Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro 16 ohm Stereo Headphone Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Youtube review: Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro 16 ohm Stereo Headphone review by Dale - YouTube

    Sources: iPhone5 alone, iPhone5 with FiiO E07k using LOD, iPhone5 using v-moda Verza DAC/amp, various computers using HRT Microstreamer DAC/amp.

    First impression of the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (COP): A fairly neutral sound, and depending on where the bass switch is set, slightly more bassy than the Beyer DT770 32 ohm Limited Edition (a.k.a. 88th Anniversary Edition) at position 3, and slightly less bassy at position 2. Compared to the better headphones I've had such as the Sennheiser HD600 and HD650, the Shure 1840, the Grado PS500 and a few others, the COP has a treble that's just right - not bright, not sibilant, not harsh with anything I've played. The treble is stronger in the lower (presence) area, giving it a fairly lively sound, but less strong in the upper treble, although it doesn't roll off to the extent that the Sennheiser Momentum does. The bass is variable with the bass port switch settings, but at the no.2 and no.3 positions I used for best sound, the bass was reasonably tight and smooth, and did not impact negatively on the midrange.

    To best describe the COP's midrange, which I find to be nearly coloration-free (better than the DT770LE, and much better than the ATH M50), I'll compare it to the DT770LE: The DT770LE has a somewhat hollow or "cavernous" midrange sound, where the COP is more neutral. The DT770LE has a darker bias to the midrange while the COP has a lighter bias. The DT770LE's presence area (~3 khz to 6 khz) is slightly recessed, while the COP is more energetic, but less energetic than the Sennheiser Momentum. The DT770LE's upper treble has a peak around 8 to 10 khz that is slightly irritating on perhaps 25 percent of my music tracks, while the COP is free of that. The Sennheiser Momentum for comparison is somewhat rolled off in the upper treble. Amping is very predictable with the COP, using analog amps like the FiiO E12 or Decware Zen Head (more airy and spacious), but the bass gets noticeable tighter with my desktop DAC-plus-amps like the HRT Microstreamer or v-moda Verza.

    When using with a computer and a good DAC-plus-headphone-amp, I think the no.3 position on the bass port will give the best sound, since the no.2 position gets too thin with those amps in my opinion. I'm not especially bass-oriented, but I'm inclined to err in the direction of having a little more bass than ideal, than having a little less bass than ideal. In summary, the COP has a strong bass at position 3 (which I used for this review) that doesn't get too muddy or boomy, but position 4 does become somewhat boomy and muddy with iPods and iPhones and the analog amps I have. Customers who buy the Beyer COP might want to experiment with bass controls that are built into any amps they use, setting the amps' bass control ON or to a higher value, while compensating with the COP's bass controls to see where the best sound occurs, i.e. having the best impact with the least amount of distortion.

    Soundstage seems average for a closed headphone, and it improves noticeably with a good headphone amp. Note that Beyer specifies the COP's impedance as 16 ohms, so headphone amps that have a high output impedance may act unpredictably with the COP. Isolation seems good - average or better for a closed headphone, and leakage is very low. Beyer states that isolation changes appreciably with the bass port switch settings, but I noted very little difference with the headphone on my head and no sound coming from the music player, when switching from position 1 to position 4. There are no electronics associated with those switches, so there shouldn't be any high frequency/low frequency bias at the different switch settings, and in fact I didn't detect any change in tone, just an extremely small difference in isolation. The COP's leakage is very low, so if you're in a very quiet office in a cubicle right next to other cubicles, the adjacent co-workers will not likely hear anything unless the COP volume is very loud.

    The COP has a metal headband with a very soft spongy (and replaceable) pad, and the earcups are so well made and finished that I can't tell whether they're metal or plastic. The earpads are soft, and the quality compared to the better headphones I've had is right up there with the best. From everything I've heard, the standard plastic/pleather earpads are the best match to the COP, to maintain its high-quality sound. Other pads, velour for example, are said to change the sound in ways that are mostly negative. The COP is nearly unique among the best headphones insofar as all parts are user-replaceable. The appearance/aesthetics are excellent, and they're a big step up from the DT770LE that it most closely resembles. The faceplates on the sides of the earcups are customizable, and to find out exactly what options are available, you could contact Beyerdynamic or an authorized dealer.

    The COP's headband clamping force is sufficient to keep the COP in position when moving around, as long as your head doesn't make extreme movements, and even then I couldn't dislodge it with any movements I made. I'd rate the comfort with the COP as 8 to 9 (excellent) on a scale of 1 to 10. A big part of that comfort is the fact that the earpads fully surround the ears without touching or squeezing them. The interiors of the earcups are well recessed, have a soft and reasonably thick foam covering over the drivers, and when pressing down on those foam coverings, I don't feel anything except a smooth surface. The earcups don't rotate and don't pull down far enough for ideal portable use, but in spite of that I find that I can wear the COP around my neck when not listening, for a few minutes to an hour as necessary. The cable is detachable on the left side, and terminated with miniplugs on both ends. A 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter is supplied. There is no carry case or bag.

