Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus-Custom Individuality Personified-

COP-06

 

The original Custom One Pro (COP) marked Beyerdynamic’s first real attempt at targeting the urban demographic. Those who would normally fancy headphones like those from Beats, Monster, Skullcandy. German engineering influenced by the mainstream market.

The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus is essentially a re-release of the original Custom One Pro, with additional goodies and no actual changes to the headphone itself. Beyerdynamic must have felt that the original release was lacking in immediately available customization options not living up to it’s name. The COP Plus marks a full-fledged release, with all the goodies you need in order to make the headphone feel truly unique and customizable.

Beyerdynamic is no stranger to customizable headphones, having years of experience customizing popular headphones like the DT770, DT880, and DT990 under their own Manufaktur brand. The COP however, is the first customizable Beyerdynamic headphone that is widely available, with a cost that ensures a broader appeal.

Build Quality

Having a good deal of experience with Beyerdynamic headphones, I expected no less than a superb build quality. The COP does not disappoint. The majority of the COP’s build is seemingly taken directly from Beyerdynamic’s DT770 line, having the most in common with the DT770 Pro.

To my joy, I was sent the (all too glorious in it’s sleekness) stealth black COP, which at first glance instantly reminded me of the DT770 Pro 80ohm I had so long ago, with some noticeable exceptions.

COP-05

 

From top to bottom:

The metal headband is covered with a newer headband cover, considerably more plush and comfortable than the older DT770 Pro headband. The new headband simply wraps around the metal frame, and velcro keeps it secured. I personally preferred the Pro’s headband over the Premium DT770/880/990 non-removable headband in both comfort and practicality. The COP’s headband kicks it up a notch higher and is even more comfortable, and easier to replace.

The yokes are the same metal arms that Beyerdynamic has used since the dawn of time, being nearly indestructible, and as problematic to adjust as it has always been on all the headphones it’s been equipped on. Sometimes it may easily adjust to different lengths, and sometimes it will take a bit more force. The trick is to do it while it’s in your hands, and not on your head. Minor adjustments aren’t easy while it’s worn, making it less practical.

Down to the cups, where the biggest differences and additions are made, compared to the DT770 Pro headphones. The rim around the cups each holds the cable entries for each channel, and has always been one of my gripes with Beyerdynamic headphones, as with some bad luck, may snag and potentially damage the cables. This is worst case scenario, as I feel that had it been a major issue, this would have been addressed many years ago. I have owned many Beyerdynamic headphones, and never had any issue with these protruding cables, though it has always been a subject on my mind. Pessimism, I’m sure.

Near the bottom of the cups, are Beyerdynamic’s custom sound sliders, which opens/closes ports on each cup. The more ports that are open, the more bass that will be injected into the tonal balance of the COP. The sliders are very easy to adjust blindly (make sure to match both sides in terms of how many ports are open to keep the tonal balance even between both drivers).

The outer cup is the other major change from the DT770 Pro. Gone is the fairly unappealing, fiberglass-esque textured cups of the DT770. In, is a ring of with 4 screws that allows the cup’s main faces to be customized with a variety of ‘design plates’ by using the ‘custom style tool’ located in one the package’s side flaps. By default, there is a black design plate with ‘Custom One Pro’ near the bottom of the plate.

Moving on to the pads, gone is the DT770’s velour pads, replaced with a very soft pair of synthetic leather pads. I’m far from a fan of synthetic leather, but I was surprised to find the ones used on the Custom One Pro quite sufficient. The pads slip off, and are easy to clean or replace.

The bottom of the left cup holds the recessed 3.5mm input, though I found practically all other cables I tested to fit the COP just fine. This was a lifesaver, as the included cable was defective out of the box. Luckily I carry various 3.5mm cables, so no real issue here. I did look online to see if the issue was more widespread, and it seems there are a some reports of defective cables. I would suggest to have some spare cables handy.

A shame, considering the included cable seemed robust, with ample thickness and short length seems ideal for portable use. At least there is an extra cable with a mic included in the package. Similar length and thickness. Both are 3.5mm with a thick barrel on the headphone side. The thick barrel has a slot, to allow the cable to correctly insert into the headphone, though I don’t feel it’s all that useful, considering all manner of cables will easily fit, with no looseness issues. I assume Beyerdynamic wanted an exceedingly tight fit.

Asides from the questionable cable, the Custom One Pro is a wonderfully crafted headphone, which should take all manner of abuse. Be mindful of the thin cables near the headband, however. Also of note is that, like the DT770s, the COP doesn’t fold or collapse, giving it a pretty large footprint, one I personally feel to be a bit too big for portable use.

