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Sennheiser HD800 Appreciation Thread - Page 439  

post #6571 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by fejnomit View Post

 

James at Stefan Audio Art will help you:

 

stefanaudioart@yahoo.com

 

He can explain the various levels of modification.

 

 

Whew...  James is pretty high $$.  I asked if he measures his headphones after he does the Ultra Mod.  He said the changes can't be measured.blink.gif  So I assume you got the Ultra Mod done.  If so what positive or negative differences did you notice (subjectively of course)?

post #6572 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by playitloud View Post

Let me say upfront that I in the past have invested enormous amounts of money on cables. I agree cables do make a difference, I also agree that it is difficult to quantify the differences in objective terms. Let me try to put  the investment in cables into perspective. Most important thing to remind here is the law of diminishing returns versus your system sounds as good as the weakest link.

 

Let me give an example. A system that consists of a 500 dollar cd player and 500 dollar amplifier driving the Sennheiser HD800 with stock cables. I have 1000 dollar to spend, where would I spend it on? I would spend it on either the cd player or the amplifier, because I think the improvement of going from a 500 to a 1500 dollar cd player or amplifier is greater than the improvement I would get if I spend all my money on a headphone cable.

 

Now what if my system consists of a 10.000 dollar cd player and 10.000 dollar amplifier driving the Sennheiser HD800 with stock cable, and you have the same 1000 dollar to spend. Than I would spend the money on the headphone cable because I think that will give me most improvement. But in this system no matter where you spend the money on, the differences (improvements) are always more subtle than 1000 dollar spend in the first system.  But I agree these subtle differences can make the final click to make your system magical, and as such although subtle can be profound.

 

Personally, I think I was stupid paying huge amounts of money on cables, but I am glad I did….Cables last a lifetime. That is why I agree with Fejnomid that you have to spend money on the most transparent and ‘neutral’ cables you can find. I would warn against spending money on cables as a tone control of your current system, because when you change things in your system you have to change the cables as well. And again, if your system is for instance too bright, you get more improvements from spending your money on a ‘warm’ cd player or amplifier than on a ‘warm’ cable. And if you use a tube amplifier, in my opinion changing tubes are a better and (sometimes) cheaper tone control of your system than cables.

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks playitloud, that's an informative post. Cables are something I think I initially overlooked, but now it's time I feel that I should invest more in them.

post #6573 of 6593

You are welcome. I forgot to mention one important thing. I personally believe that it is very important to know your system through and through. That means that you have spent a lot of time with it as it is, without changing all the time. Only if you know your system very well, you are able to 'analyze' and describe its signature. Based on your innate knowlegde about your systems' signature you can experiment with tubes and cables. Remember not to overdo it, and do not expect huge differences. But if you know your system well, you can hear subtle differences that allow you to finetune the sound coming from your system. Good luck..


Edited by playitloud - 2/7/13 at 7:51am
post #6574 of 6593

Dunno...

 

Few points to make here:

 

1) The  myth of $10,000 components being better than $500 components.  Boy is this not always the case.  I think the spread in your example is too broad.  Let's bring it down to earth.   If you had a $1000 source and $1000 amp and the HD800, for example, I would still suggest spending any extra $1000 on cabling.  Why wouldn't you bring the cables up to the same level as the components?  Otherwise you are not actually hearing the components - you are hearing the cables as they choke off the signal.

 

2) I agree with getting to know your system.  Relaxing into a system for a long time and not changing around too much - yes.  All the more reason, I would argue, to get the right cabling so you can actually know what you are knowing, so to speak.

