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[REVIEW] Beyerdynamic T1 2. Generation

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I was going to do a full review on these headphones, including a head-to-head comparison with the DT 880 but I'm not sure there's any point.

 

Immediately after putting music through this headphone, I could hear something was off. The midrange on this headphone can only be described as "boxy", meaning an overemphasis in the 250-500Hz band.

 

My first thought was that I just needed to get used to the sound of a new headphone, having been using the DT 880 almost exclusively for over a year. Unfortunately, my impression of the headphone didn't improve with time; in fact it got worse. While the boxy midrange was apparent with just about any kind of musical program, it was shockingly apparent when listening to solo piano or cello, both of which have a lot of tonal character in the lower mid-range. These instruments sound nasally and closed-in from the T1.

 

What I am hearing is so strikingly awful, it's as if the T1 was made from two headphones, shoved together into a single perplexing mess. The upper mid-range is exceptionally sweet and clear, with an airy treble and expansive, layered soundstage. The bass digs deep and hits hard without losing control. Then in the middle you've got this shitty low mid-range showing it's lumbering ass, completely ruining the otherwise exceptional sonic presentation.

 

Now, you're probably thinking that I didn't have a good enough amplifier or needed to burn in the headphones with brown noise for like 200 hours (the ding dongs on head-fi certainly thought so). Well, as an experiment, I swapped the stock T1 pads with my DT 880 pads. The sickening, bloated midrange was completely gone. Of course, so was a lot of the bass, and the treble was now rather painful. But the point is that what I heard from these headphones out of the box is just how they were designed. In an attempt to rectify the lean bass of the original T1, beyerdynamic went and totally dicked up the mid-range. Apparently the people who knew what they were doing when they designed the DT 880 left and were replaced by a bunch of hacks who've never heard real music.

 

I guess the conclusion is that I should take my own advice and not buy expensive headphones without hearing them first. Also, I have to seriously wonder about beyerdynamic; this was their second official attempt to get the T1 right after a whole slew of issues, and this was the result? And why has no one else noticed this? I have to wonder if this isn't a case of "the emperor has no clothes". No one wants to admit that a $1k+ flagship headphone sounds like a piece of crap that was designed in an afternoon before being rushed out the door so idiots could throw money at it.

 

Maybe I'm being unfair here. Maybe I just got a lemon and should go through the process of exchanging it through Amazon in the hopes that this was just a weird manufacturing fluke with the pads or the driver or something. I'll explain why I'm not going to do that, and instead will be returning them and writing this nasty, negative review.

 

First, this is a flagship headphone positioned at $1100. At that price point, no headphone with such an obvious and glaring flaw should get out of the factory. All it would take is for some chump to put these on their head for like a minute to detect the problem. Second, I was assured by the beyerdynamic T1 product manager on head-fi that every T1 actually does go through a "100% quality control incl. extensive quality assurance of electrical and acoustic properties." So again, a very obvious flaw like this should have been caught in testing. Third, beyerdynamic has not had a great track record for designing amazing headphones in the past 10 years. The current DT line of headphones came out way back in 2005. Since then, beyerdynamic has treated us to a series of turds, in the form of the T70 and T90 (both ear-destroying treble-cannons), T5p (described by Tyll Hertsens of innerfideltiy.com as "an abomination of harshness") and the original T1, which suffered from insane levels of quality control problems - mismatched drivers, wildly varying frequency response from unit to unit, and multiple silent revisions. At this point I feel like I already gave beyerdynamic enough of a chance, just by buying their overpriced "flagship". I've wasted even more time writing this stupid review.

 

So if anyone's still wondering, I don't recommend these headphones, despite their obvious technical prowess and superiority to the DT 880 in numerous other areas. I guess if anyone wants to try them and contradict what I've laid out here, and do it in a constructive manner, they can go ahead. Otherwise, avoid the T1 "2. Generation". Thanks for reading.

 

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Hey thanks for your honest opinions sorry you didnt like them and your actually not alone, I have seen many people complaining in the Head-Fi forums.  Mean while im sitting here with the 1770 and cant really do my own review because Im not qualified but all I can say is that for the money I spent I am extremely happy. Also some people have said they preferred the 1770 to the T1 and I think price plays a big factor tho.   


