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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 445

post #6661 of 36844
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

 

I've seen that before, and in a perfect world, eliminating that last bit of wire would be the ideal.  Like with any hardwired headphone.   In a slightly less perfect world, I think the way it works is that length is the killer in cables.  Even the worst cable isn't much liability at an inch, or even six.  It's as the runs get longer that it becomes more of an issue.  So (the cable theory, ignoring my stance for a moment), the idea is that the 5, 10, 15 foot run you have from the amp to the driver jack has far more effect on the sound than that last 1" will have.  If you can get a "perfect" signal to that last 1" there's not much that can go wrong from there.   Imagine tethering your headphones to your amp with a 1" cable.  Even AKG's nasty wires would be suitable.

 

It's for that reason that balanced was invented...because in pro audio the losses that start appearing after 25ft or so, and only after that length matter.  Under that length there wasn't a reason to balance it.

 

Also I think the two big things in cables (again going from the cable upgrade theory, ignoring agree/disagree stances, and especially for long runs, some of this is absolute fact) the biggest issues are about keeping the ground/return separate.  Really cheap wires (AKG!) don't even bother shielding the cable or the conductors and share a common drain wire which can introduce crosstalk.  The Senn cable at least keeps the drain wires separate, but for a 10 ft cable or so there's still plenty of room for crosstalk which better shielded cables can prevent.  Once you're up to that last 1" of wire in the driver mount, attached right into the voice coil, those wires are kept 1/4" apart from each other or so, far more spread out than in a cable jacket, so there's no real chance of crosstalk between signal and drain, and since they're on opposite sides of your head, zero chance at all for inter-channel crosstalk.

 

Whether you do or don't believe in boutique cables, those details can't be denied between cheap stuff and even $1.50/ft bulk wire like Belden and Canare, and the physical difference between a jacketed 10ft cable run carrying both channels versus the 1" of very visibly separated wire (not cable) in the driver are obvious.  There seriously is no real chance of anything going wrong at the plug, SQ wise.

 

I was talking sound signature, not necessarily sound quality, sorry for the confusion. I mean, would the sound signature change if it's going through the same piece of wire to the driver anyway? Or would it change some and then the SS of that bit of copper wire changes it again?

post #6662 of 36844
Quote:

Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

 

One thing about being a cable critic like us....eventually you figure out you missed important pieces of the equation wink.gif  I laughed at the notion for years, having owned and used a Cardas, seeing no difference, and advising others the same.   Oops...I find the difference subtle but detectable now. 

 

Just out of interest, since you were a former non-believer, did you do an actual blind test in which you managed to detect (reliably) the difference or did you just suddenly decide to trust you ears..?

Because, as audio science dictates, there is nothing odd with hearing a difference between cables, the problem is that that doesn't necessarily mean there actually is one. Not looking to start any discussion on this, just wondering.

post #6663 of 36844

Oh-Boy-here-we-go-again.jpg

post #6664 of 36844

^^^^^ LOL

 

Its def a debate that will never end. There are just too many variables, from people's hearing being different to audible memory to psychological convincing there's a difference and minute differences. And then with blind tests being done with coat hangers and way over priced cables and no one being able to tell the difference there is strong support on one side scientifically. But, like all these fast food companies sell what many unfortunately believe to be "food", there is a market for it and people keep buying and the marketing keeps working, so it certainly isnt going away anytime soon and neither will the debates :)

post #6665 of 36844
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

I was talking sound signature, not necessarily sound quality, sorry for the confusion. I mean, would the sound signature change if it's going through the same piece of wire to the driver anyway? Or would it change some and then the SS of that bit of copper wire changes it again?

 

Sound signature and sound quality are effectively the same thing when talking cables.  Again, going entirely on the assumption that one chooses to believe in cables as opposed to not believe, the theory is that the cable changes the resistance, capacitance, or impedance based on the cable design, and their connection to their terminations, which changes the "quality" of the electrical current, which changes the sound signature reproduced by the driver.

 

I also hold that one of the "improvements" caused by some cabes that color the sound is not because they are a superior cable in terms of signal transmission.  Superior cable is dirt cheap and can be found everywhere (Belden, Canare, etc.)  Cables of that grade such as what BJC sells (they don't make headphone cables, but they make interconnects and the same discussions go there), are effectively "flawless" for audio.  Most of them are video cables and I have been assured again and again and shown spec sheet after spec sheet that the areas where they have any potential to loose/alter any signal are well into the MHz bands, important for video, irrelevant for audio which  peaks at the 40-50KHz band.  I think what "improves" some cables and colors the sound is precisely well engineered inferiority.  On paper that sounds horrible, "I'm paying more to get inferior cables than cheap stuff?"  But when you think about why folks like tubes, it makes more sense.  If you seek to color your sound, you seek to add specific defects to the transfer.  Which is not entirely different from what room acoustics do for speakers and live performance.

