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Headphones item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - HiFi - Grain Free Treble, Under-Priced, Agreeable Design.
Cons - Hand Assembly Tolerances.
Beyerdynamic. A company that really "Invents" and "Innovates" unlike the other crap you see today that people here go mad for.
I won't take any names because you see, people here are sensitive. Anyway, to the point.
The DT990 is one of the oldest Dynamics still in production. The Legend had to retire.
If we know our history, which many here don't know.
Beyerdynamic didn't believe in Electrostatic Headphones. They did make a ET1000 due to demand but that was a very brief run. From 1937 Eugen Beyer was very keen on making Dynamics sound the best, of course there were no E-Stats in 1937 but the aim continued and I hope will be continued for years to come.
I think DT Beyers are probably the best Dynamics, technically speaking. Compared to the offering from the Japanese, Summit-Fi stuff, these DT Beyerdynamics blow all of them in terms of fidelity.
I'll give a brief comparison - DT990 VS HD800 VS T1.
Anyway, I'll talk about my ordeal first.
The first day I got my Edition 600Ohms, there was a very obvious rattling in both cups, It didn't sound like a "HAIR" in the driver. It sounded like improper gluing due to which it was hitting excursion at Low SPL, earlier than usual. Anyway, I opened up the driver to get answers. And, Indeed. I was right.
There was no hair, something might have gone wrong that day because this the Classic improper gluing mistake which is so common with Handmade Dynamics, except the DT48 due to the design.
Since it was hitting in the capsule, the vibration were transferred to the baffle hence it was all over the place.
Interestingly enough, pressure at specific points could solve that. It was quite a task but in the end it couldn't be fixed practically.
Since I had opened the housing, I thought it would be a good idea to go Mini-XLR baby!
So I did, this was my first revision. I had revised it thrice. Minuscule things.
The below one was the final.
I would talk about the mod here but I've done a video on it -
Perfect, life was perfect until....I'll save that for later.
Sonically, how is the 600Ohm DT990?
Excellent, the treble is the best I've heard and I've heard HE-60 treble. The 600Ohm has a extremely extended and grain-free treble. I would say the treble is better than the HD800 (In terms of grain) which is again due to the the stupid PET the HD800 uses.
I'll go over the technicalities for my inference about the superiority of the DT990 over the HD800 later.
The Mid-Range is distant, they lack the body. There's enough resolution to avoid missing out detail but again, in a distant presentation.
Presence region is marvellous on the 600Ohm, although uneven. There is no harshness or grain to the timbre. Its buttery and almost too good to be true. There is some missing information up top. It extends better than the DT880 600Ohm but not as extended as the HD800 or the T1.
The bass is pretty interesting, I found the bass to be completely opposite to what idiots have been stating, Boomy? Accentuated?
What? That's not what's going on here, audibly it rolls off after 75Hz. There is a lot of energy at 100-120Hz. The Mid-Bass is very similar to the 6XX. The 600Ohm bass is very tight and textured but again my pair had excursion issues. Which ARE NOT apparent on good drivers. Those extend even better and hit very late.
Very good presentation in my book.
The imaging is pretty good, it may seem a bit wider than the DT800 because of the response. Fundamentally they are the same.
I don't think it has a 3D T1 type imaging due to the flat drivers.
Now, to my "I'll save that for later"
Since I was sure I had a defective driver, it died due to over-excursion exposure. The Voice Coil wires snapped from the contacts due to fast and elevated movement (Over-Excursion). To fix that I needed to go to Germany.
Anyway, my 30 days something old DT990 became nothing but...you know.
Being a Beyerdynamic fan, I always wanted to know about the origin of the design which I will find out soon, An opportunity for me visiting the factory came up and I took it, I'll be visiting the Factory in April.
Anyway, since one of the driver died I took it apart completely to study the design.
A very wide 600Ohm Voice Coil, less windings. Low Mass to compensate diaphragm weight.
Due to Technology limitation, Beyer couldn't use Ultra-Thin diaphragms. They instead wanted to cut the weight elsewhere. Hence we have the 600Ohm VC.
