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Yes another HD590 vs HD600 question - Page 5

post #61 of 159

Thanks for checking in.

You said it all! That is exactly the way I hear it. I think the tight, really low bass is possibly the headphones best feature. I could see where a person might not like the bright, up front presentation but the bass is a clear winner on this model, especially when compared to the 600's.

That reminds me richjpr how long did you let the 590's break in? What were you using for an amp and playback?

Talk soon.
post #62 of 159
Thread Starter 

I burned the 590s in for about 45 hours before listening to them.

I have not had a chance to pick up an amp, so I tried them on the NJB3. They did sound decent, but I just don't think that the NJB3 has enough "umph" to drive them alone (the NJB3 drives the PortaPros just fine though). Perhaps boomy isn't a good word to describe the bass. Also, this was playing back MP3s, so the source is not exactly hi-fidelity.

I did listen to the 590s on a few high-quality jazz and classical CDs on my main home theatre system (through a Pioneer Elite receiver). Not a dedicated amp, but the sound was quite good off of it. This, along with all of the many other recommendations, has convinced me that I do need a dedicated amp with whatever headphones I get (I will be in a different room).

I returned the 590s for 2 main reasons. They didn't floor me (not fair without an amp I know) and I got some work dumped on me at work and won't have much time to play around in the next week or so. When things do free up I will basically start over, though everyone buy a few dedicated 590 fans sure do push the 600s!!!

I should give the Grados a try too, but am sort of scared about the number of uncomfortable comments about them. I really don't want to drop a lot of money on something that I can't wear for long.


post #63 of 159
I think describing the 590 as being "boomy" is relative to the 600, with the right/wrong understanding that the 600 isn't boomy. I like the bass on the 590 for being aggressive, and also on the 600 for being IMO deeper, smoother, more detailed. Do you consider "deep" to be low freq or like a better, more dramatic sound? Because imo, the 600 can really hit those low freq better than the 590 can (meaning I can hear the low stuff on the 600 that's not really there on the 590), but the 590 sometimes has a "deeper" and more dramatic sound because maybe it's exaggerated a bit. Or maybe the 590's lack of bass detail makes it appear boomy? A real example of "boomy" would be the Sony EX70 earbuds without the 3 holes covered (boomy) and covered (a lot less boomy).

But the brightness is sometimes extreme on the 590 that it makes the bass seem exaggerated relative to the mids, especially when there are extreme highs and lows, and nothing in the middle. As for accuracy, I don't know - I've never been in a recording studio. But deciding on taste is more important.

Last night I tried comparing the 590 and 600 to the HD280, which is supposedly accurate and neutral for studio monitoring use. I'd have to say that for sure the 280 sounds much more like the 600 than the 590. The bass on the 600 is " boomy" compared to the 280, although the 280 for some people seems to lack bass. Which is more accurate? Beats me.
post #64 of 159

I hope Vertigo-1 chimes in on this becasue the way I hear the 590's is deeper (meaning lower in frequency) and much cleaner (meaning I can hear the bass instrument standing alone from any other low frequency in the recording).

The 590's are arguably bright (they are certainly brighter than the 600's) and they may be too agressive for some people but on my system they beat the hell out of the 600's in every worthwhile category when it comes to bass. I know youhave a pretty objective view of both these headphones and you own both so I give your comments a special merit but I cannot explain the difference between your 590's and mine.

You are right the 240's and 280's are (were actually) common in studios for years but not because they were overly accurate. Accuracy for monitoring in a recording studio is not all that important. The Sennheisers were used for so many years because they genearlly do sound good and they are very durable.

I just looked at the headset inventory yesteday at t local studio and AKG's were more common there than Sennheisers but the largest majority were Fosgates. There was another brand also but I forget what it was.

I have been told that many engineers and producers use Grados but I don't know for sure if that is true. From listening to the Grados I can imagine there might be some truth to this story. The local dealer for both brands says it is.

