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Impressions of HD650s vs. Denon D5000s

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So granodemostasa was just over at my place, and we were just chilling and listening to some tunes, and I did some back-and-forth between the HD650s and the D5000s on my GS-X. Both are running single-ended. The D5000s were using stock cables, while the HD650s used Equinox.

First, the D5000s are much more comfortable to me than the HD650s: no clamp, soft, supple leather = hella comfort.

Sonically, it's a sort of a toss-up. The D5000s are slightly more forward than the HD650s; everything is pushed forward about two rows. I just want to state that this difference is actually not that great, certainly not as great as going from HD650s to RS-1s, or even from HD650s to K701s. And unlike the W5000s, which I felt pushed up the upper-midrange far greater than it pushed forward the rest of the spectrum, the D5000s pushes the entire sound spectrum forward equally, so nothing stood out glaringly, but still retaining a more forward nature than the HD650s. This made it more involving for me with female vocals (tested using Joni Mitchell's Blue and Court and Spark) and more pop/rock/electro stuff (Nirvana, Allman Brothers Band, NIN, Beach Boys).

Soundstage and imaging is where the D5000s fall a bit short compared to the HD650s, as expected from a closed phone. Horizontal soundstage was a bit smaller, but not excessively in-your-head. The horizontal imaging is about on par as the HD650s, but 3D depth was a bit lacking, as the D5000s fell behind the HD650s in telling me the depth of the instruments in the soundstage in orchestral works (Ravel, Gershwin).

There is also a very slight treble spike on the D5000s, a very slight one, which tends to add just a tiny bit of sibilance. I heard this slight bit of sibilance in some male vocals (Kurt Kobain, Louis Armstrong, Brian Wilson). This is not a pronounced sibilance, but a very slight one, although if you are extremely sensitive to sibilance, you might be more bothered than I was. But to me, this slight bit of sibilance is something that can easily be fixed by re-cabling, that's how small I think it is. Bass-wise, I thought the D5000s had more slam than the HD650s.

Speaking of cables, the stock cable on the D5000s are merely average: it's not especially weak but not especially strong either. The cable is not very flexible, and have a slight tendency to tangle, but not in a big way.

I also had a chance to use the D5000s portably when I went to my local laundro-mat tonight. These blocked the sound of the laundro-mat fairly well, but my Creative Zen Vision M volume was on 21 out of 25. This was fine for me, but for those who like to hear music louder, I think your portable might have problem pushing them, depending on its output. It was fine for me, but I can't speak for others. They sounded pretty decent portably, but they certainly scale up with better upstream component.

Overall I'm pretty impressed by Denon's first effort at creating a high-end headphone. I would easily choose the D5000s over its competitors in the crowded $300 range (K701s, DT880s, SA5000s, etc). It's a pretty decent all-arounder that doesn't sound like **** on budget upstream gear but sound very nice with decent gear. The soundstage issue I mentioned is something that I think almost all closed headphones will have, just more or less. The slight sibilance is small enough that I feel better cabling will fix that problem.

Other than that, I see no real problems for the D5000s. But I don't know how far they can really scale, given even better amplification and/or balancing/recabling. So I am hesitant to say that they are equal to the HD650s in that department. All I know is that I've finally found a good-sounding comfortable, full-sized closed headphone that I can live with and also won't cost an arm and leg (UE9s and L3000s). In other words, Denon has given me a product that no other major headphone manufacture has been able to in the past. And for that, I applaud them.

Oh btw, both headphones are burnt-in.
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
I would easily choose the D5000s over its competitors in the crowded $300 range (K701s, DT880s, SA5000s, etc).
Isn't the AH-D5000 in the $500-700 range?
post #3 of 14
Yup, I think he may have been thinking of the D2000's, which are around that range and are quite similar to the D5000 (from what I've read on Head-fi)
post #4 of 14
Nice write up. I'm going to have to get a pair of these....
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
Overall I'm pretty impressed by Denon's first effort at creating a high-end headphone. I would easily choose the D5000s over its competitors in the crowded $300 range (K701s, DT880s, SA5000s, etc).
nice review. a good read. that's a pretty strong endorsement as well. i'll have to hear these things at some point.
post #6 of 14
Nice review, thanks! Glad to see others share my relatively high opinion of the D5000.
post #7 of 14
Haha...Have you been convinced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsonad View Post
Nice write up. I'm going to have to get a pair of these....
post #8 of 14
Nice write-up! I have yet to receive mine so can not comment much beyond what I heard at the meet but I would say anything in a closed back that is in current production, under $700 and standing up to the open HD650 sounds like a winner. Good sound from a sealed headphone seems harder and harder to come buy unless you are trying to dig up an old AT to go the darth route.

