beyerdynamic, the German headphone manufacturer, showed the new T1 headphone at CES. I had a chance to speak with one of beyerdynamic's engineers about the T1 and to have a brief listen.
First, the headphone. Priced at $1295 and available later this month, the T1 is a semi-open back design. The T1 involves several departures from beyerdynamic's standard practice. The driver is all new, with a metal diaphragm, machined metal structure, and new magnetic geometry. The drivers are also placed at an angle to the ear, a strategy we've seen with the Ultrasone Editon 8 and the Sennheiser HD800 among others. But beyerdynamics engineers say their objective in the offset driver placement was to avoid creating reflections from the outer ear -- the opposite of the objectives of other offset designs it would seem. The earpads have been designed to reduce reflections as well.
At CES beyerdynamic had their display in one of the main convention center halls. That means background noise was very high, so my listening comments are limited. Basically what I heard was smooth sound without obvious low or high frequency nasties. More detail (much more) awaits a review sample in our lab, which beyerdynamic will send shortly.
Here is the beyerdynamic release:
beyerdynamic announces New high-end headphone model T1
Tesla T1 headphone from beyerdynamic
Premium T 1 headphones generate significantly more sound pressure through redeveloped high-performance motors
beyerdynamic changes the game in high-end headphone design and performance. As stated by Alan Feckanin, Business Unit Manager for Consumer Products: “The T1 is a very special headphone with its engineering qualities, audio reproduction and price to performance unlike any other high-end headphone.
Design, comfort and audio presentation are unparalleled.”
first of its kind
After years of research, engineers at beyerdynamic have managed to develop a revolutionary sound converter, a milestone in headphone design. The new T1 headphone is the first model to break through the one-tesla barrier of magnetic induction. (The unit for measuring magnetic flux density is named the tesla, in honor of one of the world’s greatest visionaries and inventors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When Nicola Tesla, a contemporary of Eugen Beyer, died in New York in 1943 at the age of eighty-six, he had filed well over 100 patents.) Measured in tesla (T), magnetic induction plays a central role in the development of headphones. It indicates the ability of a sound converter to transform an electrical audio signal into sound waves and thus convert electricity into sound. Featuring twice the sound pressure of standard headphones, a highly effective, innovative driver in the T1 makes it possible to produce high-performance headphones using minimal moving mass in a 600-ohm coil. This system generates currently unequalled impulse performance. The T1 is the first model in a new generation of headphones.
TODAY IS THE FUTURE
As the flagship of beyerdynamic's Premium Line, each headphone is individually finished by hand in Heilbronn, Germany. The T1 positions itself as a top-of-the-line product and as the star of the beyerdynamic headphone range from both a technical and a visual perspective. Vivid materials and structures accentuate the high quality of the headphones while still remaining true to a familiar, understated style. T1 proves it is unsurpassed in its class as a result of its aluminium components, a specially woven wire mesh, a leather headband and high-tech acoustic materials. A translucent, non-woven, acoustic material allows a discreet insight into its revolutionary inner workings.
The T1 is the flagship model in the Premium Line 600-ohm impedance products from beyerdynamic. This new driver technology gives the T1 an enormous boost in efficiency. It provides the listener with almost double the volume as traditional headphones. The increased efficiency also leaves the T1 with greater power reserves for dynamic, undistorted sound and lossless conversion of electric signals into sound waves. The extremely lightweight 600-Ohm voice coil provides transparency and perfect impulse fidelity.
The new T1 is headphones can play almost twice as loud as standard headphones. They are also significantly more efficient. That allows the new high-end headphones to offer greater performance reserves for dynamic, undistorted sound, making no compromises as its converts the electric signal into acoustic vibrations.
It took an incredible effort by beyerdynamic's engineers to achieve those objectives using the extra-light 600-Ohm coils that the company prefers for their lightness yet perfect sound fidelity. Traditional extra-filigree drives tend to suffer from low efficiency rates. That prevents them from achieving real loudness when faced with underpowered headphone outputs, especially the popular 32 Ohm headphones that have become common in this age of the MP3. Yet the engineers didn't completely re-develop the driver just to increase its efficiency. They also achieved higher maximum volumes compared with previous 600 Ohm models – an impressive 7 decibels.
That master achievement comes thanks to a new magnet system. The neodymium magnet had previously been positioned in the centre of the coil, which severely limited its size due to the flat design of the earpieces. The developers have now repositioned the magnets into a ring around the coil, allowing for a more than doubling of the magnetic flux density to approx. 1.2 Tesla. Even crossing the magical threshold of one Tesla for a pair of headphones would have been an admirable feat.
At the same time, the new configuration of the magnet system enables a central ventilation hole through the pole cores to prevent sound-disrupting resonances and cancellations. The diaphragm has also been redeveloped. It consists of a two-ply compound foil. The material is light-weight yet capable of high interior absorption of break-up vibrations, making a significant contribution to the transparent, nuanced and distortion-free sound of the T1.
For improved front positioning of the imaginary sound stage, as well as to increase the outside-the-head localisation of the overall playback, beyerdynamic's engineers curved the earpieces such that acoustic baffle follows the contour of the human ear cup. This better accommodates the wearer's individual acoustic "fingerprint" than transducers that sit directly on the ear and point into the ear canal.
The high-quality, symmetrical 6-pole cable brings even more sound improvements. It possesses two parallel sets of identical twin wires, each separately insulated. That lowers the cable capacity even while providing greater immunity from interference fields and crosstalk. The result: more of the original signal can be transmitted to the headphones.
The casing is also designed to satisfy the highest expectations. The open earpieces, covered through an elegant metal grate, are shielded from disruptive sonic reflections and protected against moisture through Acoustexx, a high-end acoustic mesh. As with all premium products from beyerdynamic, the new T1 is produced by qualified craftsmen who even in this age of globalisation continue to work from their headquarters in Heilbronn. Attention is given to even the smallest details, such as the hand selection of transducer system pairs to ensure not just top production quality, but also audibly better balance for the left and right channels.
beyerdynamic is a German manufacturer of high quality audio products for over 80 years. The Company specializes in headphones, headsets, microphones, conference systems and gaming products for the global audio market. The U.S headquarters is located in Farmingdale, NY and the main office is in Heilbronn Germany.