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Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Review (headphone)

mysiak

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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
I tried DT770 250ohm once and it was either a dud or I am not sure how to explain my experience, but what I heard was absolute mess of bass and echoes like from a cave. I've never tried another pair of DT770s so I don't know if all of them sound like this, but Custom One and Custom Studio sound nowhere so bad. I don't understand the decision of Beyerdynamic to discontinue this line, seller where I purchased mine was very surprised by this info as well, it was one the best selling Beyerdynamic models in their shop..
 

max8

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Has anyone else experienced massive variance between identical DT990 250ohm units? I received another pair which sounds very different than the first, no 12.5khz peak, and a noticeable channel imbalance, plus wider sound stage. Honestly, this is quite shocking and was curious if I'm the only one?
 

markanini

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Has anyone else experienced massive variance between identical DT990 250ohm units? I received another pair which sounds very different than the first, no 12.5khz peak, and a noticeable channel imbalance, plus wider sound stage. Honestly, this is quite shocking and was curious if I'm the only one?
Beyerdynamic has a reputation for large unit-to-unit variability.
 

max8

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Sad to hear, well this ones is definitely going back... I wonder if Amir received a bad unit.
 

finickyaudio

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I am one of those who like the DT 990 Pro 250 Ω. It is likely due to my age and the fact that although my hearing tests normal for my age (8th decade), I have sharply reduced hearing above 8 kHz. I also own a 2015 version of the Sennheiser 600 HD and in comparison, music is uninteresting on the 600 and exciting on the 990. Thus, the treble boost is likely the eq I need for my reduced sensitivity in that region. I suspect that years of loud rock concerts are the reason some other much younger audiophiles also like the 990. Additionally, the 990s are much more comfortable than the tighter clamping and more oval opening of the 600 HDs.

One of the more noticeable pluses of the 990s is what to my ears seems better transient response than for the 660s. The delicate and highly defined piano runs by Horowitz in Debussy's Serenade for the Doll (Horowitz Live and Unedited) stand out sharply etched with the 990s but not at all with the 600s.

I have not yet experimented with parametric eq on my Mac Pro setup, but am inspired to do so after perusing this outstanding forum. It would be interesting to see how the 600s sound after eq-ing them to be more like the 990s.
 
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Yorkshire Mouth

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I am one of those who like the DT 990 Pro 250 Ω. It is likely due to my age and the fact that although my hearing tests normal for my age (8th decade), I have sharply reduced hearing above 8 kHz. I also own a 2015 version of the Sennheiser 600 HD and in comparison, music is uninteresting on the 600 and exciting on the 990. Thus, the treble boost is likely the eq I need for my reduced sensitivity in that region. I suspect that years of loud rock concerts are the reason some other much younger audiophiles also like the 990. Additionally, the 990s are much more comfortable than the tighter clamping and more oval opening of the 600 HDs.

One of the more noticeable pluses of the 990s is what to my ears seems better transient response than for the 660s. The delicate and highly defined piano runs by Horowitz in Debussy's Serenade for the Doll (Horowitz Live and Unedited) stand out sharply etched with the 990s but not at all with the 600s.

I have not yet experimented with parametric eq on my Mac Pro setup, but am inspired to do so after perusing this outstanding forum. It would be interesting to see how the 600s sound after eq-ing them to be more like the 990s.

Not dissimilar to me. I'm 56, and the hearing in my right ear is pretty good for someone of my age. My left ear has 'issues' at the top of the frequency range.

I'm still perplexed by anyone over 50 who thinks the treble on the 990s is 'unlistenable', because it's probably lower than the treble of well-EQd HD650s to a sub-30 year old.

At 30 your hearing's frequency range should be flat, and at -5dB compared to an average 18 year-old. At age 50 the average 50 year old loses 15dB at 8khz. At 60 it's closer to 25dB, so a typical 55 year-old is losing c.20db, which is 15dB below anyone below 30. Amir's measurements show maximum deviation from the curve at 8khz of +12.5dB.

Now we are the audio SCIENCE review forums, and the science suggests a 55 year old would need to boost the 990s by c.2.5dB to get a flat response (though also adjusting for other frequencies, too).

