Beyerdynamic T 51 i and T 51 p On-Ear Sealed Headphones
Quite a few years ago now I reviewed the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 ($289) quite positively. This headphone is sold into Beyer's pro audio distribution channel, primarily to DJs. Subsequently, Beyer produced a T 50 p to sell into their consumer channel that looked quite similar, but didn't have the split headband. It didn't sound nearly as good, either...I was bummed. Then, a couple of years ago, Beyer updated the model to produce the T 51 i, which I heard at a show and thought sounded quite a bit better than the T 50 p. After years of hounding them at every show they finally sent one my way. (Still hounding for the T1 V2!)
Build Quality, Styling, and Comfort
The Beyerdynamic T 51 i and T51 p are on-ear, sealed headphone intended for personal mobile use. The only difference between the two headphones it the i has a cord mounted iOS compatible remote, and the p is without any remote. Construction is largely metal with some apparently good quality synthetic materials used appropriately. Styling is, of course, a personal subjective thing, but I found the T 51 i with its "modern steampunk" utilitarian chic look (if there is such a thing) quite appealing.
The headband is a single piece of arched metal with the center cut out causing it to be visually similar to the split-band DT 1350. Two thin protein leather pads cover the central spans for most of its length. Headband adjustment arms are detented with a series of short slots, and slide through plastic clamping mechanisms on the headband ends. Adjustment is easy to effect and remain securely in position when set.
Ear capsule yoke is attached to the adjustment arm with what looks like a specialized rivet around which it swivels. Ear capsules swivel up and down around the yoke attachement points front and back on the capsule. These seem to me very simple and reliable methods. The headphone very quickly and naturally adjust to the the head reliably.
The 50" cable is thin and flexible, and is terminated at the player end with a 90 degree angle 3.5mm TRRS plug. The Y-split 14" from the headphone is a nicely implemented molded part with a metal decorative insert on either side; cables are permanently attached to the ear capsules. The T 50 i has an Apple iOS device compatible plug and remote/mic on the cable leading to the right earpiece; and the product includes a 3.5mm adapter for compatibility with non-iOS compatible 3.5mm jacks. The T 50 p does not include a remote on the cable.
Also included is a firm sided clamshell case with Velcro closure, 3.5mm to 1/4" adaptor, and an airline adaptor.
On-ear headphones can feel less than comfortable and quite confining at times. I found the T 51 i with its light weight and modest caliper pressure surprisingly comfortable. Fitting it to my head was fairly easy, but some fidgeting with the exact position did net some improvements for treble response.
All told, I really like this vibe of this headphone. I'm a geek that likes gadgets, and I tend to beat the hell out of things. The T 51 i wears its functionality proud, and feels built like a tank. All it has to do is sound really good and I'm all in.