beyerdynamic Tesla T1 - Reviews
Pros: One of the best allrounder, high quality sound.
Cons: Cable uppgrades a little hard, but not impossible.
Extremly good sound and a very good allrounder, perhaps the very best. Have tried mine on different amp's both tubes and transistors and it has never let me down yet.
They need some "breaking in" time.

I higly reccomend this if you are looking for some well buildt and amazing sounding headphones, and if not the price scare you, this have to be tested out if you are in the marked for some new High-End headphones.
Pros: Sound, Comfort
Cons: Price
This is my review of the T1's. I purchased a pair from Meier-Audio in Germany and I paid €1900 for the entire combo including headphones, headpone-amplifier and DAC. This price is including a very nice discount. I received them on Tuesday this week (3/27/2012) and I've been breaking them in every day since then. This is actually the first product I own were I experience a very obvious break-in and the headphones have improved alot of time. The gear I've been using to feed the headphones with are all Meier-Audio products: Corda Classic and the Corda StageDAC (+a computer with FLAC-files). The sound is extremely transient fast. It sounds like they reveal everything in the recording. Or atleast I hear alot of things I didn't before (what a cliché, I know, but it's true). I'd say it's a very versitale sound. They can make extreme metal sound brutal, and they can make ambient music sound very soft. So I feel the headphone combo bring out what the artist intended. The sound has become more fluid over time which I also like alot. I get the same fluidity as my speakers, but with a higher resolution. The only thing I find I like more in my speakers (Klipsch RF82) is the bass and dynamics. But all in all the headphones and Meier-gear is state-of-the-art equipment. Enjoy!
Pros: Comfort
Cons: Price
1st set died on me within 6 days.
 
Right side suddenly no sound.
 
Headband leather was very thin and looks prone to tears.
 
Replacement set's headband was much better. 
Pros: ok sound
Cons: not so good sound with solid state amp
harsh highs if not suited amp.
not engaging enough.
could be better for the price.
midrange is not that good.
bit heavy.
velour pad too hot.
chunky cable.
 
build quaility is 10/8 (for the price)
-velour pad always full of dust
-cable always in way
 
groovyd
groovyd
for me burn in made a HUGE difference.  In fact I have had it for over 6 months and it is still getting better.  I do agree however regarding the heavy cable  that I think some people get a bit too into the 'well thicker means lower resistance and more durable' type argument.  I mean you pay more for the good stuff so you expect more.  But really I think for the most part cable differences aren't worth the cost/weight/benefit trade off.  Sure a cable should be decent but I personally prefer light and flexible and replace it if it ever falls apart.  Personally I have never had any headphone cables that needed replaced even on walmart $9.99 special series buds. I would be very happy with their T5p cable and connector on the T1's but with a slightly longer cable.
groovyd
groovyd
... if you discount the cable they aren't actually very heavy headphones at all.  relatively light in fact.
groovyd
groovyd
... oh and one more thing :wink:  I would like if they had a small internal set screw for adjusting the headband position and locking it from moving about.  The little dimple setup they have is a bit weak and unsure.  I have no issue with the sound signature by the way, just the cable and adjusters.
Pros: Transparency,vivid ,openness sound never heard before
Cons: Still a headphone
 
To a headphone over $1000, how should we ask for?
I am stunned by T1's ability about "Transparency", in Harry Pearson's means.
 
All right, Beyerdynamic wins(read:beating my heart) in this generation , maybe Stax C32 could compete against ?
 
This unlimited palpable(yes,you can even touch it!) is not about head-stage, sound-field ,or other terms, just Transparency,this is enough.
Pros: Clean and overwhelming sound, comfy, resistant.
Cons: Price a bit, but you get what you pay for.

 
Knowing the 600 and 250 Ohm Beyers (880s), both are pretty good headphones and one of the best values in the market.

But the T1 got a better soundstaging than the 880s, is as fine in the highs, or even more detailed than the 600 Ohm 880, and solid sounding in the base like the 250 Ohm 880, and much more resistant.

Driven with a solid amp in balanced mode, the headphone is a absolute beauty.

