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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 450

post #6736 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

Kudos for the long post. Seriously, I respect this, and it deserves appraisal .

 

Thanks! bigsmile_face.gif

 

Quote:
I maybe forgot to mention it this time, but I used a crooked definition of neutral. I believe the have a very natural feel to them, but I've never actually gone to live concerts and have no idea what 'accurate/neutral' sounds like, so my personal definition of the term is sort of based around what my HD650's sound like. I know it's not neutral, but it's a sound signature I absolutely love, and hence I compare other gear to it's sound signature; essentially becoming a personal definition of neutral in the absence of something better.
While I have never heard the cans you have mentioned (except for the HD800, briefly), I disagree with the notion of neutral sounding cold and lifeless. A good rig should sound like real life - which is by no means dull or lifeless. Although there is a basic problem with headphones regarding reaching neutrality; headphones will always sound different and from speakers, tonally or otherwise. Speakers come closer something sounding like a concert because of the different natures of the sound source.
Relevant article:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564465/misconception-of-neutral-accurate
 

 

Actually I whole heartedly agree with you in the context, and I think the actual difference is in the use of wording.   The word "natural" is a much better choice, IMO.  Neutral I think is described exactly as I said, and that is the only thing "neutral" can be.  But I also agree with you, if we keep the wording in tact that "neutral" is not truly a desirable end result in audio equipment., and especially headphones and that "natural" is a more desirable destination.  

 

The reasoning I think that "neutral" or "accurate" is a valid term (referring to the cold, lifeless, sterile sound) is that it is neutral to the recorded sound.  What is on the recording is exactly what the microphones picked up in anechoic environment and exactly as the mixers and mastering engineers placed on that recording.  A true neutral setup would not alter that and portray it exactly as it is.   It is undesirable in the end result because what is on that recording is not true to life.  It's a sanitized version by placing microphones at the exit apertures of instruments/mouths and keeping that sterile, unattenuated sound in tact through the neutral playback headphones.  This is of course desirable in a recording so that the playback equipment/room can create its own live stage out of it without trying to reproduce some generic stage, which is what well colored headphones like HD650 set out to do.  Reproduce that natural sound as it would be in real life. 

 

There is however a place for such sterile "true neutral" equipment and thus why the term "neutral" referring to the cold, sterile representation that doesn't mimic real live performance is still a valid one to preserve.  Recording.  K702, HD600 etc are first and foremost meant as tools for studio work.  In that environment, one looks for "neutral" as in, something that represents the cold, lifeless recording exactly so that one can verify that everthing is in good shape and that nothing is colored and biased so that end playback equipment (HD650, tubes, whatever) can add their color and build a stage without the recording telling it what stage to build.  One needs such a "lifeless" tool to do that job.  So neutral is real, and has a definite purpose.  Also the study of music itself (composers, technique, etc) is helped by dead-neutral instruments.

 

So I agree entirely with how you evaluate the proper end point for audio gear.  But I also think that neutral really does mean neutral which is by definition not natural.  The cold K70x must do its job so that the lively HD650 can do its job wink.gif

 

It's actually in interesting conversatoin that plays right into a few topics I've discussed in other threads.  It's where I disagree with where much of the flagships are headed and disagree with the audiophile notion of extreme detail retrieval via such flagships.  That kind of detail retreival is unnatural to live music presentation, and I feel at times that the HD650 level represents the peak (sans soundstage) of live music reproduction.  The ultra detailed flagships may be moving away from lifelike sound and into something to detailed to be called natural for all but stage-level listening.   Where HE-400 does excell over HD650 though is in a slightly more "fun", more dynamic presentation.  HD650 has a bit of a DR compression of its own I think which is a little unrealistic but keeps it from being as fatiguing.  For very dynamic classical for example I can hear all of it with HD650 on Lyr.  With HE-400 if I turn it loud enough that I can clearly hear the quiet parts I'll get blasted away when the loud parts come biggrin.gif  Which is, of course, very realistic, if sometimes annoying...  It's also where I peel away from the "measurements are everything" crowd and look at adding distortion via tubes, cables, colored headphones, colored sources, etc.   It better recreates reality, not the sterile bit-perfect detail seeking quest some go on.  HD650, HE-400 on tubes sound like real music being attenuated and distorted on walls and furnishings.  Bit perfect SS amps and sterile headphones do not.  And identically reproducing the sterile recording is not the intended end result of music playback, no matter what the measurement "tubes are distortion boxes" crowd may tell me!

