or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 387

post #5791 of 36851

Sub-thread: How do I place HD650's on my head? Help?!?!11

 

No, it's not a noob question from Beldar Conehead. It's a legitimate question that occurred to me after a few revelations.

 

I've been using my HD650s for five of six years. I've been both a fan and have considered upgrades at various times. Recently I upgraded my setup to a Schiit Lyr and Bifrost. Suffice it to say, I no long have any desire to upgrade my cans. They're amazing as-is. The first revelation I had this weekend was just how much time it takes to get the amps tubes warm, and just how massive a sonic difference it makes. The second occurred when I was reading this thread and others on the HD650. What I found interesting was the stark difference people experience with them. Almost inexplicably so.

 

Some people have the "Sennheiser Veil" others don't. This is easily explained as an electrical incompatibility to the amp (output impedance, voltage.) Lyr has low impedance and high voltage. Veil gos away. Ok, so it's an amp pairing issue. Veil solved for me (finally.) But other things couldn't be explained. Some refer to it as being very dark, smooth, seductive, etc. Others refer to it as analytical and just a shade darker than neutral. Some refer to them as muddy and unclear and that HD800 is far, far superior. To others, HD800 is still superior, but only by relative margins. Finally to some HD650 and HD800 have astonishingly different overall signatures. To others both are a fairly neutral signature. And the one that really caught me was a post about someone who they know reporting jaw clamping and fatigue, but the poster never experienced that. And neither did I.

 

Some of this is differences in ears and preferences. But some of it makes no sense. But the one that got me thinking was a Sound On Sound roundup from 2010. SOS is geared toward studio professionals, and the headphone roundup was between a number of cans at a number of budgets ($125 or so up through HD800.) In the main range they picked no winner but only "one of the best" and cited differences between 701, 880 (250ohm), 650, and some others.

 

Now, this was a roundup for the reference ability of the cans as applied to both mixing and tracking (you know, where getting paid depends on your cans...) They sung the praises of many cans, but especially the HD650, all three commentators in the roundup seemed fond of them, the only detraction they had was that they had a slightly emphasized bass which lead them to mix bass-light by a hair until they got used to it. But what caught me was their description of the better detail resolution in the mids than the other cans in the roundup, and the clear and detailed treble and wide soundstage. Wide soundstage? Detailed mids? Near-neutral? My HD650s? That goes against 60% of what you hear by both fans and detractors here at H-F. And my own experience.

 

Then they got to HD800. It won the "Best at any price" category (LCD2, 3, electrostats etc were not part of the review.) They sung the praises of its edge driver tech, the detail, the improvements. But they also commented that only the "fanatical" would pay that much for them, and that the HD650 was already "90% of perfection" as it was. (Wait, they're comparing HD800 to HD650? What about the treble happy voicing difference?)

 

Something occurred to me: The big roomy ear cups.  And the angled slant of the ear cups in relation to the headband that few cans seem to have.  I looked careful at the inside of the cups: The driver is not mounted symmetrically inside, it's skewed slightly towards the bottom front.  (Remember driver placement is one of the big differences between some models such as HD600 and HD650.) It occurred to me, with a big roomy headphone cup...how do you know where you should put your ears? Where you place them changes the angle of the driver (The angled driver is part of what gives HD800 its big soundstage.  Same for my AT AD-700's)  as well as where the sound is projected, how it hits your ear lobe, and how it bounces around the chamber (which is how you detect directionality in the real world, the lobe is a sound baffle.)

 

I noticed I had a tendency when putting the cans on to try to straigten out the ear cups so they're vertical.  When doing so, the headband was placed in the center of my head rather than back near the crown of my head.  This positions the driver right above the ear canal and provides, as you'd guess a straight through sound with minimal baffling and interference.  The result is a velvety smooth dark, lush sound.  Very pleasing.  In this setup my ear lobes touch the upper rear of the cup. 

