Hand crafted in Germany, the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 features highly efficient Tesla technology drivers that deliver spacious, transparent and powerful sound. The design incorporates high-grade protein-coated leatherette headband coupled with breathable memory foam, super-soft ear cushions.
The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 are top-end headphones. They cost AU$1,999 in TechnoVolume and are a bit like a turbo-charged version of the popular Beyerdynamic DT880.
If you already own the first version of the Beyerydnamic T1s and are wondering what the differences are, with this second edition you get slightly modified drivers and removable cabling. That’s a handy feature in a headphone as expensive as some people’s cars.
Top Quality Made in Germany
As for its technical specifications, the T1 boasts a 600-ohm impedance compared to 250 for the DT 880 Pro, and they are noticeably heavier (440 g compared to 295). Tesla technology is inside (It’s the “T” in “T1”), promising to deliver all the bells and whistles to the listener. Note the presence of a hard storage case for your precious, which lends itself to the equipment’s upscale character. At this price, you’d better take care of it!
A 3-meter long cable is provided, and is wrapped with textile, making it fairly rigid. We bet that this will help it endure the test of time a little better. An optional cable is also available with an XLR 4-point connector instead of a 6.35mm jack, which can be used to connect symmetrically to the headphone amp.
Don’t get too excited, as you will still have to pay the modest sum of AU$300 to obtain this special cable, which is about the price of a DT 770!
Like the DT 1770 Pro recently tested on your favourite site, the T1 2nd Gen’s construction quality is irreproachable. It feels very sturdy due to the materials used and its assembly. It has an amazing appearance and beside it, the DT 880 Pro seems a bit “rough”, maybe even a little “cheap”.
The T1’s finish is truly excellent, and there is no doubt that we are dealing with top of the line headphones. As for comfort, they’re in the same vein as other Beyerdynamic models, which means they are very comfortable, and we can say that they’ll never hurt your head even after being worn for many hours. The materials feel great, but we will have to wait to see if they become too hot in the summer. Considering the current winter temperatures, it’s difficult to comment on it now!
Design and features
The Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2s’ big rivals among dynamic driver headphones are the Sennheiser HD800s, which are perhaps still the most space-age headphones money can buy. By comparison, the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2 look positively ordinary.
Maybe that’s no bad thing, though. You could get away with wearing these in the office without earning a cast of mocking onlookers, where the Sennheiser HD800s make you look like you’re in costume.
The Sennheisers are a little more comfortable, but only because they’re in their own league in this respect. With the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s you get a lovely leather-topped headband and big velour ear pads. They feel luxurious, and hug the head rather than using a frame that sticks out like a radio tower.
Among high-end headphones, the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s are unusually non-embarrassing. At one point, unable to resist the allure of a rare sunny day in London, we even took them out to the park for a listen. They could almost pass for a pair of street headphones.
These headphones are absolutely not for general portable use, though. The Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2s have open backs, their rears covered by a largely opaque but still open metal gauze. They leak a lot of sound and isolate very little, although perhaps a little more than headphones where you can almost see the driver through the back. Beyerdynamic calls them ‘semi-open’.
The metal gauze has a neat shimmer to it, and is indicative of the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s’ all-round excellent build. Take a look at these headphones: any of the silvery-gold parts are metal, while the black parts are either leather or high-grade plastic. They’re also made in Germany rather than China, a ‘feature’ they share with the Sennheiser HD800s.
New for this second generation of T1s, the cable is removable. It plugs into both cups at an angle, and terminates in simple stereo 3.5mm jacks. Removable cables are a nice insurance policy, but unless something terrible goes wrong we can’t imagine there being too many problems anyway. The cable is thick, and has a high-quality fabric sheath that acts as extra protection.
The cable is three meters long, and ends in a 3.5mm jack with a thread for a 6.3mm adapter, which is included. You also get a large semi-rigid case with moulded contours for easy carrying.
Everything about the Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2s, from the open backs to the long cable and very high 600Ohm impedance, screams that these aren’t to be used out on the street, but with pro equipment. However, we were surprised by how efficient they are, able to achieve the sort of levels we use for normal listening without maxing-out the volume on a phone.
They’re at their best when used with a great amp, of course, which helps improve mid-range definition a little and gives more volume headroom.
At this sort of price you start seeing more exotic sorts of headphones, like planar magnetic and electrostatic pairs. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s have a normal dynamic driver, but use a ‘tesla’ coil magnet much more powerful than that of your average pair of headphones.
Beyerdynamic suggests that this explains the extremely high volume output for a pair with such high impedance. Your average pair of 600Ohm headphones couldn’t be driven by a phone, but these work passably well with one.
Silky Smooth Meets Precision
The second generation of this high-end model impresses thanks to a new, even further enhanced tuning with a touch more warmth and musicality that will delight audiophile listeners. Moreover, a carefully intensified precise bass gives fans of contemporary music, in particular, the LF foundation that they are looking for.
Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2 Build and design
Six years on and we have the Generation 2 version, and on first acquaintance little seems to have changed. The only visual differences are that the headband is now lined with leatherette rather than the real thing, and the cable – still 3m long but now detachable – is fully shielded and covered with a textile braid.
They’re comfortable too. Compared to the original, the inward pressure is a little less, but remains enough to keep the headphones stable. Remember, these are intended for home use and not for wearing during exercise.
The ability to swap leads not only means replacement is easy, but also opens up a balanced option. The move away from leather on the headband was prompted by durability and cost reasons.
Yes, even headphones at this price level are subjected to budgetary constraints, though at least these Gen.2s are cheaper than the originals.
