beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.44737/5,
  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. 
  4. rigodeni
    3.0/5,
    "Lost in translation"
    Pros - Powerful bass for an "open" design. Extremely durable and comfortable.
    Cons - Treble can get harsh at high volume. Mids sound distant. Bass can get boomy/loose.
    My Setup
     
     

    Tested with my Dell XPS 8700 desktop going optical out to a Yamaha RX-V365 amp (1/4 inch headphone out). I played various files (FLAC, MP3, M4A) at different bit rates using the fubar2000 media player with all EQ off. I am borrowing this DT 990 from a friend who purchased it a few months ago. I will compare this headphone to my Sennheiser HD 600 throughout this review. Note the HD 600 is double the price but serves as a good benchmark.
     
     
    Design/Comfort (8/10)
     
     

    In terms of design this is nearly identical to the DT 770. Since I already went into detail on the design in my DT 770 review, I will only focus on the differences here. Instead of the tiny ported design on the side of the DT 770 ear cups, the DT 990 has a larger cutout on the rear grill. It's interesting to note that although the rear ear cups are fully grilled, the cutout for the driver to breathe is a small circle (1 inch diameter) in the center. If you look closely you can see this in the photo above. This design does impact how this headphone sounds in a significant way which I will cover in the next section.
     
    In terms of comfort the 990 is more comfortable than the 770, but you will only notice this on much longer sessions. This is because the 990 is 20 grams lighter and more breathable. Compared to the HD 600 it's 10 grams lighter, but less breathable. There is even more room in the oval ear cup design of the HD 600, with better headband support. In order of most to least comfortable I would say HD 600, DT 990, and DT 770.
     
     ​


    Being an open design sound leakage is obviously greater than the 770. However, leakage is not as significant as the HD 600. It actually does provide a little isolation in comparison. This might be in part to the small 1 inch cutout vs the completely open grill of the HD 600. Aesthetically the HD 600 with it's granite counter top like finish and metal grills looks the best of the three.
     
    I much prefer the cable design on the HD 600. The coiled design of the 990/770 is convenient for transport but causes cable tension when in use. And lets be honest, none of these headphones are meant to be portable. Unfortunately the cable is not replaceable on the 990/770. However, in terms of durability and quality materials Beyerdynamic takes the cake for sure. The HD 600 does have issues with cracks appearing on the headband. Mine developed this within a couple months. For more on the superior durability of the 990/770 checkout my DT 770 review.
     
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     ​

    Sound (6/10)
     
    Because the ear cups are not completely open like the HD 600, the 990 has less leakage and superior isolation. This explains why bass response is superior with the 990, on par with the 770. Response range is equally great and honest on both the DT 990 and HD 600. But when the song calls for it you feel the bass impact more and for longer with the 990. However, the 990 doesn't get it all right when it comes to mids or treble. Treble is bright with sibilance in the upper (9k+) range. This can become harsh at high volumes over extended periods. Particularly in songs with instruments like violin or saxophone.
     
     

    Mid range is recessed or distant compared to the "in your face" mids of the HD 600. It's as if I put some sort of padded covering over the drivers in comparison. Soundstage and separation for me is on par with the DT 770. It's good, but I was expecting better considering the open design. Again, this could be due to the partially closed ear cup design of the 990. The HD 600 has the best soundstage and separation of the three, hands down. The 990's harshness in treble and recessed mids can be remedied somewhat with an equalizer. However, even EQ'ed to my liking the DT 990 just doesn't sound as revealing or natural as the HD 600. I give it 6/10 mostly due to the harshness which caused ear fatigue.
     
     
    Verdict (6/10)
     
     

    Coming from my positive review of the 770 I was expecting more from the 990. Especially considering an open design is easier to make from an engineering standpoint. To be fair it's not a bad sounding headphone in it's own right, especially when EQ'ed. It's just facing fierce competition in this price range. The HD 558, HD 598, DT 880, and AKG Q701 are all viable open back contenders. The DT 770 sounds better and offers a better value in the Beyerdynamic lineup if you need isolation. The DT 770 is also available in various impedances while the 990 is not. The HD 558/598 have better mids and treble but lack in bass. If budget permits upgrading to the HD 600 is worth every penny. In the future I hope to get my hands on the DT 880 and AKG Q701 to see how they compare.