 

I then moved the headband up to the crown of the head, which meant angling the cups back to the angle they sit if you hang the headphones on a stand.  (not vertical.)  I had to shorten the headband two clicks each side.  This also meant sliding the cups back a bit so that the FRONT of my ear was lined up with the front of the earcup, toward the bottom, leaving a lot of room behind. 

 

The differences was obvious:

 

What I lost: Some of the lush, full, liquid, enveloping warmth. 

What I gained: Air.  A lot of "air"...a more holographic soundstage with better instrument placement, and the "in your head" soundblob moved more to the left and right, with the sense of the infamous "air" feeling that adds to presence.  The bass strikes from behind a little now, but the bass presence is larger, strikes with more impact and feels overall more tight (same extension however, which was always fine.) Treble details are more forward...there's more of that detailed treble attack cited from some other cans like the 800's (I have not heard 800 yet, but from the description I know generally where it likely is voiced.)  In other words 650 change from thick, full, lush, warm, and smooth, to more detailed, articulate, open, and, dare I say, neutral (650??), with a bit of an extended bass (not a bad thing.)  In other words, the way the product page described it for a decade, and the way SOS described it, and a seemingly small number of users here describe it (I used to laugh one I saw posts from people saying they didn't like them because they were too analytical...)  Additionally I got some of that mentioned jaw clamping!  I also need to bump the volume a little (maybe this accounts for what I've heard about HD650 sounding better a little louder) since not all the sound is being aimed straight at the ear canal like an IEM anymore.)

 

While I think the infamous "veil" is just a product of HD650 being picky about the amp it's paired to (no less so than HD800 I suspect.) I think a lot of the other attributes people seem to differ on, especially soundstage and "darkness" may actually be a matter of us putting them on our heads differently!  It's actually kind of neat: One pair of headphones can provide two different presentations (not actually a different signature, but a different overall presentation), just by rotating the band and sliding the cup.  I have seen other people do what I do, put them on with the band in the center and try to straighten the cups.  It seems to be the automatic way most people put them on, even though I suspect it's not actually the right way. 

 

I'm not sure which way I prefer.  I like the "new" way with the wide stage and accented treble most I think, but I can see going back to the lush warm sound for some albums as well.

 

So my question to HD650 owners, both fans and enemies: How do you wear them?  Headband back, headband forward, ears in the back top, or ears in the front bottom?  And do you perceive them as warm & lush, or neutral-ish and open?


Edited by IEMCrazy - 2/13/12 at 7:54am
post #5792 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabocat View Post

Hello Sennheiser fans! I am in the market for a 650, but the word seems to be that the headphones work best with modified cords. Could someone point me in the right direction for that information please?  I guess it would be cool to buy a used one with the cords already modded out, but I imagine those don't make it to the market very often. 



Ahem.  I believe what AC500 is trying to say is cable modifications really should be the last thing to experiment with.  You'll hear a much greater benefit from headphone amp and DAC upgrades.

post #5793 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post
<snip>


tldr%20cat.preview.jpg  J/Kwink.gif

 

Hmm, you've had your pair quite a few years.  How are your pads?  Flattened pads contribute to a more mushy sound and a smaller less expansive soundstage in the HD650.  I'm guessing yours has the original black mesh acoustic material around the drivers as well?

 

post #5794 of 36851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital-Pride View Post


tldr%20cat.preview.jpg  J/Kwink.gif

 

Hmm, you've had your pair quite a few years.  How are your pads?  Flattened pads contribute to a more mushy sound and a smaller less expansive soundstage in the HD650.  I'm guessing yours has the original black mesh acoustic material around the drivers as well?

 

 

LOL, I love that picture.  I felt that way myself after I posted.   I wanted to write it all down, and it submit, stepped back, and thought "what the heck is that?"

 

Funny you'd say that, I have a pair of pads on order now.  I actually tried a fresh pair of 650's and realized how much the pads have compacted (they look brand new, but they're a little more shallow than they once were.)  Still, the positioning difference had the same effect on the new pair too.  I'd love to find replacement headband foam too.  They used to sell it but it now seems only available for HD600/580 style foam, not 650 style with the single notch.)

