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Accessories Review of Beyerdynamic Custom Street headphones with adjustable bass switch w/pics!!!

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by twister6, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
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    This is a Review of Beyerdynamic Custom Street headphones with a Custom sound slider. http://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/shop/custom-street-black.html , available on Amazon:

    When it comes to full size headphones, there is not as much flexibility for sound shaping as you have it with IEMs. Besides a cable replacement, if supported, sometime you can try different earpads, if they can be removed and have a common shape/size. But that could actually affect the whole sound signature instead of a more focused sound change typical of IEM tip rolling (replacing different eartips). With on-ear headphones, quite often you don't even have a luxury of earpads replacement and usually at a mercy of a headband clamping force which can give you a better ear seal with a resulting deeper bass.

    To address this problem, two years ago Beyerdynamic released their original full size over-ear Custom One Pro (COP) headphones with a Custom Sound Slider (CSS). Later it was upgraded to COP+ with more customization options, though design remained the same. When I had a chance to test and to review it, I found CSS to be very effective in fine tuning the low end portion of the spectrum without affecting too much upper mids and treble. But despite their fun sound signature, I didn't find it to be as much fun wearing outside due to their large size. COP/COP+ design had a typical over sized DT-style earcups and headband intended more for a studio use rather than walking outside or while taking a public transportation. I'm sure Beyer received a lot of feedback about it, and responded back with a new Custom Street design which is a scaled down on-ear version of their COP/COP+ models. After spending a few weeks with them, here is what I found.

    Unboxing.

    If it wouldn't be for a smaller box, I could have mistaken Street packaging for COP+ because cover image has a very close resemblance to its full size sibling. Even the artwork on custom earcup inserts looked identical. On the flip side of the box you no longer see the "pirate" guy and instead there is a skateboard guy, more appropriate for "street" theme. The box also has a detailed info about Custom Slider, where you notice it has 3 positions instead of 4 like in COP. Also, you will find a detailed technical spec on the side of the packaging, along with close-ups of accessories where I was very pleased to see a carry case.

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    Accessories.

    Custom Street comes with a nice selection of accessories which include a carry case, a removable cable, 8 pairs of double sided earcup faceplate inserts (for a total of 16 different designs), and a comprehensive user manual. The cable has a nice durable build, soft flexible design, with a round rubbery jacket, and universal in-line remote with a single multi-function button and mic. To eliminate the confusion with iPhone remote and volume control, Beyer used only a single universal Play/Pause/Call button which also works as transport skip control with double/triple clicks for both iDevices and Android. It was also a good idea to move remote/mic closer to the earcup to pick up voice better when talking. The cable has 3.5mm connector on both ends, where the side going to earcup is thicker with a basic slide-lock, which means the port opening is wide enough for any replacement cable with slimmer connector housing. The other side, going toward the source, has a connector with a slim collar to accommodate phone cases. Both connector sides have a rubbery housing with a nice grip. For a portable headphone cable this one strikes a perfect balance of being not too thick or too thin. It does have some microphonics, but it wasn't too bad.

    The hard shell case was a very pleasant surprise instead of a typical drawstring pouch. Even though by design Custom Street can fold flat, they also fold inside of the headband to occupy a smaller footprint. The case is moon-shaped and roomy enough to accommodate these headphones when folded in, even with an expanded headband. There was also plenty of room for a cable, though I would have loved to see a small mesh pocket on the side to keep cable organized and maybe to store a few of the earcup faceplates. Other than that, it was a rather nice case with a cool Beyerdynamic logo on top.

    As I mentioned before, replaceable faceplates were first introduced with COP/COP+, and now shrank in size with Custom Street. Since Custom Street overall design is a scaled down version of COP, you will find a similar earcup frame held down by 4 hex screws which you take off to replace a custom insert (hex key is included). The faceplate inserts are laminated cartons, and they are pretty durable. You can certainly use the default aluminum faceplate, or choose from a selection of 16 included designs, or maybe trace the shape/pattern and make your own faceplate. Either way, it's a nice touch to personalize your pair of headphones to give you some Street cred!

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    Custom faceplates.

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    #1 twister6, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  2. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
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    Design.

    Without a doubt, Custom Street takes a lot after its big brother, the original COP/COP+, but it also cleverly scales it down to a smaller more compact version which is more convenient for outside use. Starting with a headband, the first thing you notice it being not exactly round at the top by rather oval shaped, extending the top part of the band to relief the stress which could cause a crack (like it did with my pair of round headband DTX 350p). Custom Street headband shape is more ergonomic, with inner cushioning resting on top of your head, and very comfortable clamping force which contributes to a good passive noise isolation.

    The height adjustment of the headband reveals a stainless steel metal strip, but doesn't provide a precise click adjustment or any notch marks - that you will have to approximate yourself to make it even between L/R sides (those with OCD beware :)). As mentioned before, earcups swivel 90deg one way for a flat storage or to keep them flat resting around your neck, and also swivel a few degrees the other way to provide adjustment for a comfortable fit on your ears. They also fold inside of the headband, revealing a durable steel hinge. The earcup yoke is all steel and in the exact signature shape of COP/COP+ and DT series, just scaled down in size. The L/R side marking is very poor, and you can only find L-letter on the inner side of the hinge on the left side. Considering 100% symmetrical design, this could be a bit of a hassle, especially when cable is removed.

