Pros: Dynamics, Sound Stage Width, Bass, delicate mids, airy treble
Cons: 3D Imaging Not the best, Too much bass at times
Beyerdyanmic Dt 990 Pro 250 ohm [Price $190 New]
Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0 /+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]
The Beyer Can, having a higher impedance reaches it's optimal sound at 18 gain, volume is adjust accordingly
Compared against modified Audio Technica w1000x [Stock $350 Refurbished-After mods $500]
8/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion does feature an EQ by my self. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.
My second primary headphone. I've had it for around 6 months now, and shame on me for not posting a review sooner. It was so wonderful, I suppose it didn't need me to explain it self. Non the less, it's time the silence be broken!
Like a tank, I've dropped them a few times sadly, sat on them once and lugged them around in a book bag for months. Unlike the fragile w1000x, the Beyer headphones are the most well built I've worn to date. Truly tough headphones!
Open Dynamic Operating Principle
250 Ohm Impedance
Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
The comfort is amazing as well, the open dynamic driver and the velour pads are great together! The open back of the can let's any heat flow away from you, while the velour's make sure your ears aren't too cold! I wear them for hours daily! The clamp how ever may be to strong for some.. Still the fit is easy to master, and unlike the fickle angled drivers of the w1000x, these remain consistent!
Sound Signature and Character
Sound Stage: Wonderfully, wide. Instrument separation is flawless and sounds effortless on the part of the headphone. The width does take away from the depth of the sound stage however.
Sound Signature- There's actually feature a rather prominent mid bass hump, yet they remain fairly balanced. The mids are very real, sufficient warm and wonderful clarity and punch. A brighter, lighter and tighter sound signature. I find it suits Classical, Classical and Nu Jazz, and EDM. The bass is to much for rock, and the mids not intimate or lushly beautiful enough to all vocals.
Song by Song Break Down (Click to show)
1 - Lisa Ekdahl _ Of My Conceit
A vocal jazz piece, Lisa's voice is the main focus. Yet behind her is a lovely piano and a delicate guitar strumming! The piano provides a nice upper Mid and Treble balance, while the guitar provides lower mids and some bass. Both of these elements compliment Lisa's voice. A song best on a warm neutral can, a larger sound stage is excellent with this song as well!
Treble- The highs of the guitar are very nice and airy. they extend well, as does the higher delicate notes in Lisa's voice. The cymbal sparkle is magical as well!
Mids- Lisa's voice has great upper mid presence, but the lower mids are a little overtaken by the lows in her voice. Still, the lush warmth in Lisa's voice is not 100%. The Beyers lack the sex appeal in her voice!
Bass- A little too strong for this track, the vocals lose a little mid warmth in the bass, and low notes on the guitar have more body than I'd like.
Dynamics- Very nice, the left and right channels feature different instruments, and they flawlessly shift from louder to softer notes.
2- Anne Gastinel & Francois-Frederic Guy Sonata for Cello & Piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5
Classical track features heavy focus on mids with sparkles of lower treble and the balance between the Cello and Piano!. Another song benefitting from a larger sound stage and a well balanced head phone. The bass of the cello accentuates nicely against the Piano. Both having deep beautifully lush tones. Air and extension make this piece come alive and lack of it, can kill the mood entirely! Then entire audible spectrum is equally beautiful through the entire song!
T- The lower treble is beautiful, airy and well textured! With a excellent quick decay and smooth presentation.
M- Phenomenal, the warmth the Cellos, upper and lower mids ever so gently tickle your ears, the piano as well retains great warmth. The energy and punch is ever present, as the notes quickly shift from higher to lower! Again the w1000x, has a lush tightness to it, yet the lacks the delicate and polite nature of the Dt 990s Mids.
B- Very tight and well placed, the bass never impedes on the delicate mids!
Dyna-Excellent, a flawless effort from high to HIGHER to HIGEST, the back to softer notes, the shifts from fast to slow, LOUD to quiet. Everything is accurate, smooth and effortless. The dynamics are lighting fast, magically effortless! The w1000x sounds very sluggish in this track, the immense width of the dt 990s sound stage is a true strength here.
3. Yoshida Brothers -Love
The two brothers are performers of the traditional Japanese music style of Tsugaru-jamisen which originated in northern Japan. They debuted in 1999 in Japan as a duo playing the shamisen, and it remains a main instrument. In addition to traditional Japanese percussion, this track features a very gusto male shout. What sounds like a verbal battle cry, is over top the delicate shamisen. The punchy yet warm mids of the male vocals pair well with the light upper mids and treble of the Shamisen.
