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Headphones

Beyerdynamic’s $99 headphone is a sweet match for pros and consumers alike

It’s a full-size design, ruggedly constructed, and does a good job isolating the wearer from external noise.

Beyerdynamic

I've long been an enthusiastic fan of Beyerdynamic's budget headphones. Take a gander at the DT 240 PRO, it has a truly natural midrange tonal balance, so I felt right at home with the sound. Price runs a very reasonable $99 in the US, £108 in the UK, and AU$125 in Australia.

While the DT 240 PRO is mostly made of plastic it still manages to feel ruggedly built. It is a pro model after all, designed for recording and sound engineers, but there's no reason why consumers won't find a lot to like about the DT 240 PRO. The matte black finish is attractive, and while the round ear cups and ear pads aren't big enough to qualify the DT 240 PRO as an over-the-ear design, the pads are bigger than those you'd find with on-ear 'phones. In any case  the DT 240 is pretty darn comfy and does a good job hushing external noise.

Beyerdynamic's specifications are scanty, but this much I know for sure, impedance is rated at 34 ohms, and the user-replaceable coiled headphone cable stretches out to 9.8 feet (3 meters), and it's fitted with a 3.5mm plug and you get a 6.3mm adaptor plug. The DT 240 PRO weighs just 6.9 ounces (196 grams), that's unusually light for a full-size headphone. The only accessory is a soft carry bag. The warranty runs to two years, double the length of coverage of most headphones.

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Beyerdynamic

Listening sessions made it obvious from the get-go that the DT 240 PRO is a nuanced performer. The jazzy "Twin Peaks" soundtrack from the original series, with its ominous synths and twangy guitars had oodles of detail. Stereo imaging was broad and open, especially so for a closed-back design. Linton Kwesi Johnson's "LKJ in Dub" reggae beats went deep and they were very well defined. Bass is full, but not overdone.

Next I pitted the DT 240 PRO against the Koss Pro4S over-the-ear headphones ($150). It's been a while since I played the Pro4S, and I did find its larger ear pads were more comfortable than the DT 240 PRO's. Still, the Pro4S' hinged and folding headband felt more fragile than the non-hinged DT 240 PRO. As for the sound the DT 240 PRO was more immediate and transparent with hard rockers Shellac's "Excellent Italian Greyhound" album. This music's visceral power shined over the DT 240 PRO, the drums, bass, and electric guitar's raw power was diminished over the Pro4S. It's a nice headphone, but I missed the DT 240 PRO's edge with this music. Treble "air" was excellent, without ever sounding overly bright or harsh.

With acoustic jazz the Pro4S' sound was redeemed, I liked the way it reproduced Duke Ellington's piano's grand scale, the DT 240 PRO was less weighty, but Ellington's dynamic shadings on the piano's keys were easier to follow over the DT 240 PRO. I felt like I was hearing a live piano over the DT 240 PRO.

Beyerdynamic's DT 240 PRO has a lot going for it, great sound, rugged construction, and an attractive price. I can't think of another headphone that comes close for the money.