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Sennheiser HD 650 sounds muffled

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

I know buying headphones without trying first is stupid, but I got a good offer, so I could not resist... My other headphone is an old AKG K66. When I first tried it, I was prepared to experience something better, but the sound of the 650 really disappointed me. Compared to the K66, the Sennheiser sounds muffled, the highs are completely missing for me. I'm using the output of an old Soundblaster Live! soundcard. I know all about 650 having a higher (300Ohm) impedance.. etc., so I'm ready to purchase a headphone amp, but I'm affraid it will only increase the bass, not the highs. Should I give another chance to the 650 by buying better equipment, or does this mean it is simly not the headphone for me.

post #2 of 51

I totally understand. This thread might answer a few questions:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/503367/hd650-what-benefit-would-an-amp-give-me

 

Also, consider getting a decent DAC, in addition to an amp.

post #3 of 51
I'd blame it mostly on the amp in the soundcard that you're using. I think you're suffering from the infamous "Sennheiser Veil," which is *not* a fault of the headphones. This has been debated at length here, but the bottom line is that the HD-650 does not sound muffled (or "Veiled") when run on an appropriate amplifier. The conclusion to draw is that some amps are veiled and some are not.

There are a number of excellent amplifiers that bring out the best of the HD-650 at a variety of price points. If you can give us an idea as to your budget, we can give you a lot of recommendations for a good amp.

And yes, when the HD-650 is amped correctly, it will not sound muffled at all. The mids and highs will be excellent, as well. The HD-650 is one of the best on the market - wait until you hear what it is capable of.
post #4 of 51
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the quick reply guys!

Yeah, I think I will not ditch them so easily. I have searched the net quite thoroughly, an came to a conclusion that an Audiotrak Prodigy HD2 DE soundcard + a Matrix M-Stage headphone amp would be a good "bang for the buck" combination for the HD650.

post #5 of 51

The HD650 has rolled-off treble => no sparkle, and non sucked out mids (no boom-tish or V-shaped response) => "mud".

A different dac/amp isn't going to change that, get used to it or sell it.

 

And as long as you keep on switching back to the other headphones it will sound that way, which some describe as veiled.


Edited by xnor - 7/24/10 at 6:15am
post #6 of 51

Quote:

Originally Posted by xnor View Post

 

A different dac/amp isn't going to change that, get used to it or sell it.


^ this

post #7 of 51

Different headphones approach the same target from different directions.  While the Sennheisers are open, their filtering scheme leaves them sounding dull without proper amping.  Grado is just the opposite.  Because of its unfiltered approach, a lack of amping leaves them bass shy.  In both cases, amping assists proper airflow, which brings out what the headphone was intended to do.  Without the amp, you're getting half a headphone.

post #8 of 51

Senn 650 and soundcard source is just a bad idea.  Unless you are willing to invest in an external DAC and an amp, try to limit your cans to low impedance, high efficiency options with less bass focus.  There are some good closed options in the $100 range that fit the bill.  By the sounds of it a Senn 448 or Shure 440 would be more to your liking.  Personally would be more inclined to go with the Senn 448.

post #9 of 51

The HD650's bass can be pretty sloppy/bloated when not amped adequately.

The most obvious improvement I heard when I fired up my 4ch B22 with my HD650 was the iron fisted bass control. Strong bass but very controlled.

 

The treble improved but still was relatively rolled off compared to my other phones. This suited me fine anyway for longer listening sessions. It was less fatiguing over long periods.

 

post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

The HD650 has rolled-off treble => no sparkle, and non sucked out mids (no boom-tish or V-shaped response) => "mud".

A different dac/amp isn't going to change that, get used to it or sell it.

 

And as long as you keep on switching back to the other headphones it will sound that way, which some describe as veiled.


Yep. Don't expect an earth-shattering difference with a change of amp. The overall sonic signature will remain mostly the same. Mutted, veiled, muddy... whatever, will probably remain so regardless of which cans you're referring to and what amp you buy.

 

Missing 'brightness'? Get brighter cans.

 

shane

post #11 of 51

a proper amp can make the all difference with these cans. run wrong they can sound lifeless. drive 'em properly and they're a thing of beauty. for example plugged into a woo amp they can be really lovely. however it's not strictly power that makes the difference. run them balanced off an rsa protector and you'll be amazed by how good they can sound (actually i've not yet done this with 650s, but i have listened to 600s run this way and it's rather surprising. i've not yet heard an amp, that i can think of offhand, that works well with a 600 and not the 650 so i think this is a reasonable supposition). they should also be fed well. like any other system, gigo (garbage in, garbage out). source matters.

post #12 of 51

Senn 650 was my favourite dynamic can but no amp will make them bright ;)

post #13 of 51

I used a pair of 650's for over a year, as my primary cans. If they're your primary phones your brain will adjust somewhat, and the non-fatiguing nature they have can be nice.

 

However, they will never sound bright, or even neutral. They will always be warm, although whether they're just "warm" or flat-out boring, rolled-off, and muddy depends on your desires from a headphone.

 

Keep in mind, I did amplify them with a balanced beta 22, which is one of the top-tier solid-state amps you can buy. Amplification will not magically fix them although I heard significant but not night-and-day subjective improvements from the amplifier upgrade.

post #14 of 51

I think your source is not driving them to their full potential, i'd buy an amp first, and then upgrade the soundacard to anything with a decent DAC, or get a cheap DAC/amp like the compass or the zero, it'll be still better than your current setup.

 

However i've to say i feel the same impressione every time a listen for some time with the 650s and then switch back to something else, the dt-990Pro especially which  have the opposite sound signature as the senns,  you just have to get used to it.

 

Right now i'm using the HD650 out of my Little Dot MKII driven by an EMU-0404 which is a very detailed, somewhat bright sounding dac...and i don't think there's something like a "Sennheiser veil", just a very relaxing and warm sound signature.

post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiGLEY View Post

 I'm using the output of an old Soundblaster Live! soundcard.


case closed.

 

amping is P_I_V_O_T_A_L  for this headphone.


Edited by David.M - 7/24/10 at 1:16pm
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