Time for an update now that I´ve burned these in for two days with my iPod during the night etc. By the way, man these sound bad from an iPod (just as they should with their specs) :D I was shocked how muddy they were. But to get to my actual current impressions now that I´ve listened to lots of different material with these...
I think these sound a lot like an out of head soundstage version of the Shure 530 I used to have. And by that I mean very high praise, as I easily prefered the Shure530 tonality over the LCD-2 and HD 800. So to comment on Bisayabois "Can't understand how one could prefer something over the HD650 (in it's price range)"... To be honest I really, really prefer these over all the high end dynamic headphones I´ve heard (including the T1, HD 800 and LCD2). The HD 650 tonality is just perfect to my ears, and it still has beautiful soundstaging. Don´t get me wrong, the current high price flagships do many things extremely well, but all in my experience have an extremely annoying flaw. The HD 650 has no such flaw. The only minus I´ve discovered is that they don´t sound nearly as good as the high price ones with low volume listening. But they are the only dynamic headphones I´ve tried in addition to the LCD2 that allow me to crank up the volume without getting any sort of listening fatigue (also known as the HD 800/T1/DT 880 SHRILL SIBILANCE OF HELL that prevents all attempts at higher volume listening).
That is a remarkable achievement. In all the headphones I´ve tried, I honestly think the HD 650 as an overall package sound the best. With the current low price, these are also extremely good value. I sincerely hope Sennheiser revisits the HD 650 design goal someday with a new product (as stated in the manual, easy listening musicality instead of the hardcore neutrality target of the HD 800). I would love to see the HD 800 ring drivers, angled, with the tonality of the HD 650. But until that happens, these are for me, the best headphones I´ve tried in the dynamic headphone world. I wouldn´t have expected to end up with these, as I specifically decided to go for the new praised flagships. Can´t wait to balance the cable so I can hear the full 2W per channel at 300ohm in pure class A that the Phoenix delivers :-) Judging by the iPod test, these really, really like a lot of power to bring them alive. Amped properly, these is no veil, simply a glorious relaxing, but powerful sound. The bass strikes hard, highs are beautifully non-fatiguing and natural without being too recessed like on the LCD2. The midrange is a bit forward and warm, like on the Shure 530.
PS: I also prefer the K701 over the current flagships I´ve tried, and those will probably end up my second dynamic headphones to complement these.
I think you just single handedly killed my desire to eventually try out flagships. It's been said before that balanced HD650s in the right system can hold their own against any flagship, and I always took those comments with a grain of salt, but I'm slowly becoming a believer. The more I read the more it makes sense: they do very little very wrong. I don't think I'd ever spend $1K on a flagship unless it was perfect. When you pay 3x the amount of the HD650s, you had better be getting perfection, or atleast very close to it.
For as long as I'd have to compromise, I will stick with my HD650s & pick up a pair of K701s (which I loved when I demo'ed them - the soundstage is a must-try / another superb bang-for-buck).
I'm hoping to build myself a top notch DIY dac and amp within the next year; the Beta 22 is in my sights for going balanced. I think a Beta 22 should be able to compare to a Pheonix, so I'm really looking forward to your impressions of them balanced in your set-up. Also looking forward to demo a tube amp with the 650s at the next local meet.
PS have you tried the HE6?
Edited by sphinxvc - 2/20/11 at 4:00pm