Threading the needle
It?s no secret that I love Beyerdynamic?s DT 770 Pro headphones. But they are about as ?studio? as headphones come, with a tank-like build that isn?t even close to the most fashionable.
In the last five years, Beyerdynamic has launched two different successors to the classic DT770?s: The DT 1770, and the Custom One Pro.
The 1770 is a luxurious take on the 770s with a high-end price tag to match?whereas the Custom One Pro tries to marry the best aspects of consumer and pro headphones together into a still-affordable product.
I?ve never seen any pair of headphones that balances these two sides of the coin better.
The Custom One Pro has expanded into a whole line of headphones since its original launch five years ago. Now, you can get the Custom One Pro Plus, the Custom Studio, or the Custom Game, which are all different configurations of the same basic idea. All of these headphones typically retail in the range of $170, and prices seem to fluctuate frequently. I got my Custom One Pro Plus for about $155.
The COP Plus, as I?ll call it from now on, is a closed-back headphone with a detachable cable system, several user-customizable parts, and a user-customizable sound signature. It comes in black and white base colors?and Beyer sells a variety of different colors of headbands, ear pads, ear cup rings, and ear cup plates. All of these accessories come in at reasonable prices for what you?re getting, just like the headphones.
Why the ?Plus? in the name? Well, this model also features 16 extra ear cup face plates, and an additional cable with an inline remote and mic for phone use. The Game and Studio models don?t include these particular extras, but have other extras of their own that I?ll talk about a bit at the end of the review.
These bass sliders feel very durable and make satisfying clicking sounds when you adjust them. Here, they?re set to Position 3.
Before I try to evaluate the sound, I have to mention the four selectable sound signatures. They?re one of many reasons these headphones have ?Custom? in their name.
Each ear cup of the COP Plus has a small slider you can lock into four different spots. Beyer calls the positions ?Light Bass,? ?Linear,? ?Vibrant Bass,? and ?Heavy Bass,? and those are good names.
They even published this measurement graph to show you the relative bass levels of each slider position.
10 decibels represents a doubling in the perceived loudness of a sound, so as you can see there?s quite a range of bass variability here.
All four positions handle the middle and high ranges rather well?a little better than the DT770?s do, in fact! The mid range is natural, with a bit less of the withdrawn/scooped quality that the 770?s are infamous for.
In a previous DT770 review, I said that the treble ?rings out like angel trumpets.?
That doesn?t really happen with the COP Plus at anything approaching the same degree of sharpness.
Now, the highs are still responsive and detailed, but they?re dialed back in intensity. This is better and more pleasing for most listeners, and makes long listening sessions more enjoyable.
Bass tuning is totally up to you!
In slider Position 1, the COP Plus is a bass-light headphone. It?s still there a little bit?but most of the lower bass frequencies just go away. It?s startling how much of a difference a slider covering some small holes can make!
I don?t really know who or what position 1 is for.
It sucks most of the fun and energy out of these headphones, and while it does provide the highest degree of isolation?the other positions isolate well enough that it?s not that big of a deal. I guess if you really wanted to focus in on the mids and highs in a recording, position 1 would be good?but most folks should use one of the other three.
Position 2 seems like it?d be good for mixing/monitoring work or critical listening, with enough bass response that you can correctly level your mix for playback on other systems. It has a sound that mimics the ?Audiophile neutrality? that a lot of people chase obsessively.
Position 3 is somewhere in the neighborhood of the original DT770?s. Bass is elevated, velvety, deep, and good.
Position 4 pushes these all the way up into basshead territory, but without doing any significant damage to the midrange. This is great! The bass maintains the refined, luxurious, deep character that Beyerdynamic headphones are known for?there?s just more of it.
Playing around with the bass sliders is a tremendous amount of fun.
These adjustments allow the sound of these headphones to suit a very wide spectrum of tastes. If you?re used to other consumer headphones, like Beats products, then positions 3 and 4 will offer the sort of thump you enjoy but with much more clarity.
If you prefer more neutral listening, position 2 has a great, balanced sound.
And position 1?also exists? The sound is a bit lacking, and I personally think that position 1 has the least overall utility.
The 16 ohm drivers are easy to power with just about any device you could plug these into.
You simply can?t go wrong with the sound here, and it?ll adjust to appeal to almost any taste.
Beyerdynamic includes 16 ear cup face plates with the Custom One Pro Plus, and 6 with the Custom Game.
The isolation of these headphones is exceptional, thanks in large part to their cushy leatherette pads I?ll be gushing about more below.
The different bass port positions do have a slight impact on isolation. The more bass ports you open up, the less isolation the COP Plus has. It?s not extremely noticeable, but you do lose a little isolation performance, especially in position 4. Still, even when they?re all the way open, isolation is still in the top-tier of non-active-noise-cancelling closed back headphones.
They passed my loud coffee shop tests at the top of the class without issue, even with the ports open.
Just like the DT770?s, soundstage here is quite wide and immersive for a closed back headphone. At times, it feels like I?m running surround virtualization software even in plain old stereo.
I love these ear pads so much. I like them more than the pads on the DT770. Don?t tell my 770?s I told you that!
If I gave out points in my reviews, the COP Plus would earn all the points possible in the comfort category.
Like other Beyerdynamic designs, the COP Plus perfectly balances its weight between its cushy headband and big, soft ear pads. The headband makes a lot of contact across its whole width against my head, preventing any hotspots or long-term wearing discomfort.
