Pros: Full sound, Build quality
Cons: Lack of treble extension and presence, no cable cinch
Beyerdynamic DX 120iE Review:
I would firsly like to thank Thomas from Polar Audio (Beyerdynamic distributor in the UK) for lending me this sample for review. I will write as honest a review possible. The DX 120iE has not yet been released in the UK, but will be shortly.
These received over 50hrs of burn-in, no differences were noted.
Fiio X3 > Silver mini-mini > JDS Labs C5D > DX 120iE (bi-flange tips)
Driver: Dynamic 10mm
Frequency response: 12Hz - 23kHz
Nominal Impedance: 47Ω
Cable Length: 1.2m
Connector: 3.5mm jack plug
MSRP: £60gbp (aprox)
Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
Packaging is white and grey, similar to most Beyerdynamic packaging, very sleek and clean packaging. The front has a magnetic flat that opens to allow you to see the IEM's inside. Specifications and accessories are listed on the back, information is listed on the inside of the front magnetic flap. Inside you will find the IEM's securely placed in a foam insert, a soft carry pouch and other accessories are found below in a white card insert. Very easy to open and get to everything inside, and a very simple but attractive package.
(photo pictures the DX 160iE but the cable bundle is the same)
Build quality is great, as are most Beyer models, the housing is metal and feels very sturdy, the cable is a flat cable with a detachable section at the y-split. The strain relief on the housing is nice and flexible, the strain relief on the right angled jack however is very stiff, but that section of the cable is replaceable. The cable unfortunately doesn't have a cinch, so you cannot tighten the slack from the y-split to the ears, which is unfortunate as these suffer from mild cable noise, and that would have solved the problem. Overall the build quality is good though, and apart from maybe the bottom section of the cable failing because of the lack of strain relief, I see no problems with it.
Accessories are good, you get plenty of tips and a soft carry pouch. You get (XS, S, M, L) in standard single flange, L shallow single flange tips, M bi-flange tips and M triple flange tips, plenty of tips to ensure all will get a good fit. Also included is a cable clip and adapter so you can share your music with someone else, and a cable clip. All the necessary, and they haven't forgotten anything.
Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Cable noise:
Comfort is good, with the bi-flange tips I can get quite deep insertion, and the housing is a good shape to fit in your ear, not protruding much. I really like the understated design of these IEM's, the cable is comfy and the y-split where it detaches is not bulky.
Isolation is good, especially for a vented IEM, they block out plenty of noise for general usage, and would be fine for public transport.
Driver flex is sometimes present, but not a big problem with these.
Cable noise is present unfortunately, and the cable doesn't like to stay behind the ear so it is difficult to wear them with the cable over the ear, and there is no cable cinch so it is a hard problem to solve. The cable clip helps somewhat but not as good as a cinch or if they were suitable to be worn over the ear.
Split in to the usual categories with a conclusion at the end.
Lows: Punchy, tight and with good extension, the lows are full bodied but not dominant, they don't ever become the most prominent part of the music. They work well for all genres, they don't quite have the quantity for bass heads, but there is plenty for most casual listeners. They are fun but not bloated or too much, they just add a little extra kick and body without sacrificing the mids and highs. The lows are also well separated and articulate, they also don't warm the mids up too much.
Mids: The mids are well placed, even a tad forward, they are very well separated from the full bodied lows, not suffering from veiling or mufling of even male vocals. The mids are crisp and detailed, male and female vocals fair very well, guitars have authority and power in Rock and subtlety and body in acoustic. The mids are great for a budget IEM, and merge very well with the rest of the sound.
The highs are a little too recessed for my tastes, they do have some sparkle and detail, but the lack a little presence. They could be placed a little more forward in the mix, but they never fatigue. I could listen to these for hours with no problems, they have an engaging sound but not bright in the slightest.
Soundstage is fairly average, imaging is fairly precise. Instrument separation is fine, these have quite a full sound so there isn't a lot of air between the instruments.
Overall for the price these are great, I always get worried when big brands come out with budget IEM's but Beyerdynamic consistently deliver good sound for a good price. I remember when the XP series came out, I wasn't expecting much but they were excellent. These have a full bodied sound, slightly towards the dark side of sound, with enough detail to please and a very fun and enjoyable sound which makes them perfect for on the go listening. The only problems I have are no chin slider, and the highs are a little too recessed for my liking.
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)