Beyerdynamic T90 Premium Stereo Headphone

General Information

The Beyerdynamic T90 Premium Stereo Headphone is designed to provide a hi-end audiophile listening experience while remaining comfortable during long-term listening. The T90 features an open circumaural design, coupled with Telsa transducers for rich detail and enveloping sound quality for a completely immersing listening experience. The T90's wide frequency response captures the most subtle detail with pristine accuracy. Its elegant appearance is also functional with velvet lined earpads and headband providing maximum comfort.

Impressive sound experience from the start

Tesla technology with highest efficiency

Single-sided cable

Ear pads made of microfibre

Latest reviews

Pros: Very high sound quality, comfort, looks, lightweight, value
Cons: Non-detachable cable, headband/yoke issue
Hi everyone.

My cans have been burned in for at least 150 hours.

I am pleased there is a lot of love for the T90 here on Head-Fi, it is worthy of it.

These cans are light and very comfortable. The ear pads are of high quality and are easily replaceable. I think they are quite small full size open back circumaural cans and they look classy and neat. The grills/mesh look great.

I’ll be trying out some leather ear pads soon, just because.

Credit to Beyerdynamic for the weight, comfort and looks : )

Build quality is good but I do not like the headband. The headband is comfy but It loosens over time and the yokes can move when putting on or removing the cans. This is annoying but I know Beyerdynamic have addressed that with their newer cans, from experience the Amiron Home and T5P 2nd gen have superior headbands with solid clicking when making adjustments.

I also really dislike the fact that it’s cable is non-removable, again Beyerdynamic have addressed this with their newer cans.

Sound.

These are just so stunningly revealing, detailed, spacious, airy, resolving, dynamic, clear and insightful headphones.

They are very clean and open sounding with superb resolution and imaging.

Now that is a LOT of qualities : )

There must be very few headphones in the world that surpass these brilliant cans in those areas.

Maybe the only headphone I have ever heard that beats the T90 in all the areas I just mentioned are Sennheiser’s HD 800, just maybe. And that is at least double the cost of these!

That is an astonishing feat, incredible work from Beyerdynamic.

Truly special cans. They are excellent for testing gear and equipment and they scale up brilliantly.

They are a bit bright and can sound harsh or piercing sometimes so system and cable matching have a factor.

They remind me of the HD 800 but a scaled down version. But I think the T90 has more enjoyable bass.

The mids are very good and have good body.

Vocals can sound a little further back, a little recessed but are authentic and realistic. You can hear the singers breathe easily.

Sometimes the bass can be a bit subtle and lack a little slam and impact but it does sound smooth and it can go deep. The texture, extension and definition of the lows are very good.

I tested these cans on 2 set ups I luckily had at home, as per usual I only listened to 16 & 24-Bit WAV lossless files.

Setup 1.

Digital optical toslink cable,

Gustard DAC-X10 (with a HiFi Tuning internal fuse),

connected to a custom SOLID CORE PURE SILVER 99.999% 5N 2MM 12 AWG power cable with a IEGO gold over copper IEC and a Furutech FI-UK gold over copper plug and a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse,

custom pure silver XLR cable,

Lake People Phone-amp G93 fitted with a gold-plated UK plug and a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse,

all connected to a custom Russ Andrews Yello power mains extension with a Supra gold plated UK mains plug with a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse inside.

Setup 2.

Digital optical toslink cable,

Cambridge Audio DacMagic with a linear power supply,

shielded copper RCA cable,

Graham Slee Solo with the PSU1,

all connected to a Tacima CS947 mains conditioner with a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse inside.

Phew!

Here are my findings:

Setup 1 was more detailed, spacious, airy and clear.

The attack was better.

Slightly better controlled lows.

Better imaging.

Larger sound stage.

Setup 2 had fuller and bigger bass, a warmer signature.

But it sounded more closed in, sound was more centred, dome sounding.

Good impact and slam.

Missing some obvious detail and sounds.

Looser but deeper bass.

I wish setup 2 had the same mains extension block and a pure silver RCA cable to make it even more similar and fairer.

For the majority of T90 owners or potential buyers, I would recommend a warm sounding amp with good quality copper cables.

I would very much like to hear them balanced but annoyingly because of the fixed cable that will be tricky.

