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HD595 vs HD650

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
I used to be in heaven. Musical heaven that is. Blissful sound from HD595 directly from computer or from CD/DVD via Cute Battery amp. Very natural sound and a sound stage similar to opera nights in Sydney Opera.

Then evil reared its ugly head: I started wondering what could possibly be better? How would the next step up the Sennheiser chain - the mighty 650s - sound like?

So when I spotted the HD650s on offer from HeadRoom I grabbed them for not much more than I originally paid for HD595 here in Australia. GREAT.

BUT.... they don't sound good! Or more specific: they don't sound NATURAL to my ears. All the bells and whistles are there: extremely clear and smooth sound, deep powerful lows, effortless transients, lots of air, huge sound stage. But everything is disconnected and incoherent - too much air? - and there is an emphasis of the bass region, which makes voices boom and moves the deep strings way forward on the sound stage. I honestly feel that a double bass is in the seat next to me - removed from the rest of the orchestra - and that my ear membrane is flopping uncontrollably....! Surely, this is not high fidelity; it is impressive but unnatural and tiring?

SO, am I deaf? Should I get a better amp? Should I stick to the 595s? Should I get used to this sound because it is truly better? Should I only listen to electronic music?

Thoughts and comments, please?

Best regards,
Steen
post #2 of 57
If you are talking about classical music then in my opinion the HD595 is without a doubt the worse headphone I have ever used for it. Flat soundstage, grainy treble and completely unrealistic representation of acoustic instrument timbre. And my HD580 is the best I have ever heard for classical. I think the HD580 has much more in common with an HD650 than it does a HD595. Some consider the HD595 to be the odd one out in the Sennheiser range and I have to agree with Headphonic Australia when they use the term "faulty" in describing it's sound.

Sorry to be so blunt but I truly think that the HD650 is miles (and miles and miles) ahead in terms of fidelity and accuracy compared to the HD595 for acoustic music. That said, a Cute Beyond battery amp will struggle with it and it might sound incoherent and muddy. On the other hand the HD595 is extremely easy to drive and thus might appear to be a better phone until you get into better amplification - and the HD650 will pull considerably ahead.

It sounds too like you are simply experiencing the typical effect of listening to stereo music via headphones when you speak of that double bass syndrome. That is exactly what it is like. And that is what things like Dolby Headphone fix.

But of the solutions you have mused over, I think the best one was indeed "get used to the sound because it is truly better".
post #3 of 57
Sounds like HD600 will be better for you, they are more like 595 but just better in every way. Compared to HD650 they have a little more treble and not really as much bass as HD650, sounds very neutral to my ears.
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
If you are talking about classical music then in my opinion the HD595 is without a doubt the worse headphone I have ever used for it. Flat soundstage, grainy treble and completely unrealistic representation of acoustic instrument timbre. And my HD580 is the best I have ever heard for classical. I think the HD580 has much more in common with an HD650 than it does a HD595. Some consider the HD595 to be the odd one out in the Sennheiser range and I have to agree with Headphonic Australia when they use the term "faulty" in describing it's sound.
Well, I had the 595 for three years before getting the 650 and I disagree completely. Though I appreciate that the 650 is generally superior, I still consider the 595 one of the best phones available for anything like its price, especially for acoustic/classical music. I certainly would not rush to encourage 595 lovers to move up, because I believe the improvement is merely incremental, and indeed there are quite a few 595 users who've listened at length to the 650 and preferred the 595 (which I can understand as I bought and sold three--count them, three--650s before I could adjust to the sound). As for Headphonic, I think the guy's way off the beam and indeed I took the trouble to challenge him about it on his forum, pointing out that he was the only one--at least until you came along--who seemed to hear these odd faults in the 595. None of the professional or user reviews has ever mentioned them, and I've certainly never heard them. I don't usually judge truth by weight of numbers, but if these faults were really as glaring as you would have us believe, why do so few users seem to hear them. Even Headroom, not frightened to criticise phones they stock, has apparently missed these anomalies, even to the point of offering the 595 complete with an expensive after-market cable, putting it into a different price bracket altogether. It just doesn't make sense.

