As the Beyerdynamic T90 is an open back headphone intended for private listening sessions we will be looking for fidelity to neutral tone and sound, along with a wide soundstage and balanced mix of the different sound frequencies during our testing process. Our previous experience with the Beyerdynamic DT990 made us hopeful for the T90’s showing. Seeing that the T90 is supposed to be a newer, higher level product it should theoretically be able to perhaps surpass the standards set by the older model.
But before we shed light on the audio performance, we would like to discuss the comfort levels offered by the Beyerdynamic T90. The cushioning is soft and plush, as can be expected when velvet is used, and also seems to be a bit thicker than the average headphone’s offering. A loose and comfortable fit was experienced, with the padding on the headphone really making sure that the weight of the product is not felt. In addition, we experienced almost no over-heating even after keeping the headphones on from 9am to 7pm. Out of the multitude of headphones we have reviewed, the T90 comes close to being the most comfortable of the lot. We would just prefer if it didn’t make noises that sounded like the headband was snapping to pieces every time we adjusted the fit.
Though we tested the T90 with a variety of tracks, including lossless versions of our standard test suite, we will be presenting the findings from our MP3 listening for the sake of continuity. Usage of our staple MP3 tracks also ensures that comparison between different headphones from various manufacturers is also possible.
Our usual starting point for our MP3 tests is Adele’s Melt My Heart To Stone which is a deceptively difficult song to handle. Fortunately for the T90, it came roaring out of the blocks and got right to work. The soul filled track was rendered with warmth and the melody was reproduced brilliantly. At the same time the highs were clear and bright to boot. As you can expect from open back headphones, the soundstage was expansive and roomy. The reverb effects used on the guitars for the track were wonderfully ambient and helped increase the enjoyment of the overall track. This was a near perfect start for the Beyerdynamic headphones.
While the Adele song is a great way to test treble performance for an audio product, the presence of lower frequencies is very limited. To fully test out the bass performance of the headphones we tried it out with Tiesto’s Elements Of Life. The T90 already had an advantage due to its open back design assisting soundstage. Providing a great roomy atmosphere, these headphones place themselves a cut above the rest of the competitors we have reviewed in the past. Add in great attention to detail and all the disparate elements of the song came together in a beautiful, balanced mix. The fidelity to the overall rendering of the track helped increase the enjoyment immensely. The only fault, so to speak, was that bass could have had a slight smidgen extra impact.
Representing the hard rock genre, we played Sail On Soothsayer by Buckethead next. The fidelity to every individual instrument of sound we experienced previously came to the forefront on this instrumental piece. The biting highs of Buckethead’s lead guitar were exquisitely juxtaposed against the heavy, distortion rhythm track. Neither part of the melody overpowered the other, lending credibility to the T90’s status as a product for the serious audiophile. This balancing feat is quite difficult to accomplish as it requires the headphones to be stellar across the entire spectrum of audio frequencies. Up till this point, color us extremely impressed with the T90's performance.
The last stop on our formal test suite is almost always the live, acoustic rendering of Hotel California by The Eagles. The song has it all, acoustic guitars, alternate percussions, intricate melodies and harmonies which are meant to be delivered as one potent mix of heady, old school, classic rock and roll. After its prior performances, the Beyerdynamic T90 manfully sets to task. The headphone’s previously mentioned attention to detail and great transient response ensured that the alternate percussions sound crisp and lifelike. An excellent soundstage ensures that the live, hall atmosphere was fully captured. And excellent highs ensure that all the beautiful guitar-work and singing is delivered in its full glory.
It looks like this device has delivered on all counts. Its open back design gives it a soundstage which is wide, spacious and accurately renders the directionality of sound. We would characterize the tone of the T90 as being extremely balanced and vibrant. Some audio products take their quest to deliver a completely neutral tone too far and forget to remember that neutrality in itself is not the final goal, but delivering an enjoyable listening experience is. This Beyerdynamic T90 ensures that neutrality is used as a tool to ensuring you get maximum pleasure from you audio playback experience.
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||9.5|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||9.0|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||9.0|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||9.5|