by Warren Chi
It’s almost a firm rule nowadays: whenever a portable circumaural (over ear) headphone is met with success, an even more portable and supraaural (on-ear) version must follow. That is the way of things my friends.
It makes good business sense, as it’s very practical. Beats, Bose and Monster have employed this strategy with great success throughout their product line. Sennheiser has followed suit with their Momentum and Urbanite models. Even Beyerdynamic is no stranger to this concept, as they have shown with their baby Tesla models, the T51p and T51i (shown at right).
But in the case of Beyerdynamic’s Custom One Pro (COP), coming up with a supraaural derivative was easier said than done.
Beyond the goal of leveraging and extending the COP’s sound signature into a smaller and more portable form factor, there were additional and formidable factors to take into consideration.
Would they be able to physically incorporate the COP’s sound sliders into a smaller space? If so, would the sliders still be as effective in mechanically tuning the acoustics? Could the new model remain as customizable in appearance, without resorting to Beyerdynamic’s MANUFAKTUR service?
These questions and more are the stuff that engineers’ and product managers’ nightmares are made of. Luckily, Beyerdynamic seems to have answered all of these questions to their own satisfaction.
Though it was launched before the 2014 holiday season, CES 2015 was the first opportunity I’ve had to check out Beyerdynamic’s new Custom Street (CS) headphone.
As you can see, the new CS retains the COP’s Stormtoopery good looks. TK421, eat your heart out! And it definitely takes up less space than the COP, which makes it more portable by far. However, it’s worth noting that the CS is also larger than most supraaurals, especially when worn.
So if compactness is your main criteria, you’ll want to make sure that you’re okay with its size. For me, personally, I love the slightly-larger-than-average-size, as I found the CS’s large pads supremely comfortable. Why is the CS so much bigger than standard supraaurals you might ask? To fit the sound sliders and customizable shields of course!
And how does it sound? Well let me tell you, right off the bat, I wasn’t expecting much at all. I thought it would sound like a mini bass cannon, which it kind of did when I set its slider to the “Heavy Bass” setting.
But in switching the CS to its “Analytical” setting, I was rewarded with a far flatter and much more balanced presentation. In fact, at several points during my audition, I remember musing that it sounded like the progeny of a DT770 and DT880. In short, I wound up being very pleased with it.
That said, I still prefer the combination of refinement and detail found in their T51p/T51i models. But I would happily recommend the CS to anyone if their budget didn’t allow for a T51p/T51i.
Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus
The COP is dead, long live the COPP! Epanaleptic confusion aside, the Custom One Pro is actually – and technically – discontinued. In its place, we now have the Custom One Pro Plus.
Essentially, the new COPP (or COP+) is just a Custom One Pro with the addition of a new mic-remote cable, as well as the same shield designs available in the Custom Street.
Hey, that’s just more gear for less money, which I’d take any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Beyerdynamic Custom Studio
By Michael Liang
Like the more portable Custom Street, Custom Studio also made a debut at CES. Both models features the company’s unique CUSTOM sound sliders found in the original Custom One Pro, but the Custom Studio features a more reference-level sound-signature targeting studio work. Hardware changes from the original Custom One Pro are an 80Ω impedance vs. original 16Ω, with replaceable velour ear pads, and a cable without an in-line remote. By contrast, the Custom Street is geared towards the mobile user with its smaller ear cups, foldable housing shells, in-line single button remote on cable, and easier to drive 103 db sensitivity at 38Ω. Availability is late Q1 — so, think February/March. Custom STUDIO retails for $299 while Custom STREET will be at $199.