The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is one of Beyerdynamic’s most celebrated professional open-back headphones. It is one of the headphones that helped shape the industry and has become one of the industry standards since its inception in the 1980s.
What makes the DT 990 Pro such a great headphone is its reference sound quality, good imaging and soundstage, and rugged build quality. It is a headphone that helped set the trend of how open-back headphones should sound like,
Additionally, these headphones aren’t only good for critical listening and music production. These are also highly regarded as a great pair for gaming. Professional FPS players and streamers such as Ninja are well known for using these headphones.
The DT 990 Pro also comes in different versions according to headphone impedance. If you are not familiar with the concept of headphone impedance, it is basically one of the factors that help decide whether you need a headphone amplifier or not. You can learn more in our dedicated article.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro comes in 32 ohms, 80 ohms, 250 ohms, and 600 ohms. These options make the DT 990 Pro very versatile. Casual users who do not necessarily own additional equipment can opt for the 32-ohms.
Professionals and audiophiles can get the 250 and 600-ohm variants since they synergize well with higher-end sources. And users who do not necessarily own a headphone amplifier but plan to upgrade can get the 80-ohm version since that can work with or without a headphone amplifier.
But despite the DT 990 Pro’s massive appeal, it might not be for everyone. And given its age, there are lots of more advanced offerings in today’s market. If you are looking for a great alternative to the DT 990 Pro, then you have come to the right place.
If you want a direct upgrade to the DT 990 Pro, then we highly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. If you want to try another well-established brand in the same price range, then we highly recommend the Sennheiser x Drop HD58X and HD6XX.
But, of course, there are plenty of offerings in this article. So make sure to keep on scrolling to find out more.
Best Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Alternatives
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro – Upgrade
If you already love the sound of the DT 990 Pro and are looking for a worthy upgrade, then the best model that we can recommend is Beyerdynamic’s very own DT 1990 Pro.
The DT 1990 Pro takes everything that you love about the DT 990 Pro but takes all of it to the next level. It now has an all-metal build that clearly reflects its higher price point. The cable is now also detachable and includes two different cables out of the box.
Earpad replacement is also a lot easier. Additionally, you get two different earpads out of the box that can help slightly alter the sound signature of the DT 1990 Pro.
But, of course, the main attraction here is the improved sound quality. The DT 1990 Pro is more accurate sounding compared to the DT 990 Pro. It has better resolution, detail retrieval in the lows, mids, and highs and is flat out better in all areas.
The only downside with the DT 1990 Pro is that it sounds a lot brighter compared to the DT 990 Pro. It won’t sound as bright as higher-end models such as the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation or the Sennheiser HD800s. However, it can still lead to a fatiguing listening experience, especially for those sensitive to highs.
Another thing that you should take note of is that unlike the DT 990 Pro, the DT 1990 Pro only comes with one version. And this version has an impedance of 250-ohm, meaning you will surely need a headphone amplifier to truly make it sing.
Overall, if you are looking for a reference pair that can squeeze out all the tiny little details, a sturdy pair, and an overall great value, then the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is one of the best headphones you can get.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro (600-ohm)
Throughout the years, Beyerdynamic has made plenty of great headphones. But one model that has been slept on is the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro. This headphone is part of the DT series and is positioned lower than the DT 990 Pro.
But make no mistake. Despite not being as popular as the DT 990 Pro, the DT 880 Pro is one of Beyerdynamic’s best headphones. It is even widely considered as a competitor to higher-end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD800S.
The build quality of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is very similar to the rest of the DT series headphones. Like DT 990 Pro, it is built with a plastic and metal construction. The cable is also quite long and non-detachable.
For this discussion, we will mostly be discussing the 600-ohm version. In terms of sound signature, the DT 880 Pro has a more analytical sound signature compared to the DT 990 Pro. The mids of these headphones, in particular, are also well regarded. They can be compared to more expensive headphones such as the Audeze LCD 2.
But one benefit that you get with the DT 880 Pro is that it does not sound as harsh as the higher-end models that it is being compared to. It remains smooth in the high-end no matter what you throw at it, making it better suited for long listening sessions.
Of course, most aspects, such as the detail retrieval, are superior to the higher-end models. But the fact that the DT 880 Pro can stand toe to toe with these headphones proves that these headphones easily punch way above its price point.
The only thing that you have to consider is the 600-ohm version, which is the best performing version, requires a fairly powerful headphone amplifier. So make sure to check out our guide for the best headphone amplifiers for the DT 880 Pro.
