Disclaimer: Beyerdynamic’s Japanese distributor, TEAC, supplied the T1 seen in this review. These T1’s go back on the morning of Christmas Eve. The new T1 goes for (price). You can find out all about it here: Beyerdynamic T1 (2nd gen). They go for 831,93€.
In 2010 Bram wrote the following: First Impression: Beyerdynamic’s T1. And Mike pitched two German flagships against each other in: The HD800 And The T1. And five years later, here I am: at odds with Mike’s conclusion re: the T1 vis-à-vis the HD800. Is it better for fast-paced music, and cooler, and cleaner than the HD800? I found the original T1 a bit warmer than the HD800, and by corollary, Mike’s conclusions were unsatisfactory. Version 2 is even warmer, with a wider ranging mid section and a smoother top end. It certainly isn’t the trance headphone the DT880 is.
Let’s get off Mike’s case. Oh, and happy Christmas!
Let’s talk shop
Evidently, 2. Generation’s internals have undergone a modest revamp. My eye tells me its driver mounting grill has been beefed up by new horizontal and vertical connection struts. The headband has slipped its skin in favour of leatherette. That leatherette is soft to the touch, but next to real leather, stays greasy and stretches like Spandex. While it’s not bad, it’s a step down.
If you got into Beyerdynamic for the aluminium lock box, tough luck. The new T1 ships in a form-fitting, and more tote-friendly transportable box. It’s even got a pocket inside for cable adapters. It is fastened by a zipper and easily slips into a no-nonsense cardboard box. While the aluminium box visually demonstrated the concept of TOTL, the new box illustrates the finer points of utility. It is both easier to handle and to store. It collects fewer dents and scratches. It is more practical, if less eye-catching.
Another, unforeseen advantage to the new box is that it fits way better in a hiking day pack. The other one would tear through the weather lining of your Deuter as you trundle up Mt. Fuji. The new will sit comfylike and safe in your pack till, upon rounding the top, you cue up “On Top of the World”.
The best news is the installation of 3,5mm TRRS jacks, standard. Changing to shorter, or longer, balanced, or mono cables, is now a breeze. And the new, flat cable is more robust, and less an oil magnet than the old one. Another advantage is that its forward-facing jacks make it super easy to tell which side is which, even in the dark. I’m a fan.
Apart from losing the leather, netting a higher quality cable, and extra driver mounting baffles, little else changed. Which is a good great, thing. One of the reasons I’ve been a long-term member of Team Beyer is that many of its iconic headphones are super robust and user-serviceable. See the mounting cusps? Interchangeable with the DT series. Ditto the headband fork and the headband. The bolts are interchangeable. The list goes on and on. And while calling a headphone a tank is a silly, and tired platitude, at least in part, it is true. Not only is the T1 made to take a lick, like a scouting tank, many portions of its chassis can be repaired quickly and by unskilled hands. Brilliant.
It comes with perforate-backed velour ear pads, which fit most of Beyer’s current and older iconic full-size headphones. Since Beyer tailor the sound of everything from the headphone backs to the pads, switching them with your DT880 or DT1770 isn’t the best idea. Sure, they’ll fit, but the sound will either get super shrill or super bassy. Because the low-profile drivers sit at an angle, normal-sized ears never hit fabric. These are comfy headphones. If you find they clamp a bit more than you want, put them on a football for a night or two. The metal band will stretch out. Brilliant.
Evidently, this headphone is supposed to be called: T1 (2. Generation). There is no way I’m writing that in the review header. It’s obtuse, confusing, and awkward, which sort of explains Beyerdynamic’s marketing. No longer do I know who they are trying to be, or to whom they are marketing. Nor can I suss why Beyer insisted on changing the T1’s sound.
Contrary to the philosophical ramblings of a recent Youtube review, I think that comparing this headphone to a BMW makes little sense. The T1 is a great headphone, and it may have an analogue in the car world. That analogue may even a BMW car. There are few blanket terms which can be applied to the T1 that equally apply across the entire range of Beyerdynamic headphones. The opposite is true of BMW. One makes products for a certain market, for a certain customer. The other makes everything from cheap to TOTL with nary a unifying theme. I love Beyerdynamic. But come on, BMW?
I’d jump for joy if they trimmed their line up, if re-cast and re-targeted their brand. As a member of Team Beyer, and a long-time owner, I’d love if instead of the Toyota everything-for-everyone-all-the-time-here’s-sixty-five-cars-for-you-to-choose-because-we-can’t modus operandi, they followed a more unified aesthetic and targeted a specific section of the market.
Sound impressions after the jump: