Call me pessimistic or just downright jaded, but whenever something good gets “improved,” I automatically go into Skeptical Mode. Now that the new Beyerdynamic T1 Second Generation is resting on my ears, I can safely say this: the hype is real, folks.
Unboxing the new T1 is much less aggravating or time consuming than it was with the original version. There’s a solid-feeling case made of plastic and fabric that doesn’t feel as stern as the old aluminum case.
Inside you’ll find the headphones proper, as well as a new, removable headphone cable. The cable terminates in a 3.5mm plug. There’s a 1/4” plug adapter inside, as well as a warranty book and certificate. The looks of the Beyerdynamic T1 Second Generation don’t differ all that much from the original. Once you get past the removable cable, and perhaps a slight difference in weight (the new T1 might be a smidgen lighter), the overall differences seem minuscule.
The headphones require an amp, so we used the Beyerdynamic A 20 – a beastly desktop amp that can drive two 600 ohm headphones at once – proving the perfect setup for a side-by-side comparison of the old and new T1 headphones.
At first, it was very difficult to tell the difference between the two. After some extended listening of various tracks – mostly classical and some lyrical rap, as well as some classics from the Eagles and the Stones, it became more than apparent that the Second Generation model is definitely an improved version of the original T1.
The sound overall, has just a tad more contrast. Notes seem a little more distinct, and I think I could detect less distortion on the Second Generation. The high end seems brighter, giving the impression of sharper, more defined music.
To be honest, though, it wasn’t as though this were a revelation I immediately recognized. The original T1 is a fantastic headphone in its own right, and the Second Generation is more of an incremental continuation of the T1 approach, as opposed to a complete upending of it. Instead, listening to the two side by side, it wasn’t so much that the Second Generation T1 was so much better, but that the original may be just a little less awesome.
Personally – and this may be the pessimist/jaded headphone reviewer talking – I preferred the original T1 because the sound seemed a little less harsh. This may have had to do with the source music – MP3s, not FLAC files.
If you’re in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan, and you happen to have some classical or rap music in lossless format, drop by the Audio46 brick-and-mortar headphones emporium or check out their Beyerdynamic collections online and see what’s what for yourself.