These are excellent cans and they are available for decent prices pre-owned now as they are discontinued by Beyerdynamic, the Amiron have replaced them but they do sound different to them...
Used T90's offer excellent value considering it's sound quality and comfort.

It is a big shame that Beyerdynamic have discontinued them, maybe they should release a T90 with their newer headband and with a detachable cable. That would be awesome but just don't change anything else.

If you are coming from a warm/veiled/dark sounding headphone to these, they may initially shock you.

But hopefully in a good way as they have many, many fantastic attributes : )

I really enjoy listening to them and I do listen to them for extensive sessions with any fatigue.

I highly recommend them.


Update 1.

I thought I’d mix things up and try this setup.

16 & 24-Bit WAV lossless files,

Foobar2000 with WASAPI event output,

Digital optical toslink cable,

Gustard DAC-X10 (with a HiFi Tuning Silver Star internal fuse),

connected to a custom SOLID CORE PURE SILVER 99.999% 5N 2MM 12 AWG power cable with a IEGO gold over copper IEC and a Furutech FI-UK gold over copper plug and a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse,

a custom 6 core pure silver litz RCA cable,

Graham Slee Solo with PSU1,

all connected to a custom Russ Andrews Yello power mains extension with a Supra gold plated UK mains plug with a AMR gold-plated 13 amp fuse inside.

(I ended up getting a pair of silver RCAs).

Wow!

Just wow!

What an incredible combo!

I am writing this whilst listening to many genres of music.

Utterly bewitching and mesmerising.

Truly stunning energy and life.

So captivating, immersive and enjoyable.

There is warmth, fullness and smoothness to the sound but still supremely detailed and clear.

Great impact and low end extension.

There’s an immediacy about it, it sucks you in.

The realism and musicality on offer here, simply marvellous.

You can feel the singers emotion and hear the intricacies in well recorded songs with high production values.

The volume rarely went above the 9 o’ clock position on the dial.

When pushed, the T90’s bass never created distortion or a rattling sound. It was just clean, deep and smooth with great texture and definition.

The T90 just doesn’t get overwhelmed when there is a lot happening in some songs, it doesn’t sound congested or muffled.

The way it points out sounds moving laterally is quite something, sometimes sweeping and sometimes subtle.

As mentioned before, it has a dynamic and punchy presentation.

All the wonderful strengths of the T90 are still present, which I am so happy about : )

It is hard to fully describe how immensely impressive this setup sounds with the brilliant T90.

Very, very difficult to find faults and flaws.

And you know I’m going to listen to this for many hours with no issues at all because the T90 are just so comfortable.

Any person who thinks the T90 are too bright, harsh or piercing I urge you to try it with a decent DAC and the Solo with PSU1.

Please, for the sake of ears.

(I believe my DAC-X10 is more than decent, very good in fact).

So the T90 may be demanding or picky, unforgiving of devices and components.

It is a very transparent and revealing pair of cans.

But get it right, and audio bliss awaits you. That is how high the rewards are.

This is 1 of the very best audio experiences I have heard, EVER!!!

I am astonished that all this has been achieved unbalanced and single ended to be honest…

And I have had quite a few DACs and amps over the years, as well as many great and expensive headphones. Many, many cans. Just look at my profile, Utopia, HD 800S, LCD-X, GS2000E, Edition X V2, PM-1, etc.

I want to share this setup with my family and friends, immediately. Lol.

I have a massive smile on my face listening to my music, I won’t forget this moment.

End game cans and setup for me? Maybe, just maybe...

Happy listening everyone, zellous out.
zellous
zellous
Thanks selvakumar : )
beyerdude
beyerdude
I loved these headphones when they weren't getting a lot of love. They are a near equal to the HD800/HE560, in some ways I prefer them. They are a bargain S/H. They are comfortable/light and tough. They can get a little intense but only with a harsh/glaring DAC in my experience.
trellus
trellus
I can report that after hearing them, when I first got them, as sometimes too bright and thin to my ears, that they sound rather full and pleasant, and with fast, tight, deeply extended bass on a pretty cheap setup -- Mac mini TOSLINK to Matrix Mini-i DAC then cheap RCA cables to iFi iCAN (1st gen at that).
Pros: dynamic contrasts and subtleties, airiness, detail, punch, euphony, comfort
Cons: can be too much in the highs to someone, not replaceble cable (if you're interested in it)
(sorry for my sometimes hesitant english...)
 
