As a company that has been perfecting the art of making headphones since roughly the 1930s, the good folks over at Beyerdynamic certainly know a thing or two when it comes to engineering a really quality pair of cans. The 3rd generation update to their flagship T1 and T5 models shows that, more than ever, Beyerdynamic is continuing to step it up in terms of their look, feel and sound.
What’s in the Box?
The box is big and elegant, featuring a standard photo on the front, but it also has a panel that opens up on the front via magnets and features another photo, as well as a detailed description of all the elements that went into these new Beyerdynamic T5.
Upon opening the box, you will find your paperwork on top, including warranty information and a quality guarantee.
Inside the box is the hard case. The case sets the tone for away, with an exterior made of a soft and beautiful black velour, and the silver Beyerdynamic badge on the front rounds out the look with a classy simplistic touch.
Inside the case you’ll find your T5 headphones on top, as well as a 2 sided textile braided double ended 3.5mm cable.
Design and Fit
As I eluded to just moments ago, Beyerdynamic is committed to using only the absolute best materials when it comes to this revamp of their flagship closed back headphone, and it shows. All components here are handmade at Beyerdynamic headquarters in Heilbronn, Germany and the materials are sourced from surrounding locales to provide for a handmade feel with great attention and care to detail.
The headband feels strong and sturdy, and features a strip of Alcantara to provide supreme softness on the top of the head, as well as an extra touch of polish and refinement that is emblematic of this high end suede material.
The housing on the earcups is made from anodised aluminum which is lacquered and brushed in different directions during construction so that when light hits the surface, it will reflect in different directions to create a unique shine. It borrows this grillwork look from the T1 model, but these perforations are filled in for the T5, since it is the closed back model. It also features 3.5mm connections in the bottom of the ear cup at a 45 degree angle for a tight and secure connection.
The yokes are extendable and made from the same anodised aluminum material. The adjustment mechanic is a very standard notch system which you can adjust by clicking the yokes in or out.
The earpads are replaceable and made of a comfortable protein coated leatherette that contains multiple layers of padding, one of which is memory foam that will eventually tailor to the shape of the ear for a perfect and comfortable fit.
This is different from the T1, which featured velour earpads that were slightly softer, but offered a less tight seal than the leatherette of the T5, which serves to keep your music in and outside interference out.
Finally, the braided fabric cable is 1.4m in length and made from ultra high purity OCC7N copper for a flawless and crystal clear signal transmission.
I personally find the fit of these to be really comfortable, with the leatherette and memory foam padding giving me a great amount of cushion, and the large size of the earcups fitting perfectly over my ears with space for them to be comfortable. The clamp force is firm but not tight, and I could definitely wear these for really long periods of time without any discomfort. As far as weight, I’d say they are right in the middle but towards the lighter side. These weigh in 360 grams, which for the sake of comparison is 100g heavier than the Sennheiser HD 600, but 90 grams less than the Focal Clear.
Tech (Impedance and Drivers)
On the tech side of things, The T5 like the new T1, features Beyerdynamic’s signature and in-house developed Tesla Driver technology, which utilizes a very powerful magnetic force and a rigid, multilayer membrane to deliver deep bass and rich clarity in mid and high range frequencies.
Tesla technology also means that the driver is extremely efficient, and can be powered with a low amount of electrical output, resulting in the impedance for these new T5s to come in at a very low 32 ohms. This is, of course, remarkably convenient for anyone who wants to plug these right into their phone or tablet without any external amplifier and get an immediately full and robust dynamic range.
Some among you will surely be disappointed that there aren’t higher impedance options this time around, especially if you want to use these in a more elaborate set up. You just may not have super optimal results, as these pretty much give you what they offer right up front.
When compared to its open back counterpart T1, the T5 is always going to be a little more limited in the Soundstage department, as the closed design just can’t quite offer the same amount of projection and expanse. However, while it may lack the size, the T5s richly detailed and clear signature still provide for a stage that is highly localized and distinct. You’ll still be able to hear all your different instruments and components with clarity and spatial specificity, the overall stage is just a tad more condensed.
This is due in part to the fact that, like the T1, these features drivers that are tilted toward the front to create a forward facing “center stage” effect that places all your sounds in front of you and helps greatly with being able to map them out.
As is the case with both the new T1 and this T5, the bass has been slightly boosted on these new models. This results in the low frequency feeling just a bit emphasized, but not overly so.
In my review for the T1, I talked about the low end response in Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa, so I queued up the same song here for these T5s. The sound here is of course going to be a bit more compressed and tighter sounding, but the trade off means that things like bass attacks and drum transients - especially in the song’s sublime bass line - are hit with a little bit more weight than on the T1, all while still remaining those crisp edges that keep the low end clean and prevent it from entering into muddy territory.
The mids here are interesting as they seem to be almost somewhat inverse to the balance of the T1, which featured a boost in the lower mids that lifted its warmth and gave everything a slightly rounder quality.
The T5 has a midrange that gives a little more love to the higher mids perhaps to compensate for the lower amount of spaciousness that you get with the closed back. This light bump in the higher mids gives a more detailed touch to instruments like pianos or synths. In a song like Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, the combination of delayed electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and the fat drums all come through with a power that makes them sound huge, but also provides enough nuance that you can hear the particularities in each part, even as the song starts to get heavier and heavier.
Continuing naturally on from the mids, the more v shaped typed signature follows through on to the top end, which is pushed slightly forward and provides a good amount of shimmer and sparkle to elements living in the higher frequencies. I took a listen to one of my favorite classical recordings which is the 1984 recording of Beethoven’s 5th symphony performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, and the busy violins sat with a nice brightness on top of the driving bass parts which add a nice element to the drama. The horns in this recording also felt full in their dew drop like resonance in a way that nicely captured the subtle echo and decay of those overtones which really accentuated the richness of this track.
The takeaway here is that the sound quality is excellent, and while it may deliver a smaller stage than the T1, the T5 also has a little bit of a differently calibrated signature that will still let you hear all those details you crave.
Overall, the T5 is a worthy candidate as Beyerdynamic’s new flagship editions. With a strong build, a luxurious look and a sonic palette that provides as much space and detail as you could hope to get in an closed back headphone, there’s not much not to recommend about the T5.