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Still my main set after 2 years

A Review On: Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium 250 Ohm

Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium 250 Ohm

Rated # 66 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $340.00
Bosstooned
Posted · Updated · 18690 Views · 5 Comments

Pros: Detail, Bass body, Treble, PRaT, Soundstage, Dynamic

Cons: Needs right setup, Somewhat recessed mids, Fatigue

The DT990 is my first HiFi headphone after the AKG K181DJ and also my ticket into the world of Head-Fi. First off, I have to say that my impressions are pretty consistent with what seems to be the mean impression out here on the web; I tried out al sorts of headphones that were comparable in price before deciding on the DT990. And I know now what it was that made me do it: the amount of detail and air between the different instruments. I tried the higher Sennheisers (HD6X0's, 5X8's) before I tried the Beyers and thought they were nice, smooth, definitely more refined and clear than my K181's. But when I put on the DT990 for the first time I was vortexed into another plane; I heard things in the music that I never heard before, even on my HiFi setup and even in songs that I (thought I) knew back to front. I was looking for a different sensation when listening to my music and there and then I found it. There was just so much air between the instruments, such darkness in the background and so much detail! These cans simply break the music down and make it possible to analyze every single part of it. 

In the recent years, though, it became clear to me that the things I love most about music are smooth, dynamic bass- and midsections. However, while the bass is very dynamic in it's stock form, it's not always smooth, Jamiroquai is one of my all time fav bands and a great deal of their repertoire fell prey to the DT990's overpowering and boomy bass. The mids, which indeed are a bit recessed compared to the rest, weren't as smooth either. When I became aware of this flaw I decided to see whether I could find a pair of phones I'd like better in this regard. But the Senn's were much to slow and 'veiled' they felt too congested overall; the Grado's practically threw me on stage (talk a bout a shortage in subtlety), didn't wow me in any way and the AKG's I found lacking too much in Bass and mid's altogether. I decided to take a different approach to the whole DT990 issue and started looking at the dac's and amplifiers available nearby. After many hours auditioning I came up with this setup: MacBook > HRT Microstreamer > QED > Musical Fidelity X-Can V8P > Beyerdynamic DT990 250Ω. First the V8P it smoothens out the mid and high frequencies while defining the bass a bit better and creating a bit of warmer ambiance. Soundstage is deeper and a bit wider as well. The HRT completely tames the bass and high treble, which decreases fatigue to a minimum, and actually boosts a good chunk of the mid's while defining everything just a bit tighter. Now this is NOT to say that the bass and high's are muted or something like that, they are just refined by the Microstreamer. Neither does it detract any of the ambiance created by the V8P. 
Noticed how all the "cons" i wrote down are practically nullified in my review? Out of the box these sound pretty good, albeit a bit fatiguing... get the right setup though and watch them truly live up to their potential!

5 Comments:

 Dude I love my DT 90s although sadly I think they are soon to be replaced by a HE 400 [linear sub bass from 30hrz and up and those orthos mid]
 
Still for the price [Dt 990 is about 1/3] of an HE 400, it is a MOST epic can... and for classical I enjoy the dt 990 the most <.< not even sure IF I'm going to sell my 990 or not honestly 
Ooh, I almost bought one a while back, from what I've read I'd say the Hifiman is quite different from the Beyer. The HE 300 and HE 500 both have got my #2 interest in headphones I want to hear, right after my HD580 after it's been refurbished. I'd stick with the DT990 though, they don't sell for even half their original price here and I think they're really different from all others in this price range
Would agree about the 990s. They are a great headphone and I definitely won't be getting rid of them...too fun to listen to!
 
Got to hear the 400's and the 500's last weekend. I really liked the 400's but Planars are one purchase away as I'm going to round out my mid-fi 'dynamic' inventory (Q701, HD600, DT880) first.
 
That said, while I liked the 400's and think they're a great value, I'll probably save up for the 500's and maybe an amp upgrade. I felt the extra money was worth it for the 500's; more balanced signature yet plenty of well-defined, bass.
 
BTW - interesting comment regarding the HRT...having just got a Magni and a Bravo Ocean (for the 990's & a couple other cans), I'm trying to figure out what DAC I should buy; need to read more about it.
Yeah, got an HD580 last week which I refurbished and boy does this thing prove how well the synergy between my DT990, Microstreamer and X-can actually is. I mean it sounds great with the Sennheiser too, but the DT990 blows it's performance straight out of the water on every side, except for the mid- and higher mids. I really envy you, I've never heard the famous planar sound, and seriously want to. Good decision not to compromise and go the extra mile getting the 500's, goood.. I even like the number haha.
(sorry) What's a QED? :)
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