Reviewed on Jun 12, 2018

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
5.8
Mixed Usage
8.2
Neutral Sound
5.1
Commute/Travel
5.9
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
4.8
Wireless Gaming
6.6
Wired Gaming
1.9
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are great, well-built critical listening headphones. They have the most premium look and feel of all the Beyerdynamic models that we've tested so far, and they're a durable, sturdy option that should last you a while. They're comfortable and deliver a well-balanced and open sound, but can be a bit tight on some heads and slightly sharp on already bright tracks. Also, like most open back headphones, they won't be a good option to use outdoors.

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great and open audio reproduction.
Cons
  • High leakage and poor isolation, by design.
  • Slightly tight on the head.
  • Can sound a bit piercing with bright tracks.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Isolation 2.4
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 4/10/2019: We've slightly adjusted the case score to better reflect its durability when compared to other similar cases.

Check Price

7.1

Design

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO have a premium and sturdy build quality. They have the same design aesthetic as the rest of the Beyerdynamic models but with denser earcups a better-padded headband and a heavier more durable build overall. They're comfortable and breathable enough to wear for long listening sessions but can be a bit tight on some heads. Like most open back designs they will not be suitable to use outdoors, although they are a lot more stable than most critical listening headphones. They also come with a bulky case that will not be practical to carry around.

Style

The DT 1990 have a more polished and premium design compared to the other Beyerdynamic models. They look like the DT 990 PRO and DT 770 with slightly open back-plates and a lot of dense metal in their build that makes them feel high-end. The ear cup pads are coated in a soft microfiber fabric, and the matte dark gray color scheme looks great and will be suitable for most listeners. However, since they're not designed for outdoor use, they're a little bulky and cumbersome. However, the headband and ear cups keep a fairly low profile, which is nice.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.4 lbs

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO have about the same fit and comfort level as the DT 990. They're a bit heavier, but it's not really noticeable once on your head. They have the same, soft microfiber pads that feel great on the skin, and large ear cups that fit comfortably around most ears. Unfortunately, they're as tight on the head as most of the Beyerdynamic models, which may get a bit fatiguing during long critical listening sessions. The headband also doesn't extend as far as some of the other over-ears we've tested, so they might not fit as well on all head shapes and sizes but on average, they are comfortable enough for most listeners.

0 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have a control scheme.

7.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.8 C

These headphones have an open back design and breathable ear cup pads that keep your ears fairly cool for an over-ear design. They won't be the most breathable headphones, but they won't warm up your ears to the point of making you sweat when listening for an hour or two. They're not the best option for more demanding activities like sports and working out but should be fine for casual use cases, listening and watching movies.

5.8 Portability
L : 7.2 "
W : 5.4 "
H : 3.5 "
Volume : 136 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most of the Beyerdynamic lineup, the DT 1990 are not designed to be portable headphones you can easily carry around on your person. They're big and bulky and do not fold into a more compact format or have swiveling ear cups that lay flat to take up less space. They are on the larger side for over-ear headphones and would only fit in a bag.

7.5 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 9.6 "
W : 7.2 "
H : 4.8 "
Volume : 332 Cu. Inches

Update: 04/10/2019 We've updated the score of the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and 1770 PRO's cases to better reflect their durability compared to that of the T1 2nd Generation and other similar hard cases.

These headphones come with a big hard case that will easily protect them from scratches, drops, impacts and water damage. However, the bulky, cumbersome size of the case makes the already fairly large DT 1990 even less portable. You will have a tough time carrying them around in this case unlike some of the other hard cases that we've tested, but on the upside, they have more than enough room to carry all the accessories included in the box.

8.5 Build Quality

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 feel like premium headphones with a sturdy, durable design. The Beyerdynamic lineup has always had some of the best-built headphones we've tested, but these headphones take it a step further with more high-end materials, replaceable audio cables and ear cup pads, as well as a great, leather-coated headband that's flexible yet sturdy enough to handle multiple drops without getting damaged. The ear cups are thicker and denser than most of the other Beyerdynamic models, and the whole design looks very high-end. Overall, they are one of the better-built headphones that we've tested and are easily on par with other high-end critical listening headphones like the HiFiman Sundara and the Sennheiser HD 800 S.

7.0 Stability

The DT 1990 are sufficiently tight on the head that they won't fall during casual listening sessions. They're too bulky to run with comfortably and the large ear cups sway and eventually slide off your ears if you use them for physically demanding tasks. Like most critical listening headphones, they won't be ideal to take to the gym.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

These headphones have a deep and punchy bass, a clear and well-balanced mid-range, an even treble, a great imaging, and low distortion. This makes them a very good choice for critical listening applications, regardless of the genre, or watching movies and playing video games. However, their upper bass/low mid section sounds slightly muddy, which could add a bit of clutter to vocals and mixes, and they tend to sound noticeably sharp and even piercing on S and Ts. This will affect vocals and cymbals mostly. Compared to the DT 990 PRO, the 1990 have a slightly better-balanced bass and mid ranges and produce less harmonic distortion, but the treble peak in the sibilance range, which is shared by both models, is actually worse on these headphones.

