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Beyerdynamic T1 Black Ed.(v2) or Focal Elex?

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#1
Looking to expand my headphones, someone is selling me a Beyerdynamic T1 v2 Black edition for around $500. I was originally looking at the Focal Elex for $700(including shipping).

Now obviously I can't demo the Focal Elex, while I can demo the T1.2 on Saturday this week. I was wondering, to those who owns/ed both or listened to both, what are your thoughts between the two and you personal preference over which?

I read the T1.2 can be bright but amazing detail and imaging similar to the HD800, while the Elex is more dynamic and fun like a supercharged HD650. I've heard what an HD800 and HD650 sounds like.

Or should I just get something else? Looking at a price range of $500 to $800. I can probably extend to a $1000, although someone is selling a Focal Clear for $1200. On that note, how true is the Focal Elear + Clear pads = Elex?
 

Count Arthur

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#3
From your list, I've only heard two headphones, the HD650 and the Focal Clear.

I've owned the HD650s for years and I've been very happy with them but more recently started wondering about alternatives. However, I was always put off by reviews of some headphones, especially if they mentioned a "hot" top end, something I really don't like, or things like "fatiguing after a while".

It was Tyll Hertsens' glowing review over at Inner Fidelity that got me interested in the Focal Clear: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/focal-clear-over-ear-open-headphones, especially where he mentions:

For the first time I can unreservedly recommend a $1000+ headphone. If you've cautiously made the headphone enthusiast approved treck from a Koss Porta Pro to the Sennheiser HD 600/650, and have found your carefully protected wallet stuck there without a sure fire step up, now you have it.

It's difficult for me to try before I buy where I live, so I bought a used pair, thinking I could get most of my money back if I really didn't like them and sold them on again. However, I'm really happy with them, they are kind of exctly what I wanted, like the HD650, but "MORE". If you like the HD650, I don't think you'd be dissapointed.
 

stevenswall

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#4
^x2 on the Focal Clear. I like them better than the Utopia which had some hard treble I didn't like, and better than the comb filtered Sony MDR Z1R. Can't say much on the Clear vs T1, as I wasn't able to hear them both during the same convention like the others.
 
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#5
I'm using a DT 1990 Pro with Sonarworks (analytical pads). It's amazing. Without the EQ, I'd say it is too bright and a little lean in the bass. The driver is excellent however (I have an HD600 and ER4XR to compare). Sonarworks tunes the FR perfectly to my ear so I doubt the Elex would be any better in any category over the 1990 once the FR is corrected.
 
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thomasjast

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#6
How's the driver matching on the Focals, generally? I get nervous about that sort of that. If I knew it was good, I'd totally be up for an Elex at least.
 

Fluffy

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#7
A couple years back I auditioned both the T1 and the Clear in a store. I since bought the Clear and I think it's the best headphone ever (apart from Utopia, but the price is prohibitive). So while I can describe the Clear in detail, my memory of the T1 is really foggy.

Overall, I remember them both being probably the best two headphones I heard that day (there were also he-1000, hd800, Audeze, stax, etc), but the Clear has something more… more ethereal, wider, more exciting. Can't really point to it, and it's pretty subjective anyway. It also had more bass extension than the T1 as far as I remember (measurements do agree with me on this). I don't think, though, they are more "precise" than other headphones in the price range. Putting them against any other planar headphone reveal that they are a bit less defined, so to speak. But what they lack in definition they make up with dynamics and liveliness – I put them on when I want to get excited and energetic with the music.

I haven't heard the Elex, but I have done pad swapping tests at Canjam (not optimal, I know). I had the Clear, Elear and Utopia, and I swapped between all of these pads to see what effect do they make. Looking at the frequency response graphs at massdrop, the Elex looks pretty similar to the Clear, and I heard that these are the same drivers. Which would make sense, because they are much better than the Elear. I don't think you can reach the Clear sound with the Elear drivers even with the Clear pads. The Elear is just darker and veiled in comparison.

I want to stress that all of this was my subjective thoughts on the matter, but there is a major technical factor that should be considered – neither of the focal headphones should be powered by a high output impedance amplifier. Their driver responds extremely badly to high output impedance and makes very loose and muddy bass (this had been measured and confirmed both objectively and subjectively). So if you are into tube amps of other high Z amps, the T1 should be much less sensitive to that.
 

Fluffy

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#8
How's the driver matching on the Focals, generally? I get nervous about that sort of that. If I knew it was good, I'd totally be up for an Elex at least.
In all measurements I've seen and units I've listened to, it's superb. Though, because the Elex is a drop product, I'm more suspicious of the QC there.
 

Spocko

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#10
I went with the DT-1990 PRO. Subtle differences to the T1 2nd. Not better or worse, just a little different. And I just paid 370€. And it looks better. :)
I too have the DT1990Pro, I love it. The strength is in the soundstage and high frequency detail, both of which no headphones under $1,000 do well (this is a Sennheiser weakness), and of course comfort. I wear these for 2 - 3 hours during mixing sessions when I'm focused on accuracy, and then for just music listening I don't have to change headphones at all. Bad recordings are easily addressed with EQ function on the RME ADI2 DAC.
 

thewas_

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#11
I'm using a DT 1990 Pro with Sonarworks (analytical pads). It's amazing. Without the EQ, I'd say it is too bright and a little lean in the bass. The driver is excellent however (I have an HD600 and ER4XR to compare). Sonarworks tunes the FR perfectly to my ear so I doubt the Elex would be any better in any category over the 1990 once the FR is corrected.
A friend of mine has both the DT 1990 and Clear and Sonarworks, personally I liked his Clear without any EQ more than the Beyer with Sonarworks, Elex is supposed to be very similar to the Clear.
 
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#12
A friend of mine has both the DT 1990 and Clear and Sonarworks, personally I likd his Clear without any EQ more than the Beyer with Sonarworks, Elex ist supposed to be very similar to the Clear.
What was it you liked more? Looks like the Clear is slightly brighter in the upper treble than the Sonarworks reference. That part of the FR can be boosted a bit with hearing loss compensation.
 

thewas_

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#13
Its total tonal character, its slight 1,5 kHz boost reminds me of the good old Stax Lambdas and the following 2,5 kHz dip takes away too much presence, hard to describe, it was "tonal match" to my ear geometry from the first tone, maybe also related to my individual HRTFs.
 
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#14
I have both the T1.2 and 1990, and prefer the T1.

But you should be able to look at some of the frequency response plots and get an idea of how the two compare in a relative sense. Did you like the T1 sound? Did you find it harsh?
 
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#15
I have both the T1.2 and 1990, and prefer the T1.

But you should be able to look at some of the frequency response plots and get an idea of how the two compare in a relative sense. Did you like the T1 sound? Did you find it harsh?
I do not remember it to be harsh.
 
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