Beyerdynamic Amiron Home headphones

Beyerdynamic are one of the top names in high-end audio and boast a rich heritage of professional and consumer grade products. I have personally owned a few of their products highlighted by the DT1350 portable headphones and flagship T1 headphones. I loved both products, but haven’t owned a beyerdynamic product for a number of years now so I was very interested to try out the Amiron Home headphones from beyerdynamic when offered the chance by Syntec, the Australian distributors for beyerdynamic. Thank you to Wayne & Guy from Syntec for making this review possible!

I also have here at the moment the beyerdynamic Impacto DAC which is an inline DAC / amp for high-end beyerdynamic headphones. I’ll review the two separately, but be sure to jump over and check out the Impacto review as well.

Overview

The Amiron Home is designed as a consumer-grade, high-end headphone in the same vein as the T1 and T5p headphones meaning that it uses the incredibly powerful Tesla magnet technology to create a highly responsive driver setup. I personally loved the results in the T1, but it had its imperfections with lots of noise (based on measurements taken over at Innerfidelity). The Amirons are a much more modern design though so I’m expecting improvements over the already excellent T1s.

Specifications

  • Driver:  dynamic
  • Frequency response:  5 – 40,000 Hz
  • Impedance:  250 ohms
  • Sensitivity:  102 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)
  • Cable:  3 m, dual entry with 3.5 mm jack (plus screw-on 6.35 mm adapter)
  • Weight:  340 g

The Amirons continue the trend of high-end beyerdynamic headphones sporting high impedance voice coils and that’s both good and bad. It’s good for the sound quality if you’ve got a decent amplifier, but not so good if you’re looking to drive the headphones from a portable device, particularly a phone. Sensitivity is quite high for a full-sized headphone so that should offset some of the challenge of the 250 ohm load, but we’ll see…

Design & Accessories

Accessories

When you unpack the Amirons you’re presented with a simple, but perfect selection of accessories including a hard carry case for the headphones and the detachable cable with a screw-on 3.5 to 6.35mm adapter. The hard case is just big enough to fit the headphones with no excess bulk while maintaining an easy pack-up that doesn’t require a degree in spatial engineering to work out how to align everything to fit.

The cable supplied with the Amirons is supple, soft and long! I had forgotten what it’s like to have such a long cable on a pair of headphones and while I like it from some perspectives (I can move around my office without having to take off my headphones), it’s length makes tangling more likely and it can get under your feet / chair which isn’t ideal. I certainly wouldn’t avoid the Amirons because of the cable length, but it’s worth being forewarned. The good news is that the dual entry plugs used on the headphones themselves are non-proprietary so it should be extremely easy to get an aftermarket cable to adjust the ergonomics of the cable if you want to.

Design & Comfort

The Amirons are beautiful in an understated way. No-one’s going to see them and say, “Wow! What headphones are those??” but they are very tasteful and classy (in my opinion). The body of the Amiron is a high quality plastic so they lack the truly high-end feel of their siblings, the T1 or T5p, but it’s absolutely nothing I would complain about. The headband and arms are directly borrowed from the high-end Tesla models which means they are great – metal, high quality plastic and a nice, plush suede and velour-style headband. I still find some discomfort after very long sessions, but my bald head means that very few headphones are all-day-wearers for me so I’d easily rate the Amiron in the “just below perfect” tier of headphones with the T1, HD800, etc.

One thing I really like about the Amiron design is the grill over the outside of the cups. The frame of the grille is all metal with a brushed finish that is equal parts luxurious and industrial – I like it. To further embellish the grill, beyerdynamic have added a gorgeous woven finish in silver and charcoal that makes for a nice textural and visual touch.

On the other side of the cups you’ll find plush earpads covered in a super-soft velour-type material that provides outstanding comfort and nice tactile feel. The headphones can get a little bit warm in hot humid weather, but so do most headphones that create a decent seal around your ears.

