Review: Beyerdynamic T1 V2 – a pint with Mark Knopfler

Sound

Both my wife and I were big fans of the original T1. My wife turned down my offer to buy a pair for both of us to enjoy. Her explanation began and ended with a $. The new one is roughly the same price, and while it still sounds great, its signature has changed.

The skinny is that it’s a bit too shouldery for fast electronic and trance, and nearly perfect for folk, soft jazz. Blessings, it is a very good match for Vivaldi.

Its shouldery midrange is larger than life, blending seamlessly with lows, but boxing somewhat abruptly against the upper midrange and highs. It is wide and deep, roomy enough that you might swear a breeze blew through the middle of the stage. The transition between highs and lows is a bit starker than before, with bass getting the smallest of upper hands. Next to my longtime, and much-abused DT880/600, the new T1’s bass is slightly elevated. It’s neither boomy, nor ruggedised. It’s just got a slight bit more sound pressure behind it. The difference isn’t huge, but both T1 owners and DT880 will notice it. The main difference is its midrange, which is wider and roomier, and which renders y-axis details in a wider, roomier venue. In that band, it’s like the venue was upgraded from a pub to a small auditorium.

Highs don’t stick out as much as they used to. The good news is that that high frequency is smooth, and extends well, with few, if any noticeable drop outs. But that immense sense of space closes suddenly in. DT880 treble heads probably won’t like it. But DT880 fans are a breed all their own. They like the peaky, the cranky, the jaunty. They scoff at easily mouthed platitudes. Sibilance, you say? My arse!

Well, the T1,2’s high range is better behaved than the DT880 – perhaps too much so. It’s not dull, it’s not dark. It’s still Beyer, and treble-bouncy, but it’s not susceptible to the same criticism the DT880 is. It is smoother, and fractionally less bombastic. It is an easier listening treble, and it can be tighter.

An electronic-head like me doesn’t dig that stereo-sensitive details clump more together, compressing some out-of-head psychoacoustics. Highs come out all right, but their lovely, panning (and sometimes wild) stereo image has been polited over.

But then, trance isn’t the only genre out there. It’s just the best.

Simon and Garfunkel. The Dire Straits. Whatever audiophile favourite female vocalist you desire. This is totally where the T1,2 stretches its legs. That shouldery midrange busts vocals forward and out, both against the bass and treble. It’s almost as if Mark Knopfler is sipping your pint. And of course, around the vocal band, there’s loads of space and detail.

The T1 is as speedy as the DT880. In fact, its upper midrange is far less prone to smear. Smooth. But shouldery.

It’s as if Beyerdynamic designed the T1,2 specifically for audiophile genres. Which, at its price point, is fine by me. But audiophilia isn’t all Nora Jones and smarmy jazz, not to mention the sickening piano stuff cued up at every headphone festival booth. Audiophilia is also peopled by music lovers. There are metal heads among us, and trancephiles among us, and hopped-up EDM fans looking for upper-edge bite. For them, the original T1 is, in my opinion, the more apt headphone. But for the audiophile that listens for the smack of his or her favourite singer’s gums, and spends evenings sussing the age of Knopfler’s guitar, there is the T1,2.

Sensitivity and amping

The T1,2 is more sensitive than the DT880, and a bit less sensitive than the Oppo PM-2. For example, a volume of 69 on the Grace Design m9xx and DT880/600 combo is roughly 8 full stops higher than I’d use for the T1,2. Which makes sense. The DT880/600 is sensitive to 96dB and the T1 to 102dB.

Volume-matched, I find a simple iPhone 4s to be every bit as good as a similarly-voiced desktop amp or DAC. I listen about 6 or 7 steps from the top with a variety of music. Of course, at normal listening levels, little to no benefit exists for either 24-bit audio, or hi-end DAC/amp/DAPs. If you’re in the habit of cranking it, the Grace m9XX will more than do ya. As will the Chord Mojo.

End words

While the trance-lover in me prefers the original, I reckon that non-electronic, non-metal heads will probably prefer the new T1. Which I get. In fact, if the original came with the same handy box and used the same detachable cables, I’d jump on one right now. The new design is truly bullet proof. Well, except for the leatherette headband. That’s a shame.

If you love its robust mid-forward, mid-wide sound signature, the T1 2.Generation is a phenomenal choice.

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

23 Comments

  • Reply December 24, 2015

    dalethorn

    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?

    • Reply December 25, 2015

      ohm image

      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.

      • Reply December 25, 2015

        dalethorn

        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.

        • Reply December 25, 2015

          ohm image

          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.

          • Reply December 25, 2015

            dalethorn

            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.

            • Reply December 26, 2015

              ohm image

              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.

              • Reply March 31, 2016

                thatonenoob

                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.

  • Reply December 27, 2015

    digitldlnkwnt

    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.

    • Reply December 28, 2015

      ohm image

      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.

  • Reply December 28, 2015

    Tronco

    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.

    • Reply December 29, 2015

      ohm image

      Great to hear from you. I hope you enjoy the T1,2.

  • Reply January 3, 2016

    Vaibhav Pisal

    hi
    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?

    • Reply January 3, 2016

      dalethorn

      I found the T90 to have perfect mids, but it’s a tad bright.

      • Reply February 4, 2016

        ohm image

        Thanks Dale. Always on top of it. Vaibhav Pisal: I don’t have the T90 and the T1 are back. Sorry.

  • Reply January 18, 2016

    Mac

    Hello Guys, do you drive your T1 with 0ohm output or higher values (like 100ohm Beyer amps are) ?

    • Reply February 4, 2016

      ohm image

      I use LinnenberG’s Maestro amp, the Lynx Hilo, and any portable amp out there. I do not own a Beyerdyanmic headphone amp.

  • Reply February 23, 2016

    s.zorin

    I also think that the original T1 trounces HD800

  • Reply October 28, 2016

    ERIC

    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?

    • Reply June 4, 2017

      Ali Arghavan

      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.

  • Reply June 4, 2017

    Ali Arghavan

    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?

  • […] any underpowered players. I can’t find a measurement of the Beyer DT1770, but looking at the Beyer T1’s impedance curve, it’s nearly double the nominal impedance around 100 hz, so I expect that the […]

  • Reply April 6, 2019

    TechnoVolume

    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.

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