Hey all, I recently (about a month ago) purchased a pair of Beyerdynamic T5P headphones, and am now posting a review after listening to them 5-6 hours daily. Prior to purchase, I was deciding about whether to go with these or the Signature Pros by Ultrasone. I went with the T5P's because I saw an ad on Head-Fi that was selling the T5P's (50 hours use) with an attached SAA Endorphin cable (very expensive cable). The cable upgrade was enough to sway me to the T5P's over the standard Sig Pros. While I do not have the Sig Pros to compare the T5P's to, I can at least provide some information about the T5P's. And btw if you ever see a pair of T5P's bobbing around on the trains/BART in San Francisco, that's probably me lol.
The most notable quality about these headphones, in my opinion, is the instrumental separation. The instruments are distinct and well separated so that it becomes effortless to hear the notes from each instrument. However, I've noticed that it seems like some sounds will be emitted more strongly (more emphasized) out of the left earcup than the right one. It's as if with the instrument separation, the earcups attempt to space out the sounds between the cans, and sometimes this can get a bit annoying. It is nice that I can hear each note and sound clearly and precisely, but not so much that it seems slightly imbalanced. Overall instrumental separation is a 10 out of 10, but at the sacrifice of some imbalance between the cans i.e. some sounds seeming louder or more emphasized on one side...typically the left can. To be fair though, I've noticed this slight imbalance between the cans has diminished a bit over time, or maybe I'm just more used to it now...
Portability: These are big cans, make no mistake. They are not immense, but they are large and of medium weight (at least in terms of how they feel on my head). My cable is also heavy and is double helix stranded, so it can be somewhat cumbersome. To date, I have -not- been using a portable DAC/amp, and this is notable because I wanted to test the T5P's purely without any amplification. They are still very portable, in my opinion. The T5P's are very comfortable...I did not find them -as- comfy as others on here have raved, but I do find them (especially the cushy headband), very soft and overall comfortable. In terms of portability, I rate them an 8 out of 10. Docking two points simply for weight and bulk of the headphones. The sound isolation (which is a factor in portability) is very good. I listen to my music between medium volume and leaning loud, and when they're on my head, unless I'm in a very quiet space, essentially very little to no sound leaks out. If I hold them away from my head and they're still playing, sound emits fairly obviously, but still not bad at all. Sound isolation: 9 out of 10. In terms of letting sound in, frankly, when Im on the train or BART, I can hear the sound pretty easily. It is, of course, significantly reduced, but is still pretty obvious. Sometimes I see people with QC-15's, and I do get ever-so-slightly jealous that those cans (probably) cancel out noise better than the T5P's. In terms of blocking out noise: 6 out of 10.
Style & Aesthetics: 8.5 out of 10. Of course, much of what we talk about and believe is opinionated, and this category is subjected to that discretion. Imo, these look great, fancy, but not overt. So that when Im on the train I'm not all that worried these will be stolen or anything. They aren't subtle, but they're not too showy. If anything, my cable makes them stand out more.
Sound Quality: 8.5 - 9 out of 10. Frankly, for just plugging into my iPod 3GS (no amp), these sound really good. At low - medium volumes, they don't sound extraordinary or worth the money, but at slightly loud - loud volumes, these cans really shine and undoubtedly seem worth it. In all honesty, they sound brilliant at times. Animal Collective << especially...Animal Collective could not sound any better, Enya, Ratatat, Amy Winehouse, Nora Jones, and some folkish/Indy music (Joshua Radin, Jack Johnson, The Shins, Bon Iver)....all sound amazing on these. Some bands I've noticed that, in my opinion, don't sound as great are 65DaysofStatic, The Beatles, any music that has a sort of grainy background/ambiance to it. Jazz on these sounds pretty good, but can be piercing at times.
Bass: People have voiced qualms with the bass or sub-bass on these headphones, but I gotta be honest, the bass on these sounds phenomenal. To be fair, I'm no bass-head, but these really have a pronounced bass & sub-bass. The seller that provided me with these told me he thought the cable produced a marked difference in the bass & sub-bass especially. I find that he may be right about that, though I've never tried a pair of T5P's without the cable to compare it against. That said, the jury is still out on this one, but at least in my case, the bass is amazing.
Fade Out: I know there's a more technical term for this, but I can't remember what it's called. I'm new to audiophilia. I'm referring to the ends of sounds where they gradually fade out, such as at the end of a song. Overall, these cans do an incredible job of preserving every last reverberation of sound until it disappears. 10 out of 10.
I know I haven't covered everything, there's mids and treble, and all the nuances and intricacies of music, but I'm not going to delve into this, as I feel that overall sound quality is most important, and I referenced that in a category (above). Overall, I'd give these headphones an 8 out of 10. Even with my industrial cable, these cans could do a bit better. Maybe with an amp, these will skyrocket into the stratosphere, I wouldn't know yet. But for now, merely being plugged into my 3GS, these do tremendously well for the most part, and well in everything. For the money, it's questionable, but I don't regret it.
I wish I could say that these headphones left me so satisfied that I wouldn't want another pair to compare them to, but now I have my eyes set on the Sig Pros (or next available, excellent portable headphone to be released). I feel like the T5P's can be a little bright, and while I love that tinge of brightness on some music, sometimes I can feel myself craving a darker sound signature, as people have stated the Sig Pros emit. I will one day compare these side-by-side. The T5P's, at loud volumes, (not too loud or anything), can also sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. The weight of them + the clarity and slight brightness can get to me a little bit, but not bad enough to where I actually want to take them off. The comfort and overall sound quality are far more obvious and important, and on the whole, make these cans worth the money.