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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 174

post #2596 of 37370


Originally Posted by attenuated 3db View Post

The way you describe your component chain, you are running a Nuforce uDAC-2 into an unspecified Yamaha A/V receiver, which is what the HD650s are actually plugged into? Try this as an experiment: use the 1/4-inch-to-1/8-inch three-way stereo adapter plug that comes in the box with each pair of HD650s and plug them directly into the uDAC-2's headphone jack, rather than using the RCA or S/PDIF optical cable connections on the back of your Nuforce to connect it your Yamaha. Look at my equipment inventory in my profile, and read this old post of mine answering another Head-Fi-er's question:


I think it will sound better than plugging the HD650s into whatever kind of Yamaha unit you have. Typically, A/V receiver manufacturers "hang" a rather large-value resistor on the headphone-output jack, because most people use their speakers most of the time, which consume much more current from the amplifier output stage. You will probably be like me, and keep your uDAC-2 volume pot at the max-ed out position all the time, but in doing so, I never heard any clipping. The HD650s are a nominal 300-ohm impedence phone, and being powered off of a 5-volt USB port, the uDAC-2 simply cannot deliver enough voltage into that kind of load to clip. You will sometimes wish you could play some types of music louder (particularly things with wide dynamic range or a lot of deep bass content), but I will almost bet money it will sound better to you quality-wise than plugging the HD650s into the Yamaha and using it as your effective headamp. The Nuforce uDAC-2, like their higher-end products, was synergystically designed to be both a DAC and a headphone amp; the Yamaha was not.

Try it, and let me know if I was right or wrong (I am not the least bit afraid of being the latter, including in public).

Actually, when I first opened the HD650, I'd done just that, but it just didn't go loud enough, so I opted for the Yamaha add-in, which I connected from the uDac2's headphone jack to Yamaha RCA input (probably a dumb noobie move). See, I also made the same mistake of getting the $99 uDac2 because I didn't think of the scope of the hobby, nor did I think I would be too limited by the volume pot. But that's the beauty of hobby: we can upgrade, at the expense of, well, expenses. I learned my lesson, and I'm glad I'm doing so early on.


But you're very correct: it sounds cleaner the simpler route , and there is no clipping. And honestly, the maxed-out volume isn't so bad. I can make do until my next upgrade.

post #2597 of 37370
Originally Posted by mikenike View Post

Ah, I see. Hmm, I was just testing how high my ears could take it before needing to turn it down. The volume level at which it begins to crackle isn't practical for me, anywho, but I do hope that won't be a problem with future investments and better quality audio files (already kind of scared at what I've gotten myself into).


First impression is really good so far. I love the separation, which I had a problem with Usher's "Hey Daddy." The song features really low bass, and whenever I listen to it on the ATH-M45, the low bass always mix in with the voice and made his vocals wobbly. Not so with the HD650. The cans aren't too harsh in the highs either, which I already loved before listening (sibilance was a constant problem on the M45, which I think was made worse with the uDac2).


I'm gonna go enjoy my new baby some more now. smily_headphones1.gif

Perhaps we should start a thread on avoiding premature deafness...  

post #2598 of 37370

LOL, before this hobby, I actually prided on good hearing. Now, I seem to can't get enough volume. Haha.

post #2599 of 37370
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post

Perhaps we should start a thread on avoiding premature deafness...  

Indeed, "mrspeakers". Help me edit Currawong's new "glossary of terms" Head-Fi wiki:


I wrote the "jitter," "damping factor" and "HDAM" entries, and just finished the noob's definition of "decibel." After all, I am "attenuated 3db". basshead.gif
post #2600 of 37370

decible: a measure of audio sound pressure, an exponential function usually considered in the context of determining "phone deaf" ratios among the careless phone users.  While debate rages about what "too many dB are" it is usually simplified as that volume which induces numbness of or ringing in the ears after listening sessions.  

post #2601 of 37370
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post

decible: a measure of audio sound pressure, an exponential function usually considered in the context of determining "phone deaf" ratios among the careless phone users.  While debate rages about what "too many dB are" it is usually simplified as that voludgume which induces numbness of or ringing in the ears after listening sessions.  

