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REVIEW: Beyerdynamic DTX 501 p (vs. Philips Citiscape Downtown)

A Review On: Beyerdynamic DTX 501 p

Beyerdynamic DTX 501 p

Rated # 14 in On-Ear
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Price paid: $99.00
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Pros: Sturdy Case Included, Balanced, Bass, Clear Vocals/Highs, no sound leakage

Cons: Distortion at High Volumes, Slightly fragile feeling, Plain Style, Moderate Sound Isolation

Hello Head-Fiers,

Before I get into my review of the Beyerdyamic DTX 501 p I’ll tell you a bit about myself and where I’m coming from.  I’m a newbie to this site and I’m far from calling myself an expert in these matters but I have listened to a lot of headphones and speakers recently and I know what I like.  I’ve  a been a music-lover all my life and in recent years, a budget computer audiophile.

Why The DTX 501 P?

I’ve mostly owned IEM for my everyday commute around the cyit (shure, denon, klipsch).  Over years IEM’s got beat up and full ear wax over time and I was tired of replacing them.  I thought I’d give headphones a try but I did not want to sport bulky and gaudy DJ or studio sized headphones.  I initially looked at sennheiser, klipsch brands but narrowed it down to 3 other ones.  Audio Technica ESW9, AKG K451 and the Beyerdynamic DTX 501 P.  The reviews were overwhelmingly good for the ESW9’s but I was a little crunched for cash so I had to eliminate these even though these were VERY comfortable they fit over my ears and they were stylish.  The AKG K451 got great reviews, albeit limited, but I heard speculation that it was just the same as the Quincy Q460 repackaged, they were around $150 and there were some reviews saying that they would be tight on those with cartoon sized heads (me).  The Beyerdynamic DTX 501 P I found randomly off their website after seeing the name mentioned here and there on this site and seeing a very positive review from dalethorn2 on youtube and his sole review on amazon. He has a lot of headphone reviews on youtube so I thought I’d take a chance.

Now to the review:


When I first opened it I thought I got the wrong one at first since the headband seemed smaller than I expected.  The headband feels thin and I don’t think I’ll be just throwing this in my gym bag unless it’s in it’s case that was included.  Very nice semi hard case.  Will prevent dings but probably won’t prevent it breaking  if someone stepped directly on it.  This I will not test.

After initial slightly negative impression on it’s build, I think I came around. For folding up so compact the headband is fairly sturdy when it’s sitting on your head.  The ear cushions are very soft and the cable is thicker than most headphones.


Very comfortable.  Even though it is so lightweight it stays on my head even when I was wearing it outside when a gust of wind blew on my face.  I have to note that I have a freakishly large head so that might’ve helped keep it on!  I wear these headphones at the largest notch and it’s a perfect fit.  Although after long listening, my ears began to feel a bit uncomfortable.  Although if you have a near normal sized head it may not affect you.

Sound Isolation


Made my buddy see if he could hear anything sitting next to me and he said no so noise leakage is very good.  Noise from the outside coming in, however, is moderate to small.  I can hear people talking when there is nothing playing, but it is muffled.  When I'm playing music at a normal levels I don't even notice the outside noise unless it is very loud like a train going by.  Overall, it is not a factor to me.



Not much to say here since I don’t put too much weight on style as long as it’s not flashy.  These headphones look very plain compared to all the other headphones out there these days.  In fact, a buddy made a funny comment to me today; “nice cheapo headphones!”.  He didn’t recognize the brand and since they aren’t flashy, assumed I picked them up in the bargain bin at k-mart.  This actually is a plus for me since I have a small fear that I will get mugged if I were sportin’ Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones.  Who’s going to want to mug me for a bargain bin pair of cans?


I don’t have a whole lot of experience with headphones other than DJ headphones.  My wife owns a pair of Philips Citiscape Downtown so I’ll use these as reference and the review from innerfidelity.com’s Tyll Hertsens review as my base  (http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/philips-citiscape-downtown-page-2).  They are both priced at $100 dollars.

Media Monkey Software
Asus Laptop
Belkin USB Cable
Music Fidelity V-DAC II
Cheap RCA to 3.5mm jack
3.5mm female-female coupler

Song Choices:
James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream (FLAC 16/44)
The Avett Brothers - January Wedding (FLAC 16/44)
Adele - Crazy For You (FLAC 16/44)
Alan Jackson - Livin’ on Love (FLAC 16/44)
Crystal Method - Bad Stone  (FLAC 16/44)
Eric Prydz - Everyday (mp3 320kbs)
Esperanza Spaulding - Knowledge of Good and Evil  (FLAC 16/44)
Kanye West - All Of The Lights  (FLAC 16/44)
Minus the Bear - Secret Country  (FLAC 16/44)
Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa (FLAC 16/44)
Radiohead - Paranoid Android  (FLAC 16/44)
David Brubeck - Take Five  (FLAC 16/44)

These 2 are fairly similar in the highs .Vocals are very clear and crisp although i’d give the dtx 501 p’s a slight edge.  I can understand the  “polite” highs that Tyll was referring to in his review.  Tyll’s right about the mids on the citiscape.  Something is lacking there compared with the dtx.  The mids on the citiscape are muffled compared to the DTX.  The low end was the most clear difference between the 2.  Tyll gives the citiscape the best remarks for it’s lows, describing it as “very good impact and extension without bloom, murk or mud.”.  Perhaps I haven’t heard enough headphones at this price range but the dtx 501 p destroys the citiscape in this department.  Given how small the cans are (smaller than the citiscape) you can feel the bass punch!  One reservation I had before purchasing this was it’s bass since I read the specs on it to be 20-20,000 khz as compared to the citiscape at 18-22,000khz.  Now I know that these specs don’t mean much.  Although the bass on the dtx were punchy clean and tight, it got distorted once the volume got cranked up on faster beat heavy tracks (Kanye West - All Of The Lights, Eric Prydz - Everyday) The citiscape suffered from the same affliction. Although if you were listening to it that loud you probably will damage your hearing after extended listens.  When I was listening to the dtx 501 p’s on my cowon J3 player, I just adjusted the equalizer settings and the bass sounded fine.  A couple things that the citiscape beats the dtx 501 p’s on is comfort and style.  They both feel great but the citiscapes feel like pillows on your ears.  The style is very sleek and eye catching, if you’re into that sorta thing.  


I’m very impressed with these little headphones!  If Innerfidelity.com inducts the citiscapes to their “Wall of Fame” for on-ear headphones, than these DTX 501 P must be the best damn on ear headphones ever made for its price range!  Don’t get me wrong, the Citiscape are pretty good headphones, but I will never use them now that I own the DTX 501 p’s. If you're bass lover and only listen to hip-hop or electronic dance music you may want to look for DJ headphones or over ear headphones. Otherwise these headphones will work great if you listen at normal volumes or tweak your eq settings.



Sturdy Case Included

Excellent Tight-Punchy Bass





No sound leakage


Distorted bass at high volumes
Slightly fragile feeling at first impression
Plain styling

Moderate Outside Noise Isolation


Great review!
I love my DTX501p too and using those phones during commute almost every day!
what about soundstage on them?
Nice Review! Thanks
sounds really good off my samsung fone...balanced..clear. 
dun mind having this in my backpack.
I found the soundstage wider than I expected.  Or my expectation was too low, I don't know.
Imaging and layering are decent enough to prevent things from sounding too diffuse or congested even with more complex music.
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