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Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Review (headphone)

odyo

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DT 1990 i was using had very nice punch and clinical precision. I really liked it's qualities. However it should be close to this when you measure it. It's really an orgasmic headphone for energic, rock'n roll, Doom metal stuff. Punch, bite, precision, resolution all there with an ok soundstage. Nicely resolves complex passages. I miss it. It's also incredible for competitive gaming. I like my Ananda(with eq) more overall but 1990 was very good at it's job. Ananda sounds kinda compressed when you are adapted to 1990's sound.
 

mysiak

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I switched from genuine grey Beyerdynamic pads (only about half a year old, but quite flat already - used ~6 hours every working day though) to Dekoni elite velour pads and I am very pleasantly surprised by the comfort improvement. My ears are not touching the drivers anymore and I don't have the need to re-adjust the headphones every while. The headphones are "semi-open" now, they attenuate outside sounds and noise much more efficiently. Before I could easily have a conversation with someone without putting the headphones down, now I barely understand them even with no music playing.

Sound wise they definitely change the sound signature, but it's not that drastic as I expected. I would say that measurements of Dekoni are accurate (at least to my ears) - https://dekoniaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/DT1990-ElVr.png
Bass got a bit of a boost, mids are decreased by about 2dB and treble as well - but still needs taming. Surely not a flat response, but it wasn't the case even before, so "no harm done" and nothing which couldn't be improved with an EQ.

Overall I'm very happy with the change, hopefully Dekoni pads will keep their shape much longer than EDT990V. Out of curiosity I ordered Brainwavz micro suede pads for comparison, but it'll take a while until I have them in my hands.
 

max8

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Overall I'm very happy with the change, hopefully Dekoni pads will keep their shape much longer than EDT990V. Out of curiosity I ordered Brainwavz micro suede pads for comparison, but it'll take a while until I have them in my hands.


Other than for comfort it looks like the Dekoni pads are a downgrade in terms of sonic quality. Looking at it's frequency response effect DT1990-ElVr.png (2980×1616) (dekoniaudio.com) and comparing that to Oratory Grapher Headphones - HeadphoneDatabase it looks those changes to the frequency response are not desirable, am I looking at things wrong?
 
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max8

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One more thing. Does anyone just eq these with only a -6-9db at 12.7 kHz peak filter? Generally, I'm a minimalist when it comes to EQ. I feel like this is good enough to tame it. I'm considering the foam pad mod from the amarion series. Do you just shove the foam disc inside the DT990 without any other changes?

I'm also considering the HD560s (not convinced of them right now) and the DT880 Pro 250ohms (strongly tempted to purchase). I enjoy the comfort of the DT990 immensely and with a cable mode that solves my biggest annoyance with the cable. Difficult decision, in general I like diffuse field target and a more v-shaped sound signature. The DT880 from what I see are smoother with better treble. Does anyone care to share some thoughts?
 
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solderdude

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12.7kHz peak can be lowered using toilet paper. Cheaper and easier than the Amiron pads which don't appear to do much.
Would like to measure it but need someone in Germany to help me (not paying 20 Euro shipping for 2.50 Euro foam discs)

DT990 600 vs DT990 -600 3 ply.png


100us DT990-600.png


100us DT990-600 3ply.png
 
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max8

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Will try. Perhaps there is a better foam that doesn't look so hacky to place inside? I can't imagine what people will think when they see the TP padding.
 

markanini

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Will try. Perhaps there is a better foam that doesn't look so hacky to place inside? I can't imagine what people will think when they see the TP padding.
Black napkins is the obvious answer.
index.jpg
 

mysiak

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Other than for comfort it looks like the Dekoni pads are a downgrade in terms of sonic quality. Looking at it's frequency response effect DT1990-ElVr.png (2980×1616) (dekoniaudio.com) and comparing that to Oratory Grapher Headphones - HeadphoneDatabase it looks those changes to the frequency response are not desirable, am I looking at things wrong?
Well, I guess it depends on the owner. Bass is boosted (advantage for some, like me), mids are decreased (disadvantage), trebles are slightly decreased as well (advantage for most). I think that no one argues that stock pads have better sound quality, but Dekoni elite velour does not change it that much while allowing better comfort and hopefully also won't require so often changes (like every 6 months with frequent usage). As I "must" use EQ anyway, I use a small boost of mids which basically fixes the issues. But I fully understand if such change is considered as "drastic" by someone else.