    Light - Man likes this.
  5. zanox
    4.5/5,
    "One of the best Mid-fi headphones for trance !!"
    Pros - Spacious and airy soundstage, Treble and bass quantity, Somewhat warm and clear mids, god-like for movies, Made in Germany, bang for the buck.
    Cons - Treble and bass quantity, Thin and recessed mids, V shaped sound.
                              
  6. SoundApprentice
    4.0/5,
    "Gateway drug to head-fi addiction"
    Pros - Extreme comfort, powerful bass, nice soundstage
    Cons - Treble sparkle can be overpowering, no removable cable
    [​IMG]


    If you’re in the market for audiophile-grade headphones, you’ve probably heard of Germany’s professional audio electronics manufacturer Beyerdynamic. In the business of handcrafting premium headphones since 1924, Beyerdynamic is synonymous with hi-fi audio and head-fi enthusiasts worldwide. It’s no surprise then, that when setting out to find a headphone that would deliver high-end performance free from the esoteric claims and sticker shock that have become commonplace in the world of audiophilia, Beyerdynamic’s offerings come highly recommended.

    Sitting back to enjoy a great stereo system is my preferred listening experience, but due to the fact that I spend more time in a cube farm on a regular basis, headphones have become a must-have for me. The warm sonic signature and reasonable comforts of the closed-back Shure SRH840 professional monitoring headphones that I previously reviewed fill my at-work listening needs perfectly. But, that first step into “premium” headphone sound piqued my interest in acquiring a nice pair of cans for my late-night listening sessions at home.

    What I wanted: Crisp, detailed highs; moody, full-bodied mids; punchy bass; a wide, airy soundstage, and comfort to boot. As usual, I started scouring the Internet in search of the perfect headphone that would deliver exceptional sound quality, comfort, value and performance. Thankfully, I found a pair to try before paralysis from analysis set in.

    Enter the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO 250-ohm monitoring headphone.

    [​IMG]With an MSRP of $300 but often on sale for a mere $150, this headphone straddles the line of diminishing returns by delivering excellent performance at a reasonable price. While several versions of the DT 990 exist, minor changes to the headband, driver housing, cable and packaging allow the same critical internals of the higher priced DT 990 versions (MRSP $430) to be used in the DT 990 PRO application at a lower price point, making it economically feasible for pro audio business purposes while giving consumers an affordable option for those that care less about aesthetics and more about getting the best sound per dollar.
     

    “Sound You Can Rely On”

    As described by Beyerdynamic, the DT 990 PRO is their “Professional acoustically open headphone for monitoring and studio applications.” And while the box claims these cans offer an “analytical sound,” I would argue that the frequency response provides just enough sizzle in the highs and a slight boost in the bass to make it a dynamic and enjoyable headphone to listen to. In short, the DT 990 PRO uses hand-made neodymium drivers nestled inside composite open-back driver housings that help these cans deliver a quick, transparent and surprisingly wide and airy soundstage.

    For those of you that know me or have been following this blog, you know that I listen to a wide variety of music that includes jazz, blues, electronica, folk, hard rock/metal, reggae and more. Well, I’ve been nothing but surprised by how well the DT 990 PRO performs. Instruments have excellent separation; vocals are crisp and clean; cymbals and horns shimmer with a nice sense of realism; bass notes are consistently tight, fast and punchy without ever being “boomy” or bloated; and the mids, albeit slightly recessed sometimes due to the bass hump around 100 Hz, refrain from being muddied or dull. Overall, the DT 990 PRO presents a rich, full-bodied, engaging sound that centers the mind’s eye well.

    A word of caution, however: As you’d expect with a headphone designed for studio monitoring and mastering, these cans are revealing—bad recordings and low bit-rate digital files will likely sound bright, edgy, unrefined and unpleasant, but pair them with good recordings and a nice source and these babies sing.

    Do these need an amp? Not necessarily; the DT 990 PRO can get plenty loud on mobile devices and still sound good, but if you want the best performance with the lowest noise floor and greatest dynamics, a headphone amp is recommended.

    =2141&graphID[]=963&graphID[]=713&scale=30][​IMG]Are they boomy? No. The bass does have some added emphasis compared to the DT 880 PRO, but it is still tight and accurate.

