Direct upgrade from DT 1990 Pro

Hello everyone
I have been using my DT 1990 Pro for almost a year. They are a great upgrade from my first “serious” pair of headphones DT 990 Edition. To be honest DT 990 offered a wonderful sound, as a person who used cheap headphones before I didn’t actually believe there can be something better than DT 990, yet I decided to try something new and it was DT 1990 Pro, which were a window to another chapter in audio gear and sound quality.
People who are better with audio gear might disagree, but DT 1990 Pro feels like a direct upgrade from DT 990, everything is alike but significantly better.
At the moment I’m thinking about the same upgrade from DT 1990 to more high end open back headphones.
Also I will need a pair of closed back headphones, since I often spend time listening to music at night.
Budget for each pair of closed and open back headphones: 1200$
My current gear:
AMP: Schiit Asgard 3
DAC: Geshelli Labs Enog 2 Pro
Interested in: build quality as good as DT 1990 Pro, better, more accurate, clearer sound. I was thinking about something from Focal, for example Focal Clear for open back headphones. For the closed back headphones DT 1770 Pro but I am open to suggestions as there are more experienced people.

What would you advice?

Looks like this post is getting overlooked.

I can only make suggestions based on reviews and measurements, since I haven’t owned or heard any headphone that comes even close to meeting your requirements. There simply aren’t very many headphones that come even close to having a (hypothetical) accurate frequency response. When you add in superior build quality, and therefore reliability, that narrows the field even more, since arguably it eliminates Hifiman’s products. To my knowledge that leaves:

  • The current version of the Focal Clear is probably the only real possibility and meets all your requirements.
  • The ZMF Aeolus, however, looks to be about as accurate as the DT 1990, at least with an appropriate ear pad option. I haven’t heard it so can’t say how much of an upgrade in over-all sound quality it would be over the DT 1990.
  • The Sennheiser HD 800, if you can get one at your price point, would be another candidate as being about as accurate as the DT 1990 but with better over-all sound quality.

The closed back situation is even worse. One thing is for sure, the DT 1770 is not an option because of its very inaccurate frequency response.

  • The new Focal Celestee has more bass and less treble than either the DT 990 or DT 1990. You may or may not like that sound, given what you are used to.
  • You might be fine with the Focal Elegia, if you can find it. But technically it is relatively quiet in the high frequencies (upper mids and treble). This is in contrast to the extra loudness in the highs of the DT 990 and DT 1990.

So I was going to type this and the I saw the response. I immediately sold my 1990’s when I got the HD800S

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Definitely not an Aeolus. I love my Aeolus and they have a very fun sound in my opinion but they are going to be quit a bit darker in comparison to the 1990. That is even with the suede pads. You’ll lose detail in the upper freq.

The focal clear may be a good option if you’re considering it. I have a the elex so I can’t comment on the clear but if it’s a step up from that then it’s a winner lol. I’ve heard the new mg is actually warmer than the original so you’d probably want the original. If you go with clears. Be sure to message the guys on because they will offer you them for 990. Price isn’t advertised but they are secretly selling them for that price.


Since you have a decent open back already, and you also want a closed back, i would suggest maybe an Eikon or Th900 to shake things up, used those can be found in your budget with some $$$ left and then save and sell 1990 for an awesome open back Clear,Auteur,Arya

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Would the 900 be a good option if he’s looking for more detail than the 1990? I haven’t heard the 900

The eikon is definitely a nice headphone. You get a great amount of detail in the uppers but I’d imagine it’ll be a pretty healthy extra dose of sub and mid bass in comparison.

The elegias are great for sure and I feel you get a great amount of clarity from them. With the Celestee out though it may be worth getting those over the elegia as they seem to improve over the elegia quite a bit.

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I guess I wasnt sure his closed back needs/wants where the same as his open back needs/wants lol but i think my main point was for him to try a higher tier closed back first, then an open back upgrade after that.

Yeah I feel you there. I had stayed away from closed for years and then realized how good they can be with the elegia and eikon. He says he wants accuracy and upgrade to the 1990 so I assume he wants something similar to that or upgrade to that signature.

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It’s def easy to hype your experiences when someone says “closed back” “$1200” Im like oooooo i know stuffs!

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Haha very true. The 900 is probably on my list. Kinda funny that years ago they were one of the headphones I wanted but “no way I’d lend more than like 400 on headphones. Flash forward and I still have no 900’s and have a few headphones over the 1000 mark.

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An upgrade SRM-353X energiser withSR-L500 mk2 electrostatic headphones | eBay
Even with more bass than DT1990 and way more speed than HD800 and a more dynamic sound than both of them. How ? What ? More bass on electrostatic ? What ? Yes.