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Beyerdynamic T1 1st Generation – Spicy Headphone Experience

 

 

Beyerdynamic’s T1 is a really old headphone now, and I just happened to get it from a friend, and thought I should share my in-depth written review about it with you~. This is was and will be a flagship with a hefty price tag of 1000 USD. They will get compared to the best out there like Spirit Torino Super Leggera, Kennerton Thror, and Rosson RAD-0. The pairing list will include mostly desktop stuff like Singxer SDA-2, xDuoo XD-05 Plus, and Audio-GD Master 19 driven by a Denafrips Ares II DAC

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

This is not my first time reviewing a Beyerdynamic headphone, but it is a moment of truth as they have been releasing more and more models, all while the older ones seem to still be the favorite of music lovers out there. 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Beyerdynamic, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 3rd Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2PQdAtB

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2QTDjla

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 1st Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3sO6qV4 

 

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The package of T1 is really basic, as we basically have the headphones in a large metallic case, seated in foam, and the cables which are already attached to the headphones. 

 

This is it, and for a flagship costing 1000 USD, it is a bit bare. A carrying case, or additional earpads would’ve been interesting to see, but happily the original earpads do not wear out easily. 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

 

The Build Quality of T1 is actually awesome, they are pretty well made, but also flexible. Beyerdynamic always had a high standard for building their headphones, and T1 is the culmination of their work, so it is only normal that they used leather, metal, and other high-quality materials for T1. The headphones always look and feel high-end, and somehow Beyerdynamic managed to make T1 one of the lightest flagships out there. 

 

 

This translates to an excellent overall comfort, the clamping force is just right, and so is the overall pressure. I can totally feel that they are on my head, but they never get uncomfortable for me, and somehow despite having the high-quality Alcantra earpads, T1 feels cold on my head, which is the other way around compared to all the headphones out there that tend to feel quite hot, especially Alcantra ones. 

 

 

The drive factor is not in favor of T1 and not only they require a huge amount of power to sound good, they are quite sensitive to source quality, and need a really good source to do their max. For this purpose, I recommend something like the Audio-GD Master 19, or Wells Milo, rather than portables. 

 

And now we reach the cable, which is the Achile’s Heel of T1. The cable is not detachable, it is quite rigid yet malleable, like it was made of clay. Even in my photos where I tried to minimise this, the cable has bends and kinks that are permanent. The cable is also Single Ended and ended in a 6.3mm connector, so it will be quite tough for you to use it with anything that doesn’t have this output. 

 

 

Even worse, the cable is extremely long, and it will be practically impossible to use T1 outdoors. 

 

Given the open-back or rather semi-open back design of T1, they would have made a great outdoors headphone, but happily Beyerdynamic created and designed another headphone for this purpose, namely the T5p. That little P at the end stands for portable. Hopefully I will have the chance to review a T5p in the near future and share with you guys how it compares to the T1. 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Youtube Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

The sound of T1 is actually extremely detailed, but also extremely bright. With great extensions both ways, a nice low end, and an amazingly sparkly treble, T1 is a headphone that’s not to be messed with. The only major downside to it is that the midrange it tilted towards and aggressively bright tuning that could get fatiguing after a while, so it would be best to either pair it with warmer, smoother sources, or use it knowing that it will reveal every single bit of mistake in a recording, like harshness, sibilance, and unwanted noises. We usually call this an analytic sound as it is great for analysis music. 

 

 

The bass is actually nice and goes really deep, and has a natural to slightly quick presentation. For thunderous tracks, it has a good amount of authority, and a thumpy presentation, but it is not as deep and rounded as that of Audeze LCD-MX4 or Rosson RAD-0. Since we’re talking about a headphone that is great for mixing and mastering, I want to note that the bass is easily able to distinguish between an acoustic bass, a large contrabass, and electronic beats / bass notices, so you won’t miss any single detail or note while using T1. 

