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Sennheiser HD 530 II

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Do you guys know anything about these headphones?

I picked up a pair with a bad cable. Ordered a 650 cable from Sennheiser's website, so I should be listening to them soon. They're pretty ugly, and the adjustable band is poorly designed. I don't expect them to be wonderful, but they looked like fun. There's not much on here about them...
post #2 of 13
I also own these cans. Here's a pic:



I really like the sound; laid back but with good instrumental separation. They are 300 ohm and I run them through a Ibasso D2 boa DAC which seems to drive them pretty well. I was also wondering how they compare to other sennheiser models of today.

greeting from Holland!
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickrobotron View Post
I picked up a pair with a bad cable. Ordered a 650 cable from Sennheiser's website, so I should be listening to them soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke View Post
I also own these cans. Here's a pic:

From the picture, I'm not sure that the HD 650 cable will fit.

The HD 650 cable has the "fat end" connectors and the HD 530 II has the original "thin end" connectors.

If you find that the HD 650 cable won't fit - the correct Sennheiser cable for the HD 530 II is part number 037974.

I hope this helps.
post #4 of 13
I tried the cable of the Hd 530 II on my Sennheiser Hd-25 and the connectors fit. I think the Hd-650 connector fits the Hd-25, so I don't think there's a problem.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke View Post
I tried the cable of the HH 530 II on my Sennheiser HD-25 and the connectors fit. I think the HD-650 connector fits the HD-25, so I don't think there's a problem.
The HD 530 II and HD 25 have the same basic capsule connector (but different cables).

The HD 650 (and HD 600 and HD 580) have a connector with a "fat end" to make a tighter fit into those headphones.

The HD 650 cable may well fit the HD 25 as the tip of the connector is the same - but (if you look at your picture) the socket in the HD 530 II is shrouded and I don't think the fat end of the HD 650 cable will fit into the shroud.

Although the picture below is of a Cardas cable - you can clearly see the fat end of the capsule connectors.



Compare this with the thin end of the connectors on your HD 530 II photo.

post #6 of 13
Ok thanks for clearing that up! Well since you seem to be a Sennheiser expert, what could possibly be a comparable headphone that you recommend? . That considering the fact that I have a limited source ( = Winamp -> Ibasso D2 Boa DAC (which is able to drive the Hd 530 II pretty well though)) .

thank you,

Michiel
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke View Post
Ok thanks for clearing that up! Well since you seem to be a Sennheiser expert, what could possibly be a comparable headphone that you recommend? . That considering the fact that I have a limited source ( = Winamp -> Ibasso D2 Boa DAC (which is able to drive the Hd 530 II pretty well though)) .
I'm sorry, but as I work for Sennheiser, Head-Fi rules prohibit me from recommending headphones.
post #8 of 13
Ok, that I can understand. But I'm just curious how they would hold up against sennheiser headphones of today like the HD 555 and HD 595. I'm guessing that they aren't really comparable with the higher-end HD 600 and HD 650.
post #9 of 13

As I understand it, the HD 530 (which I have and use all the time as my main headphone) is closer to the HD 600 than to the HD 595.  There is no exact comparison, but genealogically, the series is HD 540, HD 530 (a later, somewhat cheaper, but also in many people's view better can), HD 560.  Then there is a discontinuity, with substantial modification for improved bass, in the HD 580, HD 600, and (warmest of all) HD 650.  Some purists object to these last three (thus the preference among them for AKG or Beyerdyamic); others modify them by adding Cardas or other aftermarket cable, which improves clarity and brightness.  

 

The HD 530 is not the sharpest at the very high tones, not the deepest, and not the deepest soundstage. I have not heard the HD 540 and HD 560; (I believe (from other reviews) they are more treble-tilted than the HD 530.)  These older Sennheisers are, however, wonderful in tone. (Try Bach's Cello Suites.)  If you listen to classical or jazz, and especially if you listen to instrumental or voice solo or small ensembles, the 530 (or 560) is a superb choice and -- when you come across one in good condition -- a fantastic bargain.  (It is not quite so nimble with a large orchestra, especially if you like to listen analytically.)  The HD 530 must have a decent -- and powerful -- amplifier to sound like anything at all.  Not only is this a 300 ohm impedance headphone; it is a relatively inefficient headphone (94 dB at 1KHz).  I have an Onkyo rig whose integrated amp has very nice headphone output, at least for the 530. (A Sennheiser Lucas -- admittedly not a very reputable amp, is muddy and dull -- but can drive the 32 ohm impedance HD 448s with great clarity.  The Lucas was designed for the HD 580, which is also 300 ohm impedance.  Possibly the vintage Sennheisers just need an even more powerful amp than the 580/600/650.)