 

3) The reason people think cables make only a subtle difference is because almost all cables are made essentially the same way:  thick conductors, Teflon dielectric, various types of shielding, "audiophile" connectors.  They may change the shape of the conductor or the weave, they may add some cotton here or some air there, they may use a lot of fancy terminology to convince you that their shielding is better than someone else's, etc. but they are all built on essentially the same principles.  And those principles are by and large wrong.  Every one of those choices chokes off the signal, smears it and compresses it, to the point that what comes out the other end sounds more or less the same no matter who made the cable.  Some better, for sure, some worse.  It is absolutely shocking to me that outside of a few cable makers very very very few people are experimenting with different underlying cable construction principles, the most radical of which reads something like this: eliminate ALL dielectric, use the thinnest conductors possible, source or build connectors that have no smearing/compression effects -- in other words TAKE AWAY everything the "audiophile" cables are built from.  Higher priced cabling does not mean better cabling, not by a long shot, just better marketing and rhetoric.  So I'm not even advocating spending $1000 on cabling.  In fact, you can modify your current cables to become MUCH more transparent - along the lines of what I've just described - simply with some wire strippers, some solder, some Deoxit and a small order from Parts Connexion.  Strip away any sheathing, tubing, shielding, and expose your wires.  Free them from each other - bundled wires are a bad idea.  Use connectors with the LEAST amount of thick, plated metal (I know, heresy!), preferable building your own out of wood or a tone metal like brass.  The difference will be staggering.  I did this with a run-of-the-mill Kimber USB cable and turned it into a giant killer for about 3 hours worth of labor and no cost.

 

Anyway, you get my point.  I could go on but I won't - there are POV differences here, that's all.  Hope this makes sense.  Back to topic...

post #6575 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

Whew...  James is pretty high $$.  I asked if he measures his headphones after he does the Ultra Mod.  He said the changes can't be measured.blink.gif  So I assume you got the Ultra Mod done.  If so what positive or negative differences did you notice (subjectively of course)?

How much, prep?

post #6576 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post

How much, prep?

 

 

Over 1K.  With the Hardwire cable + Ultra Mod.

post #6577 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

Over 1K.  With the Hardwire cable + Ultra Mod.

Uh, ok. 1k. rolleyes.gif

post #6578 of 6593

The fact that it can't be measured makes me laugh, the human ear is really a piece of **** compared to a lot of animals and especially when compared to equipment. I'm really skeptical about cables, now a proper OFC cable is needed, but not the 99,99999999999999999999% version with silver that and titanium this. Sure the electrons may move a bit faster and what not, but I wonder if it's actually measurable with equipment, I guess not. And I'm sure that the human ear just can't hear the difference. Humans need to stop overrating themselves, we're not as "great" and "smart" as we think we are, we are just raping earth by burning all those fossil fuels after all. Only a small percentage of people truly cares about the people around them, money and status comes first for most. It's all about the "I have a $5000 this and you don't have it!"-factor.

Even the stock HD800 cable is overkill imo. But when you (once per month? year?) unplug the cable you at least have the worthless gold plating that makes your e-peen grow, right?

 

I'm sure that it's a psychological thing trick, just like kids who feel better when you give them some fake medicine. The same trick works with adults when they're getting sea sick. If you truly believe in something, it will, no matter what, work for you and, in this case, you "can" hear the difference.

 

If there is no measurable difference, there is no difference to be heard, it's all in the head. But if audio if your hobby, and you have everything already and have money to spend, why not spend it on a cable than? This is fine by me, but it's just like putting a 2560x1440 resolution on a 12" macbook. Completely useless, requires more processing power and drains the battery faster because of it. Although in the case of audio there is not even a measurable difference.

 

End of "rant", time to go lurking.


Edited by MelvinV - 2/7/13 at 12:06pm
post #6579 of 6593
rolleyes.gif

-Daniel
post #6580 of 6593

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post #6581 of 6593

blink.gif

post #6582 of 6593

that $1k that was quoted includes the cable and wood connectors, not just the mods. $700 for the cable hardly seems outlandish given the cost of "audiophile" cabling...  the fact that james charges as much as he does is because of the labor involved in making his cables and in doing his modifications, not to mention the countless hours of listening and comparing he has done to arrive at these cables and modifications... so it's like the tesla of the headphone cable world - the early adopters will have to pay a premium for the r&d...

