Beyerdynamic Franken 48

General Information

This particular DT48 was owned by the founder of stereophile. They were his reference headphone. The original headband was replaced with another one, so I coined the phrase, Franken 48.

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Pros: Unique headband makes for better comfort. light. Has a warmth & musicality that other DT48 models lack. 3 tier sound stage. Music is more upfront.
Cons: Not as sturdy as other DT48 models. Has larger pins connected to the housing that can come loose. Speed & separation is slightly behind other DT48s.
I feel I was destined to get these headphones. I bid on them & lost. Luck would have it another Head fier was the winner bidder. He too admires the DT48 & has owned as least 13 pairs himself. Due to the unique headband I had to have them! They are also the 200 ohm version. DT48e. The Ebay seller claims they were his fathers. He founded Stereophile & used these as his reference headphone.
Me & Jroth PMed each other back & fourth 3-4 times. He told me these DT48's sounded different then any model he has heard. This speaks volume since he owned 13. He tols me they have a certain warm & musicality to them that other DT48 models lack. After hearing them first hand I agree. I also noticed that they eek out a bit more detail. I'd rate them behind the DT48A/NAGRA DT48S in detail retrieval. But rank them first in Musicality detail. I never understood or could grasp the difference before gearing these headphones. Instruments just have that certain oompth to them.. The edge of a violin, piano key so delicate & palpable you can almost see the finger print, along with the reverb that accompanies it.
The sound stage is wider & are more tonally rich. While the timbre is still neutral, it has a slight hint of warmth. Think 701, but to a lesser extent. It still shares the same strength as other DT48 models. Mid range, coherency, accuracy, balance, & speed.. But this model isn't as good with complex passages as my other DT48's.. There's a hint of congestion & smearing when things get rough. If you never heard the DT48 before you might not catch it.
Like other vintage DT48 models you will get a lack of treble strength & bass depth.. Bass is quick, tight, snappy, & nicely controlled, but lacks in quantity compared to other hi end headphones. Highs are slightly rolled off, but not as bad or as noticeable as the DT48a
I noticed a 3 tier sound stage with the Fraken 48. Think of a vertical line with a start, middle, & end. The instruments upfront will be at their loudest, then the instrument behind then become less loud. This continues until the end of the instruments playing. This is seamless & happens simultaneously. Very interesting & unique. I will need to give this more time to see if it's the headphone or the music, but, any how, I found it very enjoyable.
I'm still not sure what to make of these headphones. Were they internally modded? I can't say. & the previous own is deceased. As I stated early in my review, the original headband was removed. The new headband is a very thick plastic & less sturdy then the original headband. But it's much more comfortable & lighter. The original pads are very warn out, which makes them extra comfortable IMO, albeit a bit to flat.
Even though these headphones are 200 ohms, I find then easier to drive then my 25ohm DT48 models. I can't explain this. I just know they mate very well with my Goldpoint Pro headphone amp. Are these truly one of a kind? I can't say. Jroth has experience with a variety of vintage 200 ohm DT48e headphones, & claims this pair in review sounds different.
They are a nice alternative to the analytical, & what some would describe as dry sounding. They add a little sparkle to the music. They will never be as warm & musical as say, a RS1, but for a DT48 any sense of warmth & musicality is a true blessing.


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