Beyerdynamic iDX 120 iE review

An appealing combination of thumping bass and full-bodied sound... Tested at £70

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Appealingly full-bodied and detailed performance, but the overly rich bass and flat dynamics won’t be to everyone’s tastes

Pros

  • +

    Smooth, solid sound

  • +

    Rich, weighty performance

  • +

    Plenty of detail

  • +

    Good build

Cons

  • -

    Bass is overdone

  • -

    Dynamics could be more impactful

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Beyerdynamic is no stranger to the world of headphones. Award-winning cans go hand in hand with a smattering of four-star recommendations, and it’s in the latter group that the iDX 120 iEs fall into.

MORE: What Hi-Fi? Awards 2015

Sound

The Beyerdynamics regale us with the groovy guitar riffs, a funky beat and smooth vocals of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way. There’s abundant detail, with depth, warmth and layered texture. Voices sound lush and direct. It’s a smooth and enjoyable listen.

That appealing richness goes too far, though. The booming, lumpy bass hampers the otherwise balanced sound. Drums hit with a thump, rather than a sharp snap, and more complex arrangements can sound a bit muddled at times.

A subtler and more fluid approach to dynamics would make more of that lilt in alt-J’s Breezeblocks and maintain the build-up of tension in The Dead Weather’s 60 Feet Tall with greater intensity. A smidgen more insight and control, and these in-ears would be in a different league.

Design

Elsewhere, Beyerdynamic shows off its headphones expertise: the sleek metal in-ears have flat cables to avoid tangling. You also get a three-button remote and mic.

The in-line remote is responsive, but we wish it was placed lower down the cable – it’s positioned quite high up and tugging at it can easily dislodge the buds.

Verdict

These Beyerdynamics aren’t perfect – there are more capable rivals on the market such as the Klipsch Reference R6i and Sony MDR-EX650AP – but they are a strong, richly detailed set of in-ears.

Ultimately, an overbearing, thumping bass robs them of that fifth star, but their solid, full-bodied and detail sound will create a fanbase. Give them a whirl.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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