No headphone is perfect, so the T1. He needs a little equalization to get even better. (Like Senn HD800 and others can getting better with a good EQ / digitally EQ)
Notching the 8 kHz peak a bit (-5 dB) and between 80 and 400 Hz a little (-3 dB), and there it is: My heady for the next few years.
 
Pros: Neutrality and naturalness of the sound.
Cons: Very unforgiving of poor quality recordings.
I won't get too technical or get too in depth int his review. I will just state what I believe these headphones do and how they sound, just very straight to the point.
 
The T1 is beyerdynamics' latest entry into full size open dynamic headphones. This model can achieve one Tesla with it's new driver and magnet system. This allows the T1 to be far more efficient and easier to amp than the DT880/600Ohm by quite a bit. This also means your amp won't strain to power them like some amps do with the DT880/600 (and this is from my experience). 
 
IMO the Tesla 1 is at about the same level of the HD800, but I vastly prefer the T1 as it sounds more natural and dare I say less synthetic than the HD800. The HD800 has a leaner sound with more prominent treble and less bass, though the bass on the HD800 is slightly more accurate.
 
Well onto the sound. I will be comparing to the HD800 in this review as I find them to be in the same league. I will go in sections: DETAIL, TRANSPARENCY, TREBLE, MIDRANGE, BASS, SOUNDSTAGE, CONCLUSION. 
 
DETAIL:
With this headphone you can hear a lot of things you may have never heard before, such as footsteps, raindrops, and even whispering. The detail retrieval is very close to that of the HD800, but rather more subtle sounding. The HD800 seems to revel in it's ability to bring out the smallest details. The T1 still has nearly the same amount of detail as the HD800, but it's just not so painfully obvious. The HD800 makes you want to focus on the details while the T1 is more of actually listening to the music, but that's my view on it.
 
TRANSPARENCY:
Man oh man these cans can reach deep into the music. They are so transparent that you can hear nearly everything that's there. I don't have the HD800 on hand but I would say the T1's are slightly more transparent. The transparency really shines in the midrange where the guitars and vocals are. The guitars are so crisp and clear and you can hear fingers sliding up the fret board and can hear little nuances in the voices of singers.
 
TREBLE:
The treble on the T1 is really great for many reasons. It extends just as high as the HD800, but unlike that headphone it is not as in your face. To me the T1's treble is very smooth without a hint of stridence or harshness. It also sound more natural to me. The treble is also very airy, not as airy as the HD800's, but very close. I also found the treble to be very detailed.
 
MIDRANGE:
The T1 has the best midrange I have ever heard. It has exceptional resolving capabilities as well as being more transparent than the HD800 in my mind. I also found the midrange to be more fleshed out than the HD800's, and though the T1 has neutral mids they are very slightly warmer. This warmness makes music sound more natural and lifelike. To me the HD800's mids were really good, but a little thin and could be somewhat lifeless on certain recordings. 
 
BASS:
The T1 definitely has more bass then the HD800 and this means more body and impact. I also found that the T1's lower most regions are a little rolled off, but not by that much. In fact I think the rolled off bass can make music sound more natural. The T1's bass still extends nearly as deep as the HD800's, but has more body and impact without sacrificing control or tightness. The bass of the T1 is more impactful than the DT770/DT880 but less than that of the DT990. The bass to me is perfect in it tonality and texturing capabilities which are really exceptional.
 
SOUNDSTAGE:
The soundstage is clearly much bigger than any of the DT770-DT990 variants and is also airy. I found it to be almost as big as the K702's soundstage, but has more depth and height to it. It's a really big stage that is nearly as big as the HD800's, but to me the HD800's is a little too big. The T1's is very spacious and provides great reproductions of spatial nuances and separation of instruments as well as providing a more accurate stereo image. Speaking of imaging, it's nothing short of incredible. You can place musicians on the stage really well and little nuances can be picked out really easily.
 
CONCLUSION:
I find the T1 to be a very good headphone and also the best reference all rounds out there. It has a very liquid and natural tonality that is heard to beat at any price. It's easily my no.1 recommendation for those who do not have a budget.
 
