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Sennheiser HD650 Impressions Thread - Page 451

post #6751 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

 

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

Yup. Understand that. Just keeping this on track. :)

 

HD650s are growing on me a lot more than the HD800s. I keep flipping back and forth and come back to the HD650s, despite the highly resolving nature of the HD800s for certain types of music. IMO, the HD650s sound more coherent (or together) than the HD800s, where everything is picked out and apart like a surgeon dissecting notes, instruments and music lines apart. The HD650s sort of mesh these together much more, which leads to lack of qualities that defines it more as "musical" rather than "audiophile".

 

So far, I've spent about 2 weeks swapping between both and arriving at this observation. Will continue to do so for another couple of weeks listening to more music and add to this. But definitely appreciating what the HD650 is, a great reference headphone for music lovers.

post #6752 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post


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.

 

LOL, oh, yes, that's definitely a misinterperetation.  Perhaps I should have said "stack"....I was talking about the signal chain equipment, not the furniture it rests on atsmile.gif I couldn't understand what you were talking about about no measurable differences between equipment, and I knew you didn't actually think it didn't. biggrin.gif

 

 

Though that would be a fun thread to start in the cables, power, and misc forum.  Or maybe the summit-fi forum.  "This new Ikea mini-TV stand really improved my treble in my M50's, it's like they're too bright now!!!1!  I think it's the high-density rubber wheels that do it, or maybe it's just the Minwax!" tongue_smile.gif

 

I agree about lack of night and day differences between certain equipment.  But a lot of audiophelia isn't about night and day differences, it's the very subtle but somewhat perceptible differences that the quest for the grail is all about.  Really once you get up to HD650 + a good DAC and a good amp, how much father up the ladder is there to go, it's pretty near the top, but folks, including myself, keep trying to tweak and tune it.  Sure there's the smattering of new headphones from the past few years that surpass it, but prior to that....it was all about tweaking every barely perceptible detail out of it. 

 

I will say though, that moving from my various SS amps to the hybrid Lyr, probably mostly due to the tube's effect, was night and day.  I turned it on, heard one note, a guitar string pluged, and went "wow".  "Expectation bias" couldn't prepare me for such a huge objective change.  That doesn't mean it's "superior", by definition of being tube distortion/warming its objectively inferior.  And that's what makes it so lovely wink.gif  The Met is acoustically inferior to sitting on stage.  But people will still pay fortunes for the balcony seats...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

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

 

Warmed over yet detailed sounds very much like a Hybrid or a really good tube amp to me.   Or an intentionally colored SS, but that generally starts in the expensive tier.  Below that SS aims for accuracy above intentional color.  But it's hard to pinpoint a specific model from a general question without specific needs.  But hybrids may be a good direction to research.

 

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.

 

You're right in general, and I hope to get a chance to.  However I don't generally speculate on its specific characteristics, I simply state the manufacturuers aims with the design, aims that have been confirmed by owners such as yourself, as well as data that is easily revealed by looking at any FR chart.  It aims for high detail resolution, flat/neutral presentation, deep, flat bass extension, and a well extended flat treble.  None of that is speculation, it's specification.  My statement that it is is famed for its wide soundstage is also not speculation but a known quantity and a stated goal of the design.  I would not presume to discuss its actual tonality, crispness, direct comparisons to other headphones beyond objective comparisons based on FR chart analysis, I have stated no specific criticisms about it beyond that it is grossly overpriced (a charge levied against HD650 as well), and have speculated only that it meets the stated aims, the FR chart is accurate, and is likely ergonomically comfortable since many have claimed that it is, and I've yet to see a Sennheiser product that is not ergonomically comfortable.

 

My discussion of too much detail or unnatural detail was not a specific charge against HD800 but at the quest for ultra detail as a whole.  Even K70x for that matter. I never claimed that it creates detail not present in the recording.  My claim is that any of the so called extremely detailed headphones are retrieving and accurately producing very tiny detail that is on the recording because the microphones used in the recording are extremely sensitive and placed at very close range to the instrument where picking up minor details with a highly sensitive device is easy.  But my point is if you were actually sitting at a live performance of the same instrument, you would not hear those details because the very minor details that make it into the recording from close-range mics are inaudible several feet away from the instrument with room acoustics in play. 

