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Beyerdynamic Tesla T1

96% Positive Reviews
Rated #8 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: World class sound and comfort from Beyer

Cons: Cable isn't as pretty as rest of headphone

This is not going to be as thorough or long as my normal reviews for now - but I wanted to get something in place.  I have always liked Beyer headphones, but they all had some very defining character or flavor - even the most neutral, the DT880/600, was a little hot in the treble and a little light in the bass, IMO.

 

Well, the T1 changes all that.  While maybe just a touch lush, it is possessed of an amazing transparency and neutrality.  While slightly behind the Sennheiser HD800 in terms of midrange transparency and soundstage realism, it beats all other dynamic headphones in those areas, and slightly bests the HD800 in terms of treble smoothness and realistic bass.  The T1 has an absolutely unique ability to make music sound natural, in my experience.  Music simply flows from the T1 in a way that makes it unbelievably enjoyable to listen to, but without requiring any kind of noticeable coloration to get that job done.  In my experience, it is that combination of neutrality, accuracy, and musicality that makes the T1, for me, the king of the dynamic headphones.

 

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My basic description is as follows:

 

* Very neutral overall response, but perhaps just a tiny bit lush

* incredibly nuance and detail

* completely grainless

* an amazing transparency

* tremendous imaging and soundstaging

 

The T1 is, undoubtedly, a phenomenal headphone, and an enormous step forward from the DT880 (or its siblings). In terms of looks and build, it's basically like a much, much better build 880. Same basic size and shape on the exterior, but better materials and a higher level of workmanship. But sonically, it is on another level altogether.


This is a terrifically balanced headphone in terms of its sonic presentation, and as a result, it sounds VERY natural, or, more accurately, music coming from it sounds very natural.

 

One thing which I think is a VERY good sign - different songs sound VERY different from each other - there is absolutely no homogenizing of the sound. So you have to listen to a bunch of songs you know REALLY well to get the right measure of the T1 - as one recording will often sound very different from the next, due to the recordings themselves.


Comparisons: w/r/t the HD800, I don't have them anymore, and so I'm not sure my comparison would be valid. But from what I've heard over the last few hours, with no break-in, I think the two are in the same league, and there are subtle differences. From memory, the HD800 has the even more expansive soundstage, but the T1's have a presence to the mids that lends a sense of musical realism beyond what I ever felt from the HD800. The T1 has the stronger bass, although it’s in no way overbearing or bloated. And the T1 has the slightly less aggressive treble, while still being just as extended. They are also a very significant cut above the HifiMan HE-5, in every respect, as good as I feel those headphones are.

 

Summary:
Maybe the best description I can give the T1 is that it is highly musical, but without having to be a technological apologist An incredibly comfortable, well-engineered headphone, but one that still lets the music come shining through.
 

Posted

Pros: Soundstage, accuracy , tonal balance, slight fun factor, build quality

Cons: bothersome treble for 8khz sensitive people, slightly too "common" compared to the best headphones

Please forgive my english. It's not my native language and the text below is translated frome the french Original feedback here

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

It's really hard to give up his own tastes in any objective consideration when headphones are tested. Much of the feedback made by enthusiasts on the web related implys that the author likes enough the headphone to take the time to put his impressions on paper. However, it is uncommon to see written feedbacks dedicated to a headphone that the author does not like. But it is the case for me: I do not like the Beyerdynamic T1. If I had tried it in a store, I would have probably & definitely put it down  a few minutes later without ever touch it. It seems I'm very sensitive to the sharp 8 khz Beyer treble peak.

 

However, I made ​​the choice to keep the T1 and force me to listen to it for a few weeks because I really wanted to compare the Beyerdynamic flagship to my current sedentary headphones, the HD800. And patience have taught me a lot about my own assessment on headphones ... But also on the T1 and HD800 itselves. The T1 definitely deserves better than a flawed listening and expeditious statements, necessarily unfair, that would have resulted.

 

During the weeks of testing this Beyerdynamic T1, I gave him about twenty hours of listening and I used only my current headphone Rig : Metrum Octave DAC + DNA Sonett 2 Amp. I have often read that the T1 was not as finicky as my HD800 and the DNA Sonett 2 is technically adapteed to both HD800 & T1.

 

Now you know the context of the impressions that you'll find below.

 

 

Discovery / packaging / comfort

 

The headphone is delivered in a beautiful metal box. It looks great and the box is filled with with dense foam. The T1 is properly positioned there: In two words: A serious and useful storage. The HD800 comes in a cardboard box with a more luxurious fabric "velvet" appearance, but ultimately lower quality.

 

The headphone itself looks solidly built - we feel Beyerdynamic's experience of professional headphones - and seems to "weigh" in hand. The 350 grams of T1 are there, and you do not feel like buying a toy. Metallic cups like leather of the headband are well crafted and exude quality. Nothing flashy here: T1 has a simple appearance. Special mention to the thick, non-detachable cable that also exudes German quality. Some see non-detachable cabele as a disadvantage. Personally, it mostly means that the cable is directly soldered to the drivers, thus limiting the number of solder points between the Jack and the drivers.

