beyerdynamic dt-990 versus dt-1990 (re: I've purchased both, need confirmation/advice) (gaming/music)

I’m a headphone newbie but I was previously using the dt-770 (80 ohm) and really liked them.

I was looking for gaming/music headphones and saw the dt-990 was really popular so I purchased a pair on a good deal ($149 for the limited edition, 250 ohm) and immediately loved them except for the sharp treble with specific songs/artists. The open-back sound is amazing and I definitely prefer it over the closed-back.

I also purchased a Monoprice Liquidspark DAC and AMP combo (as it was recommended to help reduce the treble… I don’t think it helps the treble, but it does power the headphones really nice)

Before the dt-990 return policy was over I thought I would also try the dt-1990 (on sale for $525 with no tax and free shipping).

So far I really like the dt-1990. I’ve only ever used three headphones in my life (770, 990, 1990) so I don’t have the correct terms but here is my comparison:

Compared to the DT-1990, the DT-990 sounds a bit muffled or “compressed”. I don’t know what mid-tones sound like or if the treble is the difference I’m hearing, but when I use the DT-990 it sounds closer to my closed-back headphones.

Here’s my questions…

Are the DT-1990 the best headphones (around $500) for 60% music and 40% gaming?

Should I try any other headphones? (the problem is that with COVID, I can’t visit any stores so I have to buy and return which is terrible)

Did I make a good decision with the DT-1990? (and return my DT-990)

There seems to be a lot of talk about the Sennheiser HD6XX, HD660, etc, so that has me second-guessing my 1990s as well.

Thanks so much for any advice!

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The fact that you can hear the improvement from the 1990 over the 990 means you’re already doing better than the measurement and review website, lol. In terms of sound quality per dollar, $525 is a reasonable price for the 1990, esp. with the tax & shipping saving. It’s a very well built headphone, which means long-term peace of mind.

This puts you at a crossroads. Road A: return the 990, keep the 1990 plus Liquid Spark, realize you’re getting very good sound reproduction and simply stop there. Go back to enjoying the vast world of music recordings knowing you’re hearing a very good rendition of them.

Road B: keep experimenting with your sound reproduction gear. Try different headphones, different amps different dacs. Keep chasing after newer, better, different. Road B is a hobby onto itself, parallel to but distinct from music enjoyment. Road B means getting comfortable with buying, trying, then re-selling. Even if you could try things out at an audio shop, that only gets you part way. You often need to live with a piece of gear for weeks to get a real feel for how well it fits into your world.

There are few certainties in audio but a huge number of contradictory personal opinions. I have both the 1990 and the HD 600 with an amp/dac in the moderate price range. My personal take is the 1990 simply sounds somewhat better/clearer/cleaner across the board than the HD 600. But with the right tube amp or certain expensive solid state amps many say the 600 has the better sound. The 660S might be marginally better technically than the 600, haven’t heard them. (BTW: another frequently mentioned alternative to the 1990 is the Hifiman Sundara.)

This is the very broad range of sound between bass and treble where most singing happens.

I’ve only addressed the music side, gaming people will probably need to know what types of games you lean toward.


Wisdom, right there.