High quality needn’t be a feature only of high-end, open-backed headphones, as we’ve recently seen with the likes of the KEF M500 and the Musical Fidelity MF100. With their solid but light aluminium construction, yielding earpads and flawless sound, the Beyerdynamic T51i allows you to take true Hi-Fi sound wherever you go.
- Solid build quality
- Very comfortable for an on-ear
- Exceptional Sound quality
- Ideal carry case included
- Good isolation
- Fixed cable
- Buttons a little small and recessed, may be tricky with gloves on
German headphone company Beyerdynamic’s latest offering, the T51i, features iDevice compatibility for trouble-free calls as well as superior sound quality. The overall impression is that these will last for years; there is simply nothing to fall apart or get loose.
Obviously the iControls are what marks this headphone out as different to the T51p; other than that it’s the usual package from Beyerdynamic. Just solid and dependable construction and sound, along with a soft but sturdy case and the usual 6.3mm/flight adaptors. Also included is an adaptor to convert Apple’s preferred CTIA jack terminal spec to OMTP for older handsets. In this market it’s tempting to add a gimmick or two, but Beyerdynamic know that these headphones can easily stand on their own merits.
The build quality is a fine introduction to the general theme here, just pure enjoyment. The Beyerdynamic T51i headphones are lovely to touch; the strong cool metal and leathery earpads definitely give the idea that there’s nothing to worry about and it’s all under control. The cable is more akin to their IEM cables; more suitable for the portable crowd, but non-removeable. Conceivably, they could have had a removeable cable and introduced alternative cables with controls for specific handset types, but that’s just nit-picking.
Sound quality is about what can be expected from Beyerdynamic’s full size headphones; well represented bass without bloat or bad definition, clean midrange and detailed highs. Some models such as the DT880 can lean toward the bright side, but the T51i has the detail along with smoothness. I’ve been listening at a fair volume for an hour and am quite comfortable.
Highly esteemed makers with long pedigrees like Beyerdynamic raise one’s expectations accordingly. Nevertheless the Beyerdynamic T51i is still a surprise, and an absolute pleasure to use. The build, feel and sound of them all scream quality; the way they are put together comes from 50 years ago, but the sound is definitely 21st century.