 

The Beyerdynamic T1 fits very naturally on the head (mine anyway) and I forget it quickly. If the headphone "weighs" in hands, it's not the case on the head. Comfort is excellent, I have not felt any painful pressure points over time. The overall balance of the T1 is good. Moreover, the cups are wide and deep. The velours ear pads have the perfect consistency (neither too stiff nor too soft). Of course, the T1 does not  feel light and airy like the HD800 but it, unlike the Senn, doesn't infringe on my jaws. The HD800 still remains more comfortable over time. The insulation provided by the headphones is close to none. Don't expect much more insulation from the T1 against the HD800.

 


Overall impressions

 

Remember my introduction... The first impression that strucked me listening to the T1 for the first time was the assault of the treble. When I discovered the HD800, I immediately noticed the treble too, but I never had this immediate urge to remove the headphone from my head. If you are, like me, sensitive to potential peaks at 8 kHz, flee the T1 like the plague: Your ears will bleed very quickly. Many owners of T1, however, have no problem with this peak. I've personally loaned the T1 to a friend who did not feel any discomfort. Conversely, many enthusiasts who have tried this or other Beyer headphones are like me: allergic to this Treble. So this is IMO primarily a matter of personal sensitivity.

 

After several hours / days / weeks, my brain has done its job of self-equalization and peak treble became much more bearable, even for an allergic like me. I then enjoyed as it should be the other characteristics of the T1.

 

The fact is that the T1 will grow on you. It offers by no means a 'wow' effect on first listen. It is in all aspects a significant improvement over the DT880 but not really impresses during first listens. The great qualities of T1 reveal themselves gradually, hence the importance of the long term test of a headphone that could quite easily be underestimated.

 

The absolute highlight of T1, is IMO the soundstage. This was the case on the DT880, but the T1 - and the T90 for that matter - offers uncommon precision and layering. The foreground seems close and forward - much more than HD800 - and the soundstage background is distant. All that sits between the two is perfectly layered and easlily audible. The most pleasant point IMO is yet to come. The T1 has a very specific way to make audible the left and right extremities of the soundstage. In fact, T1 seems to bend the soundstage stage and bring the left and right closer to the ears, creating a very precise "bubble" in which we can locate details with much ease. This is a very cool effect. Compared to the HD800, the T1 offers a more compact and less diffuse soundstage. It feels more consistent, but weeks of listening let me feel that this consistency is a bit artificial and tends to "beautify" the crappy mixes, while not doing justice to the better recordings whose ultimate goal is to reproduce accurately acoustic resonnance, the feeling of the room , the concert hall or the studio. In this matter, in my opinion, the HD800 is the King.

 

So, The second statement I really would like to share is I felt that the T1 instills a little extra energy in the music. It's a slight effect and not at all outrageous or too unnatural. I could feel sound movements from back to front. Very 3D effect. It's really fun to listen and I feel of kind of groove/swing added to the music. The presentation offered by the HD800 is more "rigid" : it seems that The Senn places the music in air as if it was paintings and let us comtemplate the sound. Both presentation are very enjoyable in my opinion.

 

Overally and before going into the details of the various ranges, we can estimate that T1 is neutral with a feeling of extra bass and treble. We are not yet in the U-shaped or V-shaped signatures with recesseds mids, but in the slightly saline. In general, HD800 and T1 signatures are close and I do not really think that one of the two is more neutral than the other, contrary to what I read here and there.

I used the T1 to listen to all genres I usually listen to with the HD800. I was quite surprised to find it extremely good for classical. I had assumed that the HD800 would be much better in this area but it's not so true. The Beyerdynamic is truly compelling for classical, although I always tend to complain about the same flaw, namely a slight metallic treble that can affect the perfect reproduction of acoustic instruments tone. I didn't notice any music where the T1 seemed downright uncomfortable, even if it does not seem much more forgiving than the HD800 with the quality of the recordings. I finally listened to some tracks whose style is better accorded with the T1: I am thinking of "Animal As Leaders" (progressive metal) that sounds good with the HD800, but frankly better - more impacting more cohesive and just as fast - with the T1.

 

Both headphones will shine on different music and differently designed recordings. The HD800 will be more oriented to the reproduction of music as a whole including its sound environment and atmosphere. The T1 will provide a more lively and sraightforward experience with a very high level of separation of the different components of music.

 

 

In detail ( vs HD800):

 

 

- Bass: The DT880 already dealt superbly this register but the T1 does better. Excellent extension and no lack of sub-bass be felt in demanding music in this area. bass are tight and fast and does not overflow on the mids at all. they are tight without being dry. Because of the presentation that offers the T1, Bass has this elasticity and dynamic projected character that does not offer the HD800. I think the impression of "more bass" from the T1 comes from that. The drawback is that bass are slightly more "one note" than HD800. Different components are less audible less detailed, less textured than those proposed by the HD800. According to different muusic or your tastes, you can prefer one or the other. For example, I found that the electric bass (Animal As Leaders) sounded better with the T1 although the different bass layers in my favorite EDM (Shingo Nakamura, BT or Burial for example) or Doublebass (Renaud Garcia Fons) are better with the HD800.

