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DT880 and HD650 - Worth owning both?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to expand my headphone collection. I currently own a pair of 600-ohm DT880's and I've been eyeing the HD650. I've been poking around and trying to get some insight into how the two match up. Some of the posts I've read suggest that they're very similar in signature, with the DT880's having a very moderately higher emphasis on the highs and the HD650 having a bit more of an emphasis on the lows. Others suggest that the difference is night-and-day. The data on their frequency response curves from headroom looks somewhat similar, but it's hardly conclusive. So is the difference between the two truly significant, or are they both really pretty similar? Is it truly worthwhile owning both?

 

I'm currently listening through a Cmoy I built in November, but I just purchased the iBasso DB1 and PB1 combo and I'll probably be listening through them when they arrive. I have a special place in my heart for indie rock (The National, for example) and soundtracks, but I also listen to some electronica and new-agey stuff (think Imogen Heap and Enya), some acoustic guitar (Jesse Cook) and sprinkle in a little country, metal, and pop once in a while.

 

Also, hi everyone. First post. Good to be here.

post #2 of 35

They're significantly different sounding, and would make good complements. Where the HD650 is lush, with emphasis on mids/lower mids/bass, the DT880 is more analytical, with emphasis on the treble. The DT880 does analytical sound better than the K701 IMO, since it's a much more natural sounding headphone than the AKG.

post #3 of 35

Personally I think the graph tells the whole story. First time I heard the DT880 (mine was a 32 ohm) I thought they sounded just like a 650 with the treble control on an integrated amp turned full up.

 

Weirdly, that's exactly how they measure. 

 

 

 

 graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=853&graphID[]=953

post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. I definitely understand what you mean about the DT880 being more natural than the AKG, Idletime. I owned some K702's for a time, and I had the feeling that they were an astonishingly neutral pair of headphones, but the sound felt somewhat forced. I also had the feeling that the soundstage was wide, but didn't have much of a back-to-front dimension. The K70X series is a fine pair of headphones, but they just weren't for me.

 

The measurements definitely do suggest that they're pretty similar below about 3000 Hz. What about soundstage, dynamics, and impact? I've read that the HD650 has a lot of impact, but that it's a much slower pair of cans. The DT880 seems to get a lot of praise for a big soundstage. Any thoughts?

post #5 of 35

Let me pimp this article again! http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650/

 

Anyway, I am a happy DT880/600 users, and I couldn't fall in love with HD650 no matter how I tried. I wonder if it's cos HD650 doesn't play nice with tubes... 

post #6 of 35

I have both the DT880/600 and the HD-650. I've had the 650s for years and years (got them not long after they came out), and just got the Beyers about a month ago. I run both off of a Perreaux SXH-1 solid state amp, although one of these days I'm hoping to save up the funds for a WA3 (or maybe a Valhalla).

 

The frequency response graphs do not tell the whole story, not by a long shot. Based on comparison reviews I'd read, especially sugarkang's, I'd expected them to sound similar. They don't.

 

I keep repeating the comparisons between these two in post after post, I gotta write a full comparo myself sometime soon. Here's the quick and dirty version.

 

Bass: Slight difference here. The 650 has slightly more presence and impact. The 880 has more texture and control. Neither is a bass monster, but that's because real life usually doesn't have as much bass as people like to hear. I can't pronounce a definitive winner here, although the 650s may tilting the scale slightly in their favor from a fun-to-listen-to point of view.

 

Midrange: Big difference here. The 880 handles mids quite well. They are polite, detailed, accurate. If you actually focus on the 880's midrange, there is nothing wrong with it, but the cans do nothing to accentuate it or make the midrange known "above and beyond". The 650s on the other hand are all about the midrange. They whip it up with an extra helping of love and serve it to you with care. The 650s wrap the mids around you like a blanket and say "relax, enjoy". The 880s serve the mids up to you on a tray and say "explore, touch, feel, play". It's two very different presentations. The 650s have the edge here in my opinion in pure musicality, but there is definetly something to be said for the "playground" feel of the 880s.

