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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 314

post #4696 of 36903

To add to this discussion on SQ and scaling, my experience from comparing HD650 sound characteristics (new silver drivers) from two different amps. . .

 

On the Bottlehead Crack OTL tube amp, the 650 is very warm, subdued, not very detailed.  Not unpleasant at all, but there's less excitement, seemingly slower response, and less treble.  Some might say the sound is veiled, but I wouldn't necessarily describe it that way.    

 

But when driven by a Hifiman EF5 hybrid amp (modded to use AD797 opamp vs stock OP275), the 650 sound characteristics change quite a bit.  Still warmish, but I find them to have much more energy, detail, and faster response and restored treble.  Couldn't see anyone describing them as veiled with this setup.

 

I also have DT880/600's, and if I drive the 880's with the Crack and compare them to the 650's with the EF5, there's not a ton of difference in treble, detail, response.  The sound characteristics are still different, but both setups are very pleasant to listen to and I don't feel like I'm lacking in anything.  The 880's have a bit more detail, but it's certainly not night and day.  Of course, if I plug the 880's into the EF5, I get the most detail of all - I don't find it fatiguing either, but some may.

 

The point being that if I only heard the 650's with the Crack, I might not be fully satisfied with the sound and dismiss them as insufficiently exciting, etc, but I am very happy with the EF5 driving them.  There's less of a difference in 880 SQ between amps versus the 650, which shows a more significant change.

 

So after my experience, I do buy that the 650 can sound significantly different depending upon what's driving them.  It may never reach the level of the most detailed/analytical cans, but I don't think that's what it's shooting for either.  

 

 

post #4697 of 36903

Time for me to unsubscribe from this tread.  I do wish that advocates of other brands would start discussions about their favorite cans in their own threads instead of trying to hijack this and other "appreciation" threads.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

 For those who haven't heard SRH940s, some have described it as similar to AKG701s but better in about every way (bass, mids, highs).


 

IMO high quality sound = fast / not muddy / not slow. So it's a little disappointing that the more I learn, I realize the HD650s really do lack quality treble. I still like them of course and they're still more musical for a lot of things (and have a great response for the lower end of the frequencies), I just wish I could magically combine the strong points of my SRH940s and HD650s into one headphone :)



 

post #4698 of 36903

It's a comparison between another can and the topic can of the appreciation, so it's completely relevant and called for.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor34 View Post

Time for me to unsubscribe from this tread.  I do wish that advocates of other brands would start discussions about their favorite cans in their own threads instead of trying to hijack this and other "appreciation" threads.  
 



 



 

post #4699 of 36903

Raptor34, I posted that mostly hoping that other people might join in commenting how they hear their HD650s - and therefore so I can find out if my HD650's imperfection I'm noticing is due to a flaw, synergy issue, whatever. I still really appreciate my HD650s and definitely will be keeping these for a long time.

 

Anyway I'm glad I posted it, because captouch said exactly what I was curious about, that using a different amp results in: > I find them to have much more energy, detail, and faster response and restored treble. 

 

Also I still don't understand how someone a while back said the HD650's have too much treble. That makes no sense, but I'm curious what source configuration would do such a thing to HD650s, assuming his aren't faulty.

 


Edited by ac500 - 10/29/11 at 3:01pm
post #4700 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

Raptor34, I posted that mostly hoping that other people might join in commenting how they hear their HD650s - and therefore so I can find out if my HD650's imperfection I'm noticing is due to a flaw, synergy issue, whatever. I still really appreciate my HD650s and definitely will be keeping these for a long time.

 

Anyway I'm glad I posted it, because captouch said exactly what I was curious about, that using a different amp results in: > I find them to have much more energy, detail, and faster response and restored treble. 

 

Also I still don't understand how someone a while back said the HD650's have too much treble. That makes no sense, but I'm curious what source configuration would do such a thing to HD650s, assuming his aren't faulty.

 



MSII -> M-Stage -> HD 650. TOO MUCH TREBLE. Also a tad too much bass.

 

Y'all are crazy. I might even do some research and write a blog article about how headphones should be darker. :P

post #4701 of 36903

Heh that's interesting. Maybe I should try an M-Stage and see what's going on here.

 

I don't know why you say headphones should be darker. For a lot of music I vastly prefer my HD650 due to the dark smooth sound, but let's be honest - crisp treble is sometimes nice. Like in the example about with the video game (Battlefield 3), lacking the crisp metallic sounds when reloading and the supersonic "crack" of gunfire in the air makes the HD650s seem just blurry compared to the SRH940 plain and simple.


