Pros: Bass extension and impact
Cons: Recessed mids
I received the Beyerdynamic DX 160 and immediately began listening to get a good feel for this brand new IEM. Putting through a variety of genres and some sweeps these are the opinions I formed.
Build Quality: The DX 160 is a well made IEM, the aluminum housings and nozzles mean there is very little risk of these getting crushed or the nozzles breaking off, problems endemic to other IEMs, the flat cable terminates into a 3.5mm that is also the Y connector, which then plugs into another extension. Kind of weird but overall not a problem, somewhat convenient if you have a small DAP that can clip to a collar or sleeve. I really wish the LR indications were slightly more obvious, they are difficult to find at first. Overall build quality: A+
Accessories: The amount of tips provided was fairly sufficient, and expected at this price point, I preferred the triple flange and the comply, favoring the comply tips the most. The Y split to share music is a peculiar addition and it didn't particularly work that well, at least when I tried it with another pair of IEMs concurrently, I wouldn't recommend this unless it was the only option for sharing music, but as with most things few complain about additional options. Overall accessories: B+ (Would have liked an airline adapter)
Sound: Here we come to the meat of the review, the sound. I will preface this by giving a little background on my music tastes, I'm a hobby oboist and annual symphony goer, I also enjoy attending the many doctoral and faculty recitals that are readily available in my area, normally piano, violin and cello, with the occasional oboe. I have a preference towards neutral, natural sound. That said I do listen to lots of alternative rock and indie, and I will not be shy in saying the DX 160 is much more at home with the latter music selections than the former. This is a bass tilted headphone, at least to my ears, listening, On Melencholy Hill off the Gorillaz singles collection the bass is very prominent, with lots of slam and impact, I can see where Beyer focused their efforts on this IEM, and it isn't without results. I would say of the IEMs I have heard, which all hover around this price point, the DX 160s have the only bass I would say would satisfy a basshead or someone who predominantly listens to EDM or DnB. Feel Good Inc off the same album through the DX 160s delivers a visceral bass guitar, not something commonly achieved in IEMs. Moving on from the bass to the midrange, it seems slightly recessed, vocals seem veiled, they don't have the same presence they would through more neutral phones. On St. Veronica by Billy Talent, the bass guitar overshadows the vocals, I feel like I have to have the volume louder than I would like. Incidentally, running a sine wave sweep, the mids do not seem that far under the bass, maybe 3dbs, and their seems to be a slight 5db bump ~8khz or thereabouts, and then it starts to roll off a little bit after 12khz, a slight V shape. Treble is fairly sparkly, not fatiguing, and well detailed, I actually really like the treble on these, I just wish they had a little more extension, and they perhaps catch less of my attention when their is also heavy bass present in a track. Classical music listening was limited, and to their credit the Beyer's delivered as well as one can expect from a reasonably priced IEM, certainly you could do worse, however they would not be my go to in this respect. Overall sound: B- (A for bass lovers)
Final verdict: B+, the Beyerdynamic DX 160 IEM is a well built IEM with a fun sound that would please a variety of people's tastes, the clamshell case is probably the best case I have encountered at this pricepoint. They don't do anything glaringly wrong, however this is a very competitive space at the $1-120 range, and while it does punch at it's weight class, it isn't doing anything particularly impressive either, this is a very safe, classic IEM that is not out to achieve notoriety through gimmicks or anything provocative sound wise, it's an overall solid product and I would recommend it for those that want excellent bass in an IEM.
Test tracks used were all flac, played through a Sansa clip zip rockboxed, an ef2a amplifier, and a galaxy nexus phone. Once again thanks to Beyer for choosing me to review their product.