Published on April 2nd, 2014 | by Greg0
beyerdynamic T51p: Singing The Praises Of Germany
Yesterday, we talked about how difficult it can be to find good sound in an earbud, especially in the ~$100 price point. We’ve seen in-ear monitors that can range up to $1000, but you probably wouldn’t want to carry those on the subway (or throw them in your gym bag). But earbuds are a major compromise for most serious listeners- you can only do so much with those physical limitations. Over-ear headphones offer better noise isolation, but are typically huge. Thus, you’ll typically find us traveling with on-ear headphones, which sit atop your ears- they aren’t as comfortable in general, but produce a much wider range of sounds and are still quite portable.
The manufacturer we focused on yesterday is back in the picture today, with the beyerdynamic T51p, their new portable, closed hi-fi on-ear Tesla headphones. The T51ps are impressively compact, a replacement of the T50ps that were one of our absolute top on-ear set in this price range. Not only engineered but made in Germany, they have the look and feel of an ultra-expensive audiophile set that beyerdynamic is famous for, but at a much lower price point that you’d expect. The metal build holds up well to heavy use, and they come with a two-year warranty standard, double that of most competitors.
Cabling could be better, and you might miss the in-line controls and microphone if you’re looking for them, but it means that these are aimed at pure listening. With a set like these, we definitely recommend using amplifier or amp/DAC combo, even a portable one- we’ve been testing with a new Matrix model and the Cypher AlgoRhythm Duet, but just about any will do, especially if you intend to use a digital source. The ear cups swivel flat, so you can carry them more easily, and they adjust to just about any head size or shape. And they stay comfortable- not cushy perhaps, but just slightly less comfortable than other favorites, the Bowers and Wilkins P5s, P7s and a bit less portable than the P3s. They are crisper sounding too, more detailed, with better bass on hip-hop or orchestral sounds, if a little too sharp on electronic tracks.
If you’re in need of a portable, great-looking pair of portable headphones, there’s not much better out there in this price range. Memory foam cups, metal construction, and a wide open, very full soundstage with incredible punch on the low-end make the beyerdynamic T51ps one of the best sets so far this year. Pick up a pair of your own for around $289, online and in stores- you’ll love ‘em.