Beyerdynamic DT 990 - 600 Ohm
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The open-earcup DT 990 - 600 Ohm headphones are one of Beyerdynamic's top-shelf, reference models and a superb choice for headphone audiophiles using dedicated headphone amps. The DT 990 - 600 Ohm tend to put more meat on the bones of recordings compared to the drier, more analytical tone of the DT880 series. The DT990 are durably-built, extremely comfortable, and rather sonically pleasing with forwardly pitched upper highs and a big, rich bass response. The mid-ranges are fairly well-balanced and stay quite present as well. Must be used with a good headphone amp for maximum sound quality, quickened dynamics and crisp tonal clarity.
- Very durable build quality and excellent comfort
- Forward sounding upper highs and punchy rich bass response
- 600 Ohm high impedance design demands dedicated headphone amp
- Plush soft-sided leather storage/travel case included
- Manufactured in Germany. 2-year manufacturer's warranty
What's In The Box:
- Black padded storage / travel case
- 1/4" full-size plug adapter
- Owner's manual
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The venerable 'semi' open-cup DT 990 headphones are Beyerdynamic's top reference-grade 'Premium-Line' model and a long-time standby for serious audiophiles. The high-impedance 600-Ohm design tends 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. Of course, at a very stiff 600 Ohms impedance rating, a high-quality headphone amp is demanded for best sonic performance and smoothness of sound. 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 600-Ohms impedance, the DT 990s ask WAY too much from portable player devices like iPods, MP3 players, or laptop computers, so a quality portable headphone amp becomes essential in most mobile listening applications. No question, a dedicated headphone amp will truly maximize the dynamic range extension and soundstage imaging 'depth', as well as maximize clear musical detail resolution and tonal/timbral transparency of the beyerdynamic DT 990 600 Ohm headphones.
Although hard to drive at 600 Ohms with sensitivity ratings of 100dB, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 - 600 Ohm headphones perform extremely well and sound awesome once properly powered. The basically open earcup construction offers only minimal acoustic sound 'leakage' protection to the outside (remember the spouse!) without completely muffling ambient noises. The DT990 have circumaural round 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 connecting cable that connects to the left earpiece, thus eliminating nightmarish 'Y' double-cord tangles. The industrial-glam look provided by the stainless steel-like louvered slats on the new DT 990's earcups is a slick fashion-forward move and totally jazzes up the cosmetics. A plush soft-sided leather storage/travel case is provided. The DT 990 cable is terminated to a 1/8" (3.5mm) mini-plug and the package handily includes a full-size 1/4" inch [screw-on] stereo plug adapter.
A 2-year manufacturer's product warranty remains standard with all beyerdynamic headphone ONLY when proof-purchased at true Beyerdynamic-authorized dealers -- like HeadRoom!
- Detachable Cable: No
- Cord Length: 9ft
- Cord Type: Straight Left-Side
- Coupler Size: Large
- Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Acoustic Seal: Open
- Impedance @ 1kHz: 600 Ohms
- Weight: 290 grams (w/o cord)
- Connector Type: 1/8
- Headphone Type: Full Size
- Manufacturer Warranty: 2 Years
- Product Reviews
- Playback, Chris Martens
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Posted by commtrd from Corpus Christi, TX on 2013-03-13
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: great sound with micro amp/dac
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Posted by Cary Grant from Ithaca on 2012-04-02
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Great sound, well built
Cons: Another click on the headband would be good
I use them on my home hi fi, an Ayre CD player through a McIntosh preamp headphone jack. I mostly listen to acoustic music - classical, traditional jazz, with some Union Station to add zip. Instruments sound right. I read in the golden ear magazines about accuracy vs. musicality. I don't get it. If I am in a recital room with an artist playing a grand piano, the piano sound will be accurate. The musicality is up to the musician.
One review calls them too bright. I have a recording that used to break up on my Thiel CS2s, Bernstein's Barber Adagio when massed strings go really high. On the beyerdynamics they sound right, not pleasant because the passage is not meant to be beautiful, but accurate. Like my current speakers.
As always, front end matters, and with good sources, these cans will more than satisfy. A test drive is recommended.
