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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 1015

post #15211 of 36851

If anyone's looking for an impressive DAC+amp combo that sounds great with the 650 (and that won't break the bank, relatively speaking).. I heartily recommend the Audio-GD NFB-11.32.  I've had it for a couple of days and am quite pleased with how the 650 sounds off of it.  I actually got this unit to pair with the LCD-2 (also a very good pairing).. but was pleasantly surprised w/ how it paired with the 650, too.  The 11.32 can be used as a DAC & USB-to-SPDIF converter, as well.. so it can have a place in your system of you do decide to go in other directions for down/upstream gear.

 

Speaking of the LCD-2.. another one bites the dust!  Yep, I enjoyed the LCD-2 a lot.. but after spending a good few weeks with it.. I prefer the 650 to it.  The LCD-2 does excel vs the HD650 in some technical areas.. but judging both phones holistically, I find myself drawn to the 650 more.


Edited by FlySweep - 1/7/14 at 4:16pm
post #15212 of 36851

Bought an HD650 and couldn't be happier. I've been using an HE400 (too heavy) or HD595 (decent but not good enough) at my office, The HD650 is euphonic right out of the box.  I'm pairing it with an AQ Dragonfly or my FiiO E11 (my ALO audio MKll quit working 3 days ago). The lightweight amps push the HD650 without a problem.  

 

Compared with the HD800 the HD650 is a lot less amp picky.  The HD800 is fine with the Meir Classic stack at home but I'm not hauling that around.  The T1 is better with bass and imaging but the HD650 is right there with the T1 with mids and highs and again the T1 is harder to drive so again better left at home.

 

Any suggestions on a portable amp to replace the ALO MKll? I've considered the iCan Nano and FiiO E12. 

post #15213 of 36851

Lol FlySweep. This was me 3 weeks ago responding to your acquisition of the LCD-2:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by olor1n View Post
 

Yeah, the HD650 is a great workhorse. The HD800 is on a whole other level but my HD650 gets just as much head-time.

 

I've owned the LCD-2.2 alongside the HD650 on two separate occasions. The Audez'e (as good as it is) could never pull me away from the HD650. It's a side-grade IMO and I couldn't justify owning both. The HD650 won out. Both times.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post
 

[...]

 

Speaking of the LCD-2.. another one bites the dust!  Yep, I enjoyed the LCD-2 a lot.. but after spending a good few weeks with it.. I prefer the 650 to it.  The LCD-2 does excel vs the HD650 in some technical areas.. but judging both phones holistically, I find myself drawn to the 650 more.

 

I've riled a few of the Audez'e faithful by stating my findings. Tread carefully lol.

post #15214 of 36851
Quote:

Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

 

Speaking of the LCD-2.. another one bites the dust!  Yep, I enjoyed the LCD-2 a lot.. but after spending a good few weeks with it.. I prefer the 650 to it.  The LCD-2 does excel vs the HD650 in some technical areas.. but judging both phones holistically, I find myself drawn to the 650 more.

 

Ha! I knew you'd come around :tongue_smile:

 

I've never owned an HD650, but have extensive time with an HD600 and I prefer that to the LCD2 overall. Like you said, some aspects are better but holistically the HD600 win out.

 

Got an HD650 coming in any day now since you swayed me from an HD600 purchase. 

post #15215 of 36851

Think i've had the HD-650 now for 2 years. Hard to believe since I disliked a few older pairs. It gets more use now than my modded Q701 because it's a little more comfortable and doesn't feel like it's on my head.

For music I slightly prefer the modded Q701, but for gaming/movies the HD-650 is usually on my head. I'd say it's now my most used headphone. For bedroom use I have it connected to an O2.

 

I still think my HD-650 sounds basically neutral. I don't hear any emphasis and it's really just smooth sounding with some slight treble roll-off. I got it to sound less like this with many different amps but I don't like this.

 

I think it sounds amazing with the Headroom Micro Stack (Astrodyne required for best results!). It's soundstage is capable of being very large/spacious and airy sounding with the proper recordings. With movies and with a lowly O2 it sounds home theater like at times. Some say the HD-650 has a closed in soundstage, but I totally disagree. Not on my amps at least. I also don't find it as forgiving as some say. Maybe a little with the brightest recordings.

