Beyerdynamic T90: Open Tesla Candy!

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Intro

Beyerdynamic was so kind to send us the T90 for review, well actually they asked us to review it for them and I’m not going to pass that opportunity by. This is a review sample and it will go back to Beyer after 3 months. In all fairness I have to mention that Beyerdynamic is a site sponsor since recently but that never stopped us from giving an objective review.

My Beyerdynamic History

The first serious full size headphone I bought was a Beyerdynamic DT990/600 and unfortunately we never got along as I had wished. It just wasn’t what I was looking for, sure I loved the looks and the velour pads but I wanted a lusher, fuller sound with different mids (the bass was great, the treble a bit hot) and so I got the Sennheiser HD600/HD650. At that time they were exactly what I was looking for and I sold the DT990/600, I have no regrets. Tastes of course evolve and while I still love my HD650 I have to admit that over the years I have started appreciating the Beyerdynamic house sound more and more. At the moment I own the closed DT770 AE, the Custom One Pro, the T70 and now the T90 which is on loan. The only other Beyer I sold was the DT1350 which neither Mike nor me really appreciate (or at least not enough to keep it).

Looks & Build

You love it or hate it but Beyerdynamic often uses the same basic design in their headphones with the metal ear cup holder/headband. Personally I absolutely love that design. The only thing that keeps bugging me on the other hand, is the 3m cable you can’t detach. Personally I find 3 meters a horrible length. It’s either too long to use at your desk and it’s too short to use in the couch. I was happy to see a dis-connectable cable on the COP and with all this beautiful customizable aftermarket cables available, I’d really like Beyerdynamic to start using them (more).

The material used in the headband isn’t quite the same as the one they used in the T70. This microfiber is more velour like (but it isn’t) and it is softer and thicker than the anti-allergic fabric used in the T70. The ear pads are thicker and the headphone is even more comfortable because of that. It isn’t particularly heavy or light, it’s a normal comfortable headphone (it’s actually 20gr heavier than the T70). The 250Ohm T90 is an open headphone using the Tesla driver technology and the main visual difference with the T70 is how the open ear cups have been designed. Check out the pictures at the end of the article to see for yourself, but it makes the T90 look great (but be careful, they easily scratch). So how does that influence the sound you say?

Sound and Comparisons

I was hoping the Beyerdynamic T90 would sound good and right from the start it did not disappoint. The T90 overall has a very good detail retrieval, maybe not at the same level of the Sennheiser HD800 but one of the best I’ve heard so far. Left-right balance and 3-dimensionality are simply incredible, just like the huge sound stage. The presentation in general is rather airy and there is a lot of space between the instruments. The T90 is a tight sounding headphone that’s not coloring the sound, well maybe just very slightly but you get a very clear and realistic presentation no matter what genre you’re listening to.

When talking about Beyerdynamic headphones there’s always the discussion about the recessed mids. A while ago the DT770AE showed less recession in that area and now I can only say this Beyer does an even better job. Sure they sound different as the closed AE but the mids are really there. They even have this slight touch of warmth and the detail level is top. The T90’s bass is very tight and has reasonable impact/body. Bass detail and layering are very good and bass goes really deep. It’s isn’t the most impactful bass (not like the AE) but it’s perfectly in line with the mids. The highs are also very detailed and layered but not harsh sounding at all. The treble however does “jump out” more than the rest, it’s just that bit less linear but still sounding great.

Compared to the T70 we reviewed earlier this T90 has the more airy presentation making it sound even more detailed. The T70 already is very detailed, here it just sounds more detailed because of the airy sound. The T90 however is less sharp and less aggressive sounding and has the 3-dimensionality and staging. It sounds more relaxed and it is definitely a better all-rounder. While the T70 was very strong with classical music, T90 is strong with everything. Especially the mids section is really different from the T70 and that combined with the open and airy sound makes it a whole new headphone.

I really mean that the T90 is strong with all musical genres, I’ve even spent quite a lot of time with it watching movies and I couldn’t find a genre that doesn’t match with this headphone. Of course it’s not for the regular bass head, this is so much more and has quality written all over. We tried getting a T1 at the same time for this review but we did not get it in time, which of course sucks. The sound signature of the Tesla T90 is so specific that’s it is fairly complicated to directly compare to other brand headphones, I even double checked with Mike but he does agree on my point of view. Do ask about other headphones in the comments section if needed though.

Click and read the rest of the review on the next page.

Beyerdynamic T90: Open Tesla Candy!
3.62 (72.38%) 160 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

218 Comments

  • Reply May 21, 2013

    L.

    I fixed the images but the comments posted earlier have disappeared now. Please repost and thanks for the nice comments that were there!

  • Reply May 21, 2013

    Mr. Mr

    how “smooth” is the vocals on the t90?

    • Reply May 21, 2013

      L.

      Not as smooth as with the Senn HD650 in example but very clean and correct. I’d still call them a little smooth, but don’t expect a really smooth voicing

  • Reply May 22, 2013

    John123John

    Very nice review L.
    love the detailed amp comparison with both pros and cons.

    The Tesla tech is definitely something I want to try out.
    How does the Tesla sound compare to the general planar sound?

    No pics? haha~ (fixed)

    • Reply May 22, 2013

      L.

      Thanks John!

      It’s quite a difference actually, The Tesla still is one of the Dynamics, you don’t get the planar Characteristics

      • Reply May 22, 2013

        John123John

        oh yea. duh :p

        • Reply May 22, 2013

          L.

          What do you want me to say, it’s the usual Dynamic vs planar sound. It’s been talked about a lot on here 🙂

          • Reply May 23, 2013

            John123John

            how about the general differences between dynamic and Teslas?

            i feels like Beyer just improved on its typical sound. Clear treble and nice extension on both ends.

  • Reply May 22, 2013

    thegunner100

    Repost:

    Nice review! The T90s seem to be a very polarizing headphone. Those who like them would describe it as you have, but those who hate it always mention its treble. I find that the treble on the T90 was rather unnatural and harsh sounding with some songs when I tried it out at the last head-fi meet with the Beyer A1 amp. Maybe it was the amp, maybe it was my sansa fuze (I know, not the most ideal source). But I would love to try the T90 with my own setup one of these days so that I could give it a valid evaluation.

    • Reply May 22, 2013

      L.

      I have to admit that treble didn’t change too much from amp to amp. I do not find treble on the T90 to be “too much” or “wrong”.

    • Reply May 23, 2013

      Jeff Hein

      I also found the t90’s treble to be a bit harsh for my ears. I had the T90 for about a week, and did lots of back and forth testing, and the treble was definitely much harsher than anything else I compared it to (T1, T5p, T70, DT1350, HD700, HD800, X1, LCD 2.2)

      I was really hoping to use the T90 at home, but there were several songs where I just had to turn the volume WAY down. I really wanted to like the T90, but it just wasn’t right for my ears. In the end, I opted to spend the extra money and go for the T1 (which I am very happy with).

      • Reply May 23, 2013

        L.

        I can’t really share that feeling, luckily we all have different tastes or there wouldn’t be so many different headphones 🙂

  • Reply May 23, 2013

    Twinster

    Hello and thank you for this great review on the T90. It seems that the T90 are somewhat hard to find a good amplifier match. Any chance to try the T90 with the ALO Pan Am? Best!

