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Beyerdynamic Tesla DT 1350

Posted

Pros: Accuracy, neutrality, bass, highs, build quality, lack of distortion

Cons: Clamping force, uncompromising with inferior sources

Oh my. If this is how beyerdynamics builds their stuff, then I WANT MORE.

 

These are the perfect complimentary 'phone to my Sennheiser Momentums. Both are built like tanks, but the sound qualities are so different. Where the Momentum is warm and forgiving, the DT1350 is cold and analytical. Where the Momentums are mid-centric, these are flat. Where the Momentums have character (good character), these are robots.

 

This is the best analogy: the Momentum is Kirk, and the DT1350 is Spock.

 

I am a scientist, and love quantitative data to back up claims, but the frequency response curves for this headphone does not tell the whole story. I can tell you, as a former recording musician and possessor of a very sensitive ear, that these are as accurate as 'phones get in the under-$1,000 category. The sub-bass is strong and punchy, but not overdone. Bass is strong and present, but, again, not overdone. Mids are not recessed, but not overdone; very smooth. Treble: what a revelation! You can have treble, and plenty of it, but it doesn't have to be sibilant and piercing! Amazing! I was startled several times when I heard Paul McCartney breathing whilst singing on "She's Leaving Home". I really thought my wife was trying to talk to me - because I can't hear a darn thing with these on.

 

I didn't like the AKG K550 because it was too piercing, but I loved the accuracy. This is like the K550, minus the extreme pickiness of placement (although take your time with these) and fizzy highs. If you need a headphone that makes everything sound good, get the Momentum - it's seriously amazing. If you need a headphone that makes everything sound exactly as it was meant to sound, get this - it's seriously amazing!

Posted

Pros: Very accurate sound, the best isolation ever from on-ear 'phones, great design with a double head band for a perfect head fit, built like a tank.

Cons: They might press too much on your ears, but one gets accustomed to this. They might also get a little warm, but not too much.

UPDATE: I own the DT1350 a little over 4 months now and I want to adjust my review. The adjustments can be read in the last section of this review.

 

Introduction

If you want to read this review in (under) one minute, just read the orange marked parts and you'll get the idea about these headphones!

 

This is my first review. I would like to be able to write one of those kick-ass detailed reviews that describe every single hiss and pop and twinkle and rumble the reviewer can get out of the headphone, but I'm not that experienced. So I'll do my best to convince you of the awesomeness of these cans based on my experiences with it. By the way, the $254 is a conversion from about €204.

 

Tell me why you got these cans!

Well, actually I did not buy them, but I got these cans from my parents. I would have bought the DT1350 though. The runner up in the selection was the Sennheiser HD25-1 II. The odds for buying the Beyers:Senns were about 10:1. The reason for this is the build quality of these cans. I have several reasons for wanting a headphone like a 'tank', but here's the main reason:

 

All the headphones I have owned broke in some way, partly from heavy usage and not too much care. I don't have the money to buy me a new set of cans every now and then, so I want the headphones to last as long as possible. Now I had never held the DT1350s or the HD25-1 IIs, so I could not judge on what I wanted, but I could judge based on past experiences. I happen to have owned 5 Sennheisers (PX200, PMX200, HD238, CX300-II and PX200-II in that order, to be accurate) and 1 Philips (some old and crappy model) and they all died on me in some way. This is the reason I got not too confident about the Sennheiser build quality. Now, I know I'm comparing a different class of headphones with the HD25-1 II, so my judgement is not fair. I even read reviews stating that the build quality of these Senns are awesome, but I simply wanted different. So I went for the Beyerdynamic Tesla Dynamic Telephone 1350.

 

Well, since you say these cans are so sturdily built, I want to hear more!

You'll definitely hear more with the DT1350s, but more on that later on. Let's talk build quality.

 

It all starts with the jack plug (3.5mm / 1/8 inch). You will never see a jack plug like this one again in your life. It's so large that you are actually tempted to try and break it. You won't succeed. Okay, I'm overstating this. It's gold plated metal and metal can be bent if you'd want to. The manual part of the plug is thick and large, but still made from plastic, so obviously not unbreakable. The point is: this is not the plug you'll rip the cable out of accidentally, nor will it show signs of wear after a long time. A 1/4 inch screw-on gold-plated jack plug as well as a quite sturdy looking airplane connector come with the headphone.

 

The cable is next. It's not too thick nor too thin. I really hated the uber-thin cable the PX200-II cans have. I needed something else and the DT1350s gave me that.

 

Next up: insertion. The cable enters single sided into the actual ear pad and these pads, wow, to put it in an honest way, are quite bulky! I can image one would not like the depth of them, but I love the size. They radiate potential. The ear pads show real sturdiness and at the same time great comfort and isolation. The foam is dense, hence the ultimate isolation.

 

The ear pads hang from the aluminium head band and this one is not only very well built, but the design is absolutely gorgeous. The double head band provides a great wearing stability. These cans won't slip of your head accidentally if you bump them to something somehow. The two bands are beautifully thin and therefore won't leave a headband mark in your hair, like some bigger headphones will do. Wearing these cans with the head bands a bit split looks great. The little cushions on each of the bands are small but serve their purpose well.