 

You know, I'll have to check the acoustic material later.  I want to say it's the newer silver one, I think it is...but if that fits the time table, I may well have one of the first batches with the silver. 
 

Still, the acoustic differences of driver position make perfect sense.  That's a big ear cup to swim around in, and changing the driver position in relation to the ear canal would have to make a sonic change by the sheer physics of airflow.  I don't know that there's a standard position for them.  I never thought I'd need a "how to put these on your head" manual for headphones beyersmile.png  Waking up and realizing "wow I may have been putting my ears in the wrong part of the ear cup for years" is startling (and makes one feel slightly intellectually deficient... )

 

By the way, the experiment with sound can be performed while listening by just rotating the headband and sliding the cups around.  your ears at different angles.  It definitely changes the sound.  Which sound is "right" and which is "different" (assuming there is a "right), is likely a matter of opinion.  But since the differences I noticed seem to be identical to the differences noted in different descriptions by people of the sound...I'm thinking its not coincidence :)   The old way of seating them felt "right" and other people seem to put them on that way automatically as well.  After sitting a session the "new" way, I find myself thinking "whatever possessed me to angle them like that, that just feels odd!"  Headband up straight is how I automatically put most other cans on.  It's the angled cups on these...it fools the senses...

 


Edited by IEMCrazy - 2/13/12 at 9:19am
post #5795 of 36851
Hmm, very intriguing post, IEMCrazy.

I have just tried it out myself, but I must say I still prefer the sound of placing them in the middle of my head rather than the crown. The latter feels less comfortable, and somehow I feel the soundstage becomes less detailed. I find the differences in frequency response very subtle, maybe too subtle to reliably call it a difference at all.

I think the reason why people describe the HD 650 differently is simply because people's definition of the terms describing sound signatures, as well as the actual perception of the sound signatures, is fully dependent on the person himself. The description of sound signature is a very subjective thing, and hence quite susceptible to having multiple definitions. Additionally it is also susceptible to the physical differences in people's ears and their preferences in music.
post #5796 of 36851

I finally got mine in today, practically ran to the front door to sign for them.

 

I have to say that upon first listen, they're very promising. 

 

They seem to have a presence that my 595s were missing, the sound seems a little more aggressive, tighter if you will, in both bass and highs. Rock seems to stand out more, and to test out lows, some dubstep, Skrillex in this case for the "raw" sound, made it feel like someone was literally pounding on my head (in a good way). They also don't make the sound seem as fatiguing as my 595s have recently.

 

They'll need a burn in period and a trial period for me to get used to the sound before i really A/B them with my 595s but i'm impressed so far.

 

Running them out of my PC card (HT Omega Striker) and they can barely get to "med-loud" volume, that being loud enough to drown out outside noise and seem, well, loud.

 

Gonna try them later with my old Hitachi HTA-4000 that i run my turntable off. Hopefully i can get a different sound from there. Not sure if that old thing is exactly up to par anymore, but what do i know biggrin.gif

post #5797 of 36851

I have a question if the drivers for the HD 650 are hand matched if one breaks do I have to replace both.

post #5798 of 36851

When I left for work this morning, I forgot a crucial connector cable for my headphone amp, so I've been listening to the HD650s straight out of my iPod for a change. It's...weird. The soundstage is flatter, and the music is a lot thinner and more brittle.

 

Of course, I'm not surprised that the 650s sound worse this way, but I haven't actually had to face that difference until now. I'm glad my amps are making substantial contributions to sound quality! Even my lil ole Total BitHead gives me a noticeably thicker, smoother, more pleasurable sound.

 

For anyone asking about cable upgrades, or any other upgrades, I find that this is the best order to upgrade in: headphones, amp, source, cables. That's assuming your source isn't too horrible, like at least an iPod. If you're using some $30 DVD player that you bought at the grocery store (like my girlfriend's parents), then all bets are off.

post #5799 of 36851

Alright, my old Hitachi receiver isn't that great, but being a more powerful amp, it really makes the 650s sit head and shoulders above the 595s. It's like taking a blanket off the sound, night and day. Even my mother, who is far from an audiophile, admitted that, while originally thinking there would be little difference, the 650s sounded absolutely gorgeous.