    • Reply May 23, 2013

      L.

      I’m sorry, Mike has all the ALO gear. As said, I found the T90 to sound good with all the OTL tube amps, I’d look for an amp in that direction.

  • Reply May 23, 2013

    Hariz Razali

    Between the T90 and the planar LCD-2/HE-5, would you say they have the same level of details?

    • Reply May 23, 2013

      L.

      I only have the LCD-2 and HE-500 and would dare place it on the same level of detail, yes. The T90 has a more airy sound than the LCD-2 as well which impacts the details imo

      • Reply June 30, 2013

        Dave Ulrich

        Thinking in terms of openness, and jazz/folk, T90 or HE-500?

        • Reply July 1, 2013

          L.

          HE-500 for me!

  • Reply May 26, 2013

    Minh Duc Nguyen

    what is with “than” always being written “then”?…I don’t understand the “internet engrish” habit now days (^_^;)…anyway, great review

    • Reply May 26, 2013

      L.

      Sorry for that. I guess I can blame it on English only being my 3rd language and the spell check not picking up on that.

      • Reply May 26, 2013

        Dave Ulrich

        What is your second language?

        • Reply May 26, 2013

          L.

          Dutch – French – English – German

          • Reply May 27, 2013

            Dave Ulrich

            Very impressive!

            • Reply May 27, 2013

              L.

              Thanks 😀

      • Reply June 3, 2013

        Mike

        Even the mainstream publications with native English speakers make grammar mistakes.

  • Reply May 26, 2013

    Headphone.ph

    I find the T70 harsh initially but I grew more and more to it that I now find the treble ‘just right’. T90 is interesting because it’s just half the price of T1 yet is (almost) double the price of T70 (from Amazon) which as I understand in this review has a similar sound to T90 except for the ‘openness’ of course.

    I wonder if T90 would also get a significant street price drop after a while.

    • Reply May 26, 2013

      L.

      The biggest difference between both is in the mids. Bass also has bigger body and yes, the airyness. I prefer the 90 over the 70 by far for enjoying music. T70 analyses better

      • Reply June 11, 2013

        rich

        Hi, I found that the T70p has a slightly thin sound. I own the T1 and was reluctant to buy the T5p a similar driver with lower impedance but cost the same. So I bought the T70p for portability and lower cost. It is not a bad headphone except that I find the mids seems a little missing. Thus, the sound is rather thin compared to the T1. Do you think this is a result of a collateral damage as a result of making this phone portable lower in impedance and can be played right out of an iPhone, iTouch or Android. Thank you.

        • Reply June 11, 2013

          Mike

          Rich,
          The T70 does sound like that when I listened to it.

          • Reply June 11, 2013

            rich

            Thank you for the replies. Hv a nice day.

        • Reply June 11, 2013

          L.

          Mike is right, it was just developed with thin mids, nothing to do with portability I’m afraid

  • Reply May 27, 2013

    Sam

    Thanks for the great review! I initially had plans to upgrade to the HD 700 from the 770AE, but after reading this, now im reconsidering haha How does the T90 compare specifically against the HD700? Thanks!

    • Reply May 27, 2013

      L.

      Thank you Sam. That’s a difficult one as I like them both. HD700 has the bigger bass of both but it’s harder to pair with an amp. Detail level on the Beyer is better and I’d even dare say the sound stage is too. Overall I think the T90 beats the HD700 but with the HD700 you get that lovely Senn sound. Difficult choice!

  • Reply May 27, 2013

    MathH

    I don’t understand such engineering policy… Are they afraid they would offer a too good bargain with a more sensible mids presentation? Recessing mids is next to a broken headphone to me… Highs and bass should be there, but merely for realism’s sake, on their own they are rather tolerated than enjoyable. Giving them too much dominance is like a deliberate attempt at annoyance and bodily harm. At least highs. The human ear is not made for them.

    • Reply May 27, 2013

      L.

      Well, not everyone has the same tastes. And as I clearly say, this headphone does not suffer from the “beyer tonality” that much

    • Reply May 27, 2013

      Mike

      Maybe, if I was monitoring a live classical concert (and I bet they have plenty of those in Europe), I’d need something clear and with a recessed mids like the Beyers.

  • Reply June 3, 2013

    Curly Watts

    How would this headphone pair with the Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear?

    • Reply June 17, 2013

      L.

      I have no idea sorry

  • Reply June 8, 2013

    Curly Watts

    Sounds great by the way

  • Reply June 17, 2013

    Dave Ulrich

    Out of curiosity, what tubes were you using with the Crack?

    • Reply June 17, 2013

      L.

      12AU7 RCA clear top & Beckman branded Tung Sol 6080. I have GEC 6AS7G and 5998 TS around as well, but I always go back to these ones…

      • Reply June 17, 2013

        Dave Ulrich

        I would gladly take the 5998 off your hands. Mine pooped out right after the Crack review.

  • Reply June 29, 2013

    therocksays

    Need a headphone recommendation asap. I’m looking for a headphone that has a very lush and smooth sound to it like liquid. Nothing overtly aggressive or glaring. Doesn’t necessarily have to be monitor accurate. Just want a pleasant smooth sound. What is the headphone that fits this bill?

    • Reply June 29, 2013

      Mike

      Try the ATH ESW-9

      • Reply June 30, 2013

        therocksays

        Purchased! Mike is there a difference between the esw9 and esw9a? also i noticed these headphones use african padauk wood now instead of hokkaido cherry wood. does that make a difference?

        • Reply June 30, 2013

          dalethorn

          The ESW9a in African wood is much cheaper.

          • Reply June 30, 2013

            therocksays

            that sucks. i’m from japan and i would much rather have paid extra for the cherry wood version….but it looks like they don’t make em anymore.

            • Reply June 30, 2013

              dalethorn

              It could be much worse – I bought the ESW11-LTD with the Japanese wood, for $700 USD, but the sound is not nearly as good as the ESW9a.

              • Reply June 30, 2013

                therocksays

                i guess sound is the most important…hopefully they sound just as good with the african wood as it did with the cherry wood.

        • Reply July 1, 2013

          Mike

          Maybe yes but last esw9 I sold still sounds good though I don’t know what wood it uses.

          I don’t think we have an a version here

  • Reply July 20, 2013

    Patrick Tan

    Any good ideas for a beyer headphone for jpop?

    • Reply July 20, 2013

      Mike

      Most probably COP.

      • Reply July 31, 2013

        alan tan

        COP.. the headphone that stayed with me the longest, and is still with me

        • Reply July 31, 2013

          Mike

          Fun headphone, isn’t it

        • Reply August 7, 2013

          L.

          I use it at work most of the time, very fun headphone. Sure it’s not the best and doesn’t have the greatest detail retrieval or sound stage but it so is much fun. I’m getting bired of it again however, I’m replacing it with the HE-400 for a while 🙂

      • Reply August 1, 2013

        dalethorn

        The COP is only the 3rd headphone of the last 75 headphones I purchased that played perfectly with no EQ. The Bose AE2i (white), the COP, and the B&O H6.

        • Reply August 1, 2013

          L.

          I requested the H6. How is it?

