REVIEW: BEYERDYNAMIC DT240 PRO OVER EAR HEADPHONES
Beyerdynamic has dedicated decades of research and testing into the professional headphone market. The DT240 PRO is the latest professional release but does it deliver for just $139?
Over Ear Professional Headphones
Beyerdynamic has been manufacturing headphones since the 1930s.
This makes them not only one of the first headphone companies in the world but also one of the oldest audio companies in the world, too.
It would be fair to say they've been in the game long enough to understand what their customers want.
Take the DT770 PRO headphones for example. Released in the 1980s, its been a foundation of both studios and live music gigs ever since. No tricks, no gimmicks - just solid bass, clean sound, and a build that is strong enough to potentially use as a weapon in any given self-defense scenario.
At CES 2018, Beyerdynamic unveiled the DT240 PRO, professional over-ear monitor headphones.
Sporting an over-ear design, reliable sound, and a ridiculously low price ($139 locally), this release hits all the right notes as a workhorse for the audio professional.
Is it possible that they can encapsulate the average industry requirements with a headphone this cheap? Or have they fallen short of what the professional market truly requires?
Build and accessories
The entire assembly (including pads, cups, cable and headband) are matte black. The colour and styling ooze a sleek and professional aesthetic, and this headphone looks like it means business.
Made entirely of plastic and weighing 196 grams, the DT240 PRO is very lightweight and easy to handle.
The headband is rather thin - slightly thinner than say, the Sennheiser HD25 II - but doesn’t feel flimsy as a result.
The leatherette pads are soft and removable and can be easily replaced.
Included in the packaging is a 1.25m coiled cable (which can be stretched to 3m), a soft bag, and a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.
The cable is removable and can be plugged into either the left or right cup. Each cup swivels 90 degrees, to allow flat storage. The headphone itself doesn’t fold inward, however.
While the DT240 PRO feels lightweight, I get the impression that it would still be able to take a hit. I’d feel confident leaving it in my tool bag and throwing it around in the back of trucks. It also helps that Beyerdynamic headphones are well known for their sheer strength and durability.
Despite being thin, the headband has a stack of padding. Combined with the light weight of these headphones, they are surprisingly comfortable.
The pads don’t quite make it all the way around my ears, and a few more millimeters would make this fit perfect. However, that would have taken up a little room in a tool bag, so it’s a sacrifice that I consider to be worthy.
The clamp is quite firm (out of the box). Even vigorous head shaking won’t let these fall off. Don’t be turned off by this; it's necessary for a professional headphone. When running around holding a camera in one hand, and a microphone in the other, the last thing you need to be doing is re-adjusting your headphones to get the perfect fit.
The same can be said for mixing bands, or running around on-stage, or recording wildlife. You just want to throw the headphones on your head, and trust that they will stay there.
Inside the closed-back enclosures are a set of 34-ohm drivers, capable of handling 100 mw of power. They are easily driven from even the humblest sources, including smartphones, cameras, and laptops. You won’t need any crazy amplification to make these shine to their full potential.
The pads and clamping force of the headband work together to create some seriously strong isolation. The volume will need to be pushed loud before the DT240 PRO becomes audible to those around you. Likewise, those around you will need to be loud before you can hear them talking. This is fantastic for mixing in loud environments.
While it’s all well and good for a pair of headphones to be lightweight, durable, and not fall off, the essential part of a professional headphone is the way it sounds.
Thankfully, the DT240 PRO sports a sound signature which is a serious, predictable and reliable affair.
Even from a wide range of sources, the sound remained firmly balanced and linear. From my testing, plugging these into anything from Chord Electronics' Mojo, through to an Allen & Heath audio console, produces reliable results that won’t change too drastically depending on your source.
Having a lower impedance of 34 ohms, these will pair well with a wide range of sources, but not all. Some cheaper devices that may have a high output impedance of 10 ohms or more may have some damping issues and could impact the bass response.
There is a slightly elevated warmth to the midbass, which is just a whisper north of neutral. The midrange, while vibrant and detailed, remains calm and neutral. There are no sibilant peaks, and no offensive spikes in the frequency response.
It’s difficult not to compare these to another workhorse budget headphone in the same price bracket: The Audio-Technica ATH M50x.
Both these headphones were designed specifically for professionals, and both are equally just as easy to drive.
The M50x has slightly larger, oval-shaped pads, which I found to be a little softer on the head; but they're also more prone to slipping off with heavy activity.
While these two seem to have sound signatures that aim towards being flat and neutral, they each have a slightly different approach to achieving this goal.
The ATH-M50x is a little more 'in-your-face' with its presentation; it has slightly more elevated mid-bass, a larger soundstage, with a little more sparkle up top.
Conversely, the DT 240 PRO has more realistic voicing; vocals sound more natural and detailed, the midrange is just a whisker forward in the mix, and the bass response sounds more flat and even.
Some may find the ATH-M50x a bit more exciting, and the DT 240 PRO a bit too sterile, but if it’s neutrality and accuracy you’re after, my vote goes to Beyerdynamic's DT 240 PRO.
Beyerdynamic's DT 240 PRO has a strong and sturdy frame, reliable neutral sound, and local pricing of just $139 RRP.
It’s an easy choice for either a professional choosing a new set of cans or anyone who takes their audio field work seriously.
Let's keep it simple. Even if you were to lose them or they were pinched on a gig, you could just buy another pair for the same amount you would pay for five rolls of gaffa tape.
How could you possibly go wrong?
For more information visit Beyerdynamic.
- Transducer type: dynamic
- Operating principle: closed
- Frequency response: 5 - 35,000 Hz
- Nominal impedance: 34 Ω
- Nominal SPL: 99 dB SPL (1 mW/500 Hz)
- Max. SPL: 119 dB SPL (200 mW / 500 Hz)
- T.H.D.: < 0.1% (1 mW / 500 Hz)
- Power handling capacity: 100 mW
- Sound coupling to the ear: over-ear
- Nominal headband pressure: approx. 5.2 N
- Weight (without cable): 196 g
Further reading: Headphones Discussion Forum
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.
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