Rating: Great

 

Accessories

The Custom One Pro Plus includes:

– Short cable with one button remote/inline mic
– 16 design plates (8 pairs in total), different designs on both sides of each plate for a total of 16 matching designs.
– 6.3mm gold-plated adapter

 

Comfort:

I was left a bit surprised in that I found the Custom One Pro to be pretty comfortable, despite my typical disdain for synthetic leather earpads.

The COP is fairly lightweight, despite using some pretty hefty and rugged plastics as well as metal. It simply sits quite well on the head, with an abundantly generous amount of headband padding that molds around head shapes unlike many headphones which have an arch too wide, causing hot spots on the top of the head.

The earpads are quite soft and mold around the ears quite comfortably, though they do build up heat quickly and does tend to irritate my sensitive skin when wearing the COP for lengthy periods.

The biggest detriment to the COP’s comfort is the clamping force which, like Beyerdynamic’s Pro line of headphones, tends to clamp a bit too strongly for my tastes. I’m sure some vigorous stretching may alleviate the clamp somewhat.

Due to the large size of the cups, and not being able to fold or collapse, the COP isn’t a headphone easily worn around the neck during periods of non-use.

In the end, the COP is quite comfortable, and I believe with some stretching, and a pad swap to the DT770 velour pads will further boost the comfort to another level.

Rating: Very Good

 

Isolation/Leakage:

Even with all ports open on the cups, the Custom One Pro simply does not leak out much. It is quite fantastic in this regard. Noise isolation is great, noise leakage is great. In terms of passive noise isolation, there simply aren’t many options that will significantly improve on the Custom One Pro.

Rating: Excellent

 

Sound:

The Custom One Pro is somewhat of a departure for me in terms of what I usually expect from Beyerdynamic (as far as personal experience goes). Beyerdynamics that I have used have all had a slight to moderate v-shaped curved with the biggest emphasis in the treble range. This was a common trend with the DT770, DT880, and DT990s. The T51p was a bit more musical than plainly v-shaped, with more dips and peaks that gave it a more dynamic sound, yet remaining in the realm of my expectations for a Beyerdynamic headphone. These have all taken risks with some aggressive qualities to their sound.

The Custom One Pro is different. It’s somewhat more akin to something you’d find out of Sennheiser’s staple, with a warm tilted, safe, mostly balanced sound, taking no major risks aside from it’s bottom end customization.

While the custom sound sliders mainly target the bass, the sliders also affect the lower midrange to a lesser extent. It is enough to add or remove some warmth and fullness to the COP’s sound though remaining warm throughout. The general to upper midrange, as well as the treble are left completely alone. From multiple testing and sweeps, I concluded that the custom sliders work all the way from the lowest regions of bass to about 500hz. 200hz and above are mostly subtle changes regardless of slider position. The biggest area of change happens at 100hz and below, where there is a significant gap between the 1st slider position, and the last.

 

Bass:

The bass is undoubtedly the biggest focus on the Custom One Pro. I found all slider positions to share similar traits in terms of bass quality, with bass volume being it’s biggest change. The COP’s inherent qualities in bass is that it is slightly soft, rounded, and more enveloping, rather than sharp or tactile. It is decent in it’s texturing, and hits with average speed. It holds decent control, never quite becoming flabby or one notish even in it’s strong bass slider setting.

With no ports open (1st position on top), the bass rolls off significantly, basically robbing the general sound of low end energy. It is still audible, though lacking behind the midrange and treble by a fairly significant amount. I personally do not recommend the sliders set to no ports open, unless you simply just want to remove all low end impact from your sound. It does have a similar texture and control as the 2nd position.

With one port open (2nd position), the bass is decently tight and well balanced, being mildly above the midrange and treble level. It is still on the softer side in tone and texture. The review pair had a slight resonance distortion that isn’t audible with the 1st, 3rd, or 4th position. The resonance sounds a bit different here, though I’m unsure of the cause. I could only hear it on frequency test, in any case.

With two ports open (3rd position), the bass becomes fuller, fatter, and more potent. This position is for mild bassheads who like a heavy lower end without it pushing it too far into boomy territory. I prefer this position most when listening to music in general, as I tend to listen to music genres that benefit from some bass emphasis. It gives the sound a nice weight to the lower end, while remaining relatively well controlled.

With three ports open (4th position), the bass becomes a bit dronish, with longer decay, boomier tone, and less texture clarity next to the other positions. I personally do not recommend the last position, as it robs the Custom One Pro of some clarity. Even so, it isn’t what I consider sloppy, just overly emphasized.