          • Reply August 1, 2013

            dalethorn

            The H6 has an unusual sound, which is hard to describe without a similar reference. Very clear tone, as though it had Tesla drivers or something. Bass is a bit lean but goes pretty well flat to below 30 hz. Treble is good, fairly strong but no major peaks. The midrange signature leans toward ‘Light’, as compared to most of my headphones that bias toward a darker sound. My feeling is, for users who can sit down late at night when it’s very quiet and put on some high quality music tracks, then sit back and just listen with no distractions – they might be thrilled by the sound, and the bass even sounds strong then. But back to daytime and the usual distractions, or worse yet outdoors with traffic and other noise, the H6 probably won’t provide a satisfactory bass kick. That’s just a guess – I’m not a real bass-head, but for me I like it a little warm, like the DT770LE, or ATH ESW9 etc. The H6 is close to those in bass quantity, but the overall sound quality is well above those two I think.

            • Reply August 7, 2013

              L.

              Dale, I can’t really find myself in your review. Focus is mostly on bass and the mids. Mids are warm and smooth and not light. Very much comparable to the Momentum. This is with C5 amping. I’ll be comparing it with the AE and the COP mostly

              • Reply August 7, 2013

                dalethorn

                H6 mids voicing is light, yes. But focus on bass and mids, comparable to Momentum? Not the H6 I have. The bass is quite different from Momentum. Momentum is stronger in upper bass than lower bass, while the H6 I have is somewhat lean in the upper bass and doesn’t decrease significantly to the lower bass. The Momentum I had has a recessed upper treble, and my H6 isn’t especially strong in the upper treble, but definitely not recessed. It’s too bad I don’t have the Momentum now, but at least it’s different enough to know a few things. Take into consideration that samples can vary by several decibels, and if my Momentum varied more to the bass and H6 varied more to the treble, it could be very different from what you hear now. I do remember Tyll and others confirming that the Momentum is weak on the hgh end. The COP I have is set on no.3 position, and it sounds night to day different from the H6.

                • Reply August 7, 2013

                  L.

                  even on No 4 position with the COP, bass on the H6 is deeper and it especially has more timbre and detail. Treble on the H6 is nice, not too hot, not too rolled of. I like Beyer Treble and it’s not at that level of course. I can agree the momentum’s upper bass was better and that treble on the H6 goes further but I do find the sound signature to resemble the Momentum’s style.

                  I would have preferred a “heavier” voicing though, more like the Momentum.

                  • Reply August 7, 2013

                    dalethorn

                    That sounds right – what we have then may be slightly different samples, but close enough that we have an understanding of how they voiced the H6. It will be interesting to read users’ reactions, since the other headphones are well established and the H6 is not.

                    • August 18, 2013

                      L.

                      After a good burn in period it is clear the H6 has changed more in the way you described it Dale. It also depends ALOT on what amp and source you’re using with the H6. I tried several portable setups and they are all very different. Review online soon! Thanks for your thoughts!

                    • August 18, 2013

                      dalethorn

                      Yep – reviewing comments on the COP (a very different headphone) the COP bass isn’t as deep – the port just makes it boomier at #4, but with the H6, how deep the bass goes will probably be similar with different amps, but some of them will thin out the sound. It will be good to know what you found with different amps, since I have only a few here.

                    • August 19, 2013

                      Carl A

                      How soon is soon!
                      Really looking forward to reading your H6 review, specifically in relation to its partnering with different amps. I’m hugely interested in the H6 – can’t afford it right now but maybe soon. Been to look and listen but only in a B&O shop, through my Nano 5g w/ Zo2. Underwhelmed but knew it needed to be listened to with a suitable amp. So I can’t wait to read your thoughts.
                      I loved its looks and fit however, and even though the sound was thin and weedy it also came across as very clean, pure and accurate. I just don’t think listening via the Nano and Zo(and in the shop)was a very good idea. Also, with Zo at full volume it was barely loud enough …
                      I had the Zo NOT boosting bass – set to flat(most green)
                      Lookin’ forward to the review!

                    • August 19, 2013

                      L.

                      The H6 is a difficult headphone and it does need the right source and amp to shine imo. Review with the portable setups will be online next week or so

    • Reply July 20, 2013

      Mike

      I mean Beyer’s Custom one Pro

      • Reply August 1, 2013

        dalethorn

        I just got the COP a couple days ago. I never realized how much better it sounds that the DT770LE.

        • Reply August 1, 2013

          L.

          Not sure it is better, I think there’s less detail. Love the COP

  • Reply July 24, 2013

    netmask254

    Currently I have a HD650 (with Schiit Valhalla + Fostex HP-A3) and want to take a try of Beyer sound. Is T90 overall a significantly better start point comparing with the very classic DT-880? T1 is a bit expensive to me 🙂

    • Reply July 24, 2013

      L.

      I think T90 and T1 are fairly close. The T1 just is that bit better in everything. I would not say the sound sig of the T90 can be compared to the T90 sound, it’s clearer, more detailed, less warm, less smooth, bigger soundstage, etc. Don’t get me wrong, the HD650 is an awesome headphone, but to me the T90 is in a different league

      • Reply July 24, 2013

        netmask254

        Thanks! I think that’s what I want, a different sound with HD650 🙂

        • Reply July 25, 2013

          Trent_D

          You could always throw a Bottlehead Crack amp in there, too.

          • Reply July 25, 2013

            netmask254

            I know it’s a very hot amp in headfonia, but it looks like a big challenge to me to assemble it, though my major is electronic 🙂 Just use Valhalla temporarily (which doesn’t sound like tube amp).

            • Reply July 25, 2013

              Trent_D

              The first thing I wrote for Headfonia contained a comparison between the Crack and the Valhalla with the HD650. It wasn’t a contest. L also said the Crack was insanely fun with the T90

              • Reply July 25, 2013

                L.

                Even with the stock tubes!

  • Reply August 14, 2013

    chuck77

    Excellent review! I bought the T90s and really enjoy the 3D imaging and wide soundstage with my AMB M^3 amp. The detail retrieval is very very good too. However, I keep wondering if it’s worth it to return the T90 and upgrade to the T1. I am not sure if it’s just me, or if the T90 sounds slightly bright because of the excellent treble extension. Does the T1 have a totally different sound than the T90? Is it worth buying the T1 instead? 🙂

    • Reply August 14, 2013

      Mike

      Chuck,
      I haven’t listened to the T90 but the T1 is a big upgrade from the T70 and even the T5p in terms of technicalities.
      Some do prefer the T5p over the T1 as the T5p has a warmer and smoother sound.

      • Reply August 16, 2013

        chuck77

        I returned the T90 yesterday because I wasn’t completely happy with the sound with my current equipment. I had a chance to demo a pair of T5p’s today. Although they certainly did not sound 2x better than the T90, they did have a completely different sound that is warmer, smoother, and better mids. On the other hand, the soundstage of the T5p did not sound much different than the T90. Technically speaking, I would even rate the T90 to be slightly better.I couldn’t justify the cost of the T5p being 2x as much. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I found a great deal on the Koss ESP-950 tonight and bought a set. Hoping it’s still good by current standards, especially when compared to those Tesla headphones!

        • Reply August 16, 2013

          Mike

          Chuck,
          The ESP-950 is extremely special. Not quite the technicalities of a modern dynamic driver like the T5p, but very smooth and linear, extremely fast transients. If you can still get a brand new set please let me know where as I’d like one as well.

