Cons - noisy cable, limited long-term comfort, big plug, can be harsh and analytical dependent on source
The beyerdynamic DT 1350 has been quite the surprising headphone for me. As a reference point, most of my listening is with the VModa M100 (XL pads), followed by Grado SR60i, and Sennheiser HD558 mainly for movies. As a college student, I highly value portability and comfort, so I will be offering some direct comparisons to the V Moda M100. I enjoy a relatively neutral sound signature with a slightly elevated bass, but most importantly, a natural sound is important to me.
Build Quality and Accessories
The DT1350 appear to be very well built with a nearly all metal construction. No apparent shakes, rattles or creaks are present. The hinged headband is smooth and adjusting after a while is necessary to increase long-term wearability. The ear cup rotating mechanisms seem solid. Beyerdynamic offers a very nice carrying case with extra carrying space for adapters, splitters, and even my Fiio x3 (Gen1).
When comparing the V Moda M100--a headphone renowned for its build quality and transportability, I give high marks to the DT1350. The DT 1350's ear cups rotate flat for storage in its case. While it doesn't store in as small of a case as the M100, the DT1350's thin, flat case is more suitable for stowing in a backpack along with books and tablets.
My present standard for comfort is the Sennheiser HD558 which disappear on your head. The DT 1350 do not present this level of comfort. Their strong clamping force keeps them snug on your head, but they never truly disappear. I have no issues with the pads; however, the narrow gap between the adjustment mechanism and your ears makes it hard to adjust eyeglasses while wearing the DT 1350. Also, as noted in other reviews, this adjustment mechanism can be quite the hair-puller. The split headband provides moderate comfort, but the rear band develops a hot spot on my head long before the front one. Generally, I can get a comfortable 1.5-2.5 hours of wear out of the DT1350.
My first impression of the DT1350's sound was "wow, the BASS." As a headphone geared toward the professional community, I was not expecting the DT1350's bass. The DT1350's bass digs extremely deep, and is precisely controlled. I consider the V Moda M100 a reference for its bass quality and control. To my ears, the DT1350 trumps it. The DT1350 will rumble on certain tracks, even with my flat EQ. Kick drums kick and bass guitar notes thrum just as they should. To really put the DT1350's bass through the ringer, I played Nigel Stanford's Cymantics. The bass synth drop part way through blew me away, it's bottomless.
My next reaction to the DT1350 was its incredible detail. I could hear Lady Gaga's mouth open as she began to sing with Tony Bennett. As their duet continued, the strength of the DT1350's mids became clear. Vocalists come alive with detail and richness. Female vocalists such as Florence Welch and Adele sound powerful and full-bodied. Guitar work by the likes of Pink Floyd, Boston, and August Burns Red are crunchy and gritty when called for, but also soar into the treble also. Attack and decay on cymbals is quite good, but can be slightly abrasive and harsh at times.
The soundstage and imaging of the DT1350 is impressive for its compact size. Bands sound like they are playing in a moderate sized space, but larger orchestral numbers do tend to sound cramped or unnatural.
The monitoring quality of these headphones is excellent, and at times can be even too revealing for some consumer uses. Particular songs in my collection are revealed to be poorly recorded or mastered under the DT1350's lens. I judge this aspect to be a big positive, even if it means I cannot enjoy some songs. The DT1350 scales well with recording and mastering quality, as well as file bitrate. All listening for this review was done using my Fiio x3 Gen 1 and Motorola Droid Turbo. I suspect that the DT1350 will scale quite well with higher end equipment.
-The DT 1350's cable does have quite a bit of cable noise present when moving around a lot.
-Ear cup adjustment mechanisms must be fully retracted to fit in the case
-The full-sized 3.5mm plug with 6.3mm screw-on adapter are rather large for mobile use.
Florence + the Machine- "Ship to Wreck"
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett- "They All Laughed"
Pink Floyd- "High Hopes"
Boston- "Hitch a Ride"
London Grammar- "Metal & Dust"
August Burns Red- "Everlasting Ending"
Nigel Stanford- "Cymantics"
Pros - Isolation, Strong bass good mids & highs, Responds very well to amping, Portability
Cons - High clamping force, Non replaceable cord, Sound can be a little muddy & flat from phone/portable HO
Not much to say about these that hasn't been said. They really shine with an amp though. They sound very nice out of the Magni2, But to my ears they have more presence and just sound slightly better from my old Shellbrook Super Mini Moy. Comfort is acceptable. Isolation is amazing, I've used these on flights out of my old Sony A726, Very nice. Vacuuming while wearing these is a little spooky, I could easily kick the cord from the wall and not know. I bought these from amazon as a cosmetic blemish item for $129. I lucked out the out side box had some slight damage, but the inner contents were pristine.