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Posted · Original PosterOP

May I ask why you didn't get the audeze lcd *something* at this price point?

 

Multiple reasons.

 

One, I'm very partial to the beyerdynamic industrial design and form-factor that they use on most of their headphones. I really like the simple, classic round earcups, metal bails, and padded headband. It's just elegant, and has in my experience been durable and reliable.

 

Two, comfort. By all accounts, LCD headphones are heavy and clamp pretty hard. I didn't mention it in the review, but the T1 is one fucking comfortable headphone; like masturbation for your head.

 

Three, sound. I wanted a open-sounding phone with good soundstage, without sacrificing bass. The T1 definitely delivered, and would have been amazing if not for the issue I described.

 

Hey thanks for your honest opinions sorry you didnt like them and your actually not alone, I have seen many people complaining in the Head-Fi forums. Mean while im sitting here with the 1770 and cant really do my own review because Im not qualified but all I can say is that for the money I spent I am extremely happy. Also some people have said they preferred the 1770 to the T1 and I think price plays a big factor tho.

That's good to hear you're happy with the DT1770. I've heard many good things about them, so I'm not surprised.

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Hey SSL what are your plans now, you going to try picking something ells up? 


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hey SSL what are your plans now, you going to try picking something ells up? 

 

I'm still deciding. The DT1770 is tempting, despite my exerience with the T1. I'm also thinking about a HE-560 or LCD-2, but I don't know if those would run from my Fiio E10. You can get away with running a high impedance headphone from a little amp because it doesn't draw much current, but low impedance planars could cause it to clip.

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HE-560 would be a great choice Ive had my eyes on them my self but I do agree pushing them might be a problem.  One thing I will say is that the DT 1770 do clamp quite tight and does get annoying but they are great at noise isolation and don't bleed any sound. They are comfortable for a few hours but any longer and I need to adjust them a bit. I will say they are a joy for use during the week after work but for weekends that I stay in the Fedilos x2 are hands down my go to for comfort.  


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Posted · Original PosterOP

 

Pretty much.

 

HE-560 would be a great choice Ive had my eyes on them my self but I do agree pushing them might be a problem. One thing I will say is that the DT 1770 do clamp quite tight and does get annoying but they are great at noise isolation and don't bleed any sound. They are comfortable for a few hours but any longer and I need to adjust them a bit. I will say they are a joy for use during the week after work but for weekends that I stay in the Fedilos x2 are hands down my go to for comfort.

 

Also considering the X2. Not in the same price range as what I'm looking for, but if it's enjoyable who cares.

 

The clamp force is one of the things giving me reservations about the DT 1770. Basically my goal with the T1 purchase was a no-compromise headphone that sounded at least as good as the DT 880 but more refined and more comfortable. With the 1770 or even X2, I'd be either compromising (comfort) or in the latter side-stepping (in terms of overall quality).

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Pretty much.

 

 

Also considering the X2. Not in the same price range as what I'm looking for, but if it's enjoyable who cares.

 

The clamp force is one of the things giving me reservations about the DT 1770. Basically my goal with the T1 purchase was a no-compromise headphone that sounded at least as good as the DT 880 but more refined and more comfortable. With the 1770 or even X2, I'd be either compromising (comfort) or in the latter side-stepping (in terms of overall quality).

Have you considered any electrostats? For a grand, at the very least, you could get something like the Koss... And I'm pretty sure that some of the Stax Lambda headphones are quite good, and in your price range.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Have you considered any electrostats? For a grand, at the very least, you could get something like the Koss... And I'm pretty sure that some of the Stax Lambda headphones are quite good, and in your price range.

 

Nope. Honestly I'm not too keen on buying something in this price range without trying it first. The T1 was kind of special because I figured it would have the beyer house sound, which it pretty much did. Problem is, it had a whole other sound going on as well.

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Nope. Honestly I'm not too keen on buying something in this price range without trying it first. The T1 was kind of special because I figured it would have the beyer house sound, which it pretty much did. Problem is, it had a whole other sound going on as well.