          • Reply August 17, 2013

            chuck77

            I bought mine from Amazon Canada last night for $730 + tax. Great price I think. I picked up the second last one, but this morning the last one sold too! Anyway, the second lowest price is at World Wide Stereo, but for about $100 more.

        • Reply August 16, 2013

          dalethorn

          I’d suggest investing in a repair kit for Koss Electrostatics (heh). I’ve been through a few of those before switching to Stax.

          • Reply August 17, 2013

            chuck77

            Good tip. What tends to break on these? Are the repairs easy to make?

            • Reply August 17, 2013

              dalethorn

              For me it was the wiring – several times. I just replaced what I could reach and that always did the trick.

              • Reply August 27, 2013

                chuck77

                My ESP-950 are already squealing from the right channel. AH!

    • Reply August 14, 2013

      L.

      I can’t say I ever find the T90 to be bright with any of the amps I use it with. I do recommend a good tube amp with warm sounding tubes, especially for the mids section. And those would work as well in softening the treble. You’ll have to find a tube with a good mix of soundstage and timbre. The 336 is a nice amp budget tube amp, but maybe not up to it either. The T1 do is almost double the price of the T90 lately

      • Reply August 14, 2013

        Dave Ulrich

        Just make sure you don’t use the stock Chinese tubes that come with the 336. They are quite bright. The combo of bright tubes and a warm, laid back amp is uncomfortable to my ears.

  • Reply August 17, 2013

    Dave Ulrich

    Oh man, Amazon is selling these for $499…

    • Reply August 17, 2013

      Dave Ulrich

      Must have just been a fluke. It is back up to $650.

      • Reply August 17, 2013

        chuck77

        Razordog has them for about the same. There’s a coupon code you can use for that!

      • Reply January 5, 2014

        jeyaganesh rajamanickam

        They were selling it for $470 and $430 few days back. I check its price often daily. I havent decided what to buy – either T90 or dt990 or 2.1 speakers for my laptop.
        They are changing its price after one batch of stock sold out. Today it costs $599. I think, ‘Razordog audio’ has that rebate for last two months.

        • Reply January 5, 2014

          dalethorn

          Buydig has it for 457$ USD and they say they’re an authorized dealer.

  • Reply September 9, 2013

    Ryan

    How do these compare to the TH600s?

    • Reply September 9, 2013

      Mike

      The Beyer is clearer, brighter, cleaner, but thinner in the mids.

      • Reply December 9, 2013

        L.

        correct, and has less bass body (but the quality is better)

  • Reply October 9, 2013

    Bryan Wallin

    Excellent review! Makes me want to pick up a pair ASAP. I’m coming from the HD558s and am thinking about upgrading to the next level. Would the T90 be a good match for an upgrade? I’m looking for an upgrade mostly in terms of the soundstage, clarity (treble presence), and a cleaner sound than the 558s. I do actually quite enjoy the bass on the 558s, but I feel it is a bit muddy sometimes (e.g. quantity > quality). How is the bass on the T90’s (paired with the Bottlehead Crack) compared to, say, the 650s, 558s, or perhaps the DT880s? I’m trying to get a feel for what these guys sound like based on what headphones I “know”. 🙂

    • Reply October 9, 2013

      L.

      thanks. Didn’t we reply to this already?

      • Reply October 11, 2013

        Bryan Wallin

        Yeah, sorry, I did ask a very similar question on the main Q & A thread. I forgot to add some of the clarification to the question that I wanted to add, and I also thought the question would be better placed under the actual review 🙂

        I’m excited to try these when I get the money! How would you say they compare with the DT880s in terms of the treble to bass ratio? Also, do you find them to be sibilant or to have a frequency spike in the 6-10kHz region? I’ve been reading that a lot of people have trouble with this on Head-Fi… I imagine the Crack helps here tho?

  • Reply November 11, 2013

    Peter

    Good review but I went for HD800
    http://youtu.be/ycKux471T7U

    • Reply November 11, 2013

      L.

      Yay , an unboxing video!
      Thanks. Enjoy the headphone Peter.

  • Reply December 6, 2013

    Jaro

    Hi L&M, what do you think about pairing T90 with Burson Conductor?

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      L.

      as long as it’s warm and has good bass, it’s ok!

  • Reply December 6, 2013

    John123John

    Just got the T90 today. Initial impressions: nice wide soundstage, crystal clear sparkly treble (tastefully done) and love that extended bass. Just watched a movie and got chills left and right; excellent.

    Didn’t realize that the pads were microfiber instead of the typical velour. That’s what I get for not reading the build and design section (sorry L!). I did find the DT 880s to be more comfortable (softer pads) but I think comfort will increase as the pads break in.

    Really wish I had an otl tube amp to power this though 🙁 This is as far as i’ve gotten into “summit-fi”~

    d(^__^)b

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      John123John

      One major gripe: its too hot… my ears are burning after a few hours. :/

      • Reply December 9, 2013

        L.

        Really? Haven’t noticed tbh, but then again, it’s always freezing here ;D

        • Reply December 10, 2013

          John123John

          Its decently cold here as well, well probably not as cold as where you are. Here its about 40 F but I actually have a tendency to get hot easyily. It’s interesting my ears and head getting hot is more of a problem on the T90 than on the closed back Mad Dog.

          Sigh, thought my journey would atleast pause here but theres always something~
          (really thinking about going back to the HD6X0 series….) The only problem I had what that series are the chips and crack, which Ive actually never had a problem with but the fear….

          All paths lead back to the HD650~

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      L.

      What are you powering it with, John?
      the cable is either too short or too long, as I advised Beyer, they should have removable cable on all their headphones

      • Reply December 10, 2013

        John123John

        O2 (sorry guys). I am using a tube preamp so atleast there is a tube somewhere in the chain but I dont have a problem with the sound, even after long hours of music (or whatever). Lol I think 10 feet is a long enough cable but yes, all cables should be detachable these days 🙁
        Makes upgrading the cable alot easier~

  • Reply December 7, 2013

    Eric Kahklen

    These sound like the next pair of headphones I’d enjoy. I currently only have a FIO E17 as my amp. Would adding the FIO E09 be enough? I am not sure I can swing another large purchase for a new amp. My current headphones are the COPs so these would be my at home headphones.

    Thanks!

    • Reply December 7, 2013

      Dave Ulrich

      The Crack can be had for under 300, of course you would have to build it.

      • Reply December 9, 2013

        L.

        But an awesome match with the T90!

        • Reply December 9, 2013

          Mike

          Crack seems awesome with a lot of dynamic drivers.

          • Reply December 10, 2013

            John123John

            yea.. really regret selling it right now. :/
            missed a group buy a while back because of insufficient funds. Thinking about the Little Dot 4 at the moment. Any thoughts on that manufacturer?

            • Reply December 10, 2013

              L.

              save up for the Crack 😉

            • Reply December 10, 2013

              Mike

              Back then when the LD4 was new, people who bought them reported crappy parts but when upgraded makes an awesome amp.
              It’s very smooth and spacious but too soft and lacking dynamics for me.

      • Reply December 9, 2013

        Eric Kahklen

        At this point my E17 would have to suffice until I can save up for another amp. Although the idea of building an amp sounds fun, I’d rather buy one already assembled by someone with better soldering skills than myself 🙂 If I need to have a better amp, I may have to look at a more affordable pair of headphones then.

