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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 895

post #13411 of 21213

Agree, you should really be running Bit-perfect outputs on foobar to get the fullest out of your setup.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/foobar2000-a-guide-to-set-up

 

I was initially somewhat letdown by my DT880 and HD650 also until I discovered bit-perfect outputs.

post #13412 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney View Post

Don't break them in at higher than listening levels.  At least, I never do that.  

 

Can't comment about the sound, but different expectations and desires count for a lot. Different reference points such as IEMs make a big difference in what sounds you like.  

 

At first, I thought my HD650 was worse than my Phonak PF232 IEMs.  But as I improved my source, my amp, replaced the Senn cables, etc, I found that the PFE may have more extension but will never sound as realistic, startling at times, as my HD650.  Part was changes in expectations, but most was change in the transparency due to removing the foam, replacing the cables to my 650 (Cardas Clear Light) and from DAC to amp (Moon Blue Dragon v3).  

Personally I think that HD650 are great right out of a cheap sound card. The sound signature and the main qualities and characteristics of the sound of HD650 are present even with a very simple source and amplification. The sound quality would improve significantly with a better source and amplification but the sound signature would still be the same IMHO. So if the sound signature is the problem then .... wink.gif

post #13413 of 21213
Quote:
I personally like warmth, lushness and very good vocal rendition

Strange, the general consensus seems to be that this is what HD650 do.

 

Give them some time, when I first got mine 3yrs ago (coming from HD555 at home, PX100 at work) I was somewhat shocked, they didn't sound at all like I had expected, which was HD555 but "better" in all areas. To me mine sounded rough and uncouth (I previously have described my first impression of them as "aggressive" but no one here seemed to believe that) I was OMG what have I done, blown $400, even after the 40-80 hours burn-in (that I didn't really believe, but what the hell) still not liking - then at some point it clicked and all was good, then a few weeks later it shifted again becoming even better - just my subjective impressions. I'm sure glad I didn't give up on them - still loving them.

 

Maybe coming from IEMs your expectations are unrealistic, I can't make any comments on relative presentations as I can't use IEMs


Edited by jimmers - 8/18/13 at 3:23am
post #13414 of 21213
1. It could be a problem with your amp like you said.
2. My experience has been that full side headphones do not impress immediately in the same way that good IEMs do. Espeially since you are coming from listening primarily to IEMs it seems, its likely you haven't fully adjusted to the new presentation yet. I will say that I agree the SM3 bass is flatter and sometimes more accurate/tighter than HD650 bass; the only headphones of any kind Ive found that have better bass are Aurisonics. However ultimately if you pay attention, I think one thing you will find (once you ensure your amp is OK) is that the overall realism of presentation in the HD650 is on a completely different level than any IEM could physically accomplish; again the SM3 has a very unnatural/abnormal way of presenting sound and it may take your ears a while to adjust from that style of listening.
3. The mids on the HD650 sound veiled to some; same goes for SM3, but the HD650 is a full sized open headphone which means its vocal presentation is much less direct and forward than any IEM, especially the SM3, which literally puts the vocals inside your head and almost makes you feel like you're the one singing.
4. The HD650 uses big huge dynamic drivers, which are at least as detailed as the UM3X and SM3 when properly amped, but will never be as fast as mutli-BA setups.

Hope this helps :-) Ultimately they are very different headphones, so no matter how similar the sound signatures are, never expect them to be the same. I made a similar mistake projecting expectations of a full-sized PX100-ii, and was similarly disappointed at my very first listen, but quickly came to see that they are simply very, very different.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper View Post

Hello,

I just recently received a pair of HD650s and I am very worried/disappointed. I'm hoping you owners can help me out.

My chain is the following:

16bit 44.1 .flac > Schiit Modi (DAC) > Bottlehead Crack + Speedball Upgrade (amp) > Sennheiser HD650.

SUMMARY:

1. The treble just doesn't sound good. It's just very unnatural and artificial. It just doesn't sound believable at all. Hearing treble on my old Westone UM3Xs was better.

2. The bass presentation was very, very disappointing. The bass is not dynamic at all; it just sounds like a big floppy woosh that hits without any sort of character. It's like having someone with a big drum who hits it exactly the same every single time. The bass is not tight nor punchy.

3. The mids aren't particularly impressive either. I find the mids on my Earsonics SM3s sound better... I really thought that big cans would blow my universal IEMs out of the water, but so far, no. I mean, maybe it's not the signature of the HD650s to have very forward mids, but the voices don't sound lush or anything either (even at a greater distance than something very mid forward like the SE535s or SM3s).

4. The best thing I can say about them is that they seem very flat from top to bottom, and are fairly revealing (I can instantly hear a bad recording and exactly what is a cheap sample vs. a good quality recording). Electronic music often sounds bad on them because of the way it picks apart the often crappy synths and samples some producers use.