They were measured with the default pads they were shipped with, the alternate pair of pads that come with the DT 1990 reduces their bass.

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-0.93 db
Treble Amount
:
0.95 db
7.6 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.48 dB

The frequency response consistency is good. In the bass range, the maximum amount of deviation across our human subjects is about 4dB. This is subtle but noticeable and seem to be happening on our subject that wears glasses. That is, when the seal between the headphones and the ears are broken. In the treble range, there's very little deviation below 10KHz, which is good.

9.0 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
1.42 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.57 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.46 dB
High-Bass
:
1.94 dB

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro have excellent bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, and low-bass is within 1.5dB of our target. This suggests an extended and deep bass, with an adequate amount of thump and rumble. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of the bass guitars and punch of the kick drums, is within 0.5 of our neutral target. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is overemphasized by about 2dB. This adds a tad of boominess to the bass response.

8.6 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
1.81 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.57 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-0.76 dB
High-Mid
:
-2.17 dB

The mid-range of the DT 1990 is great. The response is even and most flat throughout the range, suggesting a clear and well-balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. Low-mid shows a little bit of the high-bass overemphasis, which can create a little bit of muddiness in the mid-range, especially since high-mid is a bit recessed too.

7.7 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
3.73 dB
Low-Treble
:
-1.95 dB
Mid-Treble
:
4.13 dB
High-Treble
:
0.8 dB

The treble performance is good. Low-treble is even and flat, suggesting a detailed and balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. However, the big 10dB bump in the sibilance range (6KHz-10KHz) makes these headphones noticeably sharp and even piercing on S and Ts, which will be most noticeable on vocals and cymbals. This is an issue that the DT 990 PRO also has, but unfortunately, it has become even more pronounced in DT 1990 Pro, but might be less noticeable than on the T1 2nd Generation.

7.4 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.83 db
Dips
:
1.01 db
8.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.68
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.59
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.18

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 have excellent imaging. Weighted group delay is at 0.1, which is great. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response is entirely below the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, ensuring accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

7.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.76 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
4.24 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.03 dB
Openness
:
9.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
8.1

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro have a decent soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of pinna activation, with a decent amount of accuracy. However, there is not a 10KHz notch present. This suggests a decently large soundstage that may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front. Also, due to the open-back design of these headphones, their soundstage may feel more open and spacious than that their closed-back counterparts like the DT 770 and the DT 1770.

8.3 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.178
WHD @ 100
:
0.071
2.4

Isolation

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990, like most open-back designs, do not isolate well passively. They will easily let the ambient noise of your surroundings seep into your audio which makes their sound slightly more immersive but worse in noisy conditions. They will not be a suitable option to use outdoors, and their leakage level is also quite high which might be distracting to anyone in your vicinity at moderate to high levels

2.4 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-6.19 dB
Bass
:
0.0 dB
Mid
:
-1.16 dB
Treble
:
-17.28 dB

The DT 1990 Pro have a poor isolation. These open-back headphones do not isolate well, which is expected of their design. In the bass range, they will let in all the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, the achieve only 1dB of isolation, which is barely noticeable. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they reduce outside noise by 17dB, which is mediocre.

2.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
60.02 dB

The leakage performance is poor. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 200Hz and 20KHz, which is a very broad range. This results in a relatively full-sounding leakage. The overall level of the leakage is quite loud too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away, averages at 60dB SPL and peaks at 75dB SPL, which is a lot louder than the noise floor of most offices. If you don't really care about leakage and are getting an open headset so you can monitor your environment while listening to music then you might want to check out the Bose SoundWear.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A

The DT 1990 do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

0

Active Features

The DT 1990, like the DT 990 PRO and the DT 880, are passive headphones with no battery or app support.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

These headphones do not have any active components and do not require a battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
macOS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

3.8

Connectivity

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 have a simple 1/8"TRS audio cable with no in-line remote. They will only provide audio when connected to your console or PC and have practically no latency since they are wired. However, this also means that they will not have the range and convenience of wireless headphones.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The DT 1990 are not Bluetooth compatible headphones. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 10 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Beyerdynamic DT1990 PRO have a simple 1/8"TRS audio cable with no in-line remote/microphone, so they will only provide audio when connected to your PS4, Xbox One or PC.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
:
No
Xbox One Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Beyerdynamic DT1990 do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Audio cables (x2)
  • Manual
  • Carrying case
  • Additional ear cup pads.