I am reminded of a personal story from the fall of 1976, when I was a journalist for a major metropolitan daily newspaper that shall go nameless. With my college roommate (an economics major at the same school I told you I matriculated to as a math-physics major but became a journalist instead) we took two samples from his alarming large (from my perspective) handgun collection out to an outside-the-city-limits outdoor firing range and did some some target shooting without ear protection. It was fun; loud noises, just like the movies, but no blood.

But that same night, everyone (it was mandatory duty, even if you had an exalted position in the newsroom hierarchy) in the entire editorial department had to come in on a Friday night to take reports of high school football games over the telephone from "stringers" - non-newspaper employees, some paid, but most just calling in a report in behalf of their own school for the free news coverage they would get - and I could not hear a darned word over the telephone. I was genuinely scared. I felt like I was in a separate room from the people around me who I could tell were talking in their normal, familiar voices, and I could catch snippets of what they might be saying, but I was thinking I might have to start having to learn to read lips fast, or else go back and work in the typesetting department, where we employed a lot of deaf-mutes, because it was good work for them, and traditional for many typesetting "backshops" of the old-tech newspapers of that era. So, listening to very loud noises, even music, is not something to be taken lightly. Here are some underrated cans:


Luckily I was off for the weekend, and by Monday morning, I could hear car horns and the like well enough to drive back to the office, but I had "artifacts," shall we say, for weeks. But 35 years later, Norah Jones is still sounding good in the HD650s as I type this post, but maybe not as good as she could.

Anyway, your definition of the "decible" was much more on-point for the Head-Fi audience than the Wikipedia article on the "decibel" that was taking me back to some of my college math and physics classes:

post #2602 of 37370
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

If Head-Fi consensus was taken as gospel the M50 and the FiiO amp/dac combo would be the absolute pinnacle.

It is! for people on a budget..

post #2603 of 37370

If you say so.

post #2604 of 37370
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

If you say so.

The FiiO dac/amp would not be my personal choice for budget electronics (a Nuforce product would be), but don't underestimate the "golden ear" audiophile quality of the ATH-M50s, just because of their price, even compared to the HD650s. I own both models, listen to each daily, and while the 650 is my go-to phone, there is a reason the ATH-M50 is the second-most-widely owned headphone among Head-Fi members: it's just that good.

There is no one on Head-Fi whose opinions I trust as much as "Lunatique" because he is an audio production professional (have you seen the photos of his incredible home studio here on Head-Fi?), as well as a man who demonstrates uncommon common sense despite his own personal passion for creating as well as listening to music, having "deep pockets" for gear purchases, but having a perspective both on diminishing returns on audio expenditures and a life philosophy that I admire.

You've crossed paths with him recently on the HD650 vs. ATH-M50 comparison:


... and his review of the ATH-M50s from an audio professional's perspective is what got me to make my first Head-Fi inspired purchase a scant few months ago, although I am not a "newbie" to very high-end audio by any means:


As a P.S., is being "In limbo" (I think you're actually "Down Under") anything like being in an "Undisclosed" location? wink.gif
post #2605 of 37370

No need to convince me of the M50's value. I have owned it and am contemplating repurchasing it for when I'm away from my desktop setup. I also recommend it where appropriate, but the noise around it is deafening around these parts. It's the same for the FiiO combo and while the value these components represent may be indisputable, the hyperbole is a bit much imo.

post #2606 of 37370


Originally Posted by mikenike View Post

OK, finally opened up the box after driving home to Mississippi (box came to my workplace in New Orleans). Sending the music out through the nuforce uDac2 to an old Yamaha receiver (temporary setup). Sounds good, but the bass gets really crackly at higher levels that I probably won't listen at often (will this go away with burn-in?!).


I've never had an open set before, so I'm pretty amazed at how loud it gets.


You probably have a hair stuck somewhere close to the driver. When my hd650 crackles with bass I always take a look inside and try to remove all the hairs. They tend to get stuck near the driver and it causes rattling in bass. You may have to remove the padding to get closer.

post #2607 of 37370

I bought a pair of these earlier this week and it's my second pair. First pair I got maybe in 2004 and hated them but they were the old version and I didn't have a good desktop amp. Duh!

I figured I would give them another try and hope that they've really changed a little. It turns out that my pair is not too dark or veiled. It's actually feels brighter than the HD-598. Still totally non-fatiguing.


