight emphasis to the presence range like in the AKG K702.

The T1 excel at treble detail; if you want to hear a thousand shades of percussion, the T1 show them more clearly than anything. I was quite taken with how distinct and well defined are cymbal work.

Anyone who's worked in radio or recording knows Beyer Dynamic microphones and headphones. I've been using them since the 1980s, and they've been around since the 1920s. For instance, reading about Billy Joel's classic album 52nd street, the vocals were recorded with a Beyer 250 microphone. For all you know, maybe your favorite recording was made with a Beyer microphone, too!

The T1 also excel at physical presentation. They come in a fancy aluminum case and use fancy wire and plugs, so if this sways you, the T1 are unique among Beyer's headphones, coming with a metal ¼" Neutrik plug and balanced cables repurposed from 110 Ω AES digital uses.

 

Specifications         top

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From the box

Beyer T1 Specifications

 

Type

Beyer T1 driver

Beyer T1 angled driver.

Open-back (almost no isolation) dynamic stereo headphones.

Circumaural: sits around your ears, not on them or in them.

"Tesla" simply means strong neodymium magnets which produce more than a Tesla (10,000 Gauss) of magnetic field. This gives a few decibels more sensitivity than the DT880.

Unlike other Beyer headphones, the drivers are angled forward to point back into your ears. Most Beyer headphones have their drivers parallel to your ears.

 

Plug and Cable

Beyer T1 plug and cable

Neutrik ¼" Neutrik plug and cable. bigger.

3 meter (10 feet), straight cord.

Sommer SC-Peacock MKII cable, which is actually a dual 110 Ω balanced AES digital cable.

Curly-cue plastic cable tie to keep the cord tied to a shorter length.

¼" Neutrik plug, metal handle with rubber strain relief.

Use the Grado Mini Adapter for 3.5mm equipment.

 

Frequency Response

5 ~ 50,000 Hz, no conditions specified.

 

Impedance

Rated 600 Ω.

 

Sensitivity

102 dB SPL at 500 Hz at 1 mW, which is 6 dB more than the DT880's 96 dB rating.

1 mW is 775 mV at 600 Ω, thus 1V is 1.67 mW or +2.2 dBm into 600 Ω, so 1V gives 104.2 dB SPL.

 

T. H. D.

Less than 0.05% at 1 mW at 500 Hz (102 dB SPL).

 

Power Handling and MOL

300 mW, which gives 126 dB SPL at 500 Hz.

300 mW is 24.8 dBm or 13.4 volts at 600 Ω.

 

Case

Beyer T1 Case

Free included aluminum case. enlarge.

 

Beyer T1 Case

What's inside. enlarge.

Aluminum case with foam insert, included.

It's mostly for show. It has very hard, sharp edges that won't play well if thrown in the back of your truck with the rest of your gear. The smooth aluminum also appears easy to damage; I prefer the soft cases Beyer supplies with its other headphones.

 

Weight

12.2 oz. (346g) actual measured, without cord.

17.57 oz. (498.1g) complete with cord and cable tie.

 

Included

T1 headphones.

Aluminum case with foam insert.

 

Price, USA

$1,400, November 2013.

Beyer T1 box

Box, Beyer T1. bigger.

 

Performance         top

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Overall

The Beyer T1 are well-made, sensitive, comfortable, natural, open and airy sounding headphones.

They are expensive because they can be and because they are packaged with a fancy case and wire; sound-wise when you get to this level there isn't that much difference between the T1 and the other great Beyer headphones.

 

Break-in

I don't believe in break-in, but since some of you do, I burnt these in for 200 hours (a little over a week 24/7) of continuous music played with a 1 VRMS peak level before I listened to the T1 in depth.

 

Sensitivity and Amplification

The T1 are sensitive enough to deafen you if plugged directly into a good CD or SACD player's or preamplifier's headphone jack.

These 600 Ω Beyer T1 are a few dB more sensitive than my 600 Ω DT880, so the T1 probably aren't sensitive enough to replace the need for an outboard amplifier if driven from an iPod. For most music (or movies) you'll be at close to maximum volume, so you'll still want an outboard amplifier for the T1 when driven from portables.

The 250 Ω T90 have more voltage sensitivity due to their lower impedance; in other words, the T90 play louder than the T1 and usually work great from portables. (You'll need a Grado Mini Adapter to plug the T1 into portables.)

With my two favorite reference amplifiers, the solid state Benchmark DAC1 HDR and the Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies, there is more than enough gain and output level for anything.

With their high 600 Ω impedance, won't stress a cheap amplifier or have significantly different bass response if your amp has a high output source impedance.

I auditioned these with various amplifiers, and the sound didn't vary much at all — just the maximum output, which of course will vary the perceived bass response.

I found that the T1 sound a little smoother through the vacuum tube Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies, and sound a bit brighter with the solid state Benchmark DAC1 HDR, but it's a subtle difference. Given the choice, I prefer the Woo since the T1 are on the bright side to begin with.

 

Sound

Tonal Balance

The Beyer T1's are of the neutral German school of sound, with somewhat more midrange, presence and treble than the DT880, and thus very similar to the AKG K702.

 

Bass

The T1 will sound light in the bass if compared to most consumer headphones that boost the bass. As a bass player I prefer boosted bass, but the T1 are more accurate and what you should be using for creating music. The T1 are good for mixing and mastering because your projects won't wind up being bass-shy.

Our ears hear more bass at louder levels; if you want more bass, play the T1 more loudly.

The T1s don't boost the bass, so what bass they have is extremely tight and well controlled; you're hearing exactly what you're recording or what's on your recording.

 

Imaging

Stereo imaging is normal: nice and wide and clear with reasonable out-of-head sound. There is plenty of stage depth.

