Demystifying the beyerdynamic Range

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Demystifying the beyerdynamic Range

beyerdynamic headphones
Words by Brett Voss

When it comes to choosing the right pair of cans, there are many factors to consider. Today we're diving into the extensive range of beyerdynamic headphones.

Professional headphones are a critical part of the tool kit for anyone in the music industry, whether they’re musicians, sound engineers, or producers. Critical listening is essential at all stages of the production process, from start to finish. Whether it’s improving a performance through hearing the detail needed as a musician, or allowing a producer/engineer to fine tune this performance. When it comes to choosing the right pair of headphones, there are many factors to consider, from impedance to open versus closed back models. Getting the right piece of equipment for the task goes a long way towards getting professional results. beyerdynamic heeadphones are some of the most trusted in the audio world and the brand’s portfolio is extensive, offering a wide variety of options for every application. For this article, we are going to be taking a deeper look into the iconic brands headphone range, the subtle technical differences that separate one model from the next and how to choose  a set that will help you get the most out of the rest of your signal chain.  

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When it comes to choosing a model it’s best that you make an informed decision about what’s going to do the job most effectively. The most important thing to decide is what type of listening work you’re going to do with them. Do you need them for recording, monitoring, or mixing purposes? Once you have answered this question, you can then consider the device you want to use them with, your budget, and the impedance of the headphones that will work best.

The first thing that needs consideration is, are you using the headphones for recording or for mixing? Closed-back headphones are recommended for recording and monitoring purposes as they provide strong isolation and prevent crosstalk during recording. beyerdynamic’s most visible presence in the marketplace is the closed-back DT 770 PRO which is a closed back monitoring headphone perfect for tracking. They are an extremely popular choice from the beyerdynamic range and are available in 32, 80, and 250 ohm variants. But what does this all mean in practice? 

Simply put, the majority of wired headphones on the market consist of two passive drivers, which of course need to be driven by an amplification circuit of some kind, all of which differ in output. A smartphone for example, is likely to have a much smaller amplification circuit than a dedicated headphone amplifier. Impedance in an audio circuit is a way to control the amount of signal deployed to our drivers, hence we are able to optimize this electro-acoustic exchange by tailoring our impedance choice to the kind of amplification circuit which our headphones will most likely be drawing from. 

beyerdynamic are unique in that they provide multiple impedance options for their studio headphones to ensure the highest possible performance for any given application. 

The low impedance 32-ohm option are ideal for everyday listening and portable audio applications. The 80-ohm model features a longer 3 m straight cable, which is useful in a studio setting. The 250-ohm model comes with a coiled cable, which offers more flexibility when moving around with the headphones. The last option in this range is the DT 770 M model which comes with a straight cable and an in-line volume control. This feature is ideal for drummers and FOH engineers who require better passive attenuation of sound.

If you are looking for headphones that will predominantly be used for mixing and mastering purposes, open-back and semi-open headphones are recommended. These headphones provide a natural sound image that allows for the perception of the smallest details and errors in the recording. In the semi-open range the DT 880 PRO (250 Ohm) is a great option. It is a semi-open headphone that few people are aware of, but it has excellent analytical properties making it a really good choice for this type of work. Another in this category is the DT 990 PRO, which is an open-back headphone available in 80 and 250 ohm options. The 80-ohm model comes with a 3 m straight cable, while the 250-ohm model features a coiled cable. The DT 1990 PRO is another open-back headphone available in a 250-ohm option. The DT 990 PRO and DT 1990 PRO are both excellent choices for critical listening and mixing, as their open-back design provides a more natural and spacious sound.  beyerdynamic also now offers a range of different options which allow additional connectivity capacity. The new 48-ohm PRO X headphones feature Plug-n-Play cables that are also compatible with both the DT 1770 PRO and DT 1990 PRO headphones. These new headphones and cable options are available in USB-C and Lightning versions, making them ideal for use with mobile devices as well as studio equipment.

The other important thing to consider when choosing headphones is the impedance and how this should influence your choice of headphone. Impedance is a measure of how much a device resists the flow of electric current. It is expressed in ohms (Ω), which is the same unit used for resistance. In headphones, impedance refers to the electrical resistance of the voice coils in the drivers. The guiding principle behind making the right choice in terms of impedance is the higher the impedance, the more power the headphones need. This means that high-impedance headphones are harder to drive than low-impedance headphones. If you plan to use the headphones with a mobile media player, tablet, or smartphone, then low-impedance headphones are suitable as they can deliver reasonable sound volume with low output devices. Headphones with higher impedance should preferably be driven by a headphone amplifier in order to achieve optimal performance.

By considering the factors mentioned above, you can make an informed decision and choose the headphones that are best suited for your intended application. beyerdynamic offers a wide range of professional headphones for various audio applications, and each model has its unique set of features that cater to specific needs. 

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