Beyerdynamic isn’t as known in consumer audio as the likes of Monster and Beats, but in the professional audio and audiophile world the company is well-known as building top-quality microphones and headphones. That, however, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make great consumer-level products — like, for example, the Beyerdynamic T51i on-ear headphones.
At $300, however, the headphones are a little pricey. But are they worth it? We put them to the test to find out.
The Beyerdynamic T51i’s feature an on-ear design, proving that they’re built to be a solid portable listening solution. There’s no denying that the headphones feature a somewhat basic design, but in this case that’s a good thing — they’re simple, yet beautiful. Not only that, but the fact that they are so simple means that they can be extremely lightweight — which helps make them much more comfortable than they otherwise would be.
The headphones themselves feature a basic metal frame design, with black highlights in the form of padding and a high-grade plastic on the earcups. Some might find the look a little old-fashioned — but old-fashioned or not, the headphones are very solidly built. In fact, they’ll be able to take quite a bit of abuse without breaking — which is perfect for those who want to take these on the go a lot.
Beyerdynamic has included a much-wanted feature in the T51i’s, which help distinguish the headphones from their predecessor, the T51p’s — an in-line remote. That’s a pretty necessary feature on a pair of on-ear headphones. The remote has three buttons and is optimized for iOS, but it will work fine with Android and Windows phones as well.
While the headphones can take abuse, they’re still $300 and you’ll want to keep them safe. Thankfully, Beyerdynamic has you covered, and the headphones come with a nice padded case. In the box you’ll also get a 3.5mm – 6.3mm adapter and an OMTP adapter. It’s a nice set of accessories, and the case is super well-designed.
In general, we like the look and feel of the Beyerdynamic T51i’s. They’re well-built, look great, and are super simple.
The Beyerdynamic T51i’s don’t just look great — they’re extremely comfortable too, and that’s largely thanks to the fact that they’re so light.
When you first look at the headphones, you might not expect them to be as comfortable as they are. There’s really not that much padding on them at all, but they also don’t really clamp all that hard — so a lot of padding just isn’t needed.
That’s also true of the padding on the headband. There’s very little padding there, but thanks to the lightness of the headphones, which come in at only 174g, or 6.1oz, not much padding is needed.
The closed-back Beyerdynamic T51i’s are nothing if not detailed. They offer an excellent blend of frequencies that should keep any audiophile happy.
Let’s start with the bass, which sounds excellent. Those interested in mega-bass might be a little disappointed, but everyone else should be happy with the deep punch of kick drums and smooth tone of bass guitars and synth basses on offer. We would say that the headphones lean towards a bass boost rather than a cut, but they’re clearly aimed at being natural-sounding rather than overly tuned.
The midrange is equally well sculpted here. There’s a warm-ish tone that comes from the low-mids, but doesn’t end up sounding muddy by any means, while the high-mids offer just enough without sounding like a cheap radio. That’s really quite a feat — but not unexpected from headphones in this price range and from a company like Beyerdynamic.
The high end is the least well-tuned, but it still sounds excellent. Vocals have a nice cut and guitars have enough of a bite, while strings are nice and bright. We would have liked a little more of the ultra high frequencies to help make the headphones that little bit clearer — but it’s hard to complain with this level of sound quality.
While the headphones are closed-back, you probably won’t buy these for noise cancellation or any real isolation — they’re not built for that, and as such don’t achieve much real isolation.
Looking for a pair of on-ear portable headphones and have around $300 to spend? This is an excellent pair. It may not be for everyone, especially when it comes to design, but the Beyerdynamic T51i’s are comfortable, sound great, and come at a great price. We still think the AKG N60NC headphones are the best on-ear headphones around, and come at a slightly cheaper price, but you certainly can’t go wrong with the Beyerdynamic T51i’s.
|Frequency response||10Hz – 23kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||No|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
||3.5mm||Case type||Carry case|
||No||In-the-box||Carry case, 3.5mm – 6.3mm adapter, OMTP adapter|