The Beyerdynamic T90 is one of the milestones in my personal headphone journey. I’ve started with my father’s Sennheiser HD424x and a Sony MDR44, which generated my love for the on-ear open tipology, so I still adore my Grado Sr60e.
 
Obviously I’ve had many over-ear and on-ear open headphones, the most important to my appreciation and formation were the Sennheiser HE60, the Beyer DT880, the AKG K501, the original Grado Rs1, the Grado Sr60e and my beloved personal  reference  the Sennheiser HD600.
 
To fulfill the desire to improve a bit my musical enjoyment, I was flirting with the idea to buy again an electrostatic headphone. For the sake of ease of use, I’ve ended ordering the T90, without having ever heard it. The incautious purchase has proved to be almost exactly what I’ve looked for.
 
 
1.jpg
 
 
 
The headphone
 
Briefly: the little open Tesla sister of the Beyer’s interpretation of an über-kopfhörer, the T1.
 
  1. Design: typical Beyerdynamic, no news, still good news, as the ergonomics is top notch.
  2. Quality: sturdy and solid, grills maybe prone to scratch.
  3. Comfort: it’s subjective, but I find the T90 to be one of the most comfortable headphone I’ve ever listened to, it’s gentle on the temples, the ears don’t touch the foam and the headphone is light enough to be worn for hours without fatigue.
 
 
Technical stuff
 
The T90 has a declared 250 ohm impedance, 5-40000 Hz frequency response (no attenuation data given), a sensibility of 102 dB  @ 1 mW @ 500 Hz, max SPL of 125 dB with 200 mW.
 
The frequency response curve is very extended, and shows an increase of 5-8 dB in the 7-10 kHz region. The bass response suggest a slight amount of musical “hump”.
 
The impedance curve shows a pronounced but broad resonance peak, suggesting a sensible but not-too-rude behavior in matching amplifiers of different output impedance.
 
Distortion is generally low, but above 100 Hz it’s slightly worse than the Dt880. Bass frequencies instead are less distorted than the Dt880.
 
Sensibility: to play 90 dB the T90 wants 0.18 mW or 0.225 Vrms, while the Dt880 wants 0.38 mW or 0.299 Vrms. The increase of sensibility is clear and evident, and gives the T90 the possibility to be driven at decent sound pressures also from smartphones and tablets, although these are clearly not the best ways to drive a T90 (but I’ve never heard my smartphone sound so good).
 
 
Setup
 
Sources: Marantz Cd5001, Thorens TD160 + Ortofon Om20 + Pro-Ject Cork It, Samsung A3 smartphone running Neutron, Samsung Galaxy Tab A running Neutron
 
Amplification: Marantz Cd5001 headphone output, Marantz Pm6004 integrated amplifier headphone output, smartphone and tablet outputs, LittleDot MkIII dedicated tube amplifier
 
Headphones compared: Sennheiser HD600, Beyerdynamic Dt880 Premium / 250 ohm
 
 
Listening
 
The Beyer T90 is: comfort, dynamic contrasts and subtleties, airiness, detail, punch, euphony.
 
The Beyer T90 is not: perfect correctness, softness, relax.
 
If it were a VST plugin, it would be a gentle enhancer that preserves musicality and nuances. Compared to the Dt880 the sound is generally more “present”, focused and detailed; the general impression is of a slightly u-shaped response, but the mids to my ears are not recessed at all. The headstage, more intimate than the Dt880 one, retains spaces and proportions, and is quite tridimensional, scanning with ease the different depth plans, when present in the recording. The T90 are capable of revealing many details across all frequencies, also in that bass region which I think is one of the best bass in headphone I’ve heard. If compared to the Dt880, the latter seems a tad more “rounded”, but overall the Dt880 tends to sound somewhat lean on the bass, while the T90 remains always satisfactory, complete, very dynamic and impactful, although the T90 sure isn’t a “bass-head” object.
 
The sound can be described as clear and shiny, but the strong dynamics give the correct evidence and rhythm to the low frequencies. Almost physical is the impact of the drums, and I liked a lot the way the T90 manages the pipe organ pedals: the lowest pipes in the Carillon de Westminster by Vierne (Simon Preston, DG) suggest in an almost surprising way the real broad and deep effect you hear in the church. When listening to the bass of the T90, I automatically thought about ex-my mighty He60 electrostatic Senns; quite remarkable. The perspective is nearer to the instrument compared to the Dt880: the latter puts you in the middle of the church, while the T90 sits in the first pews. The timbres seems analyzed near the pipes, but the perspective of the instrument remains correct.
 