 
Also the T1's are very unforgiving of low quality audio and if fed crap, they will spit it back at you. As for me I don't really care as I will use them anyways :wink:
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Kirnupiima
Kirnupiima
This made me buy them. The things you say here are just what I wanted from a headphone.
city98
city98
Are these heavy?
heart banger-97
heart banger-97
You said that you don't have hd800 in hand? Then how did you compare them?
Pros: Nearly perfect sound image, and so on.
Cons: A little hard to put on.
 
Beyerdynamic Tesla 1, often called T1, is a terrific headphone, indeed, but if I have to say, I’d say that T1 is an interesting headphone, rather than a terrific headphone, IMO.
 
Premise: I listen to classical music, like symphonies, concertos, piano solos, etc.
 
Let me talk about the normal pros first, which are outstanding but not so unique.
 
T1 has great transparency, same as HD800. Both cans have the ability to rebuild the “atmosphere” of the scene of recording. T1 and HD800 do much better in atmosphere rebuilding than other cans (I have to apologize for having not heard to PS1000, 007mk2 and other flagships singing.) do, at least better than K701, HD650, and DT990/880 do. 
 
T1 is very balanced, with great energy. With great balancing and tremendously wide dynamic range, T1 is able to play symphonies easily. I believe that HD800 is balanced as well, but sometimes, when HD800 is plugged into a “wrong” headphone amp, the bass disappears and the sound image becomes loose: even if HD800 has pin-point positioning, it’s not so enjoyable when listens to symphonies. Very weird. Of course, on the contrary, if HD800 is plugged into “right” amp, it will be enjoyable listening to symphonies with HD800. However, pleasure got by the listeners hearing to T1 and HD800 are different: It’s about the “scene type.” Lets talk about this later. 
 
And it’s the neutrality. Sound of T1 is very neutral; however, if compared with HD800, T1 loses. Some say that HD800 has “the art of neutrality.” I think the statement meets the exigency. I like neutrality, and I like T1 better, but I have to admit HD800 does better in neutrality, IMO. 
 
At last, let me talk about what makes T1 so phenomenal and what makes me love T1. Interesting and great, but more interesting.
 
I haven’t heard to many cans so far, but in my experience with K601, HD800, DT990 and so on, “stage” and “scene” created by T1 are totally different. Stage and image created by T1 are so right and normal that these created by other cans seem deformed a little, including these  created by HD800. I’ve heard a way of saying, which somehow can express my thought: to analogize, if T1 has a normal len, then other headphones have wide-angle lens, in which images of objects usually seem distorted. Holographic, I’d say, even if the stage created by HD800 is bigger than this created by T1 by a -not big but- obvious gap. Because of such great imaging, maybe, all details go to the position they ought to be at, making the whole music more natural. In my opinion and experience, no other cans has such ability, and just this characteristic makes T1 phenomenal. 
 
To sum up, T1 has these pros (some aren’t discussed):
 -Neutrality. (HD800 does a little better.)
 -Detailed.
 -Great transparency and ability rebuilding atmosphere.
 -“Normal,” “right” imaging and soundstaging. (HD800 has a bigger stage, but not so right.)
 -Grainless.
 -Energized.
 -Musical and exquisite.
 
BTW, I want to complain that I always spend much time putting my T1 to the right position on my head. To me, this is the only con of T1.
recarcar
recarcar
So tempted to buy these! :I
Pros: Terrific sound quality, great build quality
Cons: Heavy cable, $1300 price tag
Just throwing my two cents in... 
 
These headphones are terrific.  And having come from some of the older flagship headphones (K702, DT880, etc.), I can say these are clearly a more reference quality headphone.
 
The sound is revealing yet never harsh.  The treble response, to my ears, is sweet and very slightly rolled off.  It is part of the reason why these are not fatiguing headphones.  And the midrange?  Boy oh boy...  It's the most resolving midrange I've ever heard.  Voices and instruments not only sound fantastic, they sound more real than with other headphones I've heard.  And by some measure, I might add.
 