Regarding the peaks, with stock pads I hear 4 distinctive peaks - ~3.8kHz 3dB (probably my ear resonance), ~6.1kHz 7dB, ~8.5kHz 10dB, ~12.7kHz 8dB. With Dekoni pads, all peaks are lowered by roughly 2-3dB, so I am left with 3 peaks. I am using sine wave sweep generator to locate the peaks in treble (I find this method hard to use for bass/mids and dips in general) and then to confirm that they are gone with EQ. Existing EQ presets, especially from Amir helped me to shape it to my needs and preferences.

Toilet paper mod was working to some extent (I put it under the stock foam, directly on the driver), but it was either too loose or tight as it distorted bass on medium volume. Putting the paper over the foam caused my ear to rub against it, which resulted in discomfort and noise. As I use DT990 headphones on my PC exclusively, I don't mind using free and great Equalizer APO app.
 

solderdude

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Will try. Perhaps there is a better foam that doesn't look so hacky to place inside? I can't imagine what people will think when they see the TP padding.

You won't see the TP.
You remove the pads. You take out the ring, you remove the foam. Put the TP plies on the driver. Put the foam back. Put the ring back (only fits in one position) put the pads back on.

You can experiment with the amount of TP plies (taken from a 2-ply or 3 ply sheet of TP) without having to this.
Once you established what you want you can fix them like described above.

Another option (when you can't use PEQ) is to use a passive filter.
 

mysiak

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Yesterday I got a chance to audition a couple of completely new headphones and compare them to my DT990 with Dekoni pads.

AKG K371 - comfort was OK, I liked the sound signature even though I missed a little of the treble "sparkle". Unfortunately they are impossible to use with glasses, even the slightest breach of seal resulted in degraded sound quality in bass region.

Sennheiser HD650 - sound was very flat, unoffensive in every way. I was expecting to be missing bass or trebles, but it wasn't the case. I would be able to get used to this kind of sound signature, even if it isn't my number one choice. However the comfort was absolutely terrible. Razor sharp earpads (the contact area) hard as rock cut into my flesh under the ears/jaw, they were really painful in just a few minutes. I suppose that the clamping force would decrease over time, but I read that new earpads are using new material which stays the same for longer time. 3rd party pads screw up frequency response too much. So it would be either bad sound with good comfort, or great sound with bad comfort. Maybe other Sennheiser headphones are having a better synergy with Dekoni pads, but HD650 unfortunately isn't one of those.

Fostex T50rp mk3 - pleasant surprise for me, I took them home with me. :) Good bass, more or less flat mids and present treble with no sibilance. They can get just a little harsh with some songs, but gentle EQ (3.8kHz 3db, 8kHz 3db, 12kHz 3db) can get rid of that if needed or to prevent listening fatigue - maybe it's just my ears though. Comfort wise I consider them "on ear" with stock pads. They are creating a hot spot on the top of my head, but I expect it to go away after a while (probably just needs proper adjustment). I read a lot negative things about stock cables, but I have no major complaint. I like the orange one more, but it's too short, so I'm using the long black one. I am getting used to the "stock sound" at the moment, but will switch to Shure 940 pads in a short while. DT990 with Dekoni pads will remain "comfort kings" for me, but Fostex T50rp sound slightly better to my ears. Also I like that I can adjust ear cups position completely freely while wearing them, with DT990 I sometimes struggle to find the best position (level 2 too tight, level 3 too loose).
 