 

This goes back to Tilpo's discussion above about the myth of neutral and the different intentions in the end result of music playback.  Yes certain detail is on the recording because ultra sensitive mics pick it up.  Yes that detail can be played back accurately by an equally sensitive playback device.  But does that burried detail that could only be picked up when the listening device is clipped to the instrument's exit aperture help recreate the sound of live music as a member of the audience if that same detail would not be audible from any audience position in a live venue? It's a surreal level of detail.

 

HD650 itself is guilty of this in a way, not so much with fine detail but with it's habit of some type of dynamic range compression.  It keeps the quiet loud enough to hear every detail it can render while keeping the loud parts quiet enough to not be too loud.  This produces it's refined detailed sound, however compared to a more dynamic headphone such as the planar HE-400 given the same recording, this can easily appear unnatural compared to live observation of accoustic performance where quieter moments would be too quiet to audibly hear much texture and detail in the notes.  It can be a highly enjoyable effect, of course, as I'm sure such ultra detail can be an enjoyable effect in the right situations.  But it is also unnatural compared to live music.

 

Going back to HD800 (this topic doesn't specifically involve HD800 at all, I just named it as another Sennheiser product that aims for that direction versus HD650) since you mention it, I don't know.  However my experience with loudspeakers that shoot for that sort of extreme detail (quite a bit more costly than HD800 I might add) have indeed provided a surrealistic level of detail more similar to amplified performance where their equipment is producing similar levels of micro-detail as highly detailed home playback equipment.  This is a very different thing from the sound of acoustic performance in an acoustically planned room with all the attenuation and distortion that goes with it. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy the effect, I'm saying it's "better than life" like a color-enhanced photo and is hence unnatural when using live music, not recorded data, as the goal of comparison.

 

That isn't to say HD800 isn't perfectly superior.  The discussion is about the quest for ultra detail as a whole, not a discussion on any particular headphone other than the philosophy of the colored HD650 verus the philosophy detail craze of most newer designs. 

 

Oh and to clarify I didn't mean that a linear sub-bass is a bad thing, I meant that a linear sub-bass isn't part of HD650's sound signature by design so it would be unfair to say "HD650 has inferior bass to x headphone because that has linear sub-bass."  650 isn't intended to have a linear sub-bass.  HD600 had more linear sub-bass before 650 existed. It's just a point of difference in sound signature preference, not a technical advancement. HD800 has other techhnical advancements that aren't specific to bass extension and linearity. An HD850 could easily be made that rolls off the bass and treble similarly to HD650 if, say, Senn wanted to create an updated flagship in 8 years that is to 800 as 650 was to 600: the colored, polite voiced model. This is the HD650 thread after all, one should come here expecting fans of that voicing. biggrin.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post

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.)

 

Yeah, I rate it as a product of HD650 being one of the oldest, most active topics on these forums.  The discussion has no choice but to veer to any other point of audio....the discussion predates the existence of most of that other audio cool.gif  And HD800 comparisons are inevitable since it could be seen as, or was hoped to be seen as, "the next HD650" until they disclosed the pricing in an entirely new bracket and an entirely unrelated voicing.  Everyone wants "the best Sennheiser", but since they are voiced for entirely different sounds, it's always an open debate.  That and the occasional "nyah, nyah, HD650 isn't the best anymore!" troll, of course.

 

It's neat how coming from two amazing rigs like that you've re-settled on HD650! Dislike of cable discussions aside (really, when haven't cable discussions dominated HD650?  It's been that way for 6 years and counting that I've been following it...) my HD650 + Silver Dragon + Lyr + Bifrost = dynamite.  It's amazingly addictive.  And the minor change the cable did add was enough to catapult the HD650 back to getting tons of head time after being dismissed as the more relaxing of the collection and thus more boring. It's still relaxing, but also exciting.  I can't honestly decide whether I prefer it or HE-400 better at the moment.  I think they're mostly equal now.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aroldan View Post

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.

 

Very nice, that's pretty much the way I feel about it too.  I have several cans I like at this point.  HD650 and HE-400 paired will account for 80% of head-time though I believe.  Probably evenly split 40/40 between them. I have no need for any upgrade, but as you said, curiosity/luxury may get to me eventually. But I definitely don't need it to complete my audio journey from here.  