 

The midrange has a slightly smoother and recessed presentation compared to the bass, and the midrange is actually great for all music styles. Given the slightly recessed and softer nature of the midrange, T1 ends up having a good soundstage, extremely wide and deep too. It can compete with the soundstage of Sennheiser HD800S, all while having more precision and a better instrument separation. HD800S always sounded really wide but also a bit vague to my ears, where T1 is never vague, instead being really precise. 

 

The dynamics of T1 are amazing, out of this world even, with pinpoint precision and extreme differences between quieter and louder passages. T1 also has a good sense of rhythm, and the headphone is able to keep up with death metal, black metal or aggressive trancecore. 

 

 

The treble of Beyerdynamic T1 has always been regarded by music lovers as an argumentative subject. Those who love treble will be in love with T1, while those who prefer a smoother, more relaxed sound will find T1 fatiguing. It is no joke that T1 is fatiguing, being one of the brightest headphones out there, with one of the sparkliest trebles in the entire world. In fact, the treble extension is great, and it has a ton of air, but it is the tonal balance that throws people off, the treble quantity relative to the midrange and the bass is actually a bit high, which means that T1 will become a bit shouty if listened loud, and they are best at medium and low volumes. 

 

The treble also has a ton of detail, and can come through as a bit harsh, a bit grainy and a bit sibilant, especially if the recording is like this. It is not quite as strong as the treble of Soundmagic HP1000, but it still is rather bright and won’t be comfortable if you’re coming from a smoother more relaxed headphone like HIFIMAN Arya

 

 

 

Comparisons 

 

The main comparisons I went for are with Spirit Torino SuperLeggera, Kennerton Thror, and Rosson RAD-0. Those are all very relevant to the question of how does T1 sound like, and if it is still worth purchasing. 

 

 

There are many other headphones it can be compared with, and at times even Beyerdynamics own Amiron is a good one. I personally found a love companion in Beyerdynamics own DT1990PRO, which is an amazing headphone, and which I can happily recommend even more than T1, for most music lovers out there. I especially picked a few of the competitors at a higher price, as given the prestige and name of Beyerdynamic, T1 should be able to hold its ground to headphones considerably more pricey. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 vs Spirit Torino SuperLeggera (1000 USD vs 2000 USD) – Spirit Torino surely has a much better package that feels more premium, and it also feels better built than T1. The one thing that’s really different though is the comfort, which is better on T1 thanks to the larger earpads that will work better for a larger number of people. The sound is smoother, warmer, with a more luscious bass, more musical and more dreamy on Super Leggera. T1 sounds more focused on detail, but with a somewhat smaller soundstage. The mids sound more distant on T1, while the sound is brighter tonally, and with more emphasis on revealing everything. If you’re looking for a really good mixing or mastering headphone, T1 will totally do, but if you want a headphone to just lean back and enjoy some high-quality music, then Super Leggera sounds considerably more coherent and musical, euphonic and smoother all around, without loosing extension in either bass or treble. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 vs Rosson RAD-0 (1000 USD vs 2600 USD) – There’s something magical about the midrange presentation of RAD-0, and it is pretty much opposite from T1, RAD-0 focusing on an euphonic, thick, warm and musical sound. I can enjoy basically anything on RAD-0, from Death Metal all the way to country, EDM, Jazz, even pop, while with T1, I find myself listening mostly to Jazz, Classical and well-recorded music. Some metal is doable, but older bands, or bands that had poor recording techniques don’t sound very euphonic on T1. T1 is lighter than RAD-0, with a more ergonomic shape, while RAD-0 has a better cable. If you’re looking for a thick, smooth, warm, yet extremely detailed and euphonic, liquid sounding headphone, RAD-0 is the choice here, while if you’re looking for something with a true analytic power, a much larger soundstage, with a kick for brightness and an open treble, then T1 is the one for you. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 vs Kennerton Thror (1000 USD vs 3000 USD) – We should start by saying that both headphones come in nice packages. Metal vs wood, I actually like the wooden box of thror a bit, and I even used it as the support for many of the reviews I posted in late 2019 and early 2020, this is how beautiful that case was. The accessories are the same, but Thror has detachable mini XLR cables, vs non-detachable on T1. The sound on T1 is brighter, more analytic, more focused on detail, while it is still fairly neutral on Thror, having a more natural midrange, less treble emphasis and a smoother treble. The bass presentation is deeper with more impact on T1. T1 is also a tad darker in the lower mids than T1, despite being a bit brighter in the treble too. The comfort is actually a bit better on T1, except for the cable which is simply atrocious compared to the beautiful sleeved cable of the Thror. 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Recommended Pairings