 

Another part of the head band is the cable from the left to the right ear pad. It leaves the left ear pad on the opposite side of the jack cable insertion and enters the right ear pad in the same way. This cable it a little thinner and is exposed around the head band joints. It's the only downside in the build quality, but I think it's hard to hurt one of these two cable parts. They benefit the design, though!

 

The Beyerdynamic DT1350 comes with a carrying case. What can I say about it? The case is black, it's the smallest possible size for these cans, it comes with two handy closable pouches and it's a little too hard to fit the headphone in the bag. I simply can't find the right head band length to make them fit perfectly in the bag!

 

The overall build quality is excellent. The headphones are quite heavy for their size, mostly due to the weight of the drivers. The 'tank' criterion is met with.

 

Enough jabbering about the build quality, let's get to what we want to hear (pun intended): sound quality.

Like I said in the introduction, I don't know how to describe sound due to my experience (not too much and with lower quality headphones), so don't expect my description of the sound to be that accurate.

 

Overall sound

The DT1350s have a very natural sounding signature. I would describe them as very neutral, accurate and analytical, which is good for people that want to hear all the details in music.

 

The sound stage is quite impressive, but nothing too overwhelming here (like I said, neutral). The low-mid-high balance is very pleasant.

 

The quality of these headphones really showed when I tried using the equalisers in my digital sources. The headphones will produce a different sound when you alter the input to them, but the sound would not get better (which was not the case with my other headphones). I like the sound the way it is meant to be heard by the artist and the Beyerdynamic DT1350 gives me just that. Separation of instruments is easy with these cans and it gives me a great deal of fun to rediscover music.

 

Also, these cans do their job at low and high volumes. I was pleased to hear this, because I do use my volume controls quite a lot and I hate it when a certain part of the frequency spectrum drops when lowering the volume again, which is not the case with the DT1350.

 

Low

The bass is there and to my standards (I like punchy and rumbling bass) very well produced, but not too punchy or rumbling, but controlled all the way down to the lowest frequencies. The way these Beyers produce the bass really complements the mids and the mids complement the bass as well in the mid-bass part of the spectrum.

 

Mid

The mids are stunningly beatiful. Again, not too harsh or over produced, but so accurate it's breathtaking sometimes. The song by 'Birdy' (female vocaliste-pianiste) called 'Skinny Love' is reproduced very moving (emotionally). Male vocals sound 'complete', which means that the lows and highs are all there. The mids are the best feature of these cans' sound quality.

 

High

The highs are, like the bass, very well complementary to the mids. The 'image' is complete. The highs are not harsh nor fatiguing, but they are to be heard (of course) and I think that the DT1350 reproduces all but the highest of high frequencies very well, which every headphone in this price range does sooner or later.

 

Isolation

The isolation of these headphones is so good, I say it's the new isolating standard for portable headphones. Even on low volume music is left inside and noise is left outside. I believe that the best headphones, except for the ones for listening at home, block out as much as possible noise. This way, you won't need to crank up the volume that high (which isn't good for your ears either) and you hear what you want.

 

Well, that sounds great (it does wink.gif), how do they fit?

These cans, like most, will need some getting used to in the beginning. I came from light weight headphones and these phones are certainly not light weight. The first time I put them on my thoughts were: I really can't wear these, they hurt too much. Maybe my 'two little flaps' are too sensitive, maybe my head is too big (it is quite long, but not too wide, which is the direction the pressure works).

 

En fin, my ears got used to the pressure and now I enjoy the comfort the DT1350 brings. The pressure also ensures the superb isolation. I read in review people had trouble positioning their DT1350 for optimal isolation and comfort, but I have no trouble at all. When you find out what head band size is for you, they'll pop onto you head and ears without a problem. Just plug it in and enjoy listening!

 

The dual head band ensures you of a comfortable and secure fit.

 

The dense foam on the ear pads tend to isolate more than just sound: heat. The DT1350 is not cool, but they're certainly not unpleasantly hot.

 

I can wear them for prolonged sessions, but it's comfortable to put these off my head once per hour. Maybe I'm still getting used to them.

 

So, are they worth the price?

Definitely! The Beyerdynamic DT1350 is a great headphone for people that want a portable headphone that is almost indestructible, isolates you from noise and, oh, most importantly, sounds breath taking. Its price is a step up from most portable cans but its experience is at least two steps up from the others.

 

Thanks for the review. I'm certain to buy these now!

My pleasure. I enjoyed writing my first review and I hope you'll enjoy these cans as much as I do. Consider your options and needs well and you'll see that this is an all-round winner.

 

4 months later: adjustment of opinion on the Beyerdynamic DT 1350

After some time of intensive usage, I'd like to adjust my review on a few points.

 

First of all is the comfort. I have stated that these cans can press quite hard on your ears, up to the point that it hurts. This is not true anymore. I don't know what's changed, but I could wear these for hours without noticing a thing. The extreme isolation adds to the comfort (psychologically). Maybe the head band pressure has decreased over time, due to use. Maybe my ears and head have adapted themselves completely. I think it's probably both.

 

Secondly, the sound quality. I almost exclusively use my JDS Labs cMoyBB portable headphone amp while listening to these cans. I do this, because of the bass boost switch and the effect on the sound when it's turned on. It's not that I don't like the bass in the DT 1350, but I think that it's tremendous mid-high quality sometimes makes the bass feel a bit shy. This is especially the case in electronic music, where usually the entire sound spectrum (from low to high) is used, all frequencies almost at the same time. There it's noticeable that these 'phones are really detailed and clear, but for my taste a bit lacking in bass (even though the punch is there). With the aforementioned amp, the minimal lack of bass is turned into a bass experience to be proud of, while the clean sounding mids and highs are still shining to their full power.