 

Loving these cans (still in the honeymoon period, i know)

 

I'm not even a huge Beatles fan, but "Blackbird" through my sound card sounds like Paul is singing into the mic next to my head.


Edited by yawny - 2/13/12 at 8:05pm
post #5800 of 36851

For the weight, comfort and price, you can't beat HD650.  You can't.  It's a total package.  Unless the Akg's or Beyer's are more your thing. 

post #5801 of 36851

Well there's the HD600 as an alternate :P

post #5802 of 36851

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uchiya View Post

For the weight, comfort and price, you can't beat HD650.  You can't.  It's a total package.  Unless the Akg's or Beyer's are more your thing. 


+1

 

 

post #5803 of 36851


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Sub-thread: How do I place HD650's on my head? Help?!?!11

 

No, it's not a noob question from Beldar Conehead. It's a legitimate question that occurred to me after a few revelations.

 

I've been using my HD650s for five of six years. I've been both a fan and have considered upgrades at various times. Recently I upgraded my setup to a Schiit Lyr and Bifrost. Suffice it to say, I no long have any desire to upgrade my cans. They're amazing as-is. The first revelation I had this weekend was just how much time it takes to get the amps tubes warm, and just how massive a sonic difference it makes. The second occurred when I was reading this thread and others on the HD650. What I found interesting was the stark difference people experience with them. Almost inexplicably so.

 

Some people have the "Sennheiser Veil" others don't. This is easily explained as an electrical incompatibility to the amp (output impedance, voltage.) Lyr has low impedance and high voltage. Veil gos away. Ok, so it's an amp pairing issue. Veil solved for me (finally.) But other things couldn't be explained. Some refer to it as being very dark, smooth, seductive, etc. Others refer to it as analytical and just a shade darker than neutral. Some refer to them as muddy and unclear and that HD800 is far, far superior. To others, HD800 is still superior, but only by relative margins. Finally to some HD650 and HD800 have astonishingly different overall signatures. To others both are a fairly neutral signature. And the one that really caught me was a post about someone who they know reporting jaw clamping and fatigue, but the poster never experienced that. And neither did I.

 

Some of this is differences in ears and preferences. But some of it makes no sense. But the one that got me thinking was a Sound On Sound roundup from 2010. SOS is geared toward studio professionals, and the headphone roundup was between a number of cans at a number of budgets ($125 or so up through HD800.) In the main range they picked no winner but only "one of the best" and cited differences between 701, 880 (250ohm), 650, and some others.

 

Now, this was a roundup for the reference ability of the cans as applied to both mixing and tracking (you know, where getting paid depends on your cans...) They sung the praises of many cans, but especially the HD650, all three commentators in the roundup seemed fond of them, the only detraction they had was that they had a slightly emphasized bass which lead them to mix bass-light by a hair until they got used to it. But what caught me was their description of the better detail resolution in the mids than the other cans in the roundup, and the clear and detailed treble and wide soundstage. Wide soundstage? Detailed mids? Near-neutral? My HD650s? That goes against 60% of what you hear by both fans and detractors here at H-F. And my own experience.

 

Then they got to HD800. It won the "Best at any price" category (LCD2, 3, electrostats etc were not part of the review.) They sung the praises of its edge driver tech, the detail, the improvements. But they also commented that only the "fanatical" would pay that much for them, and that the HD650 was already "90% of perfection" as it was. (Wait, they're comparing HD800 to HD650? What about the treble happy voicing difference?)

