Pros: Comfy, decent build (for a budget can), fun spacious sound
Cons: Treble harshness (minor), isolation (minor), driver matching
Expanding on the pros, other likes-
- These cans are pretty comfortable imo, with the velour pads and soft headband. I havent had any problems with pressure points on the headband, and have been able to wear them for several hours on end without much fatigue. Clamping force is just right. Tighter than, for example, a Creative Aurvana Live, but looser than my FA-011s. Fairly light weight.
- Fairly well-built with metal (aluminum?) grilles and headband slider, thick, well damped plastic cups; note these are semi-open cans and the isolation will not be great coupled with the velour pads.
- General signature is fun, slightly u-shaped with the lows and highs lightly elevated over the mids. Mids are not pushed back too far and do their job well to highlight vocals as well as other sounds in the range when called for. IMO, they're right on the border between being lush and dry. Bass dips fairly low with decent impact but with a slight emphasis in the midbass making low notes sound abit rounded off and soft. To my ears the bass is just slightly more emphasized over the treble and so the cans do sound fairly warm. Treble is not lacking though and does carry some sparkle which does translate into good clarity and detail, but also some harshness or sibilance on poorly recorded tracks.
- The soundstage is pretty large as expected from a semi-open, low-isolation can, though comparatively smaller than a fully open FA-011. Separation, layering, and imaging are good.
- Really easy to drive, I am able to get a respectable amount of volume from the HPT990s out of my Clip+ and Samsung Vibrant without pushing them to hard
Expanding on the cons, other dislikes-
- As mentioned earlier the treble can get on the harsh and sibilant side but ive found thats really only an issue on poor recordings.
- Bass is abit midbassy and on the loose side which people may or may not find a con. I do tend to prefer lightly rounded bass and the 990s get it right for me. I have to admit though, I think the character of the bass does contribute to some loss of resolution as it does with some of my other cans or iems (ex - CAL, Brainwavz M1).
- As mentioned, soundstage is pretty wide, but depth is a weakness. Images do tend to be more left-right than center, and they do have trouble with forward projection.
- My pair has problems with driver matching, a pretty noticable imbalance around the 3-4k region with sound panned toward the left.
- Also regarding build quality and/or QC, the headband slider on the right side of my HPT990's is a bit loose and does tend to move a notch during use.
- Equipment used: Zero Dac/X-Fi Titanium/FiioE7->Objective 2/Fiio E9, Samsung Vibrant, Clip+
- Music: mostly rock, j-rock, some edm ~~last.fm/user/mumyoryu
- Thoughts on overall value: I think these would compete pretty well with other cans in their price range, theyre a little bit like Creative Aurvana Lives so if youre looking for something similar to the CALs but with a larger presentation and a bit more treble presence then I think the HPT990s are probably a good bet. The solid build quality and sound as well as the neat aluminum storage box it comes with makes these a good value in my eyes.
- These look very similar to the Takstar HI2050s, and I suspect Technical Pro had Takstar make these for them. The internals are pretty much identical when comparing my set to pictures of an opened up HI2050: http://www.soomal.com/doc/10100001322.htm. Im getting close to pulling the trigger on a pair to see if they do sound the same or if Technical Pro had them tune the drivers differently.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on these cans . I also hope others that have them or the Takstars can chime in with more impressions as they are pretty under the radar.
edit 7/17/2012 - A few hundred hours in, it seems like the cans have cleaned up nicely all around with some burn-in. It's either that or ive finally adjusted to their shortcomings, but I am enjoying them a bit more now. The treble seems to have toned down and become less prone to sibilance or harshness, and the bass, although still fairly midbass focused and rounded out, has cleaned up, and now the headphone sounds slightly flatter, with better transparency than before.
edit 12/6/2014 - 2 years later, my HPT990s are still going strong, and I still use them fairly often. I bought a pair of Takstar HI2050s about a month ago to have as a backup in case anything happens to the HPT990, and when I compared the two, I was surprised at what I heard. The HI2050s even after about 50 hours of usage are noticeably leaner than the HPT990. The HPT990 has abit more impactful, weightier bass. I installed some extra HI2050 pads on the HPT990s and the difference was still present. I'm guessing the difference is there because the HI2050s don't clamp as tightly on my head, and maybe because I have hundreds of hours on the 990s.
edit 3/11/2015 - Got a lot more head time in on the HI2050 and they still sound slightly brighter, airier than the HPT990, both in stock form. I've modded both to have a removable cable, and put an extra disk of creatology felt in front of the driver (on top of the original felt). It pulls the highs back a little bit, but not so much that it sounds too dark, or robs the headphone of some soundstage. I like the headphones a lot with this quick mod. I've also tried HM5 velours but did not like them too much. To my ears they add a noticeable amount of bass, including some smearing into the midbass, they pull the upper midrange back, and sound "hollow", they kinda mess with the sense of space you get with the stock velours. I'm sticking with stock velours on the HI2050/HPT990, i'll have to try thee HM5 velours if I ever get my hands on some Pro80s though, response seems positive on them at the Takstar thread.