High-end headphones demand to be partnered with equally good quality equipment and source material. That means they are not usually items for using on the move.
They also tend to be rather too large and awkward to wear in public. Nevertheless, with the T5p, Beyerdynamic aims to give us the best of both worlds, introducing its ‘first high-end mobile headphones’.
Things get off to a good start when we take the T5ps from their aluminium case. They come with a variety of accessories, such as a transportation bag, in-flight adapter and 3.5mm jack, to highlight their portable intention. There are no in-line mic controls, though.
Beyerdynamic T5p: Build quality
The headphones themselves are sturdy and solidly made, with a design similar to the previous T1 and T70 models.
They are slightly heavier than rivals such as the Sennheiser HD700, Shure SRH1840 and Grado PS500, and they certainly have a snug grip on your head, but at least this means that they won’t fall off when you’re out and about.
The soft leather lining on the headband and ear cups ensure they’re comfortable to wear, while also looking rather sleek.
The T5ps have a closed-back design. These have the advantage of being commuter-friendly – they don’t leak sound as much as their open-backed counterparts, and the over-ear construction gives them an element of noise-isolation.
So not only will you be able to enjoy your music with at least some ambient noise from the outside world cut off, but also your fellow commuters won’t be glaring at you for disturbing them.
Beyerdynamic T5p: Sound quality
It’s not a strict rule, but we usually find open-backed headphones tend to have the edge on closed-backs in terms of openness, clarity, and transparency. These T5ps buck that trend. Slip them on and you’ll find them remarkably spacious.
These are the best closed-back headphones we’ve heard at this price. We’d recommend letting them run in for a good few hours to get the best sense of space and clean sound they can deliver.
As with most headphones, the soundstage is mainly centred on the middle of your head, but there’s enough space for the instrument arrangement and vocal in Radiohead’s How To Disappear Completely to be laid out with good detail and separation.
Beyerdynamic T5p: Favour upbeat tunes
There’s plenty of punchy bass to liven up any track, although the T5ps’ lively nature favours upbeat tunes, so they can sometimes be a touch impatient with songs that need gentler handling – the Shures and Sennheisers are better bets for that.
They’re more comparable in character with the Grados, but the T5ps have smoother tonal balance and a more authoritative way with dynamics.
The Shures may have the upper hand when it comes to refinement and precision, but the T5ps follow the success of the T70s in continuing to be brilliant with the midrange. Play Settle Down by Kimbra and her vocals are pushed into the limelight, sounding natural and never strained at the top end.
The T5ps are a thoroughly enjoyable listen and, unlikely though it may sound, Beyerdynamic seems to have pulled off the combination of high-end and portable. These headphones do have quite a price tag, but, for the right user, we think they’re worth it.