Original concept dates back to the Legend, the DT48 with the 200Ohm VC.
Best Dynamic Diaphragm, dating back to the development in 1965.
This Diaphragm was specially invented, maybe Semi-Synthetic from a Plant secretion mixed with something. Not really sure if its SS or Natural.
I will find that out in April.
No High Frequency break-up at High SPL due to the tensile strength superiority over PET. The HD800 due to the ring radiator type gets away with most of the centre dome break-up transmission but it can't touch Beyerdynamics.
In fact, your R10. BioCellulose is 1965 Beyerdynamic Membrane Technology wannabe, same concept applied 20 years later.
Normal Neo here, nothing special like the DT48 or T1.
As you can see they wanted to eliminate the fat as much as possible without loosing structural integrity. That's the reasons for the holes.
After my 600Ohm died, I bought the PRO next day.
The 600Ohms are just higher fidelity in general. My PROs have no rattling issues. Resolution and overall fidelity is much better on the 600Ohm.
The PRO is much rougher and crude in a way. Not bad, to be honest.
So, where's my Edition?
Well, its still with me, I transplanted DTX710 Drivers to it.
The DT Beyers are some of the best Dynamics in the world, not understood by many but so be it.
Next time, when you are listening to your cans. Just thank Beyerdynamic, if it wasn't for the development of the DT48 in 1936. None of this would be happening.
Eugen Beyer is and will always be the "Father Of Headphones".
My Video Review -
Pros - Prominent and detailed highs, very engaging, extremely comfortable, very open with wide soundstage and a fast-paced bass
Cons - Harsh treble (to some ears), slightly recessed mids, and rustling drivers when combined with heavy bass tracks on high volume
I picked up the Beyerdynamics as my second real hi-fi phones to replace my Sennheisers HD598 in order to get something bassy, yet with an open construction. While they were a huge improvement to my previous phones, they did not reach my expectation in the bass department, and I will explain why later on.
Treble: First off I should mention the initial sound signature of these headphones. They're very bright! You might have read about its treble, and it is true, they are truly trebly phones. But the treble is not at all what some people exaggerate it to be. Yes, the treble is noticable, and is perhaps the first thing that will strike you when you first listen to them. But the treble is detailed and deep and not sibilant, and it serves really well with some pop tracks and electronic music. The treble is also very engaging, it brings life into the highs and brings out the cymbals, but they also made female voices stand out before the instruments, as well, which is a positive thing when listening to pop.
Soundstage: It's wide, and great! As these phones are open, you might expect them to perform well in the soundstage department. With the wide soundstage of the DT990s the treble does not strike too close and too engaing to your ears. They're at a distance, but well detailed and refined. Making them even more ideal for electronic music. For electronic music I chose Susumu Hirasawa, where soundstage can make an impactful role. On some tracks the voice is supposed to go as an echo among the instruments in a distance. Though it is a male voice it becomes slightly more apparent than the high tone instrumental tunes, and it creates a life-like sound stage with a good separation of instruments on some of the tracks from Fleetwood Mac - which in comparison does a better job on the DT990 than the HD650, which is more close-sounding than the Beyers, but with less prominent highs. But again, sometimes the male vocals are less prominent and less refined, making it sometimes overwhelmed by the other instruments. Of course, this was quite rare with Susumu Hirasawa as his voice is generally fairly bright on most tracks. But it did not work well for me on male vocals in operas and some orchestral music.
Bass: Yes, they have bass, which many other head-fiers and pointed out. But some may exaggerate a bit here as well as with the treble. For an open construction these cans have some bass that amounts for quite a bit, but it is also detailed and far from muddy or overwhelming. It's fast-paced and you will notice some punch to it on some tracks, especially to some dupstep tracks--but know that these cans are not exactly ideal for Dupstep or Hip Hop. They are generally bright cans, and while they do have a fast and detailed bass, it is not in the spectrum of being plentiful enough to be considered "Bassphones." However, to some tracks the bass is quite noticable and manages well with emphasizing the lower frequencies: such as the beginning of Massive Attack - Angel, as well as the punchiness of Morgan Page - In the Air.
