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Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones 250 Ohms
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- Open, diffuse-field studio headphone with single-sided coiled cable and 250 ohm drivers
- Extremely lightweight diaphragm for superb impulse performance
- Excellent sound reproduction. Headphone impedance: 250 ohms
- Comfortable fit due to rugged, adjustable, padded headband construction and soft velour ear pads
- 2 year manufacturer warranty only when purchased from an authorized beyerdynamic dealer.
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From the manufacturer
It all started with the talkie: electrical engineer Eugen Beyer started his own company in Berlin in 1924 to build cinema speakers. Today, beyerdynamic is the the world leading manufacturer of headphones, microphones and conference systems.
DT 990 Pro Open Back Headphone
Professional acoustically open headphone for monitoring, gaming and studio applications.
- Open diffuse-field studio headphone
- Extremely lightweight diaphragm for superb impulse performance
- Excellent sound reproduction
- Velour Ear Pads for luxurious comfort
- Made in Germany
Why Open Back Headphones?
Open or Closed Headphones refer to the ear cup. Typically headphones are closed and the ear cup is sealed. Sound does not get in or out of a closed headphone much. With our DT990 the ear cups are 'vented' or 'ported' allowing sound to escape and sound in the room to get in. This feature creates a very 'open' sound allowing sound energy to interact with the outside environment. We recommend to you try some for your critical listening, gaming or studio monitoring applications. It is a very unique experience.
Made-to-Measure from Germany
The 'Made in Germany' quality promise applies to product development and manufacture: the designs of beyerdynamic engineers and designers in Heilbronn are then built by approximately 180 highly qualified employees in Germany – mostly by hand.
All products and key technologies are developed in Germany at the company headquarters in Heilbronn. Instead of outsourcing design assignments or purchasing finished solutions from third-party manufacturers abroad, beyerdynamic retains the know-how of its personnel in-house.
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This item Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones 250 Ohms
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The DT 990 PRO 250 by Beyerdynamic is an acoustically open dynamic headphone of exceptional quality, suitable for the most demanding monitoring and studio applications. The reduced weight of the diaphragm and moving coil results in similar pulse characteristic as electrostatic headphones. The carefully tailored frequency response offers a natural and balanced sound. Soft velour ear pads and adjustable, sliding, earpieces combined with a very flexible coiled cable ensure listening comfort during extended periods of use. The DT 990 PRO 250 features 250 ohm drivers and a gold plated stereo jack with 1/4" "adapter. Since 1924 Beyerdynamic has remained a German family owned company committed to continuous research and innovative developments for the audio market. All over the world, Beyerdynamic is known for the use of the latest technologies and a high quality standard. All Beyerdynamic products are made in Germany.
Top customer reviews
That aside, let me start off with the build quality: The DT990-Pro is made entirely of ABS plastic, save for the headband and the forks holding the cans, which are made of metal (aluminum, I'd say, from the weight of it). The head-band is covered with a soft black plastic material held in place by four small clasp-buttons. The DT990-Pro is surprisingly light and extremely comfortable (in this it rivals the other "most-comfortable" headphones I have here, the Sennheiser HD-598). Overall I'd rate the build quality as top-notch, save for the somewhat under-designed cable strain relief (located on the left can). The cable is about 3m log, it is coiled and it ends with a 1/8in jack. A screw-on 1/4in jack is also provided. The strain-relief of the cable at the can attachment point seems (to me) a little too small because the coiled cable is very heavy and with use (given sufficient time) I can see it failing and leading to cable/connectivity issues. Also (this is just a minor personal quibble) the silver velour pads may seem dirty depending on how the light hits them (but again, no big deal, especially since black-velour or leather pads for it are available on Amazon or elsewhere).
