The Amazing Beyerdynamic T51P

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Disclaimer: The sample units were sent from Germany and had to be returned after 6 weeks. Beyerdynamic is a site advertiser. The T51P will be compared mostly to the Sennheiser HD25-1 II.

On Ear Headphone?

Yes, the T51P – from the DT1350 family and successor to the T50P, and competitor of the long lasting Sennheiser King, the HD25 – is an on ear headphone. Do I like on ear headphones? Not by far as they hurt my ears and you don’t get the best sound. And that’s not the only fear I had when Beyerdynamic sent me the T51p. While I am a big Beyer fan, I really do not like their DT1350 headphone. I actually sold our Headfonia unit to a lucky fan. I only listened to it briefly at the EU Canjam in Essen last year, and I didn’t have my mind set to it back then. So I have to say I was expecting to have to write a less positive review of this unit.

The T51P of course has one of Beyer’s excellent Tesla drivers inside, most of the time that guarantees a good sound and seeing this is the successor of the T50P it had to sound good or at least better than the DT1350 and T50P, right?

First of all the T51P, compared to the HD25 is heavy. Weighing 174 grams it is 32 grams heavier than the Senn, that doesn’t sound like a lot but on your head that’s a remarkable difference. Materials used are plastic and aluminum compared to the full plastic finish of the HD25. The T51P finish actually is very nice but it is no T1 quality either. The ear cups and pads on the T51P are smaller than on the HD25 and they can rotate 180 degrees while the Senn only has one ear cup that can be moved up or down. The pad material used is also different. The Senn pads have more filling but the T51P pads are softer. Beyerdynamic says this about the pads: The ear pads made of super-soft synthetic leather fit the contour of the outer ear thanks to its viscoelastic filling (memory foam).

The headband, which looks like the Sennheiser band, can however not be opened for ideal positioning but the fit with the closed band on the T51p is really good. The Senn has a (removable) one sided cable entry and this Beyer has double sided entry while the cable cannot be removed. It is a rather thin cable with a clear focus on mobile. Beyer says this about the cable: Satin finish, less cable noise. ALl I know is the cable doesn’t make any noise but the touching the headband does, a lot.

The non-removable cable might be less practical but looking at all these points combined with the death grip of the Sennheiser makes this T51P the overall winner in comfort. I can listen to it for hours without it bothering me. And didn’t I just say I hate on ear headphones because they hurt my ears? The B&W P5, which also is on ears was bearable but the T51P just is plain comfortable.

Music To My Ears?

The 32Ohm Beyerdynamic T51p isolates extremely well for an on ear headphone and the pads really keep the music inside and keep the noise out. Of course a full sized over the ear closed headphone offers better isolation but for a small on ear, the pads do an excellent job. Call me impressed.

Compared to the HD25, the T51P sound isn’t as neutral. It’s a (delete) warmer and more colored and not as thin sounding, there’s more body and bigger mids. (From this point on I will address the T51P sound only).

For starters there definitely is bass emphasis. I for one really like the bass in this headphone but I can appreciate a more than neutral amount of bass as well, which is what this headphone has. Bass has good body and punch and excellent timbre/detail. The mids section is also very detailed and rich sounding. The mids might sound just a tiny bit withdrawn but I really should say that is due to the spike in the higher mids and lower treble. The smooth mids and bass are very complimentary on the T51P. Treble is not like the Beyer treble you would expect. It has heaps of detail but it is not edgy or hot overall. It goes perfect with the heavier bass and lush mids. It’s detail and texture everywhere!

The T51P is very dynamic, textured and plain fun to listen to. It has an excellent detail level and good sound stage. I love it, it’s close to being perfect. I can clearly see what Beyer meant when they stated this: A particularly deep bass response and transparent, clear highs are apparent from the T 51 p due to the common properties that make all Tesla headphones so special: high efficiency and low distortion. The result: a clear, powerful sound across the entire frequency range.

Positioning and 3-dimensionality might not be the headphone’s strongest of points but I will easily forgive it that. ”Love is blind” is the saying I believe.

Power

The 32 ohm T51P doesn’t need a lot of power to shine either, which is excellent news for those on a budget. It is very easy to drive straight out of your phone or DAP without any amplification. I myself used a last generation iPod Nano and my trusty Samsung S4 phone without applying any EQ and I loved it.