Pros - Nice isolation, and ergonomics. Good packaging effort. "Honest" - Good materials sound awesome, bad materials sound like the crap they are.
Cons - Clamping a little tight, have to bend the frame to loosen a little. Microphonics a little irritating when listening in low levels. Mids can improve.
Decided to go shopping to buy myself a replacement for the Sennheiser HD25-1 which has served its purpose touring with me for the last 9 years. Auditioned quite a few headphones, and almost missed the DT1350. Thankfully I was not happy with the sound of the other headphones and headed to another shopping district and chanced upon the DT1350 on demo. Fell in love with the voicing. Had bad relationship with Beyerdynamics in the past, and hated the DT90, but the DT1350 won me over. Big time. Glad I gave the cans a chance, and fell in love. Well done, Beyer.
Mids could be more accurate in my opinion. The high mids somehow sounds a little off. I am used to listening to studio monitors and use them as a point of reference since I spent more than two decades in recording studios.
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Observations after 1 week of using them
Isolation might be affected by the microphonics especially when used in flights/trains. While they are closed cans, they are still better used at home rather than outdoors. Else one will be left guessing where all that "rumbling, second bass note, etc" are coming from. I was hoping that Beyerdynamic and all the headphones company learn something from Westone... BRAID YOUR CABLES!
Geesh... If you are making something portable, consider the microphonics!
Fit is better than it was a week back, and I am loving the seal and how the sound is smoothing out... funny how cars and cans have in common... the "first thousand clicks" to burn/run it in.
I still love the voicing of the DT1350 but this is personal, rather being a "this is the best sound". Because there is no such thing. One man's meat is definitely another man's poison when it comes to preference for sound.
Nice and meaty mids, soundstage still not as open as thousands of other cans out there. If you want an "intimate sound" like listening to a pair of near field monitors in a quiet room, this pair of cans will make you smile.
Make sure you audition a pair of burnt-in cans though... new from the box, they can be a little disappointing.
Aesthetics build, so-so, there are prettier cans out there. Lots of nicer looking ones. These are industrial looking but they get the job done. And comfortable. Wore them for most part of a 12 hours flight, and I was not sore when I landed. That is a sign of a good fit. (I am of medium build).
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(more observations, average listening per day : 4 hours. Can burn-in time : over 200 hours).
The fit is less clampy now. I would say comfortable but you still feel it there. The pads softened as mentioned by the others, and the seal and sweet spot is easier to find now. (Had that "where is my bass" moment before the pads softened). Microphonics still a problem, and would be looking at a solution at some point when I can get some nice braided cables to replace the stock ones.
The voicing of the DT1350 makes me happy, because it reminds me of the Quested speakers I used to love so much in the early years in the studio. The mid range is beautiful, in my opinion. And the low extension is enough for me to enjoy what the bassman is playing without having to feel like I am standing beside a bass amp or subwoofer. Highs can get a little bright but matching with the TEAC HA-P50-B smoothes them out. The DT1350 does not match well with the FiiO E17+E09K combo, as the amp/DAC brings out the worse in the cans. Mids become hollow-er, brights just get brighter... not good at all.
The high frequency response of the DT1350 is really good, and I love the fact that I can pick up all the subtle strings, vocal parts, harmonies, etc. in the recordings. Behaves a little more like the ribbon tweeter monitors at the top end. But for me, the overall voicing works very well. It has the "typical British sound" that I love. (This is an old school reference).
I don't think there is much to add about the "stock version" of the DT 1350. If I get to "upgrade" the very noisy cables, I will come back and post again. Otherwise, this shall be the last update.
If one likes clarity and a neutral sounding pair of close cans, with an intimate sound close to your ears, this is probably one of the best cans out there. Not really on the cheap side, but it will be money well spent.
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(more to come if I manage to find material and time to replace the stock cables)