Review: Beyerdynamic DT1990PRO – Addictive

Disclaimer: The review sample of the Beyerdynamic DT1990PRO was sent to us by Beyerdynamic on loan for one month. It’s going back to Germany right after this review. Beyerdynamic isn’t a Headfonia advertiser. Unless differently mentioned the pictures are property of Beyerdynamic.

Beyerdynamic

The German Beyerdynamic recently has been renewing their existing line-up with a rev 2 of their existing best-sellers like the T1.2. Most of these “new” headphones feature a removable cable and that makes me and a whole lot of other “audiophiles” very happy.

A couple of weeks ago the PRO branch of Beyerdynamic released a new PRO headphone with the DT1770PRO, a closed reference studio monitoring headphones for mixing, mastering, monitoring and recording. Everyone of course knows the classic DT770PRO which has been around like forever and so Beyerdynamic decided it was time to let the DT770Pro evolve. The DT1770PRO is the first PROfessional closed headphone using the Beyerdynamic Tesla technology. A few weeks later at IFA 2016, Beyerdynamic launched the open version of this headphone, called the DT1990PRO. I knew this headphone was coming even before I received the DT1770Pro and I’ve been lucky to have spent several weeks with both units already.

DT1990PRO

The DT1990PRO is handcrafted in Germany and it is Beyer’s first open-back studio reference headphones for mixing and mastering. Its impedance is 250 ohms and on the inside you’ll find a 45-mm dynamic Tesla neodymium driver. The DT1990Pro is single-sided and has a detachable cable with a mini-XLR connector. It comes delivered in an improved carrying hard case with two sets of velour pads, a straight 3m cable and a coiled cable. The two pairs of velour ear pads have different sound characteristics (analytical and balanced) but we’ll get to that later in this section and in the part on “Sound”.

pic_dt1990pro_16-05_close-up-mini-xlr-connector_

The headband compared to the “old” DT990 has improved a lot. The leather material used just looks and feels nicer providing even better comfort, the stitching on top is simply beautiful. Beyerdynamic of course keeps using the typical Beyer suspension system with the typical anodized aluminum yokes holding the drivers/ear cups. As the DT1990PRO is an open design the ear cups are partially open. They don’t have a full grill like you see in the T1 but it actually is mostly plastic with a whole bunch of vertical see-through grill parts. A lot of people I spoke to in Berlin love the design but I personally don’t especially think the sides of the cups look stunning. The design however doesn’t bother either.

As we’re used to from Beyerdynamic and all the other German headphone companies, the build quality of these headphones is topnotch. All components in fact are replaceable and ensure a long lifetime of the headphone. I’m a big fan of velour pads and all my Beyerdynamic headphones (T70, T90, COP, DT770PRO, DT1770PRO) in fact are equipped with velour pads. Sure your ears might get a little warmer when using the headphone for longer periods but comfort wise these simply are the best. The DT1990PRO comes with two sets of velour pads that each have their own sound signature: The EDT 1990 A pads for a neutral sound (included in the delivery, light grey color) and the EDT 1990 B pads for a sound with a slight bass boost (included in the delivery, dark grey color). The B pads are the ones the DT1990PRO came delivered with. Comfort wise however these pads are exactly the same. Changing the pads is quite easy once you know how to do it, and it only takes like a minute to switch the pads. It’s not fun doing it but it’s quick and easy.

The DT1990PRO, like every other Beyerdynamic headphone, is very comfortable. The clamping force on your head is just right but that of course depends on your head. The DT1990PRO weighs a perfectly normal 370 grams which is not heavy at all for a full sized headphone. The left side cable entry is easy and perfectly fine yet I still prefer a double Left and Right entry. The Beyerdynamic headphones have always easy to adjust and it’s no different with their latest creation. Comfort is guaranteed.

Personally I wouldn’t take the DT1990PRO outside of the house but I’ve actually seen people using it a as a portable headphone. It’s a proof though that it’s a very comfy unit even though the sound quality can’t be optimal as sound will leak out and in. The DT1990PRO officially costs $/€599 in the Beyerdynamic web shop but I’ve seen it go for $568.80 and €590 on Amazon. I expected the DT1990PRO to be a lot more expensive and closer to the 1K mark but the Beyerdynamic price for this unit is incredibly sharp.

 

Specs

Headphone impedance 250 ohms
Headphone frequency response 5-40,000 Hz
Nominal sound pressure level

Nominal SPL

THD

Nominal handling capacity

Nominal headband Pressure

Weight (without cable)

102 dBSPL (1mW/500Hz)

102 dB SPL (1 mW / 500 Hz)

< 0,05% (1mW / 500 Hz)

200 mW

Approx. 6.6 N

370gr.