On to sound quality: Computer/audio gear used during my listening tests:
MacBook-Pro w/ Mac OS X 10.6.8
XMOS USB 2.0 Audio Reference Design Asynchronous DAC (44.1-192kHz/24bit),
HiFiMeDIY Sabre USB DAC (32-96kHz/24bit),
Matrix M-Stage Headphone Amp,
FiiO E12-Mont Blanc Headphone Amp
Beyerdynamic DT990-Pro Open Headphones (250 ohm, 96dB/mW)
Audio-Technica ATH-A900 closed-back headphones (40 ohm, 101dB/mW),
Superlux HD-681 semi-open headphones (32 ohm, 98dB/mW), and
Sennheiser HD-598 open headphones (50 ohm, 100dB/mW).
Playback software: Audacity, iTunes, VLC
Source quality: standard CD 44.1kHz/16bit, and native HD 88.2-96kHz/24bit
Audio cables: 3.5mm to RCA (3ft), and RCA-to-RCA (3ft), AUVIO and Monoprice brands
The Sound (overall conclusion both DACs/HP-Amps): Good dynamics, detail and clarity, well staged and with good imaging. In terms of frequency response these headphones are tuned such as to emphasize/boost the low and high ends. Perhaps the best way to summarize the DT990-Pro sound by comparison with the other three headphones I have here would be this: The DT990-Pro nearly matches the Superlux HD681 in bass impact without sacrificing dynamics, it easily matches the Sennheiser HD598 in mid-range sparkle, staging, and imaging, and gives the Audio-Technica ATH-A900 a good run for the money in terms of highs extension.
The closest of my other headphones in terms of overall SQ would be the Sennheiser HD598. However, despite the slightly more neutral presentation of the Sennheiser's, I find the DT990-Pro sound far more preferable. The DT990-Pro has a much better low end, and has smoother, more extended highs without that slight veil characteristic to Sennheiser headphones (clearly the Sennheiser HD-598 are decent cans but somehow I could never get too excited about their sound, hence my search for a different pair of open-back headphones). Also, the DT990-Pro manages to present the high end with what I'd call more "precision" than the ATH-A900 without sounding as grainy, and with just as much aplomb as the Superlux without sounding as (excessively) bright. Note: The DT990-Pro are both high impedance (250ohm) and relatively less efficient than the other cans I mentioned here (they only manage 96dB/mW) and thus amping is a must for anyone wishing to get the most out of them. For instance, my iPod Shuffle 1-st Gen (max output: 0.57Vrms) cannot drive them to any reasonable listening level (without severe clipping) and only manages a lifeless, distorted, garbled presentation, while the MacBook-Pro sound card (1.4Vrms) drives them to sufficiently loud levels but with pretty obvious distortions (for an overall harsh, fatiguing presentation.) Based on my experience with such sources I would not recommend these cans for use with portable devices without a proper amp. Also to note: the DT990-Pro do require at least 8-10hr of initial break-in to start sounding right (before that the sound is overly bassy, and somewhat unfocused/cloudy). As of this writing I have 30-35hrs on it and for sound quality I'd break things out like this:
Bass Extension: 6/10
Bass Impact: 7/10
Bass Texture: 7/10 (solid)
Mids Quality: 7.5/10
Highs Extension: 8.5/10
Highs Quality: 8/10 (vivid)
Highs Texture: 7.5/10 (soft)
Detail/Transparency: 8/10 (clear)
Dynamics: 8.5/10 (natural)
Isolation: 2/10 (open design)
Design/Aesthetics: 9/10 (classic Beyerdynamic design)
Build quality: 9/10
Portability: 5/10 (fairly large size)
Improvement w/ Amplification: 8.5/10 (Note: Amping is recommended!)
Value at MSRP: (9/10) [I gave it a 9/10 here only because, by comparison, the $30 Superlux HD681 is still a better bang for the buck!]
To conclude, the Beyerdynamic DT990-Pro are near reference headphones which sacrifice some neutrality for the sake of a more natural sounding, or rather, a more fleshed-out acoustic presentation. As far as I'm concerned, it suffices to say that the DT990-Pro is the only headphone I have here that I can listen to (with any kind of music) without EQ and not feel that I might be missing something (and that, I think, says a lot). All in all, a remarkable offering from Beyerdynamic, highly recommended!
