Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Review
The optically unmistakable Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones have probably been seen by everyone who occasionally visits professional recording studios or home studios. The Heilbronn-based manufacturer has been producing the open model in different versions since the 1980s and is still in Germany. In the following review, we want to find out the reasons for studio headphones’ never-ending popularity.
- Excellent detailed sound Clear
- Distortion-free reproduction
- Excellent spatial impression
- Excellent wearing comfort
- High bass slightly superficial
- Cable cannot be removed
DT 990 Pro: construction
Beyerdynamics DT 990 Pro are dynamic headphones in an open design with circumaural ear cups and a weight of 250 grams without and 364 grams with cable. There is no folding mechanism for transport purposes.
Processing of the Beyerdynamic headphones
The classically designed DT 990 looks imposing, serious, and very inviting thanks to its eye-catching light gray ear pads. The quality looks high-quality, and should any damage occur, all parts of the headphones are replaceable, just as they should be for a professional tool. The solid housing with the fork-like metal-made suspension of the ear cups corresponds to the closed Beyerdynamic DT 770.
Contrary to the general trend for “pro headphones,” the open DT 990 Pro is somewhat spartan. Instead, a permanently installed spiral cable on the left auricle with a gold-plated 3.5 mm jack plug, including a screw adapter to 6.35 mm. A transport bag is also included in the scope of delivery of the studio headphones.
Technology and key figures
The technology of the Beyerdynamic headphones is based on the conventional electrodynamic converter principle without exotic features. The transmission range generously covers the perceptible spectrum with 5 to 35000 Hz, as is the case with all serious headphones, whereby the DT 990 Pro is diffuse-field equalized. This means that the frequency reproduction of the headphones is matched to the reproduction via loudspeakers in a room – that’s the theory. More on the subject of sound follows in the practical part. Also worth mentioning is the relatively high impedance of 250 ohms, which also goes against the trend towards low impedance in the hi-fi and studio area. Nevertheless, the DT 990 Pro generates a practicable monitoring volume even on an iPad. The other technical data can be found explicitly listed at the end of this review.
Purpose of use
As studio headphones with an open design, i.e., without significant insulation, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is unsuitable for the recording room. His potential workplace is in the direction of assisting with mixing, mastering, and editing.
In my opinion, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is one of the most comfortable headphones, which is not only due to the soft and generous padding of the parts that rest on the body and the moderate weight. If the contact pressure is felt to be a bit too high, you can “relax” the flexible spring steel headband according to your preference according to the operating instructions.
Sound of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
In addition to various acoustic experiments (sinus sweeps, usual DAW activities), I listened to and analyzed a cross-style mix of my own and third-party productions (mastered and unmastered) via the Beyerdynamic headphones.
At this point, I have to come out: The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro does not meet my requirements/preferences for a professional listening tool for mixing and mastering, which is primarily due to its frequency reproduction, whose bass and treble boost is not neutral and differentiated enough for critical assessments is. Furthermore, the resulting mid-range reproduction obscures important tonalities. The reproduction via the open studio headphones from Heilbronn always looks a little prettier and concealing – I would never say that the DT 990 sounds bad, but not neutral! Perhaps this is exactly where the secret of his success lies, in that even unmastered material already sounds appealing and provides an anticipatory and motivating view of the mastered result. The paths to success can be very different, and anyone who can fall back on a long listening experience with the DT 990 will most likely also make the right mixed decisions. However, the courageous treble reproduction is very useful for editing (except for tonal corrections) and mercilessly exposes editing errors.
As a side effect of the explicit treble reproduction, high-frequency transients are highlighted very well, which favors assessments and dynamic processing. On the other hand, the somewhat broadband and undifferentiated frequency mapping in the bass range is a little counterproductive for assessing low-frequency attacks and decay times. However, the compression of bass-heavy productions is limited. In this category, the DT 990 Pro scores solidly and is profitable with the mentioned restrictions.
The open Beyerdynamic headphones shine with a transparent and naturally pleasant spatial image, enabling a relaxed and precise location of any events on the stereo stage. In a direct comparison, the separation is not quite as plastic as with my much more expensive AKG K812, but it is still top class. The latter characteristic positively sets the DT 990 Pro apart from many of its competitors, which could be one of the main reasons for its not dwindling popularity.
Beyerdynamics’ iconic DT 990 Pro are rugged and remarkably comfortable headphones – and yes, they sound great without a doubt. It is a little too good and ennobling for my taste to make decisive mix and master decisions based on its reproduction, about life and death, but tastes are known to be different. I can give the DT 990 Pro an unreserved recommendation for music consumption and use at the cutting station. Given the fair price, it is worth checking whether the DT 990 Pro meets your hearing requirements!