Straight from your phone or iPod you however get more bass. Maybe “more” is the not the right way to put it; it’s the same bass just not as tight and controlled. When using a Cypher Labs CLAS Solo and Duet combo, which is overkill I know, bass is tighter and the overall sound is even more dynamic and detailed. When connected to the  (dead quiet) Theorem, the T51p even manages to switch gears up and perform even better than with the Duet. this might very well be the perfect sound signature for me. But I’m getting sidetracked here sorry, even without any of these amps the T51p simply rocks. With all types of music. Right now I’m listening to Strong from London Grammar while I was playing BYOB from System of A Down 5 minutes ago: it all works.

I specifically didn’t add any other impressions of portable amplifiers or desktop amps because the T51P doesn’t really need an amp, of course when using the Duet, Theorem or JDSLabs C5 or even the good old Fiio E10 there are improvements in the sound as you would expect. Yes I couldn’t help myself but try it on my custom 300b amp, but why in the world would anyone use that as his T51p amplifier. Feel free to ask me about a specific amp combo in the comments section if you’re planning on pairing it with a specific amp.

That Is All Very Positive

It sure is and I am glad it turned out this way. Not because of Beyerdynamic being an advertiser but because of discovering a great little headphone for on the go. Without hesitation or shame I can easily call this the best on ear portable headphone I have had the pleasure to listen to since a long time. It surely bests the P5 I reviewed some months ago. The rich sounding T51p is unbelievably good and fun and it is available for 259€ or $289 for which it comes in a handy travel case. I will for sure use the T51P in the upcoming A200P review. I am seriously thinking of buying this unit from Beyer. Lots of people will probably say it is commercially tuned and well they are right, if you’re looking for a more neutral sounding version some people call “audiophile” you should probably look at the DT1350.

If you don’t believe me go to a shop near you and listen to this unit and you will be amazed if you like a warmer and bassy sound for your casual or on-the-go listening.

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Lieven is living in Europe and is a full time Headfonia writer and the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650. Taking pictures is a real challenge but seeing happy readers in the end is what it's all about for him.

  • dalethorn

    My favorite portable, and great review – covers all the bases very well.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Thank you Dale!

  • GettCouped

    Curious as to the build quality. Do you find these durable enough for on the go listening or is it a more handle with care package? I remember the T50p being particularly fragile IMO.

    • dalethorn

      I find the dual-entry cable a bit thin, but it is very strong (much better than the Bose or the B&W P5). Aside from the cable, which may be just fine, everything seems very rugged to me. I’ve had the T51p for a few months now and use it outdoors every day. It still looks like new.

      • GettCouped

        Thank you friend. Quality review.

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          Thanks man, I enjoyed writing it too. They are durable enough for sure, just watch out with the cables (like on every headphone)

  • Andrei Andreev

    From my experience this headphone has only 2 drawbacks, those are physical:
    - hair gets stuck in the size regulating mechanism.
    - the headphone band is glued well – but if you don’t have a lot of hair – the warmth will make the glue … softer and those soft bands come off, after a long time – but they will. The new DT1350 somewhat addresses the second issue.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      - Hair: I usually have that issue but not on there. Well, I might be getting bold, that’s a possibility too.

      - We don’t have the samples long enough to check that

      • JRK

        I can definitely corroborate his point. My brother also has the T50p and it suffers the same issue.

  • vermm

    What budget (about $150 USD or less, $200 max) amp or amp/dac would make the T51p more neutral, with a more “audiophile” sound? Would the C&C BH2 be a good pair? I would also need to use it with my Shure SE215 IEMs. Thanks, great review as always, I can’t wait to find a good dac/amp to pair with my T51Ps…

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Thank you Vermm

      I don’t know the BH2 really. Maybe Dale knows some budget neutral amps, I can think of jdsLabs C5 with the bass boost off.

      • dalethorn

        If I were going to use with T51p and the Shure IEM, I’d get the FiiO E12. I doubt it would add noise to the IEM, but it would be good for the T51p bass and treble.

        • vermm

          Thanks Dale for your suggestion of the E12, any second options? I find it a bit big. Anything with a DAC combined? Thanks again for your help

          • dalethorn

            If you like small, the Beyerdynamic A200p (same as AK-10) DAC-plus-amp is the best, but $300 USD. The FiiO E07k is less than $100 USD, sounds about as good (but the DAC is computer only), and is reasonably small. I use the E07k pretty often – it’s a good amp just as an amp, and the computer DAC improves on that.

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            JDSLabs C5D

      • vermm

        thanks Lieven :) Thanks for writing this review!

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          My pleasure!