Fig1-WhatISnormalhearing-1080x1484.jpg
 

solderdude

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The plot you are looking at shows loss opposite an 18 y.o. in the lower hearing limits.
This is the only thing hearing tests look at. The level of just audible frequencies.
I found that when you EQ on this hearing threshold the tonal balance is completely off.
There is a loss of higher frequencies at say 80dB SPL but that loss is not the same at 40dB SPL.

The only way to kind-of measure that would be to do similar loudness tests (2 tones alternating and getting them to sound equally loud)
 

Yorkshire Mouth

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The plot you are looking at shows loss opposite an 18 y.o. in the lower hearing limits.
This is the only thing hearing tests look at. The level of just audible frequencies.
I found that when you EQ on this hearing threshold the tonal balance is completely off.
There is a loss of higher frequencies at say 80dB SPL but that loss is not the same at 40dB SPL.

The only way to kind-of measure that would be to do similar loudness tests (2 tones alternating and getting them to sound equally loud)

Yes, I wouldn't want to just add that slope, it wouldn't sound right. However, it does show that you're simply not going to get unlistenable, shrieking treble from these if you're a tad older.

BTW, I've just started using Amir's EQ. Sounds pretty good to me.

I hope to get a pair of HD600s soon.

Interestingly, the frequency curve of the DT990 with Amir's EQ looks very similar indeed to un-EQ'd HD600s.
 
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Yorkshire Mouth

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Sorry for the slightly wonky overlay.

Pic 1 is the Beyer with Amir's EQ. Pic 2 is the un-EQ'd HD600. Pic 3 is the two images overlaid.

Given that it's not a completely accurate science, you'd think it were the same headphone!

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Measurement 250 ohm headphone with and without EQ.png


Sennheiser HD600 Measurements open back headphone.png


imageonline-co-overlayed-image.png
 

Robbo99999

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Not dissimilar to me. I'm 56, and the hearing in my right ear is pretty good for someone of my age. My left ear has 'issues' at the top of the frequency range.

I'm still perplexed by anyone over 50 who thinks the treble on the 990s is 'unlistenable', because it's probably lower than the treble of well-EQd HD650s to a sub-30 year old.

At 30 your hearing's frequency range should be flat, and at -5dB compared to an average 18 year-old. At age 50 the average 50 year old loses 15dB at 8khz. At 60 it's closer to 25dB, so a typical 55 year-old is losing c.20db, which is 15dB below anyone below 30. Amir's measurements show maximum deviation from the curve at 8khz of +12.5dB.

Now we are the audio SCIENCE review forums, and the science suggests a 55 year old would need to boost the 990s by c.2.5dB to get a flat response (though also adjusting for other frequencies, too).

View attachment 137054
I think a person would get used to their new hearing balance as they age, therefore no need to compensate for the hearing loss with mild hearing loss......if you have severe hearing loss and have hearing aids then I believe in correcting the frequency response to take the place of the hearing aid, but for mild age related hearing loss I think your mind adapts to the new normal, so I could imagine any compensation in EQ for mild age related hearing loss could result in unnatural sounding music (because it wouldn't reflect the reality of what we hear everyday as we go about our lives).
 

Yorkshire Mouth

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I think a person would get used to their new hearing balance as they age, therefore no need to compensate for the hearing loss with mild hearing loss......if you have severe hearing loss and have hearing aids then I believe in correcting the frequency response to take the place of the hearing aid, but for mild age related hearing loss I think your mind adapts to the new normal, so I could imagine any compensation in EQ for mild age related hearing loss could result in unnatural sounding music (because it wouldn't reflect the reality of what we hear everyday as we go about our lives).

You’re right about compensating.

However, I feel the main point is being missed.

My point is, your average 55 year old will have lost enough high frequency hearing (in comparison to other frequencies), that any treble boost will not as prominent.
 

stalepie2

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It's also why older people seem to dislike bass boosted audio compared to younger because high frequency loss "brings out the bass" (easier to hear in comparison to the highs), just like how it seems there's a bass boost when one EQs treble down. So younger people might not perceptually hear bass as well if the treble masks it.

There's other reasons for bass boost which goes overlooked, such as that headphones are used on the go, in noisy city environments, but that never seems to factor into the "science." :p
 
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Robbo99999

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You’re right about compensating.

However, I feel the main point is being missed.

