The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are great, well-built open-back headphones. They have the most premium look and feel of all the Beyerdynamic models we've tested, and they're a durable, sturdy option that should last you a while. They're comfortable and deliver an excited and open sound, but they can be tight on some heads and sharp on bright tracks. Also, like most open-back headphones, they won't be a good option to use outside a quiet room.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are great for neutral sound. Using their 'Balanced' ear pads, they have an excited sound that delivers extra warmth to mixes while vocals and instruments are clear and present in mixes. That said, sibilants like cymbals are piercing and painful. That said, some users may prefer this sound as it can help highlight imperfections in mixes. You can even swap out these pads for the 'Analytical' ones, which lower the amount of boom in mixes, but ensure the brightness of sibilants. Thanks to their open-back design, they're also able to create an immersive soundstage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 are open-back audiophile headphones. They come with two sets of ear pads that help change their bass, which help you get a more desirable sound to fit your needs. They also have an excellent and sturdy build quality that looks and feels premium enough to justify their price range. Unfortunately, their sound quality resembles the lower-end Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. They may not be worth the additional premium cost for some, especially compared to some of the models below. Regardless of using either set of ear pads, they still have piercing sibilants, which some users may find painful.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and the Sennheiser HD 660 S are both very good open-back audiophile headphones, each with their own different sound signature. The Sennheiser have a warm, smooth sound, but lack body in the bass, and brightness in the treble. The Beyerdynamic have a fuller, brighter sound, but can also be rather piercing, and even a bit cluttered.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are a more premium model than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO.The main differences are that the DT 1990 PRO come with an extra pair of ear pads and another audio cable, 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. They have a much sharper and piercing treble though. On the upside, their passive soundstage feels wide and immersive.
Both Beyerdynamic models are great headphones for neutral sound, but are designed with different environments in mind. For live monitoring or mixing, the DT 1770 don’t leak as much as the DT 1990, thanks to their closed-back design, and they can block a portion of background noise so that you can focus on your audio. 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.
The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The HiFiMan have a much more neutral treble response, which some listeners may prefer. They have a better passive soundstage performance and much better frequency response consistency. They're also more comfortable. On the other hand, while both pairs have an open-back design, the Beyerdynamic's sound profile has a much more accurate bass response, which some may prefer. They also trap less heat against your ears.
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 and are able to create a wider, more immersive soundstage, although some people may feel like they sound overly bright and sharp.
The AKG K712 PRO and the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are both very good audiophile headphones, though they have fairly different sound profiles. The AKG have a very smooth, neutral sound, but lack quite a bit of bass, while the Beyerdynamic sound quite a bit more excited, with a lot more bass and a much brighter treble. They can sound quite sharp and piercing, though, so the AKG are a better option if you're sensitive to sounds in the higher frequencies.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are marginally better neutral sound listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO thanks to their open-back design that allows them to create a much better soundstage. That being said, the closed-back design of the 770 PRO means they block more sound and leak less audio, though they still are sub-par in both these regards. The 770 PRO also have a slightly more accurate sound profile, especially in the bass range. Other than that, both headphones are comfortable and feel very well-built.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X. While both headphones are comfortable, the 1990 PRO are better-built and have a more immersive passive soundstage. Their bass response is also more neutral, and they can reproduce a bit more thumpy low-bass. They also come with a more sturdy hard case to help protect the headphones when you're not using them.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are better-performing audiophile headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. While the Beyerdynamics pack a bit more bass, the Sennheiser sound less sharp while still creating an immersive soundstage. The Sennheiser are also more comfortable to wear for longer listening sessions, although some may find their ear cups a bit large.
The HiFiMan Ananda are better headphones for neutral sound 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 Beyerdynamic and deliver a more balanced frequency response throughout, which will not sound as sharp on S and T sounds as the Beyerdynamic. On the upside, the Beyerdynamic 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 Sennheiser HD 6XX are a bit better open-back headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The Sennheiser have a more consistent audio delivery across listeners, and their sound profile is more balanced and neutral. However, the Beyerdynamic are better-built, more comfortable, and their soundstage is better. Also, they come with a case, unlike the Sennheiser.
The Audeze LCD2-Classic/LC2C are better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The Audeze 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. On the upside, the Beyerdynamic 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 Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation 2016. They feel better built than the T1 2nd Generation 2016 due to the high-end materials being used and replaceable parts. They have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and they sound less sharp on already bright tracks.
The HiFiMan Sundara 2018 have a more neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The HiFiMan pack a little bit less bass, but not by much, but they sound less sharp. They're also able to create a wider, more immersive soundstage, and are more comfortable, but feel a lot more cheaply made than the Beyerdynamic.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and the Philips SHP9600 are both open-back headphones that are good for neutral sound and pack an extra punch in the bass range. The Beyerdynamic are better-built, more stable, and they come with a portable carrying case. Their bass also extends lower than the Philips' bass. That said, the Philips have a more comfortable fit, which some listeners may prefer.
