Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Review – Studio or Leisure, Your Pick

By | January 3, 2015

Beyerdynamic is a brand extending its roots all the way back to the year 1924 during which it was founded. Perhaps best known for their studio-grade headphones, Beyerdynamic also produces microphones and conference technology, such as tour guide systems. Therefore Beyerdynamic is a company with a great history and reputation.

I bought a new pair of headphones in late 2009, which makes it five years today from my purchase. Those headphones happened to be the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s. Read on to follow my Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro review and find out why I stopped looking for proper headphones.

DT 990 Pro

5The DT 990 Pro’s are an open diffuse-field studio headphone, which means they are not closed headphones such as those designed for airplane usage. With open headphones, the sound remains dynamic and, well, open! It is exactly what’s needed in studio use.

The frequency response for the DT 990 Pro headphones is 5hz to 35kHz, which covers the entire frequency spectrum of human hearing and beyond.

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s are of very solid build quality. Throughout these five years, I haven’t had a single problem with them and they work like they have never even aged. The headband is made of metal and has a comfy cover around it which can be removed for adjusting the band to fit one’s head.

The earmuffs are very comfortable as well, and there are no signs of wearing fatigue whatsoever by using them for long periods of time. The speaker covers are made of hard plastic which are enough to provide protection for the valuable parts inside.

The audio cable that connects the headphones to your sound card or amplifier is also surprisingly pleasant to use, as it’s very flexible and long, and built to last. The connection is made via 3.5mm headphone jack plug or ¼” adapter which is supplied with the package.

The headphones are easily serviceable as all parts are replaceable, according to Beyerdynamic’s official website.

In a nutshell, the DT 990 Pro’s are designed for critical listening in a studio monitoring situation, and that is something they do well.

The Looks

1Beyerdynamic has really nailed the looks on the DT 990 Pro’s. Since the headphones have roots in the 1980s, they look exactly like they are from that era. I love the fact how they look, and they somehow bring me a dose of nostalgia just by having them on my desk.

The DT 990 Pro’s are simple yet elegant, and best of all they look professional, which is a wanted trait in a serious studio environment.

Sound Quality

Ever since the first listen, I have been superbly impressed with the sound quality of the DT 990 Pro’s. The detailed, dynamic, natural and vibrant sound qualities make the DT 990 Pro’s an enjoyable listening experience, whether it’s listening to music or creating it.

With these headphones, the listener can spot the smallest details in sound, which are not heard as easily with studio monitor speakers. Delay and reverb tails can be heard beautifully fading into the distance, which makes it even easier to fine-tune them in music production and mixing.

2Bass reproduction is solid and dynamic, without any excessive bass boost other than what is actually included in the audio, unlike a lot of consumer headphones which emphasize the bass. I have always disliked the fact that some headphones alter the audio way too much. The DT 990 Pro’s do no such thing.

The high end is also not in any way “excited” which results in a natural sound, exactly what’s needed in critical listening of audio.

The stereo width is impressive with a wide sound stage where different instruments can be pinpointed with ease and accuracy.

Personally, I have yet to find  better sounding headphones than my trustworthy Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s.

In Use

4I use the DT 990 Pro’s mainly for critical studio listening in production and mixing. Whenever I need a second opinion apart from my main studio monitors I put on the DT 990 Pro’s. They are very useful for analyzing the bass response, especially in untreated rooms.

These headphones are perfect for fine tuning small, subtle details in your songs.

I have made and mixed full songs only with the DT 990 Pro’s in the past, and they are totally good at it. In addition, they are ace for late night music production if neighbors are concerned.

Aside from production, I like to kick back and just enjoy music with them. The sound is so good that once you get to try them and understand top grade sound,  you are addicted.

I recommend using the DT 990 Pro’s with medium volume settings as it’s where the “sweet spot” of these headphones seem to lie, in my experience. The dynamics are revealed better that way by hearing the differences between quiet and loud sounds with more accuracy.

By not cranking the volume of the headphones, you also avoid hearing fatigue which is caused by continuous listening of the same material at louder volumes.

