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:
I see in the photo, on the fork, the ‘T1’ designation. Is there anything written on the headphone to indicate the new version? Also, it wasn’t clear from the review, but does the v2 T1 have the same fundamental quality and detail as v1, ignoring freq. response differences, or are they really different?
I don’t have the original on hand, so I can’t say. Detail doesn’t seem to be a problem. It’s a spacing thing: if you liked the space in the highs of the V1, you may not enjoy the V2 as much. If not, V2 is a sure-fire bet.
I see – but that seems normal for headphones, even the flagship kind. Change the tuning without a whole new design, and some things will probably suffer.
I’m not sure ‘suffer’ is the right term. For people that are really into jazz and rock and that thing and who don’t venture into metal and trance, the new T1 is brilliant. It’s not hot, it’s just mid-powerful. It sounds truly amazing with a lot of my favourite bands.
But the earlier version is a bit flatter sounding and is slightly better tuned to long-listening trance.
Most of the time I don’t feel comfortable changing headphones for every track, and because I play things randomly rather than single-genre, I go for the most natural sound and get used to hitting a button for bass or treble if needed. I think that’s what most users are after too – the headphone that plays most of their music with the least amount of diddling.
Again, if you’re not into metal or fast electronic, I have a feeling that T1,2 could be nearly flawless for people looking for an enjoyable-listening headphone.
If, like me, you are transitioning from a love for the original and would love a bit more HD800 or even DT880/600 in the sig, then the new one is less promising.
It’s a big trade off. Comfy chair or rocking chair. I tend to sit firmly in the latter.
Thanks for the great piece. First time commenting here as well.
I’ve personally just acquired the older t1. For me, the packaging feels more premium (aluminium case and all) and the sound sig I find to be just fine. I’d rather have the resolving power (albeit at a cost) of the original available when needed and alter it with changes in amps and such than to go with a smoother version. Dunno, just my two cents.
Nice review Nathan. You mentioned the new T1 offers more sound pressure in the low-end – does that affect the accuracy of the bass at all? I don’t listen to metal, but i do listen to a lot of early drum and bass which is quite fast – at least in as far as the drum and bass lines are written even if the tempo is a bit slower. I’m always looking for that combo of articulate bass, with good impact and sound pressure.
I can’t say definitively if it affects accuracy as I’m not set up to test that. But many hours of listening suggests that it is accurate and fast. Drum and bass may be an interesting genre for the new T1, as there is soo much going in the low to mid midrange that the new T1 may make a great partner.
For more melodic fast electronic genres, I think the previous model is better suited.
The original T1 of a friend got me into audio two years ago and I finally had saved up enough to buy one when the T1.2 was released. I went for the T1.2 and since I got it, my other headphones don’t get much attention. It’s a great headphone, super comfortable and a bargain compared to most other flagship headphones.
As Nathan noted it might not be superb for every genre but it is still very good at anything I’ve listened to.
Great to hear from you. I hope you enjoy the T1,2.
tried t1 yesterday at a meet. loved the mids on new one.
but its a bit out of budget.
can you compare t90 with t1v2 with respect to mids? are t90 recessed there?
I found the T90 to have perfect mids, but it’s a tad bright.
Thanks Dale. Always on top of it. Vaibhav Pisal: I don’t have the T90 and the T1 are back. Sorry.
Hello Guys, do you drive your T1 with 0ohm output or higher values (like 100ohm Beyer amps are) ?
I use LinnenberG’s Maestro amp, the Lynx Hilo, and any portable amp out there. I do not own a Beyerdyanmic headphone amp.
I also think that the original T1 trounces HD800
The original I absolutely love.
I just purchased the T5P V2. I think it sounds a touch dull and needs a bit more sparkle. Woult the T1 get me there? V2 or V1?
both the T5p V1 and T1 V1 have more sparke but some people might find’em a little bit sibilant/fatiguing. that’s why beyerdynamic tuned them different in V2.
Do you think Chord Mojo is enough to drive these cans? Or do I need to invest in a desktop amp/ get the 32ohm AK T1p?
After hearing the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation I have an understanding of what made the gen 1 so popular. Knowing my personal sound preferences I’m pretty sure that if I were able to directly compare the two I’d prefer the 2nd gen due to having extra weight in the bass and warmth in the lower mids.
Comfort is top notch with angled drivers and plenty of depth in the cups to prevent your ears from touching the baffle combined with a low clamping force. Then there’s the spacious soundstage, fast and accurate bass with a hint of elevation, a sub-bass that extends really well and treble that’s detailed and airy without any nasty peaks. If you want top of the line cans, these fit the bill and if you have the money to spare then I’d heartily recommend them.
The Amiron Home shares similar characteristics and is roughly half the price so would be a good alternative if you want to save some cash but if you can afford it the T1 takes things to another level again.
Will you review the gen 3?