Your turn.

post #65 of 159
Originally posted by bkelly
I hope Vertigo-1 chimes in on this becasue the way I hear the 590's is deeper (meaning lower in frequency) and much cleaner (meaning I can hear the bass instrument standing alone from any other low frequency in the recording).
Man, I hate to get involved in these HD 600 threads

IMO, the bass on the HD 600 through portables and less-than-great equipment probably sounds muddier than the HD 590. On the other hand, through good equipment, the HD 600 are better on the low end: deeper extension, just as good resolution, etc.

I have been told that many engineers and producers use Grados but I don't know for sure if that is true. From listening to the Grados I can imagine there might be some truth to this story. The local dealer for both brands says it is.
I've never heard that before, and truth be told I highly doubt it's true. While Grados can be very enjoyable to listen to, they are far too inaccurate, and far too open, to be used in a studio environment. For every studio guy using Grados, I'll bet there's a hundred using AKG or Sony.
post #66 of 159

You are missing the point. There is no real need for headphone accuracy in a recording environment. The singer/instrumentalist is listening to unmixed tracks in their headphone for reference only. So they will know when to come in and such. Often the headphone mix is adjusted to suit the singers/instrumentalists preferences. More piano less drums, etc.

Rarely are headphones ever used for mixing and never used to check for tonal accuracy. In fact, Ronnie Montrose is the only one I ever saw who used them much in the mixing phase and then only to check things.
post #67 of 159
Originally posted by MacDEF

The guys working on the META amps are long-time members of both this forum and the DIY community. If you haven't heard or seen a META amp in person, then how can you say these things? I personally have more faith in JMT, Tangent, Eric, etc. as a "reputable company" than some of the "real" audio companies out there. Ask anyone on these boards who has ever purchased an amp from one of these people if they've ever had a problem. And I know from experience (having heard a META) that they do know what they're doing. The META I heard was quite impressive (like I said, I liked it better than the Creek I heard the same day).
That's fair enough if you like the META better than Creek or other amps. I thought I was very neutral in stating my preference. With regard to your objections of my description of the META amp production techniques, the things I stated are factual. META IS produced by a bunch of guys on this forum, rather than a well established company. Are they trustworthy? They might be. I never said they weren't. However, due to the fact that this is not a well established company, there is a greater risk. Even if they're the most honest people on the face of the earth, the risk may involve them going out of business, which would mean no support for the amp. These are things to consider before purchasing the META amp. Deciding to purchase that amp after considering all the pros and cons is just as legitimate a decision as not purchasing that amp.
post #68 of 159
Normally any self respecting moderator of Headfi would know better then to get involved in a thread bearing "HD600" in its title... But, the statement that the 590's have a boomy bass is just too intriguing to pass over.

I used to believe the HD600s and Sony MDR-V6 both ranked number one in the entire headphone world when it came to bass extension and deepness. Ain't no other headphone that could possibly touch those two for bass.

Well, that was before I learned how to seperate bass extension from bass deepness during critical listening.

The HD600 has absolutely phenomenal bass extension. It probably has excellent bass deepness too. I can't tell half the time though because of its excellent bass extension. I confused its bass extension in the past for true bass deepness because I thought "wow, that note is just going on and on and on...it must be going down all the while too". Not only was this audible, but quite visceral as well. Most of its bass extension though takes place in the upper bass/lower midrange region. Likewise with the V6. In a way, my mind was tricked into thinking these two headphones provided deeper bass then any other because of how long those bass notes hung behind.

I finally learned how to listen for deep bass utilizing headphones that actually had little to no visceral bass. This left their upper bass/lower midrange region quite free from any bass extension that could distort bass notes trying to get down there. While the 590s certainly still pack quite a visceral impact, it's also quicker then the HD600s. I believe this quicker transient response in the bass allows it to resolve bass instruments, and also to drop down cleaner in the bass then the HD600s. Again, I don't doubt the HD600s can hit those low notes just as well. It's just that half the time the visceral bass going on at the same time cuts across the ability to delineate bass notes. It's as if it weren't fast enough, if you catch what I'm trying to say. It takes its sweet time providing a visceral response to every bass note so that when the next note comes along, the previous one is still on its last leg of getting out of the air.