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Posted by Moeman from Toronto, ON on 2010-10-04
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Subtly layered and nuanced bass, stereo imaging, musicality, remarkable comfort
Cons: Not netural - but in this case, it works!
I might be a good person to review these phones; then again, maybe not. I am a committed audiophile who has always owned good headphones, but never really understood what all the fuss was about. I had been running my Sennheiser HD570s through my Marantz SR8001 AVR. I have a pair of Quad 22L speakers with upgraded speaker wire and connectors, and am extremely pleased with the sound from XRCD, SACD and vinyl. I do not own an iPod and do not listen to computer audio because MP3s do not sound good. I used the Sennheisers late at night to listen to music - OK, but nothing special. Even bought an inexpensive Pro-ject headphone amp a few years ago after a friend told me how much difference a dedicated amp makes, but returned it on the basis that it really did not improve the sound to my ears.
However, with two young kids in the house and not many chances to listen to my system as I would like to, I looked at putting together a headphone-only system. Bought a used Pioneer Elite Universal Player and NAD tuner. I decided to purchase the 600 Ohm DT 990 after reading several reviews, particularly one from Chris Martens of AVguide. I also read a Stereophile review of the Little Dot Mk. III Tube Amp, which again brought up the elusive (for me) concept that headphones can indeed sound wonderful. I am waiting for the Little Dot to arrive, but in the meantime have purchased a NuForce Icon HDP, which is a combination headphone ampDAC. This product has received excellent reviews, and its functionality made perfect sense for my situation.
I received the headphones first, and noticed immediately that they sounded better than my (admittedly older and cheaper) Sennheisers through my AVR. They are certainly warmer and more musical; I have seen Sennheisers described as having a bit of a clinical sound, and that is how I would characterize it compared to the DT990s. But I suspected the real test would come when I received the Icon HDP - and I was right. This headphone ampDAC really demonstrates what the DT990s can do.
From a music-loving audiophile's perspective, these headphones are wonderful. The overall musicality is tremendous. Chris Martens' review struck me with one comment - they are not neutral, but that is actually no bad thing. He normally insists on neutrality from components, but found that the sound balance of the DT990s was extremely enjoyable. "Putting more meat on the bones" of the music is a very apt description. Indeed, I am hearing things with these headphones that I do not hear through my speakers. The bass quality is astonishing. You can hear the timbre of individual instruments in the bass register; you can hear individual strings vibrate and decay. A well-recorded jazz trio album will leave your jaw on the floor once the bass player starts "walking".
I listen to a lot of Cuban and Latin music. It is hard to think of a style other than classical where there are more instruments with different, often subtly so, timbres all playing at once. It is the essence of Cuban music, and these headphones just nail it. Voices are firmly anchored in my brainstem as the playing occupies the space around it. I do not find the treble overly harsh, but am looking forward to receiving the tube amp and comparing the sound with the Icon HDP. SACD and XRCD sound great, but I am also getting fantastic sound from FM radio - the host's voice is centred at the base of my skull, and you can hear any natural sibilance and breath patterns when he or she is speaking.
In conclusion, I believe the lack of neutrality contributes to the musicality of this headphone. I also favour neutrality in my audio and video sources, but for some reason, the lack of it (and it's not a HUGE lack by any means) simply works wonders with these headphones. They are extremely comfortable to wear, even for a guy with a giant rectangular head like me. Design and materials are classic no-nonsense German - high quality, but some may find them a bit drab, which is why I docked them one star in the "Look and Feel" category. Look at the "Manufaktur" option on beyerdynamic's website to build a personalized pair.
As I stated at the beginning, I do not own an iPod or listen to computer music because I cannot stand the poor quality of MP3s. My listening is high-resolution CD and FM radio, and I am a 2-channel music lover first and foremost. A word of caution, though - be prepared to spend some extra money, because you absolutely need a good headphone amp to get the most from these headphones. They sound comparatively flat and lifeless through the headphone jack of a standard audio component, and I am not even sure you could drive them with a portable player. (Not sure why you would want to.) These headphones have exceeded my expectations in every regard, and I give them my highest recommendation. (Unless you've heard the T1, but I'll save that for another day :-)
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