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Beyer Dynamic DT 1350 DJ Headphones
Reviewer: Gizmo • Date: March 2011 • Price: £279/$299/€279 • Link: Beyerdynamic


I'm believe I'm treading on pretty safe ground when I say that the Sennheiser HD25s are a solid favourite with DJs. They are about as trend bucking as you can get and do the DJ headphone thing in their own sweet way. So it comes as no surprise that another premium audio manufacturer figured that seeing as the HD25s are so damned popular, they may as well bring out their own take, but hopefully make it better. Enter the all new Beyerdynamic DT 1350s.

Well when I say "all new", I mean very much like their T 50 P - a portable headphone that came out last year to much acclaim. These new DT 1350s however are more powerful, have a wider frequency response and by the look of it a slightly chunkier earpiece.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

In The Box:
Given the premium price tag, it's only fair to expect a hard case, and that's what you get - a very compact one that will protect your investment from all but a solid beating with a brick. Just as well really as there's no spare cable or earpieces - a fairly standard spare for even cheap cans. More on that later. And of course, you do get the obligatory 1/4" adaptor, but rather unusually Beyerdynamic decided an in-flight adaptor was important too.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Beauty appears to be in the eye of the beholder with these. The mixture of matt finish metal and matt black plastic does from a distance look less than expensive, as the brain is accustomed to seeing big lumps of plastic and padding. But close up inspection reveals that these are far from cheap. Up close, they're really special and definitely make you want to wear them. They will draw looks from people, and the Beyerdynamic logo on the earpiece immediately indicates their quality heritage.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Build Quality:
When you first pick a pair up, it's clear that despite the lightweight looks, the DT 1350s are far from flimsy. Being German, Beyerdynamic don't leave anything to chance and assemble everything themselves at their factory in Heilbronn. No far Eastern OEM fodder here. Mechanism-wise, they are similar but not the same as the Sennheisers. 90% is pressed metal, from the split headband to the full earpiece arms and cups. This of course means that the chances of hinges splitting are almost nil, as the key components are solid. I do however have a small reservation about the plastic connector for the earpiece arms - that has rapid wear written all over it.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

The cable is on the face of it pretty lightweight - a fixed 1.5m straight 2mm thick affair, with no apparent way of replacing it yourself. Indeed the manual states this:

"Should it become necessary to replace the ear pads or the headband cushion, refer to "Spares and Accessories". If other components have to be replaced, please contact your local beyerdynamic representative."
Now in the first draft of this review, I was all uppity and indignant about this apparent lack of user replaceable cable. But it turns out that this simply is not the case, and while the DT 1350s only come with a single straight cable, it is in fact user replaceable. And in the coming months a coiled version will be made available as well. Indeed, the spec of the supplied cable is pretty high anyway - tough Polyurethane that has been tested to 20 N force - that's like lifting 2kg without the cable snapping or coming away from the cans. So the supplied cable should do pretty well under the regular abusive hammering of DJs. But for those who prefer coiled cables, they're coming.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Sound Quality:
Each manufacturer always has their own marketing spin when talking driver technology. It all sounds very technical and largely floats over people's heads. As well it should - it really is all about what your ears tell you. In this case, Beyerdynamic are banking on their Tesla technology which essentially massively optimises the whole wire wrapped round a magnet principle and wraps it all in a high quality case.

There is much talk of an "analytical" sound with the DT 1350s. This largely is quoted from Beyer's own PR, but I know what they're trying to get across. DJ headphones normally push the bottom end so that the beat and bass comes through in a noisy environment. But these headphones have a solid response across the whole spectrum. The bass doesn't thump like a pure DJ headphone, but the top end isn't lost either. But that doesn't mean that the mids are missing either. The DT 1350s deliver a bright and punchy sound - perhaps more linear than some would like but certainly more accurate for the wider DJ, producer and sound engineering groups. The other plus point of this fancy Tesla tech is a complete lack of distortion, even when pushed to the max.

Beyerdynamic are obviously aiming to please a broad group of people. And unless you absolutely need brain dissolving bass, the DT 1350s offer a good balance between loudness and clarity.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

This is where the DT 1350s really shine. I do have slightly mutant ears - they stick out a little, and cannot use bud type earphones because my ears lack the antitragus (that hard flexible bit), but I always find that on-ear headphones fit me considerably better than over-ear ones. Not only that, isolation is much better too. I say this as a precursor to stating that bar inner ear type, the DT 1350s have the best isolation of any headphone I've used - including the mighty HD25s. The soft pad moulds to my ears perfectly, and the closed back stops noise getting into and coming out of the earpiece astonishingly well.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Comfort and Stability:
Going back to isolation for a moment, the ultra soft cushions hug your ears wonderfully and keep all the noise in and out too. And the springy metal construction keeps them glued to your head in 2 or 1 ear mode. For me though, it's the level of adjustability that works so well here. Because the headband splits, it can be adjusted to find the very best location on the top of your head and does offer greater stability that just one band. And the earpieces themselves have a full 180° rotation as well as a good 30-40° angle adjustment vertically too. I do however have to point out that that these do appear to be made with small headed people in mind. While they do offer a reasonable 40mm of adjustment, at full stretch they still covered my ears rather than sitting below them.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

I do however fear for the headband cushions. Being a split headband, the foams are narrow and stuck on with a relatively small sliver of adhesive. This may prove to be a weak point and might come off under the rigorous on/off nature of DJ usage. But spares are available.

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Clearly they're not bulky cans compared to others I've covered. And if you really wanted to save space in your DJ bag, they'd happily squeeze into a smaller corner than most. But they don't fold, so Beyerdynamic provide a very compact ballistic nylon tough case to keep them safe. Just as well given the outlay.

Value for money: And this is where the real pain starts. Having previously berated Pioneer for the wallet smashing HDJ-2000s, the Beyerdynamic DT 1350s break the previous record. While prices vary, they appear to be around 10% more expensive that Pioneer. Now when you get a pair in front of you, fondle them and try them on, it's clear to see that these are a world away from the usual DJ fodder. But they do lack the included extras like spare cables and earpieces. It's something to consider if you find you go through more pairs then most.


Beyerdynamic DT 1350 DJ headphone review

Beyerdynamic is a name to be reckoned with as far as headphones go. So has their considerable pedigree and experience enabled them to wade into the high end of the DJ market and win over wealthy potential customers? I would have to say yes. Will it win over the massive and justifiable HD25 fan base? Well probably not. They tend to be as loyal as Technics owners. And given that they are £100 cheaper, it's a hard sell especially with the iconic status of the HD25s. But in my humbe opinion, HD25 owners should definitely take a look if they fancy a change.

Overall, it's almost impossible to find something really wrong with the DT 1350s. Some may lament that the bass won't blend your brain matter in your skull - I counter with excellent isolation and zero distortion meaning that you don't need to crank too loud. The biggest issue by far is the bottom line. But you get what you pay for - almost all metal construction, the best isolation and cracking audio fidelity.

But mark my words - if you get to fondle a pair, you will want to cheat on your existing pair of cans regardless of their logo. They're about as aspirational as a pair of headphones gets and has a price tag to match. But aside from the being the coolest kid on the block, you'll also be treating yourself to a killer pair of headphones to boot.

Hype: Pretty much everything
Gripe: Obviously price, but if pushed I'd say not as bassy as regular DJ headphones, the relatively small fit and the potential lack of longevity of the headband cushions.


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