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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ), 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).