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Reviewed on Jun 24, 2016

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.0
Mixed Usage
8.0
Critical Listening
4.9
Commute/Travel
5.7
Sports/Fitness
5.3
Office
6.0
TV
5.9
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are sturdy critical listening headphones. They deliver an excellent audio reproduction but their open-back design is not ideal for everyday casual use. They will leak a lot, even at low volumes and don't block any ambient noise. They're also a bit tight on the head.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Sound 8.0
Isolation 3.0
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Sturdy and durable build.
  • Great, open audio reproduction.
  • Stable and well-padded.
Cons
  • Loud leakage, by design.
  • No isolation from ambient noise, by design.
  • Slightly tight on the head.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.9

Design

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are sturdy, ruggedly built headphones. They look just like the DT 770 but with an open-back design. They can easily handle a few drops without getting damaged. The ear cups are well padded and fit around most listeners ears comfortably. They're also surprisingly stable, although, they're not designed for gym use or sports (see our recommendations for the best headphones for running). Sadly, they're a bit bulky and a little tight on your head, which can get uncomfortable during long listening sessions. They also don't offer any audio controls.

Style

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 are decent-looking reference headphones. They have a relatively compact and utilitarian design. However, the materials used in their build gives them a little more flare and high-end appeal. The ear cups are covered in a suede-like fabric. The headband is completely made out of metal and has a stylish and detachable padding cover.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.4 lbs

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are comfortable headphones but a bit tight on your head. They have well padded and large ear cups that fit comfortably around most listeners' ears. However, the headband is a little too rigid which make the headphones tight enough to become uncomfortable during long listening sessions.

0 Controls
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
7.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.3 C
5.8 Portability
L : 7.6 "
W : 5.5 "
H : 3.3 "
Volume : 137 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like the DT 770 and the DT 880, the Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO are not designed to be highly portable. 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 storage space. They are on the larger side for over-ear headphones and would only fit in a bag or a big purse.

6.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones come with a soft pouch that doesn't add much bulk but also does not offer much protection. They would be safe from scratches but not from falls. On the upside, the fabric is somewhat waterproof and will shield the headphones from minor water damage.

8.0 Build Quality

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro have a solid, sturdy build. The headband has a rugged metal frame that can handle a decent amount of physical stress. The open-back ear cups are, unfortunately, made of plastic which makes them less durable compared to the rest of their build, but they are dense enough, to not get damaged from a couple of drops.

7.0 Stability

The Beyerdynamic DT990 headphones are moderately stable on your head. They are not designed for sports and will slip off your ears during high-intensity physical activities or while running. However, the tight fit these headphones provide is more than enough to keep the headphones on your head during casual listening sessions.

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : 3.77 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.0

Sound

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are a very good sounding and impressive pair of open-back headphones. They have a consistent, well-extended and excellent Bass Range, especially for an open-back design. Also, their mid-range is nearly flawless and their Treble is very well-balanced. However, like most open headphones, they still lack a little bit of sub-bass, and their Treble tends to be sharp and sibilant. Additionally, due to their open-back design, they have a relatively open and spacious Soundstage.

8.8 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.6 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
28.7 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.94 dB
Mid-Bass
:
0.97 dB
High-Bass
:
2.05 dB
9.0 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.38 dB
Low-Mid
:
0.16 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.47 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.48 dB
8.5 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.86 dB
Low-Treble
:
-1.04 dB
Mid-Treble
:
1.98 dB
High-Treble
:
2.21 dB
7.2 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.57 dB
8.7 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.79
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.86
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.15
5.9 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.35 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.4 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.49 dB
Openness
:
7.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
8.0
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.04 dB
7.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.442
Weighted THD @ 100
:
6.285
3.0

Isolation

The Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO are not designed to isolate listeners. They leak a lot and are supposed to, as it improves their sound quality with a more open and spacious soundstage. Sadly, that means they're not headphones you would casually wear in public because their loud leakage will be distracting to the people around you. They also don't block any ambient noise so they won't fare well in loud environments or on noisy commutes. If you need a more outdoor-friendly headphone, to use in public transit, then maybe consider the ATH-M50x instead. They're one of the few headphones that sounds sufficiently good enough to compete with the DT 990 Pro despite being closed-back.

3.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-5.01 dB
Bass
:
0.12 dB
Mid
:
0.4 dB
Treble
:
-15.25 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

Poor isolation. Due to their open-back design, these headphones don't offer any isolation below 1KHz. Above 1KHz, there is a 4dB/Octave roll-off present, which will have a minimal impact of blocking outside noise.

