Headphone companies try their darndest to release products that prove how well they know their audiences. Despite a few whiffs here and there, more often than not, these companies are skilled at it.
Beyerdynamic displays such skill with the Custom One Pro Plus, a fully tweakable set that empowers listeners to get personal with its looks and sound. A $229 (£179, about AU$299) asking price isn't cheap by any means, but the performance and comfort here – along with oodles of customization – justify this fun, fresh take on over-ear headphones.
Beyerdynamic doesn't stray too far from the standard design of over-ear headphones, which look a lot like big ear muffs. It's not a bad thing, especially because there's a lot about the Custom One Pro Plus that can be customized to accommodate to your taste. I'll dive deeper into the tweak-friendly goodies below, but let's start with how these cans look and feel.
Out of the box, these headphones come stocked with a soft, plushy headband covered with a leatherette material. It's secured to a thick metal frame by velcro, which allows for easy removal should you invest in another colored headband on the side. Moving down from the headband, metal makes way for plastic, where Beyerdynamic stamped its logo. It's also the site where, within the plastic, the headphone's size adjustors are housed.
The side arms, like the sturdy headband frame, are composed of metallic black-painted metal and notched on in the inside with little dots, indicating the size you've adjusted to. There are eight dots in total on each side and it's plenty of headspace. My head, one that I consider to be on the large side, fits ever so comfortably in these.
Each sidearm doubles as a housing bracket for the large ear cups, which are bigger than your average computer mouse when you hold them in your hand, but spacious enough to fit your entire ear inside. The pads giving these cups their comfort and sound isolation are coated in the same leatherette material and stuffed with a generous amount of padding. A thick layer of felt covers the speakers inside each cup.
On the outside of the cup, Beyerdynamic added in a few design flourishes that help to set this model aside from not only its own offering, but from the competition as well. On the bottom of each ear cup, there is a bass response switch, giving listeners four different modes to enjoy music with. Covering the outside of the cups are customizable covers that can be swapped out with the included Allen wrench.
So, these are customizable, but what good is the ability if Beyerdynamic didn't include any goodies to swap out of the box? Thankfully, eight sets of card stock covers are included from the get-go. Each cover has two designs, one on the front and another on the back, resulting in a total of 16 different designs. The itch to express yourself should be satisfied. Plus, you can mix and match designs.
If you aren't satisfied with the included covers or the color of the stock headband or ear pads, more options can be purchased. That said, it's not cheap to really go crazy with your favorite color for every replaceable feature. It's an extra $24 (£14.90, about AU$31) for another headband, and close to $20 (£10, about AU$26) for one set of covers, albeit they are premium leatherette or aluminum materials rather than the card stock ones that come with the haul. Customizing these to your unique tastes could add up big time.
Fortunately, customization isn't limited only to the Custom One Pro Plus's physical traits. As I touched on earlier, listeners can also adjust the bass response pumped through the ear cups to their liking. The four-way switch, located on the bottom of each ear cup toggles between bass settings of varying intensity. Position one provides what Beyerdynamic calls "Light Bass". Positions two, three and four provide "Linear", "Vibrant" and "Heavy" bass response respectively.
In its fourth, most intense position, I wasn't as overwhelmed as I'd thought I'd be. The bass was indeed quite palpable, but thankfully, the headphones don't push quality sound to the side just to fulfill the novelty of booming bass. Switched back down to the first position, the bass profile was still present, but the sweet spot, for me, is position three.
Bass aside, the Custom One Pro Plus has plenty else to offer. Over-ear headphones tend to pack a full sound that seems to envelop you, and these are no exception. However, the sound performance as a whole here is a good, noticeable notch above most of the competition. Compared to the Bose QuietComfort 25, the king of sound cancellation, these have a much grander and expansive soundstage. Not to the point of seeming like you're at an arena, but enough to allow listeners to easily enjoy and pick apart the sounds of each instrument. The mids are rich and the highs manage an impressive level of crispness without distortion.
These cans come with a 3.5mm cable stocked with an inline remote. It offers fairly standard, single button functionality, which operates to play and pause music, answer calls and to skip and reverse songs. On its flipside, there's a mic that works perfectly well.
The only features missing here are volume controls, which I find to be a necessity during my morning and evening commute. This might not be a huge exclusion for some, however. Despite the lack of volume controls, this basic functionality allows for universal device support.
The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus are a stellar sounding set of over-ear headphones. Packed with versatile drivers capable of delivering pulpy bass and delicate mids without sacrifice, these cans will envelope you in full, rich sound – literally.
Lacking comprehensive inline controls is a small bummer, especially considering the price. That said, the sheer amount of customization options, both physical and aural, stacked atop an already awesome package make these a smart purchase for listeners who love to tweak their tech.