 

 

 

The main pairings I went for are with Singxer SDA-2, xDuoo XD-05 Plus, and with an Audio-GD Master 19, driven by an Ares II DAC from Denafrips. As we will explore, a smoother, warmer source is better for T1 and they do not appreciate a neutral or a bright source at all. Given that they are sensitive to detail and harshness, anything that would make them smoother and warmer will help with your musical experience. 

 

 

T1 is a great headphone for music mastering though, and there I would recommend a neutral source, so you can hear and analyse every part of your music under a sonic microscope. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 + Singxer SDA-2 (1000 USD + 650 USD) SDA-2 is natural sounding with just a smidgen of warmth, but it is also one of the most affordable sources that can properly drive the T1. T1 is like an epic challenger, it is picky and a bit moody, but once you get it going, it acts like a prodigy, playing with excellent emotion, depth, and with a good separation. It really reminds me how much I love music and why I started following this hobby in the first place, hearing an old champ playing so nice. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 + Denafrips Ares II DAC + Audio-GD Master 19 (1000 USD + 700 USD + 880 USD) Ares II is the perfect source for T1 because it is softer, while Master 19 has the proper control, depth and thump / impact to make T1 go and yell its lungs out. The best part about this whole setup is the impact, T1 is already impactful, but driven so well, it can really startle you. All of this is accompanied by a rich and organic midrange, thanks to Ares II, and a softer treble, also thanks to Ares II, a thing which is really welcome for T1. 

 

Beyerdynamic T1 + xDuoo XD-05 Plus (1000 USD + 250 USD) Sometimes you want to do something crazy, and some of you guys managed to even recable T1, as you’ve mailed me. So I thought I should add this little pairing. XD-05 Plus is the type of DAC/AMP that has all the power, control, refinement and impact that you could ever dream of at 250 USD, but it was heavily criticised for having a small soundstage, a too smooth sound, and a somewhat warm bass / midrange. All of those characteristics compliment T1 so nicely, as they shape it into a more agreeable, warmer headphone, with a deep, rounded and natural presentation. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

At the end of the day, the value of T1 is not bad at all, but the simplistic package, even made of metal, is a bit of a letdown. The headphone build quality is no joke though, and I am happy to report that the overall comfort is excellent too. 

 

 

If you don’t mind them leaking some sound, and if you don’t mind the cable and using them only indoors, they are a really well assembled headphone, with a ton of life in them, as proven by the countless users still rocking a pair of the First T1, which is older than Audiophile-Heaven now. 

 

The sound of T1 is made especially for those who want to hear everything, analytics and detail heads, those ready to sacrifice their listening comfort for the most resolute sound they can get. It surely is a rewarding experience once you get used to it, and the good imaging and soundstage help too, but it won’t be for everyone. 

 

It will be for you especially if you’re a music producer, or someone that likes to do some mastering, mixing and recording, where T1 is a really good help. They are employed in some of the world’s best recording studios, especially by the mastering / mixing departments, and this makes T1 holds its name as one of the kings of headphones, next to Sennheiser HD800S, HIFIMAN He6SE, and Audeze LCX-MX4

 

 

At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for a really detailed headphone, with an analytic sound and a really good build quality, Beyerdynamic T1 is a really good option, and if you want to hear everything in your music, I can promise you it won’t disappoint you. Also, at least right now, Beyerdynamic is so keen on their T1 that they are still making and selling all of their T1 generations. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 3rd Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2PQdAtB

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/2QTDjla

 

You can purchase Beyerdynamic T1 1st Generation from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3sO6qV4 

 

 

 



 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

 

 

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