It’s partly marketing and familiarity here, while in Europe their products are revered. With a heritage of experience creating studio-grade products, Beyerdynamic has increasingly found a home with audiophiles looking for neutral, quality headphones that are not exorbitantly priced. So that brings me to the new DT 900 PRO X headphones, which are a bit of a revelation at the low to mid-range price point of $299.00. It should cause audiophiles to sit up and take notice, especially in the U.S.
How do the DT 900 PRO X headphones sound? I would say quite neutral, which for many listeners (including me) is a virtue. The headphones tested well on a variety of music, sounding best on acoustic instruments, classical, vocals, and jazz. I think electronic rock fans may want more hyped-up bass and treble.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X Headphone
- The DT 900 PRO X headphones are appealing in sound quality, with firm bass and excellent midrange.
- Construction is of high quality, with a single cord running from the left ear cup.
- A velour pad surrounds the drivers, and the headphones are designed for good comfort over long listening sessions.
- The DT 900 PRO X is an open-back design. The 48-ohm impedance should be friendly to most devices and easy to drive.
- I would describe the sound as neutral, which is expected given the headphones recording studio heritage.
In 2024 Beyerdynamic will turn 100 years old. They have a storied history of creating world-class audio products that have found a home in some of the great studios of the world, where their microphones and headsets are renowned and widespread on every continent. Over the years, Beyerdynamic has been catering to consumers as well, with a rapidly expanding line of products including gaming headsets, and wireless microphones that have been popular in businesses and used for conferences. Back in my broadcasting days, I used a mixture of Beyer and Sennheiser phones for monitoring. I preferred the Sennheiser for comfort, and the Beyer phones for sound, but a lot has changed for both firms since then.
Sound coupling to the ear:
5 – 40,000 Hz
Nominal sound pressure level:
@1 mW / 500Hz, 100 dB SPL
Nominal sound pressure level:
@1 V / 500 Hz, 114 dB SPL
Short term maximum input power:
Rated maximum input power:
(continuous operation) 30 mW
THD @ 1 mW 0.80% @ 100 Hz
0.05% @ 500 Hz
0.04% @ 1 kHz
Length and type of cable:
3 m (9.8 ft) / straight cable or 1.8 m (5.9 ft) / straight cable, each detachable, with 3-pin mini-XLR cable connector, single-sided
Gold-plated mini stereo jack (3.5 mm) & 1/4″
adapter (6.35 mm)
Weight (without cable):
Headphones, Beyerdynamic, DT 900 Pro X, Open-Back, Headphone Reviews
The company considers these headphones as a design that is aimed at critical listening, mastering, and mixing. The Stellar 45 driver is rated at 48 ohms and is intended to mate with a wide variety of home or studio equipment.
The construction consists of a rugged spring steel headband with a single-sided detachable cable. The velour ear pads are replaceable, along with the headband pad, and they can be easily ordered from Beyerdynamic online. There is a gold-plated stereo mini-jack connector (3.5 mm) and an included 1/4” adaptor for the more traditional (6.35mm) stereo jacks. Also included are a 3-pin mini XLR connector and a soft carrying bag.
Beyerdynamic claims the soft memory foam earpads adapt easily to the shape of the user’s head, something I confirmed in long listening sessions.
Getting the headphones ready to rock is dead easy. Inside the attractive packaging are headphone cords of varying lengths, and some booklets describing a bit about Beyerdynamic and their products, and a helpful, illustrated setup guide that also includes information on maintenance and how to replace the ear pads.
As usual, I tried the DT 900 Pro X headphones on a variety of music sources and did much of my critical listening on my FiiO M15 portable digital player. It has an excellent DAC, and I sampled a large collection of varied music including FLAC files ripped from CDs and many high-resolution files from commercial sources.
In a word, I would describe the Beyerdynamic’s as neutral. They pretty much let me listen ‘through’ the headphones to the source without adding anything or taking anything away. I often listen to more exotic headphones, and I think those more expensive models can give you deeper bass, and the highs and midrange sound a bit more elevated. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are more accurate, just that they have a tuned frequency response that many listeners respond favorably to, including me. It’s somewhat akin to speakers. There are a lot of spectacular sounding speakers, and sometimes accuracy takes a back seat to sizzle. I like to hear live music every so often to adjust my expectations, especially unamplified acoustic music.