  • adreaming

    How do these compare with the DT770 AE? Looking for something mostly for home/desk use, that is also portable enough for a plane ride. Will nearly always be used straight out of an ipod. Also looking at the NAD Viso HP50.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Completely different sound. T51P have very big mids. Both don’t need amplification but I couldn’t see myself using the T51P all the time for home use (on ear). If you don’t mind carrying the DT70AE around on a plane, I would go for that one. If it would just be portable use, the choice for the T51P is easy

      • adreaming

        Thanks for the reply. How would the L2 fare against these two? I’m hoping to get a headphone that will hold off upgraditis for awhile.

        • dalethorn

          I have the T51p, had the DT770-AE, and only the L1 from Philips. I don’t see these holding off any upgradeitis. Now that Alpha Dog planar might ….

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            I fully agree with Dale

            • adreaming

              Well that is bad news. I was hoping one of these 3 would be the solution. Doesn’t the Alpha Dog need an amp to sound good? Will be used straight out of an ipod/imac.

              • dalethorn

                Not so bad really. If I were getting just one, I’d get the DT770 32 ohm (replaces the limited edition). It’s a very detailed and warm sound that would very likely keep you happy until you need to upgrade at some point. And it plays very well from the ipods etc. Notice here on Headfonia, I think the DT770-32 (a.k.a. anniversary edition) review has the record for most user comments. You won’t have any comfort or quality issues. I think the L2 would have more bass, but the 770 bass would be tighter with more detail.

                Edit: Yeah, don’t buy the Alpha Dog without a good strong amp.

                • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                  I think the DT770 32 has more bass than the L2 really. Like you say, you can’t go wrong with the DT770. I also recommend the COP, it was selling for 140€ last week, great value for money

                  • adreaming

                    The COPs interested me but I’ve seen very mixed reviews. Are these as good as the DT770 32ohm?

                    • dalethorn

                      They’re a lot different. Both are full size and comfy with the big earpads, both are efficient, but where the DT770 is crisper in the bass and treble, the COP is softer (in this sense softer doesn’t mean recessed, it’s just not as dramatic somehow).

                    • adreaming

                      Thank you for your time, Lieven and Dale. It looks like the DT770 is the one for me.

                    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                      Keep us posted!

                    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                      Bass is a lot more boomy but adjustable on the COP, the DT770 is more linear

              • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                Yes they do.

  • youkeum

    thanks for review Lieven. i have p5 and i like the sound. could you compare between t51p and p5 more detail?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Been a long time since I listened tot he P5. T51 is much clearer, better dynamics, more detail. More comfort. To me better all the way

      • dalethorn

        That’s really it – the difference isn’t subtle. At my house we found the ATH ESW9a to be better all around than the P5, and even though the T51p is different from the ESW9 in some ways, the Tesla drivers make a difference.

      • youkeum

        it sounds great- i have to listen t51p. maybe i will change my outdoor HP. thanks.

  • Twinster

    Hello Lieven & Thank you for the great review. Can you please tell me if the headband is the same size as the previous T50p or similar in size as the DT1350? I owned both in the past and remember the T50p being too large for me.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Thank you. I don’t have either anymore with me. I have a small head and I had to make the t51p 3 clicks bigger. I doubt they changed the size

    • dalethorn

      WIth my T51p, I pull the left and right earcups closer (closer than maximum size) by 7 click stops on each side. With the DT1350s I have (one is older and one is Facelift) I pull the left side 7 clicks closer and the right side 6 clicks closer. Most headphones I do pull closer on the right side, so the 1350s do correspond that way. The above click stops are with the 1350 headband closed up (not split).

  • Markus Köhner

    hello lieven,
    how did it compare overall to the hd25? the hd25 is overall still my favorite portable headphone because it still delivers the best punch i could find so far.
    maybe you could go into some detail you left out in the review.
    thanks.

    • dalethorn

      I had the Amperior for about 6 months, and it’s supposed to be similar to the HD25-1-ii. Very, very different from T51p. The T51p is warm and a bit soft on both ends, but the Amperior is aggressive on both ends – great punch like you said.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      T51P is tuned more for consumers while containing the detail level. HD25 is thinner sounding and more neutral. The sound signature is very different. If you like the HD25 sound, I doubt you’ll love the t51p. HD25 is faster probably.

      What do you understand with “punch”? Besides from speed and tightness, I think the t51p has more punch everywhere

      • dalethorn

        A good example of how sounds are hard to describe? I assumed that my Amperior was similar to the HD25 that it evolved from. The Amperior has a very rich sound with a strong treble and a mid-upper bass emphasis that gives it a ‘punch’ of sorts, while the T51p is smoother and laid back.

