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Sennheiser HD650 Review - Page 2

post #16 of 85
Wow! Awesome write-up.

I've had my HD650 for about a week now, and right now, it is the main reason why I look forward to going to work.

This review should be in the review forum.
post #17 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaddy
Have you ever listened to the HD650's out of a tube amp? If not, do you have plans to?

Haven't heard the HD650s out of a tube amp yet...probably won't anytime soon. I've never really been a fan of tube amps since my tastes normally run towards the analytical and detailed side. I just like the clean sound, extreme extension and decay, and black backgrounds that solid state amps have.

Quote:
Not sure what you would consider good equipment to drive HD650? Your CDP is over 2k, PPA is probably inline soniclly with 1k amp, interconnects are great... what more do you need to make HD650 a "world class headphone"?
As a few have mentioned...a fully balanced system. I've read far too many consistent impressions from people stating that the Sennheiser HD600/650s turn into an entirely different headphone from a full blown balanced system. So I'm not deluding myself into thinking that my puny little non-balanced system is showing me anywhere near what the HD650s may be capable of.


Quote:
I'm curious though, what prompted to you spend so much time and effort on the HD-650? It's probably THE most discussed headphone on this forum and has been for a long, long time.
Highly discussed, yes, but even as I did my research on it, I found very little impressions that contained enough in depth info to make me want to just buy one on an impulse. As it is there didn't seem to be any full blown reviews on them since their creation years ago. Well now there is one. I also strive to be balanced, highlighting both the strengths AND weaknesses of a piece of gear. And THAT is something you see very little of when reading through what impressions there are currently of the HD650s.

Quote:
Excellent review on all counts. I hope the mods put this review on the review section. I agree with Vert. completely except in the bass department, b/c I use an upgrade cable.
I don't doubt at all, having owned/owning Zu cables, that a Zu Mobius cable would most likely help tone down the upper bass impact and hopefully add back a little edge to the upper treble. It'd be a must have upgrade for me if I did ever get a HD650.
post #18 of 85

Excellent review

Thanks Vertigo-1 for very detailed + useful review.
I also bought a pair HD-650 recently and am very pleased with them.
I note you are using them without the foam covering the drivers and say this gives an improvement.
How do you remove this foam ?. I would like to try this also but don't want to damage my HD-650's . Any tips on how to remove foam ?.
Thanks !
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Thanks Vertigo-1 for very detailed + useful review.
I also bought a pair HD-650 recently and am very pleased with them.
I note you are using them without the foam covering the drivers and say this gives an improvement.
How do you remove this foam ?. I would like to try this also but don't want to damage my HD-650's . Any tips on how to remove foam ?.
Thanks !
Simply pull the earpads out, pull the foam, and snap the pads back on. The process is very simple and required minimal effort.
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo-1
I don't doubt at all, having owned/owning Zu cables, that a Zu Mobius cable would most likely help tone down the upper bass impact and hopefully add back a little edge to the upper treble. It'd be a must have upgrade for me if I did ever get a HD650.
Exactly.

Great review, I agree with a lot of your impressions, but won't really say that it reflects my own impression completely. For one thing, I disagree with your impression on the bass. I used the Zu though (and a Dynahi), never got the impression of an upper bass covering or clouding lower bass detail or presence. For another, I never took the foam off, and still the Senn to me was also never fatiguing or veiled, though certainly it's not an in-your-face presentation.
To me the HD650 also gives the impression of listening to speakers.

Anyway, once again congrats on a great in-depth review!
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo-1
As a few have mentioned...a fully balanced system. I've read far too many consistent impressions from people stating that the Sennheiser HD600/650s turn into an entirely different headphone from a full blown balanced system. So I'm not deluding myself into thinking that my puny little non-balanced system is showing me anywhere near what the HD650s may be capable of.
gee...thanks alot! now my wallet hates you
post #22 of 85
Excellent review vertigo, great timing also. I'm currently in the market for an HD650 or SA5000, and I've not got 2 in depth reviews to base my purchase on plus a SA5000 coming from jjcha. Based on your impressions it will be a tough decision for me to make, but who knows, with the way I am with head-fi I will probably end up with both

