I am a bright listener. I mean, I would normally want some sparkle to what I am listening to. Heck, I even get to the point that I enjoy such sparkle which is otherwise intolerable to some other people. There was even this conversation wherein a few of my audio friends would say a track we just listened to is sibilant, but I immensely enjoyed it. Call it weird, but that is just how I get my kicks when listening. Oftentimes, lack of sparkle in a track makes me feel it to be too dark. That is just how bright I listen.
About a few weeks ago, I was approached by a good friend Vincent Ventura and was offered a loaner for his Beyerdynamic T1 since he is leaving for Australia for a few weeks. Much to my delight, I excitedly accepted the offer as I know this can would easily click on my taste. and I did. Thanks man, as promised this can is going to show up in BRI.
The Beyerdynamic T1 (Gen 1) was released back in 2010 as a supposed competition to Sennheiser’s HD800. Given this fact, why in the name of one’s mother am I going for an older model given that the Gen 2 is already in the market? No, not because it is what was lent to me (I have an access to Gen 2 if I want to); but I think it is more prudent for me to do a review with the first iteration before doing another one for the second generation. Just setting a benchmark here.
Don’t get me wrong though. As early as now, I will tell you guys that I liked the first generation more. As to why, let’s go through and see.
Seems Beyerdynamic has opted to keep the same design of yokes for its cans, as T1 bears a huge resemblance to those of DT770, DT880 and DT990. However I would have appreciated if Beyerdynamic also used the same principle with the headband wherein it can be replaced in case it frays over time due to usage. Since the pads are already replaceable, BD might as well have gone for the replaceable headband especially in the case of T1 which was their flagship back when it was released.
Also, for my personal preference, I would have wished the pads included in the packaging was made of higher quality pleather instead of velour as it is a dust and lint magnet. It is comfortable enough though, and I know there are a lot of aftermarket pads available in the market but I am just wishing here.
Case is nice, as it is made of aluminum which should make a very nice storage. It is lined with foam so that should avoid scratches in the cans, however as it is huge, it will be quite tough to bring the cans around if you wish.
The terminations on each of the cans in the review is made of 3 pins, a mod made to accommodate balanced termination. Would love to hear the T1 with stock cables, but I really am not complaining.
Overall, the T1 looks pretty sturdy; you won’t really worry about wear as long as you give it due care.
Just to give you guys a picture as to how the T1 sounds like in a visual manner, here’s an FR reading courtesy of SBAF:
The T1 is primarily a bright can but still has ample punch in the bass, probably just enough to give body to whatever track you listen to. Mids dip a little bit but is still very pronounced. However, it will be best to view the cans based on how it performs using some of my choice tracks. Take note though that I will be hooking this up with the Questyle CMA600i which in turn is hooked up to my laptop through Audioquest Jitterbug.
Vessels (Julien Baker, Sprained Ankle)
As I have mentioned that the can is bright, I particularly liked the timbre of the guitars in the intro. Julien Baker’s voice is as ethereal ever as you can feel the hint of pain with the way she sang the track. Imaging is quite good, but what I liked most is the soundstage of the T1. It allows that roomy feeling without being too overwhelming, allowing you to properly and clearly discern each of the instruments while giving you that live vibe in the background.
Self Esteem (The Offspring, Greatest Hits)
In spite of the brightness of the can, I liked how airy the higher frequencies are. The cymbals of Ron Welty are splashy but sounded crystalline. Depth is also excellent, the distance between the guitars and the drums are totally realistic sounding.
Hope (Michael Giacchino, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story OMPS)
This is where the T1 slays. As much as you are listening to a full orchestra, you can easily define the instrument sections and gives that roomy vibe that sounds perfect theatrically. Violins sounded dramatic and surreal but gives a sense of footing with that hint of realism. Range is excellent as it can be easily discerned with the T1.
Overall, based on the test tracks I used, the T1 did best with the orchestral track. Kind of gave you a totally different experience that I haven’t heard from any other cans (with the exception of the Sennheiser HD800 as I have not paired it with the CMA600i just yet.
I strongly believe that the T1 works well with how it scales, and given that I did the tests using the Questyle DAC, I have heard how well it adapted as you improve the source. However, I am quite surprised that it didn’t do so well with an Xduoo TA-03 considering that I thought that this kinds of cans will work great with tube amps. But I guess synergy will always be something to consider in this matter.
Given a chance to own one from the second hand market, I personally won’t hesitate grabbing one if I can help it. Of course I will have to ensure that this is plugged to at least a decent amp or DAC, but for me being able to get my hand on one of these, that should be of little consideration. After all, the T1 appealed my preference, and given that it is driven properly, may also appeal a lot of fans with the exception of those bright can intolerant enthusiasts.