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Where to go next? (From a D2k to HD650, DT 880, K701?)

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
So, I've read all the reviews, impressions, and comparisons I can get my hands on, both here and elsewhere, and I feel more confused than ever! At this point I feel like I practically have to buy every available headphone or else I'll always be wondering what if...

But, of course, I only have $400 to work with, so I'm trying to make the most educated decision I can going forward.

For reference, I'm starting with Denon D2000s, my first "real" set of cans, with the HeadRoom Ultra Micro Amp and DAC. Obviously these cans don't benefit from amping as much as others, due to their high efficiency, which is why I'm looking at high-impedance cans; I want to get the most out of my amp and dac.

I love the D2000, but I find my biggest complaint is with their tendency to be sibilant. It's transient -- many recordings pose no problem, but I've since decided to EQ the phones to prevent any ear-splitting hiss after Freddy Mercury's voice on "Under Pressure" completely demolished my ears and had them ringing for a whole day -- I'm fairly sensitive to grainy/bright/harsh highs.

However, I love detail, clarity, separation, and soundstage.

The problem I'm confronted with is that while I need smoothness and laid-back highs in order not to be fatigued, and I find a warm signature fun and enjoyable, it seems that this often is obtained at the expense of clarity, speed, and detail.

So, I'm torn.

I'm leaning towards the HD 650, because they supposedly respond well to amping, my amp is SS and not overly warm, and they're said to be very smooth and pleasantly warm, with good bass response (I do love powerful, well-extended bass -- it's one of my favorite things about the Denons). However, the veil scares me. I was "forced" to upgrade my amp because with the non-ultra micro stack I felt the D2ks were slightly muffled, with a compressed soundstage, and it drove me to new heights of upgrade-itus. But, again, when I hear things like smooth, warm, and musical, I get excited.

I like the idea of speed, clarity, detail, and neutrality, but from the Sony SA5000s to the K701 to the DT 880, I hear competing reviews complaining of brightness, harshness, fatigue, and over-extended highs. This scares me perhaps even more than the idea of a veiled sound, because I listen for very long periods of time -- often eight hours or more -- and I don't want to be in pain or be fatigued. Also, I love powerful, deep bass.

I guess what I want to know is: how will I feel about these things in comparison to the D2000?

Remember I have no frame of reference to ultra-detailed, speedy cans, so maybe the HD 650s will sound just fine to me in terms of detail and soundstage, because I'm coming from a closed can with a powerful bass response that some find muddying. I figure the veil has to be influenced by psycho-acoustics -- if I've never heard something without the veil, I can't identify it when it's there, right? But for all I know the D2ks are more detailed and present than the HD650s.

On the other hand, my tolerance for sibilance/grain/brightness/harshness I feel is probably pretty absolute -- it's mostly an issue of fatigue and pain, and I figure that whether I not I have a frame of reference for it, if it hurts my ears, it hurts my ears.

So, overall, I'm leaning towards the HD650, but just on guesswork of how these cans compare to the D2000. Does anyone have any insight into how I might view these various cans in light of where I'm starting from?
post #2 of 39
do you like the D2000 sound signature? I have the D5000 and the AMAZING with the headroom ultra micro stack (and the EF1). with the HD650 you won't get half of the denons bass response, so be ready to be underwhelmed by the bass response...i certainly was! so take this into account. i like the HD650 for other things,especially now after i EQ'ed them for the best sound.

you will probably like their high though...they are much less "peaky" than the denons. overall they are very balanced souding can IMO, very neutral comparing to the denons. you need to think ig you want to experience in that kind of sound. I like my D5000 MUCH MUCH better. and IMO they are in another leage (senn fans,please don't hate me)
post #3 of 39

For $400...

X2 for me for your budget.
post #4 of 39
It also really depends on the style of music you listen to. You mentioned Queen's Under Pressure so I assume you like melodic rock at the least.
I love the Senn hD650 for classical and some lighter rock: Mellancamp, Fleetwood Mac, etc.
But, I will be using the D7000 ( which are the next cans I am buying ) for hard rock/metal/ especially.
The Denons sound so much different you may feel like you're missing something ( bass ) if you go to the Senns for all music types.
post #5 of 39
backwardsname...if you like the denon sound it wil maybe be a good idea to go up in the scale of the denon family (5000,7000) but if you are looking for a different sound, for experimenting and maybe for certain moods where you don't want that boosted sound of the denons, you may look in another directions. that's the reason i got myself a pair of HD650 as well as grado RS-1.
you can start by minimizing you choices to what kind of sound are you looking for: open..? closed..? bass heavy? neutral?
just remember, that getting another headphone will certainly be a change,but not necesserely an improvement.
post #6 of 39
I have the 701 as my reference. I dont find them harsh or brittle. They have ample bass as they are very neutral. I also use a Little Dot mk11 to drive them. I also have the Shure srh840 for closed listening. I use each for different agenda;s. My Denon 1001 serves my ipod. If you want to hear accurate get the 701.
post #7 of 39
Arguably, moving up to the D5000's will give you the same or maybe worse sibilance.
Although some people find D5000's highs better integrated...
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
However, I love detail, clarity, separation, and soundstage.
I'd say that K701 are made especially for you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
I like the idea of speed, clarity, detail, and neutrality
... though speed may be an issue, you should definitely try them by yourself.
post #9 of 39
I would suggest some German Maestros 435S. As forgiving as the HD 650 but more natural sounding, no veil and better bass. Bass on the HD 650 is strong in quantity and not that bad either. As for bass extension they are both beaten by the K701.

