Beyerdynamic's DT-990 PRO edition are by far one of the best headphones to get under $200. Today we are going to check them out a bit closer and see what they offer. There is a lot of hype regarding DT-990's performance. Let's see if there is any merit to that.
When it comes to design, DT-990 PRO bring some good things, but also some bad things to the table. For starters, the entire package is made of ABS. We can't fault Beyerdynamic much over this seeing how it is more or less the industry standard. With that said, we do feel that the forks on which the drivers are mounted to, could have been done a little better. Headband is simple, thick and covered in padding. What really stands out are the ear pads. Unlike most brands out there, Beyerdynamic actually offers these with velour pads. Velour is hard to come by in this price range. From a purely aesthetic point of view, DT-990 look fairly okay. These would be in the category of ‘standard all-black headphones' were the pads made of vinyl. Instead, that light gray velour breaks up the black landscape quite nicely.
Under all that ABS, we find a set of two large drivers with equally as large voice coils. DT-990 comes in three versions. You have the 32, 250 and 600 Ohms variants. The one we are looking at today is the 250 Ohm one. What that means is that you're getting impressive clarity, definition and sound stage at the expense of versatility. The 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm DT-990 will require some amplification in order to experience their full potential. Frequency range goes from 5Hz to 35kHz with 96dB of nominal SPL. Being open-back headphones, DT-990s don't cancel out much of the outside noise, however that is the price you have to pay for detailed sound stage. The only real disappointment is the cable. It's a non-detachable 10 feet long piece. However, that is something we can live with considering how much DT-990 offers in other aspects.
The performance of DT-990 has often times been described as ‘near reference' or similar. The main reason for this is due to the factory bias in lows and trebles. With that said, there is still plenty of transparency. Beyerdynamic went with a slightly biased EQ curve because it gives the headphones that spatial definition and clarity. Rest assured that DT-990 is still a solid studio set of headphones. In terms of comfort, the situation is great. Having a set of velour pads helps immensely. They are both deep and large enough to envelop your entire ear and cocoon it without much contact.
Another advantage of velour over vinyl is much less sweating. Being open backed by nature, expect sound pollution in noisy environments. That isn't an issue unless there are sources of noise inside your studio, which is unlikely.
Beyerdynamic did an awesome job with DT-990 PRO. These headphones might lack in versatility, but they absolutely accomplish the task they were designed to do. As petty as it may sound, just the fact that they come with velour ear pads makes them that much better than their immediate competition.