Review: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Headphones

Check out this review by David Puls, from Pulsworks Audio Arts, on the beyerdynamic DT 1990 headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones are an open back studio grade headphone that is designed for mixing and mastering. The styling I would describe as a modern elegance with a respectable ruggedness that will keep the headphones functioning optimally for years to come. The Tesla drivers provide an efficient and resolving output that maintains consistency even at high output levels. These circumaural dynamic heaphones are an open back design with 250Ω impedance and a stated frequency response from 5 - 40,000 Hz. A 1/8” gold plated mini stereo jack is supplied with a matching screw-on ¼” adapter and comes with your choice of a 3M straight or 5M coiled cable connected with a mini XLR and a hard-shell case.
First impressions were very favorable as I opened the impressive packaging and had a quick listen. These headphones are dynamic and spatially revealing. After several dozen hours of break in time I sat down for the first of several extended listening sessions. I found that there were no obvious pressure points (even when wearing glasses) and that it was not fatiguing over time.
I began by listening to Chant by Fourplay (Warner Bros. 9362-45340-2) and found that the bass at 1:42 was tight and controlled—a pleasure to listen to. Starting at 2:09 a subtle spatial vocal effect is clearly evident yet easily missed in most listening contexts. At 2:53 there is also a wonderful cymbal line that reveals the timbrel texture so beautifully.
In their “If You Wait” album (Columbia 88843-03991-2) London Grammar has a wonderful track called Hey Now that features a layered effect at the beginning where every few bars brings a new layer of sound. By the time the bass joins in at 1:22 there is a multi-layered texture that remains clear and clean yet with a forceful bass line. The DT 1990’s play this bass line very well with no hint of fatigue.
In Gift of Faith (Toto Tambo album on Columbia 5099748-120229) the tom toms are clear, rich sounding, present, and powerful right from the start. You also hear just the right amount of sibilance on “s” with words like “grass” and “pass”.
Groove Note recording (GRV1001-1) by Jacintha in the album “Here’s To Ben” has the best recording I have ever heard of the song Georgia On My Mind. This 45 RPM LP recording is exceptional as it demonstrates recording excellence with a voice and players that are up to the task. The classic Neumann M-49 microphone captures all the detail and nuance of Jacintha’s voice and the DT 1990’s replay it all—a rewarding experience to say the least!
The Reference Recording (RR-57) of John Rutter’s Requiem is an outstanding recording achievement as it shows the beauty of four difficult-to-get-right challenges in recording: orchestral instruments, pipe organ, chorus, and solo voice. This recording is also very revealing of how a stereo system performs. This is a great album to listen to as there are so many recording and playback challenges. A cello with its rich woody texture and rosin rich bow introduces Pie Jesu followed oboe and flute. Each instrument speaks
so clearly and articulately. The solo voice is liquid smooth throughout her range as is the organ pedal as it goes deeper and deeper.
I pulled out Let The River Flow by David Ruis (Sweet Mercies album on Vineyard recordings) as this track has so many challenges for good playback. There is the richly harmonic cymbal roll near the beginning that can sound harsh and brittle on lesser equipment. There is the rich and driving bass elements with bass and drums that can easily get muddled and indistinct. All sounded great on the 1990’s.
I have tried these headphones with many styles of music with many artists and I still look forward to the next listening session.
Decades ago an English Literature scholar by the name of C.S. Lewis commented on the plight of children growing up in the slums of east London saying that they “have no idea what it is to have a holiday at the sea.” Perhaps many of us take for granted the fun we can have on a “beach day”—the frolicking in the water, beach volleyball, sand castles … even getting buried up to our neck in the sand. Lewis then comments that “we are far too easily pleased”. I call it an impoverishment of expectation. The children in slums knew only what was around them and never experienced anything beyond the ghetto—even a beach day. Very often we have no idea of the possibilities and experiences that are available to us when we venture out and reach beyond what we expect. The Beyerdynamic 1990 Pro headphones remind me of the many fantastic beach days that I have had. These headphones are dynamic and articulate and provide a musically rewarding experience that may well surprise you! I like them so much that I now have them available in my store. (I also use Beyerdynamic headphones throughout my recording studio complex.) Well done Beyerdynamic!