“A specimen of German excellence”
Ever since the company started operations in 1924, Beyerdynamic has been producing world-class products. The Beyerdynamic T90 is a milestone device for the company because it is their first attempt at producing a fully open-back pair of headphones – and it looks like they have knocked it out of the park.
The T90 is gorgeous to behold, which isn’t a surprise since the company used master artisans to design it. It uses the same Tesla technology as the company’s flagship T1 model which supposedly enhances audio performance. It has a respectable sensitivity of 102dB with a frequency response between 5-40,000Hz. With impedance rating of 250 ohm, most headphone amplifiers should be able to play it easily. But, priced at $630-$680, these features definitely don’t come cheap.
Design and Comfort
As you would expect, the T90 looks great with its full-sized ear cups and new velvet headband. After all, it is handmade is Beyerdynamic’s factory in Germany. The center portion on the outside of the ear cups is covered with a grayish-brown fabric. Like all open-back headphones, the T90 lets you hear outside sounds, which doesn’t make it suitable for use during your daily commute. Overall, it has an understated look which is quite unlike most other cans in this segment.
The plush, velvet ear pads are covered by microfiber and are extremely comfortable. The use of microfiber ensures that your ears are less likely to sweat compared to normal vinyl or leather ear pads. It weighs around 350g, which is a bit on the heavier side. But the comfort is above average, and we found them even more comfortable than the Sennheiser HD 598.
Build Quality and Cable
Like most of other Beyer headphones, the T90 has solid build quality. The body is a combination of plastic and metal and the materials used feel strong and sturdy. There isn’t any creakiness when you put them on and they give the sense that they are ready for any abuse. The velvet coating on the ear pads and the headband feels soft and comfortable. Even though it is cheaper, the T90 has a better build quality than the Sennheiser HD 800.
It comes with a 3m uncoiled cable with a 3.5mm jack. Unlike many other headphones in its class, the cable isn’t removable and is attached to the left ear cup. Beyer has also included a 6.3mm adapter which can be used to connect the T90 to professional equipment.
Thanks to its drivers, the T90 sounds very similar to the T1 – it is refined, balanced and neutral with a very deep and wide soundstage. Just like the T1, instrument separation is excellent, and you can easily differentiate between all the different musicians and instruments in a track. Orchestral tracks are well spread and there is differentiation between layers of musicians.
Compared to the more expensive Sennheiser HD 700, the T90 had more powerful bass and a richer sound field. But, the Sennheiser managed to produce sound which was more dynamic and detailed. One approach is not necessarily the best, but the Beyerdynamic T90 is considerably cheaper, which is a positive.
Even though the T90 is not intended to be paired with portable devices – it is designed for indoor use more than anything else – it performed admirably when paired up with an iPod Classic. The loudness was on the lower side and the bass lost its punch. The T90 probably won’t work well with low-quality streams or MP3s but, it will bring well-recorded CDs and FLACs to life.
The T90 worked well with all the amplifiers we tested it with. While it did not have the detail or the transparency of the high-end Sennheiser HD 800, it was better than the Sony MDR-1A and the V-Moda Crossfade M-100.Even though the T90 is pricier than the latter two, it had more detail and more refinement.
Since the cable isn’t user-removable, Beyerdynamic has not added any extra cables with the T90. But, there is a 6.3mm screw-on adapter which lets you use the headphones with serious audio equipment. The only major accessory is a large, heavily padded, faux-leather carry case. It has a luxurious feel and is beautifully finished – a reflection of the T90’s premium pricing. It is sturdy as well, and will do a great job of protecting the T90 even if it is squeezed into a tight bag.
- Accurate sound
- Wide soundstage
- Extremely comfortable
- A bit expensive
The T90 is an accurate and well-balanced headphone and has the accuracy and refinement that many audiophiles look for. It is not inexpensive, but its well-worth the price and manages to give the bigh biys a run for their money. There is very little not to like about the Beyerdynamic T90, and is a great buy for people looking for a reference headphone, or just an excellent pair of cans, but can’t afford the top-rung.