Details: Mid-range model from Beyer’s recently-refreshed IEM line
MSRP: $99 (manufacturer’s page); $125 for MMX 101 iE with mic & 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $84 from amazon.com for DTX 101 iE; $100 for MMX 101 iE; Note: an updated MMX 102 iE model has since been released
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 12Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 10-23k Hz | Cable: 3.9’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (4/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), cable clip, VOIP/Skype adapter, and zippered soft carrying case
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The housings of the DTX 101 are slightly smaller in size than those of the DTX 71 and boast a metal outer shell. Strain reliefs are fully integrated and the rubbery cable is sturdy and fairly flexible. The 3.5mm L-plug and y-split are both very well-relieved
Isolation (3.5/5) – Good for a straight-barrel dynamic
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Bothersome when worn cable-down; nearly nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – The DTX 101 is slightly heavier than the DTX 71 but the housings are slimmer. Like the lower-end model, it doesn’t require particularly deep insertion to sound its best and remains quite comfortable even for lengthy listening sessions as a result
Sound (7.4/10) – If the low end of the DTX 71 is merely ‘emphasized’ compared to a balanced in-ear such as the RE-ZERO, the DTX 101 can definitely be characterized as a bass-heavy earphone. The bass isn’t quite as authoritative as that of the Fischer Audio Eterna or a well-sealed Nuforce NE-700X but it is at the very least on-par with the Monster Turbine and Thinksound TS02 and can definitely be excessive for my taste. The low end of the DTX 101 is deep and powerful, providing impressive sub-bass presence. It is at least as controlled as that of the DTX 71 but is disadvantaged slightly by the relatively greater bass emphasis of the higher-end model. Next to more analytical presence the bass does sound a touch boomy, as expected, but for the quantity of bass to be contained, the DTX 101 performs quite well.
The midrange is warmed up by the emphasized low end and comes off slightly more colored than that of the DTX 71. It is also more recessed relative to the low end, though the mids of the Fischer Audio Eterna are more recessed still. The clarity of the Eterna wins out by a hair while detail levels are quite evenly matched between the two. The earphone remains smooth moving into the lower treble. The treble itself is a bit more extended compared to that of the lower-end model and the entire sound signature is a touch cleaner and more airy as a result. The difference is very small, however, and doesn’t affect the tone of the earphone – the greater bass presence ensures that the DTX 101 sounds a bit darker than the DTX 71.
The presentation of the earphones is similar to that of the DTX 71 with a slightly larger soundstage side and a marginally better layering. Due to improved treble extension, the DTX 101 sounds a bit more open than the 71 but again the difference is small. Darker tone aside, the DTX can also compete in timbre with some of the better dynamics in the price range. Worth noting is the low impedance of the DTX 101 – like the DTX 71, the higher end model was obviously designed with portable devices in mind and an impedance adapter does help with the severe impedance mismatch when plugging either earphone into a computer or full-size amp.
Value (9/10) – Better than any press release or marketing material, the design of the DTX 101 iE shows that Beyerdynamic has taken their new in-ear line very seriously. The engineers did their homework regarding what works and what doesn’t creating an earphone that – save for some cable noise when worn cable-down – provides excellent real-world usability. Though no fancy materials or innovative cabling solutions are used in its construction, the DTX 101, like the similarly-priced Etymotic MC5, should be able to withstand considerable abuse. Sonically, the DTX 101 is not a large step up from the cheaper DTX 71 model, but it is the little differences that help the 101 remain a competent performer despite the bass-biased balance. Personally, I prefer the balance of the DTX 71, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the DTX 101 while out and about.
Pros: Very well-built; good overall sound quality with heavy bass; skype adapter included
Cons: Mesh carrying pouch is underwhelming; cable noise can be annoying with cable-down fitment; not as balanced as DTX 71 iE