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post #31 of 73

Maxvla wrote:

 

I'd lean to HF2 out of those choices unless you've got a serious amp for those HD650s.

 

Either the ASUS STX sound card is that good or the above is a rumor as I use the ASUS STX to power my HD-650's, listen at a level of 5/100 and rarely find need to turn the volume up.

 

???

post #32 of 73

Amping is not about volume. Getting really tired of this idea persisting in the minds of 'audiophiles'.

 

A powerful amp has large power reserves with which to place absolute control over the driver to do exactly what it needs to do. A weak amp can certainly make resistive headphones (like the HD650) loud, but they cannot control the driver properly. This results in poorly defined bass, blah mids, and the "Sennheiser veil" highs (rolled off) that people always talk about when using these cans on a low end amp.


Edited by Maxvla - 8/1/10 at 9:58am
post #33 of 73

 

Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Amping is not about volume. Getting really tired of this idea persisting in the minds of 'audiophiles'.


Thank you!

post #34 of 73

Furthermore, the reason I said what I did is that the HD650 will not sound great for the genre until is is amped with top end equipment. I'm talking balanced and at least 1-2W, and a great voltage swing.

 

Unless you are looking to spend $800+ on an amp for your HD650, the HF2, which requires no amp, but could certainly be better with one (and a much lower end amp) is the better choice.

post #35 of 73

 

Originally Posted by PointyFox View Post

I'm currently in search of the best headphones around $300-$500, maybe higher if it's really good.  I tried several of the recommended ones, and found problems with them, so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.  I currently have the DT990s.  The only thing I don't like is their sibilance.

 

Here's what I tried and what I thought of them:

 

AKG K702:

+Good detail

+Good sound balance

-Lacking slightly in bass impact and extension

-Unnaturally wide soundstage made music sound too broken up

-Very uncomfortable headband

 

Stax SR Lambda Pro (not mine and very expensive):

+Excellent detail and sound quality

+Excellent soundstage

+Excellent bass extension

-Lacking in bass impact

 

Beyerdynamic DT990 600 ohm:

+Good soundstage

+Excellent bass

-Lacking slightly in bass extension

-Annoying sibilance due to peak in response around 8-10kHz

 

Bose Triport:

+Good sensitivity

+Excellent bass extension

-Small soundstage

-Poor tracking

 

If I had to rate these not taking into account cost, I'd rate them:

SR Lambda Pro: 9.0/10

DT990: 8.0/10

K702: 7.5/10

Triport: 5.0/10

 

Don't take this the wrong way but what kind of perfection are you expecting for $300 to $500?  There's no such thing as a perfect headphone, but the top of the cans from practically every major manufacturer are at least double the price you want to pay.  If you're finding fault with these, what makes you think you won't find fault with others in your desired price range?

 

The K701/K702 is a headphone with a lot of soundstage and nice detail, but it's always going to be limited on bass.  Why?  Look at its architecture.  You have a minimally filtered driver with the barest essence of an air chamber.  The result is not airy by accident, but you'll need the right amp to get good bass.

 

The HD650 is more laid back.  For awhile, it was Sennheiser's flagship, stealing that spot from the HD600, but its place at the top was always controversial.  If you look at the FR Graph on these two headphones, it's clear that the HD650 is darker than the HD600 for an obvious reason.  Some thought the HD600 could use more bass, so Sennheiser tweaked it to get better bass extension.  The result was the 650, which has more bass presence than the HD600 but less HF extension, an issue leading to the claim that the HD650 has a "veil."  With the right amps and cables, Headfiers have found ways to make the 650 shine but the tonal shift is neither isolated nor accidental.  

 

If the HD650 is too dark, look into the HD600.  You'll get easier bass from the HD600 than from the K701/702.  Sennheiser uses a lot of filtration to tame the highs and bring up the bass (It's really not much more complicated than that).  Over at Team Grado, there's a restlessness with Sennheisers which, compared to the Grados, feel lifeless, but it's a difference in approach: one is laid back, the other on the edge.  People who like Sennheisers tend to not like Grados and vice versa (Notice I said, "tend," as I have the PS1000 and the HD800 and am as happy as a clam).