        • Reply December 11, 2013

          Eric Kahklen

          How about the Schiit Vali? I may be able to swing that amp. I am just not sure how to get the input from my laptop though.

          • Reply December 11, 2013

            Dave Ulrich

            The e17 is both a dac and an amp. You should be able to output the signal from the e17 to another amp, but lets talk about the Vali. You don’t want it and I am going to tell you why. First, I worry about the bass impact. I tried it with the Sennheiser HD650, which is known for its bass slam, and it simply wasn’t there. Being that both the HD650 and the T90 are high impedance headphones, I am concerned. However, as I haven’t heard the Vali/T90 pairing, that is just conjecture on my part. The reason you don’t want the Vali is that the sound image has no depth to it. L mentions how nice the 3 dimensional sound is from the T90, and you will not get that with the Vali. I agree with Mike in that your best bet at this price level is to get the Fiio e9k. You will be able to dock your E17 with the e9k. That means you will use the e17 as your dac while the e9k handles the amping duties. You should check out the e9k review here http://www.headfonia.com/e7e9-reloaded-andes-and-qogir/

            • Reply December 12, 2013

              Eric Kahklen

              Thanks! Looks like I can grab that for just over $100. I recall there were different versions out there so i’ll have to make sure I select the correct one.

              • Reply December 12, 2013

                Dave Ulrich

                Yes, not the e9, but the e9k. Remember that k.

          • Reply December 13, 2013

            Mike

            Never tried.

    • Reply December 7, 2013

      L.

      I’m afraid not. I would recommend good tubes op a good ss warm sounding amp

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      Mike

      The E17 should suffice, the E09 would make it better.

  • Reply January 2, 2014

    Vyom

    Have you guys tried listening to these through the Aune T1? Looking to upgrade into my first really hi-fi set of phones and was wondering if my aune would be able to handle them/tone down their brightness. Thanks!

    • Reply January 2, 2014

      L.

      Never listened to the Aune T1, sorry

  • Reply January 4, 2014

    Igor Sheykin

    Hi! Thanks for a good review! Currently I have Denon D600, and previously had Philips X1, SoundMAGIC HP100, and Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (All of them were choosed after reading your reviews). As for the DAC/Amp I use Audinst HUD mx2 (also thanks to you).
    So the questions are:
    – would Audinst be enough for these phones?
    – how t90 compared to the phones I used?
    – If to play in the same price-ligue how are they compared to Hifiman HE400/500?

    • Reply January 16, 2014

      L.

      Thank you Igor.

      T90 is very open sounding and spacious. Big sound stage, a lot of detail. Slioghtly V shaped. I recommend a warmer sounding amp with good bass. You could compare it to the HE500, not the HE400

      • Reply January 16, 2014

        Igor Sheykin

        Than which amp you could recommend? Something like Fiio, Audio GD?
        And speaking about open and spacious sound, what about X1 .vs. T90 ?

        • Reply January 16, 2014

          L.

          T90 is more audiophile by far. more airy, more sound stage, more detail. lighter bass, thinner mids.

          Violectric amps are nice with the T90

          • Reply January 31, 2014

            Igor Sheykin

            Year, the soundstage is definitely superb! Everything as you told.
            But now with Audisnt mx2 I do not have enough bass.
            1 reason — amp is not enough
            2 reason — amp is too neutral for t90
            Don’t know which is correct one.

            Violectric are definitely good, but pricey.
            Could you recommend good amp for t90 for ~$200?
            May be Schiit Asgard 2 ??

  • Reply January 16, 2014

    Berkhan Oğulcan Akçay

    Hey Mike. Good review.

    A friend of mine bought this headphone. But he can’t decide which dac/amp combo to get. I looked at some amps like JDS O2, Audinst mx-1, Fiio E17 and Aune T1. I heard that tube amps do good with T90 to reduce brightness of it. But I’m not sure. Which dac/amp combo do the best with T90? Budget around 350 $.

    • Reply January 16, 2014

      L.

      Thank you, but I wrote it not mike 😉
      I really recommend tubes or a warm sounding SS. the Crack is awesome with the T90. That would be a nice start

      • Reply January 16, 2014

        Berkhan Oğulcan Akçay

        Oops. Sorry 🙂 My mistake.

        So Crack or Aune T1?

        • Reply January 16, 2014

          Berkhan Oğulcan Akçay

          Aah sorry you never auditioned Aune T1 OK. I didn’t see it. Thanks for the reply.

  • Reply March 11, 2014

    Dave

    This headphone sounds awesome with the Schiit Valhalla.

    • Reply March 11, 2014

      L.

      I’m surprised, will try it one day

  • Reply May 6, 2014

    dalethorn

    I just bought it based on this review. Looks like they’re going to deliver this month.

    • Reply May 6, 2014

      L.

      I know Dale. I’m glad to see you bought it based on my review. do get back to me on how you like it!

      • Reply July 2, 2014

        dalethorn

        The T90 is amazing. It seems to be a little too crispy on some tracks, but I’ve found a good setting to tame that. But more important, I expected a really ‘technical’ kind of sound that would emphasize solid state distortions, but instead it seems really smooth. I love it. I have a T1 coming today, so if that works out I should be able to compare them.

  • Reply May 6, 2014

    Cotnijoe

    Just received these. Got them for 370 USD. Lieven did you ever try these with the Schiit Valhalla? I’m looking for a tube amp for them now

    • Reply May 6, 2014

      L.

      No I’m not a big fan of the Schiit sound, sorry. It is excellent though with the Bottlehead Crack

      • Reply May 6, 2014

        Cotnijoe

        What is your criticism of Schiit’s sound? I was looking at the crack but unless i pay someone else to build it its probably out of the question

        • Reply May 6, 2014

          L.

          I didn’t like the Valhalla and Lyr everyone was raving about at all. So I just accepted the house sound wasn’t mine. There are so many better sounding amps out there imo

  • Reply July 2, 2014

    Mdpguo

    How does this pair with the Asgard 2? I currently use a Fiio E9 which has plenty of power but I really want to see what a better Amp can do. Should I just save up the extra money and try and get a Bottlehead Crack?

    • Reply July 2, 2014

      dalethorn

      A tube amp? Yes, for sure. It’s a smooth sounding headphone, but tubes would soften the crispy treble aspect. Which reminds me – I should get one of those amps too.

  • Reply July 12, 2014

    Igor Sheykin

    What if I want to compare this one with Stax SR-207?

    • Reply July 12, 2014

      dalethorn

      Since they are so different, and driving them is so different, what kind of things do you want to compare?

      • Reply July 12, 2014

        Igor Sheykin

        Air, 3d-stage, sibilants, lower bass, overall comfort, frequency respond in general.
        And sound resolution (i.e. sequence of 10 Organ keystrokes are distinguishable)

        • Reply July 12, 2014

          dalethorn

          I have the T90, but I have to rely on a headfi review of the 207 for comparison. Fortunately the 207 review describes the sound exactly compared to the HD800 which I had for 3 years. The T90 treble is exaggerated, and it isn’t subtle – it’s very pronounced. The 207 treble by the review is more neutral and also rolled off in the extreme highs. Sibilants are strong with the T90. The 207 review says its bass to lower mids is slightly ‘tubby’, while the T90 is very lean. He says the 207 bass rolls off, and while the T90 bass doesn’t really roll off, it is very lean. The T90 is very light and comfortable, while the 207 is “heavy but comfortable”. T90 resolution is very good, and the 207 review has its resolution as very good, which being an electrostatic makes sense. Overall my reading of the 207 is it’s very musical not analytical, but the T90 is very analytical. I find (for example) that the HD800 is very listenable but bright, but the T90 is much less enjoyable because of the uneven treble that exaggerates sibilants etc. I think you would find the 207 musically enjoyable, but compromised on the high and low ends of the spectrum.

