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First impressions of the New T70p Headphones from Beyerdynamic
When Alan from Beyerdynamic USA said there was a new Tesla headphone on the horizon and asked if I wanted to review it, I was like "Daaaaa Winning:)" I was thrilled to get the chance at a sneak peak. The launch of the new T 70 and T 70 p headphones was made at the High End trade show in Munich (May 19-22, 2011). From what I understand these may be the replacement for the current Premium DT770, but nothing final has been discussed. It is also very possible that there may be new versions of the DT880 and DT990 as well, but I am only speculating as I have not been given detailed or concrete information on this topic. However, I can say with great enthusiasm that Beyerdynamic is creating some great new products. I can remember when I said to Beyerdynamic USA a while back, "When are we going to see some new toys already, and when are you guys going to finally make a reference headphone?" Of course, this was pre T1 times and I had felt in the past that while Beyer had some great bang for the buck products like the DT770/880/990, there was not one defining product from them that stood out. Wow, have things changed and all that time I believe they were "doing their homework" and doing a fine job as well. Every 6 months there is a new product launch, the T1, the T5p, the T50p and most recently the DT1350. Now the new T70 series, all of which are very fairly priced for their performance and quality, is coming to town.
At the time of my review, Alan only had a pair of T70p phones for me to dissect and enjoy (rythmically, of course) so that is where this journey will begin. I spent the better part of the 1st 2 weeks listening to Trance and similar genres. As a previous New York City native and DJ, Electronic music has always had a special place in my heart and the day they arrived I had just received some new trance tunes from a friend. Of course that is not the only style of music I listen to, but this is where I began. My first impressions were, "Wow, these are fun and very engaging." They really pulled me in to the music. The T70p does not have the angled drivers like the T1 and T5p. They use the same driver platform as the DT770/880/990. The drivers are much closer to your ears and don't have the same 3 dimensional sound as the T1 and T5p. However, don't misinterpret here, there is good depth to the phones but not like the T1 and T5p respectively. I always found with the T1 and T5p that my skull seemed to disappear or was transparent to the sound. I felt like those phones permitted the passage of music through my skull and it was all around my head. The DT70p is more just around the periphery of my skull and my listening space.
I also believe that the construction of the phones are an improvement over the DT770. The DT770/880/990 always seemed a little cheap looking to me, but at their price point, it is tough to make them look as fancy. The T70p uses the same yokes as the DT770 but have incorporated the T1/T5p sliders which hold the cusps better as you adjust them to fit on your head. The new velour headband and earpads are so much more plush and velvety than the DT770 uses. The pad used between your ear and the driver plate has even been improved. The old version reminded me of the foam plugs I used in my fish tank filters to catch all the fine materials. I don't think it added any acoustical benefit but it is just there to keep the driver plate clean. I have a feeling more thought went into the new material used and it was well worth it. It is a 2 layer material that probably takes care of reflections off the driver plate. The reason I think this is because I always thought there were some reflection issues with the DT770. When I created the Moon Audio Dragon Series DT770, I always added dampening material to the inside of the cup. The new T70p has this dampening inside the cup and I have a feeling the outside pad works in a similar fashion. What did this mean for the sound, you might ask? It is more controlled than the DT770, less sloppy, notes are more precise and there is more sense of impact.
The T70p cups also have a new color which reminds me of Titanium and the emblem stating the model T70p is a shiny material. While I think the plastic cup is similar in nature to the old for whatever reason, it just looks better constructed. The cable looks to be the same cable used on the DT770 however it has a Neutrik right angle plug. However, from what I understand the final model will have a premolded right angle plug like the T50p. Furthermore, these phones will come with a serial number for those of you who like trying to collect your favorite number. The precise point is that it is a much better look and feel over the DT770/880/990. The phones are heavier as well, not because of the casing but because of the new drivers. I popped open the cans to take a look at the new drivers and like the T1/T5p they use a much stronger magnet system. Point in case, this is why I feel the Tesla range sounds as good as it does. Beyerdynamic seems to use the strongest magnets in the headphone industry when it comes to dynamic drivers and in my opinion, it makes a world of difference in many respects.
I used the phones in a variety of different setups. I used them straight out of the latest iPhone, an iTouch, an iQube V2, a RSA SR71b, as well as with the intermediary Cypher Labs Solo or iBasso Boomslang. Finally, I used themwith my computer as a source for the iQube or Boomslang. At 32 ohms they are relatively easy to drive. What I am illustrating here is that while the T5p is a 32ohm phone I find these phones perform much better with high power. For example, the T5p is a little flat and sterile straight out of an iTouch but as soon as you go to an iQube or SR71b they came alive and the same is true when used with a full sized amp like my Luna (see my T5p review). A lot of people find the T5p to be delinquent in the low bass region. I have only thought this if the wrong amp was driving them. Teamed up with the right amp and/or equipment, it is a fantastic phone. Is the T70p as good as the T5p? It is not as refined in sound but I have to say I find the T70p a little more whimsical or exciting in sound. It definitely delivers the bass more effortless than the T5p and it is not a bloated bass like say the Beats series. It is a very controlled low frequency thump. It will be interesting to see what a pad change from velour to leather will do for this phone. I found the T5p had better isolation because of the leather pads. The T5p pads are thicker and wider over the less expensive ones you can get for the DT770. They seem to provide a suction to the head in the same way you can create with custom IEMs in the ear canal.