 

I'm really sick of headphones and haven't purchased any new ones over $100 in probably a year. I keep trying to find an amp that sounds better to MY EARS under $500 but haven't been able to do it. I like the uncolored/more analytical sound I guess. I'm perfectly happy with what I have though. Headroom gear is very underrated (and discontinued).

 

So far now I think i'll stick with the HD-650/Q701 and my DJ100. I have a K400 but they're so bass light that it kind of ruins the experience of some music. They do sound perfect for female vocals and especially (some) acoustic music.

My DJ100 with M50 pads is very close in sound to my HD-650, but has more treble and slightly more sub-bass. Unfortunately it generally stinks with portable players. Due to it's pads it can probably sound very bad for some, even with M50 pads.

 

I know this may be off the general consensus, but i've found it very possible to dislike a specific headphone on the wrong amp (despite it having enough power to drive it). I had that experience with my first K702 and HD-650.

Right now the HD-650 is sounding so good that there is not one thing I want to improve on. Even the low-bass is good and similar to the modded Q701 (which increases low bass presence).

 

I still need to try the Bifrost. Pretty sure i'd love that (I'm a Modi fanboy). Think i'll skip the Lyr (probably wouldn't like it), but the Valhalla sounds more like something i'd like for the HD-650. Despite it having less power for a 38ohm headphone I bet it'd still sound good with the Q701.

 

If I ever get rich I'd love to try the HE-500, but probably won't be happening this year. Apparently my amp can handle that with ease, but probably might struggle with the HE-6. I'll never buy a $1000 headphone EVER, even if i'm a millionaire. To want to do that i'd have to listen to music more than 2 hours per day!

post #15216 of 36851

Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

 

I've owned the LCD-2.2 alongside the HD650 on two separate occasions. The Audez'e (as good as it is) could never pull me away from the HD650. It's a side-grade IMO and I couldn't justify owning both. The HD650 won out. Both times..

 

I've riled a few of the Audez'e faithful by stating my findings. Tread carefully lol.

Originally Posted by Questhate View Post

 

Ha! I knew you'd come around :tongue_smile:

 

I've never owned an HD650, but have extensive time with an HD600 and I prefer that to the LCD2 overall. Like you said, some aspects are better but holistically the HD600 win out.

 

Got an HD650 coming in any day now since you swayed me from an HD600 purchase. 

 

On point, gentlemen.

 

@olor1n.. I got your back, man!  hahaa.  When I break down the individual parts of the LCD-2's technical abilities, it exceeds the 650 in a few areas.. but not by leaps and bounds, to my ears... and the HD650 exceeds the LCD-2 in quite a few areas, as well.  The LCD-2's bass is awesome.. so fluid, effortless, and lusciously textured.. but the (lack of) stage width began grating on me.  This was an area where the 650's can be much more immersive (again, when driven off a very good desktop amp).  There's certainly things the LCD-2 (and orthos in general) achieve that dynmaic driver-based phones (physically) can't.. but again, when I evaluate the signature and technical ability as a whole, I think the 650 is a better fit for me, long term.. at least until Senn comes out with a real successor to the 650.

 

You know what, Quest.. since letting go of the HE-500.. and hearing what the LCD-2 is all about.. my mind's been wandering back to the LCD-X you let me audition not so long ago.  It had the wonderful note weight we all love from orthos.. and the LCD-X is more neutral, more refined, and more resolving than either the LCD-2 or HE-500.  The signature was closer to the HE-500 than the LCD-2.. but it was also obvious the X was cut from the Audeze "cloth," so to speak.  After listening to the X, the HE-500 sounded raw and unrefined.. while the LCD-2 sounded a bit too glossy, intimate, and lacking resolution.  Only downside to the X was I found it ever so slightly "hot" somewhere in the upper-mids (or lower- to mid-treble).. but it's something I'm willing to overlook in the grand scheme of things.  The LCD-X's refinement and stage was certainly memorable, though.  I just wished it was priced around the HE-500's ballpark.  I'm excited for the revised HiFiMan orthos that will make their debut at CES.. the 860 certainly seems like it might be my cup of tea (and relatively more wallet friendly!).

