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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 153

post #2281 of 36851

A word on cables and psychology...  In effect as soon as we make a purchase decision, we WANT our choice to be validated.  In subtle instances of perception, we can easily "hear" differences that only exist because we are paying attention.  And when we don't make blind comparisons we easily influence our own perceptions by "knowing" which gear is in use.

 

Unfortunately, A/B testing is really hard to pull off, in part because our "memory" for sound is not so great.  It's like looking at a breaking wave on the beach, we see the detail as it's happening, but comparing to the next wave is very difficult as we are really left with points of detail or impressions.  

 

For all these reasons, the "super cable" myth is very easy to propagate, and very hard to prove or disprove.  Ultimately, I can really only say this:  as an EE I have built a lot of audio gear, and done a lot of testing.  Most cables that purport to make a big difference in sound are doing so because they either are filtering out information due to high capacitance or inductance, or are adding some sort of ringing to the transient response.  Why?  At their heart, all cables are nothing more than a LCR circuit, which means they are acting like a filter or a introduce resonant peaks that reduce signal amplitude and alters the waveform.  Oh, by the way, the internal cabling in your electronics and/or phones is probably incredibly cheap stuff...

 

The ONLY cables I have ever seen which really totally knocked it out of the park by having a real solid engineering approach are those made by Goertz, but they don't do headphones (no, I have no interest in this, but actually did buy them for interconnects and speaker wires at home once I measured their performance).  I certainly haven't tested them all, but in most cases there is no reason to.

 

So, for lay people who aren't engineers what are some tips for cables that should be considered?

 

1) For low/line level signals, shielding is very important, and shields should be grounded on one end only

2) XLR/balanced cables are also excellent for line level, if you have balanced gear, as it cuts out most RFI and EM interference

3) For speaker/phone level use, well higher gauge can reduce loss due to resistance.  Other effects are really going to be pretty subtle, so before you go there seriously get the upstream components optimized, you'll get way more bang from an extra $300 on your DAC/Amp than on a fancy cable.

 

The 650 is wonderfully detailed and revealing.  Since micro-details are easily heard, create the best possible signal, and protect it when it's at it's lowest amplitude with balanced or well shielded interconnects.  Buy a fancy amp to phone cable if everything else is nailed and you have $ to spare, but know that your brain may well try to fool you into believing you hear a difference that may not exist.  Happens to everyone, me too.  It's how we're "wired..."

post #2282 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveotron View Post

Just got my headphones but my NuForce Icon HD doesn't arrive until tomorrow. I'm playing them straight from my computer, and at full volume they barely reach a "kind of loud" volume, and everything seems a bit muddy. This will give me a good chance to see the effects of proper amplification when my setup is complete.

 

As for the fit, the clamping isn't as bad as I remember (at least from the HD555). I've always had a problem with my right ear touching drivers or on some part of the inside of cups that made that ear hurt (e.g., with the AD700), but the cups seem deep enough that they either don't touch or barely touch, and they feel very comfortable. I'm sure the clamping will lessen with time. I'm thinking about wearing glasses full-time again instead of contacts, and so far I feel OK with my glasses. It'll probably also get better as the pads soften up a bit.

 



you're not alone.  the 650's need help to sound their best.  your impressions straight out of a computer mirror everyone's, I would think.  let us know what you think when the NuForce is sitting between the two. :-)

post #2283 of 36851

I just took some measurements to see what the "brightness filter" I have been using on my HeadRoom amp was actually doing. Here are the results. this may be helpful to somebody who wants to brighten up their HD650's a bit. This is the difference between the switch in the off position and the "filter 1" position. "Filter 2" seems to kick in even earlier and may be a db stronger all the way up the spectrum. I prefer "filter 1".

 

1,000hz:   1db

1,500hz:   1~2db

2,000hz:   2db

2,500hz:   2db

3,000hz:   2~3db

4,000hz:   3db

5,000hz:   3db

7,500hz:   3db

10,000hz: 3db

12,500hz: 3db

15,000hz: 3db

I didn't measure at any higher frequencies, but we get the picture here...

 

I have been using filter 1 since day 1 and it adds just enough brightness for me. 

 

my next test will be to find out how much bass and warmth the crossfeed is adding. stay tuned.

post #2284 of 36851

Just took some measurements comparing crossfeed off vs on. So this is what HeadRoom's crossfeed does to my HD650's. So for somebody who wants more warmth and bass from their HD650's, this may help.

