Pros: stunning bass response, fabulous soundstage
Cons: somewhat recessed mids, slightly aggressive treble
Beyerdynamic's headphones, in order of popularity, probably goes something like this:
T1, DT880/600 ohm, and maybe then DT990/600 ohm. Heck, some would put DT48, T50p, or others ahead of the DT990...
So the DT990 is somewhat under-appreciated. However, a recent surge of interest at Head-Fi, possibly the result of outstanding prices at several vendors, led me to purchase these. And boy am I ever glad I did.
So, this is my first review of any product at Head-Fi, and what better headphones to review for me than the DT990?
Of all the cans i own or have owned, these are my most favorite. I find myself listening to them more than any other headphones in my stable (that includes DT880, K702, HD595, M50, and others).
So, what do the Beyer DT990/600 sound like? Well, they have mondo bass. So if you want a dead neutral set of cans, look elsewhere. And they are a little brighter than neutral as well, to my ears. So if you're very sensitive to that, look elsewhere. And they have slightly recessed mids, so if you hate that, look elsewhere. i know, it almost sounds like I'm bashing them. I'm not, i just wanted to lay out the problems that listeners may perceive with these cans.
And now that those are out of the way, what's good about them? Well, they have amazing imaging. And they throw a more realistic soundstage, in my opinion, than any other headphones I've heard, and that also includes the K702. And, the bass, if you can take it, will leave you slack-jawed. It goes down deep, and will give you that near-subwoofer presentation, much like a denon and ultrasone.
The cans mate particularly well with music that isn't already bass strong, of course. To my ears, they seem to pair excellently with classic rock. Especially vocal -centric rock like The Beatles, for example. Music like this allows their weaknesses to be waxed over and their strengths to shine. For example, the bass guitar in early Beatles albums is low in the mix (to my taste), and the DT990s brings that out to a very satisfying degree. Also, because the vocals are mixed high in these songs, the recessed mid is barely noticeable, if at all.
These cans are also the best built cans i've owned (along with the DT880s), and are supremely comfortable. I can see where someone who has larger ears may have a problem with the depth of the ear cups, and their ears may touch the cushion at the back of the cup, but I personally don't experience this problem.
Also, to briefly compare these to the DT880s. I will admit the DT880 is a more balanced can overall. But, if you really like your bass, the DT880 will not provide the quantity or quality, much less the depth of bass that the DT990 does. However, the DT880's mids are more in line with the rest of the frequency spectrum, and the highs are slightly less aggressive (and i do mean slightly).
So, I can see where most would recommend the DT880 first and foremost. But, if you're a closet basshead, these just may be your end-all open headphones... If you're not a closet basshead, these just might turn you into one.