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Reviewed on Jun 12, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.1
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
8.1
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
5.0
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
5.7
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
5.4
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.0
TV
Score components:
5.9
Gaming
Score components:
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
Sound 8.1
Isolation 3.2
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8

Check Price

7.1

Design

Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Design Picture

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
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Design Picture 2

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
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
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
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have a control scheme.

7.1 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Breathability After Picture
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
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Portability Picture
L : 7.2 "
W : 5.4 "
H : 3.5 "
Volume : 136 Cu. Inches
Stand 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.

7.0 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 9.6 "
W : 7.2 "
H : 4.8 "
Volume : 332 Cu. Inches

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
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Build Quality Picture

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
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Stability Picture

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.

Cable
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 10 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

These headphones come with two cables. A 1/8TRS coiled cable and a regular 1/8TRS

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.1

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Frequency Response

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is a very good sounding pair of open-back over-ear headphones. 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.

9.0 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.42 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.57 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.46 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
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
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.81 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.57 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.76 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-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
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.73 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.95 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.13 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
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.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
7.6 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Consistency L Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
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.

8.8 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Group Delay Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.68
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.59
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
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.

6.8 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.76 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
4.24 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
10.03 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
6.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
8.1
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

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.

8.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.483
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.71

The distortion performance of DT 1990 is great. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is quite low throughout the range. This is one the few areas where these headphones clearly outperform the DT 990 PRO, however, since humans are very tolerant of elevated levels of THD, the difference in distortion performance of these two headphones may not be audible to most people.

3.2

Isolation

Score components:

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

3.5 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-6.19 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.0 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-1.16 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-17.28 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 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.

2.6 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
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.

0

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
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
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
N/A
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
N/A
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
N/A
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
N/A
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

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

0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

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

0

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

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

N/A Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

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

0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

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

4.8

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

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
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
N/A
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
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.

7.2 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

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.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
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.

0 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a wireless range since they only connect via a regular audio cable with an in-line remote.

10 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

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

In the box

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO In the box Picture

  • 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

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Compare Picture

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.

Audeze LCD2-Classic

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.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO

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 DT 1770 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-backs DT 1990 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.

HiFiMan Ananda

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.

AKG K712 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 are better built critical listening headphones than the AKG K712 PRO. They have a lot more metal in their build and less moving parts making them more durable headphones. However, this also makes them heavier than the AKGs and a bit tight on the head since the headband doesn't yield as much. The AKG are the more comfortable option but they deliver less bass. The Beyerdynamic are better built, produce more bass but also sound sharper on some tracks. If you want the more durable headset, go for the DT 1990, however, the price difference is also quite substantial, especially since they do not sound that different from the cheaper DT 990 PRO.

Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 650 is a slightly worse critical listening headphone than the DT 1990.  They do not have the greatest soundstage and their sound lack just a bit of low-end thump. They sound a bit more forward with instruments and vocals and aren't as sharp on already bright tracks as the Beyerdynamics. Unfortunately, their build quality doesn't feel as premium or as durable as the DT 1990 and their treble response can be a bit inconsistent at times. On the upside, they are a lot cheaper so if you are on a budget, the HD 650 could be a more affordable alternative to the Beyerdynamics.

HiFiMan Sundara

The Hifiman Sundara are also great-sounding and well-built critical listening headphones which makes them a good alternative to the DT 1990. They deliver a much more immersive soundstage thanks to their planar magnetic drivers. They also have a solid build quality and a decently comfortable design. They deliver a more balanced response throughout, which will not sound as sharp on S and T sounds as the Beyerdynamic DT 1990. However, their build quality isn't quite as premium and they do not come with extra pads or cables like the Beyerdynamics do. Overall they're a great cheaper alternative to the DT 1990 with a slightly more balanced sound but they won't look as premium.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are a cheaper and less premium headset than the DT 1990. They have a fairly similar audio reproduction that delivers a good bass, a balanced mid-range and slightly over-emphasized treble. This makes both headphones sound quite sharp on already bright tracks but on the upside, they both have a solid and sturdy build quality. However, the Dt 990 being the cheaper model does not feel quite as premium as the 1990. They're lighter and their metal build is not as dense. They also do not come with extra pads and their audio cable is not removable so they may not last as long as the DT 1990. If you have the budget go for the more premium DT 1990. However, if you only care about sound, then the 990 are a good similar sounding option at a fraction of the price.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.1Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
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.
8.1Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Great for critical 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 critical listeners alike although more casual listeners may prefer the similar sounding DT 990 PRO at a cheaper price point.
5.0Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
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.
5.7Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
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.
5.4Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
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.
6.0TV
Score components:
Mediocre for home theater. They are comfortable headphones with a great and open sound quality. They also have no latency since they're wired. However, they're limited by the range of their audio cable and may require an extension cord.
5.9Gaming
Score components:
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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