 

All that said, I do think the Senn stock cable is one such flawed, colored cable, maybe by design, and if one wanted true transparency, $15 worth of Belden 1505-F or Canare Star Quad (the cable that comes with HiFiman headphones), some plugs, and a soldering iron would probably be the best cable money could buy should one want transparency and not color/defects.  Anything more exotic isn't a quest for transparency but a quest for favorable euphonic alteration, like tubes.

 

Answering your original question, if you were to take that example to the extreme, it is theoretically possible that either the bare copper in the housing or the gold contacts that connect it could alter the sound again, but only in concert with whatever coloration a cable did or did not add.  In reality I consider that wire part of the driver coil itself (it is directly attached after all) and part of the nature of the driver's end sound, good, bad, or indifferent.   It shouldn't be messed with unless you just want to experiement for the sake of doing so.  Most of the types of things that may affect a cable's sound (3/4 conductor, shielding differences, gauge over distance, etc are entirely irrelevant for two pieces of wire physically 1/4" apart running 1" in open air, and near no other competing EMI source.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellygoose View Post

 

Just out of interest, since you were a former non-believer, did you do an actual blind test in which you managed to detect (reliably) the difference or did you just suddenly decide to trust you ears..?

Because, as audio science dictates, there is nothing odd with hearing a difference between cables, the problem is that that doesn't necessarily mean there actually is one. Not looking to start any discussion on this, just wondering.

 

I see where you're going, and I agree with you.  And unfortunately there's no real way to test that.   I had the perfect setup to try since I was having something of an "I got my 650's fixed party".  I had available two HD650s, two Lyrs (though even identical model amps aren't going to be identical) with identical model tubes.  It would have been almost easy to do a blind test.  Except given the difference in feel/stiffness between the stock cable and any thicker after-market cable, it's always easy to tell which cable you're wearing on your head, eyes closed or not.  A more fair test would be two supposedly different aftermarket cables that have a similar weight/stiffness since then you can't tell which cable you're wearing.

 

I may be able to do a more useful test of just that in the next week or so.  I decided to try a silver cable since I've long been curious, and I'm not interested in dumping $1500 on HD800 at present, it seemed like a fun thing to try.   I suspect that will be more similar in weight and stiffness to the Cardas so I should be able to compare the two of those in a genuine blind environment.

 

I know the audio science spiel....I've given it plenty of times myself wink.gif

 

Again it depends I think on the cables being compared.  AKG's cable for example is my poster child for what not to do in a cable.  It's not just "ohh I think it's too warm" it's a matter of being built like garbage and entirely unshielded.  There's no way the signal at the headphone could be clean on that thing.  Any boutique cable should handily beat it.  Any cheapie DIY cable should handily beat it.  It's worse than Radio Shack jumper wire....  HD650's cable is more of a mixed bag...it's not horribly bad in the AKG sense of the word, however I do suspect its the same exact type of "colored by defects" cable as many boutique cables.  It's at least shielded, unlike AKG.

 

I have my doubts as to what differences, if any, could be made between most boutique cables other than the ones going out of their way to add euophonic distortion, or an already good stock cable like the DIY-grade Canare Star Quad that comes with HiFiMan headphones ($15 to replace, cheaper than Senn and infinitely nicer), or the Denon cable that's of the same UP-OCC grade that most boutique cables are (meaning it's already a boutique cable in the box....hard to top that.)

 

In actuality I don't think there will ever be a close to the cable debate.  The amount of change is so miniscule so as to be below the margin of error in any test and easily written off by anyone looking at such data as being irrelevant in difference.  And yet audiophiles are all about OCD and small minute, barely measurable changes..  Unfortunately I think the measurements crowd and the cable crowd aren't so much in disagreement as to if there's a difference so much as to if the difference is of enough significance to matter.  The claim that there are no measurable differences is only half-true, there are no measurable differences above the margin of error.  Which means there are measurable differences but it has been determined to be insignificant to hearing and below the reliability of the measuring equipement to be accurate. The cable crowd feels it is significant to hearing.  Who's right?

 

An example of measurable difference in the extreme is silver cable.  One of the primary reasons for some silver cable designs was pro audio where it gave roughly a +3db boost to signal in some cases resulting from less loss/attenuation, allowing more headroom on the mixing boards.  To say there's no objective measurable difference between copper cable A and silver cable B in that situation would be a whole-hearted lie.  To say it has no alteration on frequency or impulse repsonse would then be more open to debate.  Perhaps it measures the same in relative terms.  Perhaps there is shift.  Obviously it would have to be level-matched to test etc.   Since the object of debate is miniscule hard to detect differences some feel they notice while experts claim they shouldn't, there will never be an end to it.