 

MelvinV, you have no idea what you're talking about.  your knee-jerk reaction that if it's expensive it must only be the placebo effect is not substantiated by anyone with good ears.   how about calming down long enough to let the blood drain from your yours and give a listen... where did gold-plating come into the discussion?  have you ever subjectively tested different cable topologies?  if so, then name the cables.  if not, then your rant is falling on deaf ears.  if you'd read my post, you would see that i am NOT advocating spending heaps of money of cables.  if you read my post you would see that, in fact, i advocate the opposite.  i advocate either ripping apart your current cables to free them from grunge, or having the courage to seek out someone who makes cables a different way from all the cables you have ever heard.  not fancy crystalline structures and other voodoo.  different ways of making a cable. 

 

and regarding measureability.  the corollary of what you are saying is that scientific measurement trumps all.  trumps subjective hearing. trumps emotion.  trumps the countless uncontrollable variables that are always introduced into non-perfect, real-life listening scenarios.  i'll give you a little hint: measurements don't measure **** -- except some impossible-to-corroborate, innate character of a piece of equipment prior to it actually being used by a human.  if you want to know how a machine "listens" - then great.  now you know.  if you want to know how a human listens, then spend a long time listening.  a long long time.  then come back with your findings.   if you've ever listened to vinyl then you know there can be six albums from the same company, same pressing, same pressing date, using the same master tapes, etc. and all with the same frequency measurements yet there is one that sounds head and shoulders above the rest.  it can't be measured, at least not always.  there is a certain way the frequencies come together - with your equipment of course - and that record is the one you want to play over and over.  same thing with tubes.  exact some construction, same date code, same measurements on all the testers, and yet one sounds better.  i would actually call you out as suffering from a reverse-placebo effect: your anger and mistrust of anything you don't know and can't know will never allow you to hear the differences.

 

if we lived nearer I would invite you over to listen to the stock HD800 and the modded/re-cabled HD800 and then you would know...

post #6583 of 6593

Slowly getting forum overload looking for a new amp / DAC to run my hd800's...any UK based recommendations?

post #6584 of 6593
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelvinV View Post

... I guess not. And I'm sure that the human ear just can't hear the difference. Humans need to stop overrating themselves, we're not as "great" and "smart" as we think we are, we are just raping earth by burning all those fossil fuels after all. Only a small percentage of people truly cares about the people around them, money and status comes first for most. It's all about the "I have a $5000 this and you don't have it!"-factor.

 

Revolution I say! 

 

 

Yeah, **** those with money and power and status! Let's make them rich ****s into peasants and see how things go!

post #6585 of 6593

I replied to the individual parts in the quote itself, because I'm lazy.

Kind of an interesting argument, although most here have probably read this over a billion times already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fejnomit View Post

that $1k that was quoted includes the cable and wood connectors, not just the mods. $700 for the cable hardly seems outlandish given the cost of "audiophile" cabling...  the fact that james charges as much as he does is because of the labor involved in making his cables and in doing his modifications, not to mention the countless hours of listening and comparing he has done to arrive at these cables and modifications... so it's like the tesla of the headphone cable world - the early adopters will have to pay a premium for the r&d...

 

Me: I don't believe that these cables will ever become mainstream unless technology becomes so advanced that it costs nothing to produce ultra-high-purity cables. I also think that these mods will never become mainstream, these mods do change the sound signature AFAIK, everyone has a different taste after all. But I love the HD800s as they are and I don't think you can say that those mods make it better, I'd say it would make them different. I assume that Sennheiser knows what they're doing, I don't think they're some retards.

Sure he does a lot of labor, I'm not saying he's ripping you off. If you both believe in cables (I'm not saying that custom cables make no difference, that's my opinion) than yeah... enjoy your cables.

 

MelvinV, you have no idea what you're talking about.  your knee-jerk reaction that if it's expensive it must only be the placebo effect is not substantiated by anyone with good ears.   how about calming down long enough to let the blood drain from your yours and give a listen... where did gold-plating come into the discussion?  have you ever subjectively tested different cable topologies?  if so, then name the cables.  if not, then your rant is falling on deaf ears.  if you'd read my post, you would see that i am NOT advocating spending heaps of money of cables.  if you read my post you would see that, in fact, i advocate the opposite.  i advocate either ripping apart your current cables to free them from grunge, or having the courage to seek out someone who makes cables a different way from all the cables you have ever heard.  not fancy crystalline structures and other voodoo.  different ways of making a cable. 