    Are they bright? They’re crisp and detailed, and if you’re sensitive to high frequencies they may come off as bright, but overall I’d say they manage to stay away from being harsh.

    =2141&graphID[]=963&graphID[]=713&scale=30][​IMG]Should I get the DT 990, DT 880 or DT 770?That’s really up to you and your needs. The DT 990 is an open-back headphone—sound will leak, but you’ll have a wider soundstage and the presentation is dynamic. The DT 880 is a semi-open headphone specifically for reference monitoring—it has a more linear response that is very analytical compared to the DT 990 or DT 770. The DT 770 is a closed-back headphone that is pitchier than both the DT 990 and DT 770; the bass has greater emphasis, the mids are more recessed, and the highs jump more. The DT 990 PRO basically puts you between these “fun” and “analytical” headphones, leaving you with a dynamic compromise that seemingly performs well across all music genres.
     

    “Superior Build Quality”

    For those of you that are accident-prone, nearly all parts on the DT 990 PRO are replaceable, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it—these things are built for use.

    Unboxing the DT 990 PRO, you’ll likely be struck with how light these cans are; including the 3-meter coiled cable (not detachable), these weigh in at 378 grams or 13.3 ounces on my scale. I’m not sure how that stacks up with other popular options on the market, but in relation to my Shure SRH840s, these sit significantly easier on my head… in fact, they’re hardly noticeable.

    Beyerdynamic actually claims the weight reduction achieved in the composite driver housing lends a hand in creating the DT 990 PRO’s excellent sound quality. And while some may be struck by the light weight and composite driver housing as showing signs of weakness or lesser quality, the DT 990 PRO headphone simply saves much of its weight through its minimalist design and materials choices. The headphone is constructed from a spring steel headband wrapped in a slim, removable padding; the anodized aluminum forks are slim but decidedly solid; the composite driver housings, albeit flexy across the open back, are robust around the perimeter; and the velour ear cup pads are of good quality, free from loose seams, and the semi-soft pad conforms effortlessly to the head.
     

    The Fit

    [​IMG]Despite being a full-size circumaural (around-the-ear) headphone constructed of composite plastics, aluminum and steel, these cans are anything but bulky or heavy. In fact, the combination of their light weight, soft headband and cushy ear pads makes these an incredibly comfortable headphone to wear for hours at a time—I’ve even fallen asleep with them on several times.

    While I have a relatively small oval head (21” circumference), I found the clamping tension to be just about right, maybe even a tiny touch loose for me. Still, the headphones manage to stay securely in place while moving/tilting the head and laying down, and I never experienced any fatigue or hotspots due to excessive pressure on the ears or head. Aside from the sensation of having two velour donuts circling my ears, it’s hard to tell that these are even being worn. My ears found plenty of room inside of the cups, and while the velour ear pads do absorb body heat quickly, the open-back design lets the headphone “breathe” just enough to keep the sweat at bay.

    Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO headphone is a price-to-performance champ, delivering comfort, quality, and audiophile-grade sound at a price nearly every hi-fi enthusiast can afford. 

    Technical Specs 
    Headphone design: Open-back, circumaural (around-the-ear)
    Headphone impedance: 250 ohms
    Headphone frequency response: 5 - 35,000 Hz
    Nominal SPL: 96 dB
    Nominal THD: < 0.2%
    Power handling: 100 mW
    Cable & Plug: Coiled cable with gold-plated mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) and 1/4" adapter
    Net weight: 378 grams, w/ cable

    Listening Setup
    Amp: NAD C 326BEE
    Source: Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD/DVD player
    Interconnects: DH Labs Air Matrix
    Power Cords: DH Labs Power Plus Reference AC (DIY)
    Wilashort likes this.
  7. jdpark
    4.5/5,
    "Great cans *for the money* - Need good equipment - Have difficult highs"
    Pros - Meaty and detailed in lows and mids with very good bass quality, good highs for acoustic music, and some EDM
    Cons - Requires better equipment than you would think from the going retail price of under $200. Gets annoying with pop, rock, distorted guitar, cymbals...
    Background: I've had these for over five months and put at least 200 hours on them.  They still have a lot of energy in the highs, yes, and taming them is an essential part in enjoying them. They are super comfy and super well-built, with lots of real metal. 
     
