Beyerdynamic T5 3rd Generation

General Information

High-end Tesla Headphones (3rd Generation) closed
  • Closed high-end headphones for sophisticated music enjoyment at home
  • Tilted Tesla drivers ensure a clear and natural sound signature
  • Double-sided, detachable connection cable made from ultra-high-purity OCC7N copper and covered with fabric
  • High-quality, replaceable ear pads made from protein-coated leatherette with memory foam
  • Handmade in Germany

Latest reviews

cash1489

New Head-Fier
Pros: Beautiful Design
Great Build Quality
Nice Detail and Soundstage
Cons: May Have A Little Bit Too Much Bass Energy For Some
Stiff Cable
The Beyerdynamic T5 is a legendary closed-back model in the headphones world, well known for its musicality and wide soundstage. It sits at the top of their wired hi-fi headphone range and contains the best technology Beyerdynamic has to offer, including their special Tesla dynamic transducer.

Today I'm looking at the newest version of the T5, the $999 Beyerdynamic T5 High-end Tesla Headphones (3rd Generation). It’s advertised as having a “more natural reproduction” of high-mid range frequencies than the 2nd generation model. The 3rd generation’s presentation is intended to be more “realistic,” meaning that the timbre of instruments and vocals should be more true to life.

(For the headphone junkies, this basically means a flatter frequency response in the upper mids, most likely a reaction to perceived peaks present in the 2nd Generation model.)

This headphone is ideally suited for at-home listening, but with its 32-ohm impedance and high-sensitivity, you could use it on the go with a digital audio player. But to hear it at its best, you need to use it with a quality headphone amp. That can range anywhere from a USB DAC/Amp like the Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt, all the way up to an Amp/DAC stack like the Topping D90/A90.

If you have a good source, the T5 (3rd Gen) is capable of some mind-blowing sound. It has good detail retrieval, a natural midrange, and an excellent soundstage (especially for a closed-back headphone). However, there is also a bass bump and a little treble edge that won’t be for everybody. That said, If you find headphones with “flat” tuning to be “boring,” then the bold tuning of the T5 may be just what you’re looking for.

Read on for my full breakdown of Beyerdynamic’s latest flagship cans!

Disclaimer: These headphones are on loan from Beyerdynamic. They were provided with the understanding that we would write an honest, unbiased review.




Build/Features

The latest T5 is a well-built, lightweight (360g) headphone with sufficient comfort to support long listening sessions. It’s a circumaural (over-ear) headphone, but the earcups are a little on the small side, so your ears may touch the inside of the earpads or the dampening material covering the drivers (especially if your ears are big like mine) when you have them on.

That said, I found the interior of the cups and the protein leather earpads to be quite soft, and I didn’t feel any discomfort while listening. The clamp is well-judged, allowing the headphones to sit securely on your head without putting it in a vise grip. Soft padding on the bottom of the headband ensures no pressure points on the top of the head. I did have to shift the earcups around to fit my ears in properly and get a good seal around my ears, which is important.

Speaking of the earcup interior, it’s designed with a tilt to position the drivers in line with your ear. That’s intended to give you a better sense of soundstage and imaging. More on that later.

By the way, the earcups also provide a nice amount of isolation from outside noise, so if you’re listening in a noisy environment, these headphones will provide some quiet.



The T5 (3rd Gen) has an understated aesthetic, which is both minimal and luxurious at the same time. The brushed aluminum on the earcups and Alcantara (faux suede used on many luxury goods) accent on the headband add a touch of class without the bling present on the Amiron Copper Wireless, the last Beyerdynamic headphone I reviewed (and loved). I like the new T5 look; it's a lot cleaner than the last model.

Like the majority of Beyerdynamic headphones, this model is built like a tank, using hard molded plastic along with strong metal components for the headband and yokes. Each headphone is handmade in Germany to ensure quality.

As far as accessories go, it comes with a nice hard case covered in Alcantara fabric, a 3 meter (almost 10 foot) detachable Y-cable with a 3.5mm plug, and a ¼” adapter for connection to headphone amps.