 

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the HD650.  Setting aside tuning preferences, I find the 650 to sound noticeably more spacious, resolving, and more technically capable than the 600.  Toss a Fiio E12 at the 650 & 600.. and the 650 probably won't impress or distinguish itself in any meaningful way.  Drive both off a speedballed Crack.. and the difference in performance (that favors the 650, IMO) becomes pretty apparent... provided the signature works for you, of course.  I became pretty enamored with the 600's neutrality (so much so that I bought the HD600 twice).  I still love & respect it immensely.. but as as I dug deeper into the 600, the technical shortcomings (especially when the 650 arrived) became more apparent (and difficult to overlook).

post #15217 of 36851

^^ I agree with what you've said, especially when referring to the newest lcd2 with the new softer pads (more neutral than before).  The BHC with speedball and the hd650 would be end game for many, me included. 

post #15218 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post
 

Think i've had the HD-650 now for 2 years. Hard to believe since I disliked a few older pairs. It gets more use now than my modded Q701 because it's a little more comfortable and doesn't feel like it's on my head.

For music I slightly prefer the modded Q701, but for gaming/movies the HD-650 is usually on my head. I'd say it's now my most used headphone. For bedroom use I have it connected to an O2.

 

I still think my HD-650 sounds basically neutral. I don't hear any emphasis and it's really just smooth sounding with some slight treble roll-off. I got it to sound less like this with many different amps but I don't like this.

 

I think it sounds amazing with the Headroom Micro Stack (Astrodyne required for best results!). It's soundstage is capable of being very large/spacious and airy sounding with the proper recordings. With movies and with a lowly O2 it sounds home theater like at times. Some say the HD-650 has a closed in soundstage, but I totally disagree. Not on my amps at least. I also don't find it as forgiving as some say. Maybe a little with the brightest recordings.

 

 

I'm really sick of headphones and haven't purchased any new ones over $100 in probably a year. I keep trying to find an amp that sounds better to MY EARS under $500 but haven't been able to do it. I like the uncolored/more analytical sound I guess. I'm perfectly happy with what I have though. Headroom gear is very underrated (and discontinued).

 

So far now I think i'll stick with the HD-650/Q701 and my DJ100. I have a K400 but they're so bass light that it kind of ruins the experience of some music. They do sound perfect for female vocals and especially (some) acoustic music.

My DJ100 with M50 pads is very close in sound to my HD-650, but has more treble and slightly more sub-bass. Unfortunately it generally stinks with portable players. Due to it's pads it can probably sound very bad for some, even with M50 pads.

 

I know this may be off the general consensus, but i've found it very possible to dislike a specific headphone on the wrong amp (despite it having enough power to drive it). I had that experience with my first K702 and HD-650.

Right now the HD-650 is sounding so good that there is not one thing I want to improve on. Even the low-bass is good and similar to the modded Q701 (which increases low bass presence).

 

I still need to try the Bifrost. Pretty sure i'd love that (I'm a Modi fanboy). Think i'll skip the Lyr (probably wouldn't like it), but the Valhalla sounds more like something i'd like for the HD-650. Despite it having less power for a 38ohm headphone I bet it'd still sound good with the Q701.

 

If I ever get rich I'd love to try the HE-500, but probably won't be happening this year. Apparently my amp can handle that with ease, but probably might struggle with the HE-6. I'll never buy a $1000 headphone EVER, even if i'm a millionaire. To want to do that i'd have to listen to music more than 2 hours per day!

