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Professional vs Home: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro vs Beyerdynamic Amiron Home

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by kman1211, Mar 4, 2017.
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  1. kman1211

    Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro vs Beyerdynamic Amiron Home

    In this review I am going to be comparing the DT 1990 vs Amiron and explain exactly these two headphones differ to help people decide which they should get due to their sound preferences as well as genre preferences. These two headphones do sound more different than one may think considering they sell for the same price and use very similar drivers. I am driving both headphones from the Sony UDA-1 via optical from my desktop computer which easily drives both headphones with authority and I feel is a good pairing for both. I'm using the stock cables on both for I plan on comparing them both in stock form. I've owned both headphones for over a month now and feel confident they are both fully broken in. I am comparing the DT 1990 with the Balanced pads mainly, I could never get into liking the Analytical pads on the DT 1990 much.
    Note: The DT 1990 Pro on this review is on the Balanced pads. I will likely add the Analytical pads to the review in the future. The Analytical pads makes the bass even more linear and it does soften up the treble a bit on the DT 1990. The DT 1990 sounds slightly more liquid on the analytical pads and the sound is more expansive. It's somewhere between the Amiron and DT 1990 with Balanced pads sound wise. 
    This post may be edited a few times.

    Build Quality & Accessories

    In terms of build quality the two headphones are very well made, the DT 1990 does feel the more robust of the two due to a bit more metal in it's design and the sturdier feeling headband as well as it's much stronger clamping force. The Amiron has more plastic in it's build overall and a looser clamp which gives the impression it may be of lesser quality when in reality it really isn't. In terms of accessories, the DT 1990 wins hands down, it has two different sets of pads, two sets of cables, and a nicer carrying case. The Amiron just has one cable, one set of pads, and a lower quality carrying case. The Amiron does have the advantage of a dual-entry cable which allows for balanced without modding. The DT 1990 Pro uses the AKG mini-XLR 3 pin plug which is a bummer if one plans on going balanced. Both headphones are actually quite modular as both have modular drivers. Both use similar looking drivers but they are tuned differently so swapping them will also change the sound. The Amiron Home is a bit more open and does leak a bit more than the DT 1990.
    Amiron Home Internals
    DT 1990 Internals


    This is another area the headphones differ quite a bit is their comfort and fit. Which is more comfortable depends on the person. The DT 1990 has firmer pads, stronger clamp(think HD 6xx clamp), and the pads are a bit deeper. The Amiron has a much looser clamp(quite loose, like the T1 in clamp), the pads are soft and comfy but don't have the depth the DT 1990 so may pose a problem with those who have ears sticking out a lot. The pads can be swapped between the two.


    Now to the most important part of the review, the sound. How do these two headphones differ? I spent a month comparing the two headphones so I feel I have a very good grasp on their overall sound signature. A simple description of their sound will be that the DT 1990 has a drier more intimate presentation while the Amiron Home has a more liquid and softer presentation. It's a bit more complicated than that, especially when comparing the midrange and the treble where a lot people seem to differ most in their impressions. I will help explain why this is the case. Both headphones are very musical and euphoric sounding to my ears with excellent clarity and tonality and timbre. Both sound very organic and natural to my ears. Also listening fatigue on both is very low to my ears.


    Okay first we are going to start with the bass and how they compare.
    Amiron Home: The bass on the Amiron has a stronger mid-bass presence with a softer more expansive and laid-back texture to it. I personally find it quite fast and textured. It has quite a strong impact and is quite expansive. It extends well into the sub-bass and has pretty good control. It creates an expansive and enveloping feeling in the bass.
    DT 1990 Pro: This is one of the DT 1990's strong points, the bass is more linear with better sub-bass extension. It's more aggressive and punchy in nature and has better control than the Amiron Home. At louder volumes the bass hits very hard and the bass is a bit quicker than that on the Amiron Homes. This makes the DT 1990 a better choice for EDM, etc. 


    This is an aspect where things start changing a bit more between the two headphones.
    Amiron Home: The midrange on the Amiron is actually similar to the DT 1990 until you start getting to the upper midrange around the 1-2khz region. The Amiron Home has around 2-3 decibels less presence in this region due to this the midrange takes a softer more expansive sound. To put it simply the Amiron Home has a more recessed midrange than the DT 1990, but this isn't always a bad thing especially for those who like a large soundstage and a less intimate sound. The Amiron's midrange does sound a bit darker and more liquid than what is found in the DT 1990.
    DT 1990 Pro: The midrange on the DT 1990 is dry and intimate largely due to more presence in the 1-2khz region. Like in the bass, the DT 1990 is also more linear in the midrange. This stronger upper midrange I found makes the DT 1990 really shine in terms of strings and percussion and it has a snappier more impactful nature to it's midrange. The midrange has a brighter, fuller, and drier tone to it. 