Big plus for the 435S is the easilly switchable ear pads. You can get the balance quite similar to the K701 if you want to try headphones without boosted bass as well and see that it has it´s benefits as well. Though the bass integrates very well with stock pads as well. Sounds very natural and booring in a good way

As for soundstage it´s not a strong point of either the 650 or 435S. Future belongs to angled or displaced drivers from my experiences so far definiatly.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamWysokinski View Post
I'd say that K701 are made especially for you...
A screwy soundstage that places the musicians 10 metres away from each other and floating in the air isn't what I really call a decent realistic soundstage. Ok, the HD800 has this type of soundstage, but resolves it much better and instrument placement as well. Not to mention the K701's amp synergy issues.

The K701 is a love-it or hate-it headphone and as much as I would like to like it, I don't.

Also I wouldn't call the bass on the K701 neutral as all considering the bass frequency response on other 'neutral--sounding' headphones:



The DT880/600 I would say has a frequency response in-between the DT880 and Balanced DT880 thus I used it.

Also the HD650 is less balanced sounding than the HD600 + tbh, has more amp synergy issues. I much prefer any version of the DT880, but particularly the 600ohm version, over the HD600 and HD650.
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plonter View Post
backwardsname...if you like the denon sound it wil maybe be a good idea to go up in the scale of the denon family (5000,7000) but if you are looking for a different sound, for experimenting and maybe for certain moods where you don't want that boosted sound of the denons, you may look in another directions. that's the reason i got myself a pair of HD650 as well as grado RS-1.
you can start by minimizing you choices to what kind of sound are you looking for: open..? closed..? bass heavy? neutral?
just remember, that getting another headphone will certainly be a change,but not necesserely an improvement.
I'm looking for something different -- I've spent a pretty fair amount of time with my boss's D5ks, and while I do think they're wonderful cans that improve on the 2ks in a lot of ways, I don't feel they warrant the upgrade cost (given that I already have the 2ks and don't plan on selling them to finance the new phones), and they suffer from the same grain/sibilance problem. For someone deciding between the 2ks and the 5ks, I'd go with the 5ks, but as I say, I don't think it's worth it from an upgrade standpoint.

I want to go for an open phone if possible, something neutral and refined -- the Denons are fun, but "refined" isn't a word that springs to mind when I think of them. I do want to keep them around for the things they do well, but I want to expand my horizons a bit.

From what people are saying, it sounds like the DT 880s might be a good choice. What's the verdict on them with grain/sibilance/harshness of the highs? Does anyone have issues with that? Also, I've heard some very conflicting things about their bass response, with some people saying it's impactful and neutral, and others saying it's anemic.

Also, I haven't ever looked at the german maestros before, so I'll go do a little research on those.
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
Also, I've heard some very conflicting things about their bass response, with some people saying it's impactful and neutral, and others saying it's anemic.
Well the 600 ohm version of the DT880's is the best out of all the DT880's. It has more bass than the recessed bass of the 2003 DT880's and less harsh highs than DT880 '03 as well.
Impressions from me and others (vs. other DT880's and other headphones):

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/bey...thread-429371/

If you got good amplification, the DT880/600 are a no brainer vs. the K701, HD650 and HD600 tbh.
post #13 of 39
If you're able to, try out both the DT880 AND DT990.

But if you can only try 1, the DT880 would probably be a better bet since the DT990 has a slightly more exaggerated higher frequency response and therefore will be more prone to sibilance.
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
...and they suffer from the same grain/sibilance problem...

I want to go for an open phone if possible, something neutral and refined -- the Denons are fun, but "refined" isn't a word that springs to mind when I think of them
If you're sensitive for sibilance than definitely count the D5000's out.
But I wouldn't call it grain, I find the highs to be very clean.

I must be one of few, but I find the D5000's to be very refined, good recorded classical music sounds divine and overall the balance is pretty neutral.
post #15 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mink View Post
If you're sensitive for sibilance than definitely count the D5000's out.
But I wouldn't call it grain, I find the highs to be very clean.

I must be one of few, but I find the D5000's to be very refined, good recorded classical music sounds divine and overall the balance is pretty neutral.
I was speaking more about the 2ks not being refined. Although, I do think both perform admirably with classical music -- I do mainly listen to contemporary music, but I love the way Beethoven sounds on these cans. At the same time, it's clear they could offer more particularly in the detail department. Very, very fun to listen to though.
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