My point is, your average 55 year old will have lost enough high frequency hearing (in comparison to other frequencies), that any treble boost will not as prominent.
Yes, I think I'd agree that the treble peaks would be less of a problem for the older folk.
 

norcalscott

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You’re right about compensating.

However, I feel the main point is being missed.

My point is, your average 55 year old will have lost enough high frequency hearing (in comparison to other frequencies), that any treble boost will not as prominent.
I am about the same age as you and I also have some decreased hearing in my left ear, and I also suffer from some tinnitus, all of this likely due to very loud concerts in the late 70's and 80's. We used to make fun of the police at those concerts with cotton in their ears but now I wish I'd done that too :)

I can confirm your statement about high frequency tolerance for older folks - I have the Beyer 770 80ohm and I have never had an issue with these being too bright. I would love to see Amir measure this model to see how they differ from the 990's and other Beyers.
 

jmillar

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Looks like the way to listen to these DT990 is with old earpads, tames the treble peaks, which also makes them easier to EQ:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/afcv3lfncnl9mwk/Beyerdynamic DT990 (Old Earpads).pdf?dl=0

Yes, that is interesting, I had too noticed that Oratory does the Low Shelf Boost of the bass on this headphone. I'm assuming that @amirm was adding a Low Shelf Boost when listening & measuring at the 94dB level (is that peak or average) when he found that the bass didn't actually increase (limits of the headphone). We'd have to know more from Amir re what the listening level was during this observation to get another data point to your experience, but I'd be kinda surprised that Oratory would put in a Low Shelf Bass boost if it was having no effect....yeah we need more clarity on the listening levels. Either way it's not good from an engineering standpoint though, because all headphones tested here so far were able to actually apply some kind of bass boost IIRC.
EDIT: re Amir's listening & testing level, maybe it is indeed around 94dB or higher (I'd say that's about 98dB as an eyeballed level) for peak levels as I guess the following measurement graph was done at 0dBFS:
View attachment 109841
Amir's EQ of the DT-990 looks like something you can be quite comfortable with. It tracks the Harman curve, has no spikes. Structural limitation: no deep bass is on offer. But this happens with some expensive planars too :)
So you end up with a robust and reliable workhorse that doesn't assault your ears and is very reasonably priced considering the build quality, comfort, reliability, factory support.
Of course, EQ is indispensable to tame the piercing treble.
 

solderdude

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My impression is... not much. I've swapped between "special" and normal foam on my TYGR's and I cannot detect any difference - except the normal driver foam is softer and allows more ear space.

Yeah that would be great if you could measure that.

Finally got the TYGR in and measured the effect of the 'acoustic fleece' disc on the TYGR and on the DT1990-A.

cloth-disc.jpg


Below the effect of removing the disc on the TYGR. It does not differ much (but is not the exact same) from using some toilet paper.

stock-vs-no-disc.png


and also the effect of the TYGR disc on the DT1990-A compared to the DT1990-A with passive filter.
dt1990-filter-disc.png


The 'acoustic fleece' disc does lower the treble but not enough and also affects the treble extension.
 
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seerious

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Thanks for following up on this @solderdude - really interesting information!

I'm surprised you think it doesn't differ much. 5 dB to 7.5 dB shaved off around the 7-9k mark.. Isn't that considered the main trouble area with Beyers?

If you ever get the chance to try the discs on a DT770 or DT990, I'd be very interested to see your results on that too.
 

ishouldbeking

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Finally got the TYGR in and measured the effect of the 'acoustic fleece' disc on the TYGR and on the DT1990-A.

cloth-disc.jpg


Below the effect of removing the disc on the TYGR. It does not differ much (but is not the exact same) from using some toilet paper.

stock-vs-no-disc.png


and also the effect of the TYGR disc on the DT1990-A compared to the DT1990-A with passive filter.
dt1990-filter-disc.png


The 'acoustic fleece' disc does lower the treble but not enough and also affects the treble extension.

Very interesting. I will say that, back before I had access to EQ, adding a single layer of Bounty paper towel over the driver of my 80 ohm DT770 was life-changing. Took away the sharpest treble peaks and made them quite fun to listen to. I still prefer an EQ'd 6xx by a long shot, but tamed Beyer is perfectly usable.
 
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