Was there a favorite setup I used the phones with? At this point no. It was delicious everywhere I placed them. While it performed fine out of an iPod, I cannot say that I truly enjoy listening to any full size can directly from this device. The internal amp just veils the music. I'll use my custom IEMs straight out of an iPod, but that is about it and more out of convenience or for "running outdoors" than anything else.
I have a feeling the T70p will definitely do better for gaming over the T5p. Because the driver is closer to your ear, it will provide bigger impacts during explosion scenes and the like. It reminds me of a great tweak for the Grado RS-1 and PS-1. By going to the flats over the bowl ear pads, it always gave a bigger sense of impact all thanks to the driver being closer to the ear passage. The T5p may benefit from some experimenting with placing wool in the cups. Similar with speakers, adding wool/stuffing to the enclosure tricks the driver into thinking the volume is larger than it is thus adding a little bass hump. Try this with any sealed phone and you may be surprised what it can do. There are so many little tweaks to do with phones to change the presentation, but I'm not going to tackle all of those here.
As I moved from fun music to more reference based pieces, this is where the T5p excelled. I listened to a variation of Acappella, Jazz, Blues and Rock. The attention to detail, spatial presentation, instrument separation, etc. was better with the T5p, but then it should be based on the price point. However, once again the T70p had the ability to really draw me in more than the big brother. I cannot quite put my finger on why, but I found myself listening to them more than the other Beyers. Maybe because it was a fresh sound to me but who knows. Lately, I have enjoyed listening to Funk by artists like Raphael Saadiq and Meceo Parker and music of this nature was a great match as both of these artists have great underlying foot tapping bass. Go pick up Life On Planet Groove by Parker and you will see what I mean...pure enjoyment.
Like the DT770 these phones have very nonfatiguing sound. For office use, I can easily wear them for 8 hours straight. There are no harsh highs or oscillation issues with any of the amps I tried. I have always found the DT880s are the more rounded of the 3 variations (DT770/880/990). I also found these very rounded and not really focused for a particular music style. I doubt I would use them for classical but I would gravitate to less critical listening styles. Electronic, Pop, Rap, Gaming and some types of rock but not Metal or Rock & Roll but more like Beck, Gorrillas and similar bands. I never know what category to put those bands in but I truly enjoy them al. All and all, these are a fantastic phone in a very well placed price category. I would say that I would probably find myself listening to these over the 3 Denons. The Midrange is a little to recessed for me in the Denon's and these are right in focus....
Here are the specs & info as provded by Beyerdynamic USA to me.
The new T 70 and T 70 p headphones continue the story of success started by Beyerdynamic with the Tesla technology. Rugged in design with phenomenal audio quality, the elaborate three-layer paint and the skin-friendly headband and ear pads made of micro velour's emphasize the precious appearance of these headphones – made in Germany. The closed design efficiently eliminates ambient noise – at home or on the go.
With the T 70 and T 70 p models the unique Tesla technology steps into the world of premium headphones. The fully metal sound transducers with powerful neodymium annular magnet ensure maximum performance and high fidelity. The closed design efficiently eliminates ambient noise. Even at a low volume the finest details can clearly be heard: controlled, analytical and balanced from ultra-deep bass to crystal-clear highs.
The T 70 with 250 ohms, a cable length of 3 meters and mini jack plug (3.5 mm) with screwed 1/4" adapter (6.35 mm) proves its power when connected to a hi-fi system at home. A leatherette case for carrying and storage is also supplied.
The T 70 p with 32 ohms, short 1.2 meter cable and angled mini jack plug (3.5 mm) performs well with mobile devices such as MP3 players, tablet PCs and laptops. It is supplied with carrying case, in-flight adapter and 1/4" adapter (6.35 mm).
The elaborate three-layer paint and the skin-friendly headband and ear pads made of micro velour's emphasize the precious appearance of these headphones – made in Germany. While the T 70 with 250 ohms proves its power when connected to a hi-fi system at home, the T 70 p with 32 ohms performs well with mobile devices such as MP3 players, tablet PCs and laptops.
• Tesla technology with highest efficiency
• Excellent ambient noise attenuation
• Headband and ear pads made of micro velour's
• Two versions: T 70 for use at home,
T 70 p for use on the move
• Supplied with carrying case
Street Price $569
Transducer type . . . . . . . . . . . . . dynamic
Operating principle . . . . . . . . . . closed
Frequency response . . . . . . . . . . 5 Hz - 40,000 Hz
Impedance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250 Ω (T 70) / 32 Ω (T 70 p)
Nominal SPL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)
Nominal THD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . <0.05% (1 mW / 500 Hz)
Power handling capacity . . . . . . 200 mW
Max. SPL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 dB (200 mW / 500 Hz)
Sound coupling to the ear . . . . . circumaural
Ambient noise attenuation. . . . . 18 dB
Headband pressure . . . . . . . . . . 2.8 N
Weight without cable . . . . . . . . 330 g
Cable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 m (T 70) / 1.2 m (T 70 p) /
Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . gold vaporized mini stereo jack
plug (3.5 mm) & 1/4" adaptor
Accessories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . carrying case (T 70 / T 70 p)
in-flight adaptor (T 70 p)