Compared to other Headphones

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 are one of the best sounding critical listening headphones we've tested but can be a bit too sharp on already bright tracks. They have an excellent and sturdy build quality that looks and feels premium enough to justify their price range. Unfortunately, their sound quality is fairly similar to the lower end DT 990 PRO and may not be worth the additional premium cost for some, especially, when compared to some of the models below. See our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best studio headphones and the best headphones for music.

Sennheiser HD 650
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650. They're noticeably better-built and feel premium. They have a better bass performance than the HD 650, although some people may feel like they sound overly bright and sharp.

Sennheiser HD 700
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 700 are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. They are noticeably more comfortable, especially since they don’t clamp as hard as the DT 1990. While both are open-back headphones, the HD 700 are more open-sounding. However, they do lack a bit of sub-bass, which is normal for open-backs. However, the DT 1990 PRO have pretty accurate bass, even if they are also open-back. The DT 1990 also feel sturdier than the HD 700, and they also come with a coiled cable, which is nice.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are a more premium model than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO, but both headphones are fairly similar. The main differences are that the DT 1990 PRO come with an extra pair of ear pads and another audio cable. This also means that the DT 1990 PRO have detachable and replaceable cables, which makes them more durable. They also come with a hard, but very bulky, case to protect the headphones. The DT 1990 PRO also doesn’t have a bass roll-off like the DT 990 and will be able to reproduce deeper frequencies down to 10Hz.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Both Beyerdynamic models are great critical listening headphones, but are better used in different environments. If you’re looking for a bit more punch and bass, the closed-back design of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO might be better suited for you. If you’re looking for headphones to listen to your favorite music at home, in a quiet environment, then the open-back Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO will give you better soundstage and a more speaker-like experience. For commutes and office use, the DT 1770 won’t leak as much as the DT 1990 by design.

Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are better critical listening headphone sthan the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation. They feel better built than the T1 due to the high-end materials being used and replaceable parts. The cups feel denser than most Beyerdynamic headphones. Soundwise, they are also superior and feel less sharp on already bright tracks. Overall, the DT 1990 PRO perform better and offer better value than the T1s.

Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audeze LCD2-Classic are better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The LCD2 deliver a much more immersive soundstage thanks to their planar magnetic drivers. They also deliver a slightly more balanced frequency response throughout, which will not sound as sharp on S and T sounds as the Beyerdynamic DT 1990. On the upside, the DT 1990 have a more compact and better-designed build quality that feels premium, and come with more extra accessories. They also have a bit more bass overall and sound more neutral in the mid-range.

HiFiMan Ananda
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HiFiMan Ananda are better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. They deliver a much more immersive soundstage thanks to their planar magnetic drivers. They're also slightly more comfortable than the DT 1990s and deliver a more balanced frequency response throughout, which will not sound as sharp on S and T sounds as the Beyerdynamic DT 1990. On the upside, the DT 1990 have a better more durable build quality that feels premium and come with more extra accessories. They also have a bit more bass overall.

+ Show more
5.8 Mixed Usage

Mediocre for mixed usage. The DT 1990 are critical listening headphones, not intended for other use cases except maybe home theater and gaming without a mic. They deliver an excellent sound quality and sturdy, comfortable design. Unfortunately, they have poor isolation and they're fairly bulky and cumbersome so they won't be suitable to use outdoors. They are best used at home and in isolation and will not a good choice for the office, commuting or sports.

8.2 Neutral Sound

Great for neutral listening. The DT 1990 have a well-balanced reproduction of instruments and vocals in the mid-range, a deep and extended bass and a decent but slightly sharp treble. They will sound good with almost any tracks and music genre although the treble peak in the higher frequencies may be a bit bothersome on already bright tracks. On the upside, they have a comfortable design (that's a little tight on the head at first ) and a decently spacious soundstage. They're a good choice for casual and neutral listeners alike although more casual listeners may prefer the similar sounding DT 990 PRO at a cheaper price point.

5.1 Commute/Travel

Not designed for commuting. The open-back ear cups do not block any ambient noise and leak a lot. Also, they're not portable and do not have a control scheme for mobile devices.

5.9 Sports/Fitness

Not meant for sports. The Beyerdynamic 1990 are decently tight on the head but a bit too bulky, unstable and require an amp, so they're not suitable for sports or to use outdoors.

5.4 Office

Sub-par for office use. Unless you work alone or in an isolated office, the leakage level will be too bothersome for those around you. Also, the open back design does not block any noise so you will hear your environment fairly easily even when listening to music at higher-than-average volumes.

4.8 Wireless Gaming

Mediocre for gaming. They're comfortable, they sound great and have a low latency wired design. However, they do not have a microphone for voice chat when gaming, and no customization options which are typical for most gaming headsets. Also, they do not have the convenience of wireless design or multiple connection options for an optimized experience on Xbox One or PS4.

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