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Sennheiser HD 600 Impressions Thread - Page 1214
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Sorry to be impatient but there are a number of these on eBay auctions for a short time at the moment
Little Dot MKIII is a great one IMO. My bro has one, we've tried my HD600 and his HD650 on, both sound great. Not sure what tubes he's using though. Dunno about the MKIV. Hope this was of some help.
I don't think theres much between them - the tubes will be steadier on the mark IV but unless you're using speakers (via pre amp) with it I wouldn't worry.
I use the MKII and I'm very happy with the sound. All depends on tubes though.... But there is loads of info regarding that one here :)
I have have tried HD600/650 and currently have HD800 plugged into it right now and the sound is fantastic for the price.
I did an informal impressions write up at the request of another member here at Head-Fi of my HD600 and Utopia and PM’d it to him. He suggested I post it here and on the Utopia thread as it might be useful to others.
Getting back to you on the Utopia vs HD600
The HD600 acquits itself extremely well overall and particularly in the midrange which surprised me a bit after not listening to them in some time. The bass on Utopia has greater weight and seems to go lower (after 400+ hours of break-in). This makes deep bass details a little easier to hear. Utopia also moves more air making it more satisfyingly impactful. The highs seem more extended on Utopia but this can be a good or bad thing depending on the recording.
On solo piano (as you’ve said before, very difficult to get right on recordings) and depending on mike placement the Utopia will give slightly more detail and better transparency but sometimes that also means hearing more of the clangy / buzzy mechanical artifacts I remember as a kid when I would stick my head under the sound board on my father’s grand piano as he played and before he would yell at me to pull my head the hell out of there in case the support brace gave way making me more brain damaged than I already was! LOL, good times, I miss my dad. From the day I was born until I left for the Army I heard live classical piano music almost daily.
My father was a classically trained pianist starting at age nine and he resumed training after he came back from 4 years in the Pacific as a ship board radio man. He used the GI bill to attend college for electrical engineering and continued his piano schooling but when I came along he felt he needed to focus on a surer career path future and went into the fledgling computer industry with Remington Rand in the late 40’s. He played everything from Bach to Shchedrin but favored Beethoven and Brahms, especially having fun with the “Sturm und Drang” aspects.
Back on topic. Both phones present a very similar sound field, wide and flat-ish depth-wise but very palpable. On one jazz ensemble recording I like to use the acoustic instruments like saxophone, bells, piano and harpsichord, various drum sets, and acoustic guitar, displayed a slightly rounded 3D like characteristic to their sound on both phones. Electric guitar and electric bass sound like cardboard cutouts. Very consistently heard with both phones.
What gives the Utopia the edge overall to my ears is amazing control of transients both on attack and decay giving a level of clarity that I feel makes it more transparent than the 600, and just about any other phone I’ve auditioned with the exception of the HD800. This added refinement makes the instruments sound more life-like, more real. This clarity / transparency also differentiates the boundaries of the various groupings within a large symphony orchestra, recording dependent. Of course this type of specificity is not heard live unless you’re on the podium or immediately around the orchestra. The farther out in the audience I get a blending of the groups sounds occurs, which I actually prefer. Up close can be loud but the right spots out in the hall can be just as loud but with a sense of power that comes from the greater volume of air and ambience / the direct and reflected sound waves the music has to work with. Mahler 2’s closing “Aufersteh'n” chorale with full orchestral and organ support comes to mind.
Utopia handles dynamic extremes a bit better as well most likely due to its large and unique magnet assembly. Siegfried’s Funeral March on Sheffield CD 7/8; it’s the soft tympani strokes that tell the story, the sound of the mallet on the drum head skin sound heard clearly and lifelike at such low levels and this extends to all instruments at their lowest extremes of their volume capabilities. The Utopia isn’t better to my ears because I can listen to it at louder levels, because I can’t, and they shouldn’t be pushed to stupid loud levels. But even when I listen at my typical peak volume levels the clarity of the pppp passages is a treat by comparison with other phones I’ve heard.
One physical aspect of the comparison between these two phones is that the Utopia is much more comfortable to wear for longer sessions.