Beyerdynamic’s engineers have tweaked the driver units to improve performance but the unusual semi-open enclosure remains unchanged.
This, as the name implies, is a halfway house between traditional open and closed designs, resulting in an interesting mix of strengths. There’s the spaciousness of open-backed (with some sound leakage) alongside the substance we hear from closed designs.
Compare the spec sheet of the two generations and there’s little notable difference, though the frequency response graph shows the new ones to have greater low-end heft and smoother highs.
That’s not the way they present on initial switch-on though. The Gen.2s sound thin and bright, with a peaky response in the treble that grates with recordings that are anything less than immaculate.
We’re a patient bunch and decide a weekend’s worth of running-in is required before we make any serious judgement. It turns out the best part of a week is needed before the G2s show their true colours. We’re glad we waited.
For Genuine Music Enthusiasts
Tesla technology uses innovative sound transducers with over 1.0 Tesla (unit of measure for the magnetic flux density). The headphones therefore permit practically twice the volume of conventional models. Thanks to the enhanced efficiency the electric signal is converted into sound vibrations with virtually no loss of performance. The T 1 therefore offers greater performance reserves for dynamic and authentic musical fireworks.
Studio Quality Plug-in Cable
The new edition of the T 1 with textile-covered connection cable and screwable jack plug provides for optimum sound transmission. Its conductors, made from ultra-pure OCC copper, are among the best the industry has to offer. It can be removed from the headphones and, if required, exchanged for an optional cable with 4-pin XLR connector. This enables users with a headphone amplifier with the right outputs to take advantage of ‘symmetrical transmission’.
Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2 Sound quality
The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s sound fantastic, and largely justify their high price. With top-performing, expensive headphones like these, the question isn’t whether they’re good enough, but whether their character will suit your ears better than everything else around the same price.
These headphones are warmer, richer-sounding than most, and outright warmth isn’t that common in ultra-high-end headphones. It’s a bit like chocolate; the more expensive a bar is, the more likely it is to be all cocoa and no milk. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s are milk chocolate headphones.
This characteristic gives the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s an ear-caressing smoothness that distracts from the actually slightly pronounced, very detailed treble.
There’s also more bass than from most alternatives, and as well as punch there’s real weight to the low-end. It’s fat bass, for headphones like these. Don’t confuse this for a comparison with a basshead pair, though – the T1’s bass is still very natural and ‘fast’, providing great rhythmic precision.
A full bodied-sound gives this pair an indulgent edge, and this is also one of the reasons why you’ll want to use the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s with an amp. It helps firm-up the mids a little, giving the sound improved focus.
This defining characteristic of the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s will to some ears be a drawback, rather than a draw. Listening alongside HiFiMAN’s classic HE5 planar magnetic headphones, the Beyerdynamic pair have less rigorously defined lower-mids, which can detract from the finer points of the timbre of certain instruments and vocal lines a little.
For example, it bulks up Kendrick Lamar’s nasal rapping on 2017’s Damn, reducing its separation from the rest of the mix and simplifying the character of the vocal in general. Then again, the whole arrangement sounds richer and fuller through the Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2s, which many will find more rewarding.
Like all the best headphones, these are largely genre-agnostic. They sound as at-home with Mesuggah as with something more thoughtful, such as the cod-electro Jazz of GoGo Penguin. While it’s been some time since we donned the original T1s, Beyerdynamic does seem to have tamed the treble peak of those headphones, one of the few complaints some buyers had about the earlier pair.
There’s a sense that these headphones have been designed to take account of the enjoyment factor for the average ear, rather than just pure accuracy, which is a little unusual at the price. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s also have a very large soundstage – it’s still smaller than that of the epic Sennheiser HD800S headphones, but few sets can compete on that front.
While we’d probably pick the Sennheisers if money were no object – the newer HD800S are actually hundreds of pounds/dollars more expensive than the Beyerdynamic T1s (the older HD800s have a treble peak that many people find tiring).
There’s nothing tiring about the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2s to our ears, and their sound profile makes them particularly good for skipping between movies and music.
The elegant appearance of the T 1 rounds off the technical fine details with the individually selected construction right down to the tiniest detail. The open earcups covered with a delicate metallic grill and subtle colour shades round off the premium appeal of this headphone model.
The Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2 received the international design prize “Red Dot design award” for this in 2010. Soft, velour ear cushions made from hollow fibre are further hallmarks of the new generation of the T1. They transport warmth and moisture away from the head, enabling the listener to enjoy music for hours without any unpleasant build-up of heat.
Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2 Elegant Design
A memory foam layer beneath the velour cover makes the ear cushions exceptionally soft. When not in use, the headphones can be stored in a luxurious hard case with a hinged lid. Not only is this ideal for transporting the headphones, but also perfect for displaying the classic piece next to your hi-fi system at home.You will enjoy the T1 most impressively with the A 2 headphone amplifier from beyerdynamic – the “dream team” for true music lovers.
Packaging and accessories
We start off with the typically styled beyerdynamic box with a large profile shot of the headphones on the front with another photo along with some features and specifications on the rear. The anticipation is palpable at this point, especially if you have seen the aluminum protective case that came with the previous iteration of the Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 Gen 2. Well, it seems the 2nd gen comes with a rather uninspiring but admittedly more practical and portable hard case with a suede-like covering.
Inside we find the headphones, a 3 meter textile braided, removable cable and a screw-on 6.35 mm adapter. A detachable cable was one of the most requested features of the original T1 and here beyerdynamic have delivered. The cable feels very robust and high quality but it also means that now of course it can be easily swapped out for a shorter or balanced cable which should please many enthusiasts.