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Beyerdynamic DT 990

MSRP $429.00
Stock Status: Out of Stock.

The open-earcup Beyerdynamic DT 990 are amongst Beyer's top-shelf, reference-grade models and a long-time standby for headphone audiophiles. The DT 990 tend to put more meat on the bones of recordings versus the more 'analytical' tone of the brethren DT 880 model. The DT990 are durably well-built, very comfortable, and rather sonically pleasing headphones with forward upper highs and a tightly punchy, rich bass response. The mid-ranges are fairly well-balanced and quite present as well. We think these are specially great cans for rock, jazz, acoustic and instrumental music.


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Product Features:

  • Durable build and good comfort
  • Forward sounding upper highs and punchy rich bass response
  • Plush soft-sided leather storage/travel case is provided
  • High impedance means a good headphone amp is needed
  • Manufactured in Germany

What's In The Box:

  • Leather padded carrying case
  • 1/4" stereo plug adapter
  • Beyerdynamic owner's manual


The venerable open-cup DT 990 headphones are Beyerdynamic's top reference-grade 'Premium-Line' model and a long-time standby for serious audiophiles. The DT 990 tend to put more meat on the bones of recordings versus the slightly 'drier' and more analytical approach of the DT 880 model but for some headphone fans, the DT 990 remain a more engaging and subjectively pleasing listening experience. The DT 990s are durably-built, very comfortable, and sonically pleasing headphones with forward-sounding upper highs and punchy bass response with nicely present mid-ranges. Rated at 250-Ohms impedance, the DT 990s ask too much from portable player devices like iPods, iPad, MP3 players or computers, so a good portable headphone amp becomes essential in most mobile listening applications. They should perform okay with most high-end home stereo rigs, but keep in mind that a dedicated headphone amp will truly maximize the fast dynamic range extension and soundstage imaging 'depth', as well as clarify musical detail resolution and tonal/timbral transparency of these 250 Ohm audiophile headphones.

Although, as mentioned, a bit difficult to drive at 250 Ohms/101dB sensitivity, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 perform extremely well and sound awesome once properly powered. They have round 'circumaural' velour-padded earcups that fit loosely around the ears -- VERY comfortable even on those extra-long intensive listening sessions. The bottom of the headband is covered by a similarly cushy pad that feels nice & soft on the top of the head. The DT 990 feature very solid sliding metal joints that connect the headband to the earcups (contributing immensely to their durability) and a straight non-detachable 10-foot cord exiting the left earpiece, thus eliminating nightmarish 'Y'-cord tangles. The DT 990 cable terminates to a 1/8" (3.5mm) 'mini' plug jack and the package handily includes a full-size 1/4" stereo plug adapter. The industrial-glam look provided by the stainless aluminum louvered slats on the DT 990 earcups is a slick fashion-forward move and totally jazzes up the cosmetics -- we like! A plush soft-sided leather storage/travel case is nicely provided. 

A free 2-year manufacturer's product warranty remains standard with all beyerdynamic headphone ONLY when proof-purchased at verified Beyerdynamic-authorized headphone dealers -- like HeadRoom!



  • Headphone Type: Full Size
  • Connector Type: 1/8
  • Weight: 290 grams (w/o cord)
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 250 Ohms
  • Detachable Cable: No
  • Cord Type: Straight Left-Side
  • Cord Length: 10ft
  • Coupler Size: Large
  • Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Acoustic Seal: Open
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB

Additional Resources:

Reviews At A Glance
4 Reviews
2 Reviews

Average Rating 
(Showing 3 of 6 reviews)

I keep coming back
Posted by Wholly on 2012-10-23

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Comfortable, Amazing
Cons: A little plain visually

I was going to post this as a con, but it got a little long. Because they sound so amazing it is hard to not turn it up - which can be annoying to those nearby.

Get an amp. You won't like them without one.

Now for the review title - because they're open and I work in a cube farm it is really hard to put them on knowing that others will have to enjoy what I'm listening to as well. So I leave them at home for a month. I see them, calling. And then I pull out the amp and light them up and remember WHY I bought these when my hair stands up on end. From the clear and deep bass to the amazing detail in the mids and highs they just sound amazing. I'm glad I have some other good options but I always come home to my 990s.

