So I got the HD650's today. I really like them so far and they have like 5 hours on them, so I can't imagine what they are going to sound like. I've decided that my new approach to listening will be directly from the CD with ASIO4ALL and Foobar 2000.
The bass has so much more punch in the HD650's than the K702's at least for Dave Matthews so far out of all the configurations I've tried. I am not yet an experienced audiophile but I could bet a lot of money I could tell the headphones I have apart from each other at this point even if they all used the same casing. That isn't as impressive as people telling apart cables but its a step in the direction of non-placebo.
My wife checked them all out tonight and liked the HD438's compared to the 650's, she thought the 650's smoothed things together. I'd say if she was comparing the K702's to the 650's I could understand that but the 438's are no where near the 650's for anything. The 438's have no airiness, sound like they are 10% underwater and instruments are not anywhere near as distinct - they just sound inferior to me no matter what amp/dac they are plugged into. But obviously this is not something anyone on head-fi would care about - knowone is going to say the 438's are better sounding than the 650s!
So on second run of the grados, I like the sound for rock better than the K702's however the 650's have a punchier low end. The grados seem to be muffling acoustic guitar and mids when there is other instruments playing, at least compared to everything else I have. Bass guitar is easier to pull out during a listening session on the K702's compared to the grados. However with the K702's the highs are fatiguing with a lot of cymbal heavy music.
I realize I am not a good writer - I have multiple thoughts in each paragraph and I need to work on that, I'm kinda rambling in these last couple posts, but I've got a bunch of new equipment and am just trying to brain dump for now until I get my handle on everything.
To sum up....
I think I'm going to let the HD650's burn in a bit with the EF2A as they sound good together currently and neither have a ton of time on them. I've really grown to love the K702's with classical / acoustic music and I think I'm going to have a hard time giving them up - I may have to have two cans and try to figure out a good amp/dac that they both have synergy with.
After adding up all the equipment I've recently bought (>$2000), I realize I really need to cut down to a basic setup so I don't lose my manhood. So basically I'm going to try to keep everything under $750.
I really like the sound of the Xiang Sheng DAC->Tube Preamp->Heed Canamp->HD650 / K702 but that combination is over $1000. I really hope after some more burn in, I will have a hard time telling apart the Xiang Sheng setup $(~$1100) from the EF2A (~$750). However the price difference may not be enough to throw out the potential of all the connections from the Xiang Sheng which definitely beat out the HiFiMan EF2 (SPDIF in / Coax), tube pre amp / SS amp). I would however say that I like the EF2's tube sound better than the SS amp of the Xiang Sheng, so I can't see keeping the Xiang Sheng by itself without something else being driven by the tube preamp. However the SS amp hasn't had much of any burn in time since I've had it on the low end of my list.
Anyway so thats my update... oh and I just sent in my broken Bose AE's for the AE2's for $60. I'm curious how the new bose headphones fair against anything - can it at least beat the HD438's?