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HD 600 vs HD 650

post #1 of 423
Thread Starter 
Grreat to have Head-fi back! <3

The mighty Murphy got me when I had a packet about a fortnight ago -- just after Head-fi got its downtime started. It included Sennheiser HD600, HD650 and a Cardas headphone cable for the Sennheisers.

My mission was to test them throroughly, find differences with different rigs and to find the ultimate choice. I love the sound of Sennheiser HD595 but I wanted to see (hear) the best of Sennheisers. Although my PC rig had a severe bottleneck (lousy integrated sound card) I gathered some valuable info.

The first impression for HD600 was surprising: the sound was indeed laid-back, drums were in front, the vocal was pretty lefty and everything was muffled. I left the phone with some pink noise training for 3 hours and after that it sounded much, muuuch better. The bass, compared to 595, is very deep and powerful.

Then I tried HD650. It was directly from the box and sounded pretty great without any burn-in.

Then we have a jump forward in time. About three or four days. Both of them have had some pink noise burning and it is a clear draw. I couldn't find a single difference except the deeper bass of 650s.

I tried the Cardas too. Very little, if any, improvement. I was surprised to not to hear any placebo effect either. It may be the lousy DAC.

The amp is Arietta like my sig says. So, I don't hear a thing what differs. I set up a listening place and the guinea pig was my mother. There were three headphones: 595, 600, 650. 595 has had most burn-in and 600 and 650 both got about 40 h of pink noise + 10-20 h of normal listening. She heard better the differences. The test material included some classical, some opera, death metal, bass booming, pop and such. She prefered 595 in nearly every case. It was pretty surprising.

She also heard a difference with 600 + stock cable and 600 + Cardas. The cable was "a slight enhancement overally and contributed a bit deeper bass." I still couldn't hear a thing between any of the combinations (of 600, 650 and Cardas).

She said something about fading instruments, which I intepreted to be the famous veil of 650. She heard the same with 600 too. I couldn't .. and still can't tell whether there's a veil or not. 595 is brighter, yes, but it's not that notable.

And 650 is a powerful piece for movies and gaming! And hot damn how sexy it is by looks. I chose to sell 595 and keep 650. I'm pretty glad I didn't hear any improvements from Cardas, I don't have to buy that expensive piece of copper. :P
post #2 of 423
Thanks, progo. I am currently in a similar dilemma in deciding between the 600 and 650 and I can use all the comparison info I can get. I now use the 595 and like them, but naturally I want something better, as long as there IS something better. I think you may have also put to rest my possibly shelling out big $$ for a Cardas cable...
post #3 of 423
Thanks for this! I've been anticipating buying these cans for a while and needed just more information. About the Cardas cable I did read somewhere that it's not the best cable upgrade and that there are better brands like Equinox, so maybe there could be some slightly improvements in SQ as opposed to the Cardas.
post #4 of 423
I got the HD600s for some weeks now and I am really curious about the HD650s in comparison. If you say that the only advantage the HD650s have over the 600s is a more pronounced bass, this might not be worth the extra $$$ over the 600s...
Especially since I already experienced the HD600s to be extremely dependant on the amp. Pimeta = good, tight bass; cmoy = still good sound, but the bass is not comparable to the Pimeta (at least not with certain famous opamps); 80s Hitachi amplifier = crappy noise, but the bass slam kicks butt I hope my SOHA will solve this problem
post #5 of 423
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Xoen View Post
Thanks for this! I've been anticipating buying these cans for a while and needed just more information. About the Cardas cable I did read somewhere that it's not the best cable upgrade and that there are better brands like Equinox, so maybe there could be some slightly improvements in SQ as opposed to the Cardas.
Hmm, the whole hifi 'scene' is highly subjective to my mind. It's imo vitally important to test those cables well, especially when they are that costy. When someone rates something over something else, it needs to be kept in mind that it's their view to the subject.

I've heard too that Equinox beats Cardas, but I think Equinox isn't shipped to Europe so I should order one from USA and that makes some custom tax. Plus the slow order. (was it 4 to 8 weeks to get one shipped from Equinox?)
Perhaps one day...
post #6 of 423
I, too, am considering an upgrade from the 595 to the 600, so I appreciate this thread. From all the reading I can find on comparisons between the 600 and the 650 my conclusion was that the 600 wasn't as laid back as the 650.