These two adjustments, along with many, many practical conveniences these Beyers have, make the DT 1350 the perfect headphone for me.

 

I have adjusted the comfort rating from 4 to 4.5 stars, because I think the long term comfort is better than the short term (still no 5 stars, which would be a headphone that does not press on your ears at all).

Posted

Pros: Amazing sound, sounds alright even out of poor sources, great case comes with headphones, great isolation, very handsome and sturdy

Cons: Not many user replacable parts, a little pricey, uncomfortable for long listening sessions, some design/aesthetic flaws, very finicky

I couldn't believe my ears the first time I heard the DT1350. It seriously blew me away. I was expecting it to sound pretty good, given all of the positive reception it has been receiving here and elsewhere, but Jesus. I wasn't expecting it to sound *this good. * In fact, I was so awestruck by it that I even thought it might be better than my full-sizes. (It's not, as I later confirmed--though it played a lot nicer with my jazz collection than my Denon AHD2000, to my ears. Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was simply beautiful on the DT1350.)

 

The Great:

 

-The sound. I've listened to the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II, which many people seem to agree is the best sounding on-ear sealed portable headphone in production. And they are certainly very good headphones, there's no denying that. I think these are significantly better, however. The bass is more finely controlled (but still deep and heady enough to feel positively seismic at times), the sound stage is wider, the instrument separation is clearer, and all the little hidden details from your favorite tracks are easier to pick out. Other people are far better at describing a headphone's sound signature than I am, so I'll leave the rest to them. Suffice to say, I'm very impressed with the way these headphones perform.

 

-The DT 1350 does respond very well to amping, I've found--but even plugged straight into my 4-year old iPod Touch they maintain a lot of their positive sonic character. (Update: that said, they do sound quite a bit better amped--I'm not sure that I'd recommend these headphones unless you have an amp to power them, but they'll still do the trick without one.)

 

-These are very portable. Whether folded flat around your neck or traveling with you in the supplied carrying case, the DT 1350 can pretty much go with you everywhere that you need to go.

 

-Speaking of the case, it's pretty nice. I use it to not only hold the headphones, but also various adapters, interconnects, and even a couple of hex wrenches. You know--stuff you need everyday. ^^

 

-They isolate extremely well. If you're like me and earbuds and IEMs cause you physical pain and discomfort, but wish there was a headphone out there that approached their ability to isolate, you're in luck.

 

The Good:

 

-Very attractive design. Probably not to everyone's taste, but I find them to be a real joy to hold and look at every time I take them out for use, aside from a few issues I raise below.

 

-The split headband is nice--I've never worn a headphone that was easier to keep in place than the DT1350.

 

The Nitpicks:

 

-So far as I can tell, the only things that are easily replaced by users are the ear pads. In this regard, I wish Beyerdynamic had paid more attention to the design of the HD 25-1 II.

 

-Kinda sorta pricey. Do your research first before taking the plunge on these.

 

-They're not the most comfortable cans in the world. Not that anyone in their right mind would expect them to be... But boy, if you get overzealous about listening to them, you're really gonna pay the price for it later when you have to pry these things off your aching skull. The clamping force on these is seriously pretty intense--which no doubt helps with the isolation and whatnot, but ouch. I recommend not wearing them for much longer than 2 hours--4 absolute max, unless you're made of far sterner stuff than I am. (Update: the comfort is considerably better after these break in--or after your head breaks in.)

 

-While I like the overall design and aesthetics of these headphones, I do have a few niggles with them:

      -If you're not careful when swiveling the ear pads flat, you can catch the cord right where it enters the cups between the metal bales (think that's the right term) and the metal band that holds the adjustment sliders. If you did this particularly forcefully and repeatedly over a period of time without realizing it, I imagine that this would not be a good thing.

     -The plastic sheaths on the split headband look and feel rather cheap.

     -The pleather padding on the underside of the headband is not convincing. Not only do the two strips of pleather seem to be off center on my pair, but they also seem to be unevenly and under-stuffed. The overall effect of the headband is a tad bit on the sloppy side. (Update: One of these crummy pads came nearly completely off on my pair after about 4 and a half months of semi-regular use--so not only are the pads themselves of poor quality, but it would seem that the adhesive that holds them onto the band is sub-par, as well. Obviously, it wasn't anything that a little bit of firm glue couldn't fix, but still, I was pretty annoyed.)

 

-Finding the sweet spot for these headphones can be a real challenge. Even if you have no troubles finding it once, you may be hard pressed to find it the next time you put them on. And even once you do have them on and have them sounding great, if you're at all like me, you're gonna be constantly readjusting and poking and proding them trying to see if you can make them sound even better. In my experience, the bass is the easiest to recognize aspect of the DT 1350's sound that is affected by how close you are to the sweetspot. Close but not quite and it sounds pretty flabby. Too far away and it's painfully anemic.

 

The Bad:

 

-This applies to folks with long, wavy/curly hair only. These will pull on your hair. They will pull your hair out. They will get stuck in your hair. If someone is trying to talk to you and you're trying to take the headphones off so that you can listen to them without seeming rude but you're doing it too fast, they will get caught in your hair and make you look like a complete doofus. You will seriously be standing there with these headphones tangled up and hanging in your glorious mane of hair with someone laughing at you and offering to fetch you a pair of scissors. The key? Remove them slowly, extending the headband as you go.