    Important Note of Preference Regarding Gear: All parts of the chain matter here: dac, amp, interconnects and the recording itself. Sibilance appears in vocals on MP3 tracks, but not with WAV files and above usually, especially of your DAC can use an ASIO filter. (I know it's controversial scientifically, but these phones seem to highlight the harshness of other output modes to my ears).  They can sound great out of good CD player's headphone jack, as in the old Denon and Marantz ones especially. They are also good with integrated receivers, which have analogue EQing possibilities.
     
    Strengths: These are very rhythmic headphones with raised lows and highs that can be too much for many genres but means they shine on nearly all good acoustic recordings, including choral music and, up-tempo classical, bluegrass, and world or folk music that is very acoustic oriented.
     
    They do amazingly well on orchestral works, and can make sense of very complex music.
     
    With the right amp and source, the mids are very good, in my opinion.
     
    Highs might be seen as a strength to some, because they give some air and realism to violins, female voices, and this is a plus on good recordings in my opinion.
     
    In addition, solo music that is meant to represent real instruments like classical guitar, piano, harp, cello and other instruments that need a bit of beef in the lower section sound more realistic than any other headphones I've tried. They also add clarity to spoken or sung lyrics, but the mix doesn't bring vocals to the front like some phones. 
     
    They are fantastic for movies and gaming, especially if you watch actual DVDs.
     
    Weaknesses: The problem is that the highs are truly exaggerated right at the point that is generally higher than the human voice and most acoustic instruments. So in most systems, you may have trouble with many rock, pop, and electronic genres. Even hip-hop can be annoying because of sibilant vocals, making guys sound like they have a lisp, particularly on less than amazing recordings, which is 90% of all hip-hop, anyway. I have listened to Green Day, Neil Young, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, and some others (not a huge rock collector, actually), and while I particularly like what these phones do to punk rock, ska, and complex songs, they generally get fatiguing very fast. Most of these genres boost the treble anyway to compensate for the poor systems found in cars and the average home stereo or stock IEMs. 
     
    I found that even with higher resolution tracks, such as Peter Tosh's "Equal Rights" 24/96, by HDTracks, the cymbals really get on my nerves very quickly. Strangely, Wav files from 16/44 Reggae recordings typically bother me less. It could be with certain mainstream "remasterings" of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, they really cook the treble to sound better on inferior speakers. Lesser known albums such as Culture's "Harder than the Rest" sound great with lots of layers of percussion, but still grate after a while. 
     
    I personally do not find them perfect for EDM. The highs get annoying very quickly with this genre, even though the spacing, imaging, layering, and bass is very good. Probably you would want to go with one of the Hifiman orthos if this is your gig. I liked Daft Punk's Random Access Memories album almost better with my Sure 425s, due to their speed, flat bass, smooth mids, and rolled off highs.
     
    Older jazz recordings can also come up short under the microscope of these cans, even if the overall enjoyment might be there. They are just too unforgiving of the slightest distortion (at least when heard through my solid state Lehmann Rhinelander, or the Schiit Magni (major earache)).  Newer jazz recordings are generally good with these phones, but it depends on how many electronic instruments are being used, and how they mix the percussion. If it's too hot, you're probably going to find these a bit tiring for some jazz recordings as well.
     
    I find myself having to adjust the volume sometimes, even for acoustic music, due to the imbalance of the highs. For this, as the 6moons review noted with the DT880 600ohm (which they also recommend for jazz and classical), you need a good volume pot that can be adjusted ever-so-slightly within tracks, between tracks, and certainly between recordings.
     
    They also don't do justice to many older recordings, due to the exaggeration of flaws, pops, clicks, and tape hiss. This is very unfortunate for me, and one of the reasons I'm thinking of moving on to a more forgiving headphone.
     
    ***Some say you can EQ these phones to have smoother highs, but my experience is that EQing doesn't help much. I don't think I'm the majority opinion here, but I feel that the acoustic features of this phone are hard to override without getting negative side effects such as distortion.
     