As usual, I'm really confused now!

post #7 of 423
yeah i've heard almost universally that 650s are more laidback and veiled than the 600's which have more realistic treble
post #8 of 423
Please explain 'laid back' and 'veiled', using practical examples, if possible. I'm ready to buy one or the other of these (600 or 650) as soon as I can make a decision...
post #9 of 423
laid back = not in your face, maybe a little distant, puts you in the 10th row while Grado might be 1st row.

veiled - instruments are larger/wider and blend in over a larger space, instead of having a pinpoint location/spot for each one.

In my opinion, my HD600 are more laid back and veiled with stock cable, and more forward with the Black Dragon Cryo'd cable (the HD650 cable is in between). With HD650 cable or Black Dragon Cryo-treated cable I don't feel they are veiled at all, until I compare them to the STAX Lambda
post #10 of 423
There are a billion threads on this, so use the search function as your friend.

I'd say, it's hard to really tell differences in headphones sometimes because in this specific case, the HD600 and HD650 are very scalable and better sources/amps/cables make it easier to find these differences. It comes down to preference really. I recently made it out to my first meet, and had been pondering for some time whether or not to upgrade my HD600+Cardas to the HD650. After listening to the HD650 at the Chiunifi meet, I found I actually preferred my HD600. I didn't get a chance to listen to the HD650 with Zu Mobius or another bright silver cable, but it also had the SE Cardas. These were fed from a Resolution Audio OPUS 21 and Zana Deux. The HD650 definitely felt darker, which for some people may translate to a more laid back sound. The sound was thicker, but smoother at the same time. In comparison, the HD600 sounded more balanced to my ears across the frequency spectrum. I was thrilled to see that my HD600 was definitely a great sounding headphone and had such potential with higher end gear.

Why not try and attend a meet to listen for yourself? This way you can experience the cans and also have an opportunity to hear the headphones on various setups. Otherwise, you could buy both and audition them at home as the OP did. Downside is that it could just be your gear that is the bottleneck and the reason you can't hear some of the differences others describe. Best luck! Don't forget to enjoy the music.
post #11 of 423
I had a pair of HD-580s and was looking to upgrade. Next, I ordered the HD-650 cable and installed it on the HD-580s. That was nice! Then I got to thinking about the quality sound everyone who bought the HD-650s was experiencing. I finally purchased the HD-650s and burned them in (200hrs) before listening to them. I love how the HD-650s sound. I also love how the HD-580s with HD-650 cable sound. So, I kept them both! I would say the HD-580s are more of a "Rock and Jazz" phones and the 650s are "anything you wish to listen too" phones. It was my understanding at the time that the HD-600s were worth the extra bucks compared to the HD-580s. Maybe the way to look at this is "purchase what you can most afford and never look back."
Good luck!
post #12 of 423
Hey Penchum,

"purchase what you can most afford and never look back."

Ten beautiful little words that totally define this hobby and the hole in my wallet!!!!! LOL!!!!!!
post #13 of 423
I have and like both the 600s and 650s. I used to own the 580s. I have found that I prefer the 650s, but only when paired with an excellent amp and source. Without that, the "flaws" that frequently get reported here show up to one degree or another depending on the gear, mostly those concerning a sound is that is thick, veiled, or slow. It is also most evident in the bass when paired with lesser gear. The 600s fare better, imo, with a variety of amps and sources. I have yet to hear the 650s sound good on a portable source or mediocre home amps. I have used and will use the 600s with my portable amps and sources and in my bedroom rig, and although not ideal, it still sounds good.

If you go to a lot of meets, you'll see MOTs showcasing their gear with the 600s. It kinda makes you wonder.
post #14 of 423
The 595s are really great for the price if budget is a big concern
post #15 of 423
I guess there are too many factors that come into play - mainly the source and amplification, not to mention how differently we perceive the sound even with the identical setup.

With what I have listed in my sig, I find HD600 equally as soothing and laid back as HD650 if not more. What it has going about it is how airy the sound is - quite addicting in a way. Then there are times you miss the HD650's solid sound packed with fun. Going back from HD600 feels a bit downturn in terms of fidelity; however, once you tune into 650's sound, everything sounds so natural and just right. The former is more neutral, the latter is more fun and involving. These are the only two cans I have encountered that I truly felt worthy of keeping.

Lost between these two excellent cans is K701. I dunno if it is just soleley my musical preference or something else in my setup.. The AKGs are just to thin sounding and almost borderline tinny/harsh. I think I will take them home during my winter break and try to sell them locally.
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