Buckle in, this is going to be a long one.
The prospect of choosing a frequency response that is right for you can be tough, but it's always good to have options. For owners of the Custom One Pros, getting to choose your frequency response on the fly is an enormous check in the "pro" column. Don't worry, these graphs are going to change to something a bit easier to read in the future.
This is the first option available to you that will sound like it doesn't have much bass at all. That's okay really, and well-suited for listening to radio shows and podcasts. For whatever reason, the response peaks rather dramatically at 200Hz, but overall this is an acceptable response, with peaks in the high harmonics typical of consumer headphones, but a dip in the 4-6kHz range that will make some harmonics and cymbal splashes sound about half as loud as they would in a room with you.
Users looking for a more flat response will probably gravitate towards this one, as it keeps a somewhat even response across the range of audible frequencies. There are peaks at 200Hz and 9kHz, but not as pronounced as they are in the first setting. Additionally, there is a minor underemphasis in the 4-6kHz range that's about 7 or 8dB, which is also less prominent than it is in the first position. Bass response is a tad underemphasized in relation to the rest of the response, however.
Another flat-ish response, this position maintains the lower notes a bit better than the second slider position, though it has some tracking issues that are a bit perplexing. In the low end, the average response is slightly emphasized in comparison to mid tones, but the tracking makes the left channel about 5dB louder than the right channel in most places. You may not notice it, but it's there.
The bassiest of the four settings, this thing pumps up low-end sound to a heavy emphasis, but keeps the mids flat until the high end peak that is present in every setting. This is great for people who love rock music or just really love bass, as these headphones manage to bump up the lower frequencies without doing the same for distortion.
While distortion doesn't really register all that much no matter what position you have your sliders, for the sake of completeness we've included every reading. None of these measures are audible, and they rank among some of our lowest ever recorded.
New to our battery of tests is Perceptual Harmonic Distortion—because most headphones have some level of distortion no matter how good they are, it's probably useful to see what someone could actually hear at a normal listening volume, while accounting for the way our ears transcribe sound. While there's some debate at what level of sound the distortion actually becomes perceptible, you can usually count on 15-20 phons of buzz to be just barely audible. These headphones—even at their absolute worst—do not even come close to this level, so you can count on no audible distortion.
Theoretically, if you were to crank your tunes to 125.9dB, you'd hit a 3% level of general distortion, which becomes quite annoying. Don't do this—you'll not only hurt your own hearing, but you'll quiet the world around you forever.
From the chassis to the audio performance, the Custom One Pro was built for customization. Not only can you take the ear cups apart to install your own faceplates, but you can swap in your own cable if the included one breaks, which is a huge checkmark in the durability column. On top of all that, you can switch between four different sound settings by using the sliders on the backs of the ear cups.
Headphone consumers have made it known that aesthetics matter greatly in their purchasing decisions, and we're starting to see headphones that allow for more customization, which is an effective way to appeal to said consumers. It's certainly fun to mess around with something and really make it yours, which the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros do well.
While music lovers who've had things like bass boost since the 80s have had a certain degree of control over how their headphones sound, Beyerdynamic equipped their Custom One Pros to fit a more realistic range of preferred uses. The ability to change how they sound on a whim makes for a set of cans that takes all the guesswork out of buying a set of headphones—if you buy them, you don't have to simply hope you like them, you know you can change whatever you don't like. And if you are an advanced user, you know that you can have a lot of control over how your headphones work from song to song.
They're your headphones, use 'em how you want!
Once you've torn open your package like a kid with a non-denominational winter holiday present, you'll find one of the more brilliant headphones available to consumers. While it's easy to gush about the features, just about all of them are geared towards making your experience with the headphones exactly the way you want it. Not only can you change the look of the headphones, but you change how it functions on a fairly regular basis. Switching to NPR? Shift to the lowest bass. Switching to metal? Max out the bass!
I've been able to use these for the better part of a month, and they are practical in many situations. They isolate pretty well, so I haven't been annoying coworkers with my music, and they block out the cacophony of the street when going outside. It's also very easy to listen for long periods of time without discomfort or fatigue, as the huge ear cups cradle the skull gently, but they're firm enough to not slip around much. For those of you with very small noggins, these may not be the most comfortable headphones ever made, but they should fit a large range of heads with the sliding band.
You do not need to carry around an amplifier or any special equipment to make the most of these, as it doesn't take a lot of juice to get these cans to a decent level of sound. It takes only a little bit of power (17.1mV) to reach a good listening volume (78dB), so these can be used with an iPod or tablet without any issues whatsoever. Smartphone owners take note: There's no remote, so it may not be ideal for use on phone calls. Additionally, their bulk means that they're a bit difficult to jam into a bag or purse unless you have a lot of room.
Because these cans make a great seal on your head, they block out 10.2dB on average of outside noise, and that's a huge plus not only for your music, but also your hearing. That's enough to make everything sound about half as loud as it would without any headphones on. I should point out, however, that the noise attenuation isn't even for every frequency, so low-end sound will be let in almost unimpeded. All sounds from 200Hz and up will be reduced by 20-30dB, making that noise 1/4 to 1/8th as loud as they would be without any cans on your ears.
So, we threw everything but the kitchen sink at these headphones, but there's still more that we haven't really discussed, or we're collecting more data on. We haven't made scoring algorithms for the new tests yet, but it's useful to note results as they come in so we can go back and add the scores later.
Very good at any setting
Having four different audio modes gives us a lot to cover, but on the whole the results are quite good. It's made even better by the fact that you can mess around with how your music sounds on the fly, which has its own value for those of you who like to switch between different types of music often. Not all music sounds all that good with the same settings, so why limit yourself to just one?
On the back of each ear cup is a slider that will change the frequency response based on the slider's position—position 1 will have very little bass, position 2 will have a very flat response (all sounds the same volume), position 3 will give you a bit of a bass boost, and position 4 will rattle your skull with low frequency sounds. While it's very likely that you'll pick one setting and stick with it, you should know that these audio modes are designed to fit a wide range of intended uses, and it's not just the bass that gets boosted or lowered.
Beyerdynamic has produced some very low-distortion in the past, and these are no different. All around, you can expect fantastic performance no matter what settings you have on the headphones, and this is very notable. Other headphones with different frequency response options in the past have boosted distortion, leading to an annoying experience, but the Custom One Pros do not. Don't be afraid to mess around—you won't hinder the quality of your music by changing the settings around, although some settings are more appropriate for different songs or programs. On every setting, there are no audible errors, but you may notice an ever-so-slight emphasis in the right ear cup on position 3. Beyond that, these headphones will give you exactly what you ask them to produce.
Tinkerers and those fickle-hearted with their headphones should definitely give the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro a good, long look. Not only can you change just about whatever you want about the headphones, but also how they sound, which is very cool to say the least.
Sure, they cost a pretty penny, but in a world where celebrity-endorsed headphones are offering subpar performance for $300+, these offer far more for the money at $249.99. Considering the level of customizability, build quality, and the multiple performance options, the Custom One Pros should satisfy even the most indecisive buyer with great audio, high comfort, and good durability.
They're not without their imperfections, but that's kept to a relative minimum: many of the issues are nearly imperceptible, or simply extremely minor. At the end of the day, they're a set of headphones that have a lot to offer both novice and enthusiast alike, and are priced to leave something in your wallet if and when you decide to customize.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Imaging@cthomas8888
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email