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"Beyerify" this - a 140$ German headphones packing an absolute bang for a buck!

A Review On: Beyerdynamic DT-990 Professional Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT-990 Professional Headphones

Rated # 66 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $140.00
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Pros: Comfort, Sound stage, details, unlimited amounts of bass (a debatable "pro" though), sturdy construction, PRICE, loudness, sturdy telephone cord....

Cons: ... and weak cord attachement to a headphones themselves, VERY fragile membranes, bass dominance.

Hello ladies and gentlemen, today i will describe my third pair of DT-990 Pro by Beyerdynamic!


     Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 250 Ohm for their price of 140 dollars able to outperform every other headphones on the market with the same price tag.  Without further delay i must notify you that those headphones are not the very first ones in my posession (i owned three DT-990), but will be reviewed from this point of view because many professionals already own better pieces of "tech" and know everything i have to say.

     These headphones (i bought three pieces just because i was addicted to their sound) are used by me  for my personal projects alongside with Sennheiser HD-600,  projects involve creation of various sounds and short pieces of ambient music for my CG animations and they performed very well in those conditions but right now, let me expain the pros and the cons for those who "can`t decide", "this is my first high-end/good headphone", "bass is too much" and others who seems to like them but wait for that one final voice to add to overall balance.




      1) Comfort:  Yes, you are right, this is their first and strongest advantage if you spend long time in front of your PC recording/listening/playing/doing nothing. Very soft and ear-friendly velour pads on the durable plastic case that is surprisingly not so heavy as many tend to fear (i don`t notice them on my head like Koss Porta Pro, they are that soft and stealthy, only small weight reminds me that my head has something on it) and they supprassing HD-598 in this hands down. Also, if you are training your neck in gym or at home, you are even less likely to notice them.


      2) Sound Stage - It is wide, better than expected, i can almost feel the wide space inside the theatre or concert hall but this also means you need to have good, very good hardware  as well as high quality music or video stream or you will be disappointed, because DT-990s tend to show a ton of "cuts", "downsides" and "trash" in low quality recordings or videos that most likely, with time (especially if you never had a headphone better than this before) make you delete/close the thing you watching and/or listening and wait for HQ release. You can say that sound stage isn`t the best and you will be right and wrong because there is a better stage, but it has a higher price point (and we aren`t talking about anything more expensive than 140 dollars today).


      3) Details - You will hear far more than you expect, in fact, you will be even amazed and want to listen every album you have!  But there is also a tricky part, you have to take into account one thing - warm up.  Exactly! You need to listen to these headphones for X time so they actually reveal their own sound, in my case it was 2 months or a tad less, after that my piece of headphones cleared itself up  and revealed a detailed, "flexible" sound.


       4) Bass - Bass is the selling point, advantage and disadvantage of these headphones. You can listen every bassy track once again and wonder why all your previous headphones had no bass and this piece seems to shine through and through! But there is also a tricky part, you can`t exactly rely on them to record/polish your tracks (working with sounds like explosions and weapons is fine to a degree, but you can`t rely on them without listening end result on neutral headphones) because DT-990 may fill everything with bass even where it is not needed at all, so you need to find more neutral pieces of headphones (like i said before, sennheisers were used with Beyers to watch out for the second ones in order to deliver "intended sound").


       5) Sturdy Construction - Any other cheap headphone posess a cheap pieces of thin plastic that will break if you drop them,  but that is not the case with our piece of headphones. DT-990 have a solid, sturdy construction that allows it to survive accidental drops and not crack in half from it, but that doesn`t mean you should "tease a bull with red cloth" and start throwing them around, test them with a hammer, screwdriver or a rocket launcher. They will survive fall from table or accidental drops from a height of your shoulder and as i will mention in the downsides, they are still better to be treated like expensive, "decorated with golden writings and covered with thin layer of pure platinum" type of thing. Overall, the latest model survived over 8 months, used daily and was dropped 4 times from a table height and 3 times from my head.


       6) PRICE - C`mon, this is 140 dollars and unless you are poor and 140$ is half/entirety of your monthly income then it is great bang for your buck!  Price drives people better than technical specifications (sometimes people will buy a cheap underperforming thing  in order to "fit in the budget" yet they aware that more expensive one is better and they start to claim that the cheaper thing is better then its pricey competitor and you will be evil unless you believe them. But as someone said, they do this to preserve themselves from psychological trauma of having inferior thing while realizing they could`ve got superior one.) and here we have a rare match of price and performance, so don`t let others cloud your vision :)


        7) Loudness - They will sound as loud as your sound card can make it, you can be DEAFENED by it! This piece of headphones has 250 Ohm impendance that is an "entry barrier" for the hardware you are going to plug your headphones to. In order for them to sound good (especially if you don`t have a sound card) you need a very decent sound card and sometimes even an amplifier that capable of driving 250 Ohm headphones. So, in case if you are "just born audiophile" you need to know that 250 and 600 Ohm headphones require a serious amplifier (some external sound cards have one) or you won`t hear the headphone sound as it was intended by manufacturer and inventor, you will get a quiet, dirty sound with absolutely wrong details and stage (Please, don`t even mention integrated Realtek or smartphones... unless smartphone is not one of those new Meizu Mx3 with Wolfson DAC that actually MAY produce a decent-ish sound... *cough* for a smartphone *cough*) that will make you hate yourself, your source of sound and your tiny budget.


        8) Sturdy cord - telephone-ish cord that is strong (albeit a little bit short) and capable of withstanding punishment of accidents and user stupidity (unless you try to cut it with knife to test it...) to a certain degree, all three pieces of DT-990s that i owned have their cord intact. 