DeepFried

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Will try. Perhaps there is a better foam that doesn't look so hacky to place inside? I can't imagine what people will think when they see the TP padding.

As Solderdude described the tissue goes between the driver and the original foam so you don't see it. here is a photo of my DT770's with 2 ply of tissue on the driver:
fZMEyHW.jpg


I experimented with between 1 and 3 ply, 3 was too much, the treble was dead, 1 did almost nothing, but 2 works well. You'll have to experiment depending on the thickness of the tissue you have. I've also shown some of the spare tissue, I placed one over the cable so you can see how thin it is (its partially translucent).
 

max8

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Thank you very much that helps a lot. I will try it. It would be interesting to get measurements on the effect of this mod.

One thing I don't understand in Oratory Grapher Headphones - HeadphoneDatabase measurments between worn and unworn DT990. It seems that the 'burn-in' effect is purely due to pad compression over time, which considerably improves the frequency response by smoothing sharp peaks.

From what I've seen the black pads are thinner than the gray pads, thus wouldn't swapping for the black pads have the same effect of the "burn-in/worn" measurements?

The "worn-in" frequency response looks far better and near excellent in terms of my preference, so this sounds like a good hack so swap to the black pads.

Does anyone have any experience on this? In any case I will try the paper tissue mod .
 

solderdude

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The "worn-in" frequency response looks far better and near excellent in terms of my preference, so this sounds like a good hack so swap to the black pads.

Those worn pads are really, really worn. Before they measure like this the drivers push against the ear. There is nothing comfy about it.
The black pads measure and sound a bit different from the grey ones.

The measurement a few posts higher are the toilet paper mod. there's more here
 

max8

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Those worn pads are really, really worn. Before they measure like this the drivers push against the ear. There is nothing comfy about it.
The black pads measure and sound a bit different from the grey ones.

The measurement a few posts higher are the toilet paper mod. there's more here

Thanks. I've ordered Amazon.com: flic-flac 28pcs 12 x 8 inches (30cmx20cm) 1.4mm Thick Soft Felt Fabric Sheet Assorted Color Felt Pack DIY Craft Sewing Squares Nonwoven Patchwork which is 1.4mm thick, I'll double it up to reach 3mm and test it out.

Looking forward to trying this as I really enjoy the DT990 for comfort and soundstage and honestly, it's only the 12.6kHz peak that really bothers me.

Fixing it with Equalizer APO is fine, but I always forget to change my EQ profile when I switch out headphones. Perhaps I'm not the only one.
 

mysiak

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A bit more of a comparison between Fostex T50RP MK3 and DT990:

- stock pads sound great and to my surprise it doesn't bother me that much that they are practically on-ear, but I can't stand the PU leather after more than an hour (too sweaty and such)
- Shure 940 velour pads are miles better, but the inner foam located between the driver and the ear was itchy and muffled the treble a little, so I cut it out. I am using "naked" driver now and find the comfort great. Ears have plenty of space to "breathe" and yet the distance to the driver didn't change much.
- the sound with Shure 940 pads is almost the same, with a tad more bass than stock pads
- I tried to use other pads laying around - AKG K240 PU leather - nothing interesting in terms of sound or comfort; AKG K240 velour pads - ok comfort, very little bass; Dekoni elite velour (from DT990) - great comfort, but practically no bass
- after a few hours I have the very same issue as with DT990 - headband is creating a hotspot on the top of my head and no matter how I position the headphones, it's just there. Strangely I don't experience this with Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (probably tighter fit and headphones don't put all their weight on the top of my head) or Marshall monitor (different headband shape). Luckily a simple DIY leather suspension strap fixed the issue almost completely (some positions are better than others) - I am going to do the same with DT990 eventually.
- I am using equalizer settings with almost the same shape for both headphones, but Fostex T50RPs are very much enjoyable even with stock tuning and require much smaller EQ values (~3dB vs. ~10dB in treble area) to sound "right" (to my ears). I find bass better on T50RP, mids are similar and treble is more gentle on T50RP.