 

-The cable makes a lot of noise when it rubs against other objects. Pretty lame for a portable pair of headphones.

 

In Sum:

 

The DT 1350s are a pretty finicky and occasionally painful little pair of cans that sometimes make you want to hate them. But then they slip into their sweetspot and they're positively magical, and all is right with the world, for at least a little while. There may be other portable sealed headphones out there that will match your needs and price range better than these will--so, as always, do your homework first. And take into serious consideration the problems that people are bringing up with these headphones. I think they're worth it--you may not think the same.

 

(Update: Lowered the overall score a little bit and tweaked the other scores to make room for my frustration with the headband pads--read above.)

 

(Update: It seems to be pretty universally accepted that Beyerdynamic has been having some quality control issues with these headphones--if you get a pair that sounds like it should it's awesome: but it would seem that there are some pairs out there that sound and measure terribly.)

Posted

Pros: Durable, very transportable, good clarity, decent musical versatility

Cons: Uncomfortable, slow impulse response, prone to unnatural-sounding instruments

Originally published on June 2, 2013

 

(click for larger pic)


- download a printable 5-page PDF version of this review (target goes to a location on my Dropbox)

Intro

I'll admit it upfront, I haven't exactly been a fan of Beyerdynamic's headphones so far. The 2005 DT880, 2003 DT770-80, 2003 DT250-80, T50p, T1, and T70 have all been disappointments to me in one way or another. But when I started reading the raving on the DT1350 last year, including by Tyll Hertsens (of InnerFidelity.com), I decided that I had to hear them for myself and ordered up a pair in November 2012. This review is hence based on approximately 5 months of ownership (Nov '12 - Apr '13).

Equipment Setup

- Source components: Plinius CD-101 (CD player) (Signal Cable Silver Reference power cord, directly into wall), desktop PC w/ headphone jack on Yamaha YSTMS50 speakers, iAudio X5
- Analog interconnects: Emotiva X-Series RCA
- Headphone amplifiers: Burson Soloist, Schiit Magni
- Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-AD2000 & ATH-ES7, Fostex TH900, HiFiMan HE-400, V-MODA M-100

Evaluation Material

Music:
- Alison Krauss - Forget About It
- Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane
- Carlos Kleiber & VPO - Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7
- Goldfrapp - Black Cherry
- Helloween - 7 Sinners
- In Flames - The Jester Race
- Jane Monheit - Surrender
- Julia Fischer - Bach Concertos
- Massive Attack - Mezzanine
- Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction [MFSL]
- The Crystal Method - Vegas [2007 Deluxe Edition], Tweekend
- The Prodigy - The Fat of the Land
- Trifonic - Emergence

Movies & Games:
- Black Hawk Down [DVD]
- Far Cry, Half-Life 2 [Windows]

Pros & Cons

+ Hang-able on the neck (because you'd be surprised at how many closed portable headphones can't be worn around the neck!)
+ Split headband allows for a greater degree of comfort than a single-piece headband
+ Extremely transportable with the supplied carrying case
+ Durable
+ Very good overall sound quality and versatile with multiple genres

- Supra-aural clamping pressure created a lack of comfort during extended listening sessions (i.e., caused ear soreness)
- Not really efficient enough to get loud enough out of portable sources at medium settings
- Relative lack of clarity
- Slow impulse response
- Uneven frequency response leading to some unnatural-sounding instruments (like string instruments)

Computer & Portable Applications

For computer audio in general, I found the DT1350 to be an overall strong performer, but crippled by its lack of comfort for long usage sessions. I frequently had to take them off due to discomfort approximately every half-hour or so, primarily due to the supra-aural clamping pressure from the relatively small-diameter earpads. If the earpads were larger in diameter (close to the diameter to that of my Audio-Technica ES7), it probably would have increased comfort substantially.

Overall the DT1350 did well with movies & games - specifically the action-based material that I tested it with. Explosions were decently boomy on it, and it seemed to have accurate-sounding gun reports too - importantly, automatic gunfire having quick-sounding reports (I'm sort of a stickler on automatic gunfire sounding fast). It had a fairly open-sounding soundstage too, which worked well for locating enemies by ear. In fact, it was a significant improvement over my ES7, which has a flat soundstage and doesn't work well for locating enemy positions by ear.

As far as amplification, the DT1350 seemed to sound nearly as good out of my PC (through a headphone jack on my PC speakers) as it did on my reference audio CD system with dedicated headphone amps. Although it did sound best out of the Burson Soloist, it wasn't really a huge difference from out of my PC. It sounded just about the same on my portable DAP (iAudio X5) as well. The only thing that I really noticed with the iAudio X5 was that the DT1350 wasn't very efficient, as I had to turn up the volume past 20 (out of 40) for it to sound loud. In comparison, my JH Audio JH13 IEMs were slightly louder at 17-18 than the DT1350 got at 22-23.