The DT 900 Pro X headphones were distortion-free, even when driven aggressively. Their open-back design allows some sound from the room in, so you won’t miss a call or a doorbell, but low-level noises like neighborhood dogs do get filtered out.
Some of the tracks I auditioned will be familiar to regular readers, I know these tracks well, and they are a good test of the fidelity of headphones. I like to listen to acoustic music, but I also check out tracks with electronic music.
I started with a very revealing CD, Music of the Spheres by Mike Oldfield, of Tubular Bells fame. The track that is so revealing is called Harbinger. It’s hard to characterize Oldfield’s music; it’s sort of New Age but there’s more to it. At any rate, Harbinger sounded great with synthesized instruments offering smooth and clean high frequencies and some very clean electronic bass. The Beyerdynamic’s handled all this well, never sounding congealed when all the instruments were playing at once, and it was easy to follow the bass line while a variety of other instruments were playing at the same time. This is great music and great engineering. The DT 900 Pro X headphones were revealing and thrilling with this music.
Next, I auditioned Deep Field, some evocative music that represents the sound and emotions of space travel (I know there is no sound in space, so really it captures the emotional experience.) This is an acoustic album by composer Eric Whitacre and the Royal Philharmonic. It’s got shimmering strings, an ethereal choir, and some deep bass. It’s not a gimmicky album, but I find the music contemplative and enjoyable. On the DT 900 Pro X headphones, the music is rendered realistically. As it is with many headphones, details, and subtleties not heard on speakers come through nicely. If you can find this hard-to-get album, I think you’ll like it. The astronauts should listen to it on the Space Station.
Treble & Bass: Hybrid SACD – Stale Kleiberg and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. This is one of the great recordings from the 2L catalog. I often listen to the SACD in multi-channel but settled for the 2-channel mix for the Beyerdynamic’s. These are contemporary classical works, and I find them compelling artistically and superb from a recording standpoint. The DT 900 Pro X headphones handled the low bass and the high strings playing together with no strain. The sound was so enveloping I did not miss the surround mix at all.
Jurassic Park by John Williams is a frequent test for me. I have the soundtrack in 192/24 and it’s a stunner. The best test track is incident at Isla Nublar, which has wonderful strings and very deep bass. I’ve heard this track on some very expensive headphones, and I have to say the Beyerdynamic’s hold their own.
At less than $300 these headphones are of high value for the quality delivered. They don’t use exotic materials or glowing colors. They appear to be ‘recording studio utilitarian’ in design, but that’s fine with me. Beyerdynamic’s has produced a high-value, high-performance audio component that is very satisfying.
- Build quality is high with easily replaceable parts via the Beyerdynamic web page.
- The sound quality is excellent, especially at this price point.
- Surprisingly deep and coherent bass.
- Low distortion and easy to drive.
- Travel Case (the drawstring bag won’t protect the headphones on the road).
These headphones sound much better than their price might suggest. I suspect Beyer’s long experience in audio makes a difference here, as the headphones always gave me a realistic presentation. More expensive headphones often go after a particular aspect of the audio spectrum, emphasizing the deepest bass, or really extended frequency response. Getting those extremes of the audio spectrum can be expensive, as with other high-end gear. You can pay a lot for very small incremental advances. I won’t be selling any of my high-end headphones, but the Beyerdynamic’s were very, very good at providing a fine presentation without shortchanging the musical value. I sensed a very slight dip in the upper mid-range and some extension in the high frequencies, but it is slight. I did not find it distracting. It’s likely a voicing decision to make the headphones sound more like speakers and less like headphones. The soundstage seemed a little narrower than the best headphones I have listened to, but instrument locations seemed accurately placed. I would not have noticed this if I had not quickly compared the Beyerdynamic headphones to more exotic products I had on hand.
As you put on other brands of headphones, it’s easy to discern voicing decisions by their designers. At the end of the day, listeners will have to decide if the esthetic decisions from Beyerdynamic are a close match for their own preferences. I think the DT 900 Pro X headphones would be an excellent choice for the classical or jazz lover or anything with acoustic instruments like folk and vocals. Rock and roll lovers may want more slam and extended bass or fuller mid-range. Still, the DT 900 Pro X headphones acquitted themselves nicely on every type of music I gave it.