    The treble is another point of contention between these two headphones, but which one is actually brighter? While I found both headphones to have fairly strong treble energy the treble is quite refined and not what I consider fatiguing personally. 
    Amiron Home: To put it simply, the Amiron Home has a brighter treble than the DT 1990 but the treble is a bit softer due to a broader raise in the treble. While having maybe a couple decibels less in the 9-10khz region, the Amiron has a lot more energy in the 7-8khz, so for those sensitive to that region may actually find the Amiron too bright especially at louder volumes. Overall the Amiron has a more delicate, softer, and brighter treble texture to it.
    DT 1990 Pro: Overall the DT 1990 Pro is darker than the Amiron Home in terms of treble, but the treble can be a bit spicier and more bitey as the treble is more of a peak in the 9-10khz region than the broader raise found in the Amiron. 

    Conclusion on Sound

    Overall I find the sound on the Amiron Home to be softer more relaxed and more of a headphone one will listen to at moderate listening levels. It's also better suited for more relaxed genres such as classical, softer rock, many instrumental songs, softer EDM, etc. The Amiron Homes also really shine for movies, shows, and video games due to it's more expansive soundstage and softer texture to the sound. I found I tend to listen to the Amiron Home at a lower volume naturally than the DT 1990. The Amiron Home can handle more energetic genres, but it may not have the force and aggression one desires for those genres. 
    The DT 1990 is a headphone I consider to be more neutral, robust, and energetic. It sounds good with all genres and is what I consider a genre-master as it handles all genres and uses well. While not as good for softer genres and movies/games as the Amiron it's not bad at all in those aspects. But where I feel the DT 1990 shines is more energetic genres and the headphone is probably the best EDM open-back I've heard anywhere near it's price. It's also very good for metal, hard rock, etc.
    In conclusion if you want a gaming headphone and/or relaxed listening headphone get the Amiron Home. If you want jack of all trades and energetic genre master get the DT 1990. Also if you listen louder, the DT 1990 may be better suited. The Amiron in my experience is better suited for moderate listening volumes. The Amiron has a darker midrange yet brighter treble while the DT 1990 has a brighter midrange yet darker treble. The Amiron is more liquid sounding while the DT 1990 is drier.
    Both have very good dynamics, but honestly I have to give dynamics to the DT 1990, it's so tactile when well driven. It does have very good treble and midrange as well as bass dynamics which may be a bit off-putting for some as some people don't seem to understand it and may mistake it for brightness. Many headphones I find actually suffer in terms of midrange and treble dynamics and body.
    In terms of scalability, I get the impression the Amiron may scale up a bit higher on gear, but that may not actually be the case as I haven't directly compared them on higher-end gear. Also due to it's more open nature, the Amiron does sound more open than the DT 1990. I actually consider the DT 1990 semi-open while the Amiron fully open. 
    I personally like both headphones around the same, which I like better will change depending on my mood. If I want a liquid and relaxed sound I listen to the Amiron Homes. If I want a dry and more robust sound I listen to the DT 1990. I'm keeping both headphones personally, which wasn't actually what I intended but just turned out that way.
    Another way to describe their sound is similar to how they look and feel. The DT 1990 is more masculine and robust and the Amiron is more feminine and delicate. How dry or liquid both headphones sound heavily depends on the system.
    brucegill, PanzerIV, Eiffel and 23 others like this.
  2. bpandbass
    Great review. Between the two, I'm definitely going to get the DT1990. Just have to make sure it is the right replacement for my Nighthawk and K712 Pro.
    Wilashort and stenog like this.
  3. MikeZhao
    I was between these two as well, in addition to the Beyer T1. I ended up going with the Amiron and it definitely doesn't feel cheap. The components that are plastic feel look and feel premium so I would second kman1211's review that quality is not an issue. Also these are the most comfortable headphones I've ever come across. During longer listening sessions they completely disappear and I forget I have them on.
    talan7 likes this.
  4. Oscar-HiFi
    Nice write up!