Critical Music Listening

Honestly, the DT1350 wasn't particularly "excellent" or outstanding to me, and I wouldn't use any superlatives to describe its sound. However, that's mostly because I've heard headphones that are way better than it, that are also more expensive (some a lot more). I'd class it as "average" in my overall ranking of headphones, in the company of others like the AKG K2xx/K70x, Senn HD6xx, and the Grado SRxxx/RSx lines. So if those other headphones impress you (or would be upgrades from whatever you currently have), then sure, I'd recommend the DT1350. However, if those don't impress you, or you already have something like the more-expensive Senn HD800 or Audeze LCD-2 (or something else comparable), then the DT1350 likely won't impress either.

However, just because I call the DT1350 "average" doesn't mean it's bad - I only say that to provide a frame of reference against headphones that are both worse/cheaper than it and better/more expensive than it. In fact, I thought it sounded very good, better in many ways than a lot of other closed portable headphones that I've heard over the years. It was decently clear-sounding, with a good frequency balance (recessing primarily the upper treble & lower bass), and provided just enough satisfaction that I could use it for a decent variety of genres. There were actually only 2 genres that I thought weren't very good on it - electronica & classical. Primarily because the DT1350 lacked general bass quantity and extension to really provide a satisfactory impact for electronica, and it effectively reduced large orchestras to sounding small & smashed-in. It added a somewhat unpleasant bronzy/nasal character to violins, brass, & woodwinds too.

For my other genres though, like bluegrass/folk, rock, & metal, I found the DT1350 to be very good-sounding - and could believe that it'd even be potentially "great" to those who it would be an upgrade for. I'd sum it up as a semi-assertive- & clear-sounding headphone (not too different in style from the Shure SRH840/SRH1840) without distracting mid-range colorations (like forward vocals or anything like that), and relatively mid-range- & bass-light. And definitely closed-headphone-sounding too - i.e., it had a compacted soundstage not unusual for closed headphones, but fortunately the soundstage wasn't too small either, as it was deceptively large for such a physically small headphone.

I'd say the DT1350 would be a sonic upgrade from the following headphones specifically (all of which I've owned/heard): Audio-Technica ES7 & M50, Creative Labs Aurvana Live, Sennheiser HD419, Shure SRH840, and Sony MDR-Z700. Moreover, I recommend it for anyone looking to buy a set of closed portable headphones for the first time. Beyerdynamic has finally made a headphone that I can get behind for once! Granted, it doesn't exactly win sonic awards from me in the grand scheme of things though - let's just say that if it cost twice its $300 MSRP, I would've been a lot more critical of it and wouldn't be purposely glossing over the sonic nitpicks that I have with it. The best praise that I can give it is that it sounds like a $300 headphone. I can't think of any better closed portable headphones at its price and I'd call it the best new headphone of its type currently available for combined computer & dedicated music applications! I was actually more impressed with it as a computer headphone though and it'd be my first recommendation for anyone seeking a computer headphone since it combines moderately good sound with a very good level of isolation. It's easily the best "office cubicle"-type headphone that I've ever heard and if that's your intended use, then buy one now!

The best way that I can spin the DT1350 would be to call it something like a closed version of a micro-HD800. Not "mini", which would be stretching it a bit for me, just "micro" along with everything that implies. Not that "micro" is bad - in the case of the DT1350, that's actually a good thing!

Comparison: V-MODA M-100

I found that the DT1350 and M-100 sounded somewhat opposite to each other - the DT1350 being substantially clearer-sounding with less mid-range and bass overall than the thick- & full-sounding M-100. In fact, if the M-100 is considered bassy (as many people claim it is), then the DT1350 was definitely bass-light compared to it. However, while I thought the M-100 had very good bass and mid-range (with especially nice, full-sounding vocals), it was also somewhat suffocating-sounding to me, as if it was literally trapping the music within its confined driver chambers, while the DT1350 had more of a spacious (i.e., "airier") and spread-out sound. Its diffuse presentation was definitely a plus for certain music genres, as it allowed music to sound spatially bigger than the M-100 did. Nothing sounded too up-close with the DT1350 either, as opposed to the M-100 which was very up-close & intimate-sounding.

However, in the grand scheme of headphones, neither the M-100 or the DT1350 impressed me by their sound quality all that much, but that's only because I've gotten used to some very good-sounding headphones in recent years like the Audeze and Sennheiser flagships, including my previous high-end electrostatic system (Stax OII & BHSE). But at the $300 price point, it's hard to find better than either the DT1350 or M-100, and I think the choice of headphones comes down to the type of music you listen to and what kind of sound you like. I view the M-100 as the more obvious choice for most listeners of contemporary music genres who favor bass - pop, rock, metal, electronica, etc. The DT1350 might be the better choice for those who don't care as much about bass quantity and listen to classical or generally acoustic (non-synthesized) music. I'd go even further to say that the DT1350 and M-100 are sonically-clear byproducts of their respective manufacturer's geographic regions - Europe for Beyerdynamic, the USA for V-MODA.

Related Reading

Story of my closed portable headphone journey: http://www.head-fi.org/t/235997/how-my-journey-for-closed-portable-bliss-came-to-an-end
Beyerdynamic T70 mini-review: http://www.head-fi.org/t/584599/mini-review-beyerdynamic-t70
Beyerdynamic T1 vs Senn HD800 review: http://www.head-fi.org/t/511201/review-beyerdynamic-t1-vs-sennheiser-hd800
V-MODA M-100 review: http://www.head-fi.org/products/v-moda-crossfade-m-100/reviews/10283

Addendum - Review Notes

My review notes are included here in their own section for convenience. These provide specific detailed info not included in the review. Notes start below the asterisks.