Cable Stuff

I touched on the cable earlier, but let’s circle back around from a technical perspective. Beyerdynamic’s decision to have the Amirons use a detachable, dual-entry cable is simply wonderful! That’s because you can either modify the existing cable or buy a genuine or aftermarket one to get the most out of a balanced amplifier. My experience with the T1s would suggest that there isn’t a massive need for balanced driving of the Amirons, but it never hurts. The fact that beyerdynamic used a standard 3.5mm TRS plug to connect to each earpiece is worthy of even more praise because it removes the costs of proprietary plug designs (yes, I’m looking at you, Sennheiser!). Not just any off-the-shelf 3.5mm plug will fit the cut-out on the Amiron earpieces, but I can only assume that 3.5mm connectors are cheaper to make due to the extensive tooling that already exists for this ubiquitous plug type.

Power Requirements

A 250 ohm load is going to challenge some devices so if you’re looking at the Amirons be aware that you will want to drive them with a dedicated amp, high quality music player, or an all-in-one device like an AudioQuest DragonFly, Meridian Explorer or beyerdynamic’s own Impacto if you want to hear them at their best. Sure, you can get them loud enough straight out of a mobile phone, but you’ll be close to full volume and the quality is going to suffer greatly compared to driving them with a high quality source.

Sound Quality

If you were to take someone who’s intimately familiar with beyerdynamic’s T1 headphone and give them a blind audition of the Amiron, I expect they’d think it was another T1 – perhaps slightly modified or with an EQ tweak at the source. That’s a good thing. The T1 is a fantastic headphone and so is the Amiron if you enjoy the beyerdynamic sound. By that I mean a sound that is largely neutral and transparent with good bass and musicality,  but a definite lean towards neutrality rather than warmth. Gone is the old treble spike that the original T1 was known for and that’s fine by me. In beyerdynamic’s own literature about the Amiron they reference the optimisations made to the Tesla technology to improve its high frequency problems from the past and it shows, but I’ll discuss that more in the treble breakdown. Let’s pull apart the sound…

Bass

The Amiron Home offers very good bass extension, something that I seem to remember the original T1 being very good at, but to me it lacks some bass weight. There’s no doubt that the bass goes all the way down, but to me it lacks just a touch of rumble when it’s called for. The bass that is present is tidy and tight – definitely a feature of the Tesla technology so the quality is excellent, but the quantity is just a tiny bit lacking. Listening to a track like “Here” by Visual Audio Sensory Theater the sense of menace is not as pronounced as I’d like because there’s no background rumble from the bass. The sound is tight and completely articulated, but the soul of the track is lacking a little. I’d say the bass from the Amiron reminds me quite a lot of the HD800S, the slightly bassier version of Sennheiser’s flagship model and a headphone that is in no way know for its bass although the Amiron is probably slightly better in this department. Switching tunes to something a bit lighter, “Stay (Wasting Time)” by Dave Matthews Band brings more of the same – beautifully articulated sound that could do with just a tiny bit more richness in the bass. If you’ve read a few of my reviews you’ll know that I like a headphone with good bass so keep that in mind, but the bass riffs in the introduction of “Stay” just don’t have the presence and weight that they need. The resulting sound is a highly accurate facsimile rather than an experience approaching real life which is what I always look for.

I played around with some different sources to examine this further and I’m pleased to report that the Amirons respond extremely well to different sources. For example, my portable source, the LG V30+ with its dedicated HiFi DAC offers a slightly warm and wonderfully musical tonality that blends beautifully with the Amirons and really opened my eyes (ears?) to what they’re capable of. They don’t become bass monsters (without EQ adjustments), but they can get that extra touch of soul given the right source. Surprisingly my desktop setup is very musical (Schiit Gumby, Bottlehead Mainline), but doesn’t quite get the best out of the Amirons compared to the Impacto DAC or the LG V30+.

