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.
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.
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.