Beyerdynamic T90 Review. The T90 over ear semi open back headphones are part of the tesla series. They have an outstanding sound quality and build quality. In fact they have just become my new favourite headphones of all time.
Steeped in history and highly regarded by many, it is without doubt that the Beyerdynamic brand is a music industry icon known not for only producing a fine array of professional and audiophile products, but for simply taking time, loyalty and attention to detail whilst doing so, which ultimately ends with a product that perfectly fits the brief. Whilst Beyerdynamic has a beating heart German by nature, it is once again perfectly clear that exquisite levels of beauty have crystallised to form what we are introduced to as the Tesla Series ‘T 90’; an open-back 250Ω beast that earns the respect of even the most disconcerting audiophile.
Arriving in a crisp white box, standard amongst the entire Beyerdynamic range, you will open the package to notice a soft zipped leatherette black carry case that is interiorly adorned with a deep-grey foam lining containing both the headphones themselves and a standard gold plated 3.5mm to 1/4″ adapter. Upon closer inspection, it is safe to say that the carry case provides sufficient protection when in transit, and will also act as a nice addition atop of your hi-fi or sideboard.
Let us first mention that these headphones are crafted in Germany because this, almost immediately, provides a general consensus as to what the following notes shall be because, as expected, these are not only made to last, but the materials used inherently within the design are machined in such a way that aesthetically pass’ their charm into a timeless classic. As these headphones are almost solidly made out of high grade 3mm thick pitted aluminium, they have a nice feel in the hands and have a quality weight to match that is machined out of a solid block. In addition there is minimal use of plastics and where they are seen, their grading is of a high ABS standard which seamlessly flows into the padded soft velvet material that dresses the headband and ear-cups. This material is favourable as it is gentle on the soft skin of the ear, prevents perspiration buildup from extended periods of listening which then can turn to an uncomfortable sensation, and provides a pleasantly comfortable period of listening. Although all the materials used feel substantial, if you do happen to wear these non-stop, then they are replaceable; a Beyerdynamic standard. The headphone cable on the driver housing itself is pronounced, and this is both used for the love of design and to allow some give that won’t stress the internal solder points. Beyerdynamic have killed two birds with one stone here.
Initially you might not notice that the T90’s are of an open back design which is mainly due to the fact that the anterior driver housing is covered in a brown kevlar material noticeably fixed with resin to the driver crossbeams. However, usually the main hazard with this design is that the sensitive drivers prone to external, or environmental, damage. Whilst it is unlikely that if you are spending this amount of money on a pair can that you will be adverse to careful handling, if you do have a mishap, then the kevlar back will effectively damage limitate; this system both looks great and functions well. Furthermore, it is sobering to note that the T90’s have an ergonomic design featuring a 30° bilateral tilt between the driver chassis and headband. What this means for the user is that the T90’s can accommodate a wide variety of head shapes and sizes especially when considering the four to five centimetre headband extension. During our testing period we were presented with a product where the build quality and aesthetics were on par. We strongly feel that it is to Beyerdynamics merit that these are possibly the most well designed open back headphones we have encountered.
Beyerdynamic T90 Sound Quality:
As the T90’s are in the Beyerdynamic premium ‘Tesla’ range it is exceptionally important to understand what this means for the headphones you are potentially buying and what this does to the sound. At Beyerdynamic, tesla technology is characterised by the quality and efficiency of the magnets that are used to create the speaker drivers. Specifically Beyerdynamic use carefully manufactured rare-earth neodymium magnets which have a strong linear magnetic pull and the effect that this has on the sound is that transients are very articulated and essentially ‘on the beat’ without any harmonic distortion During testing this quality was noted and presented itself particularly well in the very low bass frequencies as they reproduced a very round sound and equally, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the higher frequencies appeared shiney; without an element of harshness. Of course we should mention here too that the frequency response of the T90’s is quoted to be far lower than the human range of hearing, at 5Hz, and this extends well above the audible rage at 40kHz. For a headphone in the price-range it isn’t uncommon to see extensions such as the above; but not to this extreme. Having this quality is noticeable in the performance because the range that we can hear is glossy, articulate and well presented.
One of the qualities that I loved about the sound was just how effortless the T90’s seemed to perform when I put them through their paces from one genre extreme to another. Listening to choirs and classical music was simply breathtaking, there was a sense of presence or environment that never seemed to leave during the change of dynamics. The depth, how black to white audio appears, was precision tuned and when listening to drum kits or multitimbral instrumentals you could feel the action. Equally, with heavier genres such as heavy metal there was a stadium and there did not appear to be any limitations. Leading on it is fair to say that there is a wide stereo perception which brings you in to the action without appearing offensive. Many headphones will blast frequencies at you where the T90’s just, well, sonically pull you right in to the middle of the action. The truth is that with such a high definition of sound, you will hear all the details that you didn’t quite here before. This includes small recording continuity or editing errors and by no means is this a downfall. You should love music for music and the T90’s certainly captivate your attention. Overall I really don’t want to offend these headphones by analysing specific frequencies because the sound appears to be in such a harmonious, warmed, smooth balance that no words could possibly do them justice. It is true that due to the 250Ω design you can’t just drive these with an iPod because they will just sound flat, you do need a specialised system to make these perform to the best of their ability; that is why you would spend such money on a pair of headphones.
Beyerdynamic have outdone themselves with the T90 open back headphones, their presentation and build quality is on the very limits of what is possible to maintain an equilibrium of comfort and solidity whilst their sonic performance is simply breathtaking on whatever you have to throw at them. It is with great pleasure that we award the Beyerdynamic Tesla Series T90 open back consumer ‘audiophile’ headphones a full five out of five rating and the editors choice award.