T- The high notes, retain a nice sharp twinge to them. Natural and very real. good extension and well textured. Still the mysticism of the woody highs is lost on the Dt 990, where as the wooden w1000x, captures the beauty of the wooden tones of the WOOD Shamisen!
M- The mids of the Shamisens are, just as lovely and gentle as they should be. Quick on their feet, and with a deadly accurate attack. The mood of the song is capture nicely in the mids. Still though, the male vocals lack... GUSTO. They lack power behind them, so the song is a little lighter than I'd like. I miss the power in the vocals. In addition, the sharp wooden beauty of the percussion is lost a little on the dt 990. Again, though the natural beauty of the Shamisen is lost a little in the Dt 990, it lacks the mysticism of the woody mids!
B- There isn't much bass to the song, that being said, what little bass that rings through the wooden percussion, is a little lost on the super tight Dt 990.
Dyna- both cans do a great job of effortlessly shifting from the high to low energy parts of the song. Each one quick to adjust.
4 Kidnap Kid- Animaux
A nice Vocal DnB Tune. A really demanding tune, as the mids and bass over overly overtop another. The sound is very... wonderful! The beauty of the mids right atop deep tight bass, followed by drops of nice punchy vocals. Best of all, the pesky 150hrz makes a return in this tune for a lovely meaty support for those mids. The layering and texture of the bass is, something I'm still not used to! I feel a little spoiled each time I hear it!
T- Very light and airy. A little better extended than the w1000x. Although the additional brightness of the DT 990, brings an almost fake sound to the well synthesized treble. Still The treble details in this song are amazing.
M- The seductive mids and bass combo on the w1000x is hard to beat... still the very real mids of the Dt 990, still pair beautifully with the deep bass. Both cans, present this song a little differently, but do do them equally well. The added punch is the Dt 990, is equally as enjoyable as the ever so slightly thicker mids on the w1000x.
B- A tough call, both cans are Mid bass oriented, the tighter bass and lower mids of the Dt 990, have an awesome dynamic impact, where as the slightly softer yet tight bass of the w1000x lingers just a few fractions of a second longer to bring a little more soul to this song. Dare I say the Dt 990 here is almost too aggressive... Yet the bass still favors the Dt 990, as it digs deeper, and those DEEP notes really mellow the entire tune out more than the mids imo.
Dyna- a very dynamic Drum n Bass tune, again both handle seamless dynamic transitions. How ever the highs, fade in out and much quicker and smoother on the dt 990.
5- Dai Qing Tana & HAYA Band- Missing You
Beautiful Mongolian vocals, and a world music sound that breaches more than just Asian styles. This track features a lovely guitar to your left, a cello to your right with Dai Qings delicate yet warm deep lyrics right in the middle. A perfect tonal balance is ideal for this track, as it's simplicity does not allow for any distraction from the overall mood of the song as a whole!
T- Nice air, great brightness.
M- Dai Quing's voice is equally as beautiful Airy, as it is lush, yet the bass notes from the guitar drown out her voice.
B- Sadly, the bass on the dt 990 is to over powering for this song, While the cello remains beautiful, the guitar has much to much body and far too long of a decay, the note does how ever ring out, but the increased bass of the DT 990 really brings to much attention to it... The upper mids as well, are lost in those lingering bass notes, the slightly softer and less bassy w1000x, presents them with equal decay yet a much with a gentler punch.
Dyna- The effortless dynamics of the DT 990, do save the upper mids from some of that over powering bass.
It should be noted how ever, on +10 gain the bass get's a little looser and is more enjoyable, but the beautiful air and gentle push of the cello and upper mids are lost in this gain decrease. Dynamics suffer a little as well from the gain adjustment.
6- 3nd_ Algorythm
Great tune from a Japanese Rock band, wonderful energy and great layering. A nice high energy rock tune. The kick of the drums and the clash of the cymbals, combined with sweet guitar mids and a mellow bass line. The bass in particular shifts a lot, the skilled bassists really shows off from time to time, combined with dual guitar tracks. Balance is a great benefit, as is a good sound stage to this song.
T- The cymbals have a good tone, good extension.
M- Once again, I do enjoy the extra edge and energy in the mids on the guitar. Those upper mids especially have some awesome air to them! Still for this rock tune, a little less detail and a little more lush mids are preferred!