I used the Ragnarok for the comparisons simply because I could set up equal volume levels for each phone with a sound meter and 1 kHz test tone and by counting the number of clicks on the volume control between the two different settings. As I switched phones I was reasonably confident when listening to either that loudness levels were very close. Can’t emphasize enough how slight volume differences can affect all aspects of what I hear. I ran AES/EBU from CD transport to Yggy and Yggy balanced in to balanced out on the Rag. (I still haven’t got around to a SE vs Balanced shootout yet). To the extent that cables do or don’t have much effect on the sound I also want to note that I was using 3 meters of DanaCable Lazuli Reference on the Utopia and 10 feet of Moon Black Dragon on the HD600. Thanks to an industry that can’t seem to settle on a quality connector standard for all full size phones I had no way to swap and see if the wire made a difference. Both are however just copper with the standard connectors, plain old Neutrik 4 Pins on the other, and no other special sauce. Price differential on the wires; Dana’s $1,200 vs Moons $300.
On to the bottom line. The HD600 need make no apologies to the Utopia (or HD800). Like Schiit’s gear, it’s a value of the highest order and the sound is surprisingly good even compared to Utopia. The $4,000 question is, given the diminishing returns aspect is the Utopia worth 10 times the price of the HD600? Probably not, but… Only your wallet can tell you that for certain. My wallet caved under the pressure so I guess it is worth it for me. But I’ll still most likely hang on to my HD600, it sounds that good compared to Utopia. But my “A” phones remain the Utopia and HD800. HD600 is a solid “B”. I also firmly believe that if you’re going to spend that kind of money you owe yourself some serious in home auditioning time before saying “I DO!”
Other phones I’ve had 7 to 10 day in-home auditions with since summer of last year include:
Oppo PM-1’s, HD600, HD800S, Dharma 1000, Abyss 1266, HEK V1, and several LCD models at dealers. Turns out I prefer dynamic to planar drivers in a headphone although the HEK and Abyss were very good, but the HEK was not quite as well articulated a sound as HD800 and the Abyss was a tricky fit and centrifugal forces with the distribution of the weight made it a situation of always being aware that they were on my head. Some of the phones I auditioned may excel at this or that specific parameter but Utopia, followed closely by my HD800, seem to better balance strengths and weakness for the best compromise to what’s important to me.
(And the type of music I listen to most.)
I have the Mk III, works great with the HD 600/650, and my Beyer DT880/990, T90 and Amiron Home. Usually running some kind of Mullard tube and 6N6P-IR for power tubes.
A good amp with crossfade makes it better, my Meier adds a little of soudstage which is nice
Yes I won a Mk III. My first 'proper' valve amp (previously had a Bravo Ocean).
Needed to see (and hear) what all the fuss is about. No doubt there will be some tube rolling to look forward to........oh dear!
All I can say is start checking the threads on tube rolling for the Little Dot amps and the Mk III thread, and sorry for your wallet, lol.
And i have also read that louder volumes might induce a feeling of better details and fidelity.
Good luck with choosing tubes. Be be warned, it can get expensive.
Anybody have this cable ? Looking for something shorter.
It looks like it's a good cable, but is there a particular reason you looked at that one first as opposed to others? I ask because not only are their cheaper choices out there which are fine (I use a cheap shorter cable as well), but that cable you linked looks very thin and I'd take durability into consideration. Looks great if you're looking for something super light though. Also, consider that the cable is a 3.5mm connector so you'll have to have an adapter around if you intend to power with something that has a 6.3mm jack.
I have discussed this on this thread before and published my thoughts based on Fourier analysis that inaudible frequencies contribute to the audible spectrum especially when it comes to transient response. As an experiment I started thinking about cables that must, as per application, pass very wide frequency bandwidth. If indeed cables as these exist they should sound better to my ears (yes my 61 year old ears ).
So as I though about this, it occurred to me that CAT 5/6 must pass data at GigaBit rates to avoid data loss. So I took two 6 foot lengths of CAT 5e, stripped the ends, tied all the white striped together (positive), all the solids together (negative), and replaced my off the shelf, cheap, speaker cable with the 5e cable.
I was not expecting much but I was blow away by the increase in detail with these cables. Going back sounds lifeless now. Some will say it is in my head, but I don't think so. I recommend that you try this for yourself. I am going to make a HD600 HP cable from this stuff when I get a chance.
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