 

If two cables test at exactly the same resistance, capacitance, impedance, show identical voltage and current readings at the output given the same source at the same level, then they should indeed sound identical.  If there is difference, any difference at all, even within the margin of error (the part that is probably under real debate, but not in so many words, is where should the margin of error really be set) then it's believable that difference may be real.  That much I can agree on. 

 

I'm still not a believer in most of the snake oil being sold, and am no way a "cable evangelist"...the differences are indeed miniscule, but I can no longer objectively state that I believe there is no audible difference between cables, at least those using radically different gauges, common-drain vs 4 conductor configuration, shielded vs unshielded (both cable and conductor), and different base metals/alloys.  Those are very simple and electrically identifiable sources for differences that all things equal should have an effect on conduction.  The snake oil behind a certain magic braiding changing the skin effect....that's a different mess entirely.... rolleyes.gif


Edited by IEMCrazy - 5/16/12 at 10:07am
post #6666 of 36844

On Head-Fi, Godwin's Law applies to cable debates.

post #6667 of 36844

IEMcrazy that was a good post thanks.... As you seem to have a good idea about interconnects could you reccomend me what to look for in a RCA interconnect that would give the smoothest, warmest possible sound? I am thinking of changing my 0.5m RCA interconnect between my DAC and AMP and I don't want to spend more than £30. I understand the difference is small to none between them but I would still like to get the smoothest, warmest possible to rule that out as a source of brightness/harshness in my system.


Edited by nicholars - 5/16/12 at 12:10pm
post #6668 of 36844
Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post

On Head-Fi, Godwin's Law applies to cable debates.

 

Goodwins law = wtf lol.

 

I am going to make a random law such as that and get it posted on wikipedia it looks fun haha

post #6669 of 36844
Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post

On Head-Fi, Godwin's Law applies to cable debates.

 

You're just an anti-cable Nazi.  Law proven.  And because Godwin's Law has now been proven true regarding cables, it follows that Mutilithic Monofilamentaldielectric braids really do improve treble detail by reducing hyper-intrafrequency skin effect! atsmile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

IEMcrazy that was a good post thanks.... As you seem to have a good idea about interconnects could you reccomend me what to look for in a RCA interconnect that would give the smoothest, warmest possible sound? I am thinking of changing my 0.5m RCA interconnect between my DAC and AMP and I don't want to spend more than £30. I understand the difference is small to none between them but I would still like to get the smoothest, warmest possible to rule that out as a source of brightness/harshness in my system.

 

I wouldn't go as far as to say that I'm overly versed in the various tones of interconnect snake oil and non-snake oil to buy into (heck I drove Drew at Moon nuts all week with a million questions to the point he was probably ready to throw me out if I didn't buy something!)  (FWIW, Moon's cables are ultra pricy, but I don't consider them snake oil.  They don't make odd psueudo scientific claims, they basically say "here's some cables, here's how I think they sound"...no rationalization involved.  Also they sell the materials to make it yourself DIY for half the cost or less...most of the price is labor not parts, so I can swallow the pill a bit better...  Other brands selling $500+ cables is another thing.) However, I do know enough to temper the difference between actual potential areas for miniscule differences between cables versus unadulterated hype and snake oil.   wink.gif

 

If you're looking for "smooth and warm" you're definitely looking for one of those "intentionally inferior" cables.  What you probably want is something with an increased capacitance.  Keeping in mind that boutique cables will run fortunes for such intentionally inferior sound, and you're setting a modest, practical budget, you're probably looking at something DIY (if you're handy with a soldering iron), or you may well be stuck with those lousy superior transparent cables!  It may sound funny, but cheap lamp cord with some RCA's soldered on the ends may actually give you that "warm" sound at the cost of detail.  Especially the ones with aluminum conductors. It's far outside the audiophile range, but for colored sound on a budget, that would probably work!  Also a relatively thick gauge won't really help make it "warm" but it will prevent it from being "cold/thin." 

 

One thing that has a strong possibility of taming treble is just making sure to go with anything that has a braided conductor rather than solid core.  Solid cores are better at conducting high frequency, so it follows that if you want to reduce high frequency, braided may reduce frequency.   I'm sure there's plenty of braided RCA cabling on a budget.  The braid vs solid is a measured difference on cable spec sheets, and is real.  The only question is if the affected frequencies are in the audio range or not.

