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Beyerdynamic Headzone Pro XT

Racking the brain
Beyerdynamic have launched a new version of their Headzone headphone-based surround monitoring system, called the Headzone Pro XT. The new model is rackmountable, and has a number of new features. Firstly, the connectivity options have been expanded, with analogue inputs on a 25-pin D-Sub connector, instead of the RCA sockets found on the standard Headzone system. There are also AES/EBU digital inputs for all six channels of a 5.1 surround signal on three-pin XLR connectors, alongside the Firewire port that provides the computer connection and secondary digital input.

Other features include a talkback mic input, with dedicated volume control, a set of three user-definable presets, and a password-protected limiter. There’s also a function called Ear Patron, which gives the user visual feedback on the damage they may be causing to their ears. A series of seven LEDs act a little bit like a traffic-light system. When they’re green, everything’s fine, at amber, you should think about taking a break, and at red, the system has decided that you’ve been listening to loud material for too long, and you should rest you ears, which is quite nice. The system is reset by manually pressing a button located on the front panel.

Interestingly, two sets of headphones can be used simultaneously with the Headzone Pro XT, but doing so disables the head-tracking software, leaving the 5.1 room reproduction still active. A master volume control determines the level for both pairs of headphones.

The Beyerdynamic Headzone Pro XT is available in two configurations: standard, which costs £2920, and ‘XT HT’ (£3186), the latter of which includes the Headtracker software that’s required if you want to have the motion-sensing features of the system. Heaphones aren’t included in any of the packages, but you can choose from ‘HT’ versions of Beyerdynamic’s DT880 Pro or DT770 Pro.

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