***
Far Cry / Half-Life 2: Clearer than ES7, and just about as fast - quick gunfire and satisfying explosions. Better imaging - sound field more spread out which helps to locate enemy positions by ear. Also easier to hear layered effects like footsteps, etc.

Trifonic - Emergence: Lacks overall "dimension" to the spatial image, so this type of music (ambient electronica) completely lacks the "empty-space void" feeling. Spatially flat-sounding - almost no sense of "air" within the music. Very closed-in sounding; however, this type of sound not unusual for closed headphones in general. Acceptable spatials for a closed headphone, could be worse. Also lacks some clarity, though treble and bass quantity is decent. However, treble lacks precision. Bass also lacks depth & general quantity (below 80Hz).

AKUS - Paper Airplane: Intimate-sounding but lacks a presence factor compared to flagship headphones - doesn't sound very "physical/existential". Lacks center fill in the imaging. Also seems to be somewhat "dead" sounding - no vividness to sound, and no particular emphasis anywhere in the spectrum either. Relatively neutral though.

Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction [MFSL]: Front-loaded/forward male vocals not a detraction here, helps make the music sound more "metal". Assertive-type sound - neither "aggressive" or "passive" per se. Reminds me of Shure headphones in a way. Background details either lost in mix or blurred.

Helloween - 7 Sinners, In Flames - The Jester Race: Good drive, overall very appropriately-assertive sound for this type of music. No obvious emphasis on either bass (instruments) or guitars. If anything, guitars somewhat in background compared to most treble-heavy headphones (sort of like a counter to the Grado-like sound). Not really fast enough to keep up with fastest speedruns though, and relative lack of clarity subtracts from the enjoyment. Small-ish soundstage does work great for this music type, provides a good "up-close w/ band" feel.

Goldfrapp - Black Cherry: Bass lacks drive and ultra-low extension. Relative lack of treble quantity as well. Female vocals sound only ok, nothing noteworthy. Again sounds "dead" - lacks a spark to make it engaging, reminds me of K701 in that aspect, which also sounded dead.

The Crystal Method - Tweekend: Bass in general acceptable for this music type - decent impact & quantity. Easy to hear bass, even if it doesn't extend very low. Not enough bass though to truly satisfy like an Audeze.

Massive Attack - "Teardrop": Bass rolled off, notably on the heartbeat rhythm (lowest notes inaudible). Also lacks a heavy/fat presence. Texture/slap of kick drum also muddled, not very easy to tell it's a kick drum.

Julia Fischer - Bach Concertos, Carlos Kleiber & VPO - Beethoven 5 & 7: String instruments not very clear-sounding. Lack of soundstage depth distracting but not a total dealbreaker. Because of the "closed" nature, music sounds a bit stuffed-up/suffocating. Decent balance overall between sections and frequencies - no major flaws. Violin treble level acceptable - not too much, not too little. Strings overall nasal/bronzy-sounding, consistently initially off-putting on every listening session. Not really ideal for classical music due to off-putting frequency balance (the nasal/bronzy sound) and lack of clarity. However, not terrible either - just acceptable enough.

Seems to have a slight "veil" over everything as well. Not as "transparent" as it could be and has a slight "muffle" factor that especially affects guitars (especially overdriven guitars).

Overall: For the cliché "I hear more details with xxx new headphone!", the reverse is true for DT1350. The details that should be on the music test tracks weren't there on DT1350 - i.e., "With the DT1350, I can't hear the details that I know are there!". Not bad, but not great either. Squarely decent, acceptable for price and for being closed - hard to get a decent-sounding closed headphone in this price bracket. To that point, above-average considering the other options of its type in this bracket.

Also scales with amps somewhat - sounds substantially better on Soloist than on Magni. Most obviously clearer throughout the spectrum, with improved soundstaging as well (more depth & width).

Posted

Pros: BASS, case, accessories, build quality, overall clarity and sound

Cons: noisy cable, limited long-term comfort, big plug, can be harsh and analytical dependent on source

The beyerdynamic DT 1350 has been quite the surprising headphone for me. As a reference point, most of my listening is with the VModa M100 (XL pads), followed by Grado SR60i, and Sennheiser HD558 mainly for movies. As a college student, I highly value portability and comfort, so I will be offering some direct comparisons to the V Moda M100. I enjoy a relatively neutral sound signature with a slightly elevated bass, but most importantly, a natural sound is important to me.

 

Build Quality and Accessories

The DT1350 appear to be very well built with a nearly all metal construction. No apparent shakes, rattles or creaks are present. The hinged headband is smooth and adjusting after a while is necessary to increase long-term wearability. The ear cup rotating mechanisms seem solid. Beyerdynamic offers a very nice carrying case with extra carrying space for adapters, splitters, and even my Fiio x3 (Gen1).

 

When comparing the V Moda M100--a headphone renowned for its build quality and transportability, I give high marks to the DT1350. The DT 1350's ear cups rotate flat for storage in its case. While it doesn't store in as small of a case as the M100, the DT1350's thin, flat case is more suitable for stowing in a backpack along with books and tablets.