The included cable is covered with a braided fabric, making it a little stiff out of the box, but it does loosen up over time. Additional XLR and 2.5mm balanced cables are available from Beyerdynamic. The case is on the large side so that you won’t be sticking it in your bag and running to the coffee shop, but it will provide a safe, clean place for your investment.



Listening to the Beyerdynamic T5 Headphones (3rd Generation)

For my sound tests, I connected the T5 to several DAC/Amp combinations connected to my HP Envy laptop via USB. I started with the $129 iFi ZEN DAC Dac/Amp, then added the $169 iFi ZEN Can headphone amp. Next, I tried the $699 iFi NEO iDSD Dac/Amp combination, then the Topping A90/D90 Amp/DAC stack ($1249 as a pair). All music was played from the TIDAL desktop app.

These options worked well with the T5 when it came to driveability, but as I moved up in source quality, there was a noticeable increase in sound quality at each step. That means you really want to have some quality amplification to get the best out of these. At the end of the day, I settled on the Topping stack, and that’s where my sound impressions come from.

Overall, the T5 (3rd Gen.) has a warm sound signature with some elevated treble and a bump in the midbass, which adds excitement to the sound. It’s not a flat reference tuning by any means, so those who like that kind of sound should probably listen to this headphone before buying. But if you’re the type who thinks flat = boring, then the T5’s sound is probably right up your alley.

The T5 has a lot of great detail on the top end, making strings, horns, and guitars sound exquisite. Transients and percussive attacks also come through clearly, which makes music come alive in a beautiful way. Instrument separation is excellent. There is some treble edge that comes through on some songs, so if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, that is something to think about. But overall, the treble is handled well.



As far as bass/midrange is concerned, the midrange is handled very naturally for the most part. Flattening out the midrange seemed to be one of the main improvements advertised for this headphone, and I’ll say that was a positive. The mids sound quite realistic most of the time, and vocals, especially female vocals, are presented palpably with lots of emotion. Piano, horns, and strings again come across with a live realistic quality.

The bass will probably be the most divisive part of this headphone, as the midbass is pushed well above neutral. This does provide aural fireworks in the form of bass punch, dynamics, and weight, making the T5 a very exciting listen. But to me, it also makes the rhythm sound too exuberant in places.

If a song has a strong bass emphasis, instruments like drums can come across as too bloated, which I’m personally sensitive to. There also seems to be some bleed into the mids on the same songs, adding some coloration to deep male voices. Besides that, there also seems to be a sub-bass roll-off, which takes away some thump from places I expect.

When it comes to Soundstage and Imaging, I must say this is one of the T5s biggest strengths. The tilted drivers combined with the treble air in the frequency response make for a headphone that plays well outside of the earcup, remarkable for a closed-back headphone. It also images remarkably for a closed-back headphone, allowing you to pick out individual performers and instruments set out in front of you.



Playing Some Tunes

Listening to “Teach You” from Emily King’s “Sides,” I was really taken by how the T5 imaged and presented space. Being a duet (with Emily King and Sara Bareilles), it’s entertaining to hear the two spectacular vocalists' harmony and interplay. On a headphone that resolves well, like the T5, you can clearly hear the two singers' placement next to each other along with the distinct differences in their singing styles, which is mesmerizing.

I also put on the MQA version of “Lucky Seven” from Dave Holland’s “Good Hope” album, and I was amazed by how naturally the T5 reproduced the percussion darting all around the soundstage. The horn notes were a little edgy, and the bass notes had just a bit too much bass energy for my taste, but the excellent instrument separation and technical prowess of these headphones were undeniable. It also displayed the T5 great dynamics, as it moved from the initial quiet passage to the loud horn part without missing a beat.



Compared to the Mr. Speakers AEON Flow Closed

The AEON Flow Closed (1st version) was the only other closed-back headphone I had on hand that was close to the T5’s price range, so I made a quick A-B comparison. Listening to the Lucky Seven song again, the AFC was definitely a lot less lively than the T5, exhibiting a lot less punch and dynamics. The T5 was just a more fun listen overall; its rhythm really just propelled the song forward in an exciting way that was pleasing.

