Review: Beyerdynamic DT-100 – are these the best studio headphones?
When I first got into home recording, I had a pair of Sennheiser studio headphones. I can’t remember the exact model, but it was the lower end of the range, but I was pleased as punch with them, because they were from a proper brand name like Sennheiser.
Before we begin, make sure you’re ordering Beyerdynamic from a legitimate retailer, NOT from a counterfeit seller. For your convenience, here is the Amazon link to an authentic Beyerdynamic retailer.
Alas, they only lasted a few years. As ever, you get what you pay for, and they didn’t survive the multiple accommodation moves that one goes through in their early twenties.
At the same time, my experience in home recording had increased a great deal, so I was more confident in buying better gear.
I was ready to put down some relatively decent money, compare to the $40 or so I had spent on those Sennheisers.
I did quite a bit of research. If I was going to spend this money, I was going to spend it right. I started researching what actual recording studios use. The DT-100s look exactly what you see in documentary films about recording.
Us musicians are an aesthetically-conscious bunch, so as I’m sure you appreciate, that was half of it!
When it came to the crunch though, I won’t pretend that I wasn’t a smidgin nervous about spending this amount of money on a pair of headphones. Can you imagine trying to explain spending this amount of money of a pair of cans that aren’t even a fashion statement?
Out of the box, and they definitely felt like a whole different level of headphones compared to my last ones – just from holding them in my hand, not even having gotten as far as plugging it in yet!
I guess the most obvious thing that contributed to that was the bulk and the weight, generated by the relatively large rectangular phone parts, and the thick padding they were edged with.
The band connecting the phones part was made of metal – no flimsy plastic for that here! It suggested that the chance of these breaking along that band were approximately nil. Which was very reassuring.
When I had been investigating the DT-100s before buying them, I had noticed that the cable for connecting them to your audio interface or guitar amp, or anything you like was a little bit new to me.
It was a six-pin connector on the right earphone, with a connector leading to a jack plug for plugging into your audio device. I hadn’t come across it before, but then, it was my first time seeing such a professional set of headphones up close. A friend had advised that replacing the cable could be pricey – I still haven’t looked into how much exactly though.
My first time using them was through a Tascam US-122 audio interface with Cubase SX. Some vintage gear right there!
Anyway, I had been aware of the weightiness of the DT-100s in my hands, so I was perhaps a little apprehensive about putting that weight on my head – would it bother me? And honestly, it didn’t. It’s too comfortable. It’s like putting your head inside a pillow. A really weird pillow.
And so on with the listening to my glorious recording through them. Honestly, they didn’t sound at all what I expected them to sound like. Not “bad.” Just different. I guess things weren’t as pronounced as I thought they would be or something?
Everything sounded pretty well-balanced, and I could definitely hear everything that was coming through. Maybe the sound was just more refined than I was used to. It didn’t sound as bright and brash as cheaper headphones.
In terms of comfort, it wasn’t actually the weight of the headphones that caused any problems, it was actually the leathery padding. Man, it gets sweaty after a while! But, to be fair, it makes you take them off for a little bit, so it could well be helping your hearing.
]I think you’re better off getting professional headphones earlier rather than later in your home recording career, just so you get a better idea of what good sounds like, and you don’t get too comfortable with cheap being the standard you expect and become comfortable with.
I’ve had my DT-100s for a while now. I’m not saying I’ll never use another pair of headphones, but since I got these, i just haven’t needed to even consider it. I’ve used them to record multiple albums, for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keys, percussion… all of it! I’e also used them for DJ sets a couple of times.
These are worth the money, and I definitely recommend them.