Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO - Beyer's open-back mastering headphone
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Sekka

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I agree with this completely. The A20 is my first choice for driving the DT 1990 Pro. It can be had for as little as $300 if you get it at a reasonable price (MSRP is $500). I paid $320. I see the A20 as a solid-state amplifier that manages to provide some of the benefits of an OTL tube amplifier with none of the drawbacks. It performs extraordinarily well with all high impedance dynamic headphones, it produces no heat, and its build quality is phenomenal. As has been pointed out by ZMF Zach, it's not a particularly versatile amplifier in that it's not a good choice for lower impedance headphones or planars, but use it with the right headphone and I haven't heard better.


As far as tube amps go, I've used both the Schiit Valhalla 2 and the Feliks Audio Euforia with excellent results. I don't believe it's true at all that you need a $500+ tube amplifier to get excellent performance out of the DT 1990 Pro as someone above suggested. It sounds outstanding driven by the Valhalla 2. One other option and easily the most versatile is the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite Mk2, which is just a great all-rounder for most single-ended loads, including the DT 1990 Pro. The A20, the Gilmore Lite Mk2, and the Valhalla 2 are my top picks (Euforia is stupidly, senselessly expensive and I regret buying it).
Can you confirm that the A20 will help with sibilance? Out of the Magni, pretty much any track that has even a slightly bright mastering shows some amount of sibilance past a certain volume. $300 is a lot for me to spend on something without knowing for sure there will be a noticeable improvement. I have heard though that the A20 pairs very well with the DT1990 and I'm interested in trying it
 
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Hyp0xia

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Can you confirm that the A20 will help with sibilance? Out of the Magni, pretty much any track that has even a slightly bright mastering shows some amount of sibilance past a certain volume. $300 is a lot for me to spend on something without knowing for sure there will be a noticeable improvement. I have heard though that the A20 pairs very well with the DT1990 and I'm interested in trying it
I was just taking a moment to praise the A20. I would never seriously tell someone to spend more money on their amplifier to cure their headphone. I haven't heard any of the Magnis (I'd like to get my hands on a Magni 3) and I don't hear differences between amplifiers so much as I notice how well an amplifier is able to drive a specific load without distortion. I love my A20, but I wouldn't expect it to tame the highs in any way I'd be likely to notice. As I see it, amps are meant to complement the headphone by driving it well, not by altering the sound of the headphone. The best cure for a headphone you're not enjoying is to try a different headphone.
 
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As I see it, amps are meant to complement the headphone by driving it well, not by altering the sound of the headphone. The best cure for a headphone you're not enjoying is to try a different headphone.
Before I had a DT1990, I had a t90 with a dragonfly black which had overemphasized treble for my tastes. The A20 made the treble a little bit less harsh, but definitely not up to the extend that it could withhold me from selling the t90 and getting a dt1990 instead.
 
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Sekka

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I was just taking a moment to praise the A20. I would never seriously tell someone to spend more money on their amplifier to cure their headphone. I haven't heard any of the Magnis (I'd like to get my hands on a Magni 3) and I don't hear differences between amplifiers so much as I notice how well an amplifier is able to drive a specific load without distortion. I love my A20, but I wouldn't expect it to tame the highs in any way I'd be likely to notice. As I see it, amps are meant to complement the headphone by driving it well, not by altering the sound of the headphone. The best cure for a headphone you're not enjoying is to try a different headphone.
Well, I'm definitely enjoying the headphone, it would be near perfect for me without the sibilance. If there's a way I can get rid of that without some major EQ at the 8k peak that badly hurts the perceived clarity and detail of the headphone I'd definitely like to try it. You don't really read about the sibilance much at all in most reviews so I'm hoping I can at least improve it with another amp.
 
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Scutey

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Can you confirm that the A20 will help with sibilance? Out of the Magni, pretty much any track that has even a slightly bright mastering shows some amount of sibilance past a certain volume. $300 is a lot for me to spend on something without knowing for sure there will be a noticeable improvement. I have heard though that the A20 pairs very well with the DT1990 and I'm interested in trying it
I have a Magni 2 and at times it can sound a bit strident in the highs, I also have a tube amp and depending on what tubes I use the highs can be well tamed.
 
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Sekka

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I have a Magni 2 and at times it can sound a bit strident in the highs, I also have a tube amp and depending on what tubes I use the highs can be well tamed.
Can I ask which tubes you use to tame the highs? Also, does this make a noticeable impact on clarity?
 
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People looking for a strong amp to power their DT1990 should take a look at the Audio-GD C2 2017 Edition, or the NFB1.
Good point. I want to compare Audio-GD NFB1 vs Nuprime HPA-9 for the 1990 one day.
 