5. Overall, I just don't find anything they do very realistic or natural. It's just very unnatural sounding. Voices sound like they're being played to me (I'm used to vocals that sound like they're realistically singing to me). Music just sounds like it's being directed into my ear, rather than any kind of immersion. The treble is perhaps the worst part though; it just sounds fake.

I am very let down by the HD650s. I have been asking a lot of questions on the Bottlehead forums about the amp and how to make sure that I'm getting optimal amp performance. I'm doing some resoldering in the amp tomorrow on the capacitors to make sure everything is proper. I even ordered a more expensive and highly reputed tube for my amp (a Tung Sol 5998) to try and warm up the sound and to make the most of the headphones through the amp, so I'll have to see the difference when that arrives. In the meantime, however, I would like some feedback on the headphones themselves from good owners like you guys.

There haven't been a lot of burn-in yet on the headphones. I've been running pink noise at higher than listening volume into them, but I've only gotten to put in about 5-7 hours so far. Should I expect big improvements at 50-100 hrs?

I have the silver driver HD650s!

Thanks,
Pepper

P.S.: They're still better than your average headphone by a lot, but their sound isn't very alluring. Do you think it's maybe just a sound signature problem? I personally like warmth, lushness and very good vocal rendition (mid forwardness).

Edited by Gilly87 - 8/18/13 at 6:02am
post #13415 of 21213

I'd say let yourself get used to the 650.

post #13416 of 21213

Thanks for the responses, guys.

 

I now have the output from Foobar2000 coming out at 24bit (my Schiit Modi can support it) through the WASAPI event. 

 

The sound is getting better with burn in. I left it on for 6-7 hours with pink noise last night and the treble is less harsh. 

 

Maybe it's just not a sound signature match for me. To me, everything sounds a bit lifeless. The treble, though improved, sounds a little deflated and unenergetic (I think the HD650s are described as "laid back").

 

I think the most glaring problem is that I hear absolutely no lows. I really have to check if it's my amp, because I'm listening to music that I'm used to, and the reason why I'm not having a marvelous time with them is because I am getting absolutely no lows.

 

My friend, who did audio engineering, auditioned them about two days ago. The first thing he said was that the lows were missing. 

 

Would anyone here knowledgeable in amps know what in an amp might affect the lows? (Like a capacitor or something?) Or, is this normal behavior of the HD650 sound signature?

 

Thanks a lot for the help. I really can't wait for my new tube to get here so I can improve the sound over this stock sound. (Upon reading more reviews, I've learned that the Bottlehead is a very neutral sounding amp. And though neutral is good for mixing, etc., I am not having that fun of a time listening since I'm used to pretty warm and colored IEMs.)

UPDATE EDIT: Sound is getting better as I listen and as it burns in more. It's certainly a lot less harsh than before, and I think I'm getting more used to the laid-backness of them. Not sure if they're totally my cup of tea, but there is gradual and slow improvement. I still am hungry for lows, however. 


Edited by Pepper - 8/18/13 at 9:59am
post #13417 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper View Post

Thanks for the responses, guys.

I now have the output from Foobar2000 coming out at 24bit (my Schiit Modi can support it) through the WASAPI event. 

The sound is getting better with burn in. I left it on for 6-7 hours with pink noise last night and the treble is less harsh. 

Maybe it's just not a sound signature match for me. To me, everything sounds a bit lifeless. The treble, though improved, sounds a little deflated and unenergetic (I think the HD650s are described as "laid back").

I think the most glaring problem is that I hear absolutely no lows. I really have to check if it's my amp, because I'm listening to music that I'm used to, and the reason why I'm not having a marvelous time with them is because I am getting absolutely no lows.

My friend, who did audio engineering, auditioned them about two days ago. The first thing he said was that the lows were missing. 

Would anyone here knowledgeable in amps know what in an amp might affect the lows? (Like a capacitor or something?) Or, is this normal behavior of the HD650 sound signature?

Thanks a lot for the help. I really can't wait for my new tube to get here so I can improve the sound over this stock sound. (Upon reading more reviews, I've learned that the Bottlehead is a very neutral sounding amp. And though neutral is good for mixing, etc., I am not having that fun of a time listening since I'm used to pretty warm and colored IEMs.)

UPDATE EDIT: Sound is getting better as I listen and as it burns in more. It's certainly a lot less harsh than before, and I think I'm getting more used to the laid-backness of them. Not sure if they're totally my cup of tea, but there is gradual and slow improvement. I still am hungry for lows, however. 

You may want to try a silver or SPC cable with them. Some find that tightens up and extends the sound signature.
post #13418 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glow Fish View Post


You may want to try a silver or SPC cable with them. Some find that tightens up and extends the sound signature.