Edited by ac500 - 10/29/11 at 3:26pm
post #4702 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

Just an interesting observation here. I have HD650's and my second pair are Shure SRH-940s, known as some of the best detailed headphones with great highs etc. For those who haven't heard SRH940s, some have described it as similar to AKG701s but better in about every way (bass, mids, highs).

 

What I noticed is for very fast, energetic, detailed songs, the SRH940 sounded better naturally. So, I EQ'ed up the treble for my HD650 to resemble the sound signature. In doing so, I brought up the frequencies that are usually way laid back in my HD650, but what I found is this: They're not very good. My EQ is upsampling so hopefully it's not an EQ issue, but in any case I just can't get my HD650 to produce the crisp highs and upper mids that my SRH940 does. Again, I can emphasize them with EQ so they're audible, but they're not quality, and they're "slow"/"muddy".

 

This is particularly noticeable in video games, for example in Battlefield 3 when reloading you can hear the high pitched scraping of metal when you insert a magazine into your gun, crisp and clear as real life. With HD650's you literally cannot hear it at all because it's so laid back. EQing does bring the sound out to be audible, but what 'worries' me is that it's not as quality. It's a bit muddy, if that word can even be applied to highs. Maybe "slow" would be a better description.

 

IMO high quality sound = fast / not muddy / not slow. So it's a little disappointing that the more I learn, I realize the HD650s really do lack quality treble. I still like them of course and they're still more musical for a lot of things (and have a great response for the lower end of the frequencies), I just wish I could magically combine the strong points of my SRH940s and HD650s into one headphone :)



I wish you could hear my setup, I bet it sounds like your SRH940's. With the proper amp and cable the HD650's are absurdly good across the frequency range. This is not "hype" it's fact. Any amp can drive you IEM's it takes a proper design to make the HD650's sing.

post #4703 of 36903

This is interesting to hear because a while back I asked about what amps to look into, and most people said that my current one (Audio-gd NFB-12) should be more than good enough for it. Maybe it is a "synergy" thing then. What kind of price range would I need to buy something that clears up the treble like you mention?

 

P.S. SRH940 is a full sized headphone, not an IEM, but it's true that it's low impedance and runs fine out of my laptop unamped (although the bass isn't good without amping and you can hear DAC limitations).

post #4704 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

This is interesting to hear because a while back I asked about what amps to look into, and most people said that my current one (Audio-gd NFB-12) should be more than good enough for it. Maybe it is a "synergy" thing then. What kind of price range would I need to buy something that clears up the treble like you mention?

 

P.S. SRH940 is a full sized headphone, not an IEM, but it's true that it's low impedance and runs fine out of my laptop unamped (although the bass isn't good without amping and you can hear DAC limitations).


http://www.headfonia.com/no-music-audio-gd-nfb-12/

 

Just speculating, but the O2 would probably sound better. 

post #4705 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

Just an interesting observation here. I have HD650's and my second pair are Shure SRH-940s, known as some of the best detailed headphones with great highs etc. For those who haven't heard SRH940s, some have described it as similar to AKG701s but better in about every way (bass, mids, highs).

 

What I noticed is for very fast, energetic, detailed songs, the SRH940 sounded better naturally. So, I EQ'ed up the treble for my HD650 to resemble the sound signature. In doing so, I brought up the frequencies that are usually way laid back in my HD650, but what I found is this: They're not very good. My EQ is upsampling so hopefully it's not an EQ issue, but in any case I just can't get my HD650 to produce the crisp highs and upper mids that my SRH940 does. Again, I can emphasize them with EQ so they're audible, but they're not quality, and they're "slow"/"muddy".

 

This is particularly noticeable in video games, for example in Battlefield 3 when reloading you can hear the high pitched scraping of metal when you insert a magazine into your gun, crisp and clear as real life. With HD650's you literally cannot hear it at all because it's so laid back. EQing does bring the sound out to be audible, but what 'worries' me is that it's not as quality. It's a bit muddy, if that word can even be applied to highs. Maybe "slow" would be a better description.

 

IMO high quality sound = fast / not muddy / not slow. So it's a little disappointing that the more I learn, I realize the HD650s really do lack quality treble. I still like them of course and they're still more musical for a lot of things (and have a great response for the lower end of the frequencies), I just wish I could magically combine the strong points of my SRH940s and HD650s into one headphone :)


With this simple improvised diagnostics, using tools that are available to you.  I think you have hit the nail on the head.

