Review: Beyerdynamic XP Series

Beyerdynamic XP series Review

I would like to thank Jaben Singapore for supplying me with these samples, I will try and write as honest a review possible.

All models went through at least 50hrs of burn-in, the sound did tighten up a bit, so don’t judge them straight out of the box.

Gear Used:

iPod Classic 7G (rockboxed) > Beyerdynamic XP series

(amping didn’t provide significant improvement, so I didn’t include my amp here)

Specs:

Frequency Range:           20 – 22000Hz

Impedance:        16Ω

Sensitivity:          98dB

Cable Length:    1.4m

Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:

Packaging is very simple, a white box with a plastic window showing the IEM’s, specifications can be found on the back of the box and thats it. The packaging really is very simple, but very easy to open and nicely laid out inside with the IEM’s in a foam input and the accessories found in a tray below.

A very good selection of accessories are included for the price, you get 5 pairs of tips, single flange tips in SS, S, M, L and a pair of M bi flanges, you get a flight adaptor and also a velvet pouch (a hard clamshell case would have been better) but no complaints here.

Build quality is amazing for the price too, the housing is all metal, the nozzles are different colours for L and R, bLue for L and Red for R. The cable is flat and thick, with a simple black y-split and cable cinch, the jack is L shaped with a stiff rubber strain relief the same goes for the housing. The flat cable does not tangle easily but the strain reliefs are a little stiff, the build quality really is very good for the price.

Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Microphonics:

These are shallow insertion IEM’s which is very good for comfort, the housing is well shaped and sits in the ear nicely but it’s little on the heavy side, once inserted though, they are comfy and you shouldn’t have to re-adjust them too often.

Isolation isn’t great, as they are ported IEM’s and shallow insertion. These are fine for normal use, but not great for noisy public transport.

Driver flex is present, but not too bad, sometimes you have to refit them for them to sound right, but it’s not a big inconvenience.

Microphonics are a bigger problem, the flat cable is great, feels strong and also doesn’t tangle, but its super microphonic, even when walking normally the noise does irritate, using the cable cinch helps but I think there is no way of solving this problem. If you want these to use casually, they will be fine, but if you’re fairly active, then the microphonics will annoy.

Sound:

XP1:

Lows:

Big on the lows, bassheads rejoice, very good thump, with lots of sub-bass rumble. The lows could be tighter, but they were going for a fun sound sig with this model. These are very fun to listen to electronic music or just general bassy music, the lows do affect the mids creating a veil, and also the mids are warmer and slightly recessed.

Mids:

Very warm, slightly veiled and slightly recessed. All in all though I can’t complain, as the mids are still present and still have some alright detail retrieval. The upper mids sound better and cleaner, so female vocals don’t sound too off, with no sibilance to be heard. Acoustic music fairs quite well, but they do have a slightly thick warm sound to them.

Highs:

These have a U shaped signature, the highs don’t fair too badly, they could be better refined with more detail and better extension, but for the price, and for what they are, the highs really do fair well. You can hear every cymbal tap, and crash easily, with pretty good control and tone.

Overall:

The soundstage is narrow, imaging is done well and instrument separation isn’t the best as they are very warm, but for people looking for a non fatiguing listen, these are perfect. The bass levels will satisfy bassheads easily, but not at the cost of the other frequencies, with these sounding very warm, but with good mids and highs too. Bass lovers, these are for you.

XP2:

Lows:

Here the lows are in a better quantity, not over the top, but definitely above average. They bass still kicks hard, but softer and extension is still equally as good, just not in as much quantity as the XP1. The bass will still satisfy most people, and I must say these are still very fun to listen to. The bass is slightly tighter and more precise. They don’t bleed into the mids as much either.

Mids:

Quite well balanced with the rest of the sound, being only slightly behind the lows, better detail and less warm than the XP1. The mids still sound slightly veiled (smoothed over), but details can still be heard. No sibilance can be detected in the upper mids.

Highs:

The highs fair slightly better on these, as they don’t have to compete as hard with the lows. They are still slightly splashy, but they sound pretty good in general. Extension is still not the best, but at this price point I cant complain.

Overall:

Soundstage is the same as XP1, imaging as well, but instrument separation is slightly better, as they don’t sound as warm, so more control over each instrument. These are still warm sounding IEM’s, but with better balance than the XP1 these will appeal to more people, they are the midpoint between balanced and bassy, these fair better over more genres of music. Again a fatigue free enjoyable listening experience.

XP3:

Lows:

Here we have the tight punchy lows, with great control over the mid-bass not becoming boomy, and extension still being great, just not in huge quantity. The bass is quicker and more precise on these. These are not big in the bass department, but the bass is not lacking, it will satisfy most in my opinion, also it no longer bleeds into the mids.

Mids:

Now for the mids, which are slightly more forward in presentation than the other 2 models (but still slightly behind the rest of the spectrum), sounding very natural  and crisp, but still not the most detailed. The mids are no longer warmed up by the lows, which means male vocals fair better and female vocals sound great too. Again no sibilance can be detected.

Highs:

Better detail than the other too, but they can still become splashy. I think the highs are what change the least between each model, the extension and definition are roughly the same, what is better here is the presentation, spacial cues in the highs are more evident.

Overall:

Soundstage is better than the other 2 models, being wider than normal, as these are no longer overly warm, space between instruments and channels is better as well. These are the most balanced of the bunch, but without sounding thin or harsh. They continue to be fatigue free, giving a pleasurable listening experience but with better balance and detail than the other 2 models, also handling nearly every genre very well.

Conclusion:

Well Beyerdynamic come into the lower end with some excellent IEM’s for a very reasonable price, being the big brand they are, I was thinking they would be like Sony and overprice their IEM’s. But it seems not. These provide excellent value for money, with great build quality, and 3 different sound signatures to choose from, you will be sure to find one that suites you needs:

Bass cravers: XP1

Fun but not over the top bass: XP2

Balanced, but non fatiguing: XP3

I am impressed, and think that Beyerdynamic should make these available internationally, not just in Asia.

I hope you enjoyed this review, comments are welcome.

Tracks Used:

Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)

Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)

Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)

Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)

Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)

Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)

Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)

The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)

Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)

The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)

A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)

Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)

Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)

Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)

We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)

Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)

Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)

Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)

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