 

If the DT990 is great but a little too sibilant, why stop looking at beyers?  Beyerdynamic has the DT880 in various configurations, with impedences ranging from 32 ohms to 600 ohms.  The DT990 gets some criticism over its sibilance (though there are ways to fix that - from changing amps to changing cables).  The people criticizing it are much mike the people criticizing the HD650 as a replacement for the HD600 (though, over at Team Sennheiser, it's an issue of relative darkness, with the HD650 shifting balance for the sake of bass extension).  The DT990 was meant to replace the DT880, which has such a loyal following that a number of beyer fans prefer their old 880s to the top-shelf T1.  Again, however, you have to remember that the DT880 comes in different configurations, some of which are preferred over others.

 

To be sure, an FR chart can only tell you so much, but take a look at this one.  The blue line represents the DT880/250.  The orange line represents the DT880/600.  The red line is the DT880/32 and the green line is the DT990.  Lines aren't sound, but if we're just looking for some point of comparison regarding sibilance, this chart is as good as picking through anecdotes, especially if the replies are coming from people who don't have all four or who haven't heard all four.

AllDT880s.png

 

If we're taking that spike around 8 kHz as our measurement of sibilance, the 880/32 and the 990 are the most sibilant in this group.  The 250 and the 600 are 4-5 dB softer at that first spike.  I doubt the second spike is an issue, since it's several dB below flat at 15 kHz.  If the 990 has sibilance that would bother somebody, it would be at that first spike at 8 kHz.  If you liked the DT990 but the sibilance bothered you, maybe you should scale back to the DT880, which some people still like better (beyerdynamic's version of the HD600/HD650, RS1/GS1000 feuds).

 

DT880vsEverything.png

 

While the HD650 will give you more bass presence, the DT880 may be worth a second look.  As you track that green line, you'll see it has less midbass but provides better low-bass extension up to 20 Hz and respectable low-bass extension up to the mid-bass hump.  There's an 4 kHz spike but it's 3 dB below the 990 and 6 dB above the HD600/650's -2 dB spike before troughing again.  Even so, the 600's drop to -6 dB before it spikes again to -2 dB is quite different from the 650's trough to -16 dB.  Look at how these headphones end at 15 kHz.  Would you rather be close to flat (DT880) or at -8 dB (HD650).

 

If I were a betting man, I'd bet you'd be better off with either the HD600 or the DT880.  Between those two, I'd recommend the DT880.


Edited by Bilavideo - 8/1/10 at 11:45am
post #36 of 73

Try the Pro-900.

post #37 of 73

Maxvla wrote:

 

Amping is not about volume. Getting really tired of this idea persisting in the minds of 'audiophiles'.

 

Nope, I'd hardly say that stating one listening to music at low volume levels of 5/100 is an effort to make amping about volume.  The ASUS STX is quite capable of fully complimenting the HD-650.

 

A powerful amp has large power reserves with which to place absolute control over the driver to do exactly what it needs to do.

 

I don't know about you but I'd say that power is highly overrated unless you're into 103db all the time @ 1Vrms (the sensitivity level of the HD-650) with transient responses into the 109db range.  Sounds a bit like overkill to me.  How hard are you guys beating on your ear drums when you listen to your headphones?  Maybe you've killed the sensitivity of your hearing if you're needing a couple of volts rms to drive your ears into submission.

 

???

 

A weak amp can certainly make resistive headphones (like the HD650) loud, but they cannot control the driver properly. This results in poorly defined bass, blah mids, and the "Sennheiser veil" highs (rolled off) that people always talk about when using these cans on a low end amp.

 

Okay, now what do I do about these wonderful smooth highs that I'm experiencing (I'm very sensitive to harsh highs like fingernails on a school house chalkboard), coupled with well defined tight bass and sweet, relaxing mids that together I share with the HD650's veil?

 

???

 

Currently listening to Led Zeppelin: "Whole Lotta Love."


Edited by beeman458 - 8/1/10 at 2:56pm
post #38 of 73

you might try looking at this similar thread which was started just before yours:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/503852/headphones-under-350-must-be-good-for-every-genre-atleast-most
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Furthermore, the reason I said what I did is that the HD650 will not sound great for the genre until is is amped with top end equipment. I'm talking balanced and at least 1-2W, and a great voltage swing.

 

Unless you are looking to spend $800+ on an amp for your HD650, the HF2, which requires no amp, but could certainly be better with one (and a much lower end amp) is the better choice.

while the senns need decent ampage to show their stuff, i haven't found the need to spend a minimunn of $800. for that amount get yourself a (rsa) protector + a balnced senn twag cable and you'll be well ahead of the game. that little amp does a nice job with the senns (esp the 600) and the senns do sound better running balanced.
 

post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

Maxvla wrote:

 

Amping is not about volume. Getting really tired of this idea persisting in the minds of 'audiophiles'.

