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.
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.