 

- Mids:  A few month ago,I would have said that the HD800 is the king of the medium. That's not true. The medium of the HD800 lacks a slight bit of meat and body. The real King is the Stax SR009 and it needs a lot of work on the upstream HD800 rig to obtain a meatier mid with the Senn. T1 seems to be in the same boat: the midrange sounds very good, very clean. Neither hollow or pervasive. It has not, however, the slightly euphonic and refined charm of The King Stax. Overally, the T1 is not more euphonic than the HD800. The medium of the latter remains more detailed, richer, more textured, more appealing. The medium of T1 is very slightly "off" in my opinon. I listened and listened to a lot of voices (Norah Jones, Newton Faulkner, Andreas Scholl) and it seems to me that the HD800 offers a more refined level of restitution in the matter. But it does nothing to actually penalize the T1, since the HD800 is still a tough competitor.

 

- Treble: now we are going to reach points that annoy and divide. The high range of the HD800 as that of T1 can be problematic and show an excess compared to the strict neutrality. So we have two headphones who undoubtly tend to be slightly bright. I say slight, but a lover of darker headphones would certainly find that both T1 and HD800 have too much treble. Someone who loves brighter/lighter signatures (myself for example) will however appreciates the detail, the sparkle and the bite air brought by those slightly boosted treble. HD800 as T1 are moreover, one like the other, not short on details. I would say at first glance that the T1 is perhaps the best for foreground details location - see paragraph above - and the HD800 for the best reproduction of low-level detail - reverberation, resonance and acoustics of the place of recording - giving my opinion a greater sense of realism to the sound material ... When this material is present in the recording. As we say the measures (see measurements of two headphones on the web) the HD800 provides ongoing treble boost from 4 kHz to 8 kHz, with a max at 6 kHz. The T1 offers him a sudden peak at 8khz and keeps elevated treble in higher frequencies. Choose your poison depending on your sensitivity and your preferences. What's funny is that during A/B comparison between one and the other, I could hear very well the difference, and according to different tracks one or the other sounded brighter. The one and the other may show sibilances and both seem not so much forgiving for poor recordings. Personally, and my opinion has not changed in three months of T1 owning, I appreciate the HD800 treble, while T1's one is almost unbearable.

 

- Soundstage: Two beautiful soundstages, but - as I have already said - very different and thus the personal preferencs will encourage us toward the Sennheiser or the Beyerdynamic. Compactness, density, precision and sense of movement with the T1. Cloud of music with a strong sense of the different sound patches and a great feeling of the reality of the music in its environment with the HD800. The HD800 "deploys" the music. I have often thought in this roundup that eventually the T1 had the best soundstage. It's almost true. Almost, because from my point of view, although T1's soundstage is fantastic, but "headphone-like". The HD800 looses some of that accuracy to go to a more extraordinary way to reproduce the music. HD800 doesn't either offer this "Music in Motion" feeling offered by T1. The diffuse presentation of the HD800 can bother too. I also said that the T1 was ultimately more analytical than the HD800. This is not entirely true either, but the idea is there: the precision of T1 impresses.

 


Conclusion

 

I still do not like the T1, and I really had to force myself to keep on the ears since I have. However, I think I managed to be patient and try to be fair. this headphone deserved it. I have to say again that the T1 in reveals its strengths after many careflu and attentive listening. Certainly a very good headphone, so of course we are not allergic to Beyerdynamic like me.

The T1 offers its share of "fun", but can still not be considered deliberately calibrated for that. It shows very little color or added euphony and stays accurate. In Beyerdynamic family, for whis is seeking more fun and less accuracy, I sincerely think the T90 worthes a serious try.

 

Finally, T1 vs HD800 ... HD800 headphones keeps in my opinion its superiorité for a few specific reasons: Better mids, an overally more refined sound - with a blacker "background" - a hgher level of detail and resolution over the entire spectrum and especially a more "extraordinary" persentation, where T1 is still a great headphone, but only a great headphone. That said, I do think that the HD800 can demonstrate these qualities only with recordings who can highlight them and, so, although higher in absolute terms, it will not be always more enjoyable. In any case, I don't allow myself to state that HD800 will always be greater than T1 for YOUR listenings.

 

For my part, I'm ending this review while listening to Ane Brun and The headphone I've forgotten on my head is the HD800. I'll be a bit sad to see the T1 leaving the house though.

Posted

Pros: Incredibly balanced and the best all rounder I've heard

Cons: Nothing yet.

My comments echo Skylab's. These are simply the best dynamic headphones I've ever heard. While the may not be technically equal to the Sennheiser HD800s, they certainly make up in the fact that their overall presentation simply works better than every headphone I've heard to date.

 

I love the HD800s, but I limit listening to them to jazz, classical, and some prog rock. The T1s on the other hand are incredible all rounders and work with everything that I've ever thrown at them. They even rival my all time favourite rock cans the Grado RS1s.

 

These are simply amazing cans and my personal favourites! Well done beyerdynamics!

Posted

Pros: Very musical with great detail,bass and a stellar high end

Cons: expensive

When I ordered the T1 I really was not sure it would be a keeper. I bought a open box unit with full warranty. The headphones were burned in so listening time was much quicker for me as they needed no burn in. The first time I put them on using my Matrix M Stage and Marantz DV6001 was uneventful. There were no wow moments with this headphone.

 

During the weeks that followed with the T1 I started to realize there were no problems or colorations I could identify. I started to realize that there was something special with the T1. The sound reminded me less hifi and more of a live musical event. I had noticed the tone of instruments were nearly what I had heard live in a concert ,whenI attended with Chris Botti and the Philadelphia orchestra.

