Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro Headphones Review
The ~$99 studio headphone market is crowded. It’s a brass ring that audio companies have chased for years, hoping to get a piece of the segment that quietly buys thousands of headphones each month. The most prominent contender in the field is the Sony MDR-7506, a headphone that’s lived in gear bags and production studios since its first release decades ago.
In more recent times, the Audio-Technica M40X has made inroads, praised by budget audiophiles for its relatively neutral sound.
Last December, Beyerdynamic released their latest attempt at this style of headphone, and it makes some notable improvements to its forebears while also being a surprisingly capable casual-listening pair.
It splits the difference between Pro and Consumer better than the 7506 does, but I’m not sure it’ll fully satisfy either crowd.
And the fit is…a bit iffy.
The Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro is a $99 closed back monitoring headphone with a detachable cable. It frequently goes on sale, and the cheapest I’ve seen it is about $70. I bought mine on Amazon.
Reading through their official product page, Beyerdynamic’s main angle was to create a competent studio headphone that was much more portable. Their assertion is that more content creation is done on the go, and that studio headphones should adapt to better match that use case.
While I’ve used other studio pairs in my portable bag just fine in the past, there’s no denying that the DT 240 Pro is slightly more convenient thanks to its small size and light build. When I first received its small box, I was a little worried that it was either empty or that it wouldn’t fit my big head at all.
The included cable is coiled, and will stretch from its default length of 1.25 meters to about 3 meters. It’s the thinnest, lightest, and weirdest coiled cable I’ve ever seen, and I’ll talk about it more in features below.
The DT 240 Pro is rather warm. Not so warm and bassy that it’ll prevent you from doing professional tasks like checking for hiss, pops, and other flaws in your recordings…but warmer than any other headphone I’ve ever used for that purpose.
It feels like Beyerdynamic’s engineers took a standard studio audio profile then cranked the bass up to the point right before it muddled the mid-range.
If you’re used to other studio pairs, which often have a bright, almost artificially-detailed character…the difference is startling. The 240’s are quite easy to listen to, while still offering just enough resolution to not feel veiled or muffled.
In spite of its elevated level, the actual character of the bass is somewhat relaxed, like a warm blanket. It’s not quite muddy, but it doesn’t pound hard enough to satisfy bass heads. In that sense, it has a very similar quality to the bass of the DT770 Pro, though it’s a notch or two less impressive than that classic Beyer headphone.
The mid range is smooth without being recessed, and the upper mids are more relaxed than I’d expect for a studio pair, but it still renders vocals with a decently natural timbre. Female vocals don’t have any sense of harshness at all. If you’re a fan of the crisp upper midrange response of Audio-Technica headphones, you’ll find these to sound quite lame and laid back on first listen.
Highs are also relaxed and detailed, without any of the stabby piercing horror that Beyerdynamic is so famous for.
That’s right, just like the Custom One Pro, Beyerdynamic has tuned these far away from the bristling treble that they’re so famous for. Normally that’d be a good thing, but in a studio/monitoring environment, it’s not super great. The high range response of the 770 allows hiss and other artifacts to come through more easily. You can still hear that stuff come through, but it’s not as easy as it would be on other “pro” pairs.
Soundstage and imaging are both great, especially considering how tiny and how closed these are. Beyerdynamic always gets this right, somehow. They probably have some kind of imaging wizard in their engineering department.
If I had to explain these quickly, I’d say that they sound like consumer headphones with a slight dollop of pro slapped on top. On first listen I said “These are like the Skullcandy Grind, but with a nicer sound.” That’s not necessarily meant as an insult. The Grind has a very fun sound profile, and the DT240 feels like it started out that way, then got tuned halfway into being a standard studio headphone.
It’s a weird decision. But not one I hate. They’re a pleasant portable listen, and I’ve successfully done work, listened to music, and gamed on them. They’re more versatile than the average studio pair, in that you can use them for long listening sessions without wanting to take a break due to treble. But that tuning also makes them a bit less suited to pro work than Beyer wants them to be.
When this headphone was first announced, I wanted one immediately. “A closed-back studio Beyer for 99 bucks? Sign me up!”
Then I found out how small they were, and I saw the tiny circular pads.
And so I didn’t order it for almost 10 months.
Beyerdynamic calls these over-ear headphones, and they are…in the same way that the Aurvana Live is over-ear. The pads are just big enough to cover your whole ear, but every part of the pad will touch every part of your ear.
They’re like on-ear headphones but with 50 percent larger pads.
I normally hate on-ear headphones. My cartilage is kind of sensitive, and I wear glasses, and so most on-ear headphones get pinchy on my head after about 20 or 30 minutes.