Most of my music utilizes quick and fast bass notes. This is where I found the HD600 annoyingly "slow". When listening to vocals, I had a headphone that tried to stretch every bass note to the point where it started mixing in with the voices. The pace was thrown off.

All IMO of course. And for the record, the system used back then was a Sony DVP-S9000ES, Audiovalve RKV MKII, and a pair of Totem Acoustic Sinews to connect them together. The HD600s had Clou Red cables on them. The 590s had stock cables. I think my system was up to snuff back then so that no excuses could be placed on the system.
post #69 of 159
Originally posted by bkelly

You are missing the point. There is no real need for headphone accuracy in a recording environment. The singer/instrumentalist is listening to unmixed tracks in their headphone for reference only. So they will know when to come in and such. Often the headphone mix is adjusted to suit the singers/instrumentalists preferences. More piano less drums, etc.

It seems to me that arguing the objective accuracy of sound reproduction equipment is a never ending, moot argument. There are too many variables that come into play during the recording, mixing, production and reproduction processes. In order for the accuracy of a set of headphones to have any bearing, recording techniques, equipment, mixing techniques and equipment, and reproduction equipment must be perfectly accurate. Else, the only thing an accurate headphone will do is accurately portray the coloration of all the equipment and techniques involved in the production and replay of the CD.
post #70 of 159

No offence but I didn't really understand your post. I get the impression that you have mixed up some terms and maybe you can clarify what you mean by bass extension and bass deepness? while I've never really heard the term "bass deepness" it suggests the same thing as "bass extension". Bass extension being a description for how extended the frequency response is. i.e. A headphone or speaker that reaches down to 30hz +/- 3db is more extended than one that only goes to 60 hz +/- 3db. I got the impression that you are thinking of extension as how long a note lingers or sustains, or how "tight" or "quick" it is and that your impression of "bass deepness" as what bass extension really means.

I'm really not sure what you mean by visceral bass either. At first I thought you meant loudness but I don't think that's it, maybe you just mean the quality of the bass but I'm not sure. I gather you were trying to say that 600's don't have a "tight" enough or "quick" enough bass for your tastes and that you prefer the 590's bass to the "slow" bass of the 600's?

I have only ever heard the 600's for a few minutes at a friends place so I really have no opinion on the subject, I'm just looking for a little clarification on your post so I can understand what you meant.


post #71 of 159
I think that was the general gist of it. Sorry, I do get audiophile terms confused sometimes. Nowdays the less I post the better off I am I think, particularly in complicated discussions.

Visceral bass is just the bass you feel. The HD600s have more visceral bass but I think with the 590s you can hear the lower bass notes better. Sometimes I wonder if people don't mistake visceral bass for deep bass. That's basically what I'm trying to say.
post #72 of 159
(You know me, just chiming in to disagree.)

I don't at all agree that the HD600 has the best bass EXTENSION. Phones that better it include (but are not limited to) Sony V6/7506, Grado HP-2 (and presumably HP-1), Etymotic ER-4S, Audio Technica W2002.

The HD600 has good bass in that it can (with the right amp) be quite articulate but is still in my opinion a little loose and definitely "bumped" in the midbass compared to other headphones.

I would not call the HD600's bass boomy unless you're using a poor amplifier. I would however call it "bumped", as in there's definitely more than a flat response somewhere in the lower part of the headphone. This isn't as pronounved as it is in the Sony V6/7506 and some other headphones, though.

This bass bump is part of what contributes to the HD600's visceral bass impact that everyone seems impressed by. Undoubtedly the large drivers of the HD600 just push more air than other headphones, too, though. I personally don't rank visceral bass response as an important feature in a headphone but I still pay great attention to it so I can communicate with the rest of you because I know most of you do consider it very important.

