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

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by xero1, Jul 19, 2016.
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  1. Fetou
    I have the DT1990 and will be receiving the LCD-X on Monday. I can give impressions to the best of my (limited) ability.
    gtdaqua and Darksoul like this.
  2. Darksoul
    Oohhhh, I'm looking forward to your impressions, and it seems you even have the same D30 DAC as me AND are looking to upgrade to equipment I've also considered before. It's like you're a time machine. I'll be patiently waiting for your impressions.
    gtdaqua likes this.
  3. gtdaqua
    I am waiting for your impressions as well! I am also looking at the LCD-X and the reviews everywhere are raving.
  4. ferraro25
    Thanks for the help! I will be ordering them soon. I'm mostly looking for an upgrade to the M50x, with a less thin midrange, higher quality bass, and a better headstage.
    As for an amp, I think I'll probably buy a Schiit Magni 3 at some point.
    edit: I'm going to avoid getting a Magni 3 - it looks like it doesn't do sub-bass well.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
    megabigeye likes this.
  5. jarnauga
    After the 6th hour things improved a bit. I have to adjust the volume to a slightly lower setting. It is still IN YOUR FACE, like shouty and loud, but a bit less. I tested it with different sources now, worse ones (computers and foobar2000). It is still very detailed, it is still capable of resolving busy passages (mid and treble and with classical-acoustical) and it is very engaging, fun and even better conveying drama and feelings than I thought because they can 'survive' very plain and grey digital devices. The violin tone is awesome even with less interesting sources (that make music more boring, a little 'sameness', etc) and mass strings are very well resolved and carried weight, very emotional with everything. If music is uninspiring and you know it shouldn't then the source is the problem here because they are really easy to drive to show most of its skills. I don't think an amp can destroy the sound here.

    So what happened that improved things is it opens the sound-stage right to left. Not a lot but orchestral music is now palatable. I noticed this effect with two different sources/amps.

    Nevertheless chamber, solos and some violin/cello/string instrument concerts (where they are not a false symphony but a vehicle of showing mastery for the interpreter or simply put the orchestral part is not really that important) are better or more spectacular than with the AKGK712Pro.

    Mullova old digital Philips Sibelius Violin Concerto (Ozawa) is incredible (as it is Hahn's with Salonen) and Steve Reich 'Different Trains' is as relaxing, engaging, beautiful and atmospheric as you can ask for (http://5against4.com/2012/01/07/ste...ferent-trains-conlonnancarrow-string-quartet/)

    I'm very happy with them now, but I have to use them in a more narrow pool of music than I wanted before. For the rest, my AKG. And I have to understand as well the possible and sometimes dangerous mental 'filter' that a new device in the playback chain can produce. You enjoy certain music more than others and your tastes swift in a new direction. I want to have some control in this process.

    Ah, I forgot: piano. As good as the AKGK712Pro but a bit different because the sound presentation (really close, your face almost touching the sound board or just a few rows away in the music hall). It's up to you.
  6. megabigeye
    I'm wondering if anybody else using the DT 1990 experiences a veil at lower volumes? Specifically, it sounds like a loss of detail and dynamics and the soundstage closes in. I can't decide if it's the headphones, my amps, or me.
    Don't misunderstand, I find these to be incredibly detailed and dynamic 'phones; I just wonder if they don't "come alive" till there's a bit more volume?
    Or maybe it's my amp that "comes alive" after a certain point? Well, okay, it's more than one amp, but I'm willing to believe that they both suffer from the same problem.
    Or maybe it's my ears, which sure as hell aren't what they used to be... Or maybe it's all placebo and I'm just going crazy (now that I'm trying to replicate it, I can't).

    So does anybody experience a veil at lower volumes?
  7. WildStyle-R11
    I wouldn't call it a veil, but they do tend to sound less of what they should when they are under powered.
    megabigeye likes this.
  8. audiobomber
    I just tested at low volume (Magni 3 amp on lo-gain setting, volume pot at 8 o'clock). I don't hear anything like that, the sound is still very detailed and I can hear everything clearly. Turning the volume up just makes it louder. I don't know what gear you are using but here are a couple of thoughts about low level veiling:

    How are you controlling volume? A DAC should be used at full output or at least not attenuated too much or it may lose bits (resolution). For every six decibels dropped, you lose 1 bit. If a DAC is 16 bits this can become a problem quickly. Most current DAC's use 24 or 32 bits, so should not be a problem, but worth considering.

    I have a Topping TP21 chip amp that has a potentiometer on the input for level control. There is no buffered preamp section. The pot acts like a passive preamp ahead of the power amp section. IME, passive preamps are very transparent but they suck the life out of music. The Topping sounds best with the pot fully open, basically out of the circuit. Trading PRaT for transparency is a bad deal. The Magni 3 has a proper buffered preamp. Input impedance does not change with frequency, nor does the sound.
    megabigeye likes this.
  9. megabigeye
    Thanks for your replies!

