Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Review. The COP headphones are built for DJ's and urban music consumers. With customisable filters, faceplates, and headbands they make for a great fusion of superior sound quality, performance, and design.
Famed for its world class professional and consumer headphones, Beyerdynamic is an historic brand that has become well known for maintaining a solid 'legacy' range that has proudly stood the test of time, whilst being at the forefront of fastidious innovation; as seen with the recent addition of the high-performance 'Tesla' headphone range. However, as we well know that the recent 'Beats' marketing campaign has swarmed our consumer market with bias, Beyerdynamic have proudly come to our rescue with the release of the Custom One Pro. Merging style and comfort, a pair of Custom One Pro's are truly competitive, at a sonic level, and can be tailored in so many ways to suit the users preference.
Arriving in your hands you will notice that there is a slightly different packaging flavour in comparison to their other product arrivals, but this for a very good marketing reason that buries the product deep behind enemy lines, and seats it well within the current consumer headphone trends. This seems like a remarkably minor point, but it is the first glimpse of what the product is aimed to offer for you. Opening the box, you are presented with the 'custom tool', and simply put, this is just a small hex key that allows you to remove the driver housing cover so that you can change the faceplates. Next on the list is the Custom One Pro's themselves, and the detachable cable is located at the bottom of the box. This detachable cable is a simple twist-lock gold plated 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack with an standard gold plated 1/4" adapter. Where other manufacturers do offer a carry-case the Custom One Pro's do not include this. However for the current price, Beyerdynamic have invested in a quality customisable product that works extremely well, so I doubt that this addition would make a better overall package.
Features and Build Quality:
For all of you who are well acquainted with the fact that most headphones are 'outsourced' from, or made in China in the modern day and age, I would like to inform you all that these are unbelievably made in Germany! Finding out this little nugget of information almost made me fall off my chair because, if it wasn't already obvious from the external flawless machining or build quality, then you will be accustomed with the fact that German engineering is considered second to none; especially in the transducer department (ie. headphones or microphones). It is here that I would like to say, on a semi-related note, that when product engineering and assembly is managed in a precise way like a swiss watch, then you are almost guaranteed an unprecedented continuity, which is why Beyerdynamic has become such an iconic brand. Now we can move forward with the rest of the review because I should say Wow! I genuinely think that the Custom One Pro's are the most feature packed headphone design that we have ever explored here at The Pro Audio Web Blog. You might immediately overlook this as a compromise, but you couldn't be so wrong, and this is something that will become evident by the time you have read this review.
First off, the standard 'out-of-the-box' design is really quite nice and industrial looking, but it is one that can be fashionably and functionally customised to the extreme, hence the prefix 'Custom'. With removable faceplates, simple but secure pull off earpieces, a velcro headband, and a twist-lock cable, there isn't much else that you would want to do with a pair of headphones. To their merit, we find this particular design to be an award-winning asset that can make the difference for a huge number of consumers, where a simple Google search reveals hundreds, if not thousands, of possible design combinations. Failing this, you can just remove the faceplates and go nuts with some waterproof model paint to really make a one-off statement. However, if you do decide to do this then it will probably invalidate the warranty, so we don't actually encourage you to do this unless you are absolutely certain about your artistic ability.
Built from an aluminium and extremely tough textured ABS plastic shell, the finish of the Custom One Pro's is highly polished where there is no evidence of burring or any other 'giveaway' mass manufacturing design oversights, as can be seen in other plastic housed competitor designs. Leading to a product that is essentially industrial yet elegant, this is a headphone design that feels just as great in the hand as it does on the head. Due weighting, thick padding from the stock headband, luxuriously soft earpieces, a medium to firm sprung headband this couples extremely well, and a sonic performance that we shall later summarise, you are presented with an immersive experience at an affordable price-range.