    Mimics my thoughts exactly and you cannot go wrong with either, this review will certainly be popular and help a lot of people.
  5. kman1211
    Thank you. I really like both and it's heavily a mood thing. You can easily live with both and swap depending on your mood. In a sense the DT 1990 is a daytime headphone and the Amiron Home is a nighttime headphone. At least for me they are.
    Hondadude85 likes this.
  6. Hondadude85
    Great review! Thinking about buying the DT1990 along with the A20 amp. I got my HD600's for laid back evening relaxing. Thank you for making the decision easier!
  7. Hondadude85
    So I couldn't decide after reading your many impressions - so I decided to do what you did and got both. They both should be here within the next day or two. Already got the A20 amp and I have to say it turned my DT880 into my favorite headphone. So much so that I ended up getting rid of my HD600 (gave it to my best friend)
  8. kman1211
    I hope you enjoy them. Both will be a notable upgrade over the DT 880. So the A20 made you like the DT 880 more? What about the A20 did you like so much?
  9. Hondadude85
    The sound of it just accents beyer headphones so well. It's difficult to describe but my Amiron arrived today (wow the build quality is awesome! Way better than pics). And I tried it out of the Asgard then the A20. Out of the Asgard it sounded almost stuffy and lifeless. The A20 made the bass punchy, resolved every bit of detail in the highs that seemed to be missing, made the treble much more prominent without being strident... and the mids. The mids are so beautiful they could bring you to tears with the right vocals. I'm in love. Can't wait to get the DT1990

    As far as the DT880/A20 combo - I always found the 880 to be an excellent headphone but somewhat thin sounding with very harsh treble at times. The A20 "woke them up". Basically, the bass is full and punchy, the mids are more prominent and the treble is tamed but more detailed. Didn't think such a drastic sound signature change was possible with just an amp. The Amiron sounds like a "perfected" DT880/HD600 lovechild to my ears. A full review will come soon when I'm not so excited
    trellus and stenog like this.
  10. Hondadude85
    TL;DR - the A20 is the best amp I've ever personally heard with beyerdynamic headphones but I haven't heard the A2 (yet). I don't love the way the HD600 sounded out of it though. It seems to be tuned specifically for beyers... not surprising.
  11. kman1211
    Ah makes sense, honestly I've never liked the Asgard very much for the same reasons you find it inferior to the A20. Just wait until the DT 1990 comes in, it feels even nicer than the Amiron build quality wise. The DT 1990's have some really nice mids and is a punchier sound than the Amiron, Oh things get really really nice at the very high-end but you really need to know what gear to get, what's popular may not be what is the best choice for your own tastes. These headphones both sound really nice on tubes as well. What are you using as a DAC?
    cardeli22 and Hondadude85 like this.
  12. Hondadude85
    I'm actually not at the moment. I'm using an iPad Pro connected via 3.5 to RCA. :-/ it sounds excellent to be honest. I tried my buddy's bitfrost and while it sounded slightly different it wasn't... better. Maybe I'm deaf.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  13. Hondadude85
    But I've been to a few canjams and have heard beyers of all sorts with every type of amp imaginable. I can say hand on heart the A20 is my personal favorite. It really wakes them up in a nice way - but doesn't change the sound as much as tubes. Tubes are lovely with some of the brighter ones, like the DT990. I once heard a pair of DT990's out of a WA6 and it was magic.
  14. kman1211
    DACs are like amps, you have to get the right ones to really notice a difference. Sometimes the difference isn't as big as we like to tell ourselves. Sounds like you've been unimpressed by Schiit gear. The WA6 is a nice amp. Haven't been to a Canjam yet, just lucky to have a friend who has an insane collection, lol. Sounds like you're quite a Beyer fan. I am too, never expected to be as I had trouble with treble sharpness on the lower-end Beyers but ever since getting Tesla's and the old DT 480 I've liked them more than anything else I've owned. I may grab an A20 sometime but I am actually quite happy with the Sony UDA-1 as an amp oddly despite being a dac/speaker amp/headphone amp combo.
    Wilashort and Hondadude85 like this.
  15. Hondadude85
    I need to find a good DAC that would work with iOS devices, especially through the lightning connector. Any ideas?

    And yeah I'm a diehard beyer fan. I used to be a Sennheiser guy until I got my DT880. It was all over from there. The Sennheisers bored me to death once I had them, save the HD598. Plus the design, comfort, customer service and build quality of beyerdynamic won me over. Now to get an A2, T1 and T5p. I'll be done after that. From what I'm reading though, neither of those are an improvement on the amiron or 1990, just a sidestep. Kind of reminds me of the HD800 dilemma.
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