        Edit: Maybe not laid back absolutely, but more than the Amperior.

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          so you’re more talking speed and attack, than punch

          • dalethorn

            I think so, but I wish I knew now more about the difference between HD25 and Amperior. I’m pretty sure they are more alike than the T51p. If people know the Sennheiser house sounds and also Beyerdynamic, that helps explain some.

  • Guest

    having been looking to complement my phonak audeo IEM, i recently pulled a trigger on a Sony MDR-1R, against dalethorn’s advice, and i’m starting to regret it. should’ve listened to you, Sir. hahaha.

    the music i listen to mostly are old recordings, and i thought the lusher-sounding MDR-1r would mask the generally bad mastering. the thing i miss the most is the “snap” of the transients in my old balanced armature phonaks and the superb instrument separation. the elevated low-mids of the Sony is getting old quickly (as opposed to my initial expectation). i happened to notice also that dalethorn likes the T51p, though he didn’t recommend it.

    considering that it has tesla drivers, i suspected the T51p would sound “quick”, but then Lieven said it’s warm, lush and bassy.

    is it different enough to the MDR-1R to consider replacing? could it be the middle ground between the MDR-1R and the BA phonak audeo? ahh the more choices we have the less we can be grateful for what we ALREADY have hahahha…

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I don’t have the MDR1, sorry

      • Guest

        it’s okay, see my reply to dalethorn.

        thanks for the review, btw!

    • dalethorn

      Which variety of music is most important for those transients and instrument separation? If you have a perfect example of a music track that’s available on iTunes, or on HDTracks as a single track, that might be a good way to evaluate the T51p.

      • Guest

        transients and separation are for the relatively straightforward albums like Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson or Irma Thomas’ Wish Someone Would Care (listen to “straight from the heart”) or Nina Simone’s Pastel Blues (“Sinnerman”). it’s for these materials that i reach for my Phonaks.

        but for others, like “God Only Knows” from Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, or shoegaze albums (like “Sometimes” in the album Loveless by My Bloody Valentine) or even the more modern ones (try “excuses” in the album “Big Echo” by The Morning Benders), where reverb is plenty (either intentionally or not), at first i thought the MDR-1R would put these “lush” material in its best light in a way that the Phonaks can’t, but the Sony fails to shine in these, too.

        for example, in “Sometimes” by My Bloody Valentine, the acoustic guitar strum fails to punch through, and the vocals are more indistinct in the MDR-1R. it takes a lot of the subtleties away. on the phonak, however, it’s great. its transients retains some sort of texture to the track.

        the question wasn’t urgent, though, as for the time i just reorganize my playlists again, one to suit the phonaks and another to suit the Sony. that should do for the time being.

        cheers, and thank you!

        • dalethorn

          I can’t claim any expertise in judging transients etc., but listening to Irma Thomas’ Straight From the Heart, and also I Need Your Love So Bad from the same album, everything I hear sounds pretty sharp and crisp, however the T51p has a softer treble than any IEM I’ve used, so that can affect one’s judgement of details and transients. The T51p does not surprise when it comes to real details though – the drivers are real Teslas. Listening to My Bloody Valentine (Sometimes, and also Soon) is another thing entirely. Any high treble detail is way down in strength compared to the Irma Thomas recordings, so it’s harder to judge. I can hear it, but can’t guess whether you would find it acceptable. The Sennheiser IE800 IEM that I had would have been good with these tracks, but the other brands I had (Final Audio, B&O, RHA) would be too bright.

  • Don Rivella

    I love these headphones, though admittedly it took me a few days to really appreciate them (I don’t think it was burn in, but can’t rule it out). The punch of these headphones is great, the energy of the music is very present and there is a feeling of being ‘there’. It is bass heavy but still preserves a lot of detail. My favorite portable phone at the moment, I prefer it over the amperior, the momentum, the V-Moda M100 and the NAD M50 on the go.

