Pros: Wide soundstage, clarity, treble, extended bass
Cons: Treble spike might sound shrill to some, light clamping force
Review of HP890's
The luxurious blue velour pads are very comfy, along with the rubber headband, although I would say that the clamping force is slightly weak which is not so good due to the heavy weight of these headphones and they feel as if they would come off easily if I leaned down. The joints seem to be a bit vulnerable but should be sturdy enough with good care taken.
Good bass extension, they go low and the amount of bass is impressive considering that they are open-backed. The bass is clear without any bloating and fast enough in sharpness. Mids tend to be a bit recessed and have average detail, although they are clear enough to be enjoyable. Highs are the forte, very clear and sweet, excellent pinpointing within the sound field which even surpassed my Yamaha HPH-200's in this respect. Soundstage is very wide, sometimes sound comes very much from the left but that is because there is no right-panned instruments at that time. Maybe this is a pitfall of the wide soundstage, but the advantage is that the instruments are very cleanly and precisely placed in the stereo field. The drivers are nice big 50mm ones and are angled.
Overall, I think that the HP890's could rival the AKG K701s and Sennheiser HD600's although you are probably not going to get the clarity of those, I can't say as I have not owned them, but have read that they have good soundstage and clarity. I was lucky to have bought my HP890's new from Amazon in July 2013, a long time after these headphones were doing the rounds back in 2001/2002. I gladly paid £79 despite knowing that they were originally £50 and they are still good value. They have good treble response along with wide soundstage although I would not recommend them for bassheads, although the bass is very impressive.