  • Reply October 29, 2014

    Rogier Schreurs

    I think this one’ll make my setup complete; running the KingRex duo, Musical Fidelity X-Can V8P and DT 990 250Ω right now. Would like a bit of extra smoothness and space, please.

  • Reply January 12, 2015

    Eric Thompson

    I wonder how the schiit asgard or vali would work? or the pan am…

  • Reply January 18, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    Just found this review, great reading and interesting comparisons….another candidate for the corda classic at home. with the current discounts nicely in the bracket with the hd650 and philips x2.

    • Reply January 18, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I wouldn’t pair it with the Classic though. It would deliver a too sterile analytical sound. The T90 needs a warmish amp

      • Reply January 18, 2015

        Nickjan Glas

        Ok thanks, that rules that one out then. I only have the corda for home. Back to hd650/ x2 and maybe additionally dt770 pro32 then. I do like detail.

  • Reply February 3, 2015

    Disjoint

    Hi. This is gonna be a bit long, but please bear with me.

    For a couple of months I’ve been reading dozens upon dozens of headphone reviews from various sites and I’m getting anxious. I’m kind of stuck between two (seemingly) very different sounding headphones: The Sennheiser HD-650 and the Beyerdynamic T-90. The problem is, I live in such a remote place that I have no chance to sample either. Or almost any headphone for that matter.

    I’ve grown fond of my NAD VISO HP50’s sound, although they don’t seem to like my SoundBlaster ZxR at all (probably because of the relatively high output impedance of about 38 ohms?). Maybe it’s placebo, but they seem to sound much better from my iPad. I don’t know, I’m a noob. Also, they aren’t the most comfortable headphones to wear for hours on end. I’m also looking for larger soundstage for the occasional movie watching and PC-gaming. That’s why I’m interested in buying some large and comfortable open headphones.

    So, even though I like the HP50 sound I’m REALLY interested in the T-90. The detailed and slightly emphasized treble and otherwise the kind of neutral sound intrigue me. Would I be shocked by the T-90’s treble? Would the HD-650 be a better match soundwise? Will my soundcard cause problems with either? The prices for the HD-650 and T-90 are 325€ and 398€ respectively.

    I’m up for suggestions. I’m ready to consider buying any comfortable full-size headphones for home use that cost less than 400€.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply February 4, 2015

      dalethorn

      The 650 would offer good soundstage for movies and gaming etc., and while the T90 might work as well in most cases, the T90’s razor sharp treble will not work with many movie tracks and especially hi-fi music tracks.

    • Reply February 4, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I’m afraid your sound card aint up to it. The T90 needs a good amp or it will sound awful. Sme goes for the HD650 but in a lesser degree. I would either change your soundcard to an external DAC/AMP setup or change headphones to an easily driven one like the T51P or HP100 or DT770 32

    • Reply February 5, 2015

      Disjoint

      Thanks for your replies.

      Do you have experience with the ZxR with different headphones? I only have with low impedance headphones, and they sound strange to me when compared to using a phone or a tablet to drive them. ZxR’s headphone amp seems to be designed to favor higher impedance headphones, like 300-600 ohm because of its relatively high output impedance. It uses the Texas Instruments TPA 6120 amp and Burr-Brown DAC and is able to output 80mW @ 600 ohm. Not sure about the voltage.

      So, if my soundcard is unable to drive higher impedance headphones and also performs poorly with lower impedance ones, what should I do? Buy a cheap headphone amp like the Schiit Magni 2 and some easy-to-drive headphones like the Philips Fidelio X2 or try my luck with some more demanding headphones, like the HD-650?

      • Reply February 5, 2015

        dalethorn

        If your soundcard sounds strange with low impedance headphones you should switch to an external amp. I have several amps and DACs and while they sound different from each other as well as with different headphones, none of them sound strange with any headphone (or much different from an iphone either).

  • Reply April 7, 2015

    Paul D

    Thanks for the review.

    I just received my Beyerdynamic T90 Jubilees today. They sound amazing. I actually have to turn the volume down they sound that good. There a couple of things I dislike though. I’m not sure if I’m being picky but the earcups creek a little. The headphone adjustment is also a little flimsy and makes a clicky noise that sounds like they are breaking. I have been wearing these for a couple of hours now and my ears are warm (not hot) which is a good thing I think. Overall I’m satisfied but I would like these to be a tad lighter, non squeaky and not make a clicky noise when you adjust these. They could also be a little cooler on the ears. Not sure if that is worthy of exchanging for something else. Time will tell

    • Reply April 7, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I have heard it before, apparently some Beyer units just make weird noise when adjusting. I had one pair that did this too but the good thing is you only have to adjust it once and then keep it there. Your ears will as good as always get warm after a while, unless the cups are really big. I find the T90 very light and comfy (I am used to the LCD-XC and a bike helmet) though.

      • Reply April 7, 2015

        Paul D

        Guess it is one of those things. Shame about the ears getting hot…really making me reconsider my choice. But if you say this is the case with all headphones then I may just have to put up with it. Not sure what models have bigger cups?

        • Reply April 7, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Mr. SPeakers / Audeze. But your ears will always get warm

        • Reply April 7, 2015

          dalethorn

          It’s interesting that even with the velour earpads and average weight, that the T90 Jubilee almost feels like a closed rather than open headphone. But for me the way I make it feel a little lighter is to shift more weight from the headband to the earcups, by pulling the earcups down a slight bit more. The MrSpeakers headphones are radically more confining though – almost claustrophobic, for average size ears anyway. The Sennheiser HD800 has big roomy cups by comparison – never feel confining.

          • Reply April 7, 2015

            Paul D

            I have to agree with you there Dale. These feel like a Closed Headphone now that I have been wearing them for 2-3 hours non-stop. My mate has the HD800s and he says the same thing, there is plenty of room to breathe and they don’t get hot…but the price in Oz is $1300…then you still need to add an Amp + DAC. What about the HD600 or HD700s?

            • Reply April 7, 2015

              dalethorn

              I had the HD600 (twice!), but the sound is soft, where the T90 is sharp and clear – the HD800 also. I’ve never heard the HD700, but I hear that it’s tuned differently, more like the HD650? – not sure though. Going to planars, or any that I’ve heard, would be going the opposite direction from the HD800. There’s a track you can get from HDTracks – still available separately last time I checked – David Chesky and Wonjung Kim, Girl From Guatemala – it has the most incredible treble-intense percussion I’ve ever heard, starting at 3:00 in the track. Now with the T90 it will just be intense, and very much so, but with the HD800 and any decent amp like you have now, that sound will resolve into an array of sparkle and color that’s jaw-dropping. You should hear that at least once in your life….