 

The sound coming from the T1 is really unique in a headphone. It is balanced with great detail and an open window into the sound stage that extends both wide and deep depending on the recording. The midrange is grain free with well defined imaging, and the transparency is like I have never heard  other headphones. The bass is tight ,well controlled, and sound almost perfect. There is no tipping of any bass or treble with these cans

 

The most impressive quality of the T1 is can be used with any genre. It feels comfortable whether playing Pink Floyd or Beethoven. Vocals are presented with a lifelike transparency with no sibilance on  vocals unless it is a poor recording. The T1 just plays music as recorded and presents what the source is presenting.

 

Beyer manufactured a headphone that is built like a Mercedes Benz and will provide the listener with years of enjoyment. The T1 has performed with my Matrix M Stage to a very high level. The headphone is the most neutral headphone I have heard to date. It just plays music as it was meant to be heard.

 

The T1 is not a wow headphone. It is a reference headphone that plays the recordings as they would be played in a live setting. The most important quality that I see in the T1 is that it is so good playing all types of music, and it is the only can I own that can do that. If you are looking for IMO the most near perfect phone, the T1 is a can't miss can to own. I find its gets the most of my head time and I decided tyo buy the T1 as I feel this will be my end all headphone. I am sure there is better but I have not heard any that will perform as near perfect as the T1. Very highly recommended and a true Five star performer.

Posted

Pros: Great build quality, no terrible flaws

Cons: Joyless, lack of impact and immediacy

BORROWED FROM A FELLOW MEMBER

 

Wow, did I want to love these headphones.  And I just don't.  They're fine.  They don't do anything horribly wrong.  But the also don't do anything extraordinary, and for the price being charged, they should.  I think the HD800 is better.  However, it is a very comfortable phone and the build quality is superb.  Just a bit blah to me.

Posted

Pros: Neutral, Comfortable, Well built, Detailed and comfortable sound, Soundstage!

Cons: High Impedence means you cant use it with portable sources like iPods

I have been a fan of Grado sound for over 4 years now. My first set of cans was Grado SR60 which I replaces with the RS2 and finally with GS1000. I loved their fastpaced and fun sound, they are and forever will be the perfect Rock and Metal and Bollywood cans! (Yes I am a big fan of music from India). But I could never wear them for more than an hour because my head would be hurting with what some call harsh treble.

 

Now before I go further in this review, I want to talk a little bit about my music philosophy (for whatever its worth  ): "When headphone makers such as Grado, Sennheiser, beyerdynamic, AKG release their headphones they never tell you what source or amplifier to use. Thus I believe that for a headphone to be 'really' good they must sound good with any amplifier as long as they are impedence matched."

 

The reason I mention this is because just because I get a new headphone I must not change my entire source / amplifier setup. Which essentially means that the headphones must be Neutral. They should sound exactly like the sound coming out of the 'headphone out' of the amplifier. Now many have suggested that the panacea to overcome Grado treble is to get a Tube amp like Woo Audio 6 or Zana deux, but I say why, the sound coming from the extremely detailed Benchmark DAC1 or the slightly warm Lavry DA10 should sound good and the headphones should not add to any harshness other than that present in the original recording.

 

Thats where Testla T1 come in. They are neutral: they donot provide any texture to the music other than what the source / amp provide. Therefore when I plug them to my Macbook Pro or Lavry Da10 or any other source they sound musical, they donot accentuate lack of detail in the Macbook pro output or muddle the bass in the Lavry DA10 warm headphone out. This is something which the GS1000 and RS2 lacked sorely. They needed me to use the EQ to sound 'natural', using Grado is like having headphones with a built in Loudness button, extremely groovy and fun but lacking the comfort and left you feeling as if you are listening to some part of the music - this is called by many as a dip in the mids.

 

Both GS1000 and T1 are extremely fast they have great sound stage but the T1 beats the GS1000 handily in width of soundstage. You can feel different instruments placed in 3D space as if you are present at the time of performance. This is especially true of Vinyl recordings that were not badly remastered to make CDs.

 

GS1000 have more visceral punch in the Bass which T1 definitely lacks. T1 is not Bass light but if you switch from Grado to T1 you feel something is missing, but as time passed I realized that I am not missing anything but gaining immense details in the mid bass and vocals.

 

T1 treble is more refined that Grado, which comes out a grainy in comparison.

 

In terms of comfort GS1000 are much more comfortable that T1. The light wooded construction, classy goat skin leather headband and the roomy bagel pads  were a perfect fit on my medium sized head. T1s are a lot heavy and cause my neck to hurt if I am sitting with them with neck bent to work on my computer. Having said that T1s feel more solidly built and come with 5 years of warranty from beyerdynamic as compared to 1 year with Grado GS1000.

 

Stock cables on GS1000 and T1s are 24AWG oxygen free copper, which to me sound just about okay for headphone application. It might be worthwhile to upgrade the cables to 18AWG (such as ones ALO audio provides), but I wouldnt recommend anyone to go for overpriced 24 AWG cable. I am an electrical engineer and there is no way 'snake oil' covered 24AWG cable will make any tangible difference in the sound of the headphones.

 

 

So which do I prefer, ofcourse the Tesla T1.Dont get me wrong GS1000 are better than every other headphone I have heard, save for the T1.

