Precision for Professionals – A Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphone Review

January 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm by

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One reason I am a huge fan of rock and roll music is because what you see is what you get. There are no autotuned effects, no lip syncing, no special effects, just glorious live content that is real. Some of the most iconic people in music are still known today because of their real and true vocals.

While I enjoy a good rock concert, there doesn’t happen to be many venues close to me and I want to listen to these great songs every day. When listening to music, I want it to be as real and lively as it is while standing in the audience.

Any musician would understand that to get a name for yourself, a studio recording of your music is a must, even for the rock and roll bands. Even though live music is fantastic, services like Pandora or Spotify tend to want a studio recording of the song.

A studio song differs from a live version because the song is cut to a set time limit, you get the full effect of the song, and it’s the perfect sound.

The perfect sound. That’s what’s it’s all about, isn’t it? Hearing the highs, mids, lows, and the vocals to the individual instruments. The sad part is, most people miss out on these crucial details. While thousands run out to buy overpriced Apple Earpods that have a mediocre speaker driver, music enthusiasts can relax while hearing what the artist really wanted them to hear.

Returning once again to the spotlight, Beyerdynamic is back with yet again another headphone unit. Made by professionals, for professionals, and to be used by everyday users, Beyerdynamic is attempting to take that perfect sound and transmit it right to your ears.

Being one of their highest-end headphones, the new DT 1990 Pro headphones are striving to become the best in the market for music goers. With comfort, performance, and quality being their top three pushes for this headset, it’s clear that they want to take a share of the global market.

Hand-crafted and made in Germany, these headphones are a professional-grade unit that allows you to enter the realm of the audio studio. The question is, how well do they perform and stand up to the world?

Welcome to my review of the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the following topics: the design and comfort, sound quality, and my final thoughts. Thank you to Beyerdynamic for providing this product.

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Design and Comfort

Like all Beyerdynamic headphones, the DT 1990 Pro headphones proudly print the “Made in Germany” wording right on the front of the box. Known mainly for their efficient engineering, the German builders for Beyerdynamic somehow managed to take the best of Germany and mix it with a little bit of Italian-like design.

As one of Beyerdynamic’s top of the line headphones, the DT 1990 Pros are built to last. Both ear cups and the headband are made out of aluminum chassis and this aluminum craft extends further into the ear cups to act as a grilled air vent.

Matte black was the inspired design of the headset and the matte finish can be found practically all over the headphones. Silver coloring appears on the grill vent within the ear cups. This same vent also showcases the “DT 1990 Pro” in a reflective and stylish silver.

For the perfect fit, the aluminum headband extends or contracts quite a bit and should fit nearly all head sizes. Additionally, being that the headband is aluminum, it can flex outwards for those with a wider contour to their head. Or the headband can twist slightly for an “on one ear, off on the other” listening style.

Both ear cups feature circular ear openings and while I prefer the oval shape ear openings, the circular opening on these units is so large that I doubt many would complain of ear pressure. Plus, the grill between you and the inside speaker is felted for even more comfort.

When placed on top of your head, the headphones rest easy with very little downwards or inwards pressure. The headband at the top is stitched leather and is properly padded all the way around. I wouldn’t call the padding memory foam, but it’s gentle enough not to mess up your hair or cause strain, such as a headache.

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Moreover, the ear pads are made from microfiber and they feature the same foam padding as the headband. Unlike leather ear pads, these felted units do not warm up your ears or head. They do, however, allow a little bit of sound to leak in and out. Another set of ear pads is included. More about set two below.

Using the headphones leaves a pillow-like effect on your head. I never ran into having a headache, becoming hot-headed, or having an itchy scalp. The pressure applied all around from the foam is equal and is a secure fit. I went hours upon hours with the headphones on my head. Not many headphones can offer the same comfort as these.

The DT 1990 Pro comes with one of the best headphone carrying cases I’ve ever used or seen. The case is made from tough plastic and is rubber coated; it zips close for a secure fit around the headphones. The case does lack a carrying handle and it would have been nice to have considering it’s quite large and bulky. Fitting this into a suitcase or carrying bag wouldn’t be easy. Inside, there is a felt lining that does a good job cradling the headphones.

Inside the case, you’ll also find a secondary headphone cable. Beyerdynamic provides two different cables for the DT 1990 Pro. One is a 9.8-foot straighten cable and the other is a 16.4-foot coiled unit. Both cables terminate to a 3.5mm 3-pole headphone jack, but both cables come with a ¼”mm screw on adapter. One thing to note is that the headset uses a mini-XLR headphone jack, so while the cable is detachable and replaceable, you’ll need a custom cable.