My only nit to pick with the T1 is a slightly difficult one to describe, and it pertains to the bass.  (And I'm perhaps in the minority on this as well.)  While the headphones have neutral bass quantity, and nice bass impact, I find that the bass recedes slightly during complex sections of some music.  It's not terribly objectionable, but something that my ears pick up on from time to time, and keep these headphones from reaching a pure 5-star audio quality rating, for me. 
 
Also, to be fair, there is a shadow of a chance that my amplification is not up to the task of driving these cans.  While they are rated at 600 ohms average, the impedance at ~100Hz is off the charts, and is reported to be somewhere near 1300 ohms.  Wow...  So, in order to get bass thump, you really need beefy amplification.  I will revise my assessment of this nit-picky problem if I come across an amp that helps resolve the receding bass...  Otherwise, it is, like I said, a minor quibble that I can live with, in an otherwise stellar set of cans.  Terrific in fact...
 
And, if the price tag were a little lower, it would be easy to recommend the T1 to anyone and everyone.
 
Edit:  My quibble with the disappearing bass seems to be tied to amplification after all.  I have just received the DNA Sonett amp, and the bass throught the T1 seems more fleshed out, and seems to sustain through busier sections of music. 
Pros: Very musical with great detail,bass and a stellar high end
Cons: expensive
When I ordered the T1 I really was not sure it would be a keeper. I bought a open box unit with full warranty. The headphones were burned in so listening time was much quicker for me as they needed no burn in. The first time I put them on using my Matrix M Stage and Marantz DV6001 was uneventful. There were no wow moments with this headphone.
 
During the weeks that followed with the T1 I started to realize there were no problems or colorations I could identify. I started to realize that there was something special with the T1. The sound reminded me less hifi and more of a live musical event. I had noticed the tone of instruments were nearly what I had heard live in a concert ,whenI attended with Chris Botti and the Philadelphia orchestra.
 
The sound coming from the T1 is really unique in a headphone. It is balanced with great detail and an open window into the sound stage that extends both wide and deep depending on the recording. The midrange is grain free with well defined imaging, and the transparency is like I have never heard  other headphones. The bass is tight ,well controlled, and sound almost perfect. There is no tipping of any bass or treble with these cans
 
The most impressive quality of the T1 is can be used with any genre. It feels comfortable whether playing Pink Floyd or Beethoven. Vocals are presented with a lifelike transparency with no sibilance on  vocals unless it is a poor recording. The T1 just plays music as recorded and presents what the source is presenting.
 
Beyer manufactured a headphone that is built like a Mercedes Benz and will provide the listener with years of enjoyment. The T1 has performed with my Matrix M Stage to a very high level. The headphone is the most neutral headphone I have heard to date. It just plays music as it was meant to be heard.
 
The T1 is not a wow headphone. It is a reference headphone that plays the recordings as they would be played in a live setting. The most important quality that I see in the T1 is that it is so good playing all types of music, and it is the only can I own that can do that. If you are looking for IMO the most near perfect phone, the T1 is a can't miss can to own. I find its gets the most of my head time and I decided tyo buy the T1 as I feel this will be my end all headphone. I am sure there is better but I have not heard any that will perform as near perfect as the T1. Very highly recommended and a true Five star performer.
averageaudio
averageaudio
What amp did you prefer/use with these headphones?
Frank I
Frank I
Tube amplifiers perdform best
Pros: detailed, dynamic, focused
Cons: tonally overdamped, ultimately univolving
See a full discussion on the following thread:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/497596/t1-v-dt880-600-round-1.
 
Like The Monkey, I tried gallantly to like these headphones but, for me, they fell short.  While they do lots of things very well, for me there was no synergy among the parts working as a whole.  I ended up preferring the DT880/600 and have since sold the T1 with no regrets.
Pros: Neutral, Comfortable, Well built, Detailed and comfortable sound, Soundstage!
Cons: High Impedence means you cant use it with portable sources like iPods
I have been a fan of Grado sound for over 4 years now. My first set of cans was Grado SR60 which I replaces with the RS2 and finally with GS1000. I loved their fastpaced and fun sound, they are and forever will be the perfect Rock and Metal and Bollywood cans! (Yes I am a big fan of music from India). But I could never wear them for more than an hour because my head would be hurting with what some call harsh treble.
 
