Beyerdynamic refers to the DT 900 Pro X as premium studio headphones. That had us scratching our collective heads. After spending some considerable time with them we still can’t figure out what makes these over-ear headphones less suitable for home use. They’re well made, comfortable and sound great, so whether they are intended for the studio or not, we really like them.
The Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X are an open-back design, which means that they leak sound out, but also let a certain amount of environmental noise in. They don’t do this to an excessive degree, unlike the various Prestige models Grado makes, but it remains something to think about if you need a more insulating design. There are advantages to an open approach though, as the best of the breed deliver dynamic subtleties and articulation beyond even the leading closed alternatives we’ve heard.
These Beyerdynamics are functional-looking units with little hint of luxury, but there's nothing to complain about when it comes to quality of materials or solidity of construction. These headphones come across as durable, and capable of taking years of hard use without issue. Those parts that do naturally deteriorate, such as the velour covered earpads or the detachable connecting cable, are easily replaceable.
Type Open back, over ear
Impedance 48 ohms
Frequency response 5Hz - 40kHz
Cables 1.8m and 3.0m both with 3.5mm jack
Weight 345g (without cable)
We find the DT 900 Pro X a joy to wear over longer listening sessions. Their open design means that our ears don’t overheat and the carefully considered headband shape and nicely-judged earpads result in proper long term comfort. A weight of 345g is broadly par for the course, but that weight is nicely spread and so doesn’t prove an issue. The connecting cable exits from the left earcup. It’s pretty flexible and doesn’t transmit much noise when we move around.
Take a look inside those chunky earcups and you’ll find the new Stellar.45 drive unit, which Beyerdynamic seems particularly proud of. This in-house designed and manufactured unit uses a layered Peek polymer diaphragm, with a damping material sandwiched in between, and a Neodymium motor system. The aim is to deliver a detailed sound along with an easy load so that even phones and laptops can drive the headphones properly. That certainly rings true, as we have no issue getting good levels with a range of sources from our MacBook Pro to a Chord Hugo 2 outboard portable DAC.
Take a look in the packaging and you’ll find two lengths of cable, a 1.8m and a 3m, both with 3.5mm jacks. A 6.3mm adaptor is supplied, as is a pouch to carry the headphones around.
Given a few days of use the DT 900 Pro X settle down to deliver a superbly composed and detailed performance. They dig up a lot of information and organise it in a cohesive and musical way. We listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and these headphones render the sound with verve, punching out crescendos with confidence. We’re impressed with their composure on this piece and it remains easy to follow individual instrumental strands even as the music becomes ever more demanding.
It’s a precise and articulate presentation that will appeal to those that prefer their sound unvarnished. These headphones don’t try to embellish the recording in any obvious way to add to the excitement. The way they handle bass frequencies is an ideal example. For a number of years most of the headphones we’ve reviewed are deliberately overstated at low frequencies, which can help to make certain kinds of recordings more entertaining, but equally work less well with anything that requires subtlety and balance. The DT 900 Pro X don’t do that. If anything their bass is a little understated; it prioritises agility, texture and control over outright power. This in turn leads to a tonal character that’s a little on the leaner side, but it’s not taken so far as to sound unbalanced even with a lower treble region that’s quite forthright.
We move to the Everything Is Love set from The Carters and the Beyerdynamics respond with fine rhythmic drive and articulation. Beyoncé comes through with passion and natural warmth intact while Jay Z’s rapid-fire lyrics are easy to follow and cut through the album’s sometimes dense mixes well.
These are demanding headphones that take no prisoners when it comes to revealing shortcomings in recordings or the partnering equipment. Importantly, they don’t take this too far and emphasise flaws for the sake of it. Beyerdynamic has struck a great compromise between entertainment and analysis here.
The Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X fulfil their 'studio' brief by delivering all the resolution, stability and control required to dissect a recording, but at the same time manage to convey the emotional impact of the music as well as anything we’ve heard at this level.
If you’re looking for a quality pair of headphones at this price, put these at the top of your shopping list. Once you have a listen you’ll be glad you did.
- Sound 5
- Build 5
- Compatibility 4
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