Overall, if you are looking for a more analytical version of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, then the DT 880 Pro should be on the top of your list.
Sennheiser HD6XX and HD58X
The main reason for these headphones’ popularity is because they are utilizing technology that belongs to headphones that are more than twice their price point. The HD6XX uses the exact same components as the legendary Sennheiser HD650. Everything from Sennheiser’s signature build quality to the HD650’s legendary sound quality is kept intact on this model.
The Sennheiser HD58X, on the other hand, is an original headphone from Drop. However, it uses similar components for its build quality and has a special driver that sounds very close to the HD6XX.
Both headphones feature a neutral sound signature that accurately reproduces almost all kinds of music. But the special feature of these headphones is their mid-centric sound. For vocals and other mid centric music, the HD6XX and HD58X easily outperform the rest of the competition.
There are some key differences between the two models. The HD58X has more bass and is more focused on the low mids, while the HD6XX is more neutral and has more focus on the upper mids and treble. You can learn more in our HD58X and HD6XX Comparison.
Overall, if you want a piece of Sennheiser’s legendary house sound, then the HD6XX and HD58X are easily two of the best headphones at this price point.
Audio Technica R70X
Another headphone brand that is well regarded in the audiophile market is the Japanese brand, Audio Technica. This company is responsible for massive hits such as the Audio Technica M50X and M40X. But the best competitor to the Beyerdynamic’s open-back headphone lineup is none other than the ATH R70X.
The ATH R70X is Audio Technica’s foray into the reference open-back headphone category. It’s primarily made for professional music production, which is why it has a neutral sound signature.
In terms of the build quality, Audio Technica has done a fantastic job by having a mostly metal construction. This inspires confidence considering its price point. It also features the 3D Wings System, which is basically a self-adjusting headband similar to the ones found on AKG headphones.
Unlike their previous attempts at this system, the implementation on the R70X is more stable on the head. You won’t have the urge to adjust these headphones while they are on your head constantly.
Another departure from their older models is the power requirements of these headphones. Most Audio Technica headphones have a low impedance and can be powered efficiently by any electronic device. The R70X, on the other hand, has an impedance of 470 ohms.
The high-impedance of the ATH R70X makes it hard to drive. You will need a headphone amplifier or DAC/Amp in order to get the best sound out of the drivers of the R70X. We have a list of best headphone amplifiers in case you do not own one yet.
In terms of the sound quality, the presentation of the R70X is warm and natural. Highs are airy and have lots of detail without being too harsh or sibilant. Bass is well defined and solid without being too exaggerated.
Compared to the Sennheiser HD6XX and HD58X, the R70X does not feature a forward mid response. However, the HD6XX arguably has the upper hand when it comes to resolution and detail retrieval. And compared to the DT 990 Pro, the R70X is more neutral and accurate sounding.
If you are looking for the most accurate sounding Audio Technica headphone outside of their higher-end flagship series, then the R70X is your best bet. It is built well, and it sounds fantastic.
If you’re trying to decide between Audio-Technica and Sennheiser headphones see this guide.
Audio Technica AD700X
If neutral headphones aren’t your cup of tea, then Audio Technica also offers the AD open- back series that focus less on accuracy and more on enjoyment. And one of the most popular in this lineup is the ATH AD700X.
This headphone is the successor to the popular ATH AD700, which was notorious for its pink color and performance in competitive First Person Games such as Counter-Strike. The AD700X takes most of the good points of the AD700 but ditches the color scheme and significantly improves the build quality.
The main reason for the popularity of these headphones is due to its wide soundstage and excellent accuracy. The wide soundstage provides greater immersion and an overall better experience since it can better simulate larger environments. But more importantly, the imaging is spot on.
For gaming, the ATH AD700X excels at pinpointing the direction of important sound cues such as enemy gunfire and footsteps. The AD700X later became the basis for one of Audio Technica’s gaming headsets, the ATH ADG1X.
Outside of gaming, the ATH AD700X’s most notable feature is its beautiful recreation of the midrange. This is something that almost all Audio Technica headphones are good at. These really excel with vocal-heavy music, especially female vocals.
However, unlike the other headphones on this list, the AD700X is not an accurate sounding headphone. Its coloration in the mids make it a great sounding headphone but may prove to be inadequate when used in professional applications.
The bass response is not as prominent as something like the ATH M50X. But the bass is enough to add body to the track and complete the overall sound.
Overall, if you want an alternative to the DT 990 Pro with a wide soundstage and a more enjoyable mid focused sound, then the Audio Technica AD700X is one of the best headphones that you can get.