    Summarizing, and as an owner of several Beyer headphones, the COP is easily my favorite. Certain other Beyer headphones cost more, but along with whatever advantages they afford comes their own imperfections. I've seen where other reviews mention a "fun" sound for headphones they consider less than ideal in terms of their fidelity or hi-fi accuracy, but I can't subscribe to that notion because it leaves too many holes for unpleasant colorations to get through. The COP isn't just a good sound after I got used to it, it impressed me favorably right out of the box, or more accurately, after letting the headphone warm up for a few hours while I finished the day's work. Outside of the Beyer product line and comparing to other brands, headphones that I find comparable without regard to price include: ATH ESW9a (soft treble); B&W P5 (soft bass and treble); GMP 8.35D (similar); Grado PS500 (slightly brighter and upper bass hump); Philips L1 (bassy); Senn Momentum (uneven highs); and v-moda M100 (bassy).

    In previous reviews I've included the following music examples with comments about how the headphones sound with each track. My suggestion is instead of reading each one as an absolute unto itself, you could compare my notes here to those other reviews and see how the COP compares with each individual track. Note that the comments below apply to the COP's sound played flat (no EQ), and with the bass port switches set to position no.3 ("Vibrant Bass").
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro part 2 - music tracks

    Animotion - Obsession (1980's New Wave/Techno): The upper bass synth has very good detail and tone, and both male and female vocals sound natural, without favoring either. The COP plays this perfectly.

    Ben Heit Quartet - Suite-Magnet and Iron (Jazz with a Bebop flavor): The piano that leads off sounds realistic and the saxophone sounds appropriately soft. Overall, the COP plays this music extremely well.

    Cath Carroll - Moves Like You (1980's New Wave/Techno): This track's percussion and voice are crisp and well-balanced, and there's a good sense of space or soundstage around the voices and instruments. The COP reproduces the space and detail convincingly.

    Chromatics - I'm On Fire (Synth-Pop, female lead): This track has a good amount of space around the voice and instruments, making for a very pleasant stereo image. The voice is excellent, and the tambourine is identifiable as such.

    Crystal Castles - Wrath of God (Electro-Pop): The bass in this track has a strong impact but little detail, while the ambient electronic effects are clear and distinct. The COP plays this track very well given the limited quality of the recording.

    DJ Shadow - Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (Electronic/DJ): This track opens with what sounds like very high and very low piano notes, and the COP renders those notes well. The ambient voices are slightly indistinct though.

    Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses (Pop-Rock): The moderate level of bass in this track is played with good detail by the COP, and the percussion and voice are crisp and well-balanced. This track has a huge amount of high-frequency energy, but the COP plays it very smoothly.

    Halie Loren - Sway (Jazz vocal): Bass instruments here may sound boomy on some headphones, but the COP is better than average in this regard. The trumpet sounds natural but soft, and the voice is done just right.

    Hans Zimmer - Dark Knight-Aggressive Expansion (Soundtrack): The percussion in this track hits really hard, and the bass tones beginning around 0:45 have the ultra-deep "shuddery" kind of sound and feel that indicates a good deep-bass response. Overall, the COP plays this music extremely well.

    Kaskade - 4am (Electro-House): The bass that kicks in around 1:01 into the track is subtle, but the COP plays it well. The percussion and female voice balance well with neither overwriting the other - the COP gets this right.

    Katy B - Perfect Stranger (R&B-House-Garage): The heavy bass that begins at 0:27 into this track is played very well by the COP. The voice is slightly forward, but it doesn't overpower the instruments or get lost in the mix. The COP balances the different elements in this music very well.

    Machine Gun Kelly - All We Have (Rap/Hip-Hop): The heavy bass beats that begin at 0:23 into the track do sound like drum impacts, although they're not sharp impacts. The male and female voices have a good balance, and the COP plays this about as good as can be expected given the limited quality of the recording.

    Massive Attack - Angel (Trip-Hop): This track begins with a steady low-frequency sound and some slightly soft deep-bass impacts. The voices blend well with the music and have just the right presence, although the recorded quality of the instruments isn't great. The COP plays this about as good as can be expected given the limited quality of the recording.

    Morcheeba - Bullet Proof (Trip-Hop): Bright percussion and medium-strength bass impacts make up most of this, with some dance-club spoken intonations thrown in. The COP plays the percussion pretty well, and the voices sound good too.

    Peter Tosh - Get Up Stand Up (Reggae): The bass here has a fairly strong impact, and the lead and backup voices have good separation that's not too narrow or wide. The COP renders the bass with good detail and the voices sound very natural.

    Porcupine Tree - Trains (Pop-Rock): This track opens with some nicely-detailed string sounds and a forward-sounding male voice with a higher-than-average register. There are a series of "clip-clop" effects starting at 3:19 that may lack clarity and proper harmonic detail on some headphones, but the COP reproduces those effects well.

    Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C-Sharp Minor Op3 No2 (Classical, Piano): Grand piano played mechanically from an original recording by the master himself. The bass is unusually light here, but the COP renders the notes very well in spite of the limited quality of the recording.

    Scarlatti-Kipnis - Sonata in E Major K381 (Classical, Harpsichord): The harpsichord here is fairly bright and highly detailed, and the COP renders the tones and transients superbly.

    Trombone Shorty - Backatown (Jazz-Funk): The deep bass impacts here are unusually strong, and work very well with the horns and other instruments. The COP delivers the impacts with proper weight and great detail, and the horns have the kind of bite that gives them a wonderfully realistic sound.

    William Orbit - Optical Illusion (Billy Buttons Mix) (Electronic): This is about as close as I want to get to easy-listening music. The string tones beginning at 0:18 are fairly soft, and while the bass isn't very deep, it still adds a good underpinning to the music. The short poetic rap at 4:14, preceded by an etherial female voice, works very well with this track.

    ---------- COP REVIEW - MUSIC SAMPLES PART 2 ----------

    Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the COP.

    Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Excellent overall sound. Of special note for this headphone are the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts won't overwhelm you since they're soft and well in the background, but you can really feel the weight they carry.

    Blues Project - Caress Me Baby (1966): Rarely mentioned, but one of the greatest white blues recordings ever. The loud piercing guitar sound at 0:41 into the track is a good test for distortion or other problems. Handled very well by the COP.

    Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled fairly well by the COP.

    Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman (~1968): A Richie Furay song entirely, rarely mentioned, but one of the best sounding rock ballads ever. This will sound good on most headphones, but it's a special treat with the COP.

    Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (early 70's): A near-perfect test for overall sound - this track will separate the best sounding headphones from the lesser quality types. Nothing specific, except that almost any deviation from perfect reproduction will stand out with this track. Sounds very good on the COP.

    Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the COP renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

    Def Leppard - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981): MTV goth/pop/metal at its best - good ambience and high energy - the better headphones will separate the details and make for a good experience. Lesser quality and the details tend to mush together. The COP plays this extremely well.

    J.S. Bach - E. Power Biggs Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche (~1970): Recorded on a tracker organ in East Germany, the tracks on this recording have the authentic baroque sound that Bach composed for, albeit the bellows are operated by motor today. The COP plays the tones seamlessly through the upper limits of the organ, which cover nearly the full range of human hearing. Of special note are the pedal notes - tracker organs have low-pressure pipes and don't typically produce the kind of impact around 30-35 hz that modern organs do. A headphone that's lacking even a little in the low bass will sound especially bass-shy with this type of organ, but the COP delivers the full experience of this music.

    Jennifer Warnes - Rock You Gently (1992?): The strong deep bass percussion at the beginning of this track has been cited as a test for weakness or distortion in certain headphones. The COP plays those notes with great impact and control. Having played this track a number of times now, I'm highly impressed with the COP's bass reproduction and detail throughout the track.

    Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has some loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical on some headphones. The COP provides excellent reproduction. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in, for maximum detail effect. I'd like to emphasize that these crescendos are probably the worst-case test I have for instrumental separation and detail, and the COP plays them perfectly.

    Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (~2009): Featured in The September Issue, this song has heavy overdub and will sound a bit muddy on some headphones. Sounds great with the COP.

    Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery - Delilah (Take 3) (1962): The vibraphone is heavily dependent on harmonics to sound right, and the COP plays it very well.

    Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon - Speak To Me (1973): Very strong deep bass impacts will be heard and felt with the COP.

    Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues (1968): Dirty, gritty blues that very few white artists could match. On some headphones the vocals and guitar lack the edge and fall more-or-less flat. If you're a really good person, playing this song will probably make you feel nervous and uneasy. Sounds great with the COP.

    Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1962): Frank Sinatra's favorite singer. Highest recommendation. With some of the best headphones, the sibilants on this recording are very strong, but they're not bad with the COP.
     
  3. marcusd

    marcusd Member

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    Dale, when I did my review of the COP I played it at, how shall we say, mid-life levels :) Now a few buddies played my unit at hipster (read higher) levels and think it suffers from higher than normal levels of distortion. Can you confirm you unit is the same? Particularly on the new Daft Punk album.
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I played it at eardrum-throbbing levels - no EQ at all, bass ports on #3, no distortion. I can hear every little sparkle of the percussion, the crispness of some of the bass or electronic impacts - I don't think I missed anything.

    It's a great album BTW. Now the user might consider several things. One, the amp (try different amps). Two, the cables (try different cables). Three, whether there might be a hair or other thing stuck into the drivers. Four, check the ports and see if there's anything loose that might rattle. Outside of those, I dunno - defective maybe. Just to isolate the electric mains, they might try battery only operation.
     
  5. marcusd

    marcusd Member

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    defective was the answer - jack had got loose then fell off :(

    Good news is Beyer are sending out a replacement as we speak - might try different cables though.
     
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