DT 1990 bass crackle/flutter

DT 1990s paired up with my jds labs atom amp (i have also tried the ifi zen stack and same issue)
Any song that has a moderate amount of bass or subbass seems to be too much for the headphones as the driver starts to rattle and causes a distortion effect.
if i turn down the volume a bit then this goes away slightly however i also notice things like vocals having a “flutter” sound to them. in other words inbetween clean and distorted. this only seems to happen on the high gain mode on the JDS, however without the high gain mode on i cant get the 1990s to a moderate listening volume.

i had another pair with the same issue which i returned and received these “new” ones from thomann, however it seems they have the same issue although not as bad as the other pair did. is this a common problem for beyerdynamic headphones or are they just ass at handling bass/sub bass? i dont think its a hair in the driver as they are said to be new.

i do not have this issue with my old m50x’s or my sundaras.
thanks in advance

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I do not have a definitive answer nor have experience with 1990s, but think I have a plausible theory why this issue happens - 1990s make “baked-in” distortion more audible. If your music taste gravitates towards modern music, in particular genres like pop and metal, your music propably has a lot of “baked-in” distortion. By the term “baked-in distortion” I mean that widespread use of heavy compression causes music to have a lot of distorion from the very start in a music file on a CD, streaming service or Youtube, not for example because of high distortion headphones playing loudly. It is possible that Beyers just make these artifacts of modern sound production more audible.

Please, keep in mind that this is more like “brainstorm kind of answer” and me guessing. I do not have certainity that this is correct from engineering point of view. It would be good if someone could post a comment, whether my theory makes sense or not.

Hi! Welcome to HFGF!

I’ll venture the hypothesis that you’re pushing those amplifiers past their comfort zones. Since the issue is showing up on multiple sets of 1990, and I haven’t heard of this issue much, I don’t think it’s the 1990 (a quick google didn’t turn up that much on the issue, and where it did, it tended to be on cheaper amps). I’ve also reviewed the Zen CAN and have an Atom amp (V1). The Zen CAN - and I’ve taken heat for this but despite all the heat, it’s still true - does not handle hi-Z dynamics well in the bass. I got it to noticeably distort and struggle in the bass with Senns and Beyers. I don’t think its power supply is up to the task. The M50x and Sundara are easier loads and more where the CAN is comfortable.

I don’t remember having such problems with the Atom, but I didn’t use Hi-Z’s on it that much or drive them very hard when I did. However, as highly as I think of that amp (it’s great for what it is), it’s still a $99 amp and is going to be limited in what it can do.

Dynamic driver headphones tend to increase in impedance around 60 Hz. I don’t know what exactly the 1990 does, but I can guarantee that under 100 Hz its impedance is much higher than 250 Ohms. It’s going to be a difficult load for an entry amp in the bass range. My guess is you’re probably just learning that the hard way.

Hope that helps. :beers:


I also had this same issue with a pair of DT880 600ohm. So I got another pair and those worked perfectly fine. Was also using the Atom amp at the time. You possibly got two duds which really sucks.