Beyerdynamic DT1350 (T51p Earpad Mod) review by Dale

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,608
    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Sources: iPhone5 with PA2V2/FiiO E07k/Decware Zen Head amps using the LOD, various computers using the Microstreamer/Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza DAC/amps.

    Review notes: This mini-review covers the changes in the sound of the DT1350 when the stock earpads are replaced with the Beyerdynamic T51p earpads. Those changes can be observed in the images linked below, or on my dalethorn site. Note that this modification was not suggested by Beyerdynamic, and is strictly my own personal idea. The third image below shows the stock DT1350 earpads and the more puffy-looking T51p earpads.

    Youtube video: http://youtu.be/TO_9qwA1sb0

    http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Beyer_Dt1350.jpg
    http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Beyer_Dt1351p.jpg
    http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Panasonic_Gm1/Headphone_Beyer_Dt1350_T51p.jpg

    NOTICE: If you like the sound of the stock DT1350 or anything similar to that sound, don't perform this modification.

    Summarizing the changes: The DT1350 bass increases greatly with the T51p earpads, and while that bass may be too strong for some users, it's not as strong - especially in the mid-upper bass - as the v-moda M100, to name one example. Note that while the Audioforge images show an approximately 6 db difference around 40-45 hz, that difference does not account for the fact that the modified DT1350's deep bass is still stronger after these EQ adjustments, so in fact the actual difference in applying the T51p earpads is 8 db or more.

    These Audioforge images show the same downward adjustment at 550 hz after applying the T51p earpads, but the actual difference gives the modified DT1350 a more natural midrange sound with much less of the 'hollow' quality (the term that I use) than the stock DT1350 has.

    The modified DT1350 treble is very slightly brighter and so I adjusted it down by about 2 db, but in any case the DT1350 treble is nowhere near as bright as headphones like the Sennheiser HD800 or the Shure 940/1440/1840 headphones.

    My final impressions of the sound: Fabulous. I'm getting the full dynamics and detail that the DT1350 provides with its 'Tesla' drivers, but with the strong (though not bloated) bass that many headphone users demand.

    The music tracks listed below are the same as in the previous DT1350 review dated 28.02.2014, but the comments in this case will indicate the sound with the T51p earpads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
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    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Beyerdynamic DT1350 (T51p Earpad Mod) review part 2 - music tracks

    Animotion - Obsession (1980's New Wave/Techno): The upper bass synth has excellent detail and tone with a modest weight, and both male and female vocals sound natural without favoring either. The DT1350 Mod plays this very well.

    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 DT1350 Mod.

    Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Excellent overall sound. Of special note for the DT1350 Mod are the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts are soft and well in the background, but you can feel some of the weight they carry.

    Black Sabbath - Iron Man (Classic Rock): Very good instrumental detail and the vocal sounds very natural. As with most classic rock tracks, there is very little or no deep bass. The DT1350 Mod plays this music smoothly, and the lack of deep bass doesn't unbalance the treble.

    Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled extremely well by the DT1350 Mod.

    Cantus - Danny Boy (Traditional/Male Choral/Acapella): The DT1350 Mod plays the voices with enough low end warmth and weight to sound very natural, yet there is no added emphasis of the lower register of the male voices on this track.

    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 DT1350 Mod reproduces the space and detail convincingly.

    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 DT1350 Mod renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

    Chris Isaak - Wicked Game (Pop/Rock): The DT1350 Mod plays this high treble energy recording very smoothly - the voice and instruments are detailed but not sharp or edgy.

    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 clearly identifiable.

    David Hazeltine - Fur Elise (Jazz): A very high-quality recording from HDTracks. The DT1350 Mod reproduces the instruments smoothly with a spacious ambiance. The wire-brush-on-cymbal harmonics are very extended and detailed.