Miraculously, this doesn’t happen with the DT240 Pro. But it comes right up to that threshold. The entire time I’m wearing them, I’m feeling them on my head like an omnipresent force.
The padding on the ear cups and headband is plush, but not best-in-class, and the ear cups are deep enough that the insides don’t contact my ear…but a good chunk of the pad itself does.
A strong clamp only further enhances the ever-present feeling of the headphones.
These aren’t at all the comfort champs that other Beyerdynamic headphones are. They are precisely adequate enough to not be bad, and they’ll always assert their presence on your head. If you’re an extreme comfort person, you’ll hate it. Not because you’ll be in pain, but because you’ll just keep noticing them all the time.
The Aurvana Live does this style of fit dramatically better. But the DT 240 has one big advantage over those…
Oh hey! These isolate so well!
Monitoring headphones need to feature high isolation, both to help block out the noise of your environment for easier listening, and to keep in the sound you’re listening to so mics don’t pic it up.
The DT240 Pro isolates shockingly well for being such a tiny thing. The pads were clearly designed for isolation above all other things. In the loud coffee shop I test isolation in, these performed right at the peak. With music on, it at times felt like I was using active cancellation.
Suddenly these feel like a studio headphone again.
Their warm signature further enhances their noise-blocking abilities. If you need to edit a podcast in a coffee shop, I can’t think of a better tool. If you’re the sort of person that writes in a loud place like me, these are a great alternative to more expensive active pairs. They won’t work as well against airplane drone as those other pairs do, but wow, these have tremendous isolation.
In spite of their tiny size, low price, and light weight, the DT 240 Pros are built well. Materials are a mix of plastic and metal. Many of the plastic surfaces are coated in different finishes that all feel nice in the hands, and none of the joints are creaky or squeaky at all.
The headband is metal and the rotation hinges don’t rattle at all when you shake them around. Also, the forks that hold the cups in place are thick aluminum. They feel great.
It’s overbuilt for its price in a good way, while still being light enough to carry around.
The design is simple and non-flashy, with basic branding on the cups. and sides of the headband. Visually, they’re less assertive than average studio headphone, so if you’re worried about looking non-weird out in public, these will do the trick.
The detachable cable uses a 2.5mm plug on the headphone end, and is essentially non-proprietary, so finding replacement cables should be quite easy.
Also, and this is super awesome, you can attach the cable to either side of the headphones. This should be a feature on every single pair of headphones with a cable! It’s not that hard to wire them this way, and allows you to adapt the fit better to your environment and gear.
The cable itself is adequate, though aside from the 3.5mm plug for the audio source, it’s a bit thin. The material on the outside is not the usual high-grade glossy coating of other Beyerdynamic cables, but it still holds up okay and doesn’t kink or tangle. The strain relief on the source end is a bit too stiff for my tastes. The top part of the cable nearest the headphones is rather microphonic, but the rest of it doesn’t transfer any noise.
The coil is really high up the cable towards the headphone side in a way I’ve never seen on other coiled cables. This makes it easier to walk around with the coiled cable. It’ll hang down straight and not just weigh you down. But it means that at a desk the coil is less useful and will probably just be across your shirt and lap. So strange!
There’s also a plain black cloth drawstring bag included, and it doesn’t feature any Beyerdynamic branding at all. It’s functional and fine.
If you’re the sort to get into modding, like other headphones in the Beyerdynamic Pro lineup, it’s easy to pop off the ear cushions, unscrew the capsules, and start messing around in there. But that’s not really me.
DO I NEED A SPECIAL AMP?
NO! Oh man no. These are quite sensitive and quite easy to drive.
WHO SHOULD BUY THESE?
Are you a young person that doesn’t have any preconceived notions about studio headphones and you’d perhaps like to produce audio on the go? Then these are perfect for you! Especially if you also sometimes like to listen to things for fun.
Although I think that these are balanced a little warm compared to the other studio standards…this sort of sound does better reflect the way most of your consumers will listen to their audio. It’s like a studio version of a Beats or Bose headphone, and given Beyer’s target audience for this product, that’s probably not an accident.
I used to work in a college video production equipment room. These would have been perfect for the gear setups we had there. They’re light and durable, they’ve got a modern sound profile, the removable cable makes them easier to repair than 7506’s, and they’re still small enough to tuck into tight spaces even though they only fold flat and don’t collapse down.
Beyerdynamic produced a totally fine portable studio headphone that changes just enough in a race to appeal to a modern user that it’ll probably irk those used to older gear.
I like them though.
Their small size means their fit isn’t great…but their pleasant sound, isolation, build, and general versatility go a long way to make up for their ever-present ear hugging.
Lately, the HD 280 Pro and Arctis Pro have been my portable headphones of choice, and now I’ll use these for a while because I only like to carry around headphones that have Pro in the name.