Fair enough. In my experience though, amazon is pretty good about returns, at least if you had it shipped through prime/you got it directly from amazon, and not one of their resellers.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Fair enough. In my experience though, amazon is pretty good about returns, at least if you had it shipped through prime/you got it directly from amazon, and not one of their resellers.

 

Yeah, it was fullfilled by Amazon, fortunately. This was all just so weird, though. I mean, it sounds so bad that I would think it's defective if I hadn't had my DT 880 pads to try. I'm just baffled.

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Since then, beyerdynamic has treated us to a series of turds, in the form of the T70 and T90 (both ear-destroying treble-cannons)

 

I like my treble cannon :P Then again, after pairing with the WA7 it didn't seem as harsh as running through an O2+ODAC, my excuse... tubes, they are magical and glorious :P

 

It really sucks you are that disappointed with the T1 though, especially for that price. I have not personally owned my own $1k+ set yet, but that seems to be a huge kick in the groin to buy something like that and dislike it with a heated passion.


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Mean while over at Massdrop https://www.massdrop.com/buy/final-audio-design-sonorous-vi-headphone any info is pretty much scattered and hard to find but they do seem interesting.  

 

Nope. Honestly I'm not too keen on buying something in this price range without trying it first. The T1 was kind of special because I figured it would have the beyer house sound, which it pretty much did. Problem is, it had a whole other sound going on as well.

Are there any places near your area to demo high end cans?  In my case there is not D:


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Mean while over at Massdrop https://www.massdrop.com/buy/final-audio-design-sonorous-vi-headphone any info is pretty much scattered and hard to find but they do seem interesting.  

 

Are there any places near your area to demo high end cans?  In my case there is not D:

 

There actually is a hi-fi shop in Bellingham, Reference Media; but as far as I can tell they only sell Grado.

 

I like my treble cannon :P Then again, after pairing with the WA7 it didn't seem as harsh as running through an O2+ODAC, my excuse... tubes, they are magical and glorious :P

 

It really sucks you are that disappointed with the T1 though, especially for that price. I have not personally owned my own $1k+ set yet, but that seems to be a huge kick in the groin to buy something like that and dislike it with a heated passion.

 

Sure. I'm not saying that no one can or should like the Tesla lineup, but I'd say you're in a minority of people who can tolerate that kind of treble. And I would say that for the money, they just aren't a compelling proposition. But if you're happy with them, it's worth it.

 

Kick in the groin is a good way to put it. I was really excited about this headphone, and to find that they are so flawed was a huge disappointment. The real kicker is that they sound amazing in every other way possible - it's just that this mid-range issue is too distracting to live with. Yeah, I know that I could EQ them, but EQ is not necessarilly available on every device I might listen with. I shouldn't need to do that to a $1000 headphone anyway.

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I had the T1s for about two weeks before I also came to similar conclusions.  They're kind of painful to listen to.  HE-560s are awesome headphones.  I had some for a few weeks as well.  They don't have the treble problem that the T1s suffer from.

 

To me there are three key differences between the LCD-2 and the HE-560.

  1. Comfort.  The LCD series is massive, heavy, and needs some massaging of the headband in order for it to not feel like it's crushing your skull.  After you get it set up for yourself though, it's not terrible and your body gets used to having a loose pound of mass on your head after a while.  I've had mine for almost three years and can wear them for hours.  The LCD-4 recently launched with a new headband, which looks a hell of a lot more comfortable.  I'm hoping they spread that down to the rest of the line. Hifiman on the other hand has managed to come up with very light weight headphones and a fantastic headband.  You can barely feel you're wearing the He-560s.
  2. Soundstage.  LCD-2s have a surprisingly narrow soundstage for being open headphones.  They're still better than closed headphones.  For example, I think they have a wider soundstage than the DT770s, but not nearly as wide as you'd expect from open headphones.  The HE-560 on the other hand is very wide and not tiring at all to listen to because of this.
  3. Bass.  LCD-2 kills it when it comes to bass.  It's kind of absurd how deep and detailed the bass these things can create is.  HE-560s have good bass, but LCDs are bass kings.  They both also handle being EQ'd for more bass if you're into that very well because they can deliver it in great quality without ever getting boomy or losing definition.  