 

Sound

A lot of people immediately think every single Beyerdynamic unit has a V-shaped sound curve but that isn’t always the case. Beyerdynamic describes the DT1990PRO as follows: Brilliant highs, a richly detailed midrange and precise bass with a wide, dynamic and extremely natural stereo image. Beyerdynamic is pretty right.

The overall Character of the headphone changes depending on the type of ear pads you use. With the B-type pads – where B stands for Balanced – the DT1990PRO illogically has added bass presence. With the A Pads – where A stands for Analytical – you get a more balanced and linear sound where there is no added anything. I don’t find the pads to impact the midrange and treble too much although the mids might seem different (thicker) because of the added bass body. For “fun” listening my preference goes to the B pads but the A pads make out of the DT1990PRO what it is supposed to be: a more neutral and analytical precise headphone for studio monitoring. Do note that there are two version of the pads already, this review sample seems to be equipped with the older pads as shown in user kman1211’s post on Head-fi.

Sound continues on Page two, right after the Click here or the jump below

Review: Beyerdynamic DT1990PRO – Addictive
4.3 (85.56%) 36 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

39 Comments

  • Reply September 20, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice article Lieven. I used to own the DT990s (250 Ohm 2005 Version) and they also had a great synergy with the Little Dot MK III (With 6H30P DR, WE 403B tubes) in comparison to SS Head Amps.

    These look beautiful and at the mentioned price range they seem worthy.

    • Reply September 20, 2016

      Lieven

      Thank you, Barun. For the price it’s very good indeed, especially on tubes ;à

  • Reply September 20, 2016

    Ali

    Great review Lieven.

    Looking forward to reading your Cayin HA-1A MK2 review.

    • Reply September 20, 2016

      Lieven

      Thank you. That might be a while though :/

  • Reply September 20, 2016

    Alan Gruskoff

    Do these “PRO” headphones provide a 1/4″ connector to work with all my PRO equipment, or do they have the 3.5mm connectors to work with consumer phones?

    I will not use any of those awful little crappy adapters to get a cable to work with all my PRO equipment which have 1/4″ connectors.

  • Reply September 22, 2016

    Petros

    Hello , how the compare to the HD650?

    • Reply September 22, 2016

      Lieven

      The HD650 is lower, smoother, doesn’t have any V-shaped curve, treble is softer. It’s a completely different headphone so I didn’t compare it to the Senn

  • Reply September 22, 2016

    Petros

    Well it seems that the 650 is still unique! I am searching for the “new” 650 but no luck yet. May be the Elear? I am waiting for your review. Thank you. (What about the HD700?)

  • Reply October 7, 2016

    Anders Kongsvoll

    Have you tried the 1770Pro with the A-pads? Personally I think the 1770pro has I bit too much bass, it’s dominant. So I bought the T5p G2. But curious to know how the 1770 would respond to different pads.
    Thanks – Anders
    (use chord mojo, and the velour pads that came with the 1770)

  • Reply October 12, 2016

    Edward Lau

    How much does this 1990 leak out? Would it be usable in an office environment without others able to hear at moderate volume? When I had the 1770, it isolated very well. My ATH-R70X is open but surprisingly doesn’t leak very much at all at moderate volume.

  • Reply November 20, 2016

    HKING

    Hello Lieven,

    Which one would you prefer more with these cans La Figaro or Ha-1a MK2?

    • Reply November 20, 2016

      Lieven

      I prefer the sonic character of the 339 but the Cayin allows to finetune the sound because of the Impedance settings.

      • Reply November 24, 2016

        Oscardunn

        Lieven

        Which amp sounds better with HD800?

        • Reply November 24, 2016

          Lieven

          They both sound good but I’ll go for the 339

  • Reply November 20, 2016

    johthor

    Very nice review Lieven. As you liked the 1990 with the Lafigaro 339 amp did you get a chance to try it with the Crack. I have the DT990/250 and the DT880/600 and really like both of them with the Crack.

    • Reply November 20, 2016

      Lieven

      Thank you. I haven’t yet but I have no doubt it sounds really good.

  • Reply June 28, 2017

    Frank

    Hi,
    did you compare the 1990’s with the T1? I heard them both, but not at the same time. Recently I heard the 1990 and it reminded me much on the T1 (first edition). If my memory doesn’t fool me, the “bang-for-the-buck” ratio of the DT 1990 would be awesome.

    (BTW: I didn’t like the Amiro. A more or less failed attempt to re-create a HD 650.)

