I owned the Beyerdynamic T50p for a while and liked the sound a lot. The difference to my full size headphones (Denon LA7000 and Stax 404) however was still quite substantial. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to compare my phones to two other portable Beyerdynamics, the T70p and the T5p.
This is my first review, so bear with me. Of course all is quite subjective and the way I hear and feel it.
I will use the phones out of my house most of the time so I tested them directly connected to my iPhone 4S, no portable amp. This might change in the future, but for the time being that is my setup. The music I used for the test was high quality mp3 and Apple lossless, ranging from Jazz and Rock (basically anything between Soft Rock and Metal).
I compared the phones using the following categories:
This is the smallest of the three and the only on-ear phone. It has a tight fit and I can wear for hours (even with glasses). The pressure on the ears of course is noticable and makes it hard to forget that one is wearing phones.
Over-ear phone with soft pads and therefore more comfortable than its smaller brother. The pads are not very deep so my ears touch the backside of the pads. It is not a big problem but a little bit of a bother sometimes. Still very wearable for hours of listening
By far the most comfortable of all three at least on my head. The pads are made of very soft leather and just feel great. The pads are a bit deeper, my ears have enough space in it. These are the phones I almost forget when on my head.
So overall T5p>T70p>T50p
Again, the smallest of the three and really portable. Of course a lot more visible when worn in public than in-ears but still ok in my view. They come with a bag that protects the phones well and can easily be stored in a briefcase.
Much bigger, they look like serious headphones. Depending on personal taste one has to decide if one wants to wear them on the street. They come with a pretty big bag, almost a box, much bigger than the phones themselves. This box definitely won’t fit in a regular briefcase which restricts portability substantially - a fact I don’t really understand. In my view, headphones designed for portable use should come with an option to carry them when not in use.
A bit bigger than the T70p so the same points apply. The T5p used to come with a nice carrying bag just a bit bigger than the phones and therefore a real option for travel. Beyer recently changed this, now the phones come with a big aluminium box (I think the same one the T1 comes in). Great to store them at home but totally unsuitable for travel. In addition they come with a cotton bag that offer almost no protection – a real mystery to me.
So overall: T50p>>T70p=T5p
Surprisingly good sound for a headphone of this size. In my opinion quite neutral with good bass impact and good detail. I especially like the reproduction of voices in slower songs, sound very natural. I liked them better for Rock music, they give a good punch. Jazz is ok, I am missing a bit of detail and sound stage.
Significantly more detail and bigger soundstage compared to T50p – no big surprise given the size difference. Switching between 50p and 70p, the smaller one sounds narrow. The 70p is a little bit better in most areas and sounds a little bit brighter in my opinion. Like the 50p, the 70p is better for Rock. Overall, a serious headphone
Comparing it to the T70p, it sounds significantly darker, more deep bass. Driven out of the iPhone, the T70p seems to have more energy, especially Rock music has a better punch on the T70p, at least in direct comparison. The T5p however has much greater detail and the sound stage widens significantly compared to the 70p. I found myself listening much more to the T5p during the test period. Rock music with average recording quality sounded a bit better on the T70p, the music did profit from the higher energy level. Rock music in good recording quality and especially Jazz sounded significantly better on the T5p, the bigger sound stage and greater detail made the difference for me.
So which one to take? As usually, it depends. If portability is the main goal, then the T50p is no mistake and the best out of the three. I will definitely keep it for shorter trips where the size of the headphone (and the space in my briefcase) is a limiting factor.
For longer trips, if I want great sound quality driven from my iPhone I am seriously considering the T5p – it has a steep price tag but in my view is worth it.