Now, i will describe disadvantages (as good as they are, they aren`t perfect), hovewer most of them is a result of me trying to find ones.




     1) Cord attachement to a headphones - seriously, this is where you will most likely find yourself with soldering-iron, because in the case of last two pieces of headphones one of them was switching off unless you will "push the wire" towards the connection point of cord to a headphone or slightly bend it so sound appears again in both drivers and not just one of them. This problem will appear very soon if you forget about your headphones and suddenly run to switch off something in the kitchen (two pairs of koss Porta Pros were not just broken but utterly destroyed by this, one DT-990 also didn`t survived the experience but was reanimated by miniature electric soldering iron and a ton of sweat...)


     2)  Weak Membranes - Thin white membranes that located under the thing that looks like foam-rubber, the evil very core. The very first pair had one of the membranes punctured and i had to take them to warranty repairs and when i asked "What caused the damage?" i got  a strange answer - "Someone`s hair". I guess i should`ve guessed that Beyers make this foam-rubber thing too weak for my hair. That means clean it from hair on daily basis (especially if you have a lot of them) and this makes them look not as sturdy as i told (and warned) 


     3) Bass dominance - It is a good thing when you listen to a music, play videogames (like Starcraft 2 or World Of Tanks where explosions and cannon fire is all around the place), watch movies and videos on youtube but it is not the case when you edit recorded sounds or composed piece of music. You need a more balanced, neutral headphones if you are going to actually work with a music and there are a ton of them to do just that (i used sennheisers and clients weren`t complaining about sound, but hey, there is always a pair of "cans" that does it better, so it is all about a length of a dollar that you are ready to spend)



Score:  9 out of 10. 

Why: Price`n`Performance. For their price of 141$ on amazon right now (06.16.2014) they compete with weaker headphones and they destroy the challengers (even HD-598 that seems to have a higher price on amazon than they are) while striving, but failing to match their more expensive competitors like Sennheiser HD-600. However if their price was 300$ (according to one and only Amazon) it would`ve been 7 or even 6 out of 10 because you can add a little more and get HD 600 or even HD-650 that will be better and more neutral (however, some prefer non-neutral headphones to enjoy the music only)


What you as reader get out from this score:  If you want to buy your first GOOD headphones and looking at beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro then look no further!  Their sound will pleasantly surprise you (especially after you will "warm them up" for a seven days or so, but my pair was warmed up after ~20 days with 5 hours of non-stop listening) and their sturdiness will forgive you accidental drops and other types of damage you can inflict on headphone. Also, you may look "professional" in them because those headphones have minimalistic, sturdy design (not to mention that they are german, some people think all the best stuff manufactured only in germany :D) that is not bristling with rainbow of colors, drawn kittens and cheap thin plastic that easily breaks. 

            Hovewer, if you are experienced or even profesional you may want to look at pricier solutions (because you most likely have something that costs ~350-550 $ and a similar priced sound card to power them) and not stop on beyers...


"Maybes": . Anyway you will hear these headphones differently (well, human ear is extremely delicate "piece" of our body, younglings tend to hear much wider frequency range than 60 year olds, besides we have our own tastes and preferences...) , so it is useless to describe something you can`t describe with words but something you will hear and understand - like bass, mids, highs, lows and so on.  The only way to find out is to go out and find decent audio "shop" and kindly ask to listen to this headphone with expensive sound card (yes, expensive, even if you are not going to buy one, listening to them will allow you to get that "ah, i like the bass, but mids could be better" or vice versa, and when you will go out to buy your own cheaper sound card you will understand is it worth your money or not) and do the "final evaluation" yourself.


My hardware

Powerful Workstation: Core i7 3960x OCd, 32GB DDR-3 Ram, GTX 780, SSD Vertex-4.

Recording, editing and polishing: Roland Octa Capture (Sound quality is the same as in RME Fireface UCX, high quality drivers for the card, ASIO drivers and good preamps)

Listening/Gaming/Watching/Light recording:  Roland Quad Capture (24/192khz, DAC from Octa-Capture, ASIO v2.0 and great drivers!) 

Audio Format: .flac

Headphones: Koss Porta Pro (Barely alive, third pair of these headphones started my quest for the better sound ^_^), Beyerdynamic DT-990, DT-1350, Sennheiser HD-598, Sennheiser HD-600, HiFiMaN HE-4 (waiting for better sound card, Burson Audio Conductor looking good).


If you are going to buy Roland UA-55 quad capture for DT-990 Pro then i recommend that you get something even more powerful or buy a preamp with it,  because during the last three months i have noticed that volume knob on my Roland UA-55 is always set on 60%. It may be not that bad, but i feel that headphones lack amplification from the sound card, because turning knob up from 75 to 100% does close to zero amplification (it just stays on the same volume).  Also, don`t even try to connect them to a phone, my Xperia Z shown me (yes, 250 Ohm headphones without amplification to a phone... stupid, maybe even retarded, but i had to try) that it is useless to use it to listen music on go (for that i have DT-1350) and if you want to listen music that bad on smartphone with these headphones, buy Meizu Mx3 (Wolfson WM5102 DAC) or Vivo X3S with ESS Technology ES9018 DAC and Texas Instruments OPA2604 amplifier  should sound decent too... but never as good as full size external sound card.


Thank you for reading and wish you to find the best headphones for your ears! d(^_^)b  

1 Comment:

heh it's funny that you like the DT 990 so much, I' had a DT 990 and DT 880 back in teh day, I'd like to think my HE 4 brings the best of what both headphones do to the table ;3
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