I thought the ear pads here were going to be the same ones used on the 32 Ohm version of the DT770’s?but they?re much better! The opening is nice and big in spite of its circular shape, with plenty of room for most ears. If your ears do impact the back of the opening, there?s some soft foam in there.
The leatherette on the pads is soft and pleasant to the touch unlike the sticky material on the 32 ohm 770?s. It?s second in softness only to the material on the HyperX Cloud Alpha pads. The material does collect some sweat over time, but not as badly as some other pairs I?ve worn. The foam padding inside the pads is plush and comfortable, and should form nicely to your head.
I have a larger head, and I can wear these with a few extra clicks of adjustment available. In fact, I can wear them a little less expanded than my DT770?s thanks to the cushier padding, so that?s good news if you have a very large head.
Only the clamping force prevents these from disappearing on your head. They don?t clamp excessively, but it is strong enough that they won?t move around on your head even if you wiggle it around while listening.
The COP Plus is one of the most comfy full-size headphones I?ve ever worn.
They?re a worthy successor to Beyerdynamic?s legacy of comfy headphones. The only headphones I?ve used that are more comfy are Bose?s QuietComfort models, and the Sony MDR-1A.
The face plates are very easy to change out. The whole process took me just a few minutes.
The core design of the COP Plus is taken right from the DT770?s. In fact, you could interchange several parts between the two headphones. The COP Plus?s retain the metal ear forks, the spring steel headband, the adjustment mechanisms, and the big round ear cups.
But then the customization fun enters in!
Gone is the bowling seat/instrument case material used for the DT770 ear cups. Most people won?t miss this?but uh, I like touching that plastic sometimes?
We all have our own quirks.
Anyway, here you get a nice matte composite plastic, with a ring and faceplate mounted onto it. You can easily remove these rings with an included allen key, and then pop off the faceplate.
After going through the 16 included extra face plates, I decided on these black and white ones, which have Beyerdynamic?s name on them, only without the E?s. I thought they were the perfect blend of cool and silly.
The rest of the headphone is also easy to take apart, and you can replace almost every part on your own. The headband pad just pops off with velcro, and the ear pads are easy to change out as well. These are compatible both with the wide range of Custom One headband pads and ear pads that Beyerdynamic sells, and also the pads from the DT770.
Build is just as solid and impressive as other Beyerdynamic products. They have an immediate feel of quality and heft that?s almost unmatched in this price range.
Unlike the DT770’s?the COP Plus has a detachable cable.
The cable inserts into the left ear cup, and uses a standard 3.5mm connector.
Thank. Goodness. Again!
Although the included cables are keyed to lock into this port?the port is wide enough that you could probably get a wide variety of third party cables to insert into it, without issue.
COP Plus on the Left, DT 770?s on the Right. The 770 cups rest fully flush against each other, but the COP Plus cups only touch near the bottom. This is a tiny stupid thing, and I bet most people wouldn?t notice this.
The only design thing I don?t like here is that the default tilt of the ear cup gimbals has been tweaked, such that the ear cups don?t rest fully flush against each other when the headphones are collapsed.
This is a small thing that?s not even a real nitpick?and it?s one of the only negatives I can level against these headphones.
The rubber on the headphone end of the included cables is keyed to lock into the cup.
I?ve already covered the bass sliders, the removable faceplates, and the removable headband pad and ear pads.
Aside from the 16 extra face plates and allen key, you also get two cables in the box: a 1.5m straight cable, and a 1.2m straight cable with inline control button and microphone. The microphone sounds totally fine and should do perfectly for phone calls and other chat uses.
The only other extra in the box is a screw-on 6.3mm adapter that you can use with the 1.5m cable. There?s no bag or case to speak of. That?s okay, considering everything else you get?but I?m weirdly bummed that Beyerdynamic didn?t include one of their infamous nylon dust cover drawstring bags.
A NOTE ON OTHER MODELS
The Custom Game includes a different cable with a built-in high quality boom microphone, for game chat. It includes 6 different sets of face plates that are different from the 16 included with the COP Plus. It?s otherwise more or less the same pair of headphones.
The boom mic cable is available for separate purchase, if you want to use it with the other models.
The Custom Studio comes with the DT770 ear pads and headband pad, and 80 ohm drivers. It also comes with a coiled cable. However, it still has the customizable bass and faceplate features… though it doesn?t include any extra ear cup plates.
It might be a good choice if you want something a little more ?studio-like? than the COP Plus.
Honestly, I?d buy whichever model you could find for the cheapest.
The only big difference here that you can?t overcome with optional extras is the 80 ohm drivers in the Studio model. I?ve heard those sound a little closer to the DT770?s, with slightly more strident highs?so depending on your tastes, you might be better off with the Game or One models.
These are so good.
I?ve stuck to my DT770?s and kind of ignored these because I didn?t think they would be that different.
But the fun bass sliders, the cushy pads/excellent isolation, the smoother treble, the face plates, and the removable cable are all wonderful things to have.
And overall?these are probably a better buy for most people than the DT770?s, especially when you consider that they?re the same price.
That?s really hard for me to say since I love the DT770?s and their goofy textured plastic so much. The Custom One Pro is like those, but a little more laid-back, fun, and feature-packed.
Beyerdynamic has found the perfect blend between the rugged repairability and detailed sound of studio headphones, and the fun bass and bonus features of consumer headphones.
I can?t think of another pair of closed back headphones in the $150-$200 range that I?d be more quick to recommend.
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