Now before I go further in this review, I want to talk a little bit about my music philosophy (for whatever its worth
 ): "When headphone makers such as Grado, Sennheiser, beyerdynamic, AKG release their headphones they never tell you what source or amplifier to use. Thus I believe that for a headphone to be 'really' good they must sound good with any amplifier as long as they are impedence matched."
 
The reason I mention this is because just because I get a new headphone I must not change my entire source / amplifier setup. Which essentially means that the headphones must be Neutral. They should sound exactly like the sound coming out of the 'headphone out' of the amplifier. Now many have suggested that the panacea to overcome Grado treble is to get a Tube amp like Woo Audio 6 or Zana deux, but I say why, the sound coming from the extremely detailed Benchmark DAC1 or the slightly warm Lavry DA10 should sound good and the headphones should not add to any harshness other than that present in the original recording.
 
Thats where Testla T1 come in. They are neutral: they donot provide any texture to the music other than what the source / amp provide. Therefore when I plug them to my Macbook Pro or Lavry Da10 or any other source they sound musical, they donot accentuate lack of detail in the Macbook pro output or muddle the bass in the Lavry DA10 warm headphone out. This is something which the GS1000 and RS2 lacked sorely. They needed me to use the EQ to sound 'natural', using Grado is like having headphones with a built in Loudness button, extremely groovy and fun but lacking the comfort and left you feeling as if you are listening to some part of the music - this is called by many as a dip in the mids.
 
Both GS1000 and T1 are extremely fast they have great sound stage but the T1 beats the GS1000 handily in width of soundstage. You can feel different instruments placed in 3D space as if you are present at the time of performance. This is especially true of Vinyl recordings that were not badly remastered to make CDs.
 
GS1000 have more visceral punch in the Bass which T1 definitely lacks. T1 is not Bass light but if you switch from Grado to T1 you feel something is missing, but as time passed I realized that I am not missing anything but gaining immense details in the mid bass and vocals.
 
T1 treble is more refined that Grado, which comes out a grainy in comparison.
 
In terms of comfort GS1000 are much more comfortable that T1. The light wooded construction, classy goat skin leather headband and the roomy bagel pads  were a perfect fit on my medium sized head. T1s are a lot heavy and cause my neck to hurt if I am sitting with them with neck bent to work on my computer. Having said that T1s feel more solidly built and come with 5 years of warranty from beyerdynamic as compared to 1 year with Grado GS1000.
 
Stock cables on GS1000 and T1s are 24AWG oxygen free copper, which to me sound just about okay for headphone application. It might be worthwhile to upgrade the cables to 18AWG (such as ones ALO audio provides), but I wouldnt recommend anyone to go for overpriced 24 AWG cable. I am an electrical engineer and there is no way 'snake oil' covered 24AWG cable will make any tangible difference in the sound of the headphones.
 
 
So which do I prefer, ofcourse the Tesla T1.Dont get me wrong GS1000 are better than every other headphone I have heard, save for the T1.
 
 
Pros: Great build quality, no terrible flaws
Cons: Joyless, lack of impact and immediacy
BORROWED FROM A FELLOW MEMBER
 