 

Something occurred to me: The big roomy ear cups.  And the angled slant of the ear cups in relation to the headband that few cans seem to have.  I looked careful at the inside of the cups: The driver is not mounted symmetrically inside, it's skewed slightly towards the bottom front.  (Remember driver placement is one of the big differences between some models such as HD600 and HD650.) It occurred to me, with a big roomy headphone cup...how do you know where you should put your ears? Where you place them changes the angle of the driver (The angled driver is part of what gives HD800 its big soundstage.  Same for my AT AD-700's)  as well as where the sound is projected, how it hits your ear lobe, and how it bounces around the chamber (which is how you detect directionality in the real world, the lobe is a sound baffle.)

 

I noticed I had a tendency when putting the cans on to try to straigten out the ear cups so they're vertical.  When doing so, the headband was placed in the center of my head rather than back near the crown of my head.  This positions the driver right above the ear canal and provides, as you'd guess a straight through sound with minimal baffling and interference.  The result is a velvety smooth dark, lush sound.  Very pleasing.  In this setup my ear lobes touch the upper rear of the cup. 

 

I then moved the headband up to the crown of the head, which meant angling the cups back to the angle they sit if you hang the headphones on a stand.  (not vertical.)  I had to shorten the headband two clicks each side.  This also meant sliding the cups back a bit so that the FRONT of my ear was lined up with the front of the earcup, toward the bottom, leaving a lot of room behind. 

 

The differences was obvious:

 

What I lost: Some of the lush, full, liquid, enveloping warmth. 

What I gained: Air.  A lot of "air"...a more holographic soundstage with better instrument placement, and the "in your head" soundblob moved more to the left and right, with the sense of the infamous "air" feeling that adds to presence.  The bass strikes from behind a little now, but the bass presence is larger, strikes with more impact and feels overall more tight (same extension however, which was always fine.) Treble details are more forward...there's more of that detailed treble attack cited from some other cans like the 800's (I have not heard 800 yet, but from the description I know generally where it likely is voiced.)  In other words 650 change from thick, full, lush, warm, and smooth, to more detailed, articulate, open, and, dare I say, neutral (650??), with a bit of an extended bass (not a bad thing.)  In other words, the way the product page described it for a decade, and the way SOS described it, and a seemingly small number of users here describe it (I used to laugh one I saw posts from people saying they didn't like them because they were too analytical...)  Additionally I got some of that mentioned jaw clamping!  I also need to bump the volume a little (maybe this accounts for what I've heard about HD650 sounding better a little louder) since not all the sound is being aimed straight at the ear canal like an IEM anymore.)

 

While I think the infamous "veil" is just a product of HD650 being picky about the amp it's paired to (no less so than HD800 I suspect.) I think a lot of the other attributes people seem to differ on, especially soundstage and "darkness" may actually be a matter of us putting them on our heads differently!  It's actually kind of neat: One pair of headphones can provide two different presentations (not actually a different signature, but a different overall presentation), just by rotating the band and sliding the cup.  I have seen other people do what I do, put them on with the band in the center and try to straighten the cups.  It seems to be the automatic way most people put them on, even though I suspect it's not actually the right way. 

 

I'm not sure which way I prefer.  I like the "new" way with the wide stage and accented treble most I think, but I can see going back to the lush warm sound for some albums as well.

 

So my question to HD650 owners, both fans and enemies: How do you wear them?  Headband back, headband forward, ears in the back top, or ears in the front bottom?  And do you perceive them as warm & lush, or neutral-ish and open?


How I wear them will depend on the recording, whether I feel the track needs filling up or leaning out.

 

I also think I read the same review by professionals, I agree with all of it...except that I find the HD800 to have significantly more resolution to me not just a tiny bit.  The HD650 and HD800 are similar in tonal balance from bass to mids, except the HD800 has a treble that sounds to me like a massive boost away from neutrality.

 

Lunatique in these forums is a professional highly involved in productions of all sorts like games, movies and television.  His neutral reference was for a long time the HD650, he hated the HD800 as do I.

 

I can vouch for the HD650s more detailed mids than the K701, I still have both.

 

For those wondering, I found the T1 to have a similar overall tonal balance to the HD595s, fairly neutral to me.  Except the 595 was crap and the T1 isn't.

