Dec 7, 2023
I recently bought a pair of DT1990s as my DT990s broke and loved the sound they produced so stuck with Beyer (no, the highs didn't put me off), but thought I'd invest a bit further and buy a decent DAC/Amp to drive them. I was previously using an old Sound Blaster Audigy 5 Rx soundcard, which supposedly could power headphones up to 600ohms and got my 1990s to a decent volume level but the quality wasn't great - I didn't expect them to be enough, this is just for context.

I bought an ifi Zen DAC v2 (DAC/Amp) which I'd heard amazing things about from many different reviews but read a couple of reddit posts that said they're not quite powerful enough for the DT1990s. Since I could get them on Amazon with next day delivery I thought I'd try them and see for myself. (Un)surprisingly they didn't impress me as I had to turn the volume dial to 3 o'clock to get them loud enough for what I wanted. The bass, even with the bass boost, also didn't hit quite as hard as I thought but with some EQ I managed to mostly resolve that. Annoyingly though, when the bass gets to a certain level, it sounds distorted and ruins the clarity of the sound. Another big issue when using this Zen DAC is that there is a random popping/cracking noise when there are sudden sounds. Not so much with music when there's a constant stream of sound, but when talking on Discord for example, often when it's silent and someone suddenly talks, it'll pop/crack which is incredibly off-putting.

Is this popping/cracking issue characteristic of a dodgy amp? Could this be a problem with the headphones or cable?

Is the bass distortion caused by the amp not being powerful enough to drive the 1990s at certain volumes?

Another query I have is that I have the opportunity to buy a Schiit Asgard 1 and Bifrost 1 for £200 together. I'm aware that these are a bit dated but would the sound quality still hold up compared to more modern DACs/Amps? If so, would these be a good match for my 1990s? (See end of post for my sound preferences)

I've also found a used Magni 2 for £60 and used Magni 3 for £90 if they'd work well with a good DAC.

Alternatively, I've been looking at other options in the price range of £150-250 such as the Topping DX3 Pro+, would anyone recommend these for 1990s?

Other suggestions are appreciated but please keep them in the price range (I'm in the UK so bare that in mind - an Atom stack would cost too much with the shipping and VAT included and brand new Schiit DAC/Amps would also be too much from the UK store)

For additional context - I listen to a large variety of genres but the main ones are EDM, rock and hip hop, in that order. I like punchy, thumpy bass but I don't like it to muddy the sound and remove clarity from the mids and highs.


Well-known member
Aug 10, 2021
I own a set of dt1990's myself, but I've only used them with my primaluna dialogue premium hp and my njc audio reference headphone amplifier both drive them effortlessly, unfortunately the njc is a bit above your budget, if I were you I'd try and save a bit more cash and get a amp that the Beyerdynamic's deserve. Njc is a small cottage industry type manufacturer based in the Devon/Cornwall area, the guy's build the products to order, great build, sound and reliability, I really can't speak highly enough about the service from them.


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