Beyerdynamic has been releasing quite a few top quality closed headphones recently like the T70 and T90 and now this awesome looking Custom One Pro. Thanks to the good people from Beyerdynamic in Heilbron – Germany, we were able to get one of the first 200 official review samples and that’s why you’re reading one of the first reviews on Headfonia.com.
Build quality and looks
As we are used from German companies, Beyerdynamic pays attention to build quality. You get a very well built basic cardboard box with a flap but to my surprise there isn’t even a carrying bag inside (isn’t that standard nowadays, certainly at this price point?). In all seriousness though, we don’t really care about the boxes here at Headfonia. The Custom Pro One in one word looks “awesome²” and it looks like it can take a beating too. It uses the same basic design as the DTXX0 series with the metal construction, but all the other parts are a bit more “plastic-like” even when they’re not. Hard to explain but just look at the pictures at the end of the article. Weighing 280-290gr this headphone feels very light and as we’re used from Beyerdynamic, comfort is excellent. The easily replaceable pads on the Custom Pro one are made from pleather and while they seem to be a bit smaller as the velour pads of the other Beyer headphones they still fit wonderfully around your ear. They are really soft and seal off just great. The only discomfort I had was that my ears got hot very quickly in this heat wave we’re having here, much quicker as with the M50s. You can of course buy Beyerdynamic’s velour pads but I’m sure that will have an impact on the sound. I’m pretty sure they chose this material for a good (sound)reason. The headband is removable (velcro) and it is also made out of fake leather, it is very soft and you can hardly feel it on your head. I can see myself wearing this headphone for hours without it bothering me, it doesn’t crush my head like some other headphones and it stays in place when moving your head, pretty much like any Beyer headphone. Do note it could very well be possible that clamping force might be stronger for others users.
The unit we received was completely black but in pictures on the internet you can see different parts can be customized (covers, rings, ear and headband pads). This headphone was clearly developed with street credibility in mind. Anyway, our unit was black and came with two different “ear cup” customization plates (the tool to use was provided as well). One with a fake carbon like look and one with a more metal look (check the pictures at the end of the article). To be honest I like it most plain black with the standard “plates” with the logo on it. It’s a bad ass looking headphone and maybe the first one I would dare wear outside on the street or in the train.
Beyerdynamic also decided to use a detachable cable for their latest release, quite the surprise! It is a 1.5m really flexible tangle free cable finished in a 3.5 mm plug with an adapter. There is no cable noise and I’m guessing the cable is OCC but the only info we got from Beyerdynamic was that it was made from PVC. It’s also mentioned like this on the box and made me smile. Headphone entry is on the left side and they used a standard 3.5 mm plug. I’ve read about an iCable being available as well but we didn’t receive it. The only bad thing about the cable is there is no fix like with the AIAIAI TMA where you have to turn it sideways (not ideal either). I would suggest not to disconnect your cable to often if you want it to stay in tight for a long period.
Sorry for the long “looks” part but as this is one of the selling points of this Custom One Pro I found it important to talk about.
Sound & Customisation
The drivers are 16ohm(!!) units (5-35000Hz) and they state the driver membranes are one of the lightest in the world, making it really precise and delivering a rapid audio performance available from all kind of (portable) sources (pro and consumer). This is a closed headphone and should produce 18db attenuation, I found it to isolate very well and I couldn’t hear any sound leaking when a friend was auditioning them.
Not only the looks of the Custom One Pro can be modified but also the sound (bass) can be tuned. Beyerdynamic isn’t the first company to incorporate this in to a head/earphone design but it is no standard feature either. On each side of the headphone on the bottom of the cup there is a small lever you can slide to adjust the bass. There are four different positions: Light bass, Linear, Vibrant bass and Heavy bass, in that order. Basically you open or close “air holes” to tune the bass. With these four settings this headphone should be able to cover everyone’s needs, even the bass heads among us. In position four, maximum bass, there is a 20db bass boost. Pretty impressive!
It’s very easy to change the bass setting and it actually works very well. I’ve read people saying it hardly had any effect on the sound but I completely disagree with that. This bass boost works really good and with your DAP on shuffle you can easily switch to the bass level you want for each new song. I prefer setting 3 for most of my music but I did find myself switching to different settings quit often. For most music the ultimate bass setting was too much for me and with extreme bass songs the the bass got really loose, but with one click left and right that was instantly solved. So depending on your music and your mood you can modify the sound to your liking really quickly. This headphone isn’t one for the non bass lovers who never use the bass boost on amps and so, from setting (2-) 3 to 4 you get extra bass that will probably be too much for you. Well you could always leave it in the first setting, but then what’s the point of buying this bass adjustable unit? The picture of the graph in the media gallery shows the different bass settings and their effect on the sound.
Sound wise I still notice the Beyerdynamic house signature of the DT series (the thinner mids) but it is less apparent. When listening to Dubstep, R&b, Dance, Rap or Popular top40 music, so practically anything that’s been recorded with a lot of bass and treble, you get great sound and of course great bass. And let’s be honest, a lot of people who will be buying this headphone will listen to these genres. Listening to Rock, Punk & Metal like Billy Talent, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Machine Head you hear it is a fast sounding headphone working great for these genres. On the other hand with music like Jazz such as Vaya Con Dios, Melody Gardot, or even Buena Vista, Manu Chao, Queen, Eddie Vedder, O.A.R., Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley it is less impressive because of the mids being more in the background. It makes me miss a big part of the feeling of these songs. Classical music I did not really enjoy with this headphone. It just doesn’t feel right, I tried all the famous composers, different recordings but couldn’t find anything suitable. But in the Custom’s defense, I don’t think it was developed for that.
So in general the mids are a bit thinner (not as much as with some other Beyers), they are not as present as the bass (depending in your setting of course) and the treble. I’m missing a bit of soul in the mids, they’re too much in the background. Treble wise this isn’t the most extended headphone but it does fairly good. It’s not too harsh or rolled of and I find it to be very well tuned. Bass depending on your setting goes from light to very deep. It isn’t the most detailed bass but man does it have power, depth and rumble. Sound stage wise this closed headphone isn’t the widest or deepest but for this price point, taking into account it’s a closed headphone, I think it’s pretty good.
Amplification & Headphone comparisons
Amplification is not needed, but it does give more body and power to your sound and that is always a pleasure to listen too. I’ve been using the JDSLabs C421 and Fiio E10 + E11 mostly, there is absolutely no use for big desktop amps but I did try it with the 339 and V200 as well, but the difference with the C421 i.e. is minimal for this headphone.
The difference with the Audio Technica M50 is noticeable in all sectors, the M50’s treble is a lot more sparkling and the mids are reasonably fuller. The bass section however is better on the Custom Pro One. So while technically the M50, which is a great headphone, is strongest, the Custom Pro One to me is the more fun sounding headphone. The fun factor is just better, mostly due to the bass and the typical sound it produces. Comfort wise it also beats the M50. Is the M50 the overall better sounding audiophile headphone? Probably it is, it’s just not as fun as the Custom Pro One when listening to the right kind of music.
Compared to the AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio (review to follow), which also is a bass/treble liking headphone, you can clearly notice the AIAIAI was tuned exclusively for dance music. The Beyer is clearly the overall better sounding headphone, the AIAIAI is sounding really veiled compared to the Beyer. There’s no use comparing it to the double costing closed Tesla driver T70 from Beyer either. Sound wise these are in two different worlds. The T70 being an absolute audiophile level headphone with a whole lot more detail and sound stage. Of course it can’t touch the Custom’s bass but that’s no surprise for anyone.
Unfortunately it was Mike who tested the AKG K550 so I can’t compare it to that headphone immediately but I will try to add that later.
The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (what a name!) is a stunning looking headphone, and with its smaller size I can even see myself using it outside my house or office. The headphone sounds fairly balanced but there is the Beyer thing with the mids. On the other hand it’s no big surprise as this do kind of is the Beyer house sound. It wouldn’t compete for the best closed headphone award in general as this hardly is a strong analytical or revealing headphone with a huge sound stage but it would and does score extremely high in the fun category and “feeling the music”. The bass customization is really something useful and I think they will score big with this feature. Can this headphone do all genres? Yes of course, just take into account the V-shaped Beyer signature. If the Beyer house sound is something you like, then you will love this headphone for sure. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the Beyer mids as you’ve noticed by now but this headphone is so addictive and sounds so fun that it is the only one I have used for the last 2 weeks…
The Custom can be easily transformed to a headset for gamers by buying a cable with a microphone from their shop or dealers. Actually, as with most Beyers, you can buy almost all pieces of the unit in case you’ve broken some parts. I would definitely recommend this headphone if enjoying your music is more important as analyzing it and when you like bass, customizable bass even. On the Beyer site you can read the Custom was also made for professional use but in my opinion there are far better Beyerdynamic headphones for that as this Custom One. The Beyerdynamic Custom Pro One is not at the audiophile level of the other Beyerdynamic headphones I have owned and of course it wasn’t developed to be either, I consider it Beyer’s unit for the mass market. The Custom will go on sale over the next few weeks I reckon and it will be priced at $200/€200. I can see the general crowd really enjoying this headphone and I hope to see people wearing it in the streets soon, I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy this pair for sure. I’m a fan!
Thank you Beyerdynamic for sending us this Custom sample this quickly. Do note this sample is an official Press Sample and I suppose the production models will be/sound the same. Don’t forget to check out Beyerdynamic’s website where you can also order this headphone from their shop.
Edit: Beyerdynamic liked our quote so much, they used it on their homepage to promote the Custom One pro! / L.
Gear used: Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, JDSLabs C421, iPod, Cypherlabs Clas, Fiio E10/E11, Violectric V200, LF 339, AIAIAI TMA Studio, Audio Technica ATH M50, Audio GD NFB3