Considering the significant levels of change in the bass due to the sliders, and different personal preferences, it simply isn’t possible to rate the bass based on quantity, as the bass can go from mostly withdrawn, to heavily pronounced. However, the basic qualities of the bass more or less remain identical regardless of custom slider positions, though the more ports open, the longer the decay, the lesser the control, and the warmer the sound in general. The last position may be quite heavy, but on the Creative X7 amp/dac I was using, it was still decently controlled and textured.

Quality: Good from 1st to 3rd position, decent on the 4th position

Quantity: Varied

1st slider position: withdrawn
2nd: slightly emphasized
3rd: moderately emphasized, slightly heavy
4th: quite heavy, boomy, slower

 

Midrange:

My favorite aspect of the Custom One Pro’s sound is the midrange. The midrange slightly favors the lower half over the upper half. It’s loudest peak is at 3.5khz, never hitting offensive levels. Most of the midrange is fairly linear and well balanced, only being very slightly south of neutral in terms of forwardness relative to the bass, though still remaining generally close to the virtual head space. Despite not being the most forward aspect of the COP’s sound (as far as competent slider positions goes), it is still relatively well balanced and up close.

This made the Custom One Pro a very likable headphone for general media use, as the midrange was coherent, and pleasing. The COP was given much use for TV shows, anime viewing, and online videos.

Quality: Very Good
Quantity: Well balanced

 

Treble:

Despite it’s most noticeable peak at 10khz peak, the Custom One Pro’s treble range is generally smooth and forgiving. The 10khz peak isn’t overly zingy or harsh, and gives the Custom One Pro it’s biggest source of air and upper range clarity. This leaves the COP as a generally fatigue free, forgiving, and non-analytical headphone. It lacks a little detail up top, which can at times come off as blunted and veiled in the grand scheme of things. If you’re into hyper detail, the COP will not give that to you. It will however, allow you to listen for long periods of time, without discomfort. In that regard, I felt the COP to cater to a broader audience.

I don’t mind a smooth treble range, though the COP could benefit from a general lift in the lower treble.

Quality: Decent
Quantity: Mainly south of neutral, smooth, with a few bumps, biggest at 10khz.

 

Soundstage:

The Custom One Pro’s soundstage is wide for a closed headphone, with very good stereo separation, though not on the level of the DT770’s width or depth. I’m a bit conflicted about it’s soundstage, as it is on the large side of medium, but at times can be strangely constricted.

There was a slight stuffiness to the sound that hampered the COP’s air at times, further collapsing the soundstage and making it seem smaller than it could potentially be.

The midrange comes close to neutral in terms of forwardness, giving the COP an intimate presence in terms of vocals. This is somewhat of a double-edge sword, as the perceived midrange clarity is improved due to intimate virtual space vicinity, with the tradeoff being that the soundstage depth and sense of space becomes more constricted. From my experiences, you will usually trade off midrange intimacy for soundstage, though it is not a golden rule (Sony MA900, AKG’s 700 line are some notable exceptions as having a large soundstage and forward, clear vocals).

Comparing the COP to the Shure 1540 and Fostex TH-600 (both being quite large in terms soundstage) quickly showcased the limitation of the COP’s soundstage. It seemed noticeably shorter in height, and congested in direct comparison, like a sort of muted ‘flatness’. Not exactly a fair comparison, due to the massive price differences, but it was worth noting that the soundstage just wasn’t on the same level.

This isn’t always the case, as certain and files sound quite large and spacious. If you’re used to the DT770 however, yes, the COP will pale in comparison in terms of raw soundstage size. The COP did fared quite a bit better for gaming, with a boost in soundstage width and depth due to virtual surround DSPs used (Dolby Headphone and Creative SBX Pro surround).

Rating: Decent to Good

 

Clarity:

The Custom One Pro’s clarity falls as decidedly decent to my ears. The innately warm tonal characteristics is generally well balanced after the lower end, (lower end is adjustable from: weak, subtly emphasized, full, boomy) with a midrange and treble range that more or less remain on an even keel with one another. This gives the Custom One Pro a generally safe tone with no engaging peaks or added energy in any one area asides from the customizable low end. Safe, and at times muted. Air isn’t a strength in the Custom One Pro’s sound, so no additional benefits to clarity in this regard. The clearest the Custom One Pro will be is with all slider ports closed, which robs the COP of it’s bass impact while imparting no additional clarity up top. I personally suggest one port open for the best, and most balanced sound.

The COP is a headphone that will sound best at higher volumes, due to the ‘south of neutral’ tonal qualities in the midrange and treble.