This subject seems to be very confusing for most people and I've caught myself up in a number of debates here at HeadFi on the subject. I think the confusion between bass impact and bass extension (which is typically synonymous with "bass depth") is a large part of the problem.
post #73 of 159

That makes sense. Thanx for clearing that up, I just wanted to be sure of what youl were getting at.


I would have to agree with you on the confusion between bass impact and bass extension. Reading through the forms I got the general Impression that alot of people here like what's called 80 hz boom. That's the thump we hear and feel at a club. Alot of audio products will hype this region because that's what people tend to like with alot of electronica, dance, house, etc... I get the impression that when some people don't hear that with the impact that they are used to they mistake it for not having bass extension. I really don't think very many people have truly heard low bass notes in the 20 - 40 hz region because there are just not alot of things that produce notes down that low. In fact most speakers start to roll off at between 60 and 80hz and if we did listen to something with truly low frequency bass we would only here the harmonics of the notes and our brain fills in the rest so we get the perception that the notes are actually there.

I'm still trying to get my head around how headphones can reach these lower registers when most speakers can't and if they could they would need to be in a room large enough to sustain the wavelength. How does a small driver right next to your ear do it? Hmmm, something I must research. I have not thought in these terms in a long time.

I'm sorry, that was completely off topic. Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

post #74 of 159
Since we're on topic of bass extension vs visceral impact, I have a question:

Someone mention that the Etymotics produce greater bass extension than the HD600's. How is that possible given that the HD600's have bigger drivers, thus move more air, whereas Etymotics are small, in-ear phones? Logic would dictate that Etymotics would not be able to produce neither the visceral impact nor the extension of the 600's simply due to its design limitations. Am I missing something here?

PS. I'm talking about purely bass extension and impact. I'm not talking about accuracy, neutrality or any other sound characteristic.
post #75 of 159

You bring up a good point. Most modern recordings have an enhanced bottom and top end for the simple reason they are made to sound good on your car stereo not your audiophile playback system. If your audiophile playback sytem was actuially true to the recording it would show this enhancement. Unfortunately, if it did it may not be commercial success. So it is easy to see that even the best playback systems are colored. I think you will easily agree to that.

Keeping in line with the current controversy I am going to say, without exception, the 600's are far more colored than the 590's. No doubt about that in my opinion and I think I can prove it to anyone who is willing to listen.

This leads me to something very important that Vertigo-1 pointed out and that is "speed". The reason the 600's sound more pleasant (I actually don't really think that is true but that is the general overall impression that fans of this phone have) is because it is so slow sounding as compared to the 590. In actual fact it is compressing the audio signal. You could take the 590 and run it through a studio grade compressor and simulate this effect. Is this more pleasant? Is it less fatiguing. Is it coloring the sound. The answer is a resounding yes to all of the above.

I should say that I'm not sure that the 600's are actually slower although they do sound that way and the bass does seems to have a resonant frequency that the drivers like but also what I think is happening to make them sound so slow is that all the fast acting transients have been compressed. You do not hear the stick hit the drum, the hammer strike on a piano string, the guitar pick against the tring and the bow dragging across the the strings of a violin or cello is really muted. These instruments are far more dynamic than the 600's are able to portray. This is probably also why the 590's sound bright to 600 fans. More transient information = more detail. Simple as that.

Your turn.

I been comparing these two phones in my sytem for two weeks and the longer I listen to them the better the 590's sound. Neither are perfect and there are no records out there that are e'qued to favor either one so they can be material dependent but, at the end of the day the 590's, win in the accuracy of portrayal debate, in a big way. The 600's are yesterdays news.

In a week or so I will have the Cardas cable and the Equinox for the 600's and I will compare them then. I will also have a recording finsihed that I helped record and mix and I will check them both against the recording.
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