More importantly: If you listen to some bass-heavy tracks, such as the start of Morgans Page "In the Air" (especially if you are using any equalizer to enhance the lower frequencies) then at a certain volume level one or both of the drivers will rustle. At first I thought I had a faulty product, but investigating on the forums led me to several other cases where people suffered from rustle on bassy tracks with high volume. Amplification might help in this case, and you might be able to raise the bar of the volume level before reaching the rustle, but only slightly if so.
Comfort and Design: This, alongside the soundstage, is my favorite thing about these cans. When I first took them out they looked really robust and uncomfortable. But as soon as I took them up I realized how light they were and how extremely soft and comfortable the earpads on the thing were. Taking them on was a breeze, and the headband padding was also very comfortable - it felt as if you weren't wearing anything on your head! Again, the design, as mentioned before, looks very robust and industrial; especially how the cables go slightly bent/rounded above the earpads - and this sort of design does signify just what type of sound signature you might expect: bright and detailed with a wide soundstage (the width of the earpads). To me, the design does not necessarily strike as a pair of bassy headphones, and to some extent that is true, but it still does have a slightly more impactful bass compared to the HD598 and the HD650; but it is often associated with the treble, making drumkicks and such sound brisk and bright but still quite punchy.
Comparison: I'm not even going to compare it to the HD598, the bass, detail and comfort is far more superior on the DT990s. But I could compare it to other phones in proximity of its price-range and sound signature; and of course, with headphones that I have tested out and own(ed). To the HD650, I prefer the DT990 on most electronic music without vocals (or female vocals if included), for the electronic music I prefer to listen to the male vocal is slightly brighter than most other male vocals, making this artist more ideal for the Beyers. The DT990 was also way more engaging and more open than the HD650. I love the HD650s equally as much, but for electronic music, pop, and some classical music I preferred the DT990 where the soundstage made more impact in addition to the well prominent and detailed highs, making electronic music feel electronic. The Sennheisers are more musical/warm, and are less engaging and bear less emphasis on the highs than the Beyers, but I did feel more bass quantity on the HD650 on some tracks. However, I did feel slightly more detail on the DT990, while the HD650 were a little bit more muddy in comparison to dupstep and songs like Massive Attack - Angel and Morgan Page - In the Air.
As for the Ultrasone Pro 900, the DT990 600Ohm is quite similar in terms of sound, but some areas should be considered to be very differentiating. For example the bass on the Ultrasones is ALOT better in both quantity and quality - but the highs are far too bright on the Ultrasones and softer on the DT990s. Also the soundstage felt more natural on the DT990s - most likely cause the Beyers are open, and the Ultrasones are closed. To my ears, the Ultrasones had wider soundstage but it was unnatural in comparison to the Beyers - this could be due to the holographic S-Logic of the Ultrasones.
Conclusion: For the price range, the DT990 600Ohm comes with a lot of value - especially for movies and games. But the rustling drivers, the slightly recessed mids, and the high amount of treble are things to consider before purchasing these cans. In all honesty, despite its cons, these are really quite pleasent headphones to have - if you can get them cheaply. And they work even better with OTL tube amps. When I paired them to the LDMKIII with the Voshkod tubes, some of the 'harshness' was reduced. Or rather, the treble felt less protruding, but the clearness and the detail of the highs was still intact. If you're listening to electronic music and pop, then I can warmly recommend these headphones.
Pros - Amazing soundstage and handling of pans and treble
Cons - The low end while surprisingly strong for a open can is "all around you" and a tad reserved rather than impactful and strong.
I have a feeling these are pretty amazing headphones, but they tell me the open design isn't for me, or at least not in that form (denons).
Pros - Soundstaging and Comfort
Cons - Sound signature is not for everyone.
First off, these aren't nearly as hard to drive as you'd assume from their impedance. I was able to get decent volume out of everything I connected it to form a proper desktop amp, to straight out of the onboard sound from my netbook. They are of course, not being driven properly from something without an adequate voltage swing, but neither are they useless without a beefy amp.