 

I haven't heard the Valhalla, but since it's all tube, I doubt you'll get the neutral sound you seem to crave.  Well, I suppose you could tweak the tubes until you got the signature you want.  Careful not to fall down that tube rollin' rabbit hole ;)  Since I have the HE-500s and the HD 650s I "need" the Lyr.  Well, I got it mostly for the HE-500s, and to see what all this tube rolling fuss is about.  Now I'm living on Watership Down with the rest of the rabbits.  Would the Valhalla be a good amp for the HE-500s?  Just thinking of your future purchase of a used pair of HE-500s after the new HFMs come out :D

 

I know you did the fully open bass port mod on your Q701s.  Having the HD 650s makes me glad I went with the foam over the hole, as the 650s rev up the bass plenty in recordings where the HE-500s and Q701s leave me wanting just a little more (listening to Steely Dan as I type, which is a good example).  Three quite different cans, to my ears, all good.  The HD 650s driven by the Lyr with these uber inexpensive 1974 Voskhod Rockets are pretty perfect for SD.  Of course, for many that slightly exaggerated bass ain't the thing.  Still have the beautiful soundstage and details.  In a word: fun.  We're allowed to have fun, right? ;)

 

Well, tdock, I don't want to encourage you to blow a lot of money, but keep an eye out for used HE-500s in a few months.

post #15219 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post
 

 

I haven't heard the Valhalla, but since it's all tube, I doubt you'll get the neutral sound you seem to crave...

It's an interesting pairing, because the 650s are a bit "dark" and then the Valhalla being a bit "bright" with the stock tubes, it really balances these headphones out. I believe transparency/clarity also depends on the DAC you use. The other day I used the amp on one of the systems I've got that has an M-Audio 2496 and it didn't sound as impressive as it does on my Crane Song Avocet. Being a little bit surprised by the difference, I then hooked up the Valhalla to a Digidesign 002r (better DAC than the M-Audio but not mastering grade like the Crane Song) and while instrument separation and transparency was better than the 2496, it almost sounded like the amp was broken in comparison to how it sounds when being fed by the Avocet. As they say though: "YMMV".

post #15220 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFi1972 View Post
 

It's an interesting pairing, because the 650s are a bit "dark" and then the Valhalla being a bit "bright" with the stock tubes, it really balances these headphones out. I believe transparency/clarity also depends on the DAC you use. The other day I used the amp on one of the systems I've got that has an M-Audio 2496 and it didn't sound as impressive as it does on my Crane Song Avocet. Being a little bit surprised by the difference, I then hooked up the Valhalla to a Digidesign 002r (better DAC than the M-Audio but not mastering grade like the Crane Song) and while instrument separation and transparency was better than the 2496, it almost sounded like the amp was broken in comparison to how it sounds when being fed by the Avocet. As they say though: "YMMV".

 

Interesting.  Thanks for the post :smile:

 

Yeah, not blown away by my M-Audio DACs, even compared to my HiFimeDIY setup.

post #15221 of 36851

I don't know with the first revision of the Valhalla, but the rev 2 isn't bright to me with the HD650 (stock tubes).

post #15222 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rem0o View Post
 

I don't know with the first revision of the Valhalla, but the rev 2 isn't bright to me with the HD650 (stock tubes).

 

Isn't bright in compare to which amp? I do think it's brighter than the Lyr.

post #15223 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdrm360 View Post
 

 

Isn't bright in compare to which amp? I do think it's brighter than the Lyr.

I compared it to a few solid states stuff, AV receivers, Fiio gear and so on. Plugged my headphones into whatever I could basically, and I still don't find the Valhalla rev 2 bright at all.

post #15224 of 36851

Yep, the Valhalla is an OTL and it shouldn't be brighter than the solid state amps in general. 

post #15225 of 36851

I've tried out my pile of Schiit with the HD 650 for about a week now. It's pretty nice, but I still have mixed feelings on the high end. It seems a little bit fatiguing after listening for long periods. This might just be my recently lack of sleep, though. To me, it does seem noticeably brighter than my Headroom Desktop Amp even with the brightness turned up on it. The impact and separation are still amazing, though. I've never tried listening to either the Bifrost Uber or Valhalla in isolation so I'm not sure what each component is doing to the sound signature.

 

As a bit of an aside on the Valhalla, I notice the two sets of tubes on the right side out of the four sit higher than the two on the left side, looking from the front. Is this normal? I was a little concerned when I first installed the tubes since this is my first tube amp. I installed the tubes twice to make sure they were seated properly. I don't hear any distortion and lights are on in all four tubes. 

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