(Incidentally, I had a 580 and hated it. I much preferred the cheaper 565 at the time--much less aggressive. And this is all with orchestral/classical music).

To the OP I would say, let the 650 burn in at least 100 hours and give yourself time to adjust to the sound. But if after a reasonable period you still prefer the 595, don 't accuse yourself of having tin ears. Just slip the 595s on, settle back and enjoy the music while you contemplate all the money you're saving.
post #5 of 57

amped 595/650?

Anyone able to offer impressions of how much difference a headphone amp makes for the 650's, vs the 595's?
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab_ba View Post
Anyone able to offer impressions of how much difference a headphone amp makes for the 650's, vs the 595's?
The 595 sounds a little better with an amp, than it does un-amped, but not a HUGE dirrenece -- but it is discernible.
The 650 *needs* an amp, or a really good source headphone output, or it will sound awful compred to a properly-amped one.
You can use 595 out of portable devices with decent results.
The 650 is NOT happy in that situation.
These findings are based on my personal experience with both cans.
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurra1980 View Post
Sounds like HD600 will be better for you, they are more like 595 but just better in every way. Compared to HD650 they have a little more treble and not really as much bass as HD650, sounds very neutral to my ears.
Agree
post #8 of 57
That's my description of 650's when they are not driven right. I prefer HD600 until i got the Apache, finally the 650 sounds correct (bass under control wow)...a couple thousand later. Even balanced out of the DAC1, the 650 wasnt good enough, but a large step in the right direction.

Quote:
BUT.... they don't sound good! Or more specific: they don't sound NATURAL to my ears. All the bells and whistles are there: extremely clear and smooth sound, deep powerful lows, effortless transients, lots of air, huge sound stage. But everything is disconnected and incoherent - too much air? - and there is an emphasis of the bass region, which makes voices boom and moves the deep strings way forward on the sound stage. I honestly feel that a double bass is in the seat next to me - removed from the rest of the orchestra - and that my ear membrane is flopping uncontrollably....! Surely, this is not high fidelity; it is impressive but unnatural and tiring?
post #9 of 57
my impression of the '15' series (hd515, hd555 and hd595) is that they are easy to drive. Meanwhile, HD650 craves for good amp, just like k701...
post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
If you are talking about classical music then in my opinion the HD595 is without a doubt the worse headphone I have ever used for it. Flat soundstage, grainy treble and completely unrealistic representation of acoustic instrument timbre. And my HD580 is the best I have ever heard for classical. I think the HD580 has much more in common with an HD650 than it does a HD595. Some consider the HD595 to be the odd one out in the Sennheiser range and I have to agree with Headphonic Australia when they use the term "faulty" in describing it's sound.
...
But of the solutions you have mused over, I think the best one was indeed "get used to the sound because it is truly better".
"get used to the sound because it is truly better" - I do not recommend following this mantra, especially when comparing headphones with markedly different sound signatures. Try, but don't force yourself.

I notice that you have an HD555 so I was wondering if you were using this as a basis of comparison for the HD595. From my experience, the HD595 no longer has the treble graininess of the HD555 and instrument timbre has certainly improved (though I cannot relate my findings to the HD580 since I have never made a direct comparison between these two families of headphones). The HD5x5 family should not have any major problems with soundstage depth either (check your volume if you disagree), though I do find the soundstage to be a bit too narrow.

