Beyerdynamic makes loads of equipment for both audiophiles and audio professionals, and some of it comes at a high price. But, the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro headphones find a sweet spot offering professional audio and a high standard in design for a lower price point.
The DT 240 Pro headphones cost $99 (£89, AU$139), making them more affordable than heaps of other studio monitor headphones. This price puts them in close competition with some of Audio-Technica’s cans, like the widely praised ATH-M40X or the wireless ATH-SR5BT, which can be found on sale in the same ballpark as the DT 240 Pro.
They do a good job of presenting a well-managed balance of build quality and sonic performance, and they match that with versatility, as a portable set of cheap headphones useful while on the go or in a studio.
Our first impression of the DT 240 Pro headphones was that they are small. The box they come in is low-profile, and Beyerdynamic manages that by putting small earphones on c-shaped arms (or “yokes”, as Beyerdynamic and some others in the headphone biz call them) that can pivot 90-degrees to lay flat against your chest or the table. The result is a pair of studio monitor headphones that have a bit more portability to offer than a lot of their bigger counterparts.
The small size doesn’t scream cheap, though. The headband and ear pads are covered in a smooth and soft leatherette that’s more than a little satisfying to our fingertips and ears. Notched metal sliders and aluminum yokes offer a clear sense of durability. The headband itself is also reinforced with metal, and though some of the plastic parts creak when flexing the headphones, the whole package feels robust, with a wide range of flexibility.
That robustness is especially important, since these headphones could find themselves in a backpack. We threw them in ours occasionally, and they didn’t get bent out of shape.
The DT 240 Pro’s headband spreads out the minimal weight of the headphones well across the top of our head, and it offers a good balance of clamping force. It’s enough to hold the headphones on while shaking our head after recording a bad guitar solo we know we’re going to delete, but it’s not so much we’re going to get a headache from the pressure.
Comfortable though the headband is, the ear cups sadly didn’t get the memo. The ear pads are super soft, but not very thick. But, worse than that, these over-the-ear headphones show how big some normal ears can get. Ours couldn’t fit entirely in the opening of the ear pads, and that left them scrunched, feeling pained after a while. Smaller ears can fit, but it’s not just people with Dumbo ears that need to heed this note: if you have medium-sized ears and aren’t used to on-ear headphones, these may not be comfortable after extensive use.
Beyond the sizing, the closed design can get a little warm and sweaty. Even though we tested these in a week that saw frost cover the ground and our cars transmission groaning at the cold, our ears could get subtly clammy inside the DT 240 Pro.
The included cable is a nice touch that lends to the versatility of the DT 240 Pro. It’s a 1.5-meter cable with a coil that lets it stretch to 3 meters. One side ends in a 2.5mm plug that can go into either the left- or right-side headphone, leaving it to user preference. The other side ends in a sturdy 3.5mm gold-plated plug that can screw into an included 1/4-inch adapter.
Beyerdynamic shines in performance with the DT 240 Pro. As studio monitor headphones, the sound produced is not very colorful, but that’s exactly as it should be. All the sound comes through clean and incredibly well balanced.
The bass is easy to pick up on without being thumpy, though with a subtle punch at higher volumes. From the bass on up to the high end, all the sounds mesh clearly, with the DT 240 Pros not boosting one register over the other. We could distinguish between the guitar, the baritone guitar, and the bass guitar on The Fearless Flyers’ “Ace of Aces” –and, when Joe Dart is on the bass, you want to be sure your headphones are letting it come through clear.
We toyed around with the DT 240 Pros in a recording environment, and our acoustic guitar came through perfectly crisp from the lowest note to the highest. A whole range of piano notes played together felt balanced, as the headphones maintained the clarity of each note.
The lack of added color may not appeal to some listeners, and we actually felt a little disappointed while listening to songs we’ve grown accustomed to with other headphones. Fortunately, applying a custom EQ in listening software quickly makes up for that. We bumped up the bass below 320Hz and the treble above 6KHz, and that gave back the dirty oomph we love in Of Montreal’s “Dour Percentage.” As studio monitor headphones, this lack of built-in color is exactly what you want, though.
Though the DT 240 Pros are closed headphones, they only offer a small amount of noise isolation. With nothing playing, it’s easy to hear surrounding noises. Fortunately, in spite of their size, these headphones can turn way up. While you won’t always want to dial up to 11 just so you don’t hear outside noises, it can be handy to have the option to drown out otherwise loud and obnoxious sounds with more pleasant jams.
Beyerdynamic has made a highly versatile pair of studio monitor headphones with the DT 420 Pro headset. The removable cord, small size and flat-folding hinges make them more portable than a lot of other monitor headphones. The build quality is also commendable. Plastic doesn’t inspire confidence, but rears its face in fewer places than we’d normally expect from a sub-$100 pair of headphones. We have our gripes with the fit for our ears, but your mileage may vary.
When considering the solid build quality, it’s all the more impressive that Beyerdynamic offers great sound quality as well at the affordable price of the DT 240 Pros. While listening, we really couldn’t find anything to fault these headphones for sound-wise other than simply being studio monitor headphones, which can naturally leave some music feeling a little dry without custom EQ settings.
Though people with big ears may want to seek out something that’s more truly over-ear, these are a great pick for people with smaller or insensitive ears or for professionals needing a portable set of studio monitor headphones as a counterpart to their primary pair.
You also might want to check out our Beyerdynamic DT 770 Studio/Pro (opens in new tab) review.