 

Detail

With more presence and midrange than others, of course there is more apparent detail. If you want to hear seat creaks, mic preamp noise or page turns, the T1 are superb.

 

Isolation

These are open, non-isolating headphones.

They only slightly muffle outside sound, and anyone within a few feet of you will also hear your music.

 

Residual Magnetic Field

I measured a maximum of about 4,000 µT (50 Gauss) at the exterior of one of the earpieces.

These are not shielded, so keep them away from sensitive magnetic material.

 

Ergonomics

 

Materials

The T1 feel like a fancier version most of Beyer's headphones: solid and simple. The parts that look like metal are metal; these aren't toy headphones.

The padded harp cover is leather, and what look like fine woven metal grilles actually are.

I'd worry about denting the metal grilles. They feel tough, and I'll bet they'll dent if banged against the edge of a console.

 

Earpads

The earpads are covered with fuzzy velour. The pads ride around your ears, not touching them. Your ears sit inside untouched.

 

Feel

They stick well on my head as I move around.

The T1 are comfy and not stuffy when worn all day.

The T1 use moderate to low spring pressure.

 

Cord and Plugs

I dislike the long straight cord. I'd prefer a shorter or coiled cord, but these T1 are trying to impress with fancy wire, which doesn't come coiled.

I love the real ¼" plug, although I prefer nickel to gold plating because it lasts longer under daily professional use.

 

Compared         top

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Thank goodness Beyer knows how to make great headphones, and makes so many of its headphones so similarly excellent. Comparisons between them are subtle, as the sound quality is so close to perfection on all of them that there is little sonic or mechanical difference among them. Pick your favorite based on tonal balance, and if you need sensitivity for portable devices.

 

Compared to the Beyer T90

The Beyer T90, with its lower 250 Ω versus 600 Ω impedance, have more voltage sensitivity, which means they play louder. The T90 sound great plugged directly into portable devices, while with the T1 you'll often want an outboard amplifier for it to play loud enough.

The T90 have slightly more treble and slightly more bass, which is more fun than the slightly emphasized midrange of the T1. When I say slightly, I mean a dB or a fraction of a dB here or there; these Beyers all sound very similar.

I also prefer the bass of the T90. The T1 sounds very slightly tubbier to me, while the T90 has just a little bit more and tighter bass on direct comparison — but it's very close between the two.

With a little more on top and bottom, the T90 is more fun for music enjoyment, while the T1 is more accurate for music creation.

 

Compared to the Beyer DT 880

Auditioned on the reference Benchmark DAC1 HDR, the DT880 and T1 sound is almost identical, with the T1 having a little bit more presence (upper midrange and lower treble), and thus the DT880 sounding a little smoother.

If you prefer what some call added detail or faster transients (we audio engineers call it more response in the upper midrange and lower treble), you'll love the T1. If you prefer a slightly smoother sound, then you'll prefer the DT880. It's a subtle difference, and if I forget which is on my head, it would be hard to recognize one from the other all by itself.

The 600 Ω DT880 is a few dB less sensitive than the T1, but there are 250 Ω and 32 Ω versions of the DT880 which are more sensitive for the same voltage. I've compared the different impedance versions of the DT880 against each other and they sound identical, just with different effective sensitivity. I have not compared the 250 Ω or 32 Ω DT880 to the T1 for sensitivity; the 32 Ω DT880 probably plays much louder than the 600 Ω T1 and the 250 Ω DT880 is probably about the same as the T1.

Even though they look of very similar construction, the earpieces of my DT880 are always retracting into the harp, while the T1 earpieces stay where I put them after I put them away. With the T1, I don't have to readjust the earpieces each time I put them on.

 

Recommendations         top

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The Beyer T1 are superb headphones, especially if you want to hear extreme detail. They allow me to hear all the defects for monitoring recordings, but with much smoother sound than cheaper headphones like the Sony MDR-7506 that are often used professionally.

For musical enjoyment, I prefer the slightly more entertaining sound of the Beyer T90. For creating music (mastering and mixing), these T1 on the other hand will ensure your work will sound great everywhere, as the T1 lack the very slight high end and bass emphasis of the T90.

If you think the T1 are expensive, think again. Unlike consumer electronics like flat-screen TVs or digital cameras that you'll throw away in 5 years, invest your money in great headphones or speakers and you'll still be enjoying them decades from now. I still use my original set of Beyer DT990s that I bought in 1986. They seemed expensive then, but the price has long been forgotten while their quality is remembered every day. $1,400 seems like a lot for a pair of headphones, but not when you realize that you'll get a few decades out of these German-Made beauties for that price, it's a lot less than whatever you threw away on your last fancy TV or camera.

Headphones don't wear out or get old. So long as you don't abuse them too much, they ought to outlive you. Never get cheap with headphones or speakers; they don't become obsolete as do electronics; these are completely passive transducers.

If you need to pay less, today's DT880 sound very similar for much less money. Get the 250 Ω or 32 Ω version if you want more sensitivity.

For portable devices, get the T90 instead so it will play loudly enough. If you use the T1 with an iPod or other 3.5mm output device, be sure to get a Grado Mini Adapter so it will plug in.

Never cheat yourself out of the headphones you deserve. They will last you a very, very long time. If you want the T1, get them and you'll never look back. If you really must economize, the T90, DT990 and DT880 are also superb choices. When I have them all here for direct comparisons the differences are small, and if I had only one, I'd not notice. They are all superb; Beyer knows how great headphones should sound and all these models are similarly excellent. Your preference should be guided by the slight differences in tonal balance, not by price. Get what you want.

If you find my efforts here helpful, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link to it at Amazon or at B&H Photo-Video when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.

Thanks!

Ken.

 

More Information         top

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Beyer's page for the T1.

 

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