B- Still the bass guitar is a little too strong again, not nearly as much as in the previous song [Electric bass, stays tighter than Acoustic] Still the kick drum has good impact.
Dyna- Both perform equally as well, this song does not feature too many dynamic shifts, but there are about 3 major ones. The Dt 990 is as usual a little faster, but not by enough to negate any significant advantage.
It should be noted... the Beyer Dt 990s, slightly shallow sound stage is brought out in Rock. For me, the w1000x, has a better 3D image in this rock track, than does the Beyer Dt 990.
7- Benga- Evolution
A lovely mid intro, builds to a very aggressive and tight drop. While the mids are an excellent addition to this song, the cymbals and bass are the focus here! Aggression is key in this track, the tighter and deeper the better. The faster and punchier the more enjoyable!
I will admit, I do enjoy my Dub Step eq'd ever so slightly. That being said, I do use the same modest eq for both cans. A +1 boost at 55hrz leading to a +4 boost to 110hz, followed by a -6 decrease at 156hz following a slight incline to +2 at 1.2k hz then back to +-0 I prefer the mids boosted a pinch, and that pesky 156hrz when removed or eq'd out bring a VERY tight bass line to any track, As this frequency is a VERY meaty upper Bass... that said I remove it as it lacks deep impact or TIGHT punch imo.
T- About the same, both have great treble detail, the Dt 990 has a little more air and extends nicer. Quicker on the decay as well.
M-Mids are lusher on the w1000x, but a little too lush. On the Dt 990 the punchier nature of the mids cut's against that deep bass a little more pleasantly!
B- Sadly a slaughter, Dt 990 is Tigher, faster and more aggressive.
Dyna- What... Dub Step song with Dynamics... you mean other than... BASS no BASS... just kidding. Seriously though, the song has nice dynamic shifts, and the massive bass stays tight and decays faster through these shifts on the DT 990.
Should be noted, the Dt 990 struggles a little bit with deeper acoustic bass notes. The w1000x is a little more natural with wooden instrument bass, than is the Dt 990
8- Lenny White, Jamey Haddad, Mark Sherman -Seven [Binarual Recording] From _ (Explorations In Space and Time)
A percussion trio, this binarual recording has only one thing that makes it wonderful... imaging. The Width and depth of the recording is really wonderful, not to mention the dynamics of the track as a whole. A headphones Sound Stage, width and height are very important. However too wide a sound stage and the 3D imaging can get a little veiled.
T- Cymbal are wonderfully airy, great energy and the linear space is good, the 3D position, imaging how ever is not as nice as the K550 and the w1000x
M- Ahh Drums, have a good body to the, unlike the K550 which has rather thin lower mids, in this all percussion piece those lower mids are excellent on both the Dt 990 and the w1000x, with the Dt 990 having the best impact and clarity!
B- Nice and tight, very pleasant!
Dynamics- once again, pleasantly tight and quick.
9 The Modern Jazz Quartet- Reunion Blues
A lovely classic jazz piece, what makes this such a great tune is the balance of each instrument, as well as the placement of each in the sound stage. This song... is spilt literally into left and right. A soft Piano and Percy Heath's Double Bass to your right, with the drums and cymbals to your left, Also in the left channel is a magically warm and lush Xylophone! Best of all despite extreme stereophonic sound, the track as a whole is very balanced and incredibly enjoyable! Here a wider sound stage takes heed over a tall one.
T- Lovely, cymbals have good extension and fabulous air.
M- the upper mids are excellent, as are the lower mids! The piano and Xylophone work together for a wonderful mid core! The 1000x, adding a nice richness to both, . Over all the combination of clarity and mid tonal impact make for a great jazz experience!
B- Excellent, tight, yet again the 3D imaging shows to be a little weaker than w1000x respectively!
Dynamics- As always, fast and accurate. Great for this classical Jazz piece!
Treble [5/5]- Airy, well extended and awesome details!
Mids [4/5]- A beautiful tone to mids, not lush enough for vocals but perfect for delicate upper and lower mid instruments!
Bass [3.5/5] - Excellent bass in some songs, in others it's so much it ruins them.
Conclusion- For $190 new and around $150, it's one of my favorite all time open cans! Great sound for almost all kinds of music and the bass lovers will enjoy it with everything! Good dynamics and fantastic build quality. A must have for any one getting into Audio Phila!