Wow, did I want to love these headphones.  And I just don't.  They're fine.  They don't do anything horribly wrong.  But the also don't do anything extraordinary, and for the price being charged, they should.  I think the HD800 is better.  However, it is a very comfortable phone and the build quality is superb.  Just a bit blah to me.
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zorin
zorin
Utterly right.... Sorry mate [But if you enjoy HD800 then that's what matters]
The Monkey
The Monkey
Bottom line is that both of the headphones we are discussing are pretty boring and, for the most part, overrated.  With certain amps, the HD800 can sound decent.  Not amazing, but pretty good.  The T1 isn't in the same class.  And neither of them holds a candle to a good stat rig.  Frankly, I even prefer good CIEMs over the HD800 and certainly over the T1.  In other words,  there are better headphones out there.  You should try 'stats.  Leave this dynamic nonsense behind.
Hawkertempest
Hawkertempest
I am not a headphone nut but I know quality when I hear it and I own a set of T1's and to my ears they are a fine headphone. I am playing mine through a Cary SLP-05 Pre Amp and I am hearing musical Nirvana. Your review rating of 3 stars for these phones is undeserved in my opinion.I haven't had the pleasure of listening to a set of HD800's but from all the review's I've read they are pretty "analytical" and to me that doesn't sound like "musical nirvana"?
I think "Zorin" summed it up nicely.
Pros: Incredibly balanced and the best all rounder I've heard
Cons: Nothing yet.
My comments echo Skylab's. These are simply the best dynamic headphones I've ever heard. While the may not be technically equal to the Sennheiser HD800s, they certainly make up in the fact that their overall presentation simply works better than every headphone I've heard to date.
 
I love the HD800s, but I limit listening to them to jazz, classical, and some prog rock. The T1s on the other hand are incredible all rounders and work with everything that I've ever thrown at them. They even rival my all time favourite rock cans the Grado RS1s.
 
These are simply amazing cans and my personal favourites! Well done beyerdynamics!
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Pros: World class sound and comfort from Beyer
Cons: Cable isn't as pretty as rest of headphone
This is not going to be as thorough or long as my normal reviews for now - but I wanted to get something in place.  I have always liked Beyer headphones, but they all had some very defining character or flavor - even the most neutral, the DT880/600, was a little hot in the treble and a little light in the bass, IMO.
 
Well, the T1 changes all that.  While maybe just a touch lush, it is possessed of an amazing transparency and neutrality.  While slightly behind the Sennheiser HD800 in terms of midrange transparency and soundstage realism, it beats all other dynamic headphones in those areas, and slightly bests the HD800 in terms of treble smoothness and realistic bass.  The T1 has an absolutely unique ability to make music sound natural, in my experience.  Music simply flows from the T1 in a way that makes it unbelievably enjoyable to listen to, but without requiring any kind of noticeable coloration to get that job done.  In my experience, it is that combination of neutrality, accuracy, and musicality that makes the T1, for me, the king of the dynamic headphones.
 
View attachment
 
My basic description is as follows:
 
* Very neutral overall response, but perhaps just a tiny bit lush
* incredibly nuance and detail
* completely grainless
* an amazing transparency
* tremendous imaging and soundstaging
 
The T1 is, undoubtedly, a phenomenal headphone, and an enormous step forward from the DT880 (or its siblings). In terms of looks and build, it's basically like a much, much better build 880. Same basic size and shape on the exterior, but better materials and a higher level of workmanship. But sonically, it is on another level altogether.

This is a terrifically balanced headphone in terms of its sonic presentation, and as a result, it sounds VERY natural, or, more accurately, music coming from it sounds very natural.
 
One thing which I think is a VERY good sign - different songs sound VERY different from each other - there is absolutely no homogenizing of the sound. So you have to listen to a bunch of songs you know REALLY well to get the right measure of the T1 - as one recording will often sound very different from the next, due to the recordings themselves.

Comparisons: w/r/t the HD800, I don't have them anymore, and so I'm not sure my comparison would be valid. But from what I've heard over the last few hours, with no break-in, I think the two are in the same league, and there are subtle differences. From memory, the HD800 has the even more expansive soundstage, but the T1's have a presence to the mids that lends a sense of musical realism beyond what I ever felt from the HD800. The T1 has the stronger bass, although it’s in no way overbearing or bloated. And the T1 has the slightly less aggressive treble, while still being just as extended. They are also a very significant cut above the HifiMan HE-5, in every respect, as good as I feel those headphones are.
 
Summary:
Maybe the best description I can give the T1 is that it is highly musical, but without having to be a technological apologist An incredibly comfortable, well-engineered headphone, but one that still lets the music come shining through.
 
kopyland03
kopyland03
100% agree
recarcar
recarcar
Thanks for the detailed review!
trick
trick
After reading this review alone, I think I have to save up and buy these now... Well said sir.
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