Cheers,

xand1x
post #23 of 85
Yeah good work, Vertigo. Nice to hear detailed impressions with an Arcam CD player as the source, too. I do wonder how your bass assessment would fare with the foam in place. I can only assume you've heard it that way and not liked the results.
post #24 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo-1
There’s no doubting that the Sennheiser HD650s are very good headphones. I think they’re rather deceiving because their inherent traits are not traits that stand out and grab your attention immediately, unlike a lot of other headphones on the market. As audiophiles, a lot of us tend to prefer somewhat more “hi fi” traits, admittedly, even me. Things such as details, clarity, separation, huge soundstages, tight, deep bass…we want something that can leap out and capture our attention immediately, something that’s immediately different that can convince us that those couple hundred dollars we just spent on a headphone was well spent. In a world like this, the unassuming, laid back, smooth HD650s would indeed seem dull and boring.
Exactly... people look for those traits. And ultimately, those same traits have people selling off the headphones, because after awhile these "audiophile" qualities themselves become boring. Thank goodness there are some "boring" headphones like HD580/600/650 where the music counts, not the gear. I think if there were not, I would just give up on headphones eventually, or on music, or both.
post #25 of 85
Outstanding review. Painstaking and thoughtful. Thanks.
post #26 of 85
Sticky this into the full-length headphone reviews
post #27 of 85
Finally, a review which mentions the "3-blob effect" which is common to the Senn 580/6x0 series. I've found that using a tube amp and wiring each side directly to the leads on the output transformers (a poor man's "balanced" amp) lessens this effect on my 580's but still fails to eliminate it. I did have a balanced Gilmore dynalo for a couple weeks and that also reduced the "3-blob", but I'm more of a tube sound guy.

Mostly agree with your comments on the midrange & treble, but the bass I found to be different. I had issues with it as well, but for me it was not enough perceived impact, not enough quantity, and the tone wasn't right.

Yes it's fast & dynamic, but for some reason it doesn't feel like it hits hard, the opening to "Space Dog" doesn't knock me back the way it does on Grados or my K340. Not enough is pretty self-explanatory, I prefer PS-1 amounts of bass.

Tone is little harder to explain. Think of the same low bass note being played on a Steinway and a Bösendorfer grand piano. It doesn't sound the same, each piano will have its own sound signature, or tone. And that to me is where the 650 falls short in the bass, in the lower bass, things just didn't sound right, especially low piano notes. With the 650, a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand ends up sounding more like a midrange Yamaha in the low notes. That really annoys me since I'm a Tori Amos fan, and guess which piano she uses.
post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by aerius
Yes it's fast & dynamic, but for some reason it doesn't feel like it hits hard, the opening to "Space Dog" doesn't knock me back the way it does on Grados or my K340. Not enough is pretty self-explanatory, I prefer PS-1 amounts of bass.

Tone is little harder to explain. Think of the same low bass note being played on a Steinway and a Bösendorfer grand piano. It doesn't sound the same, each piano will have its own sound signature, or tone. And that to me is where the 650 falls short in the bass, in the lower bass, things just didn't sound right, especially low piano notes. With the 650, a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand ends up sounding more like a midrange Yamaha in the low notes. That really annoys me since I'm a Tori Amos fan, and guess which piano she uses.


That's fairly flat bass overall, as far as I can tell. The dropoff in low bass starting around 40 Hz might be responsible for your "tonal" impressions, but I can't picture why. Anyway... you prefer a boosted bass response (which I believe PS-1 provides, correct me if I'm wrong) but you also want the low end to be tonally correct? Isn't that a contradiction, or am I misinterpreting somewhere?
post #29 of 85
I would like to pose one question to the reviewer and also to other HD650 owners. There seems to be a very wide variation in the feedback on the bass performance of the HD650. The descriptions expressed describe the bass as possessing a remarkable, deep impact/ scale to sometimes being reported as anemic. I suspect that this variation has much to do with the ancillary components used in each case. If any users of headfi.com can clarify this variation in feedback it would be appreciated. I would have most interest in comments that use the SR225 as a benchmark for comparison.


Best,
iDesign
post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by fewtch
That's fairly flat bass overall, as far as I can tell. The dropoff in low bass starting around 40 Hz might be responsible for your "tonal" impressions, but I can't picture why. Anyway... you prefer a boosted bass response (which I believe PS-1 provides, correct me if I'm wrong) but you also want the low end to be tonally correct? Isn't that a contradiction, or am I misinterpreting somewhere?
If frequency response could explain tone, life would be a lot simpler. If I knew why some headphones have good tone and others don't, and could find a way to measure it, it would make my life a lot easier. My guess is it would involved test notes and a fancy spectrum analyser or something like that to figure out the harmonics structure. A frequency response chart doesn't tell me about harmonics, and harmonics are what goes into making tone.

Going back to the piano analogy. Take a piano. Going up the keyboard, press each key with the exact same amount of force and measure how loud each note is. That's analogous to the frequency response chart. Some pianos might be louder down low, others up high, but that doesn't tell me why middle A on a Steinway sounds the way it does. To find out why, you'll need to measure all its overtones & harmonics, and any resonances it excites in the piano's structure. That's what gives the note its tone, and why middle A on a Steinway & Yamaha don't sound the same.

Now you gotta take that and apply it to headphones. Headphones have resonances, harmonics, and so forth. It'll affect tone. But to my knowledge, those measurements (if they've been done) aren't available to the public.

Which I suspect is why my Grado 225 sounds more natural than my Senn 580 in certain frequency ranges despite having a more ragged looking frequency response.
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