Beyerdynamic T90: Open Tesla Candy!

IMG_3261_Feature

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.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Lieven is living in Europe and is a full time Headfonia writer and 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. Taking pictures is a real challenge but seeing happy readers in the end is what it's all about for him.

  • 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?

    • http://dalethorn.com 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.

  • Igor Sheykin

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

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

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

      • 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)

        • http://dalethorn.com 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.

  • 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.

  • Pingback: BEYERDYNAMIC T90 ‘Review’ | Audiophilepure()