Conclusion3

The Beyerdynamic 990 Pro’s are a wonderful product if you are looking for studio headphones of excellent quality. Whether for music production and mixing or listening for leisure, they are a perfect match.

If you are a singer looking for monitoring headphones, you should look for closed-back headphones such as the DT 770 Pro, also in Beyerdynamic’s DT Series, so the headphones won’t cause spill in the microphone. Open-back headphones such as the DT 990 Pro do not completely isolate the sound in them.

In studio use, they are simply brilliant.

The price of Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s ranges from 138-160€ ($165-190) which makes them very affordable for musicians and music enthusiasts all around the world.

I highly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s.

-JP

P.S. Don’t confuse the DT 990 Pro‘s to the DT 990 Edition‘s, which are HiFi headphones!

ProsReview-Score

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Affordable, long-lasting value
  • Comfortable, joy to use
  • 3.5mm and ¼” connections

Cons

  • Not suitable for vocal recording due to audio spill

You can get yourself a pair on Amazon right now and put an end to your search for headphones! The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro won’t let you down.

8 thoughts on “Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Review – Studio or Leisure, Your Pick

  1. Joaquin

    Wow, these look great! I agree, putting your headphone volume too high just blows them out, and no one wants music that’s too loud/distorted. Also I like how you put it, that closed headphones are for airplanes and open headphones are not, I think it’s a good way to explain to people who might not understand the difference.

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Hey Joaquin, thanks for the comment.

      Too much volume will probably stress your headphones, as you said, and listening at lower volumes will increase the perception of dynamics in music.
      Closed headphones do have their studio uses as I explained in my review, but they are especially comfy for traveling, to block out noise.

      Reply
  2. Glyn Cooper

    Hi JP

    I always enjoy reading reviews of audio equipment, and yours is no exception – which means job well done!

    I have heard from third party sources that the DT990’s are a little bass-heavy, but you obviously didn’t find that. Personal experience trumps all anyway.

    Personally I have Sennheiser Amperior headphones (my one big money -splurge from last year) and I’m very happy with them. Perhaps a little too much upper-bass and not enough deep-bass but overall very nice sounding.

    Keep up the good work. Glyn

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Hi Glyn, thanks for your comment!

      Yes indeed, the perception of bass is a personal preference, but in terms of critical studio listening and audio mixing, I think they reproduce bass quite accurately and dynamically.

      Beyerdynamic has a similarily named product, the DT 990 Edition, which are HiFi headphones. These should not be confused with the DT 990 Pro’s, which I reviewed. Perhaps this was the case?

      -JP

      Reply
  3. Ashley A.

    Hi JP,

    I had a quick question about these headphones. I don’t know much about the technical stuff here and usually use headphones for leisure listening. However, I’m an avid music collector and like being able to hear the artistry involved in creating great tunes. I own a pair of Beats by Dre and absolutely love them for that reason. How would you say these stack up to the competition of the Beats?

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Hi Ashley, thanks for the question.

      Personally I have no experience of Beats by Dre. If you are happy with them, great!

      I could guess though, that they have some kind of tuned or altered “signature” frequency response or “Iconic Beats Sound” as they are marketed.

      The Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro’s will reproduce audio without adding anything to it, staying true to the music you listen to with them. There is no coloration of sound whatsoever unlike lots of commercial headphones, which I prefer.

      These are professional headphones made for critical listening situations in a studio environment – with that said I love them to death for leisure listening as well. I am an enthusiastic music lover myself and want to hear nothing but the original piece of music and the original artist’s vision.

      I hope this was of some help to you Ashley,

      -JP

      Reply
  4. Dan

    I have the DT990 Pro’s which I have been using with a high end amp for the last few years. I mainly listen to electronic music and want to upgrade them to the next Beyerdynamic. Which model would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Hi Dan,

      For merely music listening and for the absolute best quality (since you have a high end amp already), perhaps you might want to take a look at the hifi-range Beyerdynamic offers, such as the T-series. Are you looking for open or closed headphones? The T 1 and T 90 offer audiophile-quality open headphones while the T 5 P and T 70 are closed.

      Hope this helps,

      -JP

      Reply

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