 

Oh, and nothing wrong with taking HD650 and using it as the comparison of "neutral" to all other sounds.  It's labeled "reference".  That's what you're supposed to do with it wink_face.gif

 

Quote:
I actually completely agree with the fact that my use of 'unamped' in that post was incorrect. But, it's convenient to say 'unamped' when you mean directly run from a mobo/DAP without any dedicated amplifier. At first I was just like you in this regard, but eventually I started using the term too, since it makes it easier to converse with the people who use the term as well.
And besides, when you say 'unamped' the meaning is completely obvious, and not really viable to misinterpretation, so what's the problem?
[/quote]
 

 

Oh, I use it too, or rather refer to "needs an amp" often enough for conversation here.  But often that leads to "it gets loud enough" wars.  It's always best to periodically remind that we're talking about using lousy amps versus good amps, not using amps versus not using amps when the conversation veers toward quality wink.gif

 

Quote:
In my opinion and experience the amp and DAC do not influence the sound that much, and if you want them to influence the sound then you should expect buying a product that is expensive, and technically defect in terms of performance.
 

 

LOL, how true.   And that ties into my conversation in this thread on cables where I referred to "the 'better' ones being 'well engineered inferiority'" which isn't a bad thing in that quest for natural over neutral, like with tubes tongue.gif   I love when measurements type people cite "tube amp x measures terribly."  Of course it measures terribly, it's a tube amp!  I wouldn't buy it if it measured well! biggrin.gif

 

But that's just it.  Take multiple SS amps.  If they don't all sound identical, they are influencing sound via such defects.  O2 is almost dead flat in measurement.  Any other dead flat measuring amp should sound identical.  My Headroom Micro does not sound similar.  It has very aggressive upper mids and a flabby bass.  I dislike it in fact.  But it is an influence on the sound, absolutely.  Lyr...well tubes are tubes. I bought it because it does that, as you say. 

 

DAC is a harder one because it is so much more subtle.  I could easily ABX sufficiently different amps.  DACs I don't think I'd bother trying.  Arguably one is more detailed than another, and it probably is, but it's so much harder for the human ear to knowably separate unless it goes way out of its way to alter the sound (DacMagic for example does something that creates a huge artificial soundstage.  A built-in DSP of sorts I presume.)  However I find with a really nice DAC, I don't get fatigued by it.   With a lesser DAC  I am fatigued by the end of an album.  It's a subtle difference somewhere in the sound that my brain doesn't conciously detect, but my ears do, slowly over time.

 

Quote:
Huh? I don't understand what you mean.
What to you mean with 'on the sound itself'?
With sound signature I was referring to the audible charactertics of sound. If it does not have an effect on this, then it does not have an audible effect at all. (except for things like gain and power).

 

 

By signature I mean the tonal balance.  Generally (assuming SS) the rack shouldn't affect the tonal balance.  But it is more prone to effect transient response, dynamics, even detail vs. muddiness.  The control of the amp for example could make sound muddy or flabby bass if it lacks control of its own power output.   It's an audible effect but it doesn't affect the signature in terms of tonality. 

post #6737 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Long quote (Click to show)
Actually I whole heartedly agree with you in the context, and I think the actual difference is in the use of wording.   The word "natural" is a much better choice, IMO.  Neutral I think is described exactly as I said, and that is the only thing "neutral" can be.  But I also agree with you, if we keep the wording in tact that "neutral" is not truly a desirable end result in audio equipment., and especially headphones and that "natural" is a more desirable destination.  

The reasoning I think that "neutral" or "accurate" is a valid term (referring to the cold, lifeless, sterile sound) is that it is neutral to the recorded sound.  What is on the recording is exactly what the microphones picked up in anechoic environment and exactly as the mixers and mastering engineers placed on that recording.  A true neutral setup would not alter that and portray it exactly as it is.   It is undesirable in the end result because what is on that recording is not true to life.  It's a sanitized version by placing microphones at the exit apertures of instruments/mouths and keeping that sterile, unattenuated sound in tact through the neutral playback headphones.  This is of course desirable in a recording so that the playback equipment/room can create its own live stage out of it without trying to reproduce some generic stage, which is what well colored headphones like HD650 set out to do.  Reproduce that natural sound as it would be in real life. 

