The beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Headset – A Keeper in EVERY Respect

The Audio File Examines the Beautiful and Oh-So-Sweet beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Headset and he is reminded once again why the Germans STILL Do It Right!

Let’s Examine the Goods and The Legacy

When beyerdynamic delivered these to me I was overjoyed. The long and illustrious history of beyerdynamic headphones was one that I was intimately familiar with. Like many of you, I had DT 990s and much like an old girlfriend (or boyfriend) that always remained a part of your soul, so have the 990s. When the Boss had these sent to me, I was excited and motivated. They arrived and I was not let down one iota.

These headphones are beautifully finished and highly admired at first glance. They are flat out sexy in a beautifully Germanic way. The metalwork is executed perfectly and the implementation of the headband to body is quite nice. Everything just fit – everything is just right.

So Much to Love – AGAIN

Much like the DT 1770 PROs I reviewed last, the Out of The Box Experience was wonderful. The way beyerdynamic packs and presents this product is professional and oozing quality in every way.

To begin with there are the multiple ear cups. These are labeled “Balanced” and “Analytical”. Two different connection cords are also included. These cords are coiled and straight – pick your favorite. Each works nicely depending on your needs and taste. As with the Ear Cups, one can really see and feel (yes, FEEL) the attitude of “Customer First and Foremost” that beyerdynamic works from.

My earlier review of the DT 1770 PROs indicated that they are every bit a great product (and they are) – but once I dug into the 1990 PROs I knew I was entering the land of sonic bliss. Each of us has our own listening biases and the 1990 PROs were my better listening-match. The clarity and definition of Stage and Layering had me looped in right from the get-go. In the end, what brought the 1770 PROs to my attention was leapfrogged by the 1990 PROs in every test I threw at them. I want to state here and now that the 1770 PROs are ALL THAT (and then some), but the 1990 PROs floats my personal boat nicely.

What’s More… and Then Some

The question of ultimately “how does the product feel in your hands” test was answered emphatically by the 1990 PROs. While properly restrained in some areas – the 1990 (and 1770) feels just right to this writer’s opinion. I must wonder what other headphone companies would have to throw in at this price point to better the 1990 PRO?

Then I came to the moment where the Rubber Hits the Road. What struck me was a dichotomy of expectations. I always believed that an open headphone would not elicit the dynamic contrast that I look for, particularly through the power band of 100 Hz to 400 Hz. The 1990 PROs were out of this world in this area and constantly brought a smile to my face. A good test in this area is cello…and my three test pieces for cello, including the Kodály – “Sonata for Solo Cello”, were all painted in a beautiful way. That all too critical 100-400 Hz area is the spot where a headphone can win or lose your buying dollar. To repeat, this area was rendered magnificently. Woodwind and brass instruments were dynamic and immediate, while at the same time portrayed with enough air around the instruments to allow one to dig deep into the sound stage. Some of my favorite Miles Davis tunes were all at once easy to listen to and yet delivered with a FAT HOUSE SOUND that absolutely sucked me in. Loved every moment of it. Delicious and RICH!

A Few More Musical Interludes

One of my absolute favorites is the Michael Franti & Spearhead “Stay Human (All The Freaky People)”. The title track bounces and rips and the 1990 PROs tracked every musical undulation perfectly. This track has Be-Bop and Bounce out the wazoo and there I was bobbing my head to the beat and enjoying every note. Franti is a vocal magician. He literally voices his lyrics and I simply got caught in a wave of musical happiness a ’la DT 1990 PROs. The space between uttered words was so well defined. Blown away.

I then shuttled off to the Andre Huevelman – “Oblivion on After Silence”. Here is where you learn if you are running with the Big Dogs.

The rendered space between notes is something extraordinary. I left the “how does it sound” and found myself on that journey of “how does it feel.” The layered space was awesome – palpable and profound with the 1990 PROs. I loved the way this headphone brought me to a sense of joy. I was disarmed and was forced to take my review hat off – this piece was amazing.

One morning I woke up and was thinking Sinatra was the way to groove. I put on Ultimate Sinatra and there I was, enjoying not the most profoundly perfect recording or audiophile this or that, but instead I was transported to a great place with my father listening to Frank on my Infinity Servo-Statik 1As. Dad and I had a few too many and we ended up witnessing the famous blue flames of death that those RTR panels were famous for when they gave up the ghost. The DT 1990 PROs delivered it ALL, and at a volume level that spoke to me – visceral and with energy that shook my body. BRAVO!

Do you think I loved these headphones – or what???

Concluding – But My Journey and Experience with These Is NOT Over

Every now and then you come upon a product that captivates. Right product, right price and gloriously well engineered as the cherry on the sundae. The beyerdynamic DT 1990 PROs led me on a beautifully intimate journey filled with musical high notes all along the way.

I reviewed my listening notes before writing these concluding paragraphs and on every occasion and covering many musical genres, I found myself uttering platitude after platitude and using language I normally don’t associate with headphones.

I was so very pleased with the commanding presence and sense of rhythm that this headphone gifted me with. I record all my listening notes so that I can review and properly couch (compare and contrast) my written with my spoken thoughts. I like doing this because I can hear the level of enthusiasm I have with each musical assessment – every piece of music chosen to put the test subject under great scrutiny.

My notes and recollections tell a great story about the 1990 PROs. Glorious stage – incredibly deep presentation that constantly amazes – and a spectacular sonic signature that led me to write Best of Class. I absolutely stand by that as I pen this closing. At the retail price, I believe I’ve heard nothing that can compare. Strong words and stronger still – product.

One must judge based upon a “compare and contrast” vis-à-vis other products in the price class and general genre. I have not spent any real time with the Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow (at a 3rd more), but I can tell you this much: If I had 500 to 600 dollars to spend, these beyerdynamic DT 1990 PROs would be first on my personal list, end of story.


Transducer type Dynamic
Operating principle Open
Frequency response . . 5 – 40,000 Hz
Nominal impedance 250 Ω
Nominal SPL 102 dB SPL (1 mW / 500 Hz)
Max. SPL 125 dB SPL (200 mW / 500 Hz)
T.H.D < 0.05% (1 mW / 500 Hz)
Nominal handling capacity 200 mW
Sound coupling to the ear Circumaural
Nominal headband pressure. . . . approx. 6.6 N Weight w/o cable 370g
Length and type of cable 3 m / straight cable or
5 m / coiled cable (stretched), each detachable with a 3-pin mini XLR cable connector, single-sided
Connection Gold-plated mini stereo jack
(3.5 mm) & 1/4″ adapter (6.35 mm)

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