It would not be a great idea, IMHO, to invest additional hundreds of dollars in cables for a headphone whose sound signatur Pepper probably doesn't like. Re-cabling can bring some benefits as you and some other people say but I doubt it would widely change the sound signature. YMMV.

post #13419 of 21213
The 650's can give you that nice midbass thump, add the slow note decay and the 650's display that commonly described bassy signature but the overall resolution of the phones are limited, especially at both ends of the spectrum. An expensive cable will not alleviate this limitation of the 650.
post #13420 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper View Post

Thanks for the responses, guys.

 

I now have the output from Foobar2000 coming out at 24bit (my Schiit Modi can support it) through the WASAPI event. 

 

The sound is getting better with burn in. I left it on for 6-7 hours with pink noise last night and the treble is less harsh. 

 

Maybe it's just not a sound signature match for me. To me, everything sounds a bit lifeless. The treble, though improved, sounds a little deflated and unenergetic (I think the HD650s are described as "laid back").

 

I think the most glaring problem is that I hear absolutely no lows. I really have to check if it's my amp, because I'm listening to music that I'm used to, and the reason why I'm not having a marvelous time with them is because I am getting absolutely no lows.

 

My friend, who did audio engineering, auditioned them about two days ago. The first thing he said was that the lows were missing. 

 

Would anyone here knowledgeable in amps know what in an amp might affect the lows? (Like a capacitor or something?) Or, is this normal behavior of the HD650 sound signature?

 

Thanks a lot for the help. I really can't wait for my new tube to get here so I can improve the sound over this stock sound. (Upon reading more reviews, I've learned that the Bottlehead is a very neutral sounding amp. And though neutral is good for mixing, etc., I am not having that fun of a time listening since I'm used to pretty warm and colored IEMs.)

UPDATE EDIT: Sound is getting better as I listen and as it burns in more. It's certainly a lot less harsh than before, and I think I'm getting more used to the laid-backness of them. Not sure if they're totally my cup of tea, but there is gradual and slow improvement. I still am hungry for lows, however. 

Be aware that while HD650 are great headphones they are very picky with what gear you pair them with. I heard my HD650 with many different setups costing from less than $200 to about $2000 (most at the meet not home) but there is only 2 units I PERSONALLY HEARD, Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 and Woo Audio WA7, which are perfect match for HD650 and give you fast, tight, deep, punchy bass while others were lacking it but provided great mids and highs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glow Fish View Post


You may want to try a silver or SPC cable with them. Some find that tightens up and extends the sound signature.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muxamed View Post

It would not be a great idea, IMHO, to invest additional hundreds of dollars in cables for a headphone whose sound signatur Pepper probably doesn't like. Re-cabling can bring some benefits as you and some other people say but I doubt it would widely change the sound signature. YMMV.

+1 first find senergy between DAC, Amp and headphones and only then get aftermarket cable for little bit more but noticeable improvement

post #13421 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper View Post


 

I think the most glaring problem is that I hear absolutely no lows. I really have to check if it's my amp, because I'm listening to music that I'm used to, and the reason why I'm not having a marvelous time with them is because I am getting absolutely no lows.

 

Have you tried a powered USB hub for your Modi? I've had to use a powered USB hub for nearly every DAC I've ever had. The most finicky DAC was the HRT MSII. Lots of pops and clicks when scrolling through windows etc. This is with my crappy laptop's USB ports and even all my desktop ports. How annoying.

 

I also noticed that my amp's sound suffers when I hook it to a MOV based surge protector. I had that same thing happen with my Magni.

 

You probably just don't like the HD-650 type sound. I didn't at first and spent lots of money on trying to like it with a new DAC and Amp. Took me years later to give it another try and now I love it? Not sure why!

 

I probably couldn't stand the HD-650 on a tube amp (if the one being used makes the HD-650 even warmer).

 

LOL I was complaining the other day that my music sounded muffled with my new pads yesterday and now I realized it was probably just the track.

 

The Modi seems to make the HD-650 a little more less forgiving and much more detailed.

 

Soundstage is amazing with the HD-650 IMO. Totally underrated and not huge, but almost better than the Q701 at times. Especially with movies. There were two occasions where I took off my headphone thinking something weird was going on outside my bedroom. Turns out it was just the headphone fooling me. You could hear details outside the room (the one in the movie) and even buzzing from overhead lights. Got that a lot from the K501. Feels like often stuff can come from behind me.