 

 

Posted

Pros: Neutrality and naturalness of the sound.

Cons: Very unforgiving of poor quality recordings.

I won't get too technical or get too in depth int his review. I will just state what I believe these headphones do and how they sound, just very straight to the point.

 

The T1 is beyerdynamics' latest entry into full size open dynamic headphones. This model can achieve one Tesla with it's new driver and magnet system. This allows the T1 to be far more efficient and easier to amp than the DT880/600Ohm by quite a bit. This also means your amp won't strain to power them like some amps do with the DT880/600 (and this is from my experience). 

 

IMO the Tesla 1 is at about the same level of the HD800, but I vastly prefer the T1 as it sounds more natural and dare I say less synthetic than the HD800. The HD800 has a leaner sound with more prominent treble and less bass, though the bass on the HD800 is slightly more accurate.

 

Well onto the sound. I will be comparing to the HD800 in this review as I find them to be in the same league. I will go in sections: DETAIL, TRANSPARENCY, TREBLE, MIDRANGE, BASS, SOUNDSTAGE, CONCLUSION. 

 

DETAIL:

With this headphone you can hear a lot of things you may have never heard before, such as footsteps, raindrops, and even whispering. The detail retrieval is very close to that of the HD800, but rather more subtle sounding. The HD800 seems to revel in it's ability to bring out the smallest details. The T1 still has nearly the same amount of detail as the HD800, but it's just not so painfully obvious. The HD800 makes you want to focus on the details while the T1 is more of actually listening to the music, but that's my view on it.

 

TRANSPARENCY:

Man oh man these cans can reach deep into the music. They are so transparent that you can hear nearly everything that's there. I don't have the HD800 on hand but I would say the T1's are slightly more transparent. The transparency really shines in the midrange where the guitars and vocals are. The guitars are so crisp and clear and you can hear fingers sliding up the fret board and can hear little nuances in the voices of singers.

 

TREBLE:

The treble on the T1 is really great for many reasons. It extends just as high as the HD800, but unlike that headphone it is not as in your face. To me the T1's treble is very smooth without a hint of stridence or harshness. It also sound more natural to me. The treble is also very airy, not as airy as the HD800's, but very close. I also found the treble to be very detailed.

 

MIDRANGE:

The T1 has the best midrange I have ever heard. It has exceptional resolving capabilities as well as being more transparent than the HD800 in my mind. I also found the midrange to be more fleshed out than the HD800's, and though the T1 has neutral mids they are very slightly warmer. This warmness makes music sound more natural and lifelike. To me the HD800's mids were really good, but a little thin and could be somewhat lifeless on certain recordings. 

 

BASS:

The T1 definitely has more bass then the HD800 and this means more body and impact. I also found that the T1's lower most regions are a little rolled off, but not by that much. In fact I think the rolled off bass can make music sound more natural. The T1's bass still extends nearly as deep as the HD800's, but has more body and impact without sacrificing control or tightness. The bass of the T1 is more impactful than the DT770/DT880 but less than that of the DT990. The bass to me is perfect in it tonality and texturing capabilities which are really exceptional.

 

SOUNDSTAGE:

The soundstage is clearly much bigger than any of the DT770-DT990 variants and is also airy. I found it to be almost as big as the K702's soundstage, but has more depth and height to it. It's a really big stage that is nearly as big as the HD800's, but to me the HD800's is a little too big. The T1's is very spacious and provides great reproductions of spatial nuances and separation of instruments as well as providing a more accurate stereo image. Speaking of imaging, it's nothing short of incredible. You can place musicians on the stage really well and little nuances can be picked out really easily.

 

CONCLUSION:

I find the T1 to be a very good headphone and also the best reference all rounds out there. It has a very liquid and natural tonality that is heard to beat at any price. It's easily my no.1 recommendation for those who do not have a budget.

 

 

Also the T1's are very unforgiving of low quality audio and if fed crap, they will spit it back at you. As for me I don't really care as I will use them anyways ;)

Posted

Pros: Comfort, transparency, staging / imaging, versatility

Cons: Will absolutely reveal your weakest source links

Beyerdynamic are a well known name in the headphone industry and in the professional audio world. I have toyed with the idea of purchasing Beyers on many occasions, but never pulled the trigger... until now.

Specifications

  • Style:  Semi-open
  • Frequency response:  5 - 50,000 Hz
  • Impedance:  600 ohms
  • Nominal SPL:  102 dB

Overview

The T1s sit squarely at the top of the Beyerdynamic tree of headphones and were their first Tesla headphone. The Tesla nomination relates to the amount of magnetic force in the driver mechanism of the headphone. In general terms, 1 tesla of magnetic force is massive and it means that the drivers are very sensitive. I want to equate it to a car with lots of power and huge brakes, but that doesn't account for the handling and the T1s are also nimble and agile, not just quick to stop and start.

 

In a speaker (or headphone) driver, the ability of the voice coil (the bit that drives the movement) to respond rapidly and accurately is the key to transparent and accurate sound as well as efficient creation of volume without requiring massive power. At 600 ohms, the T1s would traditionally be considered "hard to drive", but the Tesla driver means it produces volumes comparable to 350 ohm headphones like the Sennheiser HD6X0s given equal amounts of power.