The AFC, however, played the song with a little more microdetail (partially the planar’s driver character vs. the dynamic), allowing you to hear stuff like the hands beating on the congo drum (?), along with the individual notes coming from the horn. I appreciated the flatter tuning of the AFC since it allowed me to hear “into” the track more. Still, I can understand those who prefer the excitement of the T5; the AFC actually did sound a little “boring” next to the Beyerdynamic.

The Wrap Up

As I said initially, the Beyerdynamic T5 (3rd Generation) is a good looking, well built, lightweight headphone that’s comfortable for long listening sessions. They have just a little too much bass emphasis for my taste, but I couldn’t help but fall for the T5’s detail, naturalness through the midrange, astounding soundstage, and imaging. If you’re looking for a warm, closed-back headphone with hi-fi chops, then you should check this one out!

This review was originally published at hifitrends.com
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rasmushorn

Headphoneus Supremus
Beyerdynamic T5
Pros: Nice soundstage, top class resolution, naturalness and very comfortable.
Cons: Cable tends to curl, not for listeners craving forward mid-range.
I received the T5 for review purposes through a connection at the Danish Beyerdynamic distributor of the professional Beyerdynamic product-line. I have them on loan for some days to spend time with them and then they have to go back to Beyerdynamic again. I am not associated with either Beyerdynamic or the danish distributor in any way, so I can share my sincere impressions with no strings attached. Here it goes…

I recommend that you read my impressions of the T1.3, (found here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/beyerdynamic-t1-3rd-gen-out-now.938562/post-15868396 ) I sort of went through the same journey with T5.

September 11th, right out of the box.
Right after listening to T1.3, where I in the beginning thought there was too much bass impact, it was pleasure to shift over to T5. It has a bit more balanced sound and a tiny bit less darker sounding than T1.3. The bass in T5 is not a dominating as I felt it was in T1 in the beginning. Compared to what I was used to listen to (ER-4XR and DT1770) there is still not the same treble and upper mids sparkle as I like from DT-1770 Pro. At this point I am not sure neither T5 nor T1.3 is something for me. The signature is just too dark for what I normally like.

Listening to jazz I hear a T5 that is really good at acoustic bass. But bass still has a bit too much energy sometimes. It just tips the whole balance over to become too dark and there is no joy in listening to them for me at this point.

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September 15th
If you read my impressions of the T1.3, (found here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/beyerdynamic-t1-3rd-gen-out-now.938562/post-15868396 ) you will know how I have been using them for a while without the dampening pads that cover the drivers. I did remove the pads also on the T5 and I initially liked the sound better without the pads because my ears was not adjusted to the bass impact. I spend some time listening to T5 without the dampening pads and I never really connected with the sound. Even though there is less bass, and I like that I could take some of the low end energy away, there is also a wrong balance I the mids and treble. I am not able to point out in what exact Hz-region there is too much energy, like a lot of other people can, but snare-drums on some recordings just gave me listening fatigue without the pads. There are some resonances or sharpness, that make the sound too harsh and it is clear that the dampening pads play an important role in the T5 signature.

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After a conversation with Günter Weidemann from Beyerdynamic, the product manager of both T1 an T5, I was convinced that the pads were in fact intended to stay in place and that I just had to spend some more time listening to the fuller bass and get used to more impact in the low end. I think the T5 sounds worse than T1 without the pads in their place and it is clear to hear that it had to go back to its place.

Like with the T1.3 the new T5 is not just a minor update to the former T5ps. The T5 is redesigned in several ways. Günter Weidemann wrote the following to me: “Beside of the dampers as being part of the outer damping, the inner damping of the driver is also modified, in order to achieve the intended balance between inner and outer damping. And the dampers of T5 are even different to the ones of T1 for independent optimisation of the sound signature.

