Beyerdynamic is a household name when it comes to professional audio. Their high-end headphones have been used both by professionals and by enthusiasts alike. The Beyerdynamic T1 is currently their flagship desktop headphone and is considered to be an upgrade from their popular DT1990 headphones.
It is a semi-open back design that gives less sound isolation as compared to closed-back headphones and also leaks a lot which makes them more ideal for home use. It has a neutral tuning that is leaning towards a brighter sound. It is often compared to Sennheiser’s flagship HD800 series due to their similar reference sound and detail retrieval.
The model that is currently available in the market is the second generation which is a marginal improvement over the first generation. The first generation is regarded to have a more accurate bass response while the second generation has a more forward and fuller bass response. It is a subtle difference and most of the qualities of the first generation are kept intact.
The excellent build quality and premium look of the first generation has also been inherited by the new model. The headband has been changed to a pleather material and the cable is now detachable. The Beyerdynamic T1 is hard to drive at 600 ohms so a headphone amplifier is required to get the whole experience.
Below are some recommended DAC/Amps and Dedicated amplifiers for the Beyerdynamic T1.
- Best DAC/Amp For Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones
- Headphone Amplifiers
- Do I Even Need A DAC/Amp For These Headphones?
Best DAC/Amp For Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones
Ifi Micro iDSD Black Label – Best Value DAC/Amp
First up on this list is the iFi Micro Black Label. Despite being a portable DAC/Amp, it boasts a lot of features that can compete with its desktop counterparts. One of those features is that it can power the 600 Ohm Beyerdynamic T1. It also has additional options to shape the sound which includes a bass boost that can tighten up the low end of the Beyerdynamic T1 and a 3d + Holographic mode which increases the soundstage and imaging of the Beyerdynamic T1. The soundstage and imaging are already good features of the Beyerdynamic T1 so the 3d+ effect may be unnecessary but is still a good option to have.
The Micro BL produces an accurate sound that helps bring out the Beyerdynamic T1’s ability to pick up small details in the songs. A possible downside with the Micro BL is, of course, its size and form factor. It is too big for portable use but it won’t be a problem for users who plan to use this with their desktop setup.
If you prefer a DAC/Amp that has a lot of features with an accurate sound, then the iFi Micro BL is the best value in this list.
Chord Mojo – Best Portable DAC/Amp
The Chord Mojo is another popular pick in the portable audio scene. Just like the iFi Micro BL, one of the key features is the Mojo’s driving power. Chord claims it can power headphones with an impedance of 800 ohms, so the Beyerdynamic T1 won’t be a problem here. The Mojo has an adequate amount of connectivity options to pair with either a Digital Audio Player/Smartphone via digital and optical connections as well as your personal computer via Micro USB.
One of the downsides of the Mojo is the fact that the controls aren’t intuitive. The volume control utilizes buttons instead of a volume wheel which makes volume adjustment on a desktop setup a bit of a hassle. The Mojo produces a warm sound signature which helps tame the Beyerdynamic T1’s treble peaks. However, this results in a loss in detail in the higher frequencies.
Overall, the Mojo is a solid portable device that can also double as a desktop DAC/Amp. If you prefer more fun and less detailed sound for the Beyerdynamic T1, and if you don’t mind the unique control scheme, the Chord Mojo is a good fit.
Chord Hugo 2 – High-End Pick
The Chord Hugo 2 is a popular pick in its price range. Just like the iFi Micro BL, the Hugo is more of a transportable unit as opposed to a portable unit due to its size. The Chord Hugo offers more power than you will ever need as it is rated for up to 800 ohms. The most prominent feature of the Hugo is its ability to accurately reproduce its source.
The amount of detail and realism you get with the Hugo is a perfect match for the Beyerdynamic T1’s ability to pick up all those subtle details. However, this also means that poorly mixed and mastered tracks or low bit rate tracks are going to sound bad on the Hugo. With all the details the Hugo provides, a downside is that the treble peaks of the Beyerdynamic T1 becomes more obvious and may give a sound that is too analytic and cold.
Overall, this is a well-built unit that has good synergy with the Beyerdynamic T1 especially if you are aiming for an accurate and detailed sound. If that is the kind of sound that you are aiming, the Hugo is right for you (as long as you can keep up with its price).
Fiio E10K – Best Budget DAC/Amp
The Fiio E10K is the cheapest option on this list. It can drive the Beyerdynamic T1 to an audible volume but you need to max out the volume of the E10K. This means that won’t be getting a lot of headroom and the overall dynamics are going to suffer. The Beyerdynamic T1 is still going to maintain most of its qualities but some things like the soundstage are going to sound wrong.