              • Reply April 7, 2015

                Paul D

                It’s a shame they did not have one in the shop (sold out)

                HD800 + Corda Jazz will set me back another $279 without a DAC, that will be a total of $1779…so it’s definitely a stretch…I actually went into the shop for AT AD900X for $245, walked out with $1500 worth of gear…credit card is hurting

              • Reply June 22, 2015

                Rogier Schreurs

                I’d say the hd700 is closer to my dt990 and AE, than it is to my hd580, just a thought. HD700 actually sounds the way i thought the t90 would sound. Haven’t heard the latter one, though.

                • Reply June 22, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  That’s probably a really good guess. The HD580 is similar to the HD600, but the 580’s more distant perspective makes the sound softer. I suspect the HD700 and T90 designs had very similar goals, with warmer bass and fairly sharp highs.

  • Reply May 18, 2015

    WesSeid

    It’s surprising to read the review say the T90 doesn’t color the sound when its highs are jacked up even higher than a DT990 or cheap Superlux.

    • Reply May 18, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Emphasized isn’t the same as colored. I doubt a lot of people will find the T90’s treble colored though. Maybe your amp?

      • Reply May 20, 2015

        Haryanto Suryonoto

        This is a very good answer. Emphasized is not colored. Touche!

    • Reply May 19, 2015

      dalethorn

      It’s better than the T1. Pretty smooth treble – worst case +/- 3 db. But the overall treble is strong, for lovers of neutral hi-fi.

  • Reply June 27, 2015

    Rogier Schreurs

    Tried the T90 yesterday in a Hi-Fi store, over my Kingrex units and the Lehman Black Cube Linear. Now I’m no fan of the Lehman amp, seeing I’ve tried it with a good number of diverse headphones. Also the surroundings in which I did the testing were kind of busy and so the situation wasn’t really perfect. Still the T90 kind of let me down; No matter what I threw at it, it never seemed to charm me and I felt like I actually preferred my own DT990 over them cause the T90 seemed to be overly sibilant in many instances. And this was no out of the box specimen, it was burned in many times over. I really hoped that these cans would be a brilliant upgrade from my dt990, and kinda still do. I’m gonna see if I can try it out over my own amp some time, but it is clear to me that the T90 and HD700 are not in the same league. The HD700 actually sounds like what I expected the T90 to be.

    • Reply June 28, 2015

      dalethorn

      When I had the T1 and T90 at the same time (purchased both), I had to EQ both for treble peaks. After doing the minimum to let them perform at their best, the T1 was delivering a cleaner higher resolution sound, making the T90 sound mid-fi at best by comparison. Oddly though, ignoring those treble bumps, most people seem to think the T90 tonality is more accurate and/or more musical. Try the Alsop-Baltimore Symphony recording of Dvorak’s 9th, second movement, about 40 seconds in where a horn and reed instrument trade the same line, and try to tell which is which.

  • Reply July 26, 2015

    szoze

    Great review! How are these copared to HD650? I am looking for a cleaner and clearer headphone. Already own an HD650. I suppose t90 is more audiophile than hd650 with better imaging and more detailed sound. Thanks!

    • Reply July 27, 2015

      dalethorn

      I think you’ll find that the T90 is typically Beyer – a leaner more analytical sound than the Sennheiser.

      • Reply July 27, 2015

        szoze

        Thanks Dale. I think it sounds good. I am a little tired of Sennheiser’s “wooly” approach (to my ears at least) 🙂 I gess that 400i and t90 could be great complements to each other. What do you think?

        • Reply July 27, 2015

          dalethorn

          I think that’s a great plan – complementary, yes. And if you ever have access to a decent tube amp, that ‘technical’ aspect to the T90 will resolve into pure musical sparkle.

          • Reply July 27, 2015

            szoze

            I have a hybrid Musical Fidelity X-Can V3 with X-PSU. Do you think that will do?

            • Reply July 27, 2015

              dalethorn

              The X-Can V3 is highly customizable, and lots of users replace the tubes, caps, even the resistors. If you’re not into DIY projects, it might be good to check out what people do with that amp.

              • Reply July 27, 2015

                szoze

                I have replaced the capacitors with Panasonic and Nichicon. I haven’t touched the resistors yet. I also have replaced the JAN/Philips with some Russian military grade tubes. It sounds sweet with my HD650. It also worked splendid with my friends DT880.

                • Reply July 28, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  You’ll be in heaven with the T90.

                • Reply July 28, 2015

                  Headfonia_L.

                  I’d probably prefer the JAN over the Russian tubes who are more lean and aggressive sounding in general

                  • Reply July 28, 2015

                    szoze

                    I always thought that Russian tubes were a bit meatier sounding than JAN (the green ones). I think though that JAN are nice tubes to begin with 🙂

      • Reply July 28, 2015

        szoze

        I ordered the headphones yesterday. Both t90 and he-400i. I am working on break-in. My initial impression is that t90 has lots of energy in thevtreble region. They’re very sibilant on some recordings. The sound lacks body. 400i has more meat and seem to have a larger soundstage. It works well with vocals. I hope things will change after a couple of hours of breaking in (especially with t90). Right now it is 400i that sounds more correct and hi-fi to me. Compared to hd650 400i is much more agile with nicer tonality and wider and deeper soundstage. Very musicaal headphone this 400i. I don’t have Fidelio X2 but I had it a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was quite messy. As I remember the bass on X2 was intruding the midrange and everything sounded a bit wooly and undefined, kind of grainy throughout the frequency range, especially treble. 400i sounds clean and clear but full and warm anyway. T90 os a little bit thin inspite its powerful bass. Thats my initial thoughts.

        • Reply July 29, 2015

          dalethorn

          Here’s the EQ curve (green line) I did on the T90 to achieve the most neutral sound I could get. I boosted the deep bass a little, but overall the bass and midrange are nearly ideal. I find it has a little too much energy in the lower treble around 4 khz, and some excess energy around 9-10 khz, which is why I usually suggest a tube amp. But if you can compensate that treble somehow, with a suitable amp or using the “Shure earcup stuffers” I showed in a youtube video, then my opinion is you’ll find the tonality of the T90 to be best in the long run.

          http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Audioforge/Beyer_T90.jpg

          • Reply July 29, 2015

            szoze

            Thanks Dale. I don’t use EQ. I listen to my music from CD-player and turntable so software equalizing is hard:-) I will try those earcup stuffers. Have you noticed any change with breaking in? It seems that 400i benefits from breaking in. Do you have 400i? Any experiences with that headphone?

            • Reply July 29, 2015

              dalethorn

              I don’t use EQ either, but it informs me much better about why and how a headphone sounds like it does, than reading someone’s measurement charts with twisty/squiggly lines through the treble. I never heard the 400i, but from several planars I have heard, I’ll just say give it lots of time so you understand the true tonality of each headphone.

