“A smartly designed pair of on-ears”
Beyerdynamic has a long history of producing exquisite headphones for close to a hundred years, with its latest winners including the excellent Beyerdynamic T90 and the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro. The German company has been the brand of choice for some of the most famous musicians over the years, which is why then they launch a new pair of headphones, expectations tend to go sky high.
The Beyerdynamic T51i is an update of the company’s now-discontinued T51p model, except that this one is designed to word seamlessly with iOS devices – hence the ‘i’ in the name. But on the flipside, because of its iDevice compatibility, it doesn’t function that well with Android and Windows devices. Priced at around $270-$310, it’s definitely not cheap either. Its competition includes, among others, the much-praised Sony MDR-1A.
On-ear headphones, while compact, tend to be not as comfortable to wear as the over-the-year buddies and also have comparatively inferior sound insulation capabilities (closed back models, i.e.). But the T51i, with its sturdy construction and promise of great sound, has the potential to be among the best on-ears available. But does it live up to it? Read our review to find out.
Design and Comfort
Thanks to its lightweight chassis and well-cushioned ear pads, the T51i is extremely comfortable to wear, even when compared to many over-the-ear models. The design looks sophisticated and has ear cups which pivot horizontally, making storage easier in the bundled carry case. The headband has click stops which allow for a precise fit.
The T51i comes with a three-button remote on its cable which can be used to control playback and phone calls. But, if you don’t have an iOS device, these buttons may not function properly.
Build Quality and Cable
Build quality is excellent in the T51i. The construction is solid and dependable. The design uses a combination of brushed metal and black leather, which manages to give it a premium feel. It feels great to touch and the headphones manage to give the impression that it will last for a long time.
Unlike many competing models, the T51i has a hardwired cable, and therefore it doesn’t ship with any extra wires, which is a bit disappointing. But otherwise, it is well built and has a 3.5mm jack which can be used to connect to all your portable devices.
From the onset, it is obvious that T51i has powerful drivers capable of deep bass. It does add a bit of extra boost bass, but it’s not that noticeable. In tracks with heavy bass, the headphones deliver deep, rumbling lows with clean and crisp mids and highs, with no noticeable distortion even at high volumes.
Tracks which don’t have a lot of lows sound clear and natural as well. Even the low notes are given just enough depth and body to bring music to life. The soundstage is wide and orchestral tracks sound as well as they should. None of the notes slip into the background and you will be able to make hear all the instruments precisely as well.
If you want a pair of headphones which are full-sounding, crisp and well-balanced, you won’t go wrong with the Beyerdynamic T51i, no matter what sort of tracks you plan on listening to.
The T51i does well in the accessories department. It comes with three separate adapters: a 1/4inch jack adapter, an in-flight jack for use with airplane systems and another adapter to convert Apple’s CTIA jack to the older OMTP standard. The highlight of the bundled accessories is a well-designed and good looking carrying case which has a custom molding to house the headphone, along with Velcro compartments for all the adapters.
- Excellent audio performance
- Deep bass
- Extremely comfortable
- Brilliant carrying case
- Hardwired cable
- Optimized only for iOS
The Beyerdynamic T51i is an excellent pair of headphones which are comfortable to wear and has smooth frequency response. It is lightweight and plays music from a variety of genres expertly and with minimal fuss. Since it is designed for iOS devices, it may not be for everyone. But, if you are looking to upgrade from Apple-supplied earphones, the T51i is a great choice.