The Behringer Alpha are open over-ear headphones that are equipped with surprisingly high-quality components for their price range. They are also easy to handle and comfortable to wear. The only thing that will divide opinion is the centre-heavy and otherwise rather matte sound.
- Quality of the scope of delivery
- Easy handling
- High wearing comfort
- Distortion-free up to higher volumes
- Muffled bass
- Excessive mids
- Restrained treble
In our test, the Behringer Alpha were keen to show that they had a lot to offer as open over-ear headphones with a budget price range. How well did they do?
The Behringer Alpha are circumaural hi-fi headphones that are in the lower price bracket. The manufacturer Behringer is primarily aiming at music fans, but they also want to appeal to musicians and composers. In addition to the Alpha, Behringer has also added the Omega, a model which specialises in home recording, to their range. Both versions aim to offer sound for users with high demands for a low price. It will, therefore, be exciting to see to what extent the device we tested can meet these self-imposed standards.
Behringer Alpha – Package
The Behringer Alpha comes with a 3-metre-long interchangeable cable. It ends with a 3.5mm jack plug, which can also be used with a 6.3mm jack socket if you use the gold-plated screw adapter that is included in the package. The cable is – surprisingly for budget range headphones – covered in fabric. The package also includes a transport case for storing and transporting the over-ear headphones. It was not obvious whether this was made of leather or artificial leather and the manufacturer does not indicate what material was used. However, if it was artificial leather, it was deceptively real. The case has a correspondingly high-quality appearance and that was significantly more than you would expect from headphones in this price range. For this reason, the package gets a thumbs up from us.
Behringer Alpha – Material and construction
I’m not quite sure why Behringer describes the look of this model as retro-style. In my opinion, the exterior of the Alpha looks far too modern for that. The leatherette pads around the ears are quite wide and contribute to the solid look of these headphones. The metal arms completely surround the ear cups. Their open backs are covered by silver metal grilles. Instead of two metal struts, as used on the Behringer Omega, the Alpha has a continuous headband. I thought the overall design of the headphones looked harmonious and contemporary.
Behringer Alpha – Technical values
The Behringer Alpha uses 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets. The larger Omega, on the other hand, uses drivers with a diameter of 53mm. Nevertheless, the Alpha model reproduces audio from 10 to 28,000 Hz. We measured an impedance of 31.3 ohms, so it is in a range that should ensure a decent volume even with low-voltage headphone outputs. The headphones are equipped with a maximum sound pressure level of 97 dB SPL. Thanks to these technical values, the over-ear headphones can be used with a wide range of devices, from audio interfaces, laptops and hi-fi equipment to TVs and media players.
Behringer Alpha – Handling
The Behringer Alpha automatically adjust to the size of your head when you put them on, without the need for a rastered headband. The fact that the Alpha’s ear cups can be tilted but not rotated was not noticeable when putting them on and wearing them. The particularly soft ear pads nestled comfortably around the ears. In addition, there was a contact pressure that was not too low nor uncomfortable, thanks to the soft ear pads. The contact pressure ensured a sufficiently firm fit without pinching. The headphones can thus be worn for a long time without becoming cumbersome.
Whether having a cable attached at both ends becomes annoying is something each user has to decide for themselves. In any case, plugging in the cable was child’s play. Because the headphones are symmetrical and the two sockets for connecting the cable are located exactly in the centre below the ear cups, it doesn’t matter which way round you put them on. On the other hand, the plugs are clearly labelled with which side they should be connected to. However, there is no strain relief in the form of a bayonet connection or similar.
Behringer Alpha Over-Ear – Sound
The treble range of the Behringer Alpha was rather restrained. Although there was an open-sounding treble range, I can’t say that there was brilliance. In the sound image, I mainly noticed mids that emphasised the presence of vocals and speech or electric guitars with a certain sharpness. However, these headphones were also centre-heavy: There was no sibilance to be heard in the upper mids with S-sounds from singers or voices in spoken-word content.
Basses and sub-basses were reproduced recognisably but appeared dull and less musical, especially in the lowest frequency ranges. If you use these headphones to listen to R’n’B and EDM, you will miss some of the necessary liveliness. The headphones also reproduced transients rather softly.
All in all, this resulted in a rather dull sound image, with a dominance of the sharp mid-range frequencies. Therefore, the sound image seemed unbalanced to me.
There was also light and shade in other respects. On the positive side, the Alpha reproduced low bass without distortion right up to high volume levels. Due to its centre-heavy sound profile, however, it was hardly possible to use them at such a volume because the mid-range sharpness tired your hearing within seconds. Despite the open design, these headphones delivered a rather modest stereo soundstage in terms of width.
The Behringer Alpha are circumaural open-back headphones that have something to offer with their quality and package as well as easy handling and a comfortable fit.
However, I was not convinced by what they achieved in the core task of music playback. Dull bass, superficial mids and a restrained treble range do not make for enjoyable listening. Even though they can reproduce low bass without distortion, even at high volumes, the mids quickly became a strain on my hearing.
The Behringer Alpha are designed as headphones that are also suitable for practising instruments and monitoring musicians and composers. However, they can only do this if they are used at a very discreet volume, without the need for critical listening for the purposes of mixing and the like. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I predict that audiophile sound fans won’t be happy with them. But as the saying goes: “There’s a nut for every bolt”. If you love listening to audiobooks or watching films, then the Behringer Alpha will help you hear speaking voices very clearly.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance31,3 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)99,26 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head746,5 g
- Weight with cable377 g
- Weight without cable322 g
- Cable length300 cm
What's in the box
- 3 m interchangeable cable
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Carrying case