 

I have seen measurements that would suggest the T1's Tesla driver is quite noisy in terms of distortion at various frequencies and it doesn't measure as favourably as drivers like those found in the Sennheiser HD800s, but the proof's in the pudding for me and I wonder if sometimes technical inaccuracies can lend themselves to more enjoyable experiences - tube amplifiers are a perfect example where the distortion and "inaccuracy" of tubes actually makes them more musical and enjoyable. I try not to get caught up in too much sound science because it can interfere with the enjoyment of music, but I wanted to mention here that the measurements aren't everything based on what I'm actually hearing. I'm not saying the measurements are wrong or irrelevant, just that there might be more to it and it's the resultant experience that really matters.

 

While we're talking impedance, I've always favoured high impedance systems with "traditional" driver setups because, if they have sufficient power, they tend to provide better sound to my ears. I've always put this down to the high impedance helping to damp and control driver movement. So, if we combine the Tesla design's claimed agility and sensitivity with the high impedance's damping factor, this should make for an amazing headphone.

 

Design & Comfort

Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones

The T1s are designed almost identically to their siblings, the DT880s, DT990s, T90s, etc. It's a design that is clean and functional, but attractive. On the T1s, the round cups are made of metal and feel solid, but light in the hand. Each earpiece is covered with soft, black velour pads and the headband is made of leather and is nicely padded.

 

All-in-all there's nothing special about the external design of the T1s, but everything's done right. They're all quality materials and it appears to be a case of function and form being equally considered. The end result is a very comfortable headphone on par with the likes of the HD650s which have long been my standard measure of comfort.

There are two other design features worth mentioning.

 

Cable Entry

BeyerT1 - strain relief

The cables for the T1s enter on the base of each earcup unlike many headphones that choose a single entry and then run a cable through the headband. Although this design might make the T1s a little more fiddly to store and put on and off, I believe it's a good design as I've often wondered about the quality of the cable used to run through headbands. This way you know that each driver is receiving an identical signal through identical length and quality cables. That may sound picky, but at this level I think it's worth consideration.

 

The T1 cables aren't removable which is concern for some, but many reports claim the stock T1 cable to be excellent and I certainly have felt no need to change it. There are always services to recable if you really feel the need, but I don't see myself ever walking that path (despite being a big believer in the improvements offered by the right cable) because I think Beyer did it well to begin with.

 

Beyerdynamic T1 Neutrik plug

The cable entry is sturdy and well reinforced so I wouldn't expect any troubles at all from normal usage. Similarly sturdy is the large, gold-plated 6mm Neutrik plug which also boasts solid strain relief and reinforcement.

 

There's no doubting that the build quality of the T1s and all parts attached are excellent. To top it off, they come with a lightweight metal box with a moulded foam interior for storing and transporting the flagships. Bravo Beyer for doing a great job of designing a headphone with every piece at the same level of outstanding design quality.

 

Angled Drivers

Beyer T1 Angled Drivers

The other design feature I want to highlight is the angled driver mounting. Hopefully you can see in the image above that the inside of the ear cup (left side in this image) has the driver offset and sitting behind a semi-transparent baffle. It's hard to capture clearly in the image, but the driver is placed forward of the centre of the cup and tilted back. The result is that the sound enters the ear from the front, not the side, when you're wearing the headphones. Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser both have this angled driver design and for good reason - it works. The angled drivers create a far more natural presentation of the sound and the imaging and the staging that results is nothing short of exceptional.

 

Sound

When someone spends $1000+ on a pair of headphones they expect some pretty exceptional sound so are the T1s worth the dough? You bet!

 

The T1s are an interesting headphone - as are most flagships. They have followers who love them and others who will tell you they're a complete waste of money. For me they are worth every cent and do what they do better than anything I've heard so far in my headphone journey. So I guess I should explain what it is exactly that they do.

 

In general terms, the T1s offer a crystal clear window into your music with perhaps a slight rosy tint. They probably aren't 100% accurate in the strictest sense, but they don't add musicality or warmth at the expense of detail and resolution. The number one reason I love these headphones is because they are enjoyable with everything that I have every listened to... provided they are connected to a decent amp. Let me explain.

 

Treble

The treble presentation is the most debatable aspect of the T1s. They have the "Beyer spike" at 8-9kHz which can cause some issues, but I believe it is also the source of the T1's magic. (Note: this final statement is based on opinion and some experimentation only so please take it with many grains of salt.)

 

The treble of the T1s is quite smooth overall, but the spike can bite given the wrong track through the wrong source. I personally found that it was a matter of getting used to it (my T1s were second-hand so I can't comment on burn-in). Today, if I drive my T1s with my Audio-gd NFB-5.2, Bottlehead Crack, or Bottlehead SEX, the results are all quite listenable.

 

Early on, I did find the solid state edginess of the NFB-5.2 to cause some troubles with the T1s, but I think that was also partly because I was coming from the ultra-smooth HD650s.

Many T1 users report great results when paired with tube amplifiers and I have to agree - the T1s are at their sweetest with tubes.

 

Treble Performance

 

You'll start to see a theme here soon, but I'll start by saying that the T1's treble is accurate, precise and agile. There's plenty of extension right up to the highest frequencies, but the drop-off above 1kHz keeps the sound smooth.