There is however a place for such sterile "true neutral" equipment and thus why the term "neutral" referring to the cold, sterile representation that doesn't mimic real live performance is still a valid one to preserve.  Recording.  K702, HD600 etc are first and foremost meant as tools for studio work.  In that environment, one looks for "neutral" as in, something that represents the cold, lifeless recording exactly so that one can verify that everthing is in good shape and that nothing is colored and biased so that end playback equipment (HD650, tubes, whatever) can add their color and build a stage without the recording telling it what stage to build.  One needs such a "lifeless" tool to do that job.  So neutral is real, and has a definite purpose.  Also the study of music itself (composers, technique, etc) is helped by dead-neutral instruments.

So I agree entirely with how you evaluate the proper end point for audio gear.  But I also think that neutral really does mean neutral which is by definition not natural.  The cold K70x must do its job so that the lively HD650 can do its job wink.gif

It's actually in interesting conversatoin that plays right into a few topics I've discussed in other threads.  It's where I disagree with where much of the flagships are headed and disagree with the audiophile notion of extreme detail retrieval via such flagships.  That kind of detail retreival is unnatural to live music presentation, and I feel at times that the HD650 level represents the peak (sans soundstage) of live music reproduction.  The ultra detailed flagships may be moving away from lifelike sound and into something to detailed to be called natural for all but stage-level listening.   Where HE-400 does excell over HD650 though is in a slightly more "fun", more dynamic presentation.  HD650 has a bit of a DR compression of its own I think which is a little unrealistic but keeps it from being as fatiguing.  For very dynamic classical for example I can hear all of it with HD650 on Lyr.  With HE-400 if I turn it loud enough that I can clearly hear the quiet parts I'll get blasted away when the loud parts come biggrin.gif   Which is, of course, very realistic, if sometimes annoying...  It's also where I peel away from the "measurements are everything" crowd and look at adding distortion via tubes, cables, colored headphones, colored sources, etc.   It better recreates reality, not the sterile bit-perfect detail seeking quest some go on.  HD650, HE-400 on tubes sound like real music being attenuated and distorted on walls and furnishings.  Bit perfect SS amps and sterile headphones do not.  And identically reproducing the sterile recording is not the intended end result of music playback, no matter what the measurement "tubes are distortion boxes" crowd may tell me!

Oh, and nothing wrong with taking HD650 and using it as the comparison of "neutral" to all other sounds.  It's labeled "reference".  That's what you're supposed to do with it wink_face.gif
If the record doesn't sound good when played by a completely 100% dead neutral system which does not add any colorations whatsoever anywhere in the signal path (i.e. a perfectly linear system), then the recording is at fault.
Recording studios tend to use neutral systems, and make it sound as good as they can on their system. Some mastering studios specifically master it for bad setups (e.g. heavily compressed pop music), but most recordings which aim only for high sound quality are supposed to be played by neutral systems.
Recording can't assume that everyone has a specific coloration present, so for the recording to sound the best on the average system of decent quality, it is necessary to master it for neutral playback. If it's played back on a mediocre system (dynamic compression aside), then it won't sound good no matter how it's mastered.
This is very intuitively explained in this article:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564465/misconception-of-neutral-accurate
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

LOL, how true.   And that ties into my conversation in this thread on cables where I referred to "the 'better' ones being 'well engineered inferiority'" which isn't a bad thing in that quest for natural over neutral, like with tubes tongue.gif    I love when measurements type people cite "tube amp x measures terribly."  Of course it measures terribly, it's a tube amp!  I wouldn't buy it if it measured well! biggrin.gif

But that's just it.  Take multiple SS amps.  If they don't all sound identical, they are influencing sound via such defects.  O2 is almost dead flat in measurement.  Any other dead flat measuring amp should sound identical.  My Headroom Micro does not sound similar.  It has very aggressive upper mids and a flabby bass.  I dislike it in fact.  But it is an influence on the sound, absolutely.  Lyr...well tubes are tubes. I bought it because it does that, as you say. 
Not all tube amps measure badly. There are plenty tube amps that actually have quite good specs, and are really quite neutral. It's just much harder to make a well measuring tube amp than it is with opamps/transistors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

DAC is a harder one because it is so much more subtle.  I could easily ABX sufficiently different amps.  DACs I don't think I'd bother trying.  Arguably one is more detailed than another, and it probably is, but it's so much harder for the human ear to knowably separate unless it goes way out of its way to alter the sound (DacMagic for example does something that creates a huge artificial soundstage.  A built-in DSP of sorts I presume.)  However I find with a really nice DAC, I don't get fatigued by it.   With a lesser DAC  I am fatigued by the end of an album.  It's a subtle difference somewhere in the sound that my brain doesn't conciously detect, but my ears do, slowly over time.
Just looking at the specs of several decent DAC's makes it easy to realize that the differences aren't going to be big, if audible at all.

