Beyerdynamic is a German company with a long history of headphone manufacturing. It has a strong position in the pro headphone market, but has always offered consumer models that are worth checking out.
Beyerdynamic has recently introduced the Aventho series of headphones at relatively accessible prices, yet with Tesla driver technology from their top-end headphones. The Aventho's big distinction is personalisation. This isn’t a styling thing; rather, the headphones are adjusted for your specific hearing sensitivities with the aid of an included smartphone app.
Personalisation might be desired because no two pairs of ears are identical. You are more sensitive to some frequencies and less sensitive to others than I am. So, you can imagine that we might prefer different headphones with different frequency responses.
But, not so fast grasshopper! If we both go to a concert, we will each hear it our way. But each of us will perceive it as 'natural'. This is the notion of live music as 'the absolute sound'. You don’t adjust the frequency response of a concert hall to suit your ears.
There is a counterargument that some adjustments might allow me to hear what Mozart or LCD Soundsystem had in mind for me to hear. With adjustments, music will no longer sound like live music would, but it might sound more like what others with better hearing hear.
This latter idea is what Beyerdynamic is going for with the Aventho series. We got the wireless version because, frankly, wires are a pain! The Aventho Wireless also can be run in wired mode, if and when desired, with an included cable.
The sound of the Aventho without personalisation is quite good. A key observation about the 'uncorrected' Aventho is that bass, midrange, and treble are nicely balanced and quite realistic. Upper bass and very deep bass might seem a bit light, but when some musically serious bass comes along, for example on 'Long Distance Love' from Little Feat’s Last Record Album [Warner Bros.], the Aventho delivers better clarity and impact than many headphones, even at higher prices. Higher frequencies are clean, but compared to the next higher tier of headphones we’d say some treble extension and resolution are missing. Dynamics seem slightly softened or blurred as well.
To personalise the Aventhos, you install an iOS or Android app on your phone, called MIY (Make It Yours). You then specify your age and then run a series of test signals. Basically, the app plays a range of tones at 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 8 kHz. You tell the app when you start and stop hearing each tone (by simply pressing a button on the screen). MIY then makes and loads your profile into the Aventhos.
With an MIY profile in operation, the sound changes. The degree of the change can be tailored in the app more to the subtle side or to the dramatic. Even at the least dramatic setting, I found my first profile actually made the sound worse, with the Aventhos now obviously too bright and edgy. Fortunately, creating a new profile is so easy that you can try again and again. I did, and after a few attempts I got to a profile without some of the obvious issues of my first try.
Once I had a profile I liked, I found that the bass was more prominent in the balance and I think more than 50% of non-audiophile listeners would prefer this post-MIY sound. In the treble, some musical instruments were more clearly highlighted, but they didn’t always sound more natural. As I say above, whether these specific personalisation curves have anything to do with what you’d hear at a live concert is a difficult question.
MIY notwithstanding, the Aventhos are a very good headphone for the price. That said, I think the majority of listeners will view the Aventho Wireless with an MIY profile to be an unequivocal improvement.
Type: Supra-aural, closed-back, dynamic driver headphone
Driver complement: Single Tesla driver per channel
Audio codecs: Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD, AAC, SBC
Wireless range: 10 m
Battery run time: 30 hours
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 40kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Sensitivity: 105 dB (1 mW, 500 Hz)
Weight: 238 g
Accessories: USB charging cable, mini-plug cable, carrying bag
Price: $449 US, £399
Beyerdynamic GmbH & Co. KG