    Earcups are all plastic with a replaceable faceplate insert as I described earlier. Both L/R sides have an independent 3-position Sound slider switch which adjusts a vent opening of the earcup that controls the amount of bass tuning. Since you can adjust each switch separately, you have to be aware of the L/R earcup position to make sure it's the same in order to have a properly balanced sound. A removable cable can be attached to either Left or Right earcups, since both of them have 3.5mm port opening, but a real surprise was that other port could be daisy-chained to drive another pair of headphones. I really like this feature which enables sharing of the sound.

    The last, but not least, are the thick marshmallow soft deep earpads. These have an outer diameter of the actual earcup. They are soft and in theory should be comfortable, but it wasn't the case for me. So many times after my reviews I read comments with people complaining about earpads fitment, but I was never able to relate to that... until now. I have small ears which is always an advantage with full size headphones where they can fit inside of the earpads opening. With on-ears, it's either hit or miss. Unfortunately with Custom Street it was a miss because my ears went right into the earpads opening and didn't feel comfortable after extended listening period. This is truly one of those cases where YMMV, and it will be highly subjective to your ear anatomy, but in my case I had to take little breaks after about half an hour of use.

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    Bass port switch.

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    The fit.

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    Sound analysis.

    With 90+ years of sound heritage, Beyerdynamic doesn't need any special introduction and still a highly regarded company with a sound design geared toward true audiophiles, hardcore audio enthusiasts, and professional sound engineers. But with COP/COP+ and now with Custom Street, Beyer took a step sideways to shift their gears toward a more consumer oriented fun sound sig. With a help of a Custom Sound Slider you are able to control bass by opening and closing extra venting holes in earcup, and it also has a little effect on sound isolation though in a very subtle way with hardly any difference in sound leakage.

    Custom Street headphones have a relatively balanced fun sound with a bit of a mid-forward signature, and btw, in this case by "fun" I don't mean v-shaped. The bass port control (earcup venting) is VERY effective where in Pos-1 you get a neutral bass quantity with a lean lower mids, clear bright upper mids, and bright crisp extended treble. When switched to Pos-2, the magic happens with mid-bass quantity going up with a healthy slam that adds body to the lower mids and overall sound, while upper mids and treble remain the same. Pos-3 increases the quantity of mid-bass and adds more weight to sub-bass, while mids and treble remain the same. I do have to note, the bass is a bit hollow and bouncy, but still has a nice texture and tonality.

    These are not exactly audiophile quality headphones, but they do have a very clear and detailed sound with a soundstage that expands in every direction to reach nearly holographic effect, way above average of other on-ear headphones I have tested in the past. One noticeable drawback is around upper mids where it sounds a little artificial which takes away from natural tone of the vocals, and that is a reason why I consider them to be geared more toward mainstream everyday listening on the go, rather than critical audiophile type of listening. But this drawback is more evident with revealing brighter sources, while with a smartphone or smooth/warm sources it was less apparent.

    Next to DTX 350p

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    My audio gear collection has more IEMs/CIEMs than full size headphones, especially not as many on-ear versions. Still, to provide a better perspective of their sound, here is how Custom Street stacks up against a few other on-ear headphones.

    vs Beyer DTX350p, DTX sounds very similar to Pos-1 setting with bass slightly elevated but not close to Pos-2. Mids/Treble are similar as well, though Street has a little more airiness, and also Street has a much better soundstage expansion. And Street build quality is superior by far.

    vs Noontec Zoro II HD, Zoro sound is smoother and more organic, its mid-bass boost is somewhere between Street Pos-1 and Pos-2 (more toward the later one), sound is not as airy and treble doesn't have as much extension, and soundstage is narrower and more intimate in comparison. Street also has a superior build quality in comparison to ZII.

    vs V-Moda XS (going by memory), XS sound is smoother and warmer, low end is closer to Street Pos-2, mids have more body, treble is tamer and not as extended, soundstage is nowhere near the same expansion level. V-Moda build quality is bar none, though Street is not too shabby. One big difference is that Street offers a better isolation.

    vs COP+ (its over-ear sibling), they both have a nice wide soundstage, COP+ bass goes a little deeper and mids/treble are smoother while Street is brighter and a little more revealing. Street is definitely more portable, while COP+ is smoother and more accurate in tonality.

    Conclusion.

    There is no denial, Custom Sound Slider in COP+ and now in Custom Street is one great idea to spice up a sound signature, and it's not just a gimmick but actually a well designed feature that works in both over-ear and on-ear configs. While I was pleased with full size over-ear COP/COP+ design, lack of portability relative to my perspective was the only drawback stopping me from enjoying it both indoors and outdoors. Now, with Custom Street the design gained a new level of convenience where I can use it comfortable outdoors and when traveling, as well as sharing a sound when daisy-chained with another pair of headphones. I do have to admit that a "synergy" between my ear size and Custom Street earpads donut opening wasn't the best, but it's an isolated case relative to my ears which btw didn't affect a sound quality. Overall, with Custom Street you're getting on-ear headphones with a solid build and a very spacious clear detailed sound, a clever way to change sound signature with a Custom sound slider, a compact design with a nice storage case, and also an easy way to personalize the earcup look to make it stand out from the crowd.
     
    #2 twister6, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  3. Sacro

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    Your review helped me.
    Can you compare it with Sony MDR XB650BT please.
    Thanks
     
  4. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
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    Sorry, don't have that one.
     

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