The 'listener fatigue' argument tends to be based on misconceptions. Studies have shown, if I recall correctly, that listening fatigue is a very bad method of comparing sound quality, and is probably going to be influenced a whole lot more by psychological factors.
The smallest differences can be discerned when switching between two pieces of gear within a second or so. Preferably double blind, as otherwise psychological factors aren't disproved either.

One very big mistake a lot of people make, both beginners and more experienced alike, is underestimating the effects of expectation bias on the perception of sound quality. Hearing 'small' or 'subtle' differences? Chances are bigger that it's your brain putting them in there to meet your expectations of there being a difference between the two units, than there being an actual audible difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

By signature I mean the tonal balance.  Generally (assuming SS) the rack shouldn't affect the tonal balance.  But it is more prone to effect transient response, dynamics, even detail vs. muddiness.  The control of the amp for example could make sound muddy or flabby bass if it lacks control of its own power output.   It's an audible effect but it doesn't affect the signature in terms of tonality. 
These factors are all measurable, and as far as I know there hasn't been any evidence of a rack affecting sound quality in any measurable way.

Measuring equipment is more precise than the human ear by a long shot.
Edited by Tilpo - 5/21/12 at 1:17pm
post #6738 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post


If the record doesn't sound good when played by a completely 100% dead neutral system which does not add any colorations whatsoever anywhere in the signal path (i.e. a perfectly linear system), then the recording is at fault.
Recording studios tend to use neutral systems, and make it sound as good as they can on their system. Some mastering studios specifically master it for bad setups (e.g. heavily compressed pop music), but most recordings which aim only for high sound quality are supposed to be played by neutral systems.
Recording can't assume that everyone has a specific coloration present, so for the recording to sound the best on the average system of decent quality, it is necessary to master it for neutral playback. If it's played back on a mediocre system (dynamic compression aside), then it won't sound good no matter how it's mastered.
This is very intuitively explained in this article:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564465/misconception-of-neutral-accurate

 

Exactly.  I think you're missing the point that we're in agreement on this one wink.gif

 

That was my point, that the mastering is done on neutral equipment for "neutral playback" with the expectation that the equipment and room treatment will create the desired natural sound.  In headphones we have colored equipment in place of room treatment to bring that flat neutral sound back into natural sound.

 

And my point was that is why neutral headphones that are cold and lifeless are indeed neutral.  HD650 is a highly colored headphone.  Which takes the place of room treatment. It is natural but not neutral precisely because it is colored to achieve what speakers in a treated room would deliver to the ear. 

 

The theoretically linear system (headphones) would sound "good" as far as being faithful to the recording, but the recording would still sound cold/lifeless compared to live music since that usually means recroding took place at the exit apertures of instruments before the room itself colored it. 

 

If said linear system was loudspeakers however, then it should sound perfect once the room takes care of properly coloring the sound as though the totally neutral piano recording were being played live in the room.

 

I was agreeing biggrin.gif

 

Quote:

Not all tube amps measure badly. There are plenty tube amps that actually have quite good specs, and are really quite neutral. It's just much harder to make a well measuring tube amp than it is with opamps/transistors.

 

Right, but a well measuring tube amp would sound like a properly measuring SS amp which defeats the point of messing with tubes to start with.   For speakers, IMO, SS is the way to go.  But for headphones, without coloration from SOMETHING be it tubes, cables, driver design, voodoo, whatever, it will never sound natural since there's no treated room to echo around.

 

Granted in my case I'm using a hybrid, so it's generally SS purity with some tube coloration/distortion, but that's a hair to split.