    Grieg (Beecham-Royal Philharmonic) - Peer Gynt-Solveig's Lullaby (Classical): This very old (late 1950's) stereo recording must have been made on the most expensive gear in the world, since the overall sound quality and especially Ilse Hollweg's amazing voice are as close to "being there" as I've heard with some of the better classical recordings made since the year 2000. The DT1350 Mod plays this music perfectly.

    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 DT1350 Mod plays this music extremely well.

    Heaven 17 - Let Me Go (1980's New Wave/Techno): The bass instrument (guitar?) has very good detail, and the voices and ambiance have a "you are there" quality that's uncommon in early 1980's pop music. The DT1350 Mod makes this track really come alive.

    Hugo Audiophile - 15-16 (Electronic): I'm not sure what the 15-16 stands for - perhaps track numbers from a CD album. The deep-bass tones that start around 33-34 seconds into the track reproduce very well with the DT1350 Mod. This is a great recording for evaluating whether a headphone's bass will be sufficient for most environments, since for many headphones that have a weaker bass, the deep bass gets absorbed and mostly lost when the environment contains a lot of low-frequency energy.

    Human League - Keep Feeling Fascination (1980's New Wave/Techno): This track's bass line is very detailed, but the somewhat forward voices don't have quite the "you are there" quality of the Heaven 17 track noted above.

    Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has several loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical with some headphones. The DT1350 Mod 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 DT1350 Mod plays them extremely well.

    Kellogg Auditorium, Battle Creek Michigan, Aeolian-Skinner Organ (1933) - Pedal, 32', Resultant, Arpeggio: This 16 hz organ pedal tone differs from other music tones in that you won't "hear" the tone - you'll only feel it. Although most music tones have harmonics (including this one), the harmonics from this tone will be too weak to provide any "feel", so whatever you actually hear would not be part of the fundamental 16 hz tone. There are ~30 hz sounds in the outdoor environment in big cities, generated by large trucks, buses, and subway trains, and they have a quality of "rumble" that's similar to some deep-bass tones found in music. This 16 hz organ tone is easily distinguished from those sounds when compared on a headphone that has good undistorted response at 16 hz. The DT1350 Mod plays this so clearly that you can hear/feel the 16 cycle per second "beats" of the fundamental tone.

    Michael Tilson Thomas - Rhapsody In Blue (20th Century Classic): Great sound and soundstage, and terrific piano playing and tone. There are some very deep bass impacts starting around 38 seconds into the 17:24 length track, and the weight of those impacts is subtle but appreciable with the DT1350 Mod.

    Phaeleh - Afterglow (feat. Soundmouse) (Electronic/Vocal): The instrumental sounds that begin this track are played very nicely by the DT1350 Mod, but the voice tends to overwhelm those background sounds - until the heavy bass impacts kick in. If there is any doubt about whether the DT1350 Mod will play heavy impactful bass with good detail (if such sounds are really in the recording), this track is the proof. If you were to begin your DT1350 Mod listening with this track, you might think you were listening to a headphone that has a very boosted but tight and detailed bass. Simply amazing.

    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 should sound like they were made with wooden blocks of some kind. The DT1350 Mod reproduces these sounds faithfully.

    Richard Strauss (Mester-Pasadena) - Also Sprach Zarathustra (opening) (Classical): The granddaddy of bass is in the opening 1:50 of this recording, and I've heard it only once on a large and expensive loudspeaker system in Cleveland. For most people, that experience would be indistinguishable from being in a fairly strong earthquake. The DT1350 Mod conveys as much of that experience as is possible on a more-or-less neutral headphone. The tympani also have good impact here.

    Scarlatti-Kipnis - Sonata in E Major K381 (Classical, Harpsichord): The harpsichord here is fairly bright and highly detailed, and the DT1350 Mod renders the tones and transients perfectly.

    Trombone Shorty - Backatown (Jazz-Funk): The deep bass impacts here are quite strong, and work very well with the horns and other instruments. The DT1350 Mod delivers the impacts with perfect weight and 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, sounds so perfect that this track could easily have been mixed using this DT1350 (T51p earpad mod) headphone.
     
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