 

Comfort

My present standard for comfort is the Sennheiser HD558 which disappear on your head. The DT 1350 do not present this level of comfort. Their strong clamping force keeps them snug on your head, but they never truly disappear. I have no issues with the pads; however, the narrow gap between the adjustment mechanism and your ears makes it hard to adjust eyeglasses while wearing the DT 1350. Also, as noted in other reviews, this adjustment mechanism can be quite the hair-puller. The split headband provides moderate comfort, but the rear band develops a hot spot on my head long before the front one. Generally, I can get a comfortable 1.5-2.5 hours of wear out of the DT1350.

 

Sound

My first impression of the DT1350's sound was "wow, the BASS." As a headphone geared toward the professional community, I was not expecting the DT1350's bass. The DT1350's bass digs extremely deep, and is precisely controlled. I consider the V Moda M100 a reference for its bass quality and control. To my ears, the DT1350 trumps it. The DT1350 will rumble on certain tracks, even with my flat EQ. Kick drums kick and bass guitar notes thrum just as they should. To really put the DT1350's bass through the ringer, I played Nigel Stanford's Cymantics. The bass synth drop part way through blew me away, it's bottomless.

 

My next reaction to the DT1350 was its incredible detail. I could hear Lady Gaga's mouth open as she began to sing with Tony Bennett. As their duet continued, the strength of the DT1350's mids became clear. Vocalists come alive with detail and richness. Female vocalists such as Florence Welch and Adele sound powerful and full-bodied. Guitar work by the likes of Pink Floyd, Boston, and August Burns Red are crunchy and gritty when called for, but also soar into the treble also. Attack and decay on cymbals is quite good, but can be slightly abrasive and harsh at times. 

 

The soundstage and imaging of the DT1350 is impressive for its compact size. Bands sound like they are playing in a moderate sized space, but larger orchestral numbers do tend to sound cramped or unnatural.

 

The monitoring quality of these headphones is excellent, and at times can be even too revealing for some consumer uses. Particular songs in my collection are revealed to be poorly recorded or mastered under the DT1350's lens. I judge this aspect to be a big positive, even if it means I cannot enjoy some songs. The DT1350 scales well with recording and mastering quality, as well as file bitrate. All listening for this review was done using my Fiio x3 Gen 1 and Motorola Droid Turbo. I suspect that the DT1350 will scale quite well with higher end equipment.

 

Other

-The DT 1350's cable does have quite a bit of cable noise present when moving around a lot.

-Ear cup adjustment mechanisms must be fully retracted to fit in the case

-The full-sized 3.5mm plug with 6.3mm screw-on adapter are rather large for mobile use.

 

Tracks used

Florence + the Machine- "Ship to Wreck"

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett- "They All Laughed"

Pink Floyd- "High Hopes"

Boston- "Hitch a Ride"

London Grammar- "Metal & Dust"

August Burns Red- "Everlasting Ending"

Nigel Stanford- "Cymantics"

Posted

Pros: Very neutral, Comfortable for long listening, Good Isolation

Cons: Narrower Sound stage than open cans

I have been mainly a Sennheiser fan for many years. The DH650's are my go to home HP's and the HD25-1 ii's are the "On the road" reference HP's. There I was in Best Buy and much to my surprise next to the latest Beats was a couple of pair of the DT-1350's! So before I knew what I was doing I had them in the car and plugged into the Fostex HP-P1 and the iPod Classic filled with AIFF lossless files. Luckily I had some time between appointments!

 

Over the next 4 days I have logged 15+ hours on them and I am really enjoying the experience. They are a terrific compliment to the Senn HD25's. More neutral with a smoother Bass. The 25's have more low end punch.

 

I found that I had a similar experience to the one Jude described in Head-Fi TV Episode 004:

 

 

I am now tossing both the HD25's and the DT-1350's into the bag for travel. I'll post more as I get more time and can consider my comments, but each of these portable reference headphones are long term keepers!

Posted

Pros: comfy, closed, sound quality, ergonomics.

Cons: none

I bought these to use in the office at work as my other headphones are Grado SR325is which are open and therefore bleed too much noise.

 

I spent a lot of time reading reviews and trying to choose between these and the HD25-ii's. I'm very happy with this purchase - they don't sound *quite* as good as the Grado's I have, but they're excellent in every other respect.

 

The treble isn't quite as crisp on these as the SR325is's, you can't always pick out the detail in high-hats or cymbals as well as the Grados. but in every other respect they sound great, this really is nitpicking.

 

They're much lighter and easier to wear, the single (much thinner) cable and 3.5mm jack is perfect for use in the office. They stay comfortable for extended wear and fit my small head perfectly :)

 

The carry case provided is ideal for packing them into and taking them home each night (no way I'd leave these in the office overnight!).

 

I mostly drive these from an iPhone 4S so they're ideal having a 3.5mm jack and a nice thin cable. I don't really think they need an amp, comparing the sound straight from the iPhone 4S with them being driven by an Aune MKii, digitally fed over coax from a RealTek 888 and iTunes playing lossless audio - the difference is tiny, if any. Having said that, I have got a Fiio E17 on order so I'll do further testing then...

 

Highly recommended pair of closed cans, perfect for the office, seem to be easily driven and with enough quality to really let you get immersed in the music.