2.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
59.71 dB

Poor leakage. Although the profile of the leakage is quite broad, wider than K702, the general level is lower than most open headphones we have measured. Yet, these headphones still qualify as very open and not suitable where privacy is needed.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A
0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

4.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

  • Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Manual
  • Carrying pouch

Compared to other Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, especially if you listen in a quiet room where you can take advantage of their open-back design. They are also better-built and feel sturdier thanks to their metal frame. On the other hand, if you need good critical listening headphones for your commute or if you like to listen to music in quiet environments like a library, the closed-back M50x will be a better option since they isolate more and leak less, thanks to their closed-backs.

Sennheiser HD 598
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 598. They are noticeably better-built headphones and feel sturdier. They also don’t lack sub-bass like the HD 598 do. However, they might sound a bit sharp for some and are a bit tight on the head. Also, the HD 598 are more comfortable for long listening sessions, thanks to the nice padding and large cups. We’ve also measured that they were more open-sounding than the DT 990 PRO.

Sennheiser HD 599
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Sennheiser HD 599 are both great headphones for critical listening, but the HD 599 are more comfortable for long listening sessions, while the DT 990 PRO are noticeably better-built and feel more durable, but feel tighter. Also, while both their sound profiles are very similar, the HD 599 might be slightly more open-sounding than the DT 990 PRO. The DT 990 PRO come with a non-detachable coiled cable while the HD 599 come with two thin and detachable audio cables.

AKG K702
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the AKG K702 are both great headphones for critical listeners and have very little difference in performance. Sound-wise, the K702 might lack a bit of sub-bass when compared to the DT 990 and could sound a bit sharper on higher frequencies. On the other hand, the K702 don’t feel as tight as the DT 990, which is more comfortable for long listening sessions. However, they are well-built but don’t feel as durable as the DT 990 since they don’t have a full metal frame like the Beyerdynamics. The K702 might also are a bit more open-sounding, and they come with a very long and detachable cable, while the DT 990 have a short, coiled cable.

Sennheiser HD 600
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 600. The Beyerdynamic offer a better value thanks to their excellent build quality and great audio reproduction. They feel a lot more durable than the HD 600 and have a slightly better sound that packs more bass. However, the HD 600 have a slightly better representation of instruments and vocals in the mid-range and do not sound as sharp as the Beyerdynamic on bright tracks. They also have a slightly more spacious soundstage than the DT 990 and come with detachable cables, unlike the Beyerdynamics.

AKG Q701
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are slightly better headphones than the AKG Q701. The sound quality is excellent, and their bass is surprising for open-backs. They are also better built than the AKG Q701 and feel sturdier. However, the DT 990 are tight on the head for some, which also means they are more stable, but some people may feel discomfort and fatigue after a while. The AKG Q701 also have a better soundstage and come with an extra long cable that is detachable, unlike the DT 990’s coiled cable. Overall, the cheaper price of the Beyerdynamic makes them a better pick.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO thanks to their open-back design. Both headphones are similarly built and are comfortable. They are practically the same headphones, but the 990 are open and the 770 are closed-backs.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee and the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are two very good critical listening open-back headphones but shine in different categories. If you care more about comfort and build quality, the DT 990 PRO will be a better option. On the other hand, sound-wise, the HD 58X are slightly better and have less harmonic distortion, but this might not be audible for most. If you’re looking for a good mid-range critical listening open-back headphones, both the HD 58X and the DT 990 PRO are great options.

+ Show more
6.0 Mixed Usage

These headphones designed for critical listening and aren't versatile enough for everyday casual use.

8.0 Critical Listening

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are excellent critical listing headphones. They reproduce a lot of detail in high-resolution tracks and have a clear and crisp sound quality with a spacious soundstage. They may sound a bit sharp at times, as the treble range is slightly too emphasized, but bass, instruments, and vocals are well-balanced and reproduced with high-fidelity.

4.9 Commute/Travel

Not designed for commuting. The open back design of the Beyerdynamic DT990 intentionally does not isolate.

5.7 Sports/Fitness

No meant for sports use. They're stable but too cumbersome.

5.3 Office

Not designed for office use. Unless you work in an isolated environment.

6.0 TV

Above-average for Home Theater use. They have a great sound that's suitable for listening to music and watching movies. They also have no latency since they're wired. However, they won't have the best range unless you have an extension cord for the audio cable and they're also a bit tight on the head. They won't be the ideal headphones, to comfortably watch tv from your couch.

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