I'm by no means an audiophile but i don't need those skills to express that these headphones are excellent value for money. When i first put on these headphones my first impressions was "wow" the clarity is incredible, natural and pleasantly warm sounding. Although i thought the bass could have been more extended and treble was a little flat. My criticisms were soon thrown out the window when i gave them time to break in. After the break in period these headphones have been nothing-short of bliss. The bass is now accurate, extended and without being overly boomy, whilst the treble is crisp and clean without being to bright or harsh. They are very comfortable and lightweight, which promotes hours of listening pleasure. They sound great in low powered applications ie portable CD player etc, but when driven by a dedicated amplifier these headphones go to another blissful level only matched by headphones costing 3-400% more. I can't commend these enough, go buy a pair and you will not be disappointed.
I have listened to many headphones and could never get on with any of them, until I got these babies. To give you a bit of background information, I am an electronic music enthusiast who also listens to a bit of rock and pop music, a bit of anything really. I am driving these cans out of a Rotel RA-01 integrated amp just like I have all my other headphones. Although some of you may be thinking an integrated is not the best way to judge headphones, this amp has outperformed a Corda HA-1 headphone amplifier to my ears. My source is a Terratec EWX24/96 soundcard, which gives a very nice sound indeed for the money. I dont believe my system to be lacking sound quality at all even compared to more expensive systems I have heard, and I just want to get these facts out of the way before my review would be dismissed.
The Beyer DT531 is my 5th Beyer can, I have also owned the DT770pro, DT880, DT931 and DT990pro. All of the previous Beyers had niggling things which made me unable to use them for any length of time. It has always been the case that I have mostly grown tired of these headphones within a week of owning them. I have also borrowed the Sennheiser HD580 for an extended period of time. Until the DT531 came along, this was the one headphone I could easily live with.
So, what about the Beyer DT531 then? Well lets get the bad points out of the way first. The cable is thin and the headphones feel flimsy and look cheap, but then they arent expensive cans so what can you expect?
However, they are very light, and comfortable, in fact they are the most comfortable cans I have ever worn, it is not obvious that they are on my head after a few minutes. These are more comfortable than other Beyers which feel heavy and burn my scalp after some time. More comfortable than the HD580 also, which is very comfortable, but the pads are slightly itchy on my head (I've been spoiled by Beyer "girly" pads :-)).
Sonically, you can be assured that these are no cheap trick. Quite frankly I am astonished at how good these are for the price. It neatly avoids all of the things that plague the old Beyers I listened to. The DT770pro and DT990pro are too bassy and unrefined for general purpose listening, and can get fatiguing. The DT531 avoids this, with a beautiful warm musical balance that is totally unfatiguing, and invites me into the music better than anything else can. The DT880 was bright and forward, but also laid back at the same time. The DT531 has a more balanced sound than the DT880 and although its midrange is not quite as smooth or its soundstage as big, it is by far more pleasurable and musical to listen to. The DT931 was far too bright and aggressive, and lacked bass, theres really no contest.
However, what about the HD580, this is the can that most other cans get compared with as reference. The HD580 possibly sounds more speaker like in its balance, but sounds distant and dare I say it, even a bit muffled compared to the DT531. However, the DT531 destroys it in the area of musicality, the music bouncing along wonderfully well, with good, powerful, but not overdone bass, a smooth midrange and extended, but not over the top trebles (as is the case with too many cans). The DT531's are definetly foot tapping headphones, mixing hifi quality sound with a sense of rythym and fun that eludes all other headphones I have heard period, the closest can that sounds as fun is the Grado line, but even these are too uncomfortable and far too bright for my liking - I like to keep my hearing thank you.
The Beyer DT531 has a combination of qualities rarely found in headphones, and is a no brainer, truly one of a kind, and the overall result is not only pleasant to listen to, but powerful, dynamic and involving, and theres not many headphones that can say that. The ones that can, invariably irritate over time, but I can (and have done) listen to these for many, many hours.
I've recently listened to the whole AKG and Grado range including the RS1 and these are better than all of them. Yes, perhaps the Grado's sound a little better overall, but they're horribly uncomfortable and cost twice as much. The Beyer's have better "space" and atmosphere. Perhaps the AKGs are slightly more neutral but they're hard to drive and more expensive.
The Beyers come through with the best traits of the competion. They're gloriously open and have a slightly warm tonal balance. They're comfortable, look good, and can be driven by portables. And they're cheap. A required audition.
Used this headphones side by side with Senn. 600 for more than a year, for half the price of Senn. 600 you don't expect the same quality, but surprisingly, it gives about 90% of the sound quality that Senn. 600 offers!
I don't know why this model didn't get popular, probably there're too many mid-fi contenders in its price range, but in my opinion it definately worth the money.
The sound is a little veiled and the bass doesn't go as deep compared to Senn. 600, but the sound is overall clear and bass is overall strong, I just should not compare it to Senn. 600 all the time.
I do love Senn. 600, but sometimes I use Beyer 531 rather than the Senn. 600, the reason being the 531 is lighter-weight, more comfortable for long wearing, and tolerate some bad recordings. Hey, a little veiled sound is not a bad thing! Senn. 600 is too clinical if your recording is harsh-sounding.
The impedance and sensitivity is almost the same as Senn. 600, I use the same headphone jack to power both and the volume is no difference. You need an amp to get it sing, portables are not powerful enough.
Recommended mid-fi price headphones with hi-fi performance!