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Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

Open-backed Mixing Headphones

Buy from Guitar Center $229.99 Buy from Amazon $379.00

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The Best Headphones For Mixing Audio

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro


Out of all the headphones we've tested, used, and reviewed, the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro will get you the best sound for your money. There are a few other models that sound just as good, but these are easily the most comfortable pair of headphones we've tested at this price point (under $200). They feel like an extension of your ears, and I almost forgot I had them on after over 3 hours mixing.


 

Who should buy these headphones?

If you are mixing music for any length of time, the Beyerdynamics are the ones to get.

What makes a great pair of mixing headphones?

Many audio purists will scoff at mixing in headphones. The reality is, however, you can get a better than average mix with headphones – especially if the headphones are open-backed, and simulate the reference points of actually having studio monitors. You might also be working remotely, or on the road, or at night while your significant other is trying to sleep.

The reality is there are many scenarios where mixing with headphones makes sense. But in order to get the best mix possible you need a couple things:

  1. Open-backed headphones.
  2. Flat frequency response.
  3. Comfortable on your head.

Open-backed headphones basically work like miniature versions of your studio monitors, except smaller. Allowing air to move in, out, and around your headphones helps to create this effect.

Flat frequency response means that you don’t want your headphones to artificially color the sound of your mix. Everyone these days raves about Beats By Dre headphones, but in reality those artificially color the sound by pumping up the bass and a few other things. When you’re trying to get a good mix, you need the natural sound coming out of your headphones – not some artificially propped up sounds.

In addition to those two criteria, there are a couple other things important to a great pair of mixing headphones:

  1. Proven track record of reliability from user reviews and hands on testing.
  2. Great warranty and return policy.
  3. Easily repairable.

 

Our Pick

Flat frequency Response

When you are listening to audio on your phone from another artist, you might tweak it a bit with some EQ, boosting some bass, or whatever.

However, when you are mixing, you want the truest sound possible. This means basically a flat EQ curve, so you can get a true sense of the sound and mix appropriately. The DT990s meet this specific need, which make it our favorite headphones.

One reviewer at Guitar Center noted the same thing:

Because they are open back they have really good placement (not too wide of a mix) and most importantly they have an extremely flat [frequency] response. All in all I would recommend these headphones for intensive studio work. They are not good for live performance or for DJing because of the flat eq curve, So don’t expect them to make the music loud and direct, more like the true sound

Reliability

One reviewer remarked on the build quality in particular:

I bought these headphones 10 years ago and still use them. The build quality is amazing. It doesn’t feel necessarily constructed high end in an ‘Apple’ or Sennheiser way, it feels constructed in an old fashioned sturdy way, with metal, screws leather. The type of sturdy that kept these cans alive for all this time.

Plus, if you are one of those people that just breaks things all the time, rest assured nearly every part on these headphones is replaceable. But as user reviews indicate, you probably won’t ever need to.

All Beyerdynamic headphones include a 2 year parts and labor warranty serviceable in the U.S.A.

Comfort

If you haven’t spent a long time mixing with headphones, you might be surprised at how important a comfortable pair of headphones is. Many other headphones in this category sound just as great, but tend to hurt after wearing them and longer than an hour.

And you will be wearing headphones – much longer than that.

Budget Studio Headphones

If price is your main criteria, there are some under $100, and one of our favorite picks is actually right around $50. Visit our great budget studio headphones guide.


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The Best Headphones For Mixing Audio

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

The Best Headphones For Mixing Audio

Important Specs

Frequency Response 5Hz-35kHz
Impedance 250 ohms
Cable Length 9.8 ft.
Cable Type Coiled
Replaceable Cable? Yes
Connector(s) 1/8" (1/4" Adapter Included)
more specs

Synopsis:

Comfort and exquisite sound reproduction and spot on audio referencing for under $200 make these an easy pick for our mixing headphones guide.

- M

Sources

  1. Benoît Campion, DigitalVersus.com, 20140925
    REVIEW / BeyerDynamic DT990 Pro Headphones, A New Reference in Hi-Fi
    “The sound quality is excellent. The low-end and high-mids are just slightly pushed toward the foreground, yet the whole remains balanced and faithful. Here's a surprising little fact: this frequency response curve disturbingly similar to the Philips Fidelio X1's. The DT 990 Pro has great dynamics and ultra-precise spatialisation. This is almost as good as the Sennheiser HD800.”
  2. Derrick Lilly, The Sound Apprentice, 20131223
    First Listen: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Headphones Review
    “The DT 990 PRO basically puts you between these “fun” and “analytical” headphones, leaving you with a dynamic compromise that seemingly performs well across all music genres.”
  3. Fha Leeman, Audio Scientist, 20150320
    Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Review
    “I bought these headphones 10 years ago and still use them. The build quality is amazing. It doesn’t feel necessarily constructed high end in an ‘Apple’ or Sennheiser way, it feels constructed in an old fashioned sturdy way, with metal, screws leather. The type of sturdy that kept these cans alive for all this time.”
  4. diogo_c, Gearslutz, 20131109
    User Review: Beyer DT 990 Pro 250 Ohms
    “It’s definitively not a hyped-sounding headphone and it doesn't try to push anything very forward. The open design pays off with a more relaxed and unobstructed sound, yet retaining a lot of energy in the low end. Highs are very smooth and the mid-range is well defined. With its big ear cups it can go pretty loud and free of distortions, but it sounds even better at higher volumes when driven with a nice amp. ”
Originally published: March 20th, 2015
  • Willa Porter

    Thanks for this awesome review on the Beyerdynamic DT 990 studio monitoring headphones! I have never used them before but I have become quite a fan of them since I always see them on the list of the best mixing headphones, just like this one. I’m hoping to get my first pair of monitoring headphones, and there’s a great chance that I’m picking the Beyerdynamic DT 990. I don’t need to break the bank to get them, plus plenty of sources vouch for their topnotch performance. It’s not my final decision yet, but I’m pretty excited about how all this plays out.

Important Specs

Frequency Response 5Hz-35kHz
Impedance 250 ohms
Cable Length 9.8 ft.
Cable Type Coiled
Replaceable Cable? Yes
Connector(s) 1/8" (1/4" Adapter Included)
more specs


“It’s not so much the equipment as how you use it. I’ve heard people with really cheap studios do great recordings.” —Frank Gambale


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