On to the meat of the review. "How do they sound," I hear you asking. In one word, bright, or in two, very bright. Their metaphorical albedo is off the charts. The highs are quite pronounced, but in a very smooth and simultaneously crisp manner. Hardly peaky at all, without transient spikes leaving you constantly fiddling with the volume. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the bass is simply amazing for an open headphone. Its deep, plentiful, and tightly controlled, with the kind of snap you'd expect from a small sealed subwoofer. It doesn't have the same quantity, but the quality is similar. I'd still characterize them as bright because the treble substantially exceeds the bass. The mids are recessed in the sense that they are softer than the ends of the spectrum, but they are very clear and not muddied by the bass at all. At least at moderate volumes. At higher volumes however they seem to become even more recessed, and at extreme volumes it begins to sound like someone left the midrange driver out of a 3-way speaker. However, if you value your hearing this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
I think their biggest plus is their soundstaging. Especially when combined with positional audio. An HTRF fooled me into believing my pet parrot, who was behind me, had chirped when it was actually just the soundtrack to the show I was watching. I don't play FPSs very often anymore, but they'd be great for the task. If you turned down the BGM a little, the deep bass and crisp highs will provide satisfying blasts, booms, and gunshots. If you're not a treble head though, it may be to bright for the BGM in most movies.
I'm not a treble head however, so I decided to return mine after a week of evaluation and more than 100 hours of burn in. I couldn't listen to them for more than an hour without the treble grating on me, and I can't justify keeping a separate can just for gaming, since I don't do as much of it as I used to.If you are looking for a can just for gaming then this probably deserves to be on your short list. For music or movies? I'd say only if you are a serious treble head. The DT990s aren't for me, but they may be just right for you.
Pros - Well constructed, Extremely comfortable, suplendous bass reponse system, Open, Airy, High end quality
Cons - Slightly recessed mid-range, doesn't make my breakfast.
Well...well...well..., what can i say about the legendary beyerdynamic)))) DT990/600; that i bought from B&H a few months ago?
How about... simply remarkable for the price/performance ratio.
The journey actually begins with my firstly acquired audiophile headphone(which was also a Beyerdynamic) but it was the variant DT880/250ohm model. I thought the 880's were superb,detailed, and crisp all-rounders,but my experience with them for the first 2 months(before purchasing the 990's shortly after) was that they were some-what lacking in the bass department, the musicality and the authoritative oomh seemed nowhere to be found.
The DT990 fix all that + give a much more in-depth realism feeling without any signs of being too bloated/over-aggressive.Granted, the mid-range on these headphones are not the best, they are still incredibly detailed, warm and inviting. Quite frankly, i think burn-in drastically opens up the mid range on these cans. Fishsk113(a well known head-fi member who also loves the 990's) has said that within 100 hours or so, the mid range becomes more prominent; and I agree 100%.. I have read many many people commenting on the fact that the 990's bass was just too over-whelming and ruined the music for them. It seems to me that they either a) had the inferior '250ohm' model'[which is known to have its errors] or..b) The amping/sourcing was inadequate. or...c) The bass quantity wasn't their cup of tea.
From my perspective, I feel the bass on the 990's is "perfect" to my ears. Yeah, it has the characterisitics of a wild Kodo Beast(bad warcraft joke ) and can get a bit thick and muffled on bad recording/bass heavy tracks, but it's never over-emphasized in my opinion. Led Zeppelin has never sounded this awesome!. From the face melting mainstream guitar solos that will rock your socks, to the well balanced, low-end, soulful delicate sub bass sound spectrum of Classical Rock, the DT990's will never miss a beat as long as you stay true to your source.I remember going into discussions with driftingbunnies(another dt990 user who posts once in a while) he use to mention about the bass texture, quanity and quality of the Sennheiser HD650's. I recall him saying the Senn's had the quantity, but the beyer's had more refinement, better attack and a smoother rendering to it. I actually couldn't have said it better myself ! But i would love to try the 650 one day and do a full comparison of the two.
