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Got the Sennheiser HD 595s ... Now what do I get with them?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I went and got the Sennheiser HD 595 headphones. I plan on using them with my laptop and I'm at least going to try them with my iPod to see what happens.

 

Ideally, I would want to listen to them powered correctly, and I really don't know much about headphone amplification.

 

I have heard the terms DAC, headphone amplifier, and apparently there are two-in-ones?

 

Well, I don't want something too big, or too expensive. Maybe someone could list some various price points and the best options relative to my cans of choice?

 

~ Props.

post #2 of 41

Very interersted in reading other people's responses on this point; i just went and bought HD595's as well.

 

I currently have the iBasso D10 Cobra Amp/DAC; tried it and works quite well, but i'm wondering whether the D10 is pushing the HD595's to its best or not, or should i go ahead and upgrade to the D12 or RSA Predator or sth.

post #3 of 41

The 595s can be a little picky with sources. They're quite sensitive so sometimes noise shows through more than it does on other phones - for instance I get more noise from my soundcard using the 50ohm 595s than I do with my 16ohm RE-ZERO.

 

They sound fine for the most part out of a soundcard, but they're a bit... hm... sluggish. Boring. So I built a kit amp and that's improved things greatly - tighter, faster sound with more bass response. I also tried the soundstage mod but felt that the mids became recessed, so I reversed it. Can't talk much on DACs - I'm using a cheap USB dongle thingy (Griffin iMic) that I acquired some time ago, but it's still a reasonable improvement over my onboard sound. I've tried some classic CD players too and they certainly liked that, though not as much of an improvement as I would have hoped.

Certainly I'd experiment - you can build a CMoy or other simple amp if you've got the technical skills and basic equipment or there are cheap amp/DAC solutions on the market like the FiiO E7 that ought to be able to power the 595s adequately. It depends, as always, on how much you'd like to spend. At some point the cans will become the weak point, so I would spend more than a few hundred dollars at most. I'm building a more powerful amp soon so I can see how the cans respond to that, but at the moment I can't give much guidance beyond what I've said.

 

Hope my incoherent blethering helps.


Edited by JoetheArachnid - 1/3/11 at 2:23pm
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the post, Joe. It was very helpful.

 

I have given some thought to the Fiio E7. I could definitely put out $100 for an amp. I just want to make sure the difference would be drastic enough for it to be worth it.

 

Unfortunately, I know what you mean by boring. For the songs I've tested on these so far, through my laptop and iPod, the music is just ... I don't know, flat I guess. They're supposed to have a flat frequency response, so that makes sense, right? I'm almost ashamed to say it, but my initial thought was this: "My old Bose triports sounded a lot better than this." Of course, these headphones are not burned in at all yet.

 

I love the feel and look of them. I'm optimistic that I can get them to sound better, through use and an amp.


Edited by JellyBeanRacer - 1/3/11 at 5:12pm
post #5 of 41

I seem to remember being a bit disappointed at first, too. I think a lot of that was source material - I was expecting it to take tracks that weren't very good to begin with and suddenly make them amazing. Opinions on them tend to mostly quite polar - people either like them, or totally hate them. I can understand why people wouldn't enjoy their laid-back signature, but I've never understood the accusations of absent bass. For me, the bass quantity is easily enough and extends pretty deep, too. Maybe that's partly to do with the rest of my rig.

 

Also, it's a firmly kept secret on Head-Fi that Bose headphones aren't actually BAD. They're just rather overpriced for what they are, and a bit fragile. It's Skullcandy who make phones that are overpriced, fragile AND sound awful.

post #6 of 41

Is that because you are a basshead, and HD595 is too relatively neutral in comparison to your consumer-grade Bose?

 

Give EQing a try and see if you like the sound better. An amp or DAC/amp might not fix it if this was your dislike of HD595's signature.


Edited by kingpage - 1/3/11 at 5:47pm
post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 

Very interesting replies!
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoetheArachnid View Post

I seem to remember being a bit disappointed at first, too. I think a lot of that was source material - I was expecting it to take tracks that weren't very good to begin with and suddenly make them amazing.


Here's the thing - I've only been feeding them 320kbs MP3s and lossless CD imports. So, the source material is not the issue.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoetheArachnid View Post

 

Also, it's a firmly kept secret on Head-Fi that Bose headphones aren't actually BAD. They're just rather overpriced for what they are, and a bit fragile. It's Skullcandy who make phones that are overpriced, fragile AND sound awful.

 

Indeed. I loved the Bose Triports from the moment I got them. Key to this was their upfront and filling sound presentation, deep and satisfying bass, and a "wow factor" after I hadn't worn them for a week or so. I bought the Sennheisers because the Bose were stolen this past Summer, after 4 years of use. I have to say, I never found them delicate or had any problems with maintaining them. On the other hand, I have used pairs Skull Candy headphones before owned by friends. I would have to use words which are banned on these forums to describe my experience. =P

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

Is that because you are a basshead, and HD595 is too relatively neutral in comparison to your consumer-grade Bose?

