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Headphones

Cheap thrills: Beyerdynamic DTX 350 p headphones

Beyerdynamic is on a roll, and its new DTX 350 p model sets a new standard for budget-priced on-ear headphones!

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Beyerdynamic DTX 350 p Beyerdynamic

Beyerdynamic did it again. The company has a sterling reputation for making great-sounding high-end and pro monitor headphones, but lately it's also been rolling out exceptional, very affordable headphones. Beyerdynamic designed and engineered a new model, the DTX 350 p, in Germany, and builds them in China. The DTX 350 p 'phones are just $69, so the mostly plastic construction lacks pizzazz, but they feel reasonably sturdy for a flyweight 4.6-ounce design, and the leatherette earpads are comfy.

With stunning sound quality, the DTX 350 p headphones trumps any for $100 that I can think of. The richly balanced, taut bass and clear midrange are superb. For an on-ear model, stereo imaging is spacious. This closed-back, 32-ohm design features 34mm drivers, but the flat cable lacks an inline mic and phone controls, and the cable isn't user-replaceable. I wish the headband had a wee bit more padding, but the headphones, available in black or white finishes, fold up for compact storage in the supplied faux leather carrying bag.

The DTX 350 p headphones certainly have a lot more bass weight and low-end oomph than my Sony MDR-V6 or MDR 7506 'phones. The two Sonys are brighter, but less clear than the DTX 350 p. The Sonys are good, but I'm enjoying the DTX 350 p with more recordings, maybe because the Sonys are less tolerant of harsh-sounding recordings.

Next, I tried the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x , which sells for more than double the DTX 350 p. The M50x's bass was better-defined and went a bit deeper; the midrange and treble were more transparent, but the DTX 350 p put up a good fight. The two aren't that far apart in sound balance, resolution and imaging. The ATH-M50x is a much larger, over-the-ear design, and more comfortable to wear.

Amazon sells the DTX 350 p headphones for $69, with free shipping; the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is $169; and the Sony MDR-7506 is $84.95.