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Product: Beyerdynamic T90
Type: High-end Open Circumaural Headphones
Preferred Use: Home Environment
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Beyerdynamic T90, Product Overview
The Beyerdynamic T90 was first introduced in 2012 as the successor of the DT990 and is a premium full-size open back headphone featuring Beyerdynamic’s Tesla technology. These headphones are targeted at audio enthusiasts for use at home. Like for example in a private listening room or audio room. Let’s take a closer look!
A Word on the Tesla
Tesla technology allows for the use of bigger magnets thanks to optimisations which minimises magnetic power loss and therefore increases efficiency. On traditional headphones, the magnet is incorporated in the driver. On Tesla headphones, the magnet is placed around the driver. The use of more efficient and bigger magnets means more powerful headphones with lower distortion.
First introduced in the Beyerdynamic T1, the company’s flagship headphone back in 2010, every Tesla model since has been a fully closed design. The Beyerdynamic T90 is their first fully open design headphone which includes the efficient Tesla technology.
Design & Build Quality
The T90 is an over-ear open design headphone which means it has the advantage of providing a wider soundstage and better stereo imaging than a closed design headphone. On the other hand, being an open design it will not block out outside noises and you will hear everything in your surroundings. Therefore, I highly recommend using the Beyerdynamic T90 only where you can privately enjoy them.
The earpads are velvet microfiber and provide great comfort around the ears. They’re also nicely thick and I experienced no discomfort like sweating or itching after several hours of use.
Just like the earpads, the headband is encapsulated in velvet microfiber which again provides an amazing comfort. Both headband and earpads are user replaceable and you can order spare parts on Beyerdynamic’s website.
The T90 is not the lightest pair of headphones weighing around 350g, but thanks to the comfortable pads and headband in combination with a light clamping force, they remain comfortable for hours to use.
Seeing the above replaceable options I’m baffled to see that the 10 ft headphone cable is non-removable. On a high-end headphone like this, I cannot defend this design choice. Of course, I’m sure this will not be an issue for a lot of DIY people, but I rather not start soldering and cutting up my expensive headphones in order to use another cable.
The T90 is a very well build headphone. The construction is a combination of steel and plastics. Although these cans could easily withstand a lot of abuse, I don’t think these are the kind of headphones that you will be throwing around like a pair of $15 headphones. The build quality will last you a lifetime.
Seeing that the T90 is a high impedance headphone of 250 Ohms, it would not be fair to judge these solely with the use of underpowered portable devices. The Beyerdynamic T90 is specifically designed not to be used as a portable headphone and, therefore, should be used with a dedicated amp or AV receiver.
For the sake of this review, I did plug in the T90 on my Nexus 4 and immediately I noticed that the sound totally lacks punch and body. Bass was not as tight and overall clarity of the sound was lacking. Also volume levels were pretty low.
To really test this headphone I used my AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.2 DAC in combination with the JDS Labs Objective2 amp. The O2 amp has more than enough juice to properly drive these headphones.
The T90 provides accurate and deep bass without adding extra to it. This means you will hear the correct amount of bass as is recorded in the song. Considering this is an high-end headphone exaggeration of the lows would not be appreciated by me.
The midrange is very detailed without being “in your face”. Which is what I personally prefer, because this allows you to listen to higher volume levels without causing any hearing fatigue. Don’t think the mids are recessed or anything like that! Voices sound very natural and instruments are beautifully placed within the song.
The T90 has a wide soundstage so you can clearly hear the different positions of the instruments at any given time. This is of course when the song is properly mastered. If the song has been badly mastered or brickwalled, then the music will sound a bit harsh when different instruments are playing at the same time.
Also, don’t use any low-bit mp3’s because it will not sound good! Use at least 256kbps if you want to use lossy formats. However, this is a high-resolution headphone and really deserves proper quality sound sources.
As we come over to the highs, it’s clearly noticeable that the Beyerdynamic T90 is a slightly U-shaped headphone. You have the nice deep and textured low end, followed by a midrange that’s pretty much neutral and finally topped off with a high-end that’s maybe a bit more aggressive.
Depending on the recording I did notice the highs to be somewhat piercing, but I cannot fault the headphones when the recording is clearly mastered too hot. On properly mastered recordings there was never any sibilance or piercing treble.
Furthermore, I can tell you that the slightly elevated highs also positively contribute to the fact that this is a very clear and detailed headphone. Depending on which headphones you’re coming from, you will start to rediscover songs in a sense that you will hear things that you didn’t know were there.
Price & Extras
The Beyerdynamic T90 comes in a nice leatherette carrying case with enough padding to keep them protected. Besides the case, there is a small booklet with some information on Beyerdynamic products and a screw-on 6.35 mm adapter.
To be honest, I feel they could do better with the extras.
The Beyerdynamic T90 is an amazing headphone that I’m very fond of.
The sound signature: good bass, neutral mids, and slightly elevated highs are what I’m looking for in a headphone that I can use for pretty much everything.
The realistic soundstage with its very good separation and the extreme comfort of these cans often made me forget I was listening to headphones and really helped me in feeling the music I was listening to. They really sound more like a pair of quality loudspeakers than headphones. And that says a lot!
If I have to say anything negative than its certainly the non-detachable cable. With the best intentions in the world, I cannot understand this design choice on an expensive headphone like this. This would be acceptable on a below $200 headphone, but here it’s just completely unacceptable. Also, some extras would be nice Beyer…!
As I said before. The T90 is not to be used as a portable headphone to be worn in public places. That’s not what this headphone is for. But if you want a super comfortable high definition headphone to dream off into the wonderful world of music, then sit back and relax, because the T90 has got you covered. Just make sure you feed it quality material!
Now if you’ll excuse me. I’m gonna pour myself a nice glass of wine and spin up one of my favorite concert discs on Blu-ray 🙂
Amazingly delicious sounding headphone and well worth it if you don’t mind the non-removable cable!