    Comparisons and a note on Value:
     
    The absolutely crazy thing is that I bought them for $150, and I bought my Fiio E10 for around $60 a couple of years ago.  With literally nothing else, you have leapfrogged over the vast majority of low-fi and low-mid-fi set-ups costing three times this much. Not only that, you would have to spend many times as much to get a full room set up that sounds even close to as good. No I use the HRT HD and the Lehmann Rhinelander with Chord interconnects. It sounds very, very good, but a bit too much energy in the highs for most non-acoustic music. The good thing is that I'm not worried that I'm missing any details. I'm sure some very pricey cans, such as the T1 or HD800 can pull up more micro-details, but honestly, more detail is not the problem here, but rather the slightly less-than-smooth sound that results from the extended highs.
     
    Nothing else that I know of in the $150-250 range will clearly beat these in terms of accuracy, meat in the low-mids, and ability to scale up to a very serious mid-fi sound system.
  8. BlendVFX
    4.5/5,
    ""Beyerify" this - a 140$ German headphones packing an absolute bang for a buck! "
    Pros - Comfort, Sound stage, details, unlimited amounts of bass (a debatable "pro" though), sturdy construction, PRICE, loudness, sturdy telephone cord....
    Cons - ... and weak cord attachement to a headphones themselves, VERY fragile membranes, bass dominance.
    Hello ladies and gentlemen, today i will describe my third pair of DT-990 Pro by Beyerdynamic!
     
         Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 250 Ohm for their price of 140 dollars able to outperform every other headphones on the market with the same price tag.  Without further delay i must notify you that those headphones are not the very first ones in my posession (i owned three DT-990), but will be reviewed from this point of view because many professionals already own better pieces of "tech" and know everything i have to say.
         These headphones (i bought three pieces just because i was addicted to their sound) are used by me  for my personal projects alongside with Sennheiser HD-600,  projects involve creation of various sounds and short pieces of ambient music for my CG animations and they performed very well in those conditions but right now, let me expain the pros and the cons for those who "can`t decide", "this is my first high-end/good headphone", "bass is too much" and others who seems to like them but wait for that one final voice to add to overall balance.
     
    PROS:
     
          1) Comfort:  Yes, you are right, this is their first and strongest advantage if you spend long time in front of your PC recording/listening/playing/doing nothing. Very soft and ear-friendly velour pads on the durable plastic case that is surprisingly not so heavy as many tend to fear (i don`t notice them on my head like Koss Porta Pro, they are that soft and stealthy, only small weight reminds me that my head has something on it) and they supprassing HD-598 in this hands down. Also, if you are training your neck in gym or at home, you are even less likely to notice them.
     
          2) Sound Stage - It is wide, better than expected, i can almost feel the wide space inside the theatre or concert hall but this also means you need to have good, very good hardware  as well as high quality music or video stream or you will be disappointed, because DT-990s tend to show a ton of "cuts", "downsides" and "trash" in low quality recordings or videos that most likely, with time (especially if you never had a headphone better than this before) make you delete/close the thing you watching and/or listening and wait for HQ release. You can say that sound stage isn`t the best and you will be right and wrong because there is a better stage, but it has a higher price point (and we aren`t talking about anything more expensive than 140 dollars today).
     
          3) Details - You will hear far more than you expect, in fact, you will be even amazed and want to listen every album you have!  But there is also a tricky part, you have to take into account one thing - warm up.  Exactly! You need to listen to these headphones for X time so they actually reveal their own sound, in my case it was 2 months or a tad less, after that my piece of headphones cleared itself up  and revealed a detailed, "flexible" sound.
       
           4) Bass - Bass is the selling point, advantage and disadvantage of these headphones. You can listen every bassy track once again and wonder why all your previous headphones had no bass and this piece seems to shine through and through! But there is also a tricky part, you can`t exactly rely on them to record/polish your tracks (working with sounds like explosions and weapons is fine to a degree, but you can`t rely on them without listening end result on neutral headphones) because DT-990 may fill everything with bass even where it is not needed at all, so you need to find more neutral pieces of headphones (like i said before, sennheisers were used with Beyers to watch out for the second ones in order to deliver "intended sound").
     
           5) Sturdy Construction - Any other cheap headphone posess a cheap pieces of thin plastic that will break if you drop them,  but that is not the case with our piece of headphones. DT-990 have a solid, sturdy construction that allows it to survive accidental drops and not crack in half from it, but that doesn`t mean you should "tease a bull with red cloth" and start throwing them around, test them with a hammer, screwdriver or a rocket launcher. They will survive fall from table or accidental drops from a height of your shoulder and as i will mention in the downsides, they are still better to be treated like expensive, "decorated with golden writings and covered with thin layer of pure platinum" type of thing. Overall, the latest model survived over 8 months, used daily and was dropped 4 times from a table height and 3 times from my head.
           