 

It's ironic that the HP I started the high-end journey with years ago, still remains at the top or tied for top. 

post #6753 of 36855

IEMCrazy (sorry I can't quote, the paragraph aimed at me is being omitted for some strange reason...), I'm happy with it if it is represented the way it was intended. Neutral would probably be fine, but what I described is nice too, but saying "intentional coloration" makes it sound not like me. I don't want it intentionally colored, but the SS I described is OK, and I think that's why I appreciate the 650s, but I want to try a different one as well.  I want the highs not so piercing sharp or bright to a fault, good, deep, low-hitting bass with some quantity too (a bit more than what most people generally prefer I guess), and quality mids.

 

But (for anyone), do Denon D7000s sound like my next can for the types of music I mentioned? Maybe I'll just have to try them myself.

post #6754 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

IEMCrazy (sorry I can't quote, the paragraph aimed at me is being omitted for some strange reason...), I'm happy with it if it is represented the way it was intended. Neutral would probably be fine, but what I described is nice too, but saying "intentional coloration" makes it sound not like me. I don't want it intentionally colored, but the SS I described is OK, and I think that's why I appreciate the 650s, but I want to try a different one as well.  I want the highs not so piercing sharp or bright to a fault, good, deep, low-hitting bass with some quantity too (a bit more than what most people generally prefer I guess), and quality mids.

 

But (for anyone), do Denon D7000s sound like my next can for the types of music I mentioned? Maybe I'll just have to try them myself.

 

I think anything other than neutral represents intentionally colored (or at worst, unintentionally flawed...) You mentioned analog/warm, which is intentional coloration.  Schiit Asgard as either Tilpo or Brokenthumb mentioned earlier is an SS that's intentionally warm colored.  Lyr, or most hybrids, going to be fairly warm as a product of the tubes (while preserving detail.)  That's why I suggested that route.  It's smoother than SS but since it's still half SS, it doesn't paint it over like a watercolor as much as your typical OTL tube amp would.  I have two amps I use my 650's with presently.  The Lyr and the O2 (dead-flat SS.)   For both 650 and HE-400 I strongly prefer the Lyr for it, it's just warmer and smoother, even though it's very detailed.   That might be the kind of thing you're looking for. If you're looking to go all the way in and go for all tube, you'll get more "intentional coloration" but that's not to say definitely a loss of detail.  If you want to stick with all SS there are certainly colored amps out there just as you describe, but it's usually cheaper to use tubes for quality coloration than exotic SS amps.  Especially for SS, anything other than dead-flat is either by design or poor design.  Or both. biggrin.gif  What you won't get though is that low-hitting bass on HD650.  At least not without distortion and heavy EQ.

 

For your second question, it depends how different you want to go.  Do you want a "fun" sound, or a more even sound like HD650?  I have D5000 not D7000.  D7000 has a "fun" U-shaped curve with more recessed mids (the total opposite of HD650's emphasis on mids), D5k is more or less flat.  It's much more sparkly in the highs than HD650, a bit more fatiguing, and generally brighter (in a warm way.)  The brightness is betrayed by the unimaginably low hitting bass.  D7k should have similar highs and lows as D5k but probably more refined, but has those recessed mids instead of D5k's more balanced mids. 

 

Another good option if you're looking for bass slam but don't want to spend up for LCD-2, HD800, etc, would be HE-400.  Not quite as deep as the Denons, and a little more 650-like in the mids, but with that signature ortho sound.  They are actually darker than HD650 and way darker than Denons, despite Denon hitting lower.) Between HE-400 and HE-500, 400 has the more fun sound with more bass presence.  500 shoots for the more mid-centric refined sound like HD650 but with more extension in both directions.

post #6755 of 36855
Gosh, you sure like dominating this thread with impenetrable walls of text, don't you? tongue.gif


I personally think that there is another often neglected huge advantage of going for a linear SS amp, namely: it makes it possible for you to sleep at night.
If you're trying to get a colored sound via amplifiers then you'll be constantly thinking "maybe there something better out there". There are an infinite amount of possible coloration the amps can cause, and each is different. This makes it a lot harder to select the right amp, and may even take several trials before finally settling down.
If you want a transparent one there is only a 'good enough' and a 'not good enough', the latter being a colored amp. It's easy to look at specifications/measurements (given that they are available), and conclude from there that the amp is indeed transparent or not, given of course some basic psychoacoustic knowledge. This just makes the whole process of selecting the right amplifier so much simpler (and cheaper), and in the end you're not left with worry of there being a possible better alternative.