For me, DT990s are better only in "ear comfort" (with Dekoni elite velour pads), but otherwise I like T50RP more. I would be interested in finding really comfortable headphones which don't "need" an EQ at all, but I am not sure that they exist (or that I can afford them:)).

Edit: I forgot to add that Fostex had bass distortion at 50-60Hz frequencies in the right side, after I tightened all screws it stopped and overall bass response seems to be improved as well. Not such a terrible QC as Hifiman, but Beyers have upper hand here.
 
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markanini

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Strangely I don't experience this with Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro
I've been curuious about this model. What's your impression of the Custom One Pro's sound? Have you tried it with the velour pads?
 

mysiak

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I've been curuious about this model. What's your impression of the Custom One Pro's sound? Have you tried it with the velour pads?
I switched to velour pads pretty much right away (nothing particularly wrong with PU leather pads, but I like the feeling of velour against my skin more). I consider this model as "fun" sounding and great for gaming, movies and "non critical" music listening. Bass can be fine tuned to preference, I am using mostly setting #3 for music, movies and majority of games, #4 for some games where I like the extra bass (at the expense of becoming muddy). #1 is IMHO totally useless and I can imagine using #2 for more critical music listening (but I have other headphones for this task). Generally I prefer open headphones, but these sound quite "open" while isolating very well (even with thin armed glasses). I use them mostly without EQ (well, I don't count extra bass boost below 100Hz for games and movies worth mentioning:)), but for poorly mastered music or some old TV shows which are prone to becoming sibilant or harsh, I tone down 8kHz slider of the 10 band equalizer on Creative GC7 by 2-3dB and everything is fine then. 12kHz peak measured by solderdude is not there or I am not bothered by it in these headphones - https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/brands-a-i/custom-one-pro/

For music listening in quiet environment I prefer Beyerdynamic DT990 or Fostex T50RP, in the office I use Beyerdynamic Custom Studio and for "fun" activities at home I strongly prefer Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. Just to make the list complete - for commuting and mobile listening I use IEMs and Marshall Monitor. :)

Btw. if you are interested in this model, you should hurry as it's not produced anymore (along with Custom Studio and maybe even Custom Game).
 

markanini

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I switched to velour pads pretty much right away (nothing particularly wrong with PU leather pads, but I like the feeling of velour against my skin more). I consider this model as "fun" sounding and great for gaming, movies and "non critical" music listening. Bass can be fine tuned to preference, I am using mostly setting #3 for music, movies and majority of games, #4 for some games where I like the extra bass (at the expense of becoming muddy). #1 is IMHO totally useless and I can imagine using #2 for more critical music listening (but I have other headphones for this task). Generally I prefer open headphones, but these sound quite "open" while isolating very well (even with thin armed glasses). I use them mostly without EQ (well, I don't count extra bass boost below 100Hz for games and movies worth mentioning:)), but for poorly mastered music or some old TV shows which are prone to becoming sibilant or harsh, I tone down 8kHz slider of the 10 band equalizer on Creative GC7 by 2-3dB and everything is fine then. 12kHz peak measured by solderdude is not there or I am not bothered by it in these headphones - https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/brands-a-i/custom-one-pro/

For music listening in quiet environment I prefer Beyerdynamic DT990 or Fostex T50RP, in the office I use Beyerdynamic Custom Studio and for "fun" activities at home I strongly prefer Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. Just to make the list complete - for commuting and mobile listening I use IEMs and Marshall Monitor. :)

Btw. if you are interested in this model, you should hurry as it's not produced anymore (along with Custom Studio and maybe even Custom Game).
Thanks for your impressions. I don't mind a small fun bump in the bass if the mids and treble are reasonably balanced, EQ can take care of that. Unfortunate if they chose to discontinue it, it looks like a bonafide upgrade on the DT770 going by measurements. https://headphonedatabase.com/oratory/headphones?ids=83,148
 
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