 

Quote:
Just looking at the specs of several decent DAC's makes it easy to realize that the differences aren't going to be big, if audible at all.
The 'listener fatigue' argument tends to be based on misconceptions. Studies have shown, if I recall correctly, that listening fatigue is a very bad method of comparing sound quality, and is probably going to be influenced a whole lot more by psychological factors.
The smallest differences can be discerned when switching between two pieces of gear within a second or so. Preferably double blind, as otherwise psychological factors aren't disproved either. One very big mistake a lot of people make, both beginners and more experienced alike, is underestimating the effects of expectation bias on the perception of sound quality. Hearing 'small' or 'subtle' differences? Chances are bigger that it's your brain putting them in there to meet your expectations of there being a difference between the two units, than there being an actual audible difference.

 

Specs of DAC chips, or specs of DAC implementations?  Two different things. 

 

The listener fatigue argument isn't misconceived.  Of course it's based on various things if doing immediate A/B testing, listener bias, etc however in this case I'm referring to having owned equipment for months or years.  One piece was consistently fatiguing, another was not.  The DAC difference was the only difference.  That is not bias or psychological factors but a repeated pattern.  I realize it's not measured and analyzed, but at some point reality is reality when setup A turns you away from listening and setup B does not based purely on a fatigue factor. 

 

It's one thing when you're auditioning gear or listening for differences and thinking you detect one thing or another. But the DAC fatigue experienced, in this case, was a matter of just listening recreationally.  Not auditioning or comparing gear.  The pattern was absolute using a variety of different DACs.   EMU-0404: Fatiguing (I'm still stuck with it in some cases though.)  iPod DAC: lacks some detail the others have, but not fatiguing.  Pure i20: fatiguing.  Bifrost: not fatiguing. Denon 2310ci: not fatiguing. Onkyo 40x: fatiguing.  This is all equipment I listened to daily for long periods of time, and was not in the process or A/B testing.  It was just a fact, when using certain ones I was almost always fatigued.  I would never be able to conciously pick one from the next though.

 

No expectation bias at all.  Just the perception of "jeez this music is annoying now" and the need to keep pushing the volume knob lower and lower far more often on some equipment than others.

 

I understand your point,  and it is a very valid one in so many cases.  But in this case I'm going to have to go with my own experience, let the measurements be darned!  If we're talking purely of DAC chips and their specs, you're likely completely right.  But the implementations do a lot beyond the spec of the chips.

 

Quote:
These factors are all measurable, and as far as I know there hasn't been any evidence of a rack affecting sound quality in any measurable way.
Measuring equipment is more precise than the human ear by a long shot.

 

So a Phonitor and a WA-3 should sound exactly the same?  How about a Phonitor and an E7?  Nothing audibly or measurably different there?   I'm certain you don't think so so I'm sure I'm misinterpereting your statements, but I had to throw that in there to be sure. confused.gif

post #6739 of 37349

Is my setup bad for hd 650? I seem perfectly happy with it but srolling through these forums makes me think otherwise.

 

Xonar STX (I upgraded the op amps on it to something that was accepted to be of good quality by a STX thread in this forum) -> Lehmann Audio BCL-> HD 650.

post #6740 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post


So a Phonitor and a WA-3 should sound exactly the same?  How about a Phonitor and an E7?  Nothing audibly or measurably different there?   I'm certain you don't think so so I'm sure I'm misinterpereting your statements, but I had to throw that in there to be sure. confused.gif
Even better: I may have misinterpreted your post. You said something about a 'rack' so I thought you implied the piece of furniture the amps stand on has an audible effect, which freaked me out because it does not.

I don't know. It might be the case that there is no difference, it might be case that there are audible differences. I have no idea how well these things measured, nor have I heard them myself, so I can't judge. But if two amps are measured to both have similar specs, under which distorion below 0.1% across the spectrum when driving an active load (headphones), SNR of at least 90dB and no other audible defect, then most likely will people fail in telling them apart in ABX conditions.
Now you might be thinking, 'ABX is unnatural to the listener', etc. But, it's the only way to rule out psychological factors, which are known to have a big effect. And besides, differences that are not picked out in ABX, are not going to be huge. They might be there, but if they are, then they sure ain't gonna be 'night and day' differences.