Mids

One of the trade-offs with bass levels in headphones is the impact it can have on mid-range quality and beyerdynamic’s decision to stay slightly lean on the bass allows for a mid-range that is slightly prominent in the mix (in a good way), highly transparent and very enjoyable. By now the music has switched over to some Cat Empire and the vocals, keyboards and percussion are all really nicely defined. The slightly lean bass carries into the lower mids which means the sound is a touch dry, but that adds to the sense of clarity and precision. A track change to “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin confirms the dryness through the mids and Robert Plant’s voice sounds distinctly reedy. I’m starting to feel like the upper mids are ever so slightly too forward compared to the rest of the signature – not so much that it’s fatiguing, but just enough that it’s not as natural as I would like. Testing a female vocal (KT Tunstall) confirms the trend. Her voice is beautifully rendered from a technical perspective with plenty of texture and detail, but it’s lacking some weight and soul. Once again, source changes to a slightly warmer source can rapidly remedy this and results in a gorgeous, but neutral-sounding headphone.

Treble

The treble from the Amirons is testament to the fact that beyerdynamic have really worked on the Tesla technology and its previous weaknesses. The treble is just magic for those who enjoy the beyerdynamic style of treble from the T1 / T5p (but without any nasty spikes). The treble is crisp, detailed and beautifully extended. To my ears (which are treble-sensitive) it never tends towards harshness or sibilance, but maintains consistent clarity and definition. There’s probably a touch more treble energy than I care for in comparison to the mids and treble, but that’s purely a matter of personal preference and regular readers will know that I favour warmer headphones. For those who prefer a neutral sounding headphone with great treble, the Amiron is a great option!

Imaging and Soundstage

The beyerdynamic T1 had one of my all-time favourite soundstages – not as large as the Sennheiser HD800, but more accurate in placement of individual sounds. Well, the Amiron continues some of that trend and produces a nice, spacious soundstage (my NightHawks initially sound a bit crowded when switching between the two) and imaging is also quite strong. I’m not sure if it’s quite on par with the T1s, but my memories are likely tinged with a heavy dose of nostalgia so don’t trust my impressions in that regard. Overall, I find the Amiron to present a really pleasing image and soundstage without being amazed by it. I think the balance of treble compared to mids and bass results in a bit too much emphasis on treble-oriented sounds in the image – vocals and percussion and it makes these elements step forward of the rest of the music. It’s not a bad thing per se and is again a matter of personal taste, but I like to hear the lower-register instruments equally well placed in the soundstage and I find that more of an effort with the Amirons. The experience of imaging from the Amirons is a bit like there’s a screen between the front and back of the music that makes it hard to really “see” what’s going on in the background. With simple instrumentation this isn’t a problem at all, but I noticed on the busier arrangement of Sting’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying” that there were definite layers to the soundstage with the front layer being well defined and the back layer feeling a little obscured.

Conclusions

At their $800 “street price” (here in Australia), the Amirons bring a large dose of the Tesla magic to a full-size, open earphone that’s beautifully designed and comfortable. I feel like they don’t quite reach the heights of the T1 or T5p, but they aren’t really meant to or they’d cost the same as these $1400 models. Instead, the Amirons fit the image on the packaging perfectly where they are shown atop the head of a person relaxing in a comfortable chair and enjoying their favourite tunes. This is one of those times that I believe the marketing perfectly captures the reality of the product. The Amirons are absolutely that headphone – the headphone you hookup to a nice warm / musical amp in order to kick back, relax and enjoy your favourite music. They’re probably not the headphone you’d choose to dissect the technicalities of the music or the equipment, but are perfectly suited to the enjoyment of music if you prefer a more neutral sound. Lovers of warm or bass-oriented headphones will probably want to look elsewhere, but will absolutely still be able to appreciate and enjoy what the Amiron offers – they’ve struck a great balance between musical enjoyment and neutrality.

Personally, I think the Amiron’s are a fantastic headphone and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a resolving and largely neutral, but relaxing listening experience. If that’s you and you’re thinking about buying the Amiron’s, please consider using the following link to help support this blog – it won’t cost you a cent and really helps me to keep providing new reviews and information. 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the upcoming Impacto review – it pairs beautifully with the Amiron Home. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get updated when the review drops.

Lachlan Fennen Written by:

Facilitator, training design consultant, blogger / writer and amateur photographer

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