 

Detail and texture in the treble is outstanding with cymbals and percussion sounding textured and rich. Sometimes the T1s treble will even let you in on secret slip-ups made by engineers. I was listening to a George Michael track one day and thought I had a piece of hair stuck in one of the drivers because of an annoying buzz / vibration in one channel only. I swapped the RCA channels over to check if my new headphones were temporarily stuffed and discovered that the buzz was in the recording - a recording I've had for around 10 years and never before heard in this way!

 

Of course, highly resolving treble (especially with an 8-9kHz emphasis) will tend to show you some flaws in terms of noise and jitter in your system. I certainly notice the limitations of my DAC now. Even though it's a good DAC, it's not up to the standards of the T1 and will be finding a new home soon to make room for something more suitable. I also found that I benefited from an upgraded USB cable and different, better tubes in my Crack amp.

 

Midrange

 

Beyer

I didn't expect incredible midrange from the T1s because everything I'd read seemed to talk about their treble presentation (for better or worse).

 

I continue to be amazed by the midrange quality from the T1s. The mids are smooth and clean with incredible texture and detail. Some headphones seem to create great mids by pushing them forward and smoothing over the bumps. The T1 seems to create greater mids by showing you everything there is to hear, but doing it smoothly and gently somehow. The nearest analogy I can give is that it's like the ultimate sports touring car where you can feel everything that's happening through the steering wheel and chassis, but you're completely comfortable while driving all out in it.

 

I absolutely love the way the T1s present pianos, synths, drums (specifically toms) and guitars. Everything has texture that I've never heard before in the recordings. Pianos have the same depth that you hear when they're live, every drum has texture and depth, synths and guitars have character, buzz, texture and detail. It really is a magical experience to rediscover your music library with the T1s.

 

I promised a theme when I spoke about the treble and that theme is agility. The thing which makes the T1 so special to my ears is its ability to move effortlessly from each sound to the next. Nothing ever gets muddy. Everything is clearly in its place, but still a part of the overall musical picture.

 

Bass

I was coming from the Fischer Audio FA-011 Limited Editions when I first tried on the T1s and the Fischers are a hard act to follow when it comes to bass quality and quantity. The T1s don't deliver the same quantity of bass as the 011 LEs, but the bass they deliver is probably more accurate while the 011 LEs are more on the fun side.

 

The bass from the T1s is solid and punchy - perhaps a little forward of neutral, but beautifully balanced with the overall sound. The bass supports and complements the overall presentation from the T1s without muddying or clouding the sound or being overshadowed by other frequencies.

 

The impressive part of the T1s bass is its depth. The T1s bass truly goes all the way down and you can clearly hear (and feel) rumbles from as low as 30Hz and perhaps lower as I haven't formally checked.

 

Once again, the delivery of the bass from the T1 is agile, just as it is with the mids and treble. Fast bass passages are clean and punchy while deep rumbles will vibrate your ears in impressive fashion while the mids and treble sing pure and clear over the top. The bass on the T1s doesn't stand out in any way during listening, but that's exactly why it's brilliant.

 

Staging and Imaging

 

BeyerT10045

 

The angled driver design is one of the key features of the T1s along with the >1 tesla of magnetic flux (energy / force). As explained earlier, the angled drivers are meant to deliver the sound waves to the ears in a more natural way which is supposed to result in better imaging. Well the Beyerdynamic sound engineers weren't wrong. The imaging and staging from the T1s is exceptional, bettered perhaps only by the Sennheiser HD800s.

 

Staging

 

The stage from the T1s extends a little outside the head to the left and right while also being quite tall and as deep as any headphone I've heard yet. It might not quite extend in front of you, outside the head, but it's close - right at your forehead if not slightly beyond it.

 

For me, the staging is pretty close to perfect - perhaps it is perfect? I feel like anything significantly larger could become less coherent or a bit unnatural whereas the T1's staging is natural and realistic while still being large enough to fool me regularly into checking for sounds outside of the headphones. For example, just this morning I was listening to "Gator Blood" from Mark Knopfler's new album, Privateering. I fired up the Bottlehead Crack and plugged in the T1s while my fiancée was still asleep. No sooner had the track begun than I took a massive double-take as a reached for the volume knob thinking that my desktop speakers were connected and active. Even after convincing myself that they couldn't be on, I still had to lift the T1 earcups away from my ears to check.

 

That kind of epic imaging doesn't happen on every track, but it's more a reflection of: (a) getting used to the sound of the headphones and (b) variations in recording quality limiting the performance of the headphones.

 

Imaging

 

Equal to the quality of the stage created by the T1s, the imaging is absolutely spot on. Instruments are clearly placed in all three dimensions and you can hear a singer's voice higher than the guitar they're playing and in front of the orchestra behind and beside them. I love the way instruments leap out of the background on the T1s, not in an artificial way, but just cleanly and clearly. Lower level headphones I've heard seem to blend from one instrument / sound / texture to the next like a painter allowing one colour to bleed into the next. If other headphones are slightly blurry in this regard, the T1s deliver everything in high definition. Sounds are crisp, sharp and defined, but not emphasised, edgy or separated - everything is coherent, musical, exciting and enjoyable.