This made me a bit curious and I took a look inside the T5 to see if I could spot the differences. As far as I can see from old pictures of T5p the mesh over the driver looks a bit thicker, also there is a filter in the middle of the air-vent over the driver itself that play a significant role in the tuning the sound. Otherwise there does not seem to be any immediate changes in the house where the driver sits. Whatever the changes are, it is clear that T5 is not the same as T5p gen 1 or 2 and it is also a clear answer to the ones who think that removing the dampening pad and mounting the T5p2 cushion will make this a T5p2. It will not!

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September 21st
Now, I am back with the dampening pads in their place and I can now appreciate the sound. I can now hear that they should indeed NOT be removed. Again, when adjusting to a new signature it is just important to spend enough time with new headphones - and speakers as well - before you can know how they really sound.

I am listening to “Black Rider” from the new Bob Dylan album “Rough and Rowdy Ways” and WOW his voice sounds soo good. It it presented with such clarity and detail. Also, there are some drum-hits in the background. They are so far out of the soundstage that I thought I could hear someone knocking on my front-door a couple of times. The soundstage that I hear with T5 is VERY good maybe some of the best I have heard for a closed headphone. Such an open sound and with space around the instruments. Again, I hear the T5 as being just a bit brighter than the T1.3. The bass is hitting a tiny bit harder in T1.3 than T5 but the music flows easily in both headphones. It is clear that both headphones are aiming at a more natural sound and not for the analytical mids or treble demanding listeners.

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September 24th
Today I had time to do a little A/B testing with my current closed reference headphone the DT-1770 and T5. One thing I immediately hear is a big difference in how the two headphones brings voices forward. In 1770 vocals are placed in the center of the music in T5 they are placed further backwards. Bass has more impact with T5. 1770 has the brighter signature of the two but there is an ease, a relaxed way of playing the music that is really satisfying in T5. T5 has a nice slam and punch in the bass, more texture in the low end more dynamic range in all frequencies. Drums and percussion instruments are played fast and with a real tight pace. With a lot of space and more ease, yet totally controlled.

In some recordings I do tend to get a little listening fatigue from snare drums in T5, I also do sometimes hear a thin veil with T5 that is not there in 1770. On the other hand sometimes the music can be a bit flat and lifeless with 1770 when changing directly from T5. I am talking about small differences here. But that exact thing that made me buy the 1770 in the beginning, lifelike sound and naturalness of instruments, the T5 just do better.

The main difference is still a noticeable darker sound in T5, less mids and treble presence. I can appreciate both headphones and if I wasn’t sitting here changing back and forth all the time I can enjoy both headphones in each their way. They are clearly created with different purposes in mind. 1770 is a professional more analytical “tool” and the T5 is for music and listening pleasure.

There is less space inside the T5 ear-cups than DT-1770. With T5, my ears touch the cushions with 1770 my ears do not touch the cushions around the ears but barely touch the material covering the drivers. The T5-cups feel smaller on the inside. T5 is also lighter to wear with 360 gram. DT-1770 weighs 388 gram. 1770 has a bit mor clamping force and grip around the head and that make the T5 more comfortable to wear. Not a night and day difference but it is noticeable when changing between the two.

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T5 will definitely be on my wishlist, but I do prefer the sound of the new T1.3 over the T5. I do not need the isolation from a closed headphone where they will be used. T1.3 has the edge in transparency and with the new 32 Ohm driver, T1 is a versatile headphone that sounds great with both my portable amplifiers and my Meier Daccord+Classic at home. If you are looking for a closed headphone with a natural way of presenting music, you will not be disappointed with the new T5.

Listening gear:
24 / 48 FLAC, Audirvana on a MacBook Pro.
USB out to Meier Daccord ff, Chord Mojo or iFi Hip-dac.
Amplifiers: Meier Classic ff, Meier Corda Quickstep, Chord Mojo or iFi hip-dac.
Arniesb
Arniesb
How sub bass compares vs 1..3 mate? You said T1.3 have more bass impact?
rasmushorn
rasmushorn
Yes, the T1.3 has more impact in the low end than T5.

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