 

What I'm using from my Bifrost to Lyr is the 6" Audioquest Y-splitter cables.  I ran it with the other side just dangling for a while, before I got my O2 amp which it now slits between O2 and Lyr.  Audioquest is arguably the king of snake oil to levels even ALO can only dream of.  However their Y-splitters are pretty darned heavy gauge solid core like a thin coat hanger (they actually hold shape if you bend them) and are only $15 USD each.  That would probably be a little closer to "audiophile cable on a budget" and is probably more colored than something like Belden, though it does have plenty of detail resolution so it may still be "too perfect" biggrin.gif  If you want the really "inferior by design" stuff, you can start taking out loans tongue_smile.gif  But there's a lot you can do with audio money before spending fortunes on teeny tiny shifts from cables.   For me it's only worthwhile because I don't desire an amp or source upgrade from what I have, and I love my HD650's so I figure it's time to play with cables for fun.  Were I seeking upgrades from here, the money would be much better spent on real upgrades.  But even were I to buy LCD-3's right now, my 650's would be staying right where they are.


Edited by IEMCrazy - 5/16/12 at 1:33pm
post #6670 of 36844

Hmmm maybe it is not worth even bothering with then... I was considering replacing my Cambridge audio interconnect with something like QED basic copper interconnect.... TBH I think I may well be wasting my money and better spending it on something else instead. Does length hve any measuarable effect?

post #6671 of 36844

I am new to this forum but I have been in the audio hobby for at least 7 years. I know cables are a huge debate and that everyone has a different experience and opinion, and I respect that. My experience is that after some gauge or material there is no measurable difference. Last year I sneak up in one of the school signal labs and tested some of my headphone cables with a TDR, The impedance differences of the cable at audible frequencies where not significant at all. Skin effect start getting really bad until MHz frequencies. The cables I tested were the original HD650 cable, Zu mobius and Moon Audio Blue Dragon. Again this is just my opinion, I think cables DO make a difference, but getting cables that are worth as much or twice the value of the headphones is too much.

post #6672 of 36844

trimer1, just out of curiousity, what's your experience with the Zu cable? (I'm assuming it's the Moebius one.)

 

And despite how funny Godwin's Law may sound, I've seen a bunch of threads on other forums (mostly car ones) devolve into just what it states. It's actually pretty hilarious... It used to be that way on Usenet groups, notably in rec.audio.high-end. (Does anyone even remember this??)

post #6673 of 36844

I like my Zu mobius.  I also have their speaker cable, some RCA's(Gede and Varial), rca-mini and mini to mini.  I have looked over there periodically though and don't think they do cable anymore, it's all speakers.  

 

I had two mobius, the first one was a version one that was thick and stiff and i had a problem with some weird grounding thing.  They said that they had never heard of the problem except once in testing.  They replaced my cable at that time, after i had had it for a year with mobius version two, which was thin and not stiff at all.  After that I didn't hear the problem for a long time but every now and then it does come up even with this cable.  Think it is a grounding thing with my system or phones but it only happens very rarely and I really don't use my HD650 anymore.  The sound quality sounded better to me than other cables that i heard with the 650s though.


Edited by dallan - 5/16/12 at 9:06pm
post #6674 of 36844
Quote:
Originally Posted by trimer1 View Post

Again this is just my opinion, I think cables DO make a difference, but getting cables that are worth as much or twice the value of the headphones is too much.

 

Agreed. From my experience with RCA cable which I used between Bifrost and Lyr, different cables do sound different. Regarding headphone cable price, after comparing with other cables, the price for the Toxic Cables Cryo OCC SPC/Copper Cable (Cryo treated OCC Silver plated copper and Cryo treated OCC 99.99999% pure copper) is reasonable priced (not breaking my bank account), IMO. It is priced about USD151 for 8 ft long cable for HD650 with 6.3mm high end Viablue jack or 4 Pin Balanced Neutrik Gold Plated XLR termination. For 6 feets, the price is about USD127. I can't justify paying the hefty price for other brand of cables (copper with silver) which could cost USD250 or more for the same 8 ft. That is why I have been using the stock cable until now. I haven't hear the SQ using the cable yet as I am still waiting for the cable to arrive. However, headfiers in this forum gave good review on this cable.

post #6675 of 36844

Guys, so when you watch movies with explosions etc. on your 650s, how bad does it distort? I cranked up my 650s earlier and I'm worried they're damaged or something. Regular music seems ok but some vocals/songs crackle in the background of the soundstage, but I think that was there before and it's the music, not the cans (I sure hope!). When bullets fly and stuff explodes, the 650s trying to recreate the bass from it just vibrate/buzz/etc. but at a lower frequency than you would think of buzzing, think bass. Is this normal?

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