Closed Cans Shootout: M-50, ESW-9, T50P, HD25-1, Beats Studio, SRH-840, SRH-750DJ, K181DJ, and DJ1Pro.
The latest portable from Beyerdynamics is the newest entry to this group. The build and the look is awesome, far more than the others in this comparison. The aluminum frame looks very good and feels very light on the head. For long term casual listening, nothing can beat the comfort of the T50p, as the pads sit very lightly on your ears, barely exerting any pressure. And wearing it outdoors, nothing, in my opinion, beats the cool factor of the T50p.
The T50p has the smallest housing diameter in this comparison, and because of that, you need to adjust it properly to get the perfect fit. On the larger Shures, the M-50, or the Beats Studio, the cups completely covers your ears, and getting a good seal is fairly easy. On the HD25-1 and the ESW-9, the pads sits on top of your ears, but they are still large enough to cover the ear completely. The T50p is the smallest of the bunch, and it can be difficult to obtain total seal on the ears. Without a good seal, you won’t get a satisfactory low bass performance, so make sure to get that part right as otherwise the T50p will sound unnatural and honky.
When the fit is right, the T50p is actually very good. Having a Tesla driver that is derived from the T1 gives it a very good treble performance, that is better than any of the other headphones in this comparison. The treble is transparent and has more resolution than any of the other headphones here. When I wrote the first impression post, I was very enthusiastic about the T50p, as it brought reference class treble to the portable realm. And unlike the big brother T1, the T50p have plenty of mid and bottom end body. I think Beyerdynamic noticed the need of a fuller midrange for music listening, and if the T1 can be paired with many desktop tube amps to boost that segment, the T50p is designed to be used straight out of an portable player and thus need to be adjusted accordingly.
I’ve been burning in the T50p 24×7, and I’ve stopped counting the hours once it went past the 200 mark. At the moment of this comparison, the T50p probably has close to 300 hours on it.
When I compared the T50p to the other portables in this comparison, the result is a bit mixed up, and final verdict comes out to be less ideal than the older favorites such as the HD25-1 and the ATH M-50. It has very good treble, a smooth and full bodied midrange, and fairly impactful bass. Surely, that sounds like a recipe for a great headphone, and indeed the T50p has a very good potential.
The issue with the T50p is that it has an non coherent sound, that the treble sound has a different signature than the midrange and low end. The treble is fast and precise, but the midrange and bass is quite boomy. It’s almost like Beyer had used an electrostatic tweeter and combined it with a loose sounding dynamic driver for the midrange and bass. If your music plays the full scale of the frequency range (say a typical Beethoven Symphony), then you’ll notice that the transition between the treble to the midrange feels awkward, because of the difference in the sound signature.
Beyer never said anything about having a two drivers configuration on the T50p, and so how can this phenomenon occur? The answer, it seems, lies in improper housing and damping on the T50p. Actually, a lot of cheap portable headphones have the same issue as the T50p. Improper damping can result in some horrendous effect on the sound. Once I had experimented with headsets that they give out on international flights. I noticed that the driver had a good potential, but it was housed in a very cheap plastic material (I’m sure you’ve seen them before, those headphones on aeroplanes). Once we took the driver out from that lousy housing, everyone was surprised at how good the sound was!
Back to the Beyer. The Tesla driver seems to have a natural ability at producing good treble. So it seems that Beyer is trying to boost the quantity of the midrange and bass by the design of the housing. And yes, the body of the midrange and bass is increased, but with the side effects that I described earlier. Moreover, I can’t seem to get a good low bass from the T50p. The bass is concentrated on the upper and mid bass area, and then it has a sharp cut off on the low frequencies.
It not for the lack of coherence, the T50p would’ve scored very high, but as it is, it looks like a rushed out effort by Beyer engineers to fulfill the demands of the marketing department.
Although the T50p has better detail level and treble extension other headphones like the ESW-9, the Beats Studio, or the HD25-1, yet the three latter cans are built for a very clear sound signature, and it comes out in a very coherent package that translates very well to music. The T50p, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a clear sense of identity on what it’s trying to achieve. My first impression of the T50p was quite good, although I did notice that it has some weaknesses. But in this comparison, the T50p simply fails to impress me in the midst of the other great headphones we have here.
- 05/28/2012 • AKG’s New Reference: The K550
- 01/03/2012 • Old Champ: The AKG K1000
- 11/10/2010 • Old School Trio: AKG K701, Beyerdynamics DT880, Sennheiser HD650
- 10/07/2010 • Ultra Portable Shootout: PX100, PX200, PortaPro, K404, V-Jays, Tracks, Oldskool, and HD238
- 03/06/2010 • AKG K500, K501
- 09/26/2009 • AKG K340 Bass Heavy Version