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Senn HD590 vs. Senn HD600 (vs. Sony MDR-R10) - Page 4

post #46 of 49
The attempt to create a vocabulary to describe subjective experience has a long history. In psychology, probably the best known attempt was a school of thought called "Structuralism", in the late 1800's through the turn of the century. Ultimately, Structuralism died out, except for brief pockets when somebody gave it a try. Subjective experience is just too...subjective.

One of the first things that struck me when I first read the Abso!ute Sound many years ago was how close what they were attempting to do was to what the Structuralists attempted. Various terms to describe the subjective audio experience have entered out vocabulary, and many have been in the audio lexicon for 20+ years...and we still can't agree what they mean.
post #47 of 49
Rarely in the history of the english language has the general populance suddenly discovered the etymology or some "official" definition of a word and then changed their spoken language to adapt to that.

Typically the commoner's language, however deviant from the official one is finally adopted into the official dictionaries after it has one a long and drawn out popularity contest.

When average joe calls something bright, he means that the treble is accentuated relative to the rest of the frequency response curve. I'd rather speak the common language than the language dictated by Stereophile.
post #48 of 49
Yeah, I think their def. of bright is a bit too technical, but the others seem more than relevant. I did not post those as an absoluter reference, but as a common starting point for a clearer sense of what we are talking about.
post #49 of 49
Originally Posted by bkelly View Post


Now that I've gotten a little sleep I will better able to respond to your comments.

I read your comments again and now I would like to respond to the second thing that I think I agree with most in your post and that is that the timbre of the instruments is more correct on the 590's than on the 600. I couldn't agree more. On the 590 a guitar sounds like a guitar. A violin sounds like a violin and drums sound like drums (a very important difference). The 600's have a very ("very" is probably too strong a word) colored sound in this regard. I see that you had trouble coming up with a word to describe this coloration on the 600's and I think I know the answer to this. In my opinion the drivers in the 600's are just a tad slower reacting than the 590 and this mechanical difference essentially acts as a compressor on the 600 limiting the 600's ability to reproduce the last level of detail on a recording. Some people will call this "coherence" and point to this as the 600 greatest attribute but I think they are ultimately wrong on this. What I think is actually happening is the same thing that would happen if you took the 590 (since they are so close in sound) and ran the signal through a studio quality compressor. The compression will make everything more coherent allright since what it is doing is making everything on the recording respond in the same way. Does this make it sound more likeable? I think the answer to that question lies in the fact that compression is used on just about every recording there is today and has been for years. However, my complaint, in the case of the 600's, is that it is not necessary to add any additional compression and even if it does makes your headphones more likeable it is still an uneccessary coloration. So, for those that think the 590's are more detailed because they are brighter, I think you need to listen again because the brightness helps but the speed of the drivers is what I think really adds the realistic detail and gives the 590 the ability to more correctly portray the instruments actual timbre.

See what you think of that Mark. I'd love to hear your comments on this.

For those of you reading this who don't know me you should know that I own both of these phones and in final analysis I like both of them very well. My arguments favorinjg the 590 would sometimes seem to condemn the 600's but that just isn't so. I like the 600's and, just like Mark, I rate them pretty close with my final judgement favoring the 590's over the 600 but, once again, just as Mark says, not by much.

In another thread I could argue for the many strong points of the 600 but the 600 has already been praised plenty so there is not much need.

Anyhow, Mark, I am looking forward to your response.


I've recently acquired a pair of Sennheiser HD 590's and I am more than pleased with the quality of sound they produce. I've owned Grado RS-1i's for a while and felt that they were excellent but colored and lacked any real sound stage. Had I invested in a Mad Ear amplifier I may have held on to them as they needed a good tube or solid state amp to soften some of the brightness. That being said, I saw a used pair of HD 590's being sold for a song, a real steal in my opinion for an audiophile quality headphone that has gotten a  bitter sweet reputation from the Head-Fi community. The first thing I noticed about these headphones was the Sennheiser DNA: Excellent sound staging capabilities, quality of frequencies that are refined, subtlety in presentation which allows for hours of listening without risk of fatigue and dynamics that are powerful and to scale. The bass on these headphones is a solid 10 in my opinion. On certain low frequency passages the drivers physically and viscerally vibrate your ears with air compression. The high frequencies are brilliant and depending on the source, very refined. I tend to listen to vinyl on an Oracle Delphi MK V with SME Series IV.Vi tonearm and depending on mood I switch between a Van Den HUL MC 10 or a GRADO wood body cartridge. These headphones may do well with a tube amplifier to bring out the more recessed mid frequencies and soften any trace of sibilance. My conclusions: These headphone are a worthy contender in the audiophile arena and perhaps one of the best bargains on the used Head-Fi market. I have yet to buy an after market cable like Equinox and will most likely consider a well designed tube headphone amplifier that will serve the headphones well.

Edited by arte arquiteto - 2/27/14 at 4:24am
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