 

 25hz:   3db

 30hz:   3db

 40hz:   3db

 45hz:   3db

 50hz:   2db

100hz: 2db

200hz: 2db

250hz: 2db

300hz: 2db

400hz: 2db

500hz: 1db

 

I guess if I add this to what my brightness filter is doing I am adding a bit of a "V" to my HD650's. Who's to say my amp is 100% natural with both of these features turned off though. All I know is that with both on, it makes them a lot more fun. The detail is still there but it adds some bass and it adds some treble. Neither of these 1-3db additions are huge, but it sure adds some excitement to these things.

post #2285 of 36851

My Audio-GD Fun's amp section is discrete so there are no opamps to colour its presentation. The Fun's dac output section however, can be tweaked to adjust the sound coming out of that section to one's preference. With the Earth hdam installed in that socket the Fun is configured into a very neutral and transparent combo. I'm listening to this configuration right now and while the smoothness, clarity and definition is astounding, I can't imagine how more treble on top of this neutrality could be beneficial to the sq.

 

Someone commented earlier that added warmth is the last thing the HD650 needs and until recently I would have agreed. To me it did not make any sense to do so, until I replaced Earth with the warmer and apparently tube like signature of the Moon hdam. This configuration is not as transparent or even as technically capable but the added sizzle and energy to the HD650's already impressive midrange presentation is irresistible.

 

These two hdams have made me understand the musical vs neutral/analytical debate and highlights yet again how amazingly versatile the HD650 is. Both options sound great but I prefer getting smothered in the lusher and fuller bodied mids of Moon to the micro detail scrutiny presented by Earth.

post #2286 of 36851

I am also adding a bit of bass and warmth too. I am adding a very slight "V" shape to mine. It makes them sound more fun. I have used the "filter 1" plus crossfeed combo since day one and really enjoy it. Anytime I switch either or both off, it sounds a bit boring. The only part not being boosted at all seems to be the 500hz to1000hz area. A 3db difference is not huge though so I don't feel I am coloring the sound to bad. It just makes them sound a bit more energetic and lively.

 

With actual music listening, the brightness filter also seems to expand the soundstage a bit as well. Maybe it's just a side effect of frequency response... who know's.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

My Audio-GD Fun's amp section is discrete so there are no opamps to colour its presentation. The Fun's dac output section however, can be tweaked to adjust the sound coming out of that section to one's preference. With the Earth hdam installed in that socket the Fun is configured into a very neutral and transparent combo. I'm listening to this configuration right now and while the smoothness, clarity and definition is astounding, I can't imagine how more treble on top of this neutrality could be beneficial to the sq.

 

Someone commented earlier that added warmth is the last thing the HD650 needs and until recently I would have agreed. To me it did not make any sense to do so, until I replaced Earth with the warmer and apparently tube like signature of the Moon hdam. This configuration is not as transparent or even as technically capable but the added sizzle and energy to the HD650's already impressive midrange presentation is irresistible.

 

These two hdams have made me understand the musical vs neutral/analytical debate and highlights yet again how amazingly versatile the HD650 is. Both options sound great but I prefer getting smothered in the lusher and fuller bodied mids of Moon to the micro detail scrutiny presented by Earth.

post #2287 of 36851

You guys are killing me...lurking this forum has goaded me into buying a headstage arrow amp, a Sennheiser 555, now I got the Sennheiser 650.  I called J&R and got it for $350.  I told them a friend of mine (head-fi) got it for $330 two weeks ago.  Thanks to the poster who let us in on the deal...

post #2288 of 36851

Got my HD early in the morning. I was super-excited and then read the disclaimer on the unit saying that should rest the unit on a table for about half an hour and then to ground it, and just to be on the safe side I actually followed the instructions waited it out. Anyways, things do seem clearer and I can definitely drive the headphones to a much higher volume. I have the volume at around 2-3 o'clock for classical recordings, and just 10 o'clock (have the unit standing vertically) for comfortable loudness with other genres.

 

I love the compactness of the unit, and it's sitting pretty right between my dual monitors. I have a glass desk, and light weight is a great plus.