TheWuss has the soundstage & misc areas covered, so I don't really feel the need to get into it too much + I could give my fingers a break ^_^ But let me tell you guys, the 990 scale extremely well with gaming and movies. The open airy atmosphere will leave you breathless; some days you might feel like hovering on water with all the much needed instrument seperation and crisp clean tracking. FPS games are a plus for these cans. If you play big hits like Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield Bad Company 2, the indepth surround sound is phenomenal. The 880's might be more precise and have better accuracy, but gaming on the 990's is a dream come true. Throw in a decent tube amp in the mix and be astounded by the weight, body and circular bass motion that these headphone's will deliver. Truly immersive experience !
Conclusion: What can i say about the Beyer DT990's? They are one of the best headphones i have ever owned in my entire life. But people who want a neutral/balanced presentation should look away, as these are more of a muscially engagning, fun, dynamic, rhythmically fast paced headphone whilst still retaining most of its timbre, clarity and over-all features that the younger DT880 brother possess. Honestly, It just can't get any better than the DT990's. Well.... it can. *hint hint* JVC DX1000 / Denon AH-D7000 *hint hint*, but why pay more when you can get something that hits the "sweet spot" and coasts 1/3 of the price? I'll be looking to upgrade my Little Dot Mark 3 amp to one of the Woo Audio models (preferably the wa6) in the near future, The thing i love about the Beyers is their hidden potential to sound incredibly eargasmic as the quality of the amp rises. Truly Terrific/Under-Appreciated headphone that will be in my stable for a very long time.
Pros - stunning bass response, fabulous soundstage
Cons - somewhat recessed mids, slightly aggressive treble
Beyerdynamic's headphones, in order of popularity, probably goes something like this:
T1, DT880/600 ohm, and maybe then DT990/600 ohm. Heck, some would put DT48, T50p, or others ahead of the DT990...
So the DT990 is somewhat under-appreciated. However, a recent surge of interest at Head-Fi, possibly the result of outstanding prices at several vendors, led me to purchase these. And boy am I ever glad I did.
So, this is my first review of any product at Head-Fi, and what better headphones to review for me than the DT990?
Of all the cans i own or have owned, these are my most favorite. I find myself listening to them more than any other headphones in my stable (that includes DT880, K702, HD595, M50, and others).
So, what do the Beyer DT990/600 sound like? Well, they have mondo bass. So if you want a dead neutral set of cans, look elsewhere. And they are a little brighter than neutral as well, to my ears. So if you're very sensitive to that, look elsewhere. And they have slightly recessed mids, so if you hate that, look elsewhere. i know, it almost sounds like I'm bashing them. I'm not, i just wanted to lay out the problems that listeners may perceive with these cans.
And now that those are out of the way, what's good about them? Well, they have amazing imaging. And they throw a more realistic soundstage, in my opinion, than any other headphones I've heard, and that also includes the K702. And, the bass, if you can take it, will leave you slack-jawed. It goes down deep, and will give you that near-subwoofer presentation, much like a denon and ultrasone.
The cans mate particularly well with music that isn't already bass strong, of course. To my ears, they seem to pair excellently with classic rock. Especially vocal -centric rock like The Beatles, for example. Music like this allows their weaknesses to be waxed over and their strengths to shine. For example, the bass guitar in early Beatles albums is low in the mix (to my taste), and the DT990s brings that out to a very satisfying degree. Also, because the vocals are mixed high in these songs, the recessed mid is barely noticeable, if at all.
These cans are also the best built cans i've owned (along with the DT880s), and are supremely comfortable. I can see where someone who has larger ears may have a problem with the depth of the ear cups, and their ears may touch the cushion at the back of the cup, but I personally don't experience this problem.
Also, to briefly compare these to the DT880s. I will admit the DT880 is a more balanced can overall. But, if you really like your bass, the DT880 will not provide the quantity or quality, much less the depth of bass that the DT990 does. However, the DT880's mids are more in line with the rest of the frequency spectrum, and the highs are slightly less aggressive (and i do mean slightly).
So, I can see where most would recommend the DT880 first and foremost. But, if you're a closet basshead, these just may be your end-all open headphones... If you're not a closet basshead, these just might turn you into one.