 

The HD 530 was apparently originally marketed for jazz -- perhaps a way of saving a niche for the more expensive and earlier HD 540.  I have not heard the HD 540 or HD 560, but I've seen someone perhaps unfairly describe the 540 as shrill.  No one could possibly say that about the 530.  Actually, the highs are a bit rolled off.  You don't even notice it listening only to the 530, but when you come back to it just after listening to a headphone with very extended and successful treble, it takes a moment to adjust.  It's like turning down the intensity of the color settings on your camera.  Actually, the slightly muted settings can make for subtlety, and the HD 530 is excellent at nuance.  A quartet is really a conversation, and with the HD 530 that's just what you hear -- not so much an event in a concert hall (the 530 is an intimate not a spatial headphone) but four voices rendered with beautiful articulation.  If the 530 was for jazz, perhaps Sennheiser designed it for the saxaphone: it's to die for in that register.  As a classical listener, I especially love it for Bach's use of  baroque cello, Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, or a Beethoven quartet; piano solo is also marvelous.  Vocals from baritone to mezzo soprano are also simply outstanding. As for bass: the punch isn't formidable; and I think it's the absence of this which allowed Sennheiser in this case to avoid the famous "veil," which I believe was a side effect of adding much more powerful bass with the HD 580/600/650.  Used for its strengths -- chamber music other than the highest notes on flute and violin -- the HD 530 would be very hard to surpass or even match in any headphone.  Beyond that (in symphonies or violin concertos) it is still a refined if noticeably dated performer.  (If you don't listen chiefly to classical music or jazz, this isn't your headphone.)

 

PS: As I'm becoming a more sophisticated listener: I do note some distortion in the HD 530 at extreme moments -- for example, in the right channel, in the opening bars of Beethoven's 5th in the Carlos Kleiber recording.  Or this may just be the placement of the microphones on that recording.   Also (and this has nothing to do with the HD 530), the Lucas has its limits as a music amp.  In any case, the main point of my review stands: the HD 530, well amped, is lovely for classical chamber music.

 

For a discussion of the tonal superiority ("Klangfarbentreue und Transparenz") of the HD 530 and HD 560 to the HD 580/600 series, see the German Hi-Fi Forum: http://www.hifi-forum.de/viewthread-110-312.html  

 

[Added December 2010] I just acquired some HD 560s, which I found on Ebay.  These are unquestionably even better than the HD 530s.  They are, however, very similar.  I suspect they have the same driver, but the casing for the HD 560 creates a more natural sense of space.  But the HD 530 is itself an exquisite headphone.  At their respective recent price points on Ebay, they are both great buys.  I also bought a Purity Audio K.I.C.A.S. amp and a Musical Fidelity V-DAC.  I cannot believe what I am hearing.  What marvelous choices, which I owe to reviews on Head-Fi.  I mention that here just to say that these old Sennheisers are fine headphones that respond to a good source.  My statement above that they "aren't the sharpest or the fastest" may have been more a reflection of the amps I was using.  The K.I.C.A.S. gets a very crisp response out of them.]

 

.  


Edited by wyki - 1/2/11 at 7:19pm
post #10 of 13

Just jumping in here a minute. So I have been using  HD 570"s phones. What would the lineage be on these and how do they compare with what has come up. I would like to upgrade, but to what?

post #11 of 13

It depends on what you listen to (different headphones are optimized for different music) and what you are willing to spend.  Apparently the 570 was in the $125 range.  For a little less, you can buy an HD 448, which is a remarkably good headphone that has come out recently.  If you have a good headphone amplifier and are willing to invest, there are many options.  The two most obvious would be an HD 595 or, going to another level (and requiring a more powerful headamp) and HD 600 with an upgraded cable such as a Cardas, but you are looking at a combined bill around $450, and without a good amplifier, even that would underperform the 448. Beyerdynamic, AKG, and Denon all have entries in the HD 600 price range, and each headphone has its characteristics.    My advice would be to go to headphone.com and then call them up.  Of course, they sell some very high end equipment, but if you make clear what you want and what you can spend, I think you'll be happy (and they do accept exchanges).  

post #12 of 13

I now also own an HD 560, and there's no question that its housing is superior.  I can detect no distortion whatsoever in the HD 560, whose manual speaks of an "absolutely linear presence in the important upper mid-range." Like the HD 530 only more so, the HD 560 has high resolution, though perhaps not the ultra resolution or sound-stage of treble-tilted headphones.  Neither, however, are there any harsh peaks or issues of sibilance.  Both headphones profit from desktop amplifiers and are best for classical music.

post #13 of 13
I recently obtained a used pair in good condition with only the headband missing. I've already searched the web and Ebay, but couldn't find a place to buy one. Any suggestions?
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