 

Played some Erik Satie, Debussy, Chopin, Wes Montgomery, toe, Portishead, and Kanye just for comparison with my other headphones, and I don't think I've ever heard them sound as good as they do now.

post #2289 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveotron View Post

Got my HD early in the morning. I was super-excited and then read the disclaimer on the unit saying that should rest the unit on a table for about half an hour and then to ground it, and just to be on the safe side I actually followed the instructions waited it out. Anyways, things do seem clearer and I can definitely drive the headphones to a much higher volume. I have the volume at around 2-3 o'clock for classical recordings, and just 10 o'clock (have the unit standing vertically) for comfortable loudness with other genres.

 

I love the compactness of the unit, and it's sitting pretty right between my dual monitors. I have a glass desk, and light weight is a great plus.

 

Played some Erik Satie, Debussy, Chopin, Wes Montgomery, toe, Portishead, and Kanye just for comparison with my other headphones, and I don't think I've ever heard them sound as good as they do now.



Sounds amazing. Where did you order the Icon HD from? And it's the newer HD, not the HDP yes?

post #2290 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blisse View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by steveotron View Post

Got my HD early in the morning. I was super-excited and then read the disclaimer on the unit saying that should rest the unit on a table for about half an hour and then to ground it, and just to be on the safe side I actually followed the instructions waited it out. Anyways, things do seem clearer and I can definitely drive the headphones to a much higher volume. I have the volume at around 2-3 o'clock for classical recordings, and just 10 o'clock (have the unit standing vertically) for comfortable loudness with other genres.

 

I love the compactness of the unit, and it's sitting pretty right between my dual monitors. I have a glass desk, and light weight is a great plus.

 

Played some Erik Satie, Debussy, Chopin, Wes Montgomery, toe, Portishead, and Kanye just for comparison with my other headphones, and I don't think I've ever heard them sound as good as they do now.



Sounds amazing. Where did you order the Icon HD from? And it's the newer HD, not the HDP yes?


Yes, it is the newer HD (I only needed USB) and it was purchased from Amazon.com. I was waiting for Crutchfield.com to carry the unit because they have a $20 coupon code for their website, but I contacted both Crutchfield and NuForce and they said that they had not placed an order for the unit yet, so I decided to just get it from Amazon because I couldn't wait any longer. Definitely a great alternative for people who plan on using a DAC/AMP just for a desktop/headphone setup and feel like saving an extra $100. 

post #2291 of 36851

Yes, I'm sorry the HD option wasn't available when I got my HDP from Crutchfield (with the $20 coupon at least).  So far I haven't used anything but the USB input and the headphone out so the HD would have been perfect for me.

post #2292 of 36851

Seriously enjoying the 650 with a Burson 160D. Listening to Keith Jarret "live in Paris" in 24/96 and am blown away. I have some LCDs on order, but can honestly say I have never heard sound like this combo delivers. Extraordinary layers of detail and depth, with extraordinary "quiet between the notes."



My portable amps sounded very good with the 650 but this is just other worldly. It really reminds me of the first time I heard a high end Oracle t turntable with a great cartridge through Audio Research tube gear into some Eminient Technology Magnetic Planars. It's just magically powerful, clear and utterly free of grain, sizzle or other electronic artifacts. Lush and detailed without any hardness or etching, the 650s are just Scintilating.



Listening to a couple of Fiona Apple tracks from Tidal really drove home the depth and width of soundstage that could be achieved. Percussion, organ, drums and guitar were all cleanly rendered in their own beautifully defined space. Veil, what veil?

I
post #2293 of 36851

I think of getting a pair of 650s.

 

Could any1 tell me how well the 650s do with:

 

- female vocal jazz

- acoustic / songwriters

- alternative / rock (disturbed, bfmv, breaking benjamin, three days grace)

- prog (porcupine tree, dream theater)

- metal (judas priest, children of bodom, iron maiden)

 

some impressions would be nice

 

greez

post #2294 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by authistic View Post

I think of getting a pair of 650s.

 

Could any1 tell me how well the 650s do with:

 

- female vocal jazz

- acoustic / songwriters

- alternative / rock (disturbed, bfmv, breaking benjamin, three days grace)

- prog (porcupine tree, dream theater)

- metal (judas priest, children of bodom, iron maiden)

 

some impressions would be nice

 

greez



awesome with metal, awesome with prog, really awesome with acoustic... don't listen to the rest.

 

some say they are to laid back for metal, but i disagree.

post #2295 of 36851

The most distinct features I heard was how good the instrument distinction appears on these headphone, vocal are very well presented as well.

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