Beyerdynamic DT1990 PRO Headphones
Beyerdynamic is one of the oldest audio companies in the entire world, and have been family owned since their inception back in 1924. The very first products that the company produced were loudspeakers for cinema (which was in its infancy at the time). At the end of the 1930s, the first Beyerdynamic headphone was born.
In the coming years, their microphones would go on to be used by the likes of The Beatles, Elton John, Abba, Stevie wonder, and many other famous musicians.
These days, Beyerdynamic have a specialised range of headphones, microphones, headsets, conferencing systems and intercom units.
Their headphones are highly regarded in the professional audio industry, in both live and studio situations alike. Products such as the DT 770 are a staple in the live mixing engineers diet. Working within the industry, I have personally seen sound engineers colour their own DT 770 in bright pink, just to distinguish their own pair from others to ensure any other sound guys didn’t pick them up by mistake.
Aside from that, Beyerdynamic have also been a highly praised name in the audiophile world as well. The DT 880 goes down in Head-Fi history as one of the all-time classic favourites, keeping even the most discernable audio enthusiast satisfied.
The DT 1990 PRO is the latest release from Beyerdynamic, which is being marketed as an open-back studio reference headphones for mixing and mastering. We decided to put it through its paces in both the pro audio world, as well as see how they stack up in a domestic environment.
The DT 1990 PRO shares the same drivers as the recently released DT 1770 PRO headphones - which are the closed-back variant. Beyerdynamic claim that this difference would render the DT 1770 PRO suitable for live mixing environments, and the DT 1990 PRO for studio use.
Packaging and materials
The DT 1990 PRO comes with the following:
- Hard case for carrying
- Coiled cable
- Straight cable
- Two pairs of velour pads
- Two 3.5mm to 6.5mm threaded (gold plated) adapters
The hard case is strong and steady on the outside, yet soft on the inside to house the headphones. It also carries all of the accessories on the inside of the case itself, so users won’t find themselves being caught out when on the road with them.
Beyerdynamic claim that the different sets of pads will alter the sound of the headphones, and will enable “two different sound settings”.
Beyerdynamic have always paid close attention to detail with their headphones in the past, and the 1990 is no exception - and does not disappoint in the slightest. Crafted by hand in Germany, it offers a premium leather style headband, and anodised aluminium yokes. Weighing just 170 grams (without cable), they still retain both the intense durability that sound engineers worldwide can attest to, and retain the signature Beyer comfort.
Both pairs of included earpads appear to have the same density, and are built from the same materials (memory foam on the inside, and velour on the exterior).
Compared to the DT 770 and DT 880, the feeling on the head is quite similar. The DT 1990 PRO has a similar weight, but with more padding on the headband which seems to distribute the weight nicely.
These are still able to be worn comfortably for hours, much like the older Beyerdynamic models.
The removable cable is a single sided mini-XLR, and when clipped in, gives a satisfying “click” and fits snugly.
The entire headphone is a sleek matte black finish - with silver highlights. A very premium and classy finish.
These headphones share the same 250 ohms, 45-mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers as the closed-back DT 1770 PRO. They have a firm clamp and soft pads, which leads to a comfortable yet firm and secure grip. They feel very familiar to other offerings from Beyerdynamic - but with a removable cable.
On the road
Whilst the DT 1990 PRO were designed and manufactured for studio use, I personally prefer using open-backed cans when mixing bands on live gigs. When doing so, the DT 1990 PRO performed beautifully in all key areas when called upon.
It was comfortable, reliable, and accurate, reproducing identical results each time. The 250 ohm impedance assisted here, as it keeps any form of output impedance mismatches at bay when using a range of different mixing consoles.
They also have a robust finish, which is helpful when having to pick up and place them down time and time again during a gig.
I would personally recommend any live sound technician who holds Beyerdynamic in high regard to consider making the upgrade to the DT 1990 PRO or DT 1770 PRO headphones for mixing and monitoring.
The DT 1990 PRO is a product not only aimed at pro users, but also for audiophiles at home. It sits neatly in the “midrange” sensitivity, requiring a modest amount of power to drive. It might not fare so well when plugged into a smartphone, but a DAP with a little more grunt will supply the headphone confidently.
For the purpose of this review, we used a variety of amplifiers, but mainly the FiiO X7, paired with the AM2 (medium power amplification module) on low-gain mode.
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.