One interesting thing to note is that with the custom slider set to all ports closed, while the bass may have been sucked out, it doesn’t significantly tighten, add texture, or clarity. It literally sounds as if the bass range alone was lowered in volume, with no major changes to it’s inherently soft, and slightly thumpy quality. It does give the midrange and treble more of a spotlight due to the sheer reduction in bass volume.

I recommend feeding the COP high quality audio, as questionable material will further enhance the slight veil and lack of detail.

Rating: Decent

 

Sound Signature:

This is a warm headphone with smooth bass that is dependent on custom sound sliders that range  from weak to really heavy. There’s a slight overall veil and a fatigue free treble.

The Custom One Pro can be from a warm and well balanced headphopne, to a very bass heavy juggernaut. The certainties of the Custom One Pro’s sound signature is the midrange being neither forward nor too pushed back, and the treble lacking hyper clarity and energy overall, with a decent 10khz to keep it from sounding overly muted and veiled.

The sound signature can be basically summed up as comfortable tonality for the mass market with no strong emphasis, peaks, or risks. The bass is it’s main focal point, and at best can be full and enveloping.

 

Amping:

Not necessary but could recommend a quality dac/amp for boosting clarity. The Custom One Pro is incredibly sensitive, and should perform optimally with any decent source. The only real reason to amp the Custom One Pro is to bypass quastionable sources with really high output impedances, as they may negatively affect the COP due to it’s 16ohm impedance. I would not recommend a warm amp with the Custom One Pro whatsoever. Fast, lean, tight, articulate, technical dac/amps are best, and highly recommended for the Custom One Pro.

 

Gaming:

The Custom One Pro makes a better casual gaming headphone than a competitive one due to it’s stronger bass sections and slightly subdued clarity and detail prowess. The soundstage is quite good especially in virtual surround, with easily discernible positional cues, including rear surround cues.

The Custom One Pro’s custom sound sliders work very well, and the first position would make the COP a competent…competitive gaming headphone, though simply outclassed by many others if that were the main goal of using this headphone.

I recommend the Custom One Pro as a fun gaming headphone first, competitive gaming headphone second.

It’s 3.5mm input allows for both Beyerdynamic’s own Custom One Pro Microphone (sold separately), or the popular alternate, the V-moda Boompro, which fits the input with ease. These turn the Custom One Pro into a headset, and back to a standard headphone in mere seconds.

 

Personal Recommendation?

Music? Yes. Casual, most genres, non detail oriented.

Movies? Yes. All genres due to flexible nature of it’s bass response, leading to front vocals, or dramatic, thumping bass.

Gaming? Yes, leaning on non-competitive, immersive gaming

General media? Yes. The midrange makes vocals easily understood. Great for podcasts, TV shows, etc.

Whle not the most detailed headphone out there, the Custom One Pro is competent in most areas, and for all manner of uses.

 

Final Impressions:

The Custom One Pro will resonate well with a younger crowd due to it’s easy customization, sound tuning, and comfortable, extended period-friendly sound signature. Yes, there are better headphones in the price range, including headphones from Beyerdynamic’s own staple, but the Custom One Pro’s unique ability to tweak sound on the fly makes it a very fun headphone to play around with.

While it may not be the best Beyerdynamic headphone I’ve heard, I would still personally consider the Custom One Pro at it’s price range. I essentially see it as multiple headphones in one, making it quite a dynamic tool for multiple uses, easily recommendable for people who only want one closed-back headphone for all around use.

byerc1pro

Likes, Dislikes, and Unfiltered Thoughts:

Pros:

Easy customization
Non-fatiguing
Well balanced midrange to treble
Build quality

Cons:

A little detail deficient up top
Slight veil/congestion at times

Unfiltered Thoughts:

I feel the pure sonic performance would put the Custom One Pro’s performance comparable to headphones in the $150 range. Not far from it’s street price, and with the extra goodies that come with the COP, I’d call it’s $200 range price point fair, though it puts the COP next to some truly outstanding headphones, especially if the prospective buyer doesn’t mind open-backed headphones. As a closed-back headphone, I’d personally be fine owning the COP at it’s price range.

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  • Tom Ripley

    Hey there! Superb, very detailed review. Amazing job! This is how is done!

    I want to enter the audiophile market and I have some doubts.

    Should I buy the COP or the AudioTechnica ATH M50x? I have seen both for 130 bucks(each, of course).

    Are there other alternatives? If so, please tell me, they´ll more then welcome! I´d say that my budget is 150 bucks top.