              • Reply July 29, 2015

                szoze

                I am really trying to understand the tonality of T90 but honestly I am having serious troubles with it. The sound is unnaturally (?) tilted towards the treble and coming from HD650 it just sounds awkward. I have never heard any headphone having such an odd tonal balance. It makes it hard for me to concentrate on music. Everything I hear is that silvery shimmer, those upper harmonics of voices and instruments. Instruments don’t have that natural body and it is hard to differentiate between different string instruments or even woodwinds. That is much easier to do with 400i or with my HD650 for that matter. Listening to Carlos Kleiber’s live recording of Symphony 7 by Beethoven is not the same pleasure as with 400i. The same goes to Barbirolli’s Mahler 6. That black background I can feel with 400i is simply not there with T90. Sir Barbirolli’s moaning is far clearer with 400i and the violins really sound like many violins playing together. With T90, the string instruments all sound like violins. Very strange. Maybe my T90 are broken. Maybe my amplifier isn’t good enough to power them. 400i at least sound correct in the meaning that they have that musical body and don’t emphasize anything in the soundscape. 400i are still involving. I will continue to give them a try. My problem is that I am not sure that even 400i are a sufficient upgrade to my HD650 especially given the price of 550 Euro for 400i (compared to 330 Euro for a new pair of HD650s). But I don’t want to buy the same headphones one more time 🙂

                • Reply July 29, 2015

                  Headfonia_L.

                  Same question, what amp is it again?
                  HE-400i is great but to me the HD650 still is the better headphone (when properly amped)

                  • Reply July 29, 2015

                    szoze

                    It is xcan v3 recapped and tube rolled

                  • Reply July 29, 2015

                    szoze

                    Right now though my X-Can V3 400i sounds really nice to me. Not sure if it is objectively better than HD650 in every respect, but it is certainly more open, has better and more precise imaging and wider and deeper soundstage and is more tonally accurate and “emotional”. The bass is deeper and more accurate and punchy. HD650 sounds a bit compressed and congested in comparison. 400i sounds “calmer” and, how should I say, more well-behaved (refined?). T90, on the other hand, is just too bright to me. Maybe my ears are simply not good enough to take advantage of real hi-fi sound. 🙁

                    • July 29, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      That is the simple answer as you said here, and BTW, the “EQ curve” I showed you pointed that out – the brightness. But my feeling is, with the brightness adjusted a little, with ordinary treble control, I think the tonality is superior to most planars.

                    • July 29, 2015

                      szoze

                      I remember when I bought my HD650 10 years ago coming from cheap earbuds and Senn HD414. It was a fantastic experience indeed, a real eye-opener. I remember I got goosebumps on some of my favorite tracks when I heard them on my HD650 for the first time (and even later). During the last ten years I have heard many different headphones from Beyer, AKG, Ultrason, Sennheiser etc. None has ever induced the emotions I had listening to my HD650 in the beginning of our “acquaintance”. Not until today with HE-400i. I almost cried when I heard those singing strings of the New York Philharmonics performing Brahms’ Pocco alegretto in Symphony No 3 (Bruno Walter conducting). I can clearly distinguish the different wind instruments from each other, their colors. I can almost count the cellos in the orchestra. And those timpani at the beginning of Brahms second. Oh my … 🙂

                      I really don’t want to be disrespectful to Lieven or you Dale but if this is not hi-fi heaven then I don’t know what is. HE-400i is simply fantastic. A transparent window into the studio or into the concert hall. As HD650 it lets me to feel music and that is the most important thing.

                      I tried to equalize down those peaks on T90 today and even to lift that valley at 5kHz. It resulted in a dryer (and duller) sound without sibilances. Everything else is still there.

                    • July 29, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Seems like the amp and the T90 aren’t compatible. I’m glad you like the HD650 and the HE400I this much. Believe me though that the LCD2/3/X/XC and Hifiman HE560/1000 are in a totally different league: High Fi 🙂

                    • July 29, 2015

                      szoze

                      I believe you Lieven 🙂 I heard Senn HD800 some time ago and it was really something.

                    • July 30, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      I had the HD800 for 4 years. The bass and mids were unremarkable, although they did sound pretty good. But the high end – and ignoring any alleged brightness – the HD800 could resolve upper treble harmonics from complex passages into amazing sparkly details that I haven’t heard from 140 other headphones. And it could do that even with some low-cost amps, although it sounded better with better amps.

                    • July 29, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      If you can’t see the *result* curve that your EQ generates, then you’re probably not getting what you think you’ve specified. That’s a big part of the reason audiophiles are frustrated with EQ and give up.

          • Reply August 12, 2015

            Krzysztof Maj

            As we discussed on the Fidelio article comments, I like my recently purchased T90’s very much. Don’t see any excessive high frequency peaks and low bass lacking, but I think that’s because of my DAC – Caiman MKII which has been moded to extend the lower bass and then it may result in quite balanced tonal signature of T90’s. Anyway, these cans are absolutely one of the best. In my case it was very nice step up from Grado’s 325is’s – T90’s are more comfortable, wider and deeper with soundstage.

            • Reply August 12, 2015

              dalethorn

              Knowing what I know (or suspect) about absolute detail versus ‘enhanced’ detail, I prefer a tube amp with most Beyer headphones.

              • Reply August 12, 2015

                Krzysztof Maj

                Not only you. Lots of folks talking about tube amp the best match for T90. SS amps may have less distortion, at least on the paper and some of them could also sound warm. Anyway, I love my T90’s.

          • Reply August 12, 2015

            Krzysztof Maj

            BTW, Dale, which exactly Shure earcups?

            • Reply August 12, 2015

              dalethorn

              I used the extra earpads from the 1440 or 1840, but they probably use the same foam backing in the other pro series.

        • Reply July 29, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          That’s why the T90 need a good OTL amp or a warmer SS type amp. I think that after a while you will see HD650 is the easier to listen to headphone than the HE400I, but again, the HD650 needs to be properly amped.

          What amp are you using again?

        • Reply August 5, 2015

          szoze

          So, after one week with T90 I am deciding to give up. No matter what I do with it, T90 sounds the same, bright, dry, sometimes sibilant and harsh and simply odd. I borrowed a friend’s Darkvoice 337 amp to try it with T90. It essentially has the same sound signature as my Beyerdynamic DT660 that I have hooked up to my computer. The most prominent difference is that T90 has better bass slam and a little bit better soundstage. I don’t expect more from DT660. It is a €100 headphone. But I surely expect more from a €400 headphone. So either DT660 is a fantastic headphone for €100 or T90 is completely overpriced. HE-400i on the other hand, after 100+ hours sounds really sweet, relaxed, detailed, full-bodied and just utterly satisfying with any music I throw at it. Probably it is the sound signature I am not a friend with.

          • Reply August 5, 2015

            Headfonia_L.

            I’m afraid you analized that correctly, sorry it wasn’t for you

            • Reply August 5, 2015

              szoze

              No big deal 🙂 you actually helped me find a new headphone that I really enjoy (HE-400i).

            • Reply August 6, 2015

              Dave Ulrich

              How do you analize something? Sounds painful…

            • Reply August 10, 2015

              szoze

              The demo T90 that I borrowed last week were actually, probably defect. I got to know that when I returned it to the shop. They confused their demo can for a can that a customer left for inspection. I don’t know other deails but now I have their demo cans with me and have been listening to them since Friday. They sound amazing.so far through my X-Can.

              • Reply August 10, 2015

                Headfonia_L.

                Oh dear

                • Reply August 10, 2015

                  szoze

                  What can I say? I am sorry for all my posts above 🙁 T90 really sounds nice. Great complement to HD650 and HE400i. I don’t actually mind buying HE400i either as I really enjoy them. T90 are so amazingly detailed and accurate.

                  • Reply August 11, 2015

                    dalethorn

                    Great to hear – that adds to the knowledge base of this headphone.

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