As for driving them.  I've tried the LCD-2s with my FiiO E12.  I need to turn the gain setting on to get good volume out of them and the bass boost otherwise they sound kind of dull with that amp.  It's a decent setup.  My main setup for comparison is the Ifi Retro Stereo 50 though, which can pretty much drive anything.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

I had the T1s for about two weeks before I also came to similar conclusions.  They're kind of painful to listen to.  HE-560s are awesome headphones.  I had some for a few weeks as well.  They don't have the treble problem that the T1s suffer from.

 

To me there are three key differences between the LCD-2 and the HE-560.

  1. Comfort.  The LCD series is massive, heavy, and needs some massaging of the headband in order for it to not feel like it's crushing your skull.  After you get it set up for yourself though, it's not terrible and your body gets used to having a loose pound of mass on your head after a while.  I've had mine for almost three years and can wear them for hours.  The LCD-4 recently launched with a new headband, which looks a hell of a lot more comfortable.  I'm hoping they spread that down to the rest of the line. Hifiman on the other hand has managed to come up with very light weight headphones and a fantastic headband.  You can barely feel you're wearing the He-560s.
  2. Soundstage.  LCD-2s have a surprisingly narrow soundstage for being open headphones.  They're still better than closed headphones.  For example, I think they have a wider soundstage than the DT770s, but not nearly as wide as you'd expect from open headphones.  The HE-560 on the other hand is very wide and not tiring at all to listen to because of this.
  3. Bass.  LCD-2 kills it when it comes to bass.  It's kind of absurd how deep and detailed the bass these things can create is.  HE-560s have good bass, but LCDs are bass kings.  They both also handle being EQ'd for more bass if you're into that very well because they can deliver it in great quality without ever getting boomy or losing definition.  

As for driving them.  I've tried the LCD-2s with my FiiO E12.  I need to turn the gain setting on to get good volume out of them and the bass boost otherwise they sound kind of dull with that amp.  It's a decent setup.  My main setup for comparison is the Ifi Retro Stereo 50 though, which can pretty much drive anything.

 

Did you have the Gen 2 T1? Because I found the treble to be not that bad, actually, and other than a peak at 11kHz not really bothersome.

 

Talk to me more about the 560. Obviously the LCD-2 had more bass, but what kind of difference are we talking? 3dB? 6? Are there any other heapdhones you can compare the bass to?

 

Well that is disappointing. I hoped that they would have worked out the issues in this gen.

 

To be fair, I think they managed to address some issues, like improving the treble. Ironically, they seem to have introduced a whole other issue in the process.

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To be fair, I think they managed to address some issues, like improving the treble. Ironically, they seem to have introduced a whole other issue in the process.

 

You'll have to let me know what you land on. I was kind of hoping this gen would be better.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

You'll have to let me know what you land on. I was kind of hoping this gen would be better.

 

I should also mention, a lot of people on head-fi seem happy with theirs. And things like the soundstage, imaging, bass and bass extension, are all really good. If you don't listen to a lot of piano, you *might* be happy with them.

 

Also, vocals and upper mids, really good as well. Best feature of the headphone.

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I should also mention, a lot of people on head-fi seem happy with theirs. And things like the soundstage, imaging, bass and bass extension, are all really good. If you don't listen to a lot of piano, you *might* be happy with them.

 

That "*might*" part is what makes me worried. I would be buying the lowered tiered open headphones if I were to get this gen, so what ever ones are around the $600 mark assuming they make those this round.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

That "*might*" part is what makes me worried. I would be buying the lowered tiered open headphones if I were to get this gen, so what ever ones are around the $600 mark assuming they make those this round.

 

Well, the DT 1770 seems to be getting good reviews and is about $600. Hell, I'm considering them even after this fiasco.

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Well, the DT 1770 seems to be getting good reviews and is about $600. Hell, I'm considering them even after this fiasco.

 

The DT770's are pretty good with an amp, so I hoped they didn't mess those up.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

The DT770's are pretty good with an amp, so I hoped they didn't mess those up.

 

I'm guessing they have a somewhat similar sound signature, at least below 1kHz, so I doubt they would have the same forward low-mid problem. Hopefully innerfidelity will measure them, which ought to take a lot of the guesswork out.

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