 

Nope, I'd hardly say that stating one listening to music at low volume levels of 5/100 is an effort to make amping about volume.  The ASUS STX is quite capable of fully complimenting the HD-650.

 

A powerful amp has large power reserves with which to place absolute control over the driver to do exactly what it needs to do.

 

I don't know about you but I'd say that power is highly overrated unless you're into 103db all the time @ 1Vrms (the sensitivity level of the HD-650) with transient responses into the 109db range.  Sounds a bit like overkill to me.  How hard are you guys beating on your ear drums when you listen to your headphones?  Maybe you've killed the sensitivity of your hearing if you're needing a couple of volts rms to drive your ears into submission.

 

???

 

A weak amp can certainly make resistive headphones (like the HD650) loud, but they cannot control the driver properly. This results in poorly defined bass, blah mids, and the "Sennheiser veil" highs (rolled off) that people always talk about when using these cans on a low end amp.

 

Okay, now what do I do about these wonderful smooth highs that I'm experiencing (I'm very sensitive to harsh highs like fingernails on a school house chalkboard), coupled with well defined tight bass and sweet, relaxing mids that together I share with the HD650's veil?

 

???

 

Currently listening to Led Zeppelin: "Whole Lotta Love."


We were talking about an amp being able to make the headphones sound right, then you comment about how your soundcard at 5/100 plays them loud enough. Seems like your entire point was about volume, not the ability of it being able to control the driver. You changed the topic, not me.

 

For focused listening I play music at live volume for classical music (from the PoV of the conductor or perhaps 5-10 rows back), and lower than live for other genres (because live of other genres is WAY too loud). If I had a meter I'd be able to tell you. As it is I can't even estimate the level as it would be a guess, which would create more problems than it solved. For non focused listening probably about 50% of live for classical, less for other genres. This section of your reply again refers to volume only and not control.

 

I'm glad you pulled out the 'you can't hear' card. That's real productive.

 

As to your last question, I'm not sure what you are asking.

 

Another point I'd like to bring up regarding the volume you appear to be listening at (which I can't imagine sounds good at all unless 5/100 is significantly louder than I expect it is) is that Sennheiser phones are made to sound their best at near live levels. If you want headphones that sound full bodied at very low volumes you should try Grado or Denon among others. At low levels Senn phones have poor highs and lows with decent mids. This is a function of how our hearing works. Grado and Denon phones tend to have elevated highs and lows that look like an elongated "U" on a FR graph. This is why they sound good and low levels and also why they tend to not sound quite as good at live levels.

post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveDerek View Post

 

while the senns need decent ampage to show their stuff, i haven't found the need to spend a minimunn of $800. for that amount get yourself a (rsa) protector + a balnced senn twag cable and you'll be well ahead of the game. that little amp does a nice job with the senns (esp the 600) and the senns do sound better running balanced.
 


Unless you are doing it DIY (and even then it can be) a fully balanced amp with these power levels isn't going to be available for less than the price I spoke of. The parts simply cost too much then you add labor and shipping. I haven't heard the protector, but I'd have to hear it first to give it any chance to do what you describe.

 

My history with amps and the HD580/600/650 line started with no amp, of course. I was using my HD580 from my computer sound card, which at the time sounded great. I then ordered a Gilmore Lite, which I found to have little to no effect. The next amp was a Little Dot MKIII tube amp, which gave a decent boost to the sound, but the effect was still on the small side (this comment in hindsight). I felt there was more to gain and went up to the Little Dot MKVI balanced tube amp which is on the order of 8-10 times more powerful. The difference was shocking. The headphones suddenly came to life and it really sounded like music not just a decent reproduction like previously.  Now when I try to listen to my HD600 on a portable player (close enough to a sound card) it's like someone put cotton in my ears and I hear the decent reproduction again instead of music.

 

I've listened to my headphones on a B22/O22 setup and had the same effect, though a bit more sterile (not a fan of SS amps in general). I also preferred the K1000 on my amp than the B22/O22.

post #41 of 73

Maxvla wrote:

 

We were talking about an amp being able to make the headphones sound right, then you comment about how your soundcard at 5/100 plays them loud enough. Seems like your entire point was about volume, not the ability of it being able to control the driver. You changed the topic, not me.