    I will connect them directly to my Android (Xiaomi Mi Note) or to my PC. I guess neither DAC nor amp should be used (at least that´s what i think because the sound coming from my Xiaomi is really good)

    The music that I listen to moves from Rock, Metal or Rap to Jazz and even House or Drum&Bass…
    Please I need some answers
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hinekri

      Hah, funny, I have almost the same dilemma as you! I’m trying to decide between the COP+ and the ATH-M50x too. I’ve heard that your Mi Note outputs great audio but I want either one of these cans for my Galaxy Note 4, which still delivers very acceptable sound for a phone. Tried both for about an hour at my local audio store while my phone was hooked up to a Calyx PaT DAC and a Hippo CriCri amp (not the CriCri+, which is both an amp and a DAC), and below are my personal thoughts on them, if it helps you.

      Both are closed cans and have similar soundstage width but I found that I preferred the sound of the M50x over the COP+ thanks to their better clarity. The M50x have excellent detailing and layering, and are just an overall well-balanced pair of cans with especially pleasing mids and highs – perfect for monitoring. Vocals were prominent and airy. Furthermore, the highest trebly sounds have a discernible sparkle to them, simply lovely. Bass is not overly aggressive and resolves cleanly with sufficient impact, but obviously the COP+ win hands down in this department thanks to their adjustable ports.

      The COP+ meanwhile boasts a very fun, customisable sound. While remaining generally accurate (I definitely would rate them as quite balanced), the M50x were always just a tad less muted and clearer when it came to the mids and highs. Mind you, it’s not a significant difference at all and whether or not you consider it a dealbreaker is dependent on your listening preferences. In fact, I’d say that the M50x is slightly less expressive since it handles all frequencies in a neutral manner. With the COP+, tuning the bass levels means you choose how much the mids and highs are allowed to shine. They may have slightly less detail in them, but you can actually adjust the quantity of the lows and that’s a plus for certain genres of music when you don’t want so much thumping action. Bass-heavy songs naturally lend themselves better to the COP+.

      In conclusion, get the M50x if you like a more analytical, truer to source pair of cans. Spring for the COP+ should you want a more adjustable, playful sound. Personally, I’m leaning towards the COP+ thanks to their incredibly comfortable fit on my head and ears. In this aspect they have the M50x beaten, plus my local audio store regularly churns out nice deals on Beyerdynamic cans, not so much on ATH (which is a real pity). I really think that I might get the COP+ after all as I already own 2 other neutral pairs, the DTX 231 Pro and the DTX 910 (which were both bought at 50% off thanks to Beyerdynamic’s long-standing partnership with my local audio store).

    • Hinekri

      Hah, funny, I have almost the same dilemma as you! I’m trying to decide between the COP+ and the ATH-M50x too. I’ve heard that your Mi Note outputs great audio but I want either one of these cans for my Galaxy Note 4, which still delivers very acceptable sound for a phone. Tried both for about an hour at my local audio store while my phone was hooked up to a Calyx PaT DAC and a Hippo CriCri amp (not the CriCri+, which is both an amp and a DAC), and below are my personal thoughts on them, if it helps you.

      Both are closed cans and have similar soundstage width but I found that I preferred the sound of the M50x over the COP+ thanks to their better clarity. The M50x have excellent detailing and layering, and are just an overall well-balanced pair of cans with especially pleasing mids and highs – perfect for monitoring. Vocals were prominent and airy. Furthermore, the highest trebly sounds have a discernible sparkle to them, simply lovely. Bass is not overly aggressive and resolves cleanly with sufficient impact, but obviously the COP+ win hands down in this department thanks to their adjustable ports.

      The COP+ meanwhile boasts a very fun, customisable sound. While remaining generally accurate (I definitely would rate them as quite balanced), the M50x were always just a tad less muted and clearer when it came to the mids and highs. Mind you, it’s not a significant difference at all and whether or not you consider it a dealbreaker is dependent on your listening preferences. In fact, I’d say that the M50x is slightly less expressive since it handles all frequencies in a neutral manner. With the COP+, tuning the bass levels means you choose how much the mids and highs are allowed to shine. They may have slightly less detail in them, but you can actually adjust the quantity of the lows and that’s a plus for certain genres of music when you don’t want so much thumping action. Bass-heavy songs naturally lend themselves better to the COP+.

      In conclusion, get the M50x if you like a more analytical, truer to source pair of cans. Spring for the COP+ should you want a more adjustable, playful sound. Personally, I’m leaning towards the COP+ thanks to their incredibly comfortable fit on my head and ears. In this aspect they have the M50x beaten, plus my local audio store regularly churns out nice deals on Beyerdynamic cans, not so much on ATH (which is a real pity). I really think that I might get the COP+ after all as I already own 2 other neutral pairs, the DTX 231 Pro and the DTX 910 (which were both bought at 50% off thanks to Beyerdynamic’s long-standing partnership with my local audio store).