Ignorance is bliss.
Edited by Tilpo - 5/22/12 at 1:26pm
post #6756 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

Gosh, you sure like dominating this thread with impenetrable walls of text, don't you? tongue.gif
I personally think that there is another often neglected huge advantage of going for a linear SS amp, namely: it makes it possible for you to sleep at night.
If you're trying to get a colored sound via amplifiers then you'll be constantly thinking "maybe there something better out there". There are an infinite amount of possible coloration the amps can cause, and each is different. This makes it a lot harder to select the right amp, and may even take several trials before finally settling down.
If you want a transparent one there is only a 'good enough' and a 'not good enough', the latter being a colored amp. It's easy to look at specifications/measurements (given that they are available), and conclude from there that the amp is indeed transparent or not, given of course some basic psychoacoustic knowledge. This just makes the whole process of selecting the right amplifier so much simpler (and cheaper), and in the end you're not left with worry of there being a possible better alternative.
Ignorance is bliss.

 

LOL ph34r.gif

 

Isn't the infinite amount of variance the fun of being an audiophile? evil_smiley.gif   You're right though about knowing you got something definitively neutral, period, and doing it cheaply.  There's a lot less to wonder about.  On the other hand, I have a true neutral SS amp (Objective 2), and I have a Lyr.  I know which one I'd pick to listen to 90% of the time (Except on Denons...neutral SS all the way for those...) .

 

Either way, the question asked was for recommendations for a warm (a.k.a. colored) amp that rolls off some treble without sacrificing much detail.  That definitely doesn't sound like a neutral SS.  At least not without the right cable very_evil_smiley.gif  Just joking...tubes first!

post #6757 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

 

I think anything other than neutral represents intentionally colored (or at worst, unintentionally flawed...) You mentioned analog/warm, which is intentional coloration.  Schiit Asgard as either Tilpo or Brokenthumb mentioned earlier is an SS that's intentionally warm colored.  Lyr, or most hybrids, going to be fairly warm as a product of the tubes (while preserving detail.)  That's why I suggested that route.  It's smoother than SS but since it's still half SS, it doesn't paint it over like a watercolor as much as your typical OTL tube amp would.  I have two amps I use my 650's with presently.  The Lyr and the O2 (dead-flat SS.)   For both 650 and HE-400 I strongly prefer the Lyr for it, it's just warmer and smoother, even though it's very detailed.   That might be the kind of thing you're looking for. If you're looking to go all the way in and go for all tube, you'll get more "intentional coloration" but that's not to say definitely a loss of detail.  If you want to stick with all SS there are certainly colored amps out there just as you describe, but it's usually cheaper to use tubes for quality coloration than exotic SS amps.  Especially for SS, anything other than dead-flat is either by design or poor design.  Or both. biggrin.gif  What you won't get though is that low-hitting bass on HD650.  At least not without distortion and heavy EQ.

 

For your second question, it depends how different you want to go.  Do you want a "fun" sound, or a more even sound like HD650?  I have D5000 not D7000.  D7000 has a "fun" U-shaped curve with more recessed mids (the total opposite of HD650's emphasis on mids), D5k is more or less flat.  It's much more sparkly in the highs than HD650, a bit more fatiguing, and generally brighter (in a warm way.)  The brightness is betrayed by the unimaginably low hitting bass.  D7k should have similar highs and lows as D5k but probably more refined, but has those recessed mids instead of D5k's more balanced mids. 

 

Another good option if you're looking for bass slam but don't want to spend up for LCD-2, HD800, etc, would be HE-400.  Not quite as deep as the Denons, and a little more 650-like in the mids, but with that signature ortho sound.  They are actually darker than HD650 and way darker than Denons, despite Denon hitting lower.) Between HE-400 and HE-500, 400 has the more fun sound with more bass presence.  500 shoots for the more mid-centric refined sound like HD650 but with more extension in both directions.

 