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It may not be Ferrari red, but the DT 1990 Pros sure do look truly outstanding in any environment. At first, I wasn’t a fan of the larger ear cups, but the look and slim body grew on me and I began to enjoy it. What really grew on me was the matte black finish with silver accents. Even though Beyerdynamic’s Amazon product page showcases a hipster-like feel when wearing these headphones (and I wish they didn’t do that), it’s a design that anybody could pull off.

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Sound Quality

I spoke about how well the DT 1990 Pros felt when being worn and how well they were built in the section above because I wanted this section to be straight to the point and focus on one thing, the sound.

Beyerdynamic opted for an open back design and while I prefer the opposite, Beyerdynamic somehow made this work. Open backed headphones are mainly used on high-end Hi-Fi headphones as they offer a richer sound with little isolation.

Being one of the highest-end of headphones I have ever used, it was frightening entering this review as I only had some limited experiences with Hi-Fi units. What should these be compared to? How will I know if they sound good? It turns out that the headphones don’t need to be compared to anything and they speak loud enough volumes to tell anybody that they mean business.

Pandora One was the preferred service during this test with all day rock and roll streaming music. As many of my stations play Live content, I received the best of both words. With the DT 1990 Pros, I was able to experience the live and true sounds of each band, while still holding on to that professional quality sound of studio recording.

If I had one favorite part about these headphones, it’s that the vocals are out of this world. Music from different bands became unique as you could always understand the pronounced voice. It does this all while not overpowering the voice.

For the instruments, it was just a pleasure. Depending on the song, I felt like some parts could be louder or amplified, but it wasn’t something that I wanted constantly. Each different instrument could be heard independently if you listened closely and carefully. Instrumental solos have never been so enjoyable.

The headphones are impressive down in the lows, pick up the mid-range, and reach for the highs. Although, reaching the high notes isn’t always desirable for all types of music and it could be slightly better. I looked this up to see if others had the same thoughts about the highs being close, but not perfect and it seems to be consistent. Lows and mids, spot on; highs are close.

As for the bass, I wished that Beyerdynamic was able to push out a little more pronounced bass effects. Granted I am used to my adjustable bass headphones, the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros, but I feel like the DT 1990 Pros could have a slight adjustment here. The bass is present and prominent and should be fine for most, but I was looking for just a little bit more.

I went most of this review using the preinstalled earpads that come with the unit, even knowing there was an extra pair in the case. It turns out, that even though they look very similar, the ear pads are very different. The preinstalled ones are more of a bass preferred ear cups or as they call it, ‘a more balanced listening experience’. The other ear cups are for an analytical sound. I preferred the balanced ones and it’s what this review was written about, but the analytical pads are more neutral sounding and offer more of a theater-room-type setting.

There are massive 45mm dynamic Tesla drivers in the DT 1990 Pros that are capable of 250 ohms. This is a serious driver that is capable of some serious performance. The headphones can be cranked up to 102 dB, that is if you can handle the sound levels. A 15-minute listening timer is the max amount of time Beyerdynamic recommends listening to 105dB. Plus, just in case you want to, Beyerdynamic was able to reach a 5 – 40,000 Hz frequency range.

During this entire review, I ended up using the DT 1990 Pro headset for everything I do on the computer. While they aren’t made specifically for it, I used them for watching videos, movies, gaming, music…everything. While it’s not the focus of the review or for this product, I’ll say that the DT 1990 Pros did just fine in every application possible. There weren’t any complaints when using them for everything I do.

I can’t say that these are the best sounding studio grade headphones on the market because I don’t have enough intel or background in this field. However, the DT 1990 Pros sound better than any other headphone I’ve used in the past (which do include high-end models) and I doubt any professional would question the sound.

It’s best to end this section with this: If I close my eyes with the DT 1990 Pros, I can easily picture myself inside a recording studio listening to a masterpiece being made. Even when plugged into my guitar amp and playing a riff, it’s a great sound.

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My Final Thoughts

As expected, all of this does come at a hefty cost. The DT 1990 Pros will set you back $559, which may not be an easy purchase for most, but these headphones aren’t your everyday headphones. They are built like a tank, engineered to perform, and styled beautifully. With their open backed design to their studio quality sound, I wouldn’t want to trade the DT 1990 Pros for anything else and I can guarantee satisfaction; something that I say rarely. I could use the DT 1990 Pros all day and all night with comfort and purity. I ended up liking these headphones so much, that I plan on turning them into my new daily drivers.

One thing to note is that if you are looking for a studio grade headset, but have limited funds for the DT 1990 Pros, then a very close second would be the Beyerdynamic T70p which I reviewed a little while back. The T70 is priced at $250.

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© 2017 Justin Vendette

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