The audio specialist’s reference-class cans are on their way to deliver audiophile levels of gaming joy to those with deep pockets.
Can’t stretch to a pro-audio set of headphones? Check out our guide to the best gaming headsets around.
There is a growing trend among gamers towards using high-end headphones attached to our PCs instead of the flashy, overly bass-heavy gamer-branded cans which traditional peripheral manufacturers have been keen to push our way.
And when it comes to audiophile headphones the German-based company, beyerdynamic, is one of the most trusted names. Their new DT 1990 Pro design is due to be unveiled at the IFA trade show in Berlin in September, with a full release soon after. And they are going to be some stunning-sounding cans if previous beyerdynamic audio tech is anything to go by, though get saving as the €599 price is likely to be translated to $599.
The bespoke Tesla transducers in the DT 1990 Pros allow them to deliver an operating frequency response of 5 - 40,000Hz. Standard gaming headsets normally offer a frequency response of between 20 and 20,000Hz, which is generally held to be the soft limits for human hearing. But just because you can’t hear frequencies outside that range doesn’t mean they don’t affect your actual audio experience. Having such a broad frequency range means the DT 1990 Pros should be able to produce a level of clarity you’ll struggle to get from a standard set of cans.
The DT 1990 Pro headphones though use an open-back design, which means they’re designed to be used in isolation - they are essentially made for professional audio creation after all. That design means there’s nothing stopping the sound getting out, or outside noise getting in, but also means they’re able to deliver a soundstage which is about as natural and expansive as you can get. Closed-back designs may be better for loud environments, insulating you against the outside world, but can create a very closed-in soundscape.
Though if you wear headphones so as not to disturb your partner or housemates as you game then an open-back set is not going to make you a very popular human being as the shooty-bang-bang sounds of Overwatch or the eerie audio of Inside comes floating out past your earholes.
I personally alternate between using a pair of the brilliant Oppo PM-3 headphones at home and a pair of Qpad QH-1339s. The Qpad headset was designed in collaboration with beyerdynamic and sounds absolutely incredible, but the planar magnetic transducers in the Oppo cans have me switching around depending on whether I need for the tight, controlled bass the PM-3s can deliver or the QH-1339’s microphone.
I’m excited to hear what the new beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros actually sound like, though at €599 only the serious audiophile with deep pockets need apply.