The Beyerdynamic DT-1350 on-ear headphone was a self-gift (haha) a few years back in 2012. I was looking for a high quality portable headphone that had both the design, portable size, the build quality and most importantly the sound quality, all in one package. Finding one that met all that criteria was tough but I ended up finding it in the German headphone powerhouse. The following is my IRL (in real life) review of my Beyerdynamic DT-1350 headphones.
At the time, most of my headphone use was delegated to home use. I did have a set of headphones that were hifi quality at the time (Shure SRH840) but they were very large cans to be carrying around. I was looking for something that I could wear around while I was commuting on the bus, and while I was sitting at the desk doing work. There wasn’t really a lot of great cans that fit this area. I was looking for something that could take a beating, being that I would be moving around with them a lot, something that was unique in design, and something that sounded similar in the light of my Shures. At the time, I found the Beyerdynamic Tesla T50P- using the same driver technology as their flagship T1 cans, they looked promising with their metal build. Alas, they were very very sensitive to fit and in the end not many reviweres were fans of them. Then I found the DT-1350s. You can see from the above that they come with a great carrying case custom made for the cans. Its a really nice touch that makes their portability even better. Its something you could drop and feel they are safe still.
Design– As you can see, the headphone cups on the DT1350 are very small- they are on ear designs. This means that they do not wrap around your ears, but rather sit on them. This puts them relatively more portable than my Shure SRH840s. There is also considerable metal used throughout the design- you can see the headband, the arms and the clasps on the cups are metal (not sure what kind, but I doubt they are magnesium, as the metal is fairly flexible). The ear cups are a hard plastic, and the headband pads and ear pads are a soft pleather. The headband splits at the top to provide more stability in movement. These are designed for DJs (actually for DJs, not something that is just slapped with the DJ name). This means that they are meant to stay on while the DJ moves about on stage. They compete primarily with the Sennheisser HD-25 IIs, which are by far the more common professional can used in studios. Overall, the design fits the bill for me- its extremely solid feeling and the design is strikingly different. I love the contrast in the silver and black accents.
Comfort– Straight up these are more uncomfortable than comfortable. Being designed for DJs, the cans are meant to stay rigid and in place regardless of movement. This means they clamp down firmly. Not as terrible as some of my other cans like the Nixon Master Blaster, but definitely something you will know is on your head. The headphone cups swivel almost 270 degrees, and can slide up and down as you see in the above shot. The headband can split in two and move to a range of angles. This means its fairly probable you will find a way to fit these cans on your ears and head. The important thing is that I still find that position on the ears is critical for these, so being able to fit it on your ears properly is important.
Sound-These sound magnificent with limits. They definitely represent the hi-fi sound I was hopign to achieve but are not as detailed as the Shure SRH840 that I had complimenting it at the time. Generally, I find it hard to EQ these to the level that I want. I do find these balanced overall, without any real emphasis on any particular region. However, I do find it readily apparent that the details just aren’t there- especially compared to some of my more full sized cans like the Sony MDR-SA3000, or a closed can like the Shure SRH840. I would definitely say these are more for monitoring than musical listening, as the sound is too uncolored to make the sound fun. On the other hand, I do find these detailed enough to distinguish good from bad recordings, which says something about their ability. I also find that fit is critical for their sound. So ensure that you have the cans positioned in the right way. I would say these are more detailed than the Sony MDR-1R. Which doesn’t say much, but that is a more musical headphone.
Isolation– critical for my mobile needs, these are insanely good at noise isolation. I want to emphasize that isolation. This is probably one of the best pieces of this headphone. It seals very well and as you can see from the above, it is closed. Generally, this means that you don’t need to crank the music when you are on a loud bus. You can also enjoy the music in isolation and not be bothered by sounds outside. This is a good studying headphone. I would recon this puts a good fight against active noise canceling cans like the Bose QC25, which I adore for noise canceling. UPDATE December 26th, 2015- After perusing the idea of getting the Sennheisser Momentum 2.0 Wireless for noise cancellation, I reviewed the charts on InnerFidelity for noise isolation- its off the freaking chart how good these isolate, without active noise cancellation to help- these have better noise isolation at some frequencies than the Bose QC25, which is just insane. I spent the last two days evaluating the isolation, and I am so so so impressed. This is my current fave headphone just for that. Wow. The really nice thing is that not only does it have good isolation, it also provides good sound quality – typically that is compromised with the heavy hitters in noise cancellation models. Nice job Beyerdynamic.
Durability– I mentioned build quality before, why is it getting a second mention here? This headphone was built to compete with the Sennheisser HD-25 II. The latter is known for its durability, but also the ability to replace parts at ease. The opposite is in the DT1350- its meant to be built as tough as possible so it will never break. The cable is non-removable. A bold statement for a professional can. Instead of being replaceable, Beyerdynamic claims that its capable of holding a crap ton of weight. Furthermore, we see things like the big juicy jack, which is not typical for a portable can. I’ve been using this for some time and have no qualms over durability. Its a beast. You can see on the left of the picture that the headphones come with a spiral cable wrapper. That’s a nice touch.
So overall there are no glaring issues- I did find that the wires hanging freely were at first a bit bothersome because I was worried about it being frail but that was no problem in the end. Very solid. I like it as a travel headphone- I mean that I don’t mind putting it in its sturdy case and putting it in my baggage. I did bring it with me to Asia and it was great to have for home listening in the hotel or when I was doing work. It wasn’t great for portable use as I had originally bought it for because it was uncomfortable and maybe too isolating for my commuting in the streets.
The headband padding is very thin as you can see here. Try before you buy I would say. Make sure the comfort is something you can stand.
The headphone opens up like a butterfly.
Conclusion– So I think you can tell that I like the DT1350. Its a very good solid mid-fi (middle range hi-fi) can that provides good sound, has excellent build quality, comes with a nice carrying case and headphone cable wrap and is portable overall. And kind of important, it looks great- its distinctly different from other headphone designs out there. I’m struggling with having the fit work for me, and its definitely not the most comfortable can I have used. I would have preferred a shorter cable for portable use, and the fat cable jack looks less premium than the rest of the headphone. All in all, those are minor issues overall. My biggest concern for me is that the sound is not that good compared to my other hi-fi cans like my MDR-Z7, and since I no longer use headphones for portable use, the DT1350 isn’t used as much as I would like it to be. It will be a good travel headphone, where I can listen to it in home or study sessions but don’t want to carry a fragile or expensive can in my luggage. Would buy again for sure.
TLDR; Pros- good hifi sound, portable size, good throw ins, amazing isolation and durability; Cons- not as detailed as other headphones in its price range, comfort is questionable, cable length could be shorter for portable use