 

BTW to those that said headphone cables are expensive. Doesn't have to be. You can make an SPC HD-650 cable for probably under $50. Belden makes some SPC wire for dirt cheap. Too bad the Sennheiser connectors are $20. Since someone mentioned SPC I just attached a DIY ALO SXC interconnect I made from scrap wire. Probably would cost $200 retail in a box despite being 6" confused_face.gif I hate SXC (especially with the Q701). Luckily I haven't been able to hear from difference in cables since switching from the HRT MSII. Not sure why. I usually use $30 Mogami cables from Redco etc. Anyway, not worth making a headphone cable for a headphone you probably don't like!

 

I actually use the HD-600 cable with my HD-650 biggrin.gif I think it has a lower capacitance rating or something. My amp only has a 1/8" jack and that's mostly why.

post #13422 of 21213

I find the HD650 sound good with whatever equipment, but good is not enough sometimes.  

To sound great, it takes better equipment and source.  And in particular, for the bass to be extended and flat/tight, and the treble to be focused and sharp when the music calls for it, while revealing the subtle differences in treble strikes in jazz, for example... these take much experimentation with cables, amps, and DACs.  

 

 

 

Quote:
The mids on the HD650 sound veiled to some; same goes for SM3, but the HD650 is a full sized open headphone which means its vocal presentation is much less direct and forward than any IEM

 

Two generalizations I can't agree with: 

 

"Veiled" is primarly if not exclusively associated with pre-2007 shipments of HD650s, the ones with black instead of silver mesh seen from outside.  

 

And, vocal presentation is rather full and well integrated from lows to highs compared to some IEMs, such as my PFE 232, which have a v-shaped response that slightly breaks vocals in two parts. Yet the perceived distance to the voice is a bit farther than some other phones and IEMs which feel in-your-face (or head).  


Edited by Stoney - 8/18/13 at 5:10pm
post #13423 of 21213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney View Post

I find the HD650 sound good with whatever equipment, but good is not enough sometimes.  

To sound great, it takes better equipment and source.  And in particular, for the bass to be extended and flat/tight, and the treble to be focused and sharp when the music calls for it, while revealing the subtle differences in treble strikes in jazz, for example... these take much experimentation with cables, amps, and DACs.

 

+1

post #13424 of 21213
I agree vocals on the HD650 are very full and involving, but if you've ever heard the SM3 you will know that its vocal presentation is EXTREMELY intimate and unlike any headphone I have heard, or read about for that matter. Coming from the SM3 to Anything is going to be odd because their presentation completely unique and very, very different from any full-sized headphone. It pushes vocals forward enough that anything with a similarly warm signature could easily sound "veiled" in comparison.

Glad I got the silver drivers...if vocals were less clear I would be rather disappointed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney View Post

I find the HD650 sound good with whatever equipment, but good is not enough sometimes.  
To sound great, it takes better equipment and source.  And in particular, for the bass to be extended and flat/tight, and the treble to be focused and sharp when the music calls for it, while revealing the subtle differences in treble strikes in jazz, for example... these take much experimentation with cables, amps, and DACs.  




Two generalizations I can't agree with: 

"Veiled" is primarly if not exclusively associated with pre-2007 shipments of HD650s, the ones with black instead of silver mesh seen from outside.  

And, vocal presentation is rather full and well integrated from lows to highs compared to some IEMs, such as my PFE 232, which have a v-shaped response that slightly breaks vocals in two parts. Yet the perceived distance to the voice is a bit farther than some other phones and IEMs which feel in-your-face (or head).  

Edited by Gilly87 - 8/18/13 at 5:39pm
post #13425 of 21213

Again, thanks for the responses guys.

 

After about another 7-10 hours of burning in, the headphones are sounding A LOT better. I actually cannot believe how much better they are sounding.

 

From my first comments, you could tell how upset and disappointed I was with the HD650s. I put them back on about half way through today of burning in, and the mids moved forward a lot, the lows are coming in, and the bass is tighter. The treble isn't harsh like it was before.

 

The HD650s are taking on characteristics as others have described, now. I still find the treble very, very slllooowwww and unenergetic. I think this is the worst part of the sound; I really like energetic treble. The bass is also whooshy and not punchy, which is a big downside.

 

I am excited to get to the 50 hours milestone for burn-in, and then the 100 hours mark. After that, I think there won't be many changes (maybe minor at 200 hrs). I was very skeptical of burn in before this, but wow is the change noticeable in sound.

 

Still not sure if it's my cup of tea (the HD650s are a little sluggish for me), but I'm a lot happier so far. I am extremely excited to put in a Tung Sol 5998 tube and hook up a new DAC (I'm going to sell my friend my Modi) and try to get a warmer more solid sounding DAC. Any suggestions for good DAC matches for the HD650? I'm wondering if there are any DACs that can quicken or tighten up the sound and/or make it a little warmer? :)

 

Things are looking upward, guys! Thanks for all the comments so far. I have taken your suggestions!


Edited by Pepper - 8/18/13 at 9:37pm
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