Although the Custom One Pro Plus headphones, the latest over-ears from Beyerdynamic, have many admirable traits, the name alone sets rather high expectations.
The ‘pro’ and ‘plus’ terms in the name may be self-explanatory, but the meaning of ‘custom’ is less clear, until you look at the box’s contents.
Not only do the Pro Pluses come in black or white, but the box also contains several pairs of artistic covers, which can be fixed to the ear cups’ exterior, if you have a screwdriver to hand.
There are 16 patterns included – from graffiti to green leopard and florid skulls – and more can be purchased from the website. You can also buy customised cables, replaceable ear pads and headband covers and a gaming headset.
The decorative covers are slightly at odds with the Pro Pluses’ industrial, matter-of-fact look and built-like-a-tank physique. We can’t help but think it’s like dressing Vin Diesel in a skirt, but we do like the whole customisable concept.
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Sound can also be adjusted thanks to the ‘sound slider’ – a switch on both ear cups that offers four bass modes.
We find that ‘Linear’ gives the most tonally balanced listen, but those inclined to a little more bass presence won’t go far wrong with ‘Vibrant Bass’. Either side of these (‘Light Bass’ and ‘Heavy Bass’) you get an uncomfortable sound that’s either thin and scratchy or unclear and boomy.
Unless you’re all for hearing Massive Attack’s Angel in its earth-shattering bass glory, we’d stay away.
The bass itself is agile and controlled, lending a hefty backing to the sound that’s both crisp and clear. So while the midrange is solid and insightful too, it has a good amount of sparkle and the treble is able to shine.
Tonally, they’re spot-on. Calculated instrument separation and precise detail fill their big, open soundstage, while straight-edged rhythmic assurance grants a good sense of drive to big bass lines and up-tempo melodies.
The Beyerdynamics have a lot going for them, but we find they’re a few notches of excitement short of a great time. Play Fleetwood Mac’s Skies The Limit and the Pro Pluses struggle to lift the carefree melody to entertaining heights.
It’s a criticism we had with the Custom One Pros, and evidently hasn’t been addressed.