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Scutey

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Can I ask which tubes you use to tame the highs? Also, does this make a noticeable impact on clarity?
Hi Sekka, I use a Feliks Elise tube amp, it takes 6as7/6080 in the power section and 6sn7 in the driver section, for drivers to tame highs I use RCA 6SN7 GT, these tame the highs, some impact on clarity and detail, imaging good though, also Sylvania 6SN7 GT/B, these have a sweeter sound the the RCA, without sacrificing clarity, detail, also 6C8G/6F8G, via adapters have the same sound as the 6SN7, sometimes for slightly cheaper money, but my fave is the EL3N, again via adapter, these have good high extension, whilst have the Sylvania's sweetness, also very good clarity, detail and imaging. in the power section I use mostly Tung Sol 5998, Mullard 6080, and for something cheaper RCA 6080. Course it's also very much dependent hearing/system etc. hope this helps!.
 
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What is a cheap amp that might help with sibilance? Guessing the DT1990 might pair well with tubes. There's more sibilance than I would like with my Magni/Modi combo

The real problem is probably inherent in the specific recordings, but if there is something that can smooth it over without hurting the perceived detail it would definitely be worth looking at.
I wonder if the Schiit Loki would help your problem? It looks like the Loki's treble adjustment centers around 8kHz, which happens to be the peak on the DT 1990.
I've not tried it, though. Just a suggestion.

Also, I'd like to thank the person above for pointing out that the DT 1990 does not need $1000 combined in amp and DAC to sound great. My ~$200 amp/DAC combo sounds great.
 
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Also, I'd like to thank the person above for pointing out that the DT 1990 does not need $1000 combined in amp and DAC to sound great. My ~$200 amp/DAC combo sounds great.
Ah, yes. I used to think the same way... Until I've had the chance to pair them with better equipment.
Anyways, to each his own. Maybe Schiit stuff make wonders. :beerchug:
 
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Ah, yes. I used to think the same way... Until I've had the chance to pair them with better equipment.
Anyways, to each his own. Maybe Schiit stuff make wonders. :beerchug:
I wonder if the Schiit Loki would help your problem? It looks like the Loki's treble adjustment centers around 8kHz, which happens to be the peak on the DT 1990.
I've not tried it, though. Just a suggestion.

Also, I'd like to thank the person above for pointing out that the DT 1990 does not need $1000 combined in amp and DAC to sound great. My ~$200 amp/DAC combo sounds great.
The 1990's do not need $1000 combined in amp and DAC to sound great. Period.
 
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I use my 1990s with schiit modi 2 / magni 2 while I'm working and I think it sounds great. I also use them with my schiit ragnarok when I'm jsut relaxing and listening to new music. I don't think they need a super expensive amp, but it sure doesn't hurt to use them with one.
 
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I'm using them with the modest Topping A30-D30 combo, works surprisingly well. However, I'm using Brainwavz round velour ear pads with the inner mesh cutout and I'm using these settings in Equalizer APO 1.2:

Filter Settings file

Room EQ V5.18
Dated: 4/05/2018 09:07:45 PM

Notes:

Preamp: -4.5 dB
Equaliser: Generic
No measurement
Filter: ON PK Fc 10 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.6
Filter: ON PK Fc 62 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.6
Filter: ON PK Fc 100 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 200 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 2
Filter: ON PK Fc 11000 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 2
Filter 5: ON None
Filter 6: ON None
Filter 7: ON None
Filter 8: ON None
Filter 9: ON None
Filter 10: ON None
Filter 11: ON None
Filter 12: ON None
Filter 13: ON None
Filter 14: ON None
Filter 15: ON None
Filter 16: ON None
Filter 17: ON None
Filter 18: ON None
Filter 19: ON None
Filter 20: ON None

I got the equalizer settings from Metal571 DT-1990 video review, these cans are my desktop endgame...for quite a while, I got to hear them next to the HD800S. Loved the DT-1990 highs and bass and the overall sound.
 
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I'm using them with the modest Topping A30-D30 combo, works surprisingly well. However, I'm using Brainwavz round velour ear pads with the inner mesh cutout and I'm using these settings in Equalizer APO 1.2:

Filter Settings file

Room EQ V5.18
Dated: 4/05/2018 09:07:45 PM

Notes:

Preamp: -4.5 dB
Equaliser: Generic
No measurement
Filter: ON PK Fc 10 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.6
Filter: ON PK Fc 62 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 0.6
Filter: ON PK Fc 100 Hz Gain 0.5 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 200 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 1.41
Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 2
Filter: ON PK Fc 11000 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 2
Filter 5: ON None
Filter 6: ON None
Filter 7: ON None
Filter 8: ON None
Filter 9: ON None
Filter 10: ON None
Filter 11: ON None
Filter 12: ON None
Filter 13: ON None
Filter 14: ON None
Filter 15: ON None
Filter 16: ON None
Filter 17: ON None
Filter 18: ON None
Filter 19: ON None
Filter 20: ON None

I got the equalizer settings from Metal571 DT-1990 video review, these cans are my desktop endgame...for quite a while, I got to hear them next to the HD800S. Loved the DT-1990 highs and bass and the overall sound.
Is this EQ to compensate for the Brainwavz pads? Do you do something similar if you use either of the stock pads? I just can't imagine wanting more bass than these provide... Well, I guess I'm not a basshead...
 
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