  • Anouk Radix

    Hi everyone,
    I am looking for a new portable sealed headphone to use with computer and iphone and this one is on my shortlist together with the hd25alu and hd26pro.
    I like the fact that this one is foldable and has fairly low impedance (although i might end up using it with the a200p).
    I am not sure if the sound is for me though. I have not owned many beyerdynamics although i liked the dt880. I liked the original hd25-1-ii although it was a bit aggressive and congested sounding (very narrow soundstage too).
    I was wondering has anyone compared the t51p with the v-moda 100?
    One thing that i really dont like about the 3 headphones on m shortlist is that they do not contain an inline remote and mic. At CES beyerdynamic hinted that there might be an upcoming solution for this?
    With the senns i might at leeast try (to have someone) replace the cable.
    I think the vmoda includes a remote but i am pretty sure the bass would be too much for me.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Greetings, Anouk,

    • dalethorn

      You will find that the T51p is very different, as day and night from the M100. The M100 is very much about bass and the T51p does not emphasize the bass at all, at least compared to the M100 and headphones like the HD25 series. The T51p is slightly emphasized toward the lower treble and the lower mids, but those emphases are small compared to the strong bass emphasis in the M100. And the T51p is supremely comfortable, unusual for on-ear.

  • Fabio_Rocks

    I got the T51 and the first day was quite shocking. Boomy bass with very little treble presence. I guess some burn in is needed.
    After 20 hours the bass is more clear and the sound is remarkably better.
    I had the Sennheiser Amperior for 1 year and I agree the T51p is very different sounding. The Tesla driver is a killer, very detailed and powerful, a clear step up from the old driver of the Amperior.

    I will go further, and I can say compared to the other dynamic headphone I own, The Tesla technology is clear ahead. The level of detail is simply sublime, I keep listening all of my favorite tracks and keep discovering something new I never heard before. The Background is very black (Mike loves this) No distortion even at hear-splitting volume. Instrument separation is phenomenal. And even if is a small super aural design they image quite well to my ears.

    It’s all very positive? I don’t agree with this statement. The T51p is consumer oriented tuned? I don’t agree with this too! I try to Explain me.
    The t51p lacks the fun factor to my ears, but it’s very enjoyable to listen too. It’s the sound is very mature, and fascinating, it’s like to listen a very wisdom old people speaking and being charmed by his words. The Amperior with the classical V-Shape signature is the fun one. You get a nice bass, sparkly treble, works very well with most of pop-rock songs. The upper treble on the t51p seems too smooth or recessed, at the same time you got an extreme sense of detail on the entire treble region.
    Because of this smoothness-recession, electric guitars lost their crunch, guitar solos seems distant and singers fail to hit the higher notes.

    So I am sorry, It’s not all very positive! But we are very close. I think Beyerdynamic with the Tesla technology has a fantastic engine for the music, but they have troubles to tune it for the perfection.

    Overall I think to prefer the T51p on the Amperior for all the genre but for rock-metal the Amperior is more involving and fun to listen. Vocals are clearly better on the T51p.

    Closing Comment

    The T51p is an incredible sounding small headphone and maybe the best you can buy overall in this category. If you are a treble-head stay away, the treble is simply too smooth for you.

    Now can I be an Headfonia reviewer?

    haha! :)

    • dalethorn

      It really is a unique sound, yes?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Thanks for the comment. I think our opinions are fairly close to each other. For me personally it is all very positive, even the treble as I don’t expect it to be even better in this lower price class. For this money it all is positive to me ;)

  • Eric Thompson

    Damn i think im going to end up with the T51 and the DT-1350 haha

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      I spent another 2 days trying to perfect my EQ of the T51p – my third version now. It’s getting better, but honestly this is a very strange headphone sound, with a very uneven response.

  • Greyman666

    I picked up the T51p yesterday and so far I like the sound. Very similar to my hd25-1 ii. One thing I did notice with the T51P is that the headband mislabels the right can as the left can. If I place them on my head with the headband L marker on my left ear, it actually plays the R channel. Anybody else notice this?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I’ll try later with my dual mono amp. funny.

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      I’ve heard that from a couple other people, but mine is labeled correctly.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      Just tried it, sorry for the delay. left is left on my T51P. The R side is where the serial number is

      • Dave Ulrich

        I am curious to see how this pairs with the DX90.

  • Sam

    Hey, any thoughts on this vs. B&W P7 vs. B&O H6? I’m looking for something portable, comfortable, and decently isolating, which works well with classical (in my book that means a smooth, detailed and non-exaggerated treble). I borrowed a P7 a while back and thought it was sounded great (I could cope with the boomy bass) & was also very comfortable (I have small ears). It would be predominantly for travelling or when I needed isolation, as I have an enjoyable but open home setup. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      The P7 and H6 trebles are different, but both are fairly smooth. The T51p has a very large emphasis around 5 khz (compared to numerous other headphones that range from no emphasis to recessed in that area).

      • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

        Also check the H6 or P7 review, we have done a lot of comments on those 2 headphones