           6) PRICE - C`mon, this is 140 dollars and unless you are poor and 140$ is half/entirety of your monthly income then it is great bang for your buck!  Price drives people better than technical specifications (sometimes people will buy a cheap underperforming thing  in order to "fit in the budget" yet they aware that more expensive one is better and they start to claim that the cheaper thing is better then its pricey competitor and you will be evil unless you believe them. But as someone said, they do this to preserve themselves from psychological trauma of having inferior thing while realizing they could`ve got superior one.) and here we have a rare match of price and performance, so don`t let others cloud your vision :)
     
            7) Loudness - They will sound as loud as your sound card can make it, you can be DEAFENED by it! This piece of headphones has 250 Ohm impendance that is an "entry barrier" for the hardware you are going to plug your headphones to. In order for them to sound good (especially if you don`t have a sound card) you need a very decent sound card and sometimes even an amplifier that capable of driving 250 Ohm headphones. So, in case if you are "just born audiophile" you need to know that 250 and 600 Ohm headphones require a serious amplifier (some external sound cards have one) or you won`t hear the headphone sound as it was intended by manufacturer and inventor, you will get a quiet, dirty sound with absolutely wrong details and stage (Please, don`t even mention integrated Realtek or smartphones... unless smartphone is not one of those new Meizu Mx3 with Wolfson DAC that actually MAY produce a decent-ish sound... *cough* for a smartphone *cough*) that will make you hate yourself, your source of sound and your tiny budget.
     
            8) Sturdy cord - telephone-ish cord that is strong (albeit a little bit short) and capable of withstanding punishment of accidents and user stupidity (unless you try to cut it with knife to test it...) to a certain degree, all three pieces of DT-990s that i owned have their cord intact. 
             
       
    Now, i will describe disadvantages (as good as they are, they aren`t perfect), hovewer most of them is a result of me trying to find ones.
     
    CONS:
     
         1) Cord attachement to a headphones - seriously, this is where you will most likely find yourself with soldering-iron, because in the case of last two pieces of headphones one of them was switching off unless you will "push the wire" towards the connection point of cord to a headphone or slightly bend it so sound appears again in both drivers and not just one of them. This problem will appear very soon if you forget about your headphones and suddenly run to switch off something in the kitchen (two pairs of koss Porta Pros were not just broken but utterly destroyed by this, one DT-990 also didn`t survived the experience but was reanimated by miniature electric soldering iron and a ton of sweat...)
     
         2)  Weak Membranes - Thin white membranes that located under the thing that looks like foam-rubber, the evil very core. The very first pair had one of the membranes punctured and i had to take them to warranty repairs and when i asked "What caused the damage?" i got  a strange answer - "Someone`s hair". I guess i should`ve guessed that Beyers make this foam-rubber thing too weak for my hair. That means clean it from hair on daily basis (especially if you have a lot of them) and this makes them look not as sturdy as i told (and warned) 
     
         3) Bass dominance - It is a good thing when you listen to a music, play videogames (like Starcraft 2 or World Of Tanks where explosions and cannon fire is all around the place), watch movies and videos on youtube but it is not the case when you edit recorded sounds or composed piece of music. You need a more balanced, neutral headphones if you are going to actually work with a music and there are a ton of them to do just that (i used sennheisers and clients weren`t complaining about sound, but hey, there is always a pair of "cans" that does it better, so it is all about a length of a dollar that you are ready to spend)
     
     
    Score:  9 out of 10. 
    Why: Price`n`Performance. For their price of 141$ on amazon right now (06.16.2014) they compete with weaker headphones and they destroy the challengers (even HD-598 that seems to have a higher price on amazon than they are) while striving, but failing to match their more expensive competitors like Sennheiser HD-600. However if their price was 300$ (according to one and only Amazon) it would`ve been 7 or even 6 out of 10 because you can add a little more and get HD 600 or even HD-650 that will be better and more neutral (however, some prefer non-neutral headphones to enjoy the music only)
     
