Beyerdynamic once again sets the standard for reference headphones with the DT 990, an open...

beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.44737/5,
  • Beyerdynamic once again sets the standard for reference headphones with the DT 990, an open headphone that captures the dynamism and excitement of an audio signal like no other. The 250 ohm DT 990 makes high frequencies sound analytical, clear, and distinctive, while reproducing deep frequencies with a powerful resonance. As a result, everything from classical music to hip-hop to big-budget movie soundtracks sound rich and immersive, with three-dimensional acoustics that overwhelm even the most discerning audiophile. The phones also offer an eye-catching aesthetic, with lamella optics that are sure to appeal to fans of sophisticated design. And thanks to the padded headband and soft removable ear pads, listeners can wear the headphones in all-day comfort. Other features include a modular construction that makes it easy to replace all serviceable parts, a gold-vaporized 1/8-inch mini stereo jack plug, a 1/4-inch adapter, and a high-quality carrying case. The DT 990 headphones, which weigh 10.22 ounces, carry a two-year warranty on parts and labor.

Recent User Reviews

  1. BigBadBirdman
    5.0/5,
    "Great Headphone for Classical and Opera"
    Pros - Adds sizzle and pop to older recordings; might be the best bargain in headphones on the planet
    Cons - coiled cord on Pro version is too short for home use; needs a good amp
    There are several versions of this headphone.  I am reviewing the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, 250 ohm version.  This is one of 3 headphones I currently own.  I also have the Sennheiser HD700 and Sennheiser HD600.  My HD600 is 20 years old and might sound different from more recently manufactured units.  I listen exclusively to classical music and opera, so my opinions should be taken in that context. 
     
    I have to say I originally purchased the DT 990 because it was selling at a discount from a marketplace reseller (not an authorized reseller) for a very low price.  Right out the box it sounded good and I enjoyed the sound for almost a year before I bought the HD700.  At the time I was just using the headphone output on my Onkyo C-7030 CD player and I stopped using the HD600 and the DT 990 and I was using the HD700 exclusively.  
     
    I decided the upgrade my system by purchasing a Marantz 6005 CD player.  There was a slight improvement, but it was minimal.  Then I bought a Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amp so I could listen to opera on Blu-ray while watching it on television.  There was hardly any noticeable improvement in the sound quality on the HD700 but there was a huge improvement in the sound quality on the HD600 and DT 990.  Since I added the amp, I probably use the DT900 more than either of the Sennheiser headphones.
     
    While some people seem to be pursuing a quest for the holy grail of headphones, I do not believe such a thing exists.  I use all 3 of my headphones and choose which one to use based on the quality of the recording.  
     
    The HD700 is my choice for top quality recordings which have little or no flaws.  They have the extended bass and treble and amazing imaging that can only be reproduced from the best modern recordings.  On lower quality recordings or older recordings, they do not hide compression or rough treble or overzealous remastering.  These are my first choice when I watch opera on Blu-ray or listen to modern recordings of Handel opera.
     
    The HD600 is good for recordings that have a harsh treble or a loose, warm bass.  The HD600 is known to sound good with a tube amp but even using a solid state amp like the Asgard 2, it makes recordings made on tube equipment sound lush.  My old recordings of George Szell with the Cleveland Orchestra sound especially good with these phones.
     
    The DT 990 is good for older recordings that have the highs rolled off due to aggressive noise reduction (used to remove tape hiss) and for compressed recordings that lack punch.  This makes up the majority of my orchestral recordings.  Mahler's Resurrection Symphony conducted by Otto Klemperer and the Verdi Requiem conducted by Fritz Reiner are examples of recordings that sound magnificent on the DT 990's.
     
    Overall Signature:  The DT 990's have a classic V signature with a significant dip in the lower midrange and upper bass.
     
    The highs:  Some people say the DT 990's are too aggressive in the treble but for me it depends on the recording.  On the right recordings, the highs are clear, extended and detailed without any grain.
     
    The midrange:  Some people say the DT 990's have a shallow midrange.  I used to hear a depressed midrange on some recordings when I was using the headphone jack on my CD player but ever since I switched to the Asgard 2, the midrange is clear and transparent.
     