I'll remain skeptical regarding your claims of listening fatigue, but I'll leave at that; harmless skepticism. I haven't read up a lot on listener fatigue, and when I once tried to do research on the subject all I found was a whole lot of different opinions without any real evidence.
Edited by Tilpo - 5/21/12 at 2:32pm
post #6741 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by serious7 View Post

Is my setup bad for hd 650? I seem perfectly happy with it but srolling through these forums makes me think otherwise.

Xonar STX (I upgraded the op amps on it to something that was accepted to be of good quality by a STX thread in this forum) -> Lehmann Audio BCL-> HD 650.
That setup is fine in my opinion.

If you want to upgrade I would see more merit in getting better (or just different) headphones than getting a better DAC or amp.
post #6742 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post


That setup is fine in my opinion.
If you want to upgrade I would see more merit in getting better (or just different) headphones than getting a better DAC or amp.

 

Not going to upgrade. Don't want headphones better than 650. I'm set with just hd 650 for home and ath m50 for on the run. :)

post #6743 of 37349

So what amp would be a good upgrade to match the 650s and my DLIII then? I like a musical sound and maybe a bit analog/warm (natural?) but not at the expense of detail and treble (and of course soundstage but i don't think that has to do with SS). Like I don't want it to roll off the highs too much or lose detail in favor of the smearing effect assosciated with warmth. I want a musical and natural sound (maybe also analog-ish? i don't know if that goes hand in hand with these or not) but I still want to hit highs when they're called for and hear the pluck of those guitar strings, if you know what I mean. I like RnB/Hip Hop beats and RnB/Soul and some acoustic when I listen with headphones. But when you hear hip hop I don't want the stereotypical BOOM BOOM but I like a nice hit and good extension down low. I do listen to some hip hop too, but not as much as when I'm on the go through my earbuds. I can get hip hop cans later, just focus on the types of music that is given example below.

 

Hip Hop/RnB beats:  http://suffdaddy.bandcamp.com/album/suff-sells

also http://milesbonny.bandcamp.com/album/smell-smoke (track 3: "You" could go for RnB Soul more so then just beats but I think you get the idea)

 

Acoustic:  http://jeffpianki.bandcamp.com/ (Paper Window is probably my favorite)

 

RnB Soul:  http://milesbonnympm.bandcamp.com/album/lumberjack-soul

post #6744 of 37349

Oh and http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cropcircles2 for RnB Beats, and this is my fave kind of music. Sample based RnB/Hip Hop beats/instrumentals that tell a story, and this album happens to have amazing soundstaging if you wanna buy the CD and listen on your stereo. I can send you the FLAC instead as well, he would rather get the music out then make money.

 

This song in particular (below) is from a much more recent album and it combines great treble usage, some vocals, and good bass beats too but they don't hit too low here, but in other songs they do. I hope this gives a good idea of what my favorite type of music is. I like to call it sample-based hip hop/RnB but it doesn't necessarily follow the stereotype of MOAR BASS when you hear that description, y'know?

 

 

 

 

I guess I might as well toss in headphones too. I'm looking to upgrade my amp for 650s, and maybe headphones too, so if you have a good suggestion for around $2k lemme know. Do Denon D7ks sound good for this? I also want an amp, one that synergizes well with 650s if you decide to suggest I stay with 650s. If not, then amp+cans that work well for this type of music (see my last post too). I have a PS Audio DLIII DAC (got it around $500 used, $700-$800 retail).

post #6745 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

[...]

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin Morrow View Post

 

Same here. I'm planning on getting the HD800 in the future, but IMHO, the bass will never be as good as the HD650.

 

I always end up with mixed feelings on HD800.  Or any of the flagships.  The Head-Fi compulsion to always buy the newest best to gets in ones head, and yet every time I listen to my current headphone coloection I still can't answer the question of what more enjoyment I expect such an upgrade to buy at those price points.  More detail?  I'm hearing tons of detail.  Any more would be unrealisitc (compared to sitting in the audience of a live unamped performance) gluttony.  More neutralty?  I spent so much time building my preferred coloration only to reset it to be more neutral?  Bigger soundstage?  Ok...got me there, that's desirable.  I'm sure I won't be able to hold out the urge to upgrade to something better for the sake of upgrading forever, no matter how illogical  tongue.gif

 

Bass, though....  HD650 has terrible bass by design.  It rolls off a good portion of the bass.   I have HD650, K702, D5k, HE-400, AD700.  The HD650 is the most anemic of all of them except maybe AD700 in the bass department, and the graphs prove it.  It's not a flaw however, but a design intended to focus on the mids and reduce fatiguing by rolling off the highs and lows.  The midbass hump compensates by creating an enhanced perception of bass.  HD800 shows much more linear sub-bass extension.  That's not really one of the ways it's "better" so much as being a product of its different intended sound signature.