The overall sound of the T90 shines with acoustic guitar and voice duets, like Suzanne Vega and her elegant Solitude Standing or Teresa Salgueiro in O Paraiso. Sounds are vivids, engaging, and still “natural”.
 
2.jpg
 
 
There is a price to pay for all this entertainment: the timbres of some instruments (like violins or cymbals), are slightly modified by the mid-high enhancement in the frequency response, and sometimes the T90 can sound at the limit of accuracy. Human voices don’t seem to show this characteristic: they are present and timbrically evident but always correct. I understand if people will find the T90 too aggressive in the highs: we hear differently. But me? After being accustomed with the T90 sound, these colorations are not evident anymore to me, and they transformed themselves in the particular ability to enter the score and the space in which the performance happens.
 
In this regard the reproduction of the part II of the 8th Mahler Symphony (Abbado, Berliner, live DG) was astonishing: intimate in the more rarefied moments, powerful and tangible in the more frantic measures. I thought to know perfectly this recording, and I was wrong: there were more to discover. Other “drier” recordings like the Sibelius of Barbirolli (EMI Classics) sound maybe less engaging, but properly mastered ones (like Mahler 7th directed by Boulez with the Wieners (DG), or Eric Whitacre's choral Cloudburst performed by Stephen Layton's Polyphony ) sound simply astonishing to me.
 
3.jpg
 
 
All this energy is retained in reproducing rock programs: I’ve listened to Alan Parsons Project’s 1987 mix of the Tales of Mistery and Imagination, to Pink Floyd’s ’92 remaster of Dark Side Of the Moon and The Endless River and many others, and the almost explosive dynamics, the great extensions (particular in the lows, i.e. the 22 Hz impulses in The Endless River) and the “musically aggressive” colors of the T90 always made the listenings exciting and engaging. Combined with the tridimensional headstage, I think this is quite a remarkable performance.
 
4.jpg
 
 
 
Amplification
 
Brief comments:
  1. The T90 is sensible to output impedance, but not in a rude way: you can play with it to compromise between presence and tightness.
  2. The T90 has a peculiar sound signature… that suggests tubes? Maybe, it’s a matter of tubes, and a matter of tastes.
  3. Like always, subjectiveness rules, it’s up to you…
 
 
IMG_4263R.jpg
 
 
Conclusions
 
I really liked the T90, it is on a higher class compared to the Dt880 or the Hd600, but I also think that they are not so linear and correct like these old masters. Nevertheless, the T90 are more extended, more detailed, more refined, more dynamic, more engaging and entertaining: I must say, nowadays my proper listening are with the T90.
 
I had not the possibility to compare the T90 with the T1, the Hd800 ore the HiFiMan planars: nevertheless, I think I will not go wrong if I say that the T90 is a bargain in the today headphone’s market. The peculiar sound signature can be a love/hate affair, but if you like it, you will like it a lot. Recommended.
amartignano
amartignano
swannie007 Thank you!
I didn't find the T90 so "picky" with recordings, but I understand that sometimes can be bothersome given that peculiar frequency response in the mid-high frequencies. Anyway, I'm more and more in love with the sound of this headphone!
L
lrsdrn
Thanks for the review! I am currently trying to decide between the Dt880 and the T90 (second hand). Would you say there is any reason to pick the 880 over the t90?
amartignano
amartignano
Hi @Irsdrn, yes, the Dt880 is less coloured, more correct, but also less fun to listen to. Not an easy choice without auditioning.
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Pros: Everything is good. Some complain its too bright.
Cons: Fixed cables
I really like the t-90;  I have had them for about two months and really enjoy the brightness. I also have the T70p and the t-5p second gen. I like the t70p better than anything so far. The t 90 are fun to listen too-there's treble and brightness-but I like it. The sound stage is good-again, I like the t-70p.
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glennkresge
glennkresge
I just got the T-1 first Generation! I like them compared to the T-5 second. However, I have been liking the T-5 seconds better and better everyday. I am wondering how much different between the t-1 and t-1 second?

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