With a design where almost everything can be replaced, I cannot fault the future-proofing and essential function of the basic product. I would like to say that judging from the quality of the soft-furnishings, this product will last approximately a year of regular use, but this can change if you are using these headphones as portable whilst in the elements. I like the fact that Beyerdynamic do allow you to replace the thick straight RF proof cable if it gets worn, and although I fully respect that this can happen, there is one overlook with the exposed cabling going from the driver units and into the headband. I am unsure if this may actually be the achilles heel in the overall design, but with a product that is designed to be portable I would have liked to have seen this cable buried. As optional extras Beyerdynamic have recently added a microphone that attaches to the input jack on the driver housing for all those gamers out there.
Finally I would like to discuss some of the more technical aspects of the Custom One Pro, and what this product will mean to you. Beyerdynamic have designed the Custom One Pro with portability in mind, and have subsequently opted for a low 16Ω load driver. In essence this means that your smartphone, iPod, laptop sound-card, or portable media device can adequately power the headphones to an optimal quality. During testing we found that when externally powered by a headphone amp the sound appeared to fatigue, but when powered by any of the above, they performed exceptionally. This was a confusing experience, and we can successfully report that they work best for the products that it is designed to work with.
Custom One Pro Sound Quality:
As we haven't mentioned much before, the Custom One Pro headphones come with an inbuilt 'variable bass reflex system', and it is so important to pay attention to this detail. So what does all this 'variable bass reflex system actually mean? Well on the bottom of both headphone driver units there is a revolutionary draw-slider that passively (not digitally) converts your Custom One Pro's from an open back sounding headphone to a closed back in three stages. So what effect does this have on the sound? When in the closed configuration you will notice a diminished loose bass presence, and as you close open the holes the bass will progressively increase to supply more perceptive power and punch. I found that closing off the first two holes appeared to sound most effective, but of course you can tailor this to your specific taste. Beyerdynamic have gone to great lengths by working with world renowned DJ's and come up with the 'tried and tested' Custom One Pro design. Now I would like to inform you that the sound quality of this review has been majoritively conducted with the variable bass reflex system at this enabled setting.
Across multiple genres the sound signature was obviously scoped, where the high frequencies appeared to be rolled off despite the quoted 5Hz - 35kHz frequency range. When the headphones were in the closed setting the sound was quite boxy and unruly and this is why we have selected the setting outlined above. Changing this setting to an more open design lets the fast transient neodymium magnet drivers to breathe and perform much better. Getting used to the Custom One Pro sound is an easy affair in the end, initially you might become overwhelmed or confused by the variable settings so you do need to take some time to become accustomed to the setting that best suits you. Disregarding the closed back setting, we found the transients in electronic music to be replicated very well and have that classic kick pump and bouncy bass leads... let me tell you that with Dubstep you will hear those wub's clearly defined. The bass was not overwhelming and complimented the 'classic hi-fi' warm treble tonality, where I noticed a peak in the mid-range that allowed vocals to openly come to the fore. I was impressed with the clarity and depth that the Custom One Pro's seemed to go to considering their price-range, and they particularly worked well with electronic 'pop' genres. Personally I didn't ever feel that the bass was ever too much that it questioned my reasoning... and this I found positively strange considering the intended target market. I would say that the soundstage on well produced tracks to appear vast, without being too vast... if that makes sense. What I mean by this is that you won't question why something sounds like it's coming from too far away in a certain direction. If you choose to listen to rock or more acoustic genres then the Custom One Pro's possibly aren't ideal, and this is reflective of the design. With the nature of the beast the Custom One Pro's offer a very respectable passive external noise isolation, so you won't be left in too much of a sticky situation on the move with everyone becoming your audience... unless you had Banksy make a custom faceplate for you.
The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro headphone is an engineering marvel, and performs exceptionally well within a variety of environments to offer the user a truly immersive experience that they can fully customise in whatever way. As a rival to the Beats range I see them doing very well, and look forward to seeing them on the heads of many. The Pro Audio Web Blog rates the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro headphones a four and a half out of five.