Hmm well if I kept the 650s then I'd want a brighter tube amp (or hybrid too I guess) to tame the rolled off highs in the 650s. I just want to upgrade the soundstage and overall detail of them, and I think my amp is the weakest in the chain (if I keep the 650s). I'd like to try tubes again as I'd feel ignorant to avoid them - I had a DarkVoice 337 with my DLIII and the 650s were tolerable but the change in SS moving to my Audio-gd Compass made them SO much better, as in the treble was much more apparent, the DV was so dark in comparison if my memory serves me right, and soundstage was better (because I didn't have to fiddle with two volume knobs), so it looks like it'd need to be a brighter one if I got a tube amp. You say that the Lyr is also intentionally colored along with the Asgard but for the Lyr you mentioned that it retains detail (while omitting that from the Asgard description)...is this to say the Lyr is the more detailed of the two? Do you think the Lyr would be a good upgrade from my Compass seeing as it is of similar price (kinda)? I guess not so much, but the Lyr is $450 and the Compass is around $200-$300 but it's an amp/DAC combo, so considering that the Lyr may very well be a step up quality-wise. I think I'd like to go a bit further than that as I just feel like there's more to get out of the 650s, but maybe I can try the Lyr (assuming you think it'd be a good upgrade) and if I don't get much more, return it or just upgrade cans (or both). Someday I want to try balanced. Do you guys think there is more to get out of my 650s with a better amp? PS Audio DLIII DAC (can run balanced FYI)>Audio-gd Compass amp-only (bypassing the DAC in super mode)>650s (stock cable). I'd like to try balanced someday too.

post #6758 of 36855

Also, if I were to upgrade cans it'd have to be HD800, HE-500, and LCD-2 for candidates (possibly in that order, I couldn't decide right this minute but that's what I'd pick if I had to right now).

post #6759 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

Also, if I were to upgrade cans it'd have to be HD800, HE-500, and LCD-2 for candidates (possibly in that order, I couldn't decide right this minute but that's what I'd pick if I had to right now).

 

I've had the HD650 and HE-500 for the past two weeks and still can't decide which to keep.  At first I liked the HD650 more, then the HE-500 more, and now I'm kinda split between the two.

post #6760 of 36855

On sound signature or overall quality? Which one has better soundstage and detail retrieval (more refined?)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post

 

I've had the HD650 and HE-500 for the past two weeks and still can't decide which to keep.  At first I liked the HD650 more, then the HE-500 more, and now I'm kinda split between the two.

post #6761 of 36855
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

On sound signature or overall quality? Which one has better soundstage and detail retrieval (more refined?)?

 

I think I prefer the signature of the HD650 as it engages me more with the music, makes my head bob and toes tap without being fatiguing.  The soundstage is a bit larger with the HD650 but vocals seem closer to me.

 

The overall quality would go to the HE-500, it sounds more refined with better instrument separation and a bit deeper bass extension.  The HE-500 sounds more neutral to my ears and as a result is less engaging in it's presentation.  There is some high frequency with the HE-500 on certain songs that bother me also, with the HD650 it doesn't bother me.  Vocals sound like they are a bit further back on the HE-500, like the person is singing across the room from me.

 

I really thought there would be a much larger difference between these cans but I guess this is where diminishing returns start kicking in.

post #6762 of 36855

Hi.  Checking in with my new HD 650.  I now know what I was missing :-).

 

I am currently driving the 650 with a 12V 7.25 gain cMoyBB.  I am going to change it to using 2 9V batteries and get a 18V or 24V power supply.  I know next thing I will do is to get a new amp.  Any recommendation for an amp that works well with 650 (300 ohm)?  Maybe less than $300.  DIY kit or fully built or commercial amp.  Also, any recommendation for DAC? 

 

Thanks much!

post #6763 of 36855
Schiit asgard
post #6764 of 36855

Wow.. all this talks of amps and orthos.. love it!

Just purchased a gently used Schiit Lyr and the seller has the original GE tubes and some matched Russian NOS tubes also with less than 100 hours on each set.  Been drooling over it ever since I heard the HD650s (and LCD2's) with a couple of tube amps last summer.  Just blew me away. Good thing is that the sale is within Canada so no taxes, duties, exchange and whatever the government can suck out of us.  I already have some decent tubes for it so I can't wait for it to arrive (hopefully it will be here by Friday).  Really looking forward to hearing the HD650's and HE400's out of a decent amp.  Plus I'll have 4 sets of tubes to roll.

post #6765 of 36855

I'd love to hear your impressions!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyVee View Post

Wow.. all this talks of amps and orthos.. love it!

Just purchased a gently used Schiit Lyr and the seller has the original GE tubes and some matched Russian NOS tubes also with less than 100 hours on each set.  Been drooling over it ever since I heard the HD650s (and LCD2's) with a couple of tube amps last summer.  Just blew me away. Good thing is that the sale is within Canada so no taxes, duties, exchange and whatever the government can suck out of us.  I already have some decent tubes for it so I can't wait for it to arrive (hopefully it will be here by Friday).  Really looking forward to hearing the HD650's and HE400's out of a decent amp.  Plus I'll have 4 sets of tubes to roll.

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