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 Beyerdynamic. While both are open-back headphones, the Sennheiser are more open-sounding. However, they do lack a bit of sub-bass, which is normal for open-backs. However, the Beyerdynamic have a more accurate bass, even if they are also open-back. The Beyerdynamic also feel sturdier than the Sennheiser, and they also come with a coiled cable, which is nice.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and the Beats Solo Pro Wireless have different strengths. The Beyerdynamic are wired open-back headphones with a well-balanced sound profile. Their soundstage is perceived as bigger and more spacious and they have a more comfortable fit. On the other hand, the Beats are wireless closed-back headphones that have a more versatile performance. Their ANC feature blocks out an impressive amount of ambient sound and they have an integrated mic and onboard controls.
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 Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X. 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.
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.
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 will eventually slide off your ears if you wear them while running or working out. However, they fit more securely than the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless, even though they're wired.
Using the 'Balanced' ear pads, these headphones have an excited sound. They have a bump of extra boom with natural-sounding vocals and instruments. That said, a peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like cymbals piercing and painful. Some users may still prefer this sound as it can help emphasize imperfections in mixes. If you want to switch out these pads for the analytical pads, you can find instructions on page seven of the user manual or here.
When using the 'Analytical' pads, we noticed that the headphones' treble delivery is highly sensitive to placement and positioning. Each time we removed and replaced the pads, we measured a different frequency response, particularly around 4-6kHz and 7-10kHz. As a result, if you're using these pads at home, your experience may differ from our results in this range. You can see a comparison of the balanced versus analytical pads frequency response here. You can also see the results using the analytical pads for Raw Frequency Response and Sound Profile. Using these pads results in a lot more of an analytical sound. There's less thump and rumble, but the high-bass is more neutral and flat. There's also a dip in the low-treble, which veils vocals and instruments, but the peak in the mid-treble remains, making vocals and instruments sound sharp and piercing.
The frequency response consistency is good. There's some bass and treble delivery deviation due to fit, positioning, and seal. You may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. Also, the 'Analytical' ear pads are more sensitive to placement, and you'll experience more deviation in treble delivery when using them.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro have great bass accuracy. Their low-bass is underemphasized, so mixes lack thump and rumble. However, the mid to high-bass are overemphasized, adding a touch of extra punch and a lot of boom to their sound. This can make vocals and instruments sound a bit muddy.
Using the 'Analytical' pads, these headphones have very good bass accuracy. They deliver a lot less, thump, rumble, and punch. However, their high-bass is much more flat than when using the balanced pads, so mixes have adequate warmth.
These headphones have excellent mid accuracy. There's some overemphasis coming from the bass range into the mids. As a result, vocals and instruments are a bit muddied and cluttered. Luckily, the rest of the range is fairly flat and even. Vocals and instruments are present, although a little weakened in mixes.
Using the 'Analytical' pads, the mid accuracy is outstanding. The range is very flat and neutral. Although a dip in the mid-mid slightly nudges vocals and instruments to the back of the mix, it's minor, and overall, these sounds are present, detailed, and accurate.
They have fair treble accuracy. The low-mid is a little underemphasized, which slightly veils vocals and instruments. However, a peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like S and T sounds piercing and painful. Some users may prefer this sound, though, as it helps draw attention to imperfections in your mix.
When using the 'Analytical' pads, we encountered a lot of deviation in this range after adjusting the placement of these headphones on our rig. While it's still likely that you'll hear piercing sibilants, our results may not fully reflect your experience, as these pads can affect treble delivery.
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 decent accuracy. However, there is not a 10KHz notch present. This suggests a decently large soundstage that may be perceived as inside the listener's head instead of in front. Also, due to the open-back design of these headphones, their soundstage may feel more open and spacious than that of their closed-back counterparts like the DT 770 and the DT 1770.
When using the 'Analytical' pads, the passive soundstage is still very good. The soundstage still feels spacious, open, and wide, although it doesn't feel as out of head as when using the balanced pads. You can also see a comparison between the balanced analytical pads' PRTF graphs here.
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. 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.
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 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.
Update 09/16/2021: We incorrectly reported that these headphones had 'N/A' latency in our 'Analog/USB Audio Latency' test. This was a mistake as we always report that analog cable latency is '0 ms'. We have changed our results and updated our text.
The Beyerdynamic DT1990 PRO have a simple 1/8" TRS audio cable. However, it doesn't have an in-line remote/microphone, so the headphones can only receive audio when connected to your PC, PlayStation, or Xbox console.
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.