    What you as reader get out from this score:  If you want to buy your first GOOD headphones and looking at beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro then look no further!  Their sound will pleasantly surprise you (especially after you will "warm them up" for a seven days or so, but my pair was warmed up after ~20 days with 5 hours of non-stop listening) and their sturdiness will forgive you accidental drops and other types of damage you can inflict on headphone. Also, you may look "professional" in them because those headphones have minimalistic, sturdy design (not to mention that they are german, some people think all the best stuff manufactured only in germany :D) that is not bristling with rainbow of colors, drawn kittens and cheap thin plastic that easily breaks. 
                Hovewer, if you are experienced or even profesional you may want to look at pricier solutions (because you most likely have something that costs ~350-550 $ and a similar priced sound card to power them) and not stop on beyers...
     
    "Maybes": . Anyway you will hear these headphones differently (well, human ear is extremely delicate "piece" of our body, younglings tend to hear much wider frequency range than 60 year olds, besides we have our own tastes and preferences...) , so it is useless to describe something you can`t describe with words but something you will hear and understand - like bass, mids, highs, lows and so on.  The only way to find out is to go out and find decent audio "shop" and kindly ask to listen to this headphone with expensive sound card (yes, expensive, even if you are not going to buy one, listening to them will allow you to get that "ah, i like the bass, but mids could be better" or vice versa, and when you will go out to buy your own cheaper sound card you will understand is it worth your money or not) and do the "final evaluation" yourself.
     
    My hardware
    Powerful Workstation: Core i7 3960x OCd, 32GB DDR-3 Ram, GTX 780, SSD Vertex-4.
    Recording, editing and polishing: Roland Octa Capture (Sound quality is the same as in RME Fireface UCX, high quality drivers for the card, ASIO drivers and good preamps)
    Listening/Gaming/Watching/Light recording:  Roland Quad Capture (24/192khz, DAC from Octa-Capture, ASIO v2.0 and great drivers!) 
    Audio Format: .flac
    Headphones: Koss Porta Pro (Barely alive, third pair of these headphones started my quest for the better sound ^_^), Beyerdynamic DT-990, DT-1350, Sennheiser HD-598, Sennheiser HD-600, HiFiMaN HE-4 (waiting for better sound card, Burson Audio Conductor looking good).
     
    If you are going to buy Roland UA-55 quad capture for DT-990 Pro then i recommend that you get something even more powerful or buy a preamp with it,  because during the last three months i have noticed that volume knob on my Roland UA-55 is always set on 60%. It may be not that bad, but i feel that headphones lack amplification from the sound card, because turning knob up from 75 to 100% does close to zero amplification (it just stays on the same volume).  Also, don`t even try to connect them to a phone, my Xperia Z shown me (yes, 250 Ohm headphones without amplification to a phone... stupid, maybe even retarded, but i had to try) that it is useless to use it to listen music on go (for that i have DT-1350) and if you want to listen music that bad on smartphone with these headphones, buy Meizu Mx3 (Wolfson WM5102 DAC) or Vivo X3S with ESS Technology ES9018 DAC and Texas Instruments OPA2604 amplifier  should sound decent too... but never as good as full size external sound card.
     
    Thank you for reading and wish you to find the best headphones for your ears! d(^_^)b  
  9. tanner116
    4.5/5,
    "With a bit of getting used to, the DT990's offer detail, separation, and clarity."
    Pros - Clarity, soundstage, detail, treble, bass, COMFORT, build quality
    Cons - May be too bright for some
    Please note that all are opinions from a fairly inexperienced head-fi’er (see below for what I have to compare to). I am sixteen, and for the entire review, I am listening to rock. See below for a full list of the albums/artists that were used most for this review. So, all in all, this is a review of the DT990’s and how well they play with rock to my young ears. Still with me? Great, then lets get into it.
     

     
    My other headphones: ATH-M50’s, Grado SR80i’s, and a short stint with Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears. I am amping with a PA2v2 through a FiiO LOD that connects to my 32GB iPhone 4s.
    I bought the DT990’s on eBay with 25 hours of use for $130.
     

