Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE / MMX 101 iE Review

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Reviewed May 2011

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


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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.

11 Comments

  1. Sushim on

    Hi Joker,
    First of all congratulations for great work done about earphones.
    Huge database to go through, i was expecting such a site but never expected.
    So again hats off to your efforts.

    I am using MEE Sport-Fi M3P, Also tried Sennheiser CX 275,
    now planning for BeyerDynamic DTX 102iE.

    I liked Mee’s balanced sound to my taste, didnt like CX 275s as at some point it sounds boomy bass.
    And High’s bit extended, one need to keep tuning EQ for this.

    I have gone though your review, curious to know if BD DTX102iE also sounds like CX 275s,
    or it is way better than CX 275S.
    I like Deep – punchy bass but with balanced Mids and highs.

    Regards
    Sushim

    • ljokerl on

      Unfortunately I am not familiar with the CX275 or the M3P (only the CX300 and M6P).

      The Beyers have a warm, fairly bassy sound. I don’t know exactly what your tolerance is for boomy bass but the DTX earphones have a bit of it. Not as much as the CX300, and not an offensive amount by my standards, so perhaps they’ll be alright. It’s a pretty generic sound signature and I think there are other similarly-priced earphones that do it better (for example the Sony MH1C) but the Beyers are pretty well-rounded and don’t have any major flaws (like the annoying flat cable on the MH1C).

      • Sushim on

        Thanks a lot for answer.
        Best Regards

  2. Rajat bansal on

    Hi I am getting bayerdynamics 102ie for 35$ so is it a steal or I should get sound magic e10 or piston 3 or something else

    • ljokerl on

      Depends on what you want from your earphones. Beyers tend to have a warmer, more full-bodied sound than the other two so if you like that sort of thing they’re a better choice. If you’d rather have something more on the neutral, clear, and balanced side, the E10 or Piston 3 would be better. Piston 3 if you value detail resolution and crispness more, E10 if you’d rather have something more smooth and laid-back.

      • Rajat bansal on

        Thankyou I listen to edm mainly so beyer would be better

    • Max on

      It’s unfortunate that you didn’t have a chance to review new IEM flagship from beyerdynamic, dx 160ie. Provided you hold dt1350 in high regards from beyer, it would be interesting to know if they improved on dtx 101 and dx 120ie with dx 160ie. Also, very interested in your opinion on dt1350, any IEMs that sound just as good with similar signature?

      • ljokerl on

        The DT1350 sound sig is a bit nondescript… pretty neutral with generally smooth treble and what I thought was slightly dark tone. That kind of response will sound different on an IEM because the drivers on a headphone move more air. I guess something like a Westone W2/W20 would be a decent match, but I’d personally try to compensate for the lost bass impact with something that has a more impactful sound. Maybe the Sony XBA-H3?

  3. Jmop on

    Which has better treble presence these or the EPH-100?

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