 

[...]

 

You really should hear the HD800. Many of your posts speculate on its characteristics and the way you generalise is really a disservice to those reading who may misconstrue you as someone who's had experience with this headphone. Yes, the HD800 will reveal details a lot of headphones smother. It is far from unrealistic as a result though, as it does not add elements not present in the recording. How could it possibly generate sounds that aren't even there? To me this transparency has the opposite effect. The clarity of presentation and precision of imaging makes for a more realistic rendition of the music.

 

How could a more linear sub-bass extension not be considered better? Are you allergic to good bass?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

I still get amazed by it.  For years I heard nothing but how K70x had way too huge a soundstage.  It was unnaturally large.  Now I hear praise of how HD800 has such a wonderfully huge soundstage.  Which is it, is HD800's soundstage not as big as K70x's, or did K70x not have a big enough soundstage and there was nothing unnatural about it after all? rolleyes.gif

 

There are nuances to everything.  It's one thing to have a large stage, and it's another thing to be inarticulate with it.  The first problem with the K701s in terms of imaging and stage, is that the drivers aren't angled, which means you aren't going to get a coherent, wraparound, forward image.  Instead, it is lateral.  The next problem is that while the 701 sounds "analytical", that is really only the result of a treble-tilted tuning, which can highlight air and create the impression of superb imaging.  That is very, very different from actually having a fast driver.  For example the O2 MKI is a warm phone, but can resolve more details than the K701.  Why?  Because it has a microns-thin driver.  One last thing, the HD800 has an element to it's soundstage that is super-rare.  And that's a vertical axis.  Most phones can do horizontal axis.  Some with angled drivers can do forward and horizontal, ala LCD-2.  But the HD800 can do those two and vertical on top of that, which makes the overall stage more enveloping.  Add a fast driver in that mix and you've got articulate imaging to go along with an enveloping stage.  Hard to ask for more from a headphone.

 

This is a really concise description. This quality has to be heard though, to be truly appreciated.

post #6746 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

 

You really should hear the HD800. Many of your posts speculate on its characteristics and the way you generalise is really a disservice to those reading who may misconstrue you as someone who's had experience with this headphone. Yes, the HD800 will reveal details a lot of headphones smother. It is far from unrealistic as a result though, as it does not add elements not present in the recording. How could it possibly generate sounds that aren't even there? To me this transparency has the opposite effect. The clarity of presentation and precision of imaging makes for a more realistic rendition of the music.

 

How could a more linear sub-bass extension not be considered better? Are you allergic to good bass?

 

 

This is a really concise description. This quality has to be heard though, to be truly appreciated.

 

I thought this was an HD650 appreciation thread. How did it deviate to an HD800 dissertation on its qualities compared to other headphones? Oh yeah, there's a thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/608699/does-it-get-much-better-than-the-hd800 and http://www.head-fi.org/t/426508/sennheiser-hd800-appreciation-thread for that. :)

post #6747 of 37349

Yeah, this thread has a surreal quality recently.  Cables and 800, not 650.  :(  fwiw, I've had the Stax O2Mk.II and the HD800, yet now have and prefer the HD650 and HD600 and am busy re-jiggering my amps to optimize them, simply because I like the way they sound.)

post #6748 of 37349

My HD650 amped with RSA-P51 Mustang imo is a killer combo. 

post #6749 of 37349
Quote:
Originally Posted by twizzleraddict View Post

 

I thought this was an HD650 appreciation thread. How did it deviate to an HD800 dissertation on its qualities compared to other headphones? Oh yeah, there's a thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/608699/does-it-get-much-better-than-the-hd800 and http://www.head-fi.org/t/426508/sennheiser-hd800-appreciation-thread for that. :)

 

Discussions meander.  The guy asked about upgrade paths from the 650 two pages back.  Betting it's been relevant to some.

post #6750 of 37349

I consider my current HD650 rig (see my signature) as my end-game rig. I've heard the LCD-2 and still prefer the HD650. If I ever get a more expensive rig is just because of curiosity and luxury.

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