It does, however, have some redeeming qualities. The output, for instance, is cleaner than most of its counterparts on this price range. The design is also very clean as the front of the unit is free from clutter. It is built very well, an aspect that Fiio has nailed in most of their products.
Despite being able to drive the Beyerdynamic T1, I still don’t recommend the E10k unless you don’t have access to the other units on this list. This just can’t bring the Beyerdynamic T1 to its full potential. This is for sure the best for its price range, but you should consider going up to the upper price tiers to get the most out of your flagship headphones.
Beyerdynamic A20 – Best Desktop Headphone Amplifier
The Beyerdynamic A20 is a headphone amplifier that was specifically designed to pair with the Beyerdynamic T1. The overall presentation in the sound is neutral and free from coloration. Its detail retrieval is excellent and can squeeze out those micro details found in good recordings. Its synergy with the Beyerdynamic T1 is excellent and it is possibly the best amp for the Beyerdynamic T1 due to how accurate the overall sound that you get.
The A20 has the same downsides with the other analytical and accurate sounding devices in this list. The A20 will only make the treble peaks of the A20 more obvious which may not be the preference of some users. Also, since the sound is too detailed, some may consider the overall sound of the A20 too cold and analytical. Again, low-quality files or badly mixed and mastered music are also going to show their flaws on the A20.
If you want the Beyerdynamic T1 to sound as accurate as it can be, this is the perfect pair. If you want a unit that can make the Beyerdynamic T1 sound as intended by the makers themselves, then the A20 is the unit for you.
Schiit Magni 3 – Best Value Desktop Headphone Amplifier
The Schiit Magni 3 is a popular standalone desktop amplifier in its price range due to its driving capability, build quality and price. Just like the other devices in this list, the Magni 3 offers a good amount of power for the Beyerdynamic T1 so lost in aspects of the sound won’t be an issue. It has a neutral sound signature but unlike the other units in this list, the Magni 3 falls a bit short in delivering a true reference grade reproduction.
The sound doesn’t feel as realistic or as detailed as some of the more expensive units but still delivers a fairly accurate sound that fares better than its competitors in its price range. It also doesn’t color the sound of the Beyerdynamic T1 meaning the detail retrieval especially in the high frequencies won’t be affected. It also has a solid build quality that is consistent with other Schiit products.
Overall, with the build, the driving capability, and the sound that you get with this device, this is a killer value. If your budget is limited to the Magni’s price range, then this is the best value you can get.
Schiit Lyr 3 – Best Modular Amplifier
The Schiit Lyr 3 is the most interesting dedicated headphone amplifier in this list due to its modular design. Unlike some of the 3D Plus or bass boost functions of the iFi Micro BL, the Ly3’s sound signature can be completely changed by changing the tubes. This unit also separates itself from the other units in the way it sounds. The sound can be best described as an analog and warm sound which is a common characteristic of tube amplifiers.
This does mean that it has some slight coloration particularly in how it tames the high-end of the Beyerdynamic T1 and how it introduces some warmth but it is not a particularly bad thing as it does not degrade the sound. Despite having excellent qualities such as soundstage, imaging, and separation, this amplifier places user enjoyment first over pure technical performance.
However, since the tubes are modular, you can change the tube into a solid-state tube which changes the sound into a more analytical and accurate sound. The general change that can be observed is that the bass becomes punchier and both the lows and highs get a wider extension.
So if you like to experiment with your sound and see which flavor suits your tastes best, the Schiit Lyr 3 is the best amplifier for you.
Do I Even Need A DAC/Amp For These Headphones?
Based on the specifications of the Beyerdynamic T1, a dedicated amplifier is required to power it properly. Some devices such as a high-end desktop motherboard may be able to drive the Beyerdynamic T1 to an audible level but these devices are not recommended as it may lead to lower sound quality when compared to dedicated devices such as DAC/Amps.
To be specific, some effects that are observed include a decrease in the dynamics, soundstage, detail retrieval, and accuracy of the headphones. You may also experience additional noise since other components inside the device are introducing electrical noise which sometimes leaks into the headphone output.
Your headphone may sound incorrect and bland simply because the device that you are using is not optimized for higher impedance headphones such as the Beyerdynamic T1. If you don’t have access to a DAC/Amp, then this can be a temporary alternative. However, a DAC/Amp is still required to fully enjoy the Beyerdynamic T1.