 

Me: I'm not saying that it's placebo, and I do, in fact, have good ears. There might be a slight-slight difference which, to my belief, just isn't audible to the human ear. Also, ranting does not mean that I'm angry. I'm just giving my opinion (in a bitchy manner, probably) about a certain subject, no point about talking about this "my boiling blood" though, as that is all subjective.

Gold-plating was kind of random, I admit that. But there is just no advantage to gold plating. If your connector is rusting, you are doing something wrong. I'll leave the argument about gold-plating behind as it has nothing to do with cables.

I've never heard any custom cables because there is just no place to test them out in the Netherlands... yeah, well, that sucks.

I don't know that much about topology, but I can't imagine it making a difference. And does it even matter? AFAIK, the way the cable's molecules (the actual wire) is bound (isotopes and what not) does not make a difference. And if it does, it's way, way, way too small to be noticed by anything in this world made by humans. I don't believe in making cables in a different way, its not like there is a atom called "love" or something like that. It's all about what rolls out, doesn't matter if a Chinese kid did it or if a masterful company somewhere in America did it. In the end, it's all about the stupid electrons going from A to B. And there is just no proof that they'll "move" any different with a specially built cable with special™. My father used to be a guy in the pro-audio world and they used really simple cables (not poor quality ones though) there and just soldered some plugs on them myself. No special penta-helix (random example, not sure if it exists) and stuff like that.

 

and regarding measureability.  the corollary of what you are saying is that scientific measurement trumps all.  trumps subjective hearing. trumps emotion.  trumps the countless uncontrollable variables that are always introduced into non-perfect, real-life listening scenarios.  i'll give you a little hint: measurements don't measure **** -- except some impossible-to-corroborate, innate character of a piece of equipment prior to it actually being used by a human.  if you want to know how a machine "listens" - then great.  now you know.  if you want to know how a human listens, then spend a long time listening.  a long long time.  then come back with your findings.   if you've ever listened to vinyl then you know there can be six albums from the same company, same pressing, same pressing date, using the same master tapes, etc. and all with the same frequency measurements yet there is one that sounds head and shoulders above the rest.  it can't be measured, at least not always.  there is a certain way the frequencies come together - with your equipment of course - and that record is the one you want to play over and over.  same thing with tubes.  exact some construction, same date code, same measurements on all the testers, and yet one sounds better.  i would actually call you out as suffering from a reverse-placebo effect: your anger and mistrust of anything you don't know and can't know will never allow you to hear the differences.

 

Me: I agree about the emotions part, but emotions are what causes all the problems on this world. That's why war and what not exists in the first place. But it is at the same time what makes humans "human" (and other animals in general).

About the vinyl, if they are exactly the same (measured the same waveform, exactly, completely 100% the same thing) you wouldn't notice any difference. But because of the fact that it is analog, it can have all kinds of interference. Now I'm not sure about things in this department, but perhaps the heating up of part X causes it to sound "better", or perhaps it's the temperature of the air or whatever the hell it is. Analog is unreliable unless played back in a (non-existent) perfect location.

This also makes digital wrong, because at a point it went to digital and that chip isn't perfect as well, same with the DAC and everything else.

The small differences in these things is because the manufacturing process isn't accurate enough.

If 3D printers get advanced enough, I think that this problem would be solved. With machinery used currently, it isn't possible. Every single thing is slightly different. This would also mean the very measurement equipment used isn't perfect and that the standards are based upon something that isn't even perfect. There have been no blind tests (that I know of) where expensive, advanced cable X was rated better than standard cable Y by a lot of people. It's usually 50/50 or something like that.

 

if we lived nearer I would invite you over to listen to the stock HD800 and the modded/re-cabled HD800 and then you would know...

 

Me: The mod probably causes it so sound different, not better or worse because it's all subjective.

If you want the "real" sound you would have to get custom phones/something that is the reverse of the FR of your ear. Now I can only imagine how strange that would sound. And perhaps stock HD800 has 1 dust particle on the driver?  Perfect just doesn't exist in this world, not in physical things.

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