Upgrading DT1990?

Im searching for any headphone that is better than DT1990, but with similiar price to performance ratio.

Build quality, quality control and comfort is very important.
I am willing to use EQ.
Balanced or SE doesnt matter to me.

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Better in what way? What would you be willing to eq exactly? Do you find the treble too harsh? Do you want a headphone with less treble and more bass, less aggressive treble or a headphone with a completely different sound signature in general? Or are you looking for a step up with better technical aspects and same sound sig?


I just read somewhere on Reddit that Focal Clear could be an option for those looking for a 1990 upgrade, not sure if they’re apples to apples exactly

Im searching for a headphone that is technically better than DT1990, but maintains similiar price to performance. The headphone’s FR isnt my focus, since I can just use Harman EQ from AutoEQ.

What is your budget? and technically better in what regard? for instance the 1990 has very impressive imaging that will be hard to beat, and the level of detail for the price is also very good imo. Are you looking for something similar to the 1990 as in bright signature but with an increase in some area like soundstage ,detail, or some other aspect, or are you looking for something higher tier that complements the 1990?


I think if you were to take that step you would also want to upgrade your amp (and potentially dac) for the next tier of resolution. Also if you eq too heavily you will reduce fidelity from my experience


You won’t find any. DT1990 is one of its kind. I’m sorry.

I don’t think he’s looking for a direct upgrade to the 1990, pretty sure he just wants to step to a higher tier of headphone

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So ZMF and Fostex then…DD that is?

Well, a budget would be nice lol, but personally I think it would depend on what he wants to prioritize in terms of technicalities

Yes thank you! I couldnt find the right words. I just want a higher tier headphone with good price to performance ratio! I like to have neutral sound. That’s why im open for eq if necessary

Again maybe check ZMF’s DD’ers

As price to performance gains deflate pretty quickly stepping up from the ~$500 tier of the 1990, budget is pretty key, and general use case. If Harman is the target, it’s gonna need to be relatively close as to not require heavy EQ. This group is super helpful, fed the right inputs.

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You really need to give a budget cause good price to performance is very relative so you could end up with $500 to $4k headphones so it doesn’t really narrow it down. Assuming that you don’t want to stray too far from the 1990 price range I would say an Elex, used LC2 if you want to EQ or used Clear. Though I think you should give more information to narrow it down further.

Im following DMS for a while and I could vision myself to spent money on abyss System, I just need to save some money for a few months for that. I bought the DT1990 because DMS and Joshua made a Video about 500 Dollar headphones, they said it’s incredible value headphone. If they had done sth like “Best headphone under 2k” and it has good price to performance like HD58x or DT1990, then I would have bought that instead.

Save…stay with the 1990’s and then…Abyss, Susvara, Stax etc and the world is your oyster…just plan on spending the same or more on sources :+1:

I see. If money’s not an issue then you’ll get different answers depending on the preference of the individual. I personally would go for something like the Verite, Stellia, Utopia, LCD-4, Diana V2, certain Stax…It also depends on your amp/dac situation and whether you want a closed or open. The above mentioned all have good technicalities and can be found used for around 2k so I would recommend to do some research on those and see what matches your taste the most. You’ll find that there really isn’t a definitive best answer so you’ll have to go with your gut and/or brain at some point.

Well, what music do you listen to, what’s your use case, what do you like and dislike about the 1990, and what would be your budget for the headphones + amp + dac?

I eq’d the treble peak of the DT1990 away. I liked everything else, but that’s only because the DT1990 is my best headphone so far. I listen to Babymetal, glitch mob, and orchestra. I dislike small sound stage, the HD 6xx was too intimidate for my taste. My dac/amp is aunex1s, bc it has very nice price to performance (measured at audiosciencereview.com). I can spend 2k+ on headphone if its truly worth it or I can wait a few years for technology to advance and prices to drop. It’s important that it is higher tier than DT1990 while maintaining same price to performance. I heard that the difference between Elex-Utopia isnt that big, while the price difference is horrific.

Imo that’s not really true whatsoever from my experience (but I personally didn’t prefer the utopia anyways lol). So a good example of the amp making a large difference would actually be the elex vs clear. The elex and clear sound real close on a thx amp (the clear just sounds like a more neutral elex), but when you pair the clear with an appropriate tier amp the clear takes off and exceeds the performance of the elex. This tends to be the case for higher end headphones, to actually get the performance you are after, you need to make sure your electronics are in check. Of course I would prioritize the headphones first, but I wouldn’t skimp on the dac amp

It really depends on the person if it’s worth it or not imo. So I would suggest looking used around the 1.5-1k range of headphones before making the jump to the more high end stuff, as you want to know what you are really after if you jump to that high of a range without experience.