 


Edited by SP Wild - 2/16/12 at 5:09am
post #5804 of 36851

 

Quote:
How I wear them will depend on the recording, whether I feel the track needs filling up or leaning out.

 

I also think I read the same review by professionals, I agree with all of it...except that I find the HD800 to have significantly more resolution to me not just a tiny bit.  The HD650 and HD800 are similar in tonal balance from bass to mids, except the HD800 has a treble that sounds to me like a massive boost away from neutrality.

 

Lunatique in these forums is a professional highly involved in productions of all sorts like games, movies and television.  His neutral reference was for a long time the HD650, he hated the HD800 as do I.

 

I can vouch for the HD650s more detailed mids than the K701, I still have both.

 

Interesting, so you've discovered the differences I have with different positions.  Glad to know I'm either not crazy, or only as crazy as other Head-Fi-ers!  That's how I feel about it too, different positions for different albums, though I'm starting to prefer my more default, leaner, "open" position and switch only when needed. 

 

Interesting observations about the HD800 as well.  I've yet to hear the HD800 myself, and they seem to be highly polarizing.  People either love them or hate them with no in between.  In some ways like the HD650, but more pronounced.

 

701/702 often appeals to me for some reason, as does Beyer 880, and yet I suspect I'd rarely touch them when the HD650 is sitting next to them...

 

 

Quote:
Hmm, very intriguing post, IEMCrazy.

I have just tried it out myself, but I must say I still prefer the sound of placing them in the middle of my head rather than the crown. The latter feels less comfortable, and somehow I feel the soundstage becomes less detailed. I find the differences in frequency response very subtle, maybe too subtle to reliably call it a difference at all.

I think the reason why people describe the HD 650 differently is simply because people's definition of the terms describing sound signatures, as well as the actual perception of the sound signatures, is fully dependent on the person himself. The description of sound signature is a very subjective thing, and hence quite susceptible to having multiple definitions. Additionally it is also susceptible to the physical differences in people's ears and their preferences in music.

 

I was planning on agreeing with you regarding the uncomfortableness of the new position.  I felt extreme clamping force at my jaw and temple this way, but I held off until my new pads arrived.   I hadn't realized just HOW compressed my old ones were until I attached the one side of the new ones and the ear cup looked twice as large!  Physically they were in great condition, but inside they were well compacted.  Since the replacement the headphones are both way more comfortable without the painful clamping, and, as expected, the instrument placement has been improved (at the cost of adding a little of the "veil" (or better said, distance) back in), but overall provides an improved presentation. again. And tends to want slightly higher volume again.

 

It makes me wonder if part of the "break-in" period isn't actually about the drivers, but about the pads.  Yes drivers DO need break-in.  But the "100 to 200 hours" people throw around.  I wonder if only 50 hours is the drivers and the rest is the time it takes the pads to settle the drivers at an ideal location.  Not that I dislike where they are now...it's like moving back a few rows in a venue.  You can tell placement better in part because its farther away.

 

Its intriguing what you said about the less detailed soundstage.  I found the opposite. But you noticed a difference, so again, I'm not fully nuts! gs1000.gif

post #5805 of 36851

Source: Rega DAC / Marantz SA-7001

Amp: Beta 22 / SOHA II

 

I was about to get the HD650. I have heard the HD650 on a few occasions and have a good idea on how it sounded like. I like the full bodied and non fatiguing presentation.

 

But then I heard the LCD-2, it seemed that the smoothness of the ortho is not something that HD650 can match. However I am not paying that much for a headphone. On the other hand, however I have not heard the HD650 in my system, which might or might not be better from the condition that I auditioned.

 

The common wisdom tells us that what dictates the sound quality most is the headphone > source > amp. However, from what I already own, it appeared that my spending is the exactly other way round. biggrin.gif

 

Question:

 

If you were me, would you be looking at the HE-500? Which cost almost twice as much as the HD650. Or would you not worry and just stick with the HD650 and allow the headphone the cheapest component in your system?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread