Review of Beyerdynamic T5p audiophile portable Hi-Fi headphones w/lots of pics!!
This is a review of Beyerdynamic T5p Audiophile portable Tesla Hi-Fi headphones. http://north-america.beyerdynamic.co...ure/t-5-p.html
Deal or No Deal - that's the first thing that went through my mind when I took out the aluminum case T5p came in. Apparently at $1,399 its a BIG DEAL. Yes, you read it correctly, there is a comma separating one thousand and four hundred in that price tag. One might ask, why do I even bother reviewing such an expensive pair of headphones in a community dedicated to mobile devices? The answer is simple, this is a high class Audiophile Quality headphones designed FOR use with mobile devices! I had a very rare opportunity to test drive these for a short time period, and would like to share with you my experience.
I already mentioned about aluminum case these were stored in, though the case itself arrived inside of a rather large packaging box. With high definition pictures and detailed list of features, you get right away a heads up about something special that awaits you inside. Opening the aluminum box/case was exciting as well, and really adds to the value for those who invested into purchasing of T5p. Inside of the case, lined with form fitting foam cutout, you will find T5p headphones with 1.2m double sided attached non-removable cable, 1/4" adapter, in-flight adapter, 3m high quality heavy duty extension cable, and felt carrying drawstring bag for headphones, and another smaller bag for extension cable. The design of these over-ear headphones is common with other Beyerdynamic headphones, but this particular T5p model stepped it up with details to underline the luxury of this design. A rather large earcups have a neatly designed aluminum cover plate on outside with a soft touch hard plastic material around it. Each earcup has a nice strain relief for a non-removable cable which is thin enough for a portable mobile use, but still strong enough to take some abuse. And since I'm on a subject of the cable, both sides come together in minimalistic y-splitter and continue attached together into a straight gold plated 3.5mm connector.
Now, back to earcups, I was very pleased to find a real genuine leather earpads. These are not fake pleather or leatherettes, these are pure high quality soft as a butter earpads. To my surprise after using these headphones for extended period of time my ears never got hot or sweaty considering I was dealing with a real leather. Inside of earcups, you have a rather interesting design with angled placement of the drivers and a large opening space for a sound to travel/bounce. Also, Beyer engineers used a very unique material to line the Tesla driver and the rest of the interior. The steel y-fork holds earcup secure and allows a decent room for a tilt and even some degree of rotation to adjust earcups around your ears/head. The headband adjustment/extension has a great degree of control and indicator to know exactly how far you are out. Headband itself has a very soft inner padding wrapped in the same high quality genuine leather material. The clamping force of the headband, which is a solid steel band inside of that leather luxury, was very comfortable and contributed to a great passive noise isolation. The ergonomics of the design is very balanced to the point where even at 355g (measured together with an attached cabled), they felt featherlight and very comfortable sitting on my head.
As you can see, the quality of the design and the selection of the material takes it to the high level, but to claim audiophile status you need to justify it with an adequate sound quality. That is where I'm heading next. T5p, where "p" obviously stands for portable, is a close sibling of T1 model which has 600 ohm impedance drivers. That is great for home use, but will be impossible to drive with smart devices and even with a number of portable DACs/Amps. That is why Beyer introduced T5p model with 32 ohm impedance to be able to drive it straight from any smartphone or tablet. I can confirm that I had absolutely no problem driving it from my Note 2 or Nexus 7 or even straight out of the laptop. It worked equally great being driven from X5 DAP or Beyerdynamic A200p connected to the phone. I know it sounds bizarre, but I actually found these headphones to produce a deeper lows being driven directly without amp or dedicated DAP. I don't know how to explain it, but considering I typically crave more bass - I actually enjoyed T5p directly from Note 2 rather than from X5 or through A200p. So, let's talk more about the sound.
To describe overall sound signature, I would say these are balanced warm, more on mid-centric side, but not too bright. The level of details is simply amazing, and the separation of instruments is phenomenal. Unlike other over-ear headphones I tested, I felt this closed design had a lot of width and air and gave the sound more depth, far more than a typical headphones sitting on your ears. If you look closer into sound details, starting with lows, I found bass to be there in quality but not in quantity. I have been spoiled with T51i mini-Tesla drivers tuned to a more bass dominant sound. T5p have a very detailed and accurate bass, fast and high resolution, great separation without spilling into mids, but I was left feeling a little hungry for a sub-bass while listening to my test tracks where T51i or other headphones used to give me more low end rumble satisfaction. That is why I was happy when I switched directly to my smartphone as an audio source where I got back a little more sub-bass but at the expense of loosing some upper frequency details. From either source, mids are still very detailed and smooth, definitely more upfront. Treble is extended, crisp, but still easy on your ears for extended period of listening. To my ears, mids and treble sounded relatively natural with a great tonality. Beyer did a good job of tuning the upper frequency content to be bright and detailed without actually sounding too harsh. Though for my personal taste I would prefer a little more bass, overall I think a lot of people will find these to be satisfying and adequate for a wide range of music genres.
Overall, I think it was a great experience for me to get a taste of fine headphone luxury. Obviously, these headphones are not for everyone. But those who appreciate high quality of the sound and want to continue their audiophile experience on the go - you no longer have to compromise with your headphones. Ironically, T5p is not exactly a "portable" design since it has a rather large earcups, and can't be folded into a more compact footprint. What makes them portable is that you can take these headphones outside of your house and connect directly to any mobile device without a need for any external DAC or amplifier. Also, though as an owner you will know a true value of these cans, they don't scream out loud "look at me, I'm $1,400 headphones". T5p has a rather modest bulky look with a German engineered bell'n'whistles under the hood, where you can wrap your ears in a luxury of high quality genuine leather and audiophile performance on the go!
Here are the pictures.