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Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 24, 2016 at 11:53 am
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Picture
5.2
Mixed Usage
7.9
Neutral Sound
4.0
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
4.7
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.8
Phone Calls
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.

Our Verdict

5.2 Mixed Usage

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

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.
7.9 Neutral Sound

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are excellent neutral 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.

4.0 Commute/Travel

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

5.6 Sports/Fitness

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

4.7 Office

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

6.5 Wired Gaming
1.8 Phone Calls
  • 5.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Neutral Sound
  • 4.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.7 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.5 Wired Gaming
  • 1.8 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/5/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

Design
Design
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
Design
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. If you want open-back headphones that are a bit more comfortable, check out the slightly better-performing Philips Fidelio X2HR.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
7.4
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 3.3 C
5.8
Design
Portability
L 7.6 "
W 5.5 "
H 3.3 "
Volume 137 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.66 db
Treble Amount
-0.08 db
7.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.57 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.89 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
28.7 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.59 dB
Mid-Bass
2.47 dB
High-Bass
4.39 dB
9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.18 dB
Low-Mid
1.58 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.19 dB
High-Mid
0.01 dB
7.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.14 dB
Low-Treble
-0.02 dB
Mid-Treble
3.67 dB
High-Treble
-0.79 dB
7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.49 db
Dips
1.05 db
8.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.79
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.86
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.15
6.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.35 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.4 dB
PRTF Distance
8.49 dB
Openness
9.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.1
0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.070
WHD @ 100
0.153
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
2.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-5.01 dB
Bass
0.12 dB
Mid
0.4 dB
Treble
-15.25 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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

No compatible app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 3.77 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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. The Beyerdynamic 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 Audio-Technica will be a better option since they isolate more and leak less, thanks to their closed-backs.

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.

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 Sennheiser and have a slightly better sound that packs more bass. However, the Sennheiser 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 Beyerdynamic and come with detachable 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 AKG might lack a bit of sub-bass when compared to the Beyerdynamic and could sound a bit sharper on higher frequencies. On the other hand, the AKG don't feel as tight as the Beyerdynamic, which is more comfortable for long listening sessions. However, the AKG are well-built but don’t feel as durable since they don’t have a full metal frame like the Beyerdynamic. The AKG are also a bit more open-sounding, and they come with a very long and detachable cable while the Beyerdynamic have a short, coiled cable.

Sennheiser HD 650
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are both very good open-back headphones for neutral listening. While the Beyerdynamic get more bass, they also sound a bit sharp and piercing. The Sennheiser have a smoother sound with less sharpness in the treble but lack bass.

Philips SHP9500
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Philips SHP9500 are both very good audiophile headphones if you like a neutral sound, but they have different sound profiles. The Beyerdynamic get more bass, but they also sound fairly sharp and even piercing to some people. The Philips have a significant bass roll-off, but their treble is much better-balanced and they have a more natural soundstage. They're also less fatiguing to wear for long listening sessions since they fit less tightly than the Beyerdynamic.

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 Sennheiser do. However, they might sound a bit sharp for some and are a bit tight on the head. Also, the Sennheiser 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 Beyerdynamic.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017 are two wired, over-ear headphones with very different uses. The Beyerdynamic are more suited for critical listeners as they have a decently consistent frequency response and a more neutral sound profile. However, they don't have a microphone, controls, or companion software, so some may find them very limiting. The Astro, on the other hand, are gaming headphones that have controls so you can tweak your audio on the fly, they're slightly more comfortable, and their boom microphone does an excellent job of capturing your voice clearly, even in noisy environments. Even though they have a more inconsistent bass and treble delivery, they have companion software with a graphic EQ and presets that allow you to find the right sound for your needs.

HyperX Cloud Alpha
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the HyperX Cloud Alpha are designed with different uses in mind: the Beyerdynamic for critical listening in the studio, and the HyperX for gaming. That said, if you don’t need a microphone, the DT 990 PRO can be a viable option for wired gaming thanks to their well-balanced sound profile. The Cloud Alpha have better padding for long gaming sessions, but they lack detail and brightness in the treble range, and some people find the closed-back design more fatiguing to wear over time.

HiFiMan HE-400i
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the HiFiMan HE-400i are both good headphones if you like a neutral sound. The HiFiMan have less bass, but they also sound less piercing. They have a much more immersive soundstage as well. However, they feel a lot less durable, and there have been many reports of issues with their build quality. The Beyerdynamic feel much better-built, although their tight fit is less comfortable.

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.

Beyerdynamic DT 880
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO are both very good headphones for critical listening, but they have different sound profiles. Both headphones have a bright and clear treble. However, the DT 880 lack bass compared to the DT 990 PRO, which pack a stronger punch. This makes the DT 880 sound brighter compared to the DT 990, which sound boomier. Both headphones also sound rather sharp, but the intensity depends on how sensitive you are to the higher frequencies.

Philips Fidelio X2HR
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Philips Fidelio X2HR are slightly better open-back headphones for neutral sound listening than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. The Philips are more comfortable, have a less over-emphasized bass range, and a much wider and more open soundstage. Their treble range is also a bit more consistent between various users or reseats. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic feel more durable and stable and have less distortion at lower listening volumes.

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 Beyerdynamic will be a better option. On the other hand, sound-wise, the Sennheiser 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 Sennheiser and the Beyerdynamic are great options.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC each provide better value for different purposes. The SteelSeries are wired gaming headphones that come with a powerful microphone and lots of customization options. The Beyerdynamic are studio headphones designed for mixing and mastering; however, they can be a viable option for gamers who don’t need a mic thanks to their comfortable fit and well-balanced, immersive sound.

AKG K712 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG K712 PRO are slightly better open-back headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. The AKG are more comfortable, have a much wider soundstage, and are much more consistent among users. The Beyerdynamic are also a bit less bass-heavy, though the AKG are a bit brighter sounding.

Sennheiser HD 800 S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are much better audiophile headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO, although they require quite the investment. With the right setup, the Sennheiser have a remarkably well-balanced sound signature with a spacious, natural soundstage. They need a powerful amplifier, though, and lack a bit of bass. The Beyerdynamic don't sound quite as immersive, but they get more bass and are a lot more affordable.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro 2019 are geared towards different uses. The Astro are designed with streaming in mind, while the Beyerdynamic are studio headphones. However, if you don't need a microphone, the Beyerdynamic are also a viable option for wired gaming thanks to their well-balanced sound. They can sound a bit sharp or piercing, though, and the Astro are more comfortable for long gaming sessions.

AKG Q701
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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

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Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Price

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