 

I did the same experiment as you are doing now a while ago, using my K701 and HD650.  EQ'ing the top end out of the K701 to expose the mids and bass - it was not as resolving in this region compared to the HD650 - bass is in fact tighter and mids are more detailed.

 

I EQ some of the bass and mids away from the HD650 to expose the upper mids and treble and find that the HD650 was not as resolving as the K701 in this area.  The K701 is less grained, smoother and more detailed.

 

Which is why I don't necessarily believe in bright amps and dacs for the HD650 - it can reveal the undefined nature of the treble more easily, better to lay into its strengths and not its weakness - same with the K701.  Best not to try and pronounce a frequency area that the headphone is not good at.

 

I always believed that the HD650 has a very natural (and "neutral") treble balance.  The "veil" is not frequency response related.  Good source and amps will help with the HD650 "veil" - but this top end weakness will always be best solved with a headphone that doesn't have this weakness to start with (although they can have weaknesses in other areas where the HD650 is particularly strong).

 

Good to see new guys playing around with EQ, a good way to significantly boost your understanding of music.  People who refuse to experiment with EQ will always have a lesser understanding of frequency response related strengths and weaknesses.  A change in a single frequency band changes perception of all the frequency bands.

post #4706 of 36903

^This post has much truth.

post #4707 of 36903


      Quote:

Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post

Good to see new guys playing around with EQ, a good way to significantly boost your understanding of music.  People who refuse to experiment with EQ will always have a lesser understanding of frequency response related strengths and weaknesses.  A change in a single frequency band changes perception of all the frequency bands.

 

Amen

 

I love the EQ features of the Cowon J3 player. Very small adjustments can make great things (althought I do not use the BBE effects except for eventually having some fun; they are like adding ketchup on the food)

 


Edited by Pingfloid - 10/29/11 at 7:12pm
post #4708 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

This is interesting to hear because a while back I asked about what amps to look into, and most people said that my current one (Audio-gd NFB-12) should be more than good enough for it. Maybe it is a "synergy" thing then. What kind of price range would I need to buy something that clears up the treble like you mention?

P.S. SRH940 is a full sized headphone, not an IEM, but it's true that it's low impedance and runs fine out of my laptop unamped (although the bass isn't good without amping and you can hear DAC limitations).

In terms price range, my EF5 was less than $250 used off eBay. I've seen them on the for sale forums here for less than $350. But the EF5 is just what worked for me - there may be better matches, but I couldn't recommend anything else more specific to you.
post #4709 of 36903


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post


Which is why I don't necessarily believe in bright amps and dacs for the HD650 - it can reveal the undefined nature of the treble more easily, better to lay into its strengths and not its weakness - same with the K701.  Best not to try and pronounce a frequency area that the headphone is not good at.



I get what you're saying completely, but this isn't just more treble, it's quality treble, and it's not a bright amp, it's taking better control over the headphone driver. 

post #4710 of 36903
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheapskateaudio View Post


 



I get what you're saying completely, but this isn't just more treble, it's quality treble, and it's not a bright amp, it's taking better control over the headphone driver. 


Absolutely agreed.  Sufficient amping is of great importance.  Running the HD650 straight out of an Ipod, whilst sufficient isn't really going to be able to realise the full potential of the HD650. 

 

I feel I have tapped the full potential of my HD650 when I was utilising the Lehmann amplifier and Bryston DAC - both top notch professional/studio orientated reference gear.  It sounded much better than the prior Dacmagic and MF Xcan combo.  Better definition (bass tightness, instrument definition) and soundstaging is much better to me.

 

I then went to more exotic/OCD equipment, the Ref 7 dac and Phoenix balanced ampifier - both designed with more uncompromising electronic engineering principles.  I re-terminated my HD650s and this took soundstage and dimensionality to a level I never thought the HD650 was actually capable of, the difference thinking back is quite substantial.  But after analytical listening with the current crop of flagships, it's apparent it still cannot overcome the limitations of a transducer technology that hasn't fundamentally change since the first HD580 hit the market nearly 20 years ago.  This equally applies to my K701s.

 

I haven't thought about this very often, but perhaps the most significant mind-opener for me, when upgrading from mid price dacs and amps to higher priced ones.  The first thing one tends to notice immediately, if you are paying attention to this, is soundstaging and 3 dimensionality - I believe this is due to better channel separation and better low level information retrieval, eg, low level ambience in the recording.  Bass tightness is also a defining trait seperating the TOTL electronics from mid-level ones.  I guess one can opine that the HD650 is resolving enough to play spot the difference with electronics in every category.

 


Edited by SP Wild - 10/29/11 at 9:39pm
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