 

You're missing the point of the comment.  My point was, even at low volume, I'm happy with the sound quality.  As to the driver issue itself, I'll leave that to you as I'm about sound quality and if it's sounds good to me, what do I care what the driver's doing.  There was no effort on my part to change the topic.

 

As a suggestion, please reread what I wrote as me thinks you skimmed what I wrote so fast that you failed to grasp the brevity of what I wrote.

 

As it is I can't even estimate the level as it would be a guess, which would create more problems than it solved.

 

FWIW, when I did some sound readings at a live rehearsal, I recall sound levels to be in the 70-75db range about twenty rows back, center.


Edited by beeman458 - 8/1/10 at 4:19pm
post #42 of 73
Quote:

Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

 

Either the ASUS STX sound card is that good or the above is a rumor as I use the ASUS STX to power my HD-650's, listen at a level of 5/100 and rarely find need to turn the volume up.

 

???


It's pretty clear that you said your sound card is good enough to play your headphones at a certain volume. Nowhere does it state that you prefer the signature of the HD650s at that volume. If you do, good for you. I personally can't stand how they sound at low volumes.

 

I can't read your intentions when the words don't relay them. Not a mind reader

 

Based on your estimate and according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_pressure I would say my focused listening volume for classical is between 65 and 75dB. Non focused listening to be approximately 45-55dB which in a logarithmic scale is somewhere around half. These are still guesses for what it's worth.


Edited by Maxvla - 8/1/10 at 4:29pm
post #43 of 73

Maxvla wrote:

 

Another point I'd like to bring up regarding the volume you appear to be listening at (which I can't imagine sounds good at all unless 5/100 is significantly louder than I expect it is) is that Sennheiser phones are made to sound their best at near live levels.

 

I submit that "live levels" are considered ear damaging when it comes to rock concerts.

 

If you want headphones that sound full bodied at very low volumes you should try Grado or Denon among others.

 

But the Senn HD-650 headphones which I listen to, sound full body at the low listening levels I listen at.

 

???

 

Yes, agreed, cranking the volume isn't a bad thing for sound quality.  My opinion, yes, cranking the volume up a bit to a listening level of say 20/100, does open them up a bunch but is doing so also going do ear damage and reduce hearing sensitivity.  To me, this is more than it's worth.

 

At low levels Senn phones have poor highs and lows with decent mids.

 

My personal experience is different then your above in regard to the HD-650's.  My opinion is that they have excellent highs, lows and mids and sonically are well balanced at low levels.  And when broken in, have an excellent sound stage and instrument separation.

 

This is a function of how our hearing works.

 

Not sure the context of your above comment.

 

Grado and Denon phones tend to have elevated highs and lows that look like an elongated "U" on a FR graph. This is why they sound good and low levels and also why they tend to not sound quite as good at live levels.

 

I EQ the music.  The shape of the EQ is that of a lower case "m."  I bump up the 60 and the 120 slider ~8db and 10db.  I bump the 1k about 3db, the 2k slider about 8db and the 4k slider about 7db.  This gives the sound, what I consider to be a more realistic sound as opposed to the anemic neutral sound when all the sliders are set to 0db.

post #44 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

 

Grado and Denon phones tend to have elevated highs and lows that look like an elongated "U" on a FR graph. This is why they sound good and low levels and also why they tend to not sound quite as good at live levels.


Maybe the Denons or PS1000/GS1000, but I simply can't agree that the other Grado headphones of having a "U" FR graph. They have amongst the most forward mids out there....period.

post #45 of 73

Maxvla wrote:

 

Nowhere does it state that you prefer the signature of the HD650s at that volume. If you do, good for you. I personally can't stand how they sound at low volumes.

 

I can't read your intentions when the words don't relay them. Not a mind reader

 

In response to your above, this is what I wrote:

 

"My point was, even at low volume, I'm happy with the sound quality."

 

What you call sound signature, I call sound quality.  I do try as I'm not wanting to be enigmatic.  I can easily tolerate the "signature" of HD-650's at low listening volumes such as 5/100.  More than that, when online or doing something, they become too forward and distracting.  Personally, I would much prefer a $55k vinyl system based upon electrostatic speakers and a bottle of wine but I've promised to treat my liver and wallet with much more respect.

 

I'm surprised how good the HD-650's sound (sound signature) at such low volume.  My only complaint is that there's still a bit more veil that I'm dealing with.  I have new headphone cables slated to arrive early next week and I'm hoping they'll help lift the remainder of the HD-650 veil.


Edited by beeman458 - 8/1/10 at 5:51pm
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