Beyerdynamic DT235 Review

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Brief: Beyerdynamic’s follow-up to the highly successful DT231 has gotten very little attention on head-fi. The somber looks of the headphone may partially be to blame but after spending a few weeks comparing the DT235 to some far more popular options I think these lightweight wonders deserve far more praise than they get.

MSRP: $79.00 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $50 from amazon.com

Build Quality (8/10): The DT235 is not a pretty headphone, that much is certain. The single-piece headband and cups are made of a rough-feeling plastic, with a thin piece of rubber acting as an elastic second headband for comfort. A white Beyerdynamic logo on the headband and model markings on the cups complete the function-over-form appearance. There are no moving parts to the structure and the 8-foot single-sided cable is thick and flexible, with functional strain reliefs on either end. There really are no weak points to the construction – the DT235 may not be particularly high-rent but there is very little to go wrong with them.

Comfort (8/10): The egg-shaped cups of the DT235 are a bit too small to be circumaural. Still, the soft velour pads and low clamping force yield a very comfortable fit. The self-adjusting elastic headband allows them stay on securely despite the low clamp. The elastic headband and simple overall structure also make the DT235 very easy to wear around the neck, which I tend to do quite a bit for convenience. The only long-term issue with the comfort is the pads heating up over time. I suspect that like Beyer’s renowned DT770/880 pads, the DT235 are actually pleather-backed, which causes them to get hotter than ‘true’ velour pads such as those on my HD25-1.

Isolation (6/10): The semi-supraaural nature of the DT235 and low clamping force lead to fairly average isolation for a closed headphone of this size. Like the ATH-M30, the DT235 is adequate for use outside but probably not too useful on a plane.

Sound (7/10): While the styling of the DT235 is easily forgettable, the sound leaves a different impression. On the whole, the DT235s emphasize balance and detail. Compared to the far pricier HD25-1, the bass of the Beyers is neither as hard-hitting nor as extended. The low end is, however, quick, controlled, and still quite impactful. There is a very pleasant fullness to the bass of the DT235s, not unlike that present in the DT770/250. Generally, the low end stays back and the midrange is placed a step forward. On bass-heavy tracks, however, the DT235s really step up and display gobs of low-end muscle – it’s an addictive sort of bass that gets layered under the music but manages to remain integral to the listening experience. There isn’t any significant midrange bleed and mids are smooth and natural. Compared to the lush low end, the midrange can sound just a bit thin, but this is hardly noticeable. Though not quite up there with the best in the category, the DT235 is clear and detailed. Partly as a result of a larger soundstage, the midrange of the DT235 is not nearly as in-your-face as that of the Senns but it’s still very enjoyable and the softer bass presentation helps keep the detail discernible. The Beyers maintain smoothness up into the treble – no harshness or sibilance is present. The treble is a bit bright but is generally very clean and unfatiguing. Top-end extension is very good for a $50 can – the Beyers do roll off earlier than the HD25, but not by much. The overall signature leans slightly towards coolness but stops far short of being called cold as such. The presentation is rather airy for a closed headphone, with a medium-sized stage and solid positioning. As a final note, I will say that the DT235 is not a very efficient headphone, requiring quite a few volume notches from my Sansa Fuze. Most portable players will drive them just fine but the low sensitivity is something to be aware of.

Value (9/10): The DT235 is easily one of the better sub-$100 headphones I have heard. The combination of simple and durable construction, long-term comfort, and truly impressive sound quality make it an excellent choice for those who care little for looks and a whole lot for substance. In the land of similarly-priced portables, the balanced and neutral nature of the DT235 is a welcome relief from the bass-heavy offerings put out by Ultrasone, AKG, JVC, and other manufacturers. In the end I can only wonder why the $55 Beyer is recommended so rarely while the previous model was commonly compared – and often quite favorably – to the still-popular Grado SR60.

Manufacturer Specs:
Frequency Response: 18 – 22,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 95 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 8ft (2.4m); Straight Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: N/A


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

9 Comments

  1. winny on

    Hi Joker,

    Compared to the Superlux HD668B, would you say the Beyerdynamic DT235 is somewhat of a warmer, more neutral sounding headphone? I own the HD668B myself and am looking to get an inexpensive closed-back headphone to compliment the Superlux’s analytical tone. I hear mixed reports about the DT235, so I’m a bit confused as to how these sound and would compare to the Superlux’s. Reading your review, I suppose the DT235’s are also on the “cool” side themselves, but would you say they are warmer (or fuller in the mids) than the Superlux’s? If it makes sense, I’m looking for a neutral headphone with a slightly laidback, fuller tone in contrast to the HD668B’s slightly lean, analytical tone, and it seems that the DT235 would fit the bill. I’d appreciate any of your opinions on this, however!

    Thanks

    • ljokerl on

      It’s definitely less lean and analytical than the HD668B, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it as a compliment to the SuperLux – you’ll probably miss the resolution and clarity of the HD668, which approaches higher-end headphones. When you say warmer and fuller I’m thinking of something like a Sony MDR-V6.

      • winny on

        Thanks for the reply. Hm, I did own the V6 for a while. I thought it was OK, though compared to the Superlux, and balanced armature earphones in particular, the bass just sounded a bit too thumpy and unrefined.

        I suppose I’m just looking for a smooth, detailed and relaxing headphone overall. The closest I’ve heard that sounds like my ideal is the Sony MDR-1R (particularly the mid range tonality). If you don’t mind me asking, would you have any headphones to recommend that sound like this, preferably under $200?

        • ljokerl on

          So basically an HD600 but closed-back and under $200… I haven’t heard anything like that yet, and I do love my HD600 which sounds exactly like what you want.

          Sony ZX700 is in the right direction but also has some similarities to the not-so-good traits of the V6. Sennheiser Momentum is a little bass-biased. B&W P5 is a little expensive and I don’t think it has the sound quality level you’re after. And so on..

          I guess can’t think of anything in non-IEM headphones that fits the bill.

          • winny on

            Ah darn, thanks. Been thinking of getting the HD600 for a while, I suppose I might as well save up for one!

            • ljokerl on

              That would be an end-game headphone for what you’re describing IMO. 6 years later it’s still the full-size can I use most.

  2. Chris on

    Hey ljokerl…….I’m looking to buy a pair of Beyer’s, either the DT440 Premium or the DT770 Pro 32’s. The only Beyers I have experience with are the 235’s. It’s been a long while since I heard them, but I believe they were a little too bright and clinical sounding for me. Any thoughts on what the above two sound like in comparison to the 235’s. Thanks alot.

    • ljokerl on

      I have limited experience with full-size beyers – the only two I’ve tried at length are the DT770/150s and DT880/600s. Between these, I preferred the DT880s but they are definitely a little on the bright side and can be called clinical. The 150-ohm DT770 (consumer) didn’t really impress me due to not having as tight or flat a sound, but I have no clue how the PRO 32 model compares to that one.

      • Chris on

        Thanks alot. I’ll try a little more digging then to see if the “Beyer Sound” tends to be that way.

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