Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Beyerdynamic T1 - disappointing performance in my setup
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Beyerdynamic T1 - disappointing performance in my setup - Page 3

post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Woid View Post

The only area of disappointment was the soundstaging.  It was slightly better than the HD 650, in my opinion, but nowhere near the clear placement of instruments and vocals that my Martin Logan speakers can deliver.


Perhaps that will change when I assemble and audition the Bottlehead Mainline amp.



Thats the area I am most disappointed about as well.  I heard people say soundstage of T1 is amazing and imaging the best they've ever heard from a headphone. So the fact that the soundstage felt small, almost like on a closed headphone compared to K701's for example was disappointing, and imaging is nowhere near as good as on Ultrasone HFI-2400. Even though that headphone is not as good as T1 in any technical way, and the sound is quite colored,  I can hear where backing singers are standing in relation to one another on that headphone on some live recordings, while with most others (including T1) I just get a general sense of whether the sound is coming from left or right. 


As for the improvement over the HD650, that is going to wear over time. T1's, and many other neutral-bright headphones like all Beyers are really impressive when you're used to HD650's. I know that when I got the DT880 600 ohm after owning a HD650 for a year, I was amazed by the clarity and airiness of the sound, but as time went by, I realized its not actually better sound, its just a unnaturally thin and bright sound.  The headphone that for me is THE best dynamic up to HD800 is AKG K701. Maybe its not as "technically good" as the T1 or HD700, or any other more expensive dynamic headphone,  but I'm telling you, comparing it side by side to T1, without ever listening to either of them before, and only knowing one is more expensive than the other, I'd probably say the K701 is that headphone.   It just comes closer to simulating REAL sound than T1's do. It sounds more like a live performance, it has a stronger ability to transport me to another place.  T1's to me sound like a engineering tool, something to be used in a studio, because what they excel at is detail, transparency, letting every single nuance of the recording trough, but that is irrelevant. It fun for a few days, but after some time, you realize that you don't give a damn whether you can hear someone in the 49th row of the theater fart during a classical piece.  I have a cheap speaker setup by speaker standards,  only Kef Q300 paired with a entry level Onkyo amplifier. That pair of speakers + amp is considerably cheaper than T1's,  but T1's, or any other headphone can never even begin to dream about sounding as realistic and musical, there's just no way.  The way how with a speaker setup (even a cheap one like this) you imagine the singers mouth in an area, in mid air, the size of a palm of your hand, you can strongly feel that the sound is coming from that single spot.  Or the way you hear an instrument BEHIND the speakers, and behind the wall at which you're looking at...plus the visceral impact you get from speakers.  That is something headphones cant match.   The longer I listen to headphones (and I've tried pretty much everything minus Audeze, Hifiman and Stax) more the analogy of  headphones = motorbikes,  speakers = cars  is true.   Its fun and exciting to ride a bike, but ultimately, traveling in a car is more pleasant and if I had to chose one of the two, I'd take a decent car over the best sports bike in the world.   True,  a bike will get you more performance at a lower price (like headphones offer more detail and resolution), but a car will give you everything else, which most of the time matters much more.


Also, the longer I listen to headphone, less I buy the whole "high end" thing.  Before I got the T1's, I was really expecting a huge improvement over my current headphones. Reading the reviews I was very excited. But soon after getting the headphones I realized its mostly over-exaggerating. Yes, T1's are ultimate better, technically better at least, than cheaper headphones, but does that really matter?  HD650's, HD600's, K701's,  DT880/990, etc. have plenty of resolution and technical ability already, they're already getting you sound quality way past the quality of most recordings, so usually all you get with T1's are errors or pops, clicks or distortions in recordings that you cant heard with those other headphones.   Its not like a vocal sounds soooo much better on T1's than on HD650's, or an instrument sounds totally different. No, its pretty much identical. What matter most, and what HAS to be improved in order to really achieve a high end sound with headphones (in my opinion) is a soundstage and imaging.  HD800 has an amazing soundstage, in headphone terms.  That same amazing soundstage of the HD800 is easily beaten by a pair of 200 dollar bookshelf speakers placed properly in relation to your listening position. And some may laugh at that, but sorry, that is a fact.  Any speaker setup, at almost any price range, will throw a better and more precise soundstage than any headphone at any price.


That is why for me, as time goes by, the whole headphone high end thing is less and less appealing to me. I just don't connect hi-fi to headphones anymore.  Once you hear a proper speaker setup, like the one you have, you can get the Stax SR009 with the best amp in the world for it, and you still wont enjoy it nearly as much. But of course, speaker setups have their own downsides as well....space, cost, etc.  Either solution is not ideal, whether you chose headphones or speakers, you're not getting perfection, ever, no matter how long you seek for it. Some audiophiles spent their lives in hi-fi, only to die without ever finding what they were looking for.