I had the HD-600 in the middle of 2010 but at times it felt a tad muffled and too laid back. Somehow the HD-650 doesn't give me that feeling. A little laid back, but never boring or muffled.


Right now the HD-650 feels like it's on a while other level compared to the HD-600. It feels as if there is more detail and perhaps more forward upper mids? Maybe not, but female vocals are MUCH better on the HD-650 to my ears compared to the HD-600. Although there's a lot of detail it's not excessive at all. Just where I want it. I actually feel that my ATH-AD2000 is more detailed overall though.


The bass I love, but it's maybe a tad more than I normally want. No big deal and it doesn't change my opinion. It seems also quite easy to drive. I use it wit my Asgard and I tried it total with the Airhead and it got the very loud volume levels without yelling at me with it's red light (over voltage). It seems far easier to drive than the HD-600. Not sure how that's possible.


Biggest disappointment is that the soundstage isn't that large. The soundstage of the HD-598 is far better for me. HD-598 sure is a LOT less clear and has far less detail. That should be obvious though.


I've been playing a few games with the HD-650 and it's not really that good for gaming. Not that bad and perfectly OK and I didn't buy it for that. Too much bass for gaming. Not meant for gaming to begin with.If I had it connected to a receiver where I could EQ the bass it would be a lot better for games. It almost seems that the HD-650 has better imaging than the HD-598, but maybe not.


HD-650 reminds me of my favorite budget headphone (DJ100) so it's nice to find a sound signature that's similar. DJ100 is just a lot less clear, perhaps less detail, but has more forward mids.


It's not better than my ATH-AD2000. I can't say if one is better that the other. Both are keepers really. For me, the ATH-A2000 is FAR better for acoustic guitar music. When I listen to that music on the HD-650 it's just not the same. Just feels half as good. Wasn't that one of the HD-650's weakest genres? Could have swore I read that. The AT fans will hate me, but I prefer the vocals on the HD-650. I didn't expect that.


Despite how much I love the HD-650, there is one CD that makes the ATH-AD2000 feel as if it's on a whole other level compared to the HD-650. Not sure why:


(Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder)


The only other headphone that came close to recreating how it sounded on the AD2000 is the KRK I have, but that's closed. I do think the HD-650 is better for more genres overall, but the AD2000 does some of them extremely well. It also feels like soundstage is larger too and by a lot.


Overall if I wrote down all the things I liked and didn't like about each, the HD-650 would come out on top as the favorite, but it doesn't mean it really sounds better. Can't really say and I don't even care.


One other thing that surprised me is that the HD-650 is detailed enough to easily pick up recording hiss. It's easy to tell which of my tracks are lower quality MP3s. 90% of my collection is either on CD or lossless though.


BTW I got my pair from JR new for $329, but I had to call them. They originally wanted $369, but then they offered them for lower. Pretty good deal! Too bad mine has a paint scuff and it wasn't an open box. I'm not sure if it's worth sending them back, but for $329 I still want them to be perfect.


So yes I like this headphone. Probably one of my favorites up there with the SRH-840, DJ100, K240 Studio and AD2000. For those that only heard the old version, it's worth trying the new one if you can demo it. I sure do want them to release a new HD-650 upgrade to improve the soundstage. I'd buy it for sure.

Edited by tdockweiler - 3/4/11 at 12:33am
post #2608 of 37370

After spending sooo much time modding my 650's after removing the foam. I'm finally happy.


Ive put the foam back on! ha ha but only on the ear pads. I've tried every material I can find to dampen the drivers to- what I would call; keeping the veil away but not letting the bass muddy the upper frequencies.


I'm using some very fine, loosely woven cloth on the drivers and it seems perfect for me now. there is much more attack to the overall sound with more bass (but still tight). The upper end is much more attacking and energetic. The mids are more open, but otherwise unaffected.


Marvelous! Ive got some replacement pads on the way and a new homemade cable also. Will post my results when I add the final touches.

post #2609 of 37370

With slight head movements my HD650 makes a creaking sound where the metal extending from the headband swivels on the left housing. It breaks the otherwise great "disappearing" act these cans put on when worn. It's driving me insane. Anyone else have this issue?

post #2610 of 37370

Yeah it does that for me. If I open my mouth when wearing them, they produce the creaking sound.

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