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.
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.
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.
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.
These headphones do not have a control scheme.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
These headphones do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.
The DT 1990 do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.
These headphones do not have any active components and do not require a battery.
These headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.
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.
The DT 1990 are not Bluetooth compatible headphones. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
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.
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.
These headphones do not have a wireless range since they only connect via a regular audio cable with an in-line remote.
The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.