Edited by derbigpr - 8/15/13 at 12:51pm
post #32 of 36

Wow...that is a little discouraging.


I started using headphones after losing my house in a divorce and living in apartments as I can't enjoy my Counterpoint amps/Martin Logan speakers at any kind of real volume.


I was hoping that it would be possible to get that lovely soundstage with a better pair of headphones and amp.


I believe what you say is true comparing the HD 650 and T1, but I sure love that zingy ear candy for now!

post #33 of 36

Maybe you should look into a Smyth Realiser. No one here ever claimed headphones to have as good of a soundstage as even $200 speakers.



post #34 of 36

Listening through headphones is a completely different experience than listening to speakers. If you are used to listening to a good speaker setup it will take time to adjust to the difference. Some people never adjust to headphones. You will never get headphones to image like a speaker system without special software or the Realiser. I actually enjoy the soundstage through my T1's but I have grown very accustomed to the headphone experience. The brain has a way of compensating. If you listen to your T1's while focused on a wall some distance from you as if there were speakers in that area you might be surprised at the illusion. Sounds will appear in space far from you. Not exactly as speakers would do it but it can be very entertaining and surprisingly realistic. Of course, your equipment must be up to the task and well matched to your headphones.

post #35 of 36
^ completely agree.
Headphones are different, and if soundstage is the most important parameter for you, then stick with speakers.
I personally prefer headphones over speakers, even the good system I used to own a few years ago, because of their ability to drawn me into the music. Headphones give me the timbric correctness and dynamics that no speakers will ever give me...and that's what I search in musical reproduction.
post #36 of 36
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

I've recently bought the T1's and I'm currently using them with a Nuforce HDP dac/amp.  I know this is not a perfect combo, but the DAC section seems pretty decent with the AKG K701, and there's enough power for T1 to get them way too loud nowhere near 100% on the volume knob.  But, the thing is, it sounds disappointingly bad with the T1's.  I mean, in a blind test, between the DT880 600's and T1's, I'd never say T1's are the higher end headphones, because there simply is nothing they do better than DT880's that worth any considerable increase in price from my setup. To my ears, they sound just like a similarly priced headphone with less bass and highs to DT990pros for example, and considerably smaller soundstage.  Compared to K701's, T1's sound tiny in soundstage, really closed in, and quite congested. Not what I'd expect from a top of the line Beyerdynamic. Bottom line is, judging by my setup alone, apart from being better built and coming in a nice case, they're not worth much more than the DT880's or DT990's.  I want to change that.

So, my question is...is the T1 really that unimpressive, just marginally better than DT880 or DT990, or is the HDP really so horrible for  this headphone? Anyone else tried this combo maybe?

I know that the usual suspects for T1 as far as amps go are the Woo Audios. Unfortunatelly, at the moment I can't afford the WA2, the best I can pull off now is the WA3 or maybe WA6.  I was considering the Schiit Lyr too, and Little Dot MkIV.  Any other recommendations that would be a good choice, preferably under $500?

My biggest issue is not the sound signature, or clarity, detail, such things...the biggest issue is a small soundstage. T1's really do sound very small in this setup, not much bigger soundstage or much more air in sound than in the DT770 pro's. Basically on par with DT880's if not slightly smaller.  Soundstage and imaging was something that I expected would really shine on these headphones, especially with many people saying they've got the best imaging they've ever heard, a very big soundstage and a great feeling of presence in the vocals. I don't hear any of that with HDP, its a very in-my-head sound.


Well fellow I don't know if in your case happened the same as me. I had a bad time pairing a Macbook to a Burson Conductor amp to a Beyer Tesla t1 and was listening via a 1/8 inch to RCA cable adapter and that was spoiling the sound. I felt really disappointed because Burson driver is unable to get installed on Mac OS X because it is not signed until I realized it was not necessary to install any driver, just to enable USB audio output on system preferences, the amp dac does the rest. And well, fellow, I can tell you I had not listened to anything like that before, true audiophile experience. So, first, be sure everything is working and then listen. Beyerdynamic really impressed me, however, I am new in audiophile world and have not tested AKG big cans (but I have the earbuds K3003 model and it is amazing). But one thing hard to believe is that Tesla t1 sucks. There must be a failing variable, choose a right amp (Burson Conductor recommended) and a right source (what about Macbook Pro with Amarra software?). Good luck wink.gif
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Beyerdynamic T1 - disappointing performance in my setup