Posted

Pros: Good build, easy to remove and rest above ears or neck, isolation

Cons: short cord, unremovable cord

I didn’t realize that these were an on-ear design until after I ordered them. I was kicking myself as I knew they wouldn’t be to my liking with the whole isolation thing’. I almost requested an RMA before they even arrived. However, when they did arrive I just had to open the box and again, I looked into the pouch and saw those diminutive cups while I gently shook my head from side-to-side. Even so, I decided to try them.

At first I thought that I was trying to force myself that they were not that bad. But then when I started to listen to them and also to feel how they molded to my years, I noticed that they were quite comfortable. Also, the isolation is considerably better than I imagined, even for my home studio broadcasts. Anyway, I decided to keep using them and sheepishly, I realized that I had profiled these cups in a negative light.

Overall, I think these are keepers’ as the sound is great; the fit is comfortable, as they don’t sweat your ears, and they’re easy to dismount onto your head above your ears or rest on your neck, as the cups turn flat. Another perk is that they don’t over-power my bald head and that’s important when I may use these during a video webcast. Also, they have an 80-ohm resistance that tilts them away from strictly portable use. I could easily connect these to my channel strip once it arrives. This is not to say they can’t be used on my iPhone because they can.

Ok, I do wish it had a longer reach than the non-detachable 5-foot cord provides. In any event, I’m more satisfied than not.
smily_headphones1.gif

Posted

Pros: Spectacular bass, rich mids. Supreme clarity and detail. Isolation.

Cons: Small soundstage, clamping

Simply spectacular phones.

 

DT1350 is a very unique headphone with a warmish natural sound. I am yet to hear anything like this. It has very punchy as satisfying bass, rich yet not too forward mids, and smooth and extended highs. However, what is important is the clarity and detail. DT1350 is better than SE535, costing $200 more, in terms of detail and clarity.

 

About myself: http://www.head-fi.org/t/674373/story-of-a-new-reviewer-kimvictor

 

Here is by break down:

Sub bass: Well extended and deep

Mid bass: Punchy and impactful

Lower mid: Slightly thick and rich

Upper mid: Clear and slightly forward

Lower treble: Clean and detailed.

Upper Treble: Well extended and smooth, but lacks air.

 

Soundstage: Small. More like an iem than a headphone.

Clarity: Very good. Although not at the level of SRH940, it's better than SE535 and M50.

Detail: Very good as well. One of the best details I've heard. Slightly less detail than SRH940.

Isolation: Good. Almost iem level isolation, but comes with sacrifices.

Clamping: This is the sacrifice. It's tight. For the first month, I felt pain in my ears, but it's getting better.

Source/Amping: I didn't think that it really benefited much from Magni/Modi, but it may be due to bad synergy. I'll report back once I have Leckerton UHA-6S MKII.

 

Just last week, I decided sell most of my gear besides ones I love to fund a amp/dac for my UERM. I sold SE535, AD700, M50, X20 and kept SRH940 and DT1350. There is a clear reason. They are just simply class above everything I've sold. Very impressed.

 

Update: For got to mention other portables. I was also looking at momentum, hd-25ii, and esw9a. Momentum failed as it was bit too bassy and didn't have that mid I was looking for. It did have pretty good clarity and detail. HD-25II seemed fun, but didn't fit with my acoustic music. ESW9a was most considered, buy it had rather bad clarity, so I dropped it. 

Also, I have to mention that DT1350 sounds very full, which is a good thing for me.

 

Update 5/22/13:

Thankfully, it pairs well with Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII. These Leckertons are awesome. They deserve more recognition.

 

Update 5/27/13:

Siblilance: DT1350 is the least sibilant of all gears I own. Amount of sibilance is similar to HD598, which has close to 0 sibilance.

 

Update: 6/2/13:

DT1350 compared to other hps: http://www.head-fi.org/t/665919/100-300-headphones-shootout-ath-m50-vs-ath-ad700-vs-hd598-vs-srh940-vs-dt1350-v6-coming-soon#post_9492283

 

Update: 6/18/13

Price on these are dropping! New version of them are out. They have bigger earpads, replaceable headband, and coiled cable. No difference in drivers though. I'm adjusting the value because it's cheaper now!

 

Please ask if you have any questions.

Posted

Pros: Balance , Neutral , Comfy , Isolation , Portable

Cons: Soundstage , Little Bass lack

:)I have this headphone for a year. I must say that this is the greatest close-sealed headphone I have ever heard at the level of $300.
Some people say DT1350 isn't comfy at all . At first ,I had the same feeling about this. However, as time went by , DT1350 become more and more comfy.
At sound quility , I think it kick HD-25 sp ii's ass. It's treble and mid have lots of energy impact , and it's bass is deep . It's very nuetral and balanced ,so It suits well with people who love to listen all kinds of music.
Although it is unfair to judge this size of headphone (closed) , it's sound stage is small . You need to require more effort to imagine a stage (and it sounds like you're on stage).Besides,it doesnt have too much bass.
Easy to drive enough sound (130 SPL ) and have greater performance with amp.
Highly recommended for building a mobile hi-head system.
Beyerdynamic Tesla DT 1350
Description:

Details:
DetailValue
EAN4010118702075
Weight1.76 pounds
LabelBeyerdynamic
ManufacturerBeyerdynamic
MPN702072
Package Quantity1
Product GroupMusical Instruments
Product Type NameSOUND_AND_RECORDING_EQUIPMENT
PublisherBeyerdynamic
StudioBeyerdynamic
TitleBeyerdynamic Tesla DT 1350
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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