Field test: Beyerdynamic DT-240 Pro

As a field recordist it is crucial to attentively listen to what you record before and while you record it since there’s quite a difference between what your microphones capture to what you actually hear with your plain ears.
That for we need good headphones to monitor and evaluate what we record.

But what is a good headphone?
Answers to this question can quickly become very emotional and esoteric. And that’s ok because personal taste plays a big role.
Until now I used Sony MDR-7506, Senneheiser HD-25 and Beyerdynamic Custom Street for field recording. I was very happy when Beyerdynamic announced the DT-240 Pro and ordered it directly. Testing it for about two weeks now. It accompanied me while recording on a junk yard, in forests and fields, on the street and indoors.
So let’s have a look at what I think is crucial to pay attention to when choosing a headphone for field recording and how the DT-240 Pro performs:

Accessory, Size & Weight
Yes, size does matter and so does weight when you have to wear the headphone all day on your head or around your neck.
Of course it would be cool to take my DT-1770 Pro out for field recording (and I did) but it’s simply too heavy und bulky for this purpose.
The DT-240 Pro weighs just 195g (without cable).
It ships with a coiled detachable cable, a proprietary threaded 1/4″ inch adapter and a cloth bag.

General Comfort
Over-ear or on-ear or even in-ear? How’s the padding and stiffness of the headband? How’s the size and padding of the ear-pad? For me the only way is over-ear, with nice and soft paddings on the headband and the ear-cups/ear-pads. I just don’t like in-ear and I can’t wear on-ear (e.g. Sennheiser HD-25) because my auricle starts to hurt after about half an hour.
When I first put on the DT-240 Pro it felt like I didn’t. Their low weight and smooth paddings on the headband and the ear-pads with artificial leather. The size of the ear-cups is just right and easily fits over my ears (where the Custom Street were very tight). Also the headband pressure is quite pleasing and lets you work with it for a long time without pain.
Unfortunately it is not foldable as the Custom Street or MDR-7506 but the ear cups can be rotated by 90° to better fit a bag or backpack.

The Sound
Besides the the general sound, the reproduction of the recorders output two more things are very important for a headphone for field recording:
The Impedance and the Exterior Noise Cancellation. So you can fully focus on the sound reproduced by your microphones and recorder.
The DT-240 Pro has an impedance of 34 Ohms that lets you monitor at higher levels even if the headphone preamp of your recorder is not that powerful.
The Exterior Noise Cancellation is – due to it’s fully closed design – very good.
Something that I noticed when I was recording while it was very windy outside is that there can be a quite annoying noise due to wind-fraction on the HP’s enclosure. I’ll to get rid of this by attaching some fur on the outside.
The general sound comes well balanced without any negative resonances or notches. Maybe missing a bit little in the mids. Of course they’re not even close to my DT-1770 when it comes to resolution, detail and pulse accuracy but on the other hand it’s just 99,00 € and they were made for field recording and pod casting.
I wouldn’t trust them enough for doing final mixing or mastering sound effects, music or other productions. But for monitoring while recording and most editing jobs it’s just fine.

The Cable
Compared to the Custom Street and other Beyerdynamics headphones from the DT-series the spiral cable is much thinner and lighter. The length (1,25m / 3m stretched) is perfect for field recording and I – being skeptical in the first place –  like it. And I also appreciate that the cable is detachable from the headphone (mini jack).
That makes it much easier in the field when you want to put your bag to ground and don’t have place for the headphones. I also like this feature for recording extremely loud stuff using the headphone just for ear protection. And of course for easy replacement of a destroyed / worn out cable.
The cable comes with a threaded 1/4″ adapter but unfortunately the thread is proprietary and not compatible with other standard threaded 1/4″ adapters.

Replaceability
The field is not the studio. And even in the studio accidents happen. Even more so when alone, in rough terrain, with lots of unpredictable stuff and always a bit of euphoria.
Barring it’s weight I don’t want a 600€ studio Headphone  to get dirty, damaged or destroyed.
The detachable cable gives a +1 to replaceability. And another +1 for the ear-pads also being replaceable.

Conclusion & Specs:
The Beyerdynamic DT-240 Pro will definitely accompany me on many future recording trips in my main recording bag (Sonosax SX-R4+ + Sound Devices MixPre-D). Especially the  great comfort, detachable cable and the price-performance made it to my current #1 for field recording.

What I liked:
+ Size, Weight & Feel
+ Detachable, compact Cable
+ General Sound
+ Replaceable ear-cups
+ Price

What I didn’t like:
– Proprietary 1/4″ adapter
– Wind-fraction noise
– Not foldable

Manufacturer Beyerdynamic
Design Closed
Impedance: 34 Ohms
Frequency Range 5 Hz – 35000 Hz
Weight 196g (without cable)
 Price  99 € / about 115 USD / about 88 GBP

 

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