    I was using two systems:
    1) DFR >> Bottlehead Quickie+Quicksand
    2) RasPi+HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro >> Peachtree nova65SE
    I think I was getting similar result with both systems...

    On the DFR Bottlehead system, I do a combination of volume control through the computer and using the (stock) pot on the Quickie. I believe the DFR uses a lossless digital volume control, so I don't think that's causing any problems (when I use it by itself with other headphones, I don't hear any degradation of sound).
    On the Peachtree, I wouldn't be surprised if the volume pot is just a relatively cheap one.

    My main reason for asking is that I did a minor mod to the Quicksand so that it's more compatible with headphones, but I almost immediately noticed something like a veil at less-than-too-loud volumes. At first I thought it was the mod I'd done, but then I realized it might just be that it was always too loud before the mod, so I wouldn't have noticed a problem that occurs at somewhat lower volumes. I'm thinking of upgrading the pot on the Quickie to either a fancier pot or a stepped (ladder?) attenuator, but I don't want to throw money and parts at it until I know it's going to solve the problem. I'm asking here to eliminate the possibility that it's the headphones causing the problem... Which I'm willing to accept as being eliminated.

    Now I just need to narrow down whether it's my ears or the equipment.
    I hadn't thought of testing it with just the DFR, but maybe I'll do that, too. Maybe I'll test it with some other 'phones too. (sorry, just thinking aloud here)

    PS-- I want to repeat myself: thank you guys for the answers! Honestly! I tried asking at the Bottlehead forum and they seemed less than enthusiastic about answering. At least the BH staff did. Just kind of a "learn by doing not asking" (a.k.a., "I don't feel like answering your questions") type of answer. Maybe my questions were vague or stupid seeming... But I think there's a saying about stupid questions and stupid answers...
    Anyway, it often takes a negative experience to make one realize precisely how good a positive experience actually is. So THANK YOU (again) for putting some effort into your answers. I really do appreciate it!
    cardeli22 likes this.
  10. megabigeye
    Also: Aren't "transparent" and "sucks the life out of music" mutually exclusive in this case? To me, a pot that has to be left wide open (providing no resistance) in order to sound best is not transparent. It's degrading the signal as you lower the volume.
    "Transparent" is an audiophile term I've been trying to reconcile lately.
  11. audiobomber
    Yes, transparent should mean that it does not affect the sound, but as an audiophile descriptor it means no veiling, and a lot of detail.

    PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing) is not related to transparency. It is an unmeasurable "boogie factor". Is the music compelling, does it draw you in and demand your attention? Do you want to tap your feet and bob your head, or are you thinking about anything but the music (e.g. your gear, your plans for tomorrow, etc.)?

    Trying the DT 1990's on different systems sounds like the best plan. I love mine but they aren't for everyone or every system.
  12. megabigeye
    My interpretation of "transparent" is that nothing is added or subtracted from the sound.
    Per the Head-Fi glossary:
    Emphasis mine.
    I seems to me that if "PRaT" is present in your system with the pot wide open, it means your source has PRaT and that the volume pot, when engaged, is subtracting that element from the sound. I.E., not transparent.

    Also, I apologize if it seems like I'm picking on you. I'm not meaning to. I find semantics to be endlessly interesting (and particularly difficult when it comes to audiophilia) and so I'm always interested to know what people actually mean when they say a certain thing. It just so happens that "transparent" is one of those terms that I'm currently interested in (and don't really like).
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    Armando Cruz likes this.
  13. audiobomber
    I believe J Gordon Holt's "Audio Glossary" is the definitive guide to audiophile terms.

    transparency, transparent 1) A quality of sound reproduction that gives the impression of listening through the system to the original sounds, rather than to a pair of loudspeakers. 2) Freedom from veiling, texturing, or any other quality which tends to obscure the signal. A quality of crystalline clarity.

    Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-t-u#vfFHXDBOEdKDzLq3.99
  14. psp123
    I'm looking for a short (1-1.2m) straight replacement cable. Do you have any recommendations?
  15. kman1211
    That description is my understanding of it as well. The headphone itself doesn’t really exist with a truly transparent headphone, you don’t even think you’re listening to a headphone, it’s just the sound.

    With a truly transparent sounding headphone that say has poor comfort, you don’t really even think of bad comfort marring the sound, it’s just wearing something that is uncomfortable on your head. The sound is like a separate entity from the physical headphone and your brain doesn’t really associate the discomfort with the sound like it does on a headphone that is uncomfortable and not truly transparent.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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