In my opinion a good sounding closed headphone has more value than an open for the obvious reasons.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
Other than that, I see no real problems for the D5000s. But I don't know how far they can really scale, given even better amplification and/or balancing/recabling. So I am hesitant to say that they are equal to the HD650s in that department.
Let's hope they do well in that department. I'm going to be balancing my D2000's in a few weeks (and either my HD580's or HD600's, depending on what I still have around). I doubt the Denons will scale as well as the HD's, but here's to hoping.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post
In my opinion a good sounding closed headphone has more value than an open for the obvious reasons.
True

Nice write up. I've heard nothing but positives about the D5000.

Look forward to hearing how the D2000s sound recabled and balanced fierce_freak.
post #11 of 14
Thanks for sharing your impressions. Very valuable comparison for me.

So you would choose D5000 over HD650 for rock music?
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
There is also a very slight treble spike on the D5000s, a very slight one, which tends to add just a tiny bit of sibilance. I heard this slight bit of sibilance in some male vocals (Kurt Kobain, Louis Armstrong, Brian Wilson). This is not a pronounced sibilance, but a very slight one, although if you are extremely sensitive to sibilance, you might be more bothered than I was. But to me, this slight bit of sibilance is something that can easily be fixed by re-cabling, that's how small I think it is. Bass-wise, I thought the D5000s had more slam than the HD650s.

Speaking of cables, the stock cable on the D5000s are merely average: it's not especially weak but not especially strong either. The cable is not very flexible, and have a slight tendency to tangle, but not in a big way.
Very good comparison of the two headphones. I also own them both and agree with your considerations, especially about the sibilance issue. I am one of the people that is more sensitive to sibilance and this factor to me is the D5000's greatest weakness. I am also considering having them recabled (possibly Silver Dragon or Black Dragon) and balanced, but have not pulled the trigger yet. I hope this does cure the problem because otherwise I think they are a very good headphone.

Thanks for the post!
post #13 of 14
Here are my impressions comparing the D5000 to the HD650 with Stefan Audio Art Equinox cable.

The headphone amplifier used is the GS-1 with stepped attenuator from Headamp. Other equipment in the chain are: Wadia 20 CD transport, Wadia 27 DAC, Silver Circle Audio purepower 1 conditioner and Silver Circle Audio digital cable and interconnects.

As you all know the construction of these two headphones is totally different and both first class. The HD650 is open and the D5000 closed. In the looks department in my opinion the D5000 is the winner. Regarding comfort the HD650 has a bigger clamping effort than the D5000 but is to excessive. Actually it feels good and secure while the D5000 is very comfortable but borderline to loose. Weight wise both are very light.

The D5000 cable is a little bit too stiff to my taste but I like the cloth sleeve.

For this comparison I used 4 different songs. First I played “Sultan’s of swing” from Private Investigations: The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler. The second selection was “money for nothing” from the same CD. The third one was Norah Jones “Don’t know why” and lastly Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” from the Rumors re-issued CD.

The timbre of both headphones in the midrange and high frequencies is very similar. The main difference is the bass. In this department the D5000 is the a clear winner. In comparison the HD650 is lacking authority and the deep end of the tones is almost no existent. In the other hand the D5000 bass is really deep, fast, clear and musical. This difference has a big effect in the total presentation of the sound. In the case of the D5000 the midrange sometimes gets a little bit covered by the bass providing a warmer and rounder sound that sometimes can be confuse with what many call a “veil”. On the HD650 (remember using the Equinox cable) the midrange is more present and forward due to the reduction in lower bass presence.

Another clear difference between the headphones is the soundstage presentation. Due to their open air construction the HD650 soundstage seems bigger. The air between voices and instruments is more present providing a little bit more definition. For instance, in Fleetwood Mac’s dreams you can distinguish very clear Lindsay Buckingham voice back in the right channel during the chorus section while in the D5000 you can hear it but not as clear.
Making an analogy is like listening through the D5000 is like being in a club and with the HD650 is being in an auditorium.

In conclusion both headphones are excellent with several similarities in the sound but with to clear differences. The bass and the soundstage size. I would say if your music preference has more midrange and highs with a lot of acoustic instruments the HD650 will be a better fit but if you like Rock/Pop with electric instruments and drums than the D5000 will excel. As for me, I am keeping both!

The second comparison will be the same headphones and tracks. The difference will be
The headphone amplifier and electronics behind it. I will be using the Heed CanAmp since I notice it makes the HD650 sound more live and dynamic.
post #14 of 14
I recently went to Bay Bloor Radio to try the d5000. I briefly compared it to the hd650 and have to agree with most of what musicman59 said. Bass on the HD650 has a lot of impact relatively but this causes the lower bass frequencies to lose presence as opposed to the d5000, where the bass is smooth and deep.

Another clear difference lies in the upper midrange/borderline treble. Sounds in this range feature much more prominently on the HD650. On one particular track, the trumpets were blaring on the HD650, whereas with the d5000, trumpets were less prominent, but still sufficiently present.
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