Studio-friendly headphones are usually pretty expensive. For $99, the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro are a refreshingly affordable circumaural (over-the-ear) pair for musicians, podcasters, filmmakers, and anyone else who wants to monitor with accuracy. A lightweight frame makes them useful on the go, and a detachable cable adds to the value. On top of this, the headphones deliver accurate bass depth and solid clarity in the highs. So for the first time in a while, we can add a new Editors' Choice to the budget-friendly studio headphones realm.Design
Pro audio headphones often skip stylish embellishments in favor of comfort and performance, but Beyerdynamic manages a spare, cool look with the matte black DT 240 Pro. The circumaural earcups, which are plastic without looking cheap, house dynamic drivers and do a solid job of tamping down ambient noise as well as leaking very little audio, making them ideal for tracking. Their outer panels are emblazoned with the DT 240 Pro name, while the Beyerdynamic logo appears on the plastic ends to the headband.
The earpads and headband are generously padded and covered in faux leather. They feel great and will continue to do so over long listening periods—a must for studio-oriented headphones. The included audio cable can be connected to either earpiece, and the earcups themselves can easily flip away from the ear as they often do on DJ headphones.
The headphones ship with one removable cable—a heavy-duty, half-coiled wire with no inline remote. We don't view this as a negative, since if you're recording with the DT 240 Pro, an inline remote will be of little use, and the price is low enough that we don't expect a second cable option. The included cable is ideal for studio and recording applications—its partially coiled 49-inch design can extend up to roughly 10 feet. It terminates in a 3.5mm connection and ships with a quarter-inch adapter. The only other included accessory is a black drawstring protective bag.Performance
We tested the DT 240 Pro using an Apogee Symphony I/O as our sound source, as well as an iPhone 6s. With both sound sources, the headphones deliver a solid audio experience. On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," you get plenty of thumping bass response, but it's nothing compared with headphones that deliberately boost bass dramatically. The bass response here is accurate—this track happens to pump out the sub-bass quite a bit, and the headphone's drivers reflect that, but it never sounds over the top, nor does the balance with the highs fall apart. Also, at top, unwise listening levels, the drivers don't distort, which isn't always the case with $100 headphones on this challenging track.
Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track with far less deep bass presence in the mix, gives us a better sense of the DT 240 Pro's overall sound signature. The drums on this track sound full and round, but not boosted beyond their natural levels. Callahan's baritone vocals get an ideal blend of low-mid richness and high-mid treble edge, and the guitar strums and higher register percussive hits also benefit from a strong high-mid and high frequency presence in the DT 240 Pro's delivery. This is a balanced, accurate sound signature—it can reproduce deep lows when they're in the mix, but it doesn't invent them.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the kick drum loop receives the ideal amount of high-mid presence to accentuate its attack, punching through the various layers of the mix. The sub-bass synth hits are delivered with laudable presence. On heavily bass-boosted pairs, these synth hits can often sound overly thunderous and do battle with the vocals. Through the DT 240 Pro, the vocal performances are delivered with excellent high frequency clarity and never sound threatened by the powerful low frequency content. Perhaps there's a smidge of added sibilance in there, but it's not enough to make things sound weirdly sculpted or overly bright. Again, this is a pretty accurate frequency response, especially for headphones in this price range.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound excellent through the DT 240 Pro. There's perhaps the slightest bit of low frequency boosting, bringing out the lower register instrumentation ever so slightly. But it's the higher register brass, strings, and vocals that own the spotlight, and they're delivered with clarity and detail.Conclusions
For quite a long while, our favorite affordable studio-friendly over-ear headphones have been the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. They remain an excellent option, but lack the detachable cable provided by the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro. We're also fans of the Sennheiser HD6 Mix, and consumer headphones that might as well be studio pairs, like the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro and Sony MDR-1A, but the prices on these models vary quite a bit. For a sub-$100 pro audio option, the DT 240 Pro deliver accurate, clear audio with solid bass depth in a comfortable design, earning our Editors' Choice award for budget-friendly professional headphones.Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro
Bottom Line: The studio-friendly Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro headphones deliver accurate, crisp audio for a refreshingly affordable price.
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