The Inexpensive and Great Sounding Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m
Were it not for the fact that I'm about to tell you so, there's nothing that would clue you in: The Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m ($59) looks about like any cheap plastic headphone you might run across at WalMart...but beauty runs deep with this one. Check it out.
The DTX 350 m is as unassuming as it gets. This low-cost, mostly plastic headphone is an on-ear sealed can with folding features that allow ear capsules to rotate 90 degrees and swing inward toward the headband so you can more easily stuff it into the included cloth bag for storage and transport.
The look of these cans is very simple. The plastic is black semi-gloss with subtle glossy logo imprints on the headband and ear capsules. The 48" flat cable is in a "Y" configuration permanently attaching to each ear piece. A small one-button remote is included on the cable to the right ear.
At 130 grams, these are quite light. Caliper pressure on the ears is gentle, and the pleather earpads are plush and pliable. I did have a bit of trouble getting them to seal on my measurement head, but on my ears they seemed to fit and seal very well. This is a comfortable headphone that can be worn for quite a long time.
Reliability is something I really can't evaluate, I just don't spend enough time or place enough duress on products for that. But it is worth mentioning, in this case, that two of the three reviews on Head-Fi, and two of the eight reviews on Amazon for this headphone mention either creaking or breaking headbands.
Sound quality of the Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m is simply superb at this price. This is a somewhat bass heavy headphone, but it's done quite tastefully. Measured bass is somewhat erratic due to problems sealing on my measurement head, but I heard it emphasized 5-7dB above baseline below about 200Hz. Bass was satisfyingly tight and undistorted at all but the highest levels. I would call this a borderline "basshead" headphone that many folks, myself included, will find quite satisfying.
Midrange is really good; a very even handed presentation with little in the way of coloration. Overtone balance is excellent; vocals seem coherent and properly present in the mix.
The treble is just a tad too bright up high for me, which means most folks will find the treble balance spot-on. Given the bass and treble mild emphasis, I would describe the DTX 350 m as having a mild "V" shaped response.
I did hear a somewhat cellophane-like mild glare to the treble, but it didn't seem to overly intrude on my listening pleasure. Cymbals and snares were consequently a little artificial sounding, but detail and resolving power remained quite good.
Though imaging wasn't particularly deepheadphones of this type rarely areI found the image width good and nicely stable. Dynamic impact was also surprisingly good.
Against the similarly priced Skullcandy Grind I found the DTX 350 m somewhat more refined and well balanced. The Grind lacked the finesse and resolution of the DTX 350 m treble, and the bass extended further into the mids giving it a thicker sound down low. Imaging had less depth and width with the Grind, but dynamic punch was a bit stronger. Though the DTX 350 m is a bit better sounding, the Grind's construction does seem quite a bit more sturdy. If you'll be regularly throwing these into a backpack, the durability of the Grind might win the day.
Compared to the similarly price Noontec Zoro II HD (~$69) I found the Zoro to be a more neutral sounding can with a bit more restrained bass and treble. Generally, I'd recommend the Zoro II HD over the DTX 350 m for audiophiles, but I tend to think the younger crowd will like the warmth and excitement of the DTX 350 more. Build quality and styling of the Zoro are superior to the DTX 350 m.
The Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m is a dandy little headphone for folks desiring a well balanced tone with kickin' bass at a bargain price. Buyers should be aware that this may be a somewhat fragile headphone and should be used with care. If you plan to lovingly use and abuse your headphones, throwing it into backpacks care-free, check out the built-like-a-brick Skullcandy Grind. If you're looking for a more neutral tonal balance (less bass) the Noontec Zoro II HD may be right up your alley.
The Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m is going up on the "Wall of Fame" as a really great sounding, entry-level, basshead headphone. It's hard to believe you can get so much pleasingly punchy oomph at a price this low. Damned good.