BUILD QUALITY: It's built just alright. After about a year, the piece holding the sliding part that attaches to the ear cup cracked completely in half. It stays together even being cracked, but it's definitely wonky and has lost some of its structural integrity. I suspect that it cracked in such a way because of the structural design of the headphones; they're rigid in a way where moving the ear cups around, let's say taking one of the ear cups off one ear to hear someone talking to you, makes the headband twist in a way which seems like it wasn't meant to move that way. Overall, the build quality's solid but the design could use work. The same cracked piece's opposite piece on the other side is beginning to crack. I've attached a photo of the completely cracked one. It's worth mentioning that I contacted Beyerdynamic about it and they offered for me to send the headphones in for a repair or they could send me the piece and I could replace it for myself. I opted for the latter.
COMFORT: These headphones out of the box are very, very comfortable. I use them for long gaming sessions sometimes lasting up to 10+ hours and I have zero comfort problems. After a year of using them, the stock ear pads that came on them were flat. Even so, they were still comfortable. When I noticed how flat they'd gotten, I purchased HM5 Velour memory foam pads (http://www.amazon.com/Brainwavz-Velor-Memory-Replacements-Earpads/dp/B00MFDX4YO/ref=pd_sim_23_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=41RSWch-OBL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=14EJG9CAW7PPG9Z4H7WQ) and they fit fine (after some stretching) and feel great. They did alter the sound a bit and bring down the treble and make the lows a bit wider, bleeding into the mids a bit. The clamp of the headphones onto the ears is tight, especially with the HM5 pads which are much thicker than the stock pads. If you don't like a tight clamp, you'll need to get used to the clamp on these.
SOUND: Warm and full of body. I've heard/seen people say that the sound in these headphones can result in fatigue because of the harsh highs, but I haven't experienced that. I'm someone who doesn't like too much treble and I think these sound great. There's definitely an emphasis on the bass/sub bass in these. For open headphones, these pull off an impressive amount of lows. It makes them great for electronic music like house, drum and bass, dubstep, etc as well as genres like rock and metal as the music feels full. Compared to Philips SHP9500's, which I believe have a pretty neutral and balanced sound, the DT990's sacrifice accuracy and detail for warmth and voluminous bass/sub bass. These headphones, as a result, are absolutely fantastic for gaming and pleasure listening, but I wouldn't recommend them for monitoring or audio editing because you want to be as accurate and detailed as you can with the sound in those applications. Monitoring/editing with these headphones might result in whatever you're working on being bass-light. The soundstage is not as wide as the SHP9500's or the ATH-AD700's, but it is still decent. I recently purchased a SMSL SD793-II DAC/amp (http://www.amazon.com/SMSL-SD793-II-PCM1793-DIR9001-Amplifier/dp/B00A2QLPJM) to drive these. Without an amp, these headphones actually worked alright for me using them on my computer as well as my phone, but I usually don't listen to things very loudly. With the SMSL SD793-II, these headphones absolutely sing.
FEATURES/MISC: The ear pads were very easy to replace. Just pull the ear pads off and pull the new ones around the cups, no modifications needed. The cable is permanently attached. As I said earlier, I was able to contact Beyerdynamic about my cracked piece and they sent me a new piece which I'll be replacing myself, so that's definitely a plus as I won't be forced to get entirely new headphones or just use different ones.
OVERALL: I give these headphones 4/5 stars. I took one star off mainly because the design seems to almost guarantee that the little pieces holding the sliding bars attached to the ear cups will crack over time with normal use of the headphones. Also, the headphones would benefit from a detachable/replaceable cable.
I've loved these headphones. Extremely comfortable, great sound with booming lows but still present mids/highs. My only caveat is the build quality/design.