Everyone knows Beyer’s quality and of the last few years their drive for a bit of innovation in driver technology such as their Tesla technology and of late they have been churning out some fantastic audiophile level quality in the T70 and naturally the T1. Their DT range has seen the arrival of the DT1350 also and the DT770 LE 32ohms edition has joined the ranks but overall you have to say they are not the most consumer headphone or style oriented manufacturer much like Sennheiser and even they churned out the Amperior and Momentum in the last 12 months as a direct response to that accusation and to capitalize on a fast growing market that the Beats have dominated in past years. It is kind of hard to imagine a fashion orientated Beyer headphone but nevertheless the release of the Custom One Pro makes this prospect all the more exiting. I am all for the indie brands such as Aiaiai taking up the mantle and pushing out cool headphones but when a company of Beyerdynamic’s heritage suddenly gets interested then I am all ears.
The Custom One Pro I hope is just the tip of the iceberg for the more traditional headphone makers, combining a bit of personalization and style with some unique, even if throwaway features, that go hand in hand with great sounding headphones. You can never be too sure with the regular consumer x and y cans and where they come from and if they will actually sound good but I have a lot more confidence in Beyer’s show of hand in this market. That being said this is not a full scale jump into consumerism, more of a foot wetting exercise compared to the likes of Skullcandy but for a first effort there is much to be commended about the new Custom One Pro. It still bears the hallmarks of classic DT range full size closed headphones with the fork like hinges on industrial looking black cups and the detachable wraparound pleather headband with matching semi-deep pleather pads. It’s a mean looker in black with stock plates on each side emblazoned with Custom Pro One in white and red. The whole look and feel is very manly and robust. I like it so far.
I mentioned the whole plate thing on the side so if you dig a bit deeper in the box you are going to find two extra face plates for COP as the headphone has detachable side plates and comes complete with a small hex key for taking on and off the plates. I like it, its been done before but for me the prints are decent enough without being too gaudy and for a first go represent something more cool and understated than bizarre and wacky. That being said I love the stock plates, something about actually have the brand and name of the headphone on the side gives it a more strident look but then others might digress. The point is you have some choice now. Since the COP came out onto the market black has also become white with an all-white COP version complete with 2 face plates and honestly this is much more the fahionista choice for me and maybe more feminine for some. Black is really the default the choice for old me. You can go much further though with swapping out the headphone pads, rings etc to go super whacky but Beyer fans, well older fans, might not fall for this. I suspect the COP is for new converts who like to mix it up style wise.
The second key feature of the COP is the variable bass reflex system incorporated into the bottom of each cup. That is basically 4 individual bass port holes that are manually selected by pushing a small lever that covers the amount of holes from four down to one on each side and the headphone in turns adjusts its bass response to the hole you select. You have Light bass, Linear, Vibrant bass and Heavy bass. It takes a bit of getting used to in terms of having it on your head and making sure each cup has the right bass port selected because actually these do really work for me. You are encouraged to see it as four headphones in one or one headphone with four house signatures from analytical bass port one to basshead port 4. And I can assure you the difference between each port is quite evident.
You can get a bit cynical with these types of features and they have been prevalent for some time now in portable amps but the COP does a really admirable job with the port selector. I found bass port 4 probably to be way over the top for my bass needs and port one to be a bit too squeezed for preference settling on port 2 for regular listening or port 3 for some oomph when I am in the mood. Port 4 huge -db boost is pretty awesome but very restrictive in terms of listening enjoyment for me but I am utterly convinced will wet the pants of most bassheads packing a 15″ woofer in their robin reliant. Those still clutching their older DT-770 with a slight whimper need not fear, the COP is damn bass heavy but the DT-770 has a slight edge on the final “which thumps more” stakes over the COP. The DT-770 though is rather one dimensional when those ports come into play on the COP.
Throw in a detachable single ended 3.5mm cable, a first at this DT level for Beyer and you have customization galore to be honest – Lord knows what cable you can stuff in there to temper the sound, maybe a bit of silver, something heavy, something light, there is even a gaming mic to add on to the cable – again the emphasis is on choice and that is always a good thing.
The tonality of the COP is more musical than accurate. The closed cup DT system with a bias to tuning lends itself well to modern pop and dance genres and probably less so with genres requiring delicate articulation and complex layering. This is a fun can, a bass head can but with the port system you can squeeze a little extra juice with some genres that regular fixed cans cannot really conquer or EQ can properly compensate for. DT lovers will certainly find some commonality switching to the COP with slightly thinned out mids great bass and more than adequate top end but don’t expect razor sharp imaging and sound stage.
The COP is built for enjoyment and the wonderfully easy to drive 16ohm configuration means you can enjoy right out of your DAP though personally I am using a small amp just to get a little bit more oomph and richness in the presentation. It’s darker and more dynamic than the Momentum and the more neutral Amperior but less detailed. Its mids can’t hold a candle to the K series AKG but have a much superior bass response in terms of slam and impact.
Priced where it is at roughly $200 its a fantastic fun headphone with a touch of style and the ability to reach out and draw in casual listeners as well as the hardcore commute and basshead fans. It’s tuning favors bottom to top end but the beauty of the bass reflex system gives you more than enough meaningful choice not to have to resort to complicated EQ tuning to get a suitable match to most modern genres.If Beyer continue with this thinking it is very possible we can have a lot more variants on the market and move Beyer nicely into that all too rich consumer market without sacrificing any audiophile principles.