DT 1990 Pro

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.


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Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro


The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is an open over-ear (circumaural) dynamic headphone. It has a Tesla-driver just like the Amiron and DT 1770 Pro.
This headphone is not intended for portable usage as the impedance is a bit too high to be driven from phones/tablets and small DAP’s. It is intended for home and studio usage. The driver appears to be the same one that is used in the Amiron and DT 1770 and is 250Ω. With an MSRP of around € 500.- it isn’t one of the cheapest headphones around.
Beyerdynamic headphones are usually very comfortable. The DT 1990 is no exception.


Type: Over ear, open
Usage: Home, studio
Driver type: dynamic (Tesla)
Pads: replaceable, velours pads (Analytical or Balanced pads)
Inner pad dimensions: depth: 22mm. diameter: 55mm.
Foldable: No
Headphone connector: mini XLR
Cable entry: single sided (left)
Cable: 3m with gold plated 3.5 mm TRS plug and 6.3 mm adapter
and a 5m (when fully stretched) coiled cable.
Driver size: 45 mm
Nom. power rating: 0.2 W
Max. S.P.L.  125 dB
Impedance: 250 Ω
Efficiency: 102 dB / 1mW / 500Hz (108dB/1V)
Weight: 370 g.
Clamping force: medium
Accessories: hard carrying case, 6.3mm adapter, 2 types velours pads

Sound description:

The overall sound signature of the DT1990 could be called ‘neutral’. Of course with the exception of the treble which is not neutral at all.
Bass to mids are well balanced / integrated and have an excellent ‘separation’ as in not ‘bleeding’ into each other.
Bass sounds ‘tight’ and is not overblown as is the case with certain DT990 versions.
Clarity/presence is good. I rate is as merely ‘good’ because it is a bit too ‘clear’ sounding.
The treble region is over the top in level and may sound sibilant to those with an allergy for treble. When you prefer soft and smooth treble either skip these or EQ them.
Because of the elevated treble this headphone sounds very ‘airy’ and too accentuated in ‘nuances’. When elevated treble rocks your boat the DT1990 won’t disappoint.


NOTE: The measurements are all made with the (dark grey) Balanced pads which have slightly boosted lows. The Analytical pads (light grey) should have less bass boost. The treble peak will be more obvious in that case.

Below the frequency response of the DT 1990 (Left, Right)

FR DT1990

The DT1990 has a slightly boosted (mid)bass and good bass extension. The mids themselves are good but have VERY slight warm feel to it yet has good clarity. The treble is the typical ‘Beyer treble’ which means ‘overly detailed/sharpish’ and emphasized but slightly better in quality than the (MUCH cheaper) DT 990. Treble extension and sense of ‘air’ is good.

In tonal balance the DT 1990 Pro is somewhat similar to the DT 990 Pro and older DT990-600 as shown below.FR DT990 old vs Pro vs 1990
The old DT 990-600 has bigger bass and less ‘agressive’ treble. The DT 990 Pro has a higher treble peak but at around 14kHz. The DT 1990 Pro also has a treble peak but at a lower frequency (8kHz). The DT 1990 bass is better extended and has less emphasis/coloration and is a bit closer to neutral while retaining the slightly warm signature.

As the DT 1990 shares the same driver with the Amiron and DT 1770 a direct comparison is logical. Below the frequency responses of the DT 1770DT 1990 and Amiron.

FR 3x Beyer

The treble peak at 8kHz (and small dip at 4.5kHz) are the same. A passive filter is available to reomve the 8kHz peak. The DT1990 has somewhat more upper treble extension giving it slightly more ‘air’ to the sound.
The Amiron is warmer and bassier than the DT1990. The DT1770 is a bit more ‘impressive’ in the lows and sub-lows. What is obvious here is that the drivers in these headphones are probably the same and only the tuning below 2kHz differs. Well the treble of the DT 1990 is slightly more emphasized.

Below the distortion measurements of the DT 1990 (Right channel).
Note that this headphone was measured at ears-unlimited-logo where background noises were present in the demo room. As this is a closed headphone the distortion levels and spectrum plot performance may thus be slightly better in reality than shown on the plots due to ambient sounds being measured along with the headphone.


The 2nd harmonic distortion level (around 1%) in the bass is quite good.  The distortion around 4.5kHz (0.4%) and around 8kHz are also seen in Amiron albeit much lower here. Could be a driver thing, could be ambient sounds when measured in the demo room.
Below the distortion plot but displayed in percentages.
DIST DT1990 R percent

Below the CSD of the DT 1990. (Left and Right are superimposed)

CSD DT1990

The dip at around 4.5kHz appears to be a resonance in disguise. At 8kHz there is a resonance but is well damped. The one at around 13kHz is less well damped. Mid frequencies are better than those of the DT 1770.

output resistance / damping-factor

As this is a dynamic headphone the frequency response might be amplifier output resistance dependent when certain higher output resistance amplifiers are used.
To test this the headphone is measured via a low impedance amplifier (0.2Ω) and a high impedance amplifier (120Ω). On a higher output resistance amplifier the output level will be considerably lower. To compensate for this the amplifier is cranked up to the same level (at 1kHz) as the low impedance amplifier. This way the plots are overlay-ed and it is easy to see how the tonal balance changes.FRDT1990 R 120

There is ‘only’ a 2dB boost in the lows. (Right channel is measured). Because the lift is present from the lowest bass notes right to the mids the headphone will sound slightly warmer from a high output resistance amplifier.

The CSD below shows the mids also aren’t affected much by the higher output resistance. The driver remains well behaved in the mids. From (0.2Ω) and (120Ω) amplifier .CSD DT1990 R 120

Below the spectrum plot of the DT 1990 which doesn’t show any alarming issues.spectr DT1990 R

The step response (Right channel) below shows a good bass extension. The overshoot and relatively large resonance following it show the ‘edgy’ nature of this headphone. The left channel measures the same so is not shown.Step DT1990 R

Getting rid of the treble peak

The best way to get rid of the treble peak is to use a passive in-line filter. This filter lowers the treble peak to ‘normal’ levels and leaves the rest of the sound as it is.

Below the schematic for this filter.

DT1990 filter schematic.png

When you can not make this filter yourself or don’t know someone that can do this for you a built filter can be ordered.


The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is basically a mechanically nicer made DT 990 with a slightly higher and closer to neutral sound quality (at least when you don’t count the elevated treble). I suspect that in a studio the plastic version may be more durable and stay ‘pretty’ a bit longer. Damaged metal simply doesn’t look as great as worn plastic.
Whether or not the increase in price is worth the difference in sound is up to the owner.
For home usage the metal version certainly looks much nicer and has somewhat better sound.
When you aren’t bothered by the typical (Beyer) treble peak this is a good sounding headphone. 1 or 2 plies of toilet paper in front of the driver can help somewhat to reduce this issue. Another option is to use the passive filter that removes the sharp peak.
Overall a rather expensive but nicely made open headphone with a slightly warm tonal balance and elevated treble.

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