 

Summary

I can honestly say that there isn't anything I dislike about the Beyerdynamic T1s. It's true that they will reveal a poor DAC, amp or recording and may sound harsh as a result (more so with a poor DAC or amp than poor recordings), but this is more because they are true to the source rather than them being flawed and difficult to drive. They also do seem to pair really well with tube amplification because of the smoother presentation, but I have also enjoyed them from solid state amps like the Audio-gd NFB-5.2, Aune S2 Panda Mk2, and Matrix M-Stage amp, all of which are mid-level at most so it's not like you have to break the bank on an amp to enjoy the T1s. That said, you will reap major benefits as you upgrade your source units with the T1. As with any top-end headphones, they scale very well with better gear giving outstanding results.

 

I am yet to find a track or genre that doesn't sound great on the T1s and I know from much discussion on Head-fi's T1 thread that I'm not alone in that regard. To me, these could be the ultimate all-rounder flagship. Other headphones like the LCD-2, HD800s, etc. may do certain things better, but I doubt you'll find a headphone that does anything better (without possibly getting into electrostatic territory which I can't comment on).

Final Comments

There are a number of mods around for the T1 including mods using felt, cotton wool, and acoustic foam inside the earcups to dampen some of the treble. I experimented with the felt mod when I first received the T1s, but every version I tried resulted in tamed highs, but a reduced soundstage and a loss of something magic about the T1s. I kept feeling like they were good with the mod, but exceptional and addictive without the mod.

 

I haven't exhausted all options so I'm not discounting the possible benefits of some of the other mods discussed, but the best things I found to maximise the T1's performance are a good system including a good USB cable (if using computer audio), a good DAC, and a nice amp (tube or solid state, but my preference is towards tube).

Posted

Pros: frequency response, all-rounder

Cons: a bit boring

It's hard to review this headphone as it's the most I have ever spent on a headphone. For starters, I don't really care for the HD800, I do have the SA5000 which I consider much more technical. So of all three which would be the most musical, while delivering an accurate sound? The Beyerdynamic T1 of course!

The sound signature is inoffensive, which is how I would describe it, it's more laid back than the Q701 and DT880. But the treble is never boring like the HD600/650. It can sparkle when you need it and it's not very fatiguing. The downside of this is that it could get a bit boring for some, especially if you're accustomed to a hot signature.  The bass is perfect in texture, slam, weight... simply everything. This is the best bass I have ever heard, it's neutral bass and not for bass-heads, but a 30hz file rattles my head. And the midrange is upfront and clear. A perfect harmony, not achieved by any other headphone I have ever heard (LCD2, HD600, HD800, SA5000, Q701, DT880, etc).

It may seem I am bashing others, but the T1 can do no wrong. It's just very balanced. It's not really an end-game, but an amazing reference. I do think I prefer the Q701 for pure enjoyment though (I'll get on that later).

The soundstage is big and airy, but not like the HD800/Q701. If anything it's not average, but somewhat like the good ol HD555, big and spacious, but not overly big and spacious. It does intimacy much better than the HD800/Q701.

Everything sounds great on these, classical, rock, metal, techno, jazz. It really has the punch for rock/metal despite what many says. The transients seem quick and clear, but not like the SA5000 or the HD800.

Detail... It's still mid-fi class when it comes to detail, it should be compared to the Q701, DT880 and HD600. It just can't resolve as much as the HD800 and SA5000. Whether this is better for you, I can't decide. The good thing is that you can focus on the music, instead of the hidden details. It is very detailed though, don't expect a very high level of micro-detail retrieval, if you're upgrading from the DT880.

It's certainly not fatiguing, and the comfort is excellent. For long listening sessions, it works very well. I forgot to mention, my serial number is in the 5000's range. I don't know if many major revisions were made to them.

Price/performance? Not very good, it's slightly better than the DT880, imagine a much more refined DT880. That's the T1.

Back to enjoyment, here we have a headphone that does nothing wrong, and does everything very well. But it does not manage to be spectacular at something, not at detail retreival, not at soundstage, etc.
I find myself using the Q701 for classical music, and I might use the T1 for classical music that's bass heavy (organs, drums, etc).

I need more listening hours on these to truly decide my opinion. They have roughly 75 hours of listening time. I sold my D7000's to purchase these and I think they are much much better than the D7000's.

Posted

Pros: Transparency,vivid ,openness sound never heard before

Cons: Still a headphone

 

To a headphone over $1000, how should we ask for?

I am stunned by T1's ability about "Transparency", in Harry Pearson's means.

 

All right, Beyerdynamic wins(read:beating my heart) in this generation , maybe Stax C32 could compete against ?

 

This unlimited palpable(yes,you can even touch it!) is not about head-stage, sound-field ,or other terms, just Transparency,this is enough.

Beyerdynamic Tesla T1
Description:

The completely redesigned transducers achieve values of over one Tesla (a unit of measurement for magnetic flux density). That provides the listener with almost double as much volume as traditional headphones. The increased efficiency also leaves the T1 with greater power reserves for dynamic, undistorted sound and lossless conversion of electric signals into sound waves. The extremely lightweight 600 Ohm voice coil provides transparency and perfect impulse fidelity.The elegant look of the T1 compliments the technical achievements, with even the smallest of details selected by hand. This model reaffirms beyerdynamic's commitment to world-class "Made in Germany" quality. Perfect match with beyerdynamic A1 headphone amplifier (see LINKS).

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