    The bass:  I have read mixed things about the bass on the DT 990's.  Some say there is too much and others say there is too little.  It really depends on what is on the recording.  The DT 990 has a fully extended bass so if there is lower bass frequencies, it will reproduce them.  This is something that many headphones will not do.
     
    Dynamic Range:  Dynamic range is the difference between soft and loud and it is very important in Classical Music and opera.  Something like the Mahler First Symphony of Beethoven Ninth has parts that are whisper quiet and then get extremely loud.  Some headphones cannot reproduce the quiet parts accurately and others start to distort when they get loud.  The DT 990's have excellent dynamic range and sound great at both extremes.  Many headphones only sound good at loud volume.  The DT 990 can be played at moderate volume and it still sounds good.
     
    Imaging:  Imaging and soundstage are very good but do not match the HD700.  On the HD700 you can locate every instrument and singer.
     
    Comfort:  The DT 990's are the most comfortable of all the headphones I own.  They are lightweight and the earpads are soft and plush.  I have a bald head and and glasses and some headphones tend to slide around when I move.  I wish all my headphones were as comfortable as the DT 990's.  My only complaint is that the coiled cord is too short and it is not replaceable.  Beyerdynamic makes a "premium" version of the DT990 with a longer cable at a slightly higher price.
     
    Build quality is excellent.  I am not the most gentle person in the world with my headphones and I use the DT990's almost everyday.  They seem very rugged.
     
    The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm is the least expensive headphone I own by a significant margin but I use it more than my other 2 headphones.  When used with a high source input and a good headphone amp, they can make some flawed recordings sound amazing.  I don't believe a headphone exists that can make all recordings sound equally good but the DT 990 has a synergy with older recordings that really bring out the best.  
     
    Anyone who listens to older Classical and opera recordings should add the DT 990 to their headphone collection.  We live in a world where Bose and Beats outsell all other headphone manufacturers combined and we should feel very fortunate that we have so many fine headphones to choose from.
    Light - Man and cpauya like this.
  2. sniperwill0
    4.5/5,
    "True quality. "
    Pros - Open, airy, uncongested sound; fantastic detail; controlled bass; superb build quality; comfortable velour pads and tall ear cups
    Cons - treble can get a bit harsh depending on the song
    A truly fantastic headphone, especially at its price point. The sound is very airy and open while providing superb, detailed imaging (jazz and blues really shine on these). It's really amazing how easy it is to pick out individual instruments. Bass, mids and treble are well behaved, although the treble can get borderline harsh depending on the song you're listening to. 
     
    Build quality is also fantastic on these. While they are plastic, it's a high quality, durable plastic that is built to last. Metal headband is a very welcome feature (especially coming from the SRH940 which is notorious for its cracking headband). Velour pads are soft and comfy with sizeable cups to fit medium-large ears. 
     
    Overall, a top recommendation. 
  3. yoceto
    5.0/5,
    "Great sounding pair of headphones. Great value and robust feel"
    Pros - Great detail in the highs and the mids. Deep bass. Outstanding build quality and comfort.
    Cons - Lack of replaceable cable. Coiled cable is a bit ugly.
    I have those paired with Creative Zxr and I am impressed with the quality of the sound. Some are saying the Zxr overwhelms with bass but I don't feel this. The bass is enough, it can be definitely felt but its absolutely not leaking into the mids. Those mids on the other hand... detailed, crisp full of dynamics and precision. And the hights - oh..  Listening to piano and violin concertos is so pleasant. Soundstage is wide and with the Zxr channel separation is very pronounced. The packaging is simple, there is nothing special there, Beyerdynamic could have included more "premium" carying bad/box but hey, for below 200$ this is what you get. The build quality on the other hand is very good. It feels sturdy and very solid. I am yet to see how this holds agains time. Comfort is remarkable, I nearly cannot feel them on my head. There is no discomfort both on the ears and the top of the head. The earpads are soft, almost velure like. It would look better with leather pads but comfort would likely suffer. Beyer could have included a leather kit in the box similarly to their 1770pro set. The only real downside of the headphones is the lack of replaceable cable. I would have really liked 1.2m straight cable for outdoor use. 

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