    Thanks
    Frank

  • Reply June 28, 2017

    Lieven

    If you’re into the T1 and or the DT1990, chances are huge you won’t like the Amiron.
    The DT1990 does indeed have the highest price/quality ratio. I didn’t compare both as I don’t have a T1 (I really don’t like it), but I cans ay the DT1990 is easier to listen to, but it isn’t as neautral

  • Reply November 8, 2017

    Dimitri

    I know that the Philips Fidelio X2 is a completely different headphone, but would you please be able to venture a “comparison” for someone that so far has grown to enjoy the X2 sound?
    Thank you in advance

  • Reply November 8, 2017

    Lieven

    Very different. Pro audio vs warm and bass. Opposites. These shouldn’t really be compared

    • Reply November 9, 2017

      Dimitri

      Thank you for your speedy response Lieven, I really appreciate it. I guess I already anticipated that answer. Let me rephrase a bit then, would YOU PERSONALLY choose a pro audio headphone like the DT 1990 Pro to ENJOY listening to music at home?

      • Reply November 9, 2017

        dale thorn

        Describe your music preferences, and how they sound to you.

        • Reply November 9, 2017

          Dimitri

          Mainly Rock, Electronica (Massive Attack, Faithless), EDM

          • Reply November 9, 2017

            dale thorn

            Yes, that is your music. Now, answer the rest of the question please.

            • Reply November 9, 2017

              Dimitri

              The type of rock tracks I usually go for sound involving and energetic to me. I usually prefer male vocalists and enjoy a multilayered presentation with an average amount of depth. The electronica tracks I prefer, have a rich contrast of mids and bass, I am sucker for transients and decay.
              For EDM I usually choose Chill-Out House or Tech-Minimal House tracks and these sound mellow and warm to me.
              I am not sure if I managed to master a satisfactory answer, please excuse my inability to describe what I am hearing with a audiophile-rich vocabulary.
              I appreciate your helpful altitude towards an uninitiated pair of ears lol

              • Reply November 9, 2017

                dale thorn

                Get the X2 then. The DT’s would have better technicals, but the X2 to my ears give a more colorful tone and harmonics for music enjoyment. That might sound like a contradiction, but when your intent is to just relax and listen, I think the X2 is more enjoyable. If you were mainly gaming or watching movies, I think the DT’s (Tesla) would be more dramatic.

                • Reply November 9, 2017

                  Dimitri

                  Thank you very much Dale, I have both of them coming in along with a friend’s used pair of T1 Gen.2.
                  I’ll report back with my limited vocabulary as soon as I get a good hear out of all of them, maybe this will help others wondering what would be the difference in actual perceived aural enjoyment from models with such big price delta.

      • Reply November 9, 2017

        Lieven

        That depends on your musical preference. I have no issues with that

  • Reply December 5, 2017

    Luis García

    Great review. I am looking for a neutral sound studio headphones under $1000. I am between the sennheiser HD 700, the Sony MDR7520 and this one. For home recording which one would you recomend me.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply December 5, 2017

      Oliver

      Actually a Sennheiser HD600/650/660. You don’t want a headphone to sound good, you want one to translate well. I have a HD600, a DT1990, HD800, Stax SR007MkII among others. But I always use the HD600 for recording. Not because it is the best sound I can get, it isn’t. But when a mix sounds right on the HD600 it will sound right on a huge stereo AND a boom box.

      None of the others fit that category as well. But if a client want to listen to the mix, I give them the 1990. It adds a little excitement and punch most not highly trained listeners enjoy thoroughly.

  • Reply February 8, 2018

    Mike I

    Hi Lieven,
    You seem to like the Cayin HA-1A Mk2 a lot, and you use it in your headphone reviews. When can we expect a “Headphonia” review about this intresting amp ?

    • Reply February 8, 2018

      Lieven

      I am so late with that review, I know. Sorry

  • Reply February 22, 2018

    Ryan M

    I have been looking at the DT1990 and the Amiron Home for being my next headphones. Which one would you think would fit my needs better being that I will use these mostly with “metal,hardcore,rock,and folk” music. I have a DT990 Pro and that has a good clamp pressure for my head. Thanks!

  • Reply February 27, 2018

    saman

    hi, thanks for review. i have a question: what is your opinion about fido X3(first gen) with dt1990? or x3+amiron home? i listen to post-rock and post metal like “if these trees could talk”. i can buy amiron home with 522$ here in iran! it’s cheaper than US market. if you have any good suggestions from senheiser which i use IE80 from them now or any other brands please tell me. thank you.

    • Reply March 1, 2018

      Lieven

      I wouldn’t recommend any of these directly from the X3

  • Reply July 18, 2018

    Zen R.

    How do the Beyerdynamic DT1990’s compare to the HiFiMan Sundara? Thanks.

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