That said, I still do not like the HD595 very much as it is a bit too mellow for my tastes and I can imagine why many people prefer the HD580/6x0 family, but I dare not make any concrete statements as my experience with these headphones, when coupled with decent amps, is limited.
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by zyxwvutsr View Post
I notice that you have an HD555 so I was wondering if you were using this as a basis of comparison for the HD595.
Of all the "decent" headphones that I have heard, I would rate the HD595 as the worst of the lot by a very long shot. That includes comparison to the HD555 (and of course the HD580). I find the HD555 superior in almost every aspect to the HD595 apart from earcup induced colouration which unfortunately tends to muddy and colour the lower midrange / upper bass by contributing higher levels of harmonic distortion. But I found the soundstage of the HD555 to be far deeper than with the HD595 and it was much easier to localise individual players within the left to right but particularly front to back depth. To me, the HD595 sounded like the orchestra had the depth of a photograph on paper being held two inches from my nose. In addition, whereas the HD555 responds beautifully to Dolby Headphone, the HD595 responded poorly. I also find that whilst both the HD555 and HD595 tend to grain, the HD595 is far worse in this respect. As I said before, the HD595 is not at all good with orchestral instruments- they don't sound anything remotely like their real life counterparts - the timbres are completely out, particularly on violins which sound like they are not real but synthesised.

Incidentally, I have to update my profile. I found the HD580 to so much more accurate than the HD555, let alone HD595, that I use them exclusively now for serious acoustic music listening.
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Of all the "decent" headphones that I have heard, I would rate the HD595 as the worst of the lot by a very long shot along. That includes comparison to the HD555 (and of course the HD580). I find the HD555 superior in almost every aspect to the HD595 apart from earcup induced colouration which unfortunately tends to muddy and colour the lower midrange / upper bass by contributing higher levels of harmonic distortion. But I found the soundstage of the HD555 to be far deeper than with the HD595 and it was much easier to localise individual players within the left to right but particularly front to back depth. To me, the HD595 sounded like the orchestra had the depth of a photograph on paper being held two inches from my nose. In addition, whereas the HD555 responds beautifully to Dolby Headphone, the HD595 responded poorly. I also find that whilst both the HD555 and HD595 tend to grain, the HD595 is far worse in this respect. As I said before, the HD595 is not at all good with orchestral instruments- they don't sound anything remotely like their real life counterparts - the timbres are completely out, particularly on violins which sound like they are not real but synthesised.

Incidentally, I have to update my profile. I found the HD580 to so much more accurate than the HD555, let alone HD595, that I use them exclusively now for serious acoustic music listening.
Strange?
I think HD595 has a very good soundstage and they are to my ears very good with classical. It is a very natural soundstage that surounds the head very nice, the HD650 for example often has the music behind the head which can be a little anoying. I guess the 595s angled drivers has something to do with me liking the soundstage.
post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
As for Headphonic, I think the guy's way off the beam and indeed I took the trouble to challenge him about it on his forum, pointing out that he was the only one--at least until you came along--who seemed to hear these odd faults in the 595.

Hi,

There is no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to opinions about the sound of headphones - just subjective opinions. Technical measurements might establish some sort of pecking order on purely scientific grounds, however it has long been established that good numbers don't neccessarily mean good sound (take valves for instance).

I admire Marcus for calling a spade a spade in terms of his personal opinion, even if what you say is correct in that he and I are the only two people on the planet who can't recommend the HD595 At least if someone buys a HD595 from him and is disappointed they can't say they weren't warned.

The situation with headpones is no different to what it was like as a violinist. I would listen to hundreds of violins and I liked some and disliked others. And other people would have other opinions. When I listen to headphones the first thing I do is see how accurate they are with violin sound, because as player I have had tens of thousands of hours of listening to good violins being played live in the same room as me.

I have no idea why people would wish to buy an expensive cable such as a cardus for a headphone that is very inaccurate to begin with it, but then again aftermarket cables make money, and lots of it. But I wouldn't recable a HD595 any more than I would retrim a Toyata Yaris with a leather interior.
post #14 of 57
I found the 595's to have a harsh grainy midrange.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
I found the 595's to have a harsh grainy midrange.
Yes they have, especially compared to higher end headphones and px100 :P this also makes them livelier.
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