 

That's another thing - no! Absolutely not. Actually, the best thing I've found about the Sennheisers so far is the bass. What is absent is treble (sounds underwater or muffled) and "presence," something hard to describe which was a characteristic of the Bose headphones. The bass is more than adequate in the Sennheisers. Very good bass.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

Give EQing a try and see if you like the sound better. An amp or DAC/amp might not fix it if this was your dislike of HD595's signature.

 

Here's the problem: doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? Isn't the praiseworthy point of high-end headphones their characteristic of a neutral frequency across all frequency spectrums?

 

I'm going to connect the headphones to very nice Pioneer amplifier I have powering my entertainment center and post the results.


Edited by JellyBeanRacer - 1/3/11 at 7:16pm
post #8 of 41

I find the HD 595s to be kind of lifeless straight out of my iPod Classic, not a good match.  On the other hand I *love* them listening to music from my laptop through a Total Bithead, that's a good match.

post #9 of 41

Sell them, get a pair of HD600 or HD650's, and thank me for saving you a ton of time. 

post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

Sell them, get a pair of HD600 or HD650's, and thank me for saving you a ton of time. 


I got the HD595s for $117, free 2-day shipping. Seems to me it would be hard to sell these for the $400 necessary to acquire the headphones you speak of. :3

 

Also, I tried the Pioneer amp. I couldn't figure out how to make it give the headphones more than just the center channel of my 5.1 setup.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by eric0531 View Post

I find the HD 595s to be kind of lifeless straight out of my iPod Classic, not a good match.  On the other hand I *love* them listening to music from my laptop through a Total Bithead, that's a good match.

 

 

Could you tell me the difference between the Bithead and the Airhead?


Edited by JellyBeanRacer - 1/3/11 at 8:14pm
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBeanRacer View Post

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

Sell them, get a pair of HD600 or HD650's, and thank me for saving you a ton of time. 


I got the HD595s for $117, free 2-day shipping. Seems to me it would be hard to sell these for the $400 necessary to acquire the headphones you speak of. :3

 

Also, I tried the Pioneer amp. I couldn't figure out how to make it give the headphones more than just the center channel of my 5.1 setup.

 


Get a used pair =) I'm just a bit biased since I used to own the HD595's for 3-4 years and when I finally upgraded to the HD600 I realized that I could've just spent an extra $50 and been much happier with the better sounding headphone.  The HD595's don't take too much to drive and can be ran off of basically anything but what's your budget for an amp/dac? You can get a Nuforce Udac2 for around $130 which would power them nicely.  Pretty much anything would sound better than your laptop headphone out.

post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

The HD595's don't take too much to drive and can be ran off of basically anything but what's your budget for an amp/dac? You can get a Nuforce Udac2 for around $130 which would power them nicely.  Pretty much anything would sound better than your laptop headphone out.


I would ideally want something which I could use to amplify my laptop or iPod. I could probably squeeze out another $30.  I really just want to make sure the investment is worth it.


Edited by JellyBeanRacer - 1/3/11 at 9:17pm
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBeanRacer View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

The HD595's don't take too much to drive and can be ran off of basically anything but what's your budget for an amp/dac? You can get a Nuforce Udac2 for around $130 which would power them nicely.  Pretty much anything would sound better than your laptop headphone out.


I would ideally want something which I could use to amplify my laptop or iPod. I could probably squeeze out another $30.  I really just want to make sure the investment is worth it.


Anything would be worth it instead of using your laptop headphone out.  If you want a combination of things then you could buy an ibasso dac/amp combo (The D4 fit's the description) that would work with both your laptop and ipod if you desired.  It costs about $200 but I'm sure you could find it cheaper in the for sale section here. 

 

As for amplifying your laptop, you wouldn't want to amplify your laptop headphone out as that wouldn't really sound too good.  You're better getting an amp/dac combo for it and plugging it in via usb or coax.

post #14 of 41
Quote:

Could you tell me the difference between the Bithead and the Airhead?



The Bithead is a USB DAC and an amp, the Airhead is just the amp.

post #15 of 41

i've recently acquired the HD595 as well, as my first Hi-Fi headphones. At first, the sound does seem distant, flat, a little lifeless. I Also bought the NuForce uDAC2 HP which only has the 3.5mm output without the RCA or Coaxial. I got it refurbished from NuForce for 65.00 but they ran out soon after I bought it. uDAC makes a great improvement compared to my iMac's sound out. I've also burned the headphones in with regular music for 30 hrs and pink noise for another 20 hr. The sound seem warmer now and everything seems to have opened up a bit. Hopefully it'll continue to get better.

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