       
         Music used (my music is about 50/50 between Apple Lossless and AAC): Jimmy Eat World, The Gaslight Anthem, Yellowcard, Rise Against, They Might Be Giants, Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, Billy Joel, Kittyhawk, Mayday Parade, U2, and various Disney and Broadway soundtracks.
         Albums used much more than others: Clarity, Bleed American, Ocean Avenue, The ’59 Sound, Flood, Louder Now, The Final Roit!, Kittyhawk EP
     
                Build Quality
     
         The Beyers are no slackers here. The cable is thick enough and feels sturdy, and the coil is convenient. I usually use the amp, but the jack is built so that I can actually plug it straight into the phone without needed to take off the case. The headphones include a screw-on 1/8in adaptor, as is to be expected. The bit connecting the cups to the headband is metal, and the rest is plastic that feels fine and sturdy. The velour is wonderful. The headphones can be bent in several directions to more-than-satisfactory levels. I haven’t been brave enough to do anything stupid with them, but they will bend plenty, unless you happen to need to wear them like a pterodactyl. The build quality, overall, is very solid. I expect that these will be able to take a beating and keep on playing.
     
                Pricing
     
         Like I mentioned, I bought these almost new for $130 on eBay. They currently go new on Amazon for around $160. For such a study build, brand, and sound, I would say that this price is very fair.
     
                Comfort
     
         The velour is fantastic. These headphones are simply floating on my head. The only problem I have for comfort is when I wear glasses while listening to them for more than an hour. The pads will press the glasses against my head, which gets uncomfortable. This is no real problem for me, though, as I usually sit down and listen to music without the glasses. Overall, fabulously comfortable.
     

                Sound
     
         I have had these for a few months now. For the first week or so of using them, I was really shocked. Going from Grados as my main headphone previously, the DT990’s seemed to come from another planet. The treble was too much and the whole thing seemed a bit empty. After a while of using them and adjusting to the huge change in sound signature from my SR80i’s (which, I loved, by the way), I grew to appreciate the sound signature more and more. The headphones are heavy on the treble, no doubts there. But the treble is very detailed, letting you imagine that you can see the artist hitting those cymbals on their drums. The bass isn’t extremely powerful, but definitely has a presence. It sounds accurate, fairly tight and punchy. Accurate and aural are the words that come to mind when describing the bass of these cans. It is very surrounding, and it is certainly not muddy. Lots of people complain about the midrange of these, but I had no qualms with it. The midrange is detailed and sufficient. The soundstage is large, larger than any other headphone I’ve owned. The presentation lends itself to a very detailed presentation, which I came to really appreciate. All in all, the Beyers have a detailed sound with a lot of very detailed treble, and very satisfying amounts of equally detailed bass and mids. The presentation and clarity is wonderful and conducive to my music tastes.
     
    What I liked:
    -Detail, detail, detail. Open soundstage with great instrumental separation
    -Comfort. These are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn (either at home or at a head-fi meet)
    -Sparkle in the treble
    -Solid build quality
    -Good value
    What I didn’t like:
    -Took a while to get into
    -Treble may be a bit too much for some
     
               Conclusion
     
         Give these headphones at least a week of listening before you pass judgement. For the music that I listen to, I love the overall presentation that the DT990’s have to offer. I very much enjoy using them as my main set of cans right now. They don’t have the forward aggression of the SR80i’s, nor the neutrality of the ATH-M50’s, but they are strong in every place where the other two are not. For my price of $130, I am very satisfied with it.
    Wilashort likes this.
  10. droido256
    5.0/5,
    "a amazing can"
    Pros - over all sound quality and signature
    Cons - put my more expensive headphones to shame, coiled cord(not a big deal)
    A great can, esp considering the price.
     
    Fit, and comfort. these things IMO cannot get more comfortable. it's like your head is being hugged by the softest stuffed animals in the world. yes literally, after about a minute you dont feel them at all. A firm not tight clamp keeps them in place. The headband nestles the crown of the head nicely.
     
    Build quality. These things are built solid. Plastic, but the durable kind, with a metal headband, and yoke.
     
    Sound quality. These sound great, with deep lows, engaging mids ( I dont know where people are getting this recessed mids thing) highs that sparkle, but not screech. They do need amping to make them shine, however I find them being powered ok directly from iphone 4s ( wouldnt recommend doing it for long) they excel at female vocals. I;ve honestly have not yet heard headphones this good yet.