Sound Quality
Look & Feel

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

A Fun Sounding Headphone
Posted by NA Blur from Bozeman, MT on 2011-09-08

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Airy Sound, Bass, Comfort
Cons: Cable Length, Colored Midrange

First let me say that I own many great headphones including the ATH-M50 and AH-D2000. I also use a Grace m903 for most of my headphone testing as I find it a neutral sounding amp.

I was looking for a headphone to compliment my AH-D2000's both in design and sound signature. The D2000 being dark, slightly bass heavy, and closed made me want something not as dark, more imaging based, and open. I tried Grado SR225i's, Grado RS-1i's, and the Beyerdynamic DT990.

The Grado SR225i's are too bright and have the same comfort issues as all Grados using bowl pads. The frequency range according to the Gradolabs site only goes from 20 Hz up to 22 kHz. The SR-80 goes from 20 Hz to 20 kHz so the 225i really only gains 2 kHz on the high end. This and the bowl pads add to the brightness. So I moved onto the RS-1i's, which are a great sounding headphone with both an extended bass and high range. The RS-1i goes from 12 Hz up to 20 kHz making them much more balanced sounding and certainly less bright. The bowl pads once again allowed the driver covers to rest on my ears which after 30 minutes made my ears hurt. I simply cannot justify a headphone that does not fit perfectly.

Enter the Beyerdynamic DT990 ( 250 Ohm ). The frequency response is bass boosted, but there is also a nice upward and wide peak at the 6 kHz to 11 kHz range. This makes the DT990 not only slightly bass boosted but brings the highs into balance with the bass. Add in some amazing comfort with velour pads and a well thought out headband and I was ready to test these puppies.

Out of my iPod they DT990 sounded nice and airy, the bass was impactful, and the sense of space was tremendous. I did have to turn up the volume to 80% to reach a satisfactory listening level, but it worked.

Since I do 90% of my headphone listening at home near my PC I really intended to use these amped which is why I chose the 250 Ohm version. It seemed to be a happy medium between the 32 Ohm portable option and the 600 Ohm hi-fi option.

Amped the bass was a little more controlled. The soundstage increased 10% and the highs brightened nicely. The DT990 is really a nice compliment or perhaps supplement for a D2000. You really get a ton of air and separation without too much boom.

Although the sound was not as direct as the D2000 it was very upfront and clear. No part of the frequency range seemed left out. The highs had a pleasant downward tilt making the DT990 bright enough without being annoying like the lower tier Grados.

I had no issued with comfort and could wear these for hours. They are not as light as some other open cans, but it did not affect the comfort.

The design is just about flawless. The swivel engineering is nicely executed and the headband padded. The ear cups surround the ear and the cable terminates from the left ear so there is no Y-cable fuss.

I recommend these to anyone. If you plan on using them more on a portable device get the 32 Ohm version. You get all of the same sound characteristics without having to drive them very hard.

With my AH-D2000's I was unable to hear the difference between 320 kbps and 128 kbps, but I sure could with the DT990.

The DT990 is an alternative to those wanting to try something else beside the HD600/HD650.

Sound Quality
Look & Feel

17 out of 21 people found this review helpful. Did you?

DT 990 PRO
Posted by lrogers from lrogers on 2011-04-01

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Transparent, Full, Open
Cons: Quite uncomfortable after some time

I own the PRO version of these headphones, but I wish I got these. According to the Beyerdynamic site, the only difference between these and the PRO version is the tightness of the headband.

I tried on a friends pair of the DT 990 PRO's, and was so impressed with the sound that I got a pair. At the moment, I liked how tight they were. (I typically like headphones a *little* tighter.) But after about 20min of using my new pair, I had a HUGE headache.

I've tried stretching them out, as others have suggested, but after ~5 days of stretching, they've not moved a bit. At this point, the amazing quality of sound keeps me listening to them, but I really regret getting the PRO version. I think they look a bit better than the regular ones, but the comfort is entirely not worth it.

Go with the DT 990's. Not the PRO's. They're way more comfortable and sound identical.

Sound Quality
Look & Feel

11 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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