 

Highs: Big difference here. The 650s and 880s basically flip-flop here in mid vs high presentation. Where the 880s produce "polite and accurate" mids, they produce detailed, energetic, sharp (usually not painful though, at least not the 600ohm version I have), and living treble. It's like they've got their own dedicated tweeter in there. The 650s on the other hand are doing the "polite and nonthreatening" presentation at this point. The 650s aren't really "veiled" like their reputation so much as they just don't don't want to offend here. The trebles are there, and they're quality, but they are standing somewhat behind the mids (and bass) saying "let us know when you want us, we're here".

 

Soundstage/bad recordings/etc: Soundstages are very similar. Slight edge to the 650s in my opinion, but the 880s have slightly better instrument separation. I want to note here that the 880s do something that no other headphones I've ever listened to can do. They can take a muddy recording and separate the muck into definable instruments. It did wonders for In Flames Jester race album, which I'd always loved despite it's mediocre recording. It did the amazing with an amature album that I had from a local band that had hideously bad mastering. It made it quite listenable. I have no idea how the 880s do it, but they do it without making it seem artificial, which is amazing. The 650s counteragument to that is just about ANYTHING you feed it sounds good and is enjoyable to listen to. The 650 won't fetch details if the album doesn't want to provide them on it's own, but it'll always try to provide you with a good listening experience.

 

Since I got the 880s, I've only put the 650s back on my head for comparison purposes. That's not because the 880s are better headphones. No, they're pretty even... and if I HAD to specify one as the "better" of the two, I'd say it's the 650s by a nose, but just barely. However I just plain have more fun with the 880s at the moment. I'm sure it will even out in the long run.

 

I highly recommend owning both if you've got the finances to do so.

post #7 of 35

That was quick & dirty? How will you do the big one, will that be Dostojewski then? biggrin.gif

 

On Topic: They differ widely, and lovers of both are seldom. That has not only to do with sheer tonality, but also with musicality (hardly to be nailed down) and preferred genres. I think the more mainstream, acoustical and mellower your listening habits are, the greater are the chances that you finally end up as Senn bloke. And of course vice versa, I bet most listeners of more agressive stuff will like the Beyers harder hitting and more tiptoeing presentation more than the Senn's "aren't we all friends" cuddle attitude.

 

I like fat and complicated electronica & experimental stuff, and consequently I never liked Senns of any range (except the new 598).

post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickchen View Post

That was quick & dirty? How will you do the big one, will that be Dostojewski then? biggrin.gif

 

On Topic: They differ widely, and lovers of both are seldom. That has not only to do with sheer tonality, but also with musicality (hardly to be nailed down) and preferred genres. I think the more mainstream, acoustical and mellower your listening habits are, the greater are the chances that you finally end up as Senn bloke. And of course vice versa, I bet most listeners of more agressive stuff will like the Beyers harder hitting and more tiptoeing presentation more than the Senn's "aren't we all friends" cuddle attitude.

 

I like fat and complicated electronica & experimental stuff, and consequently I never liked Senns of any range (except the new 598).


I majored in English and like to write, I guess it shows.  My "first impressions" post on the DT880 was probably about 3x as long as the above comparison, so yeah when I get around to writing a full one, it'll probably be pretty detailed.

 

I have said a couple times that there is no genre that the HD650 is really bad at, and I've come to believe the same for the DT880, although unlike the 650, the DT880 does excel in a few genres. It's excellent for metal assuming that there isn't an excess of treble in the original recording (even then, it doesn't bother me, but I can see how it would bother some people). I also was listening to some psytrance last night with it and it did a wonderful job with that as well sans over-the-top slamming bass of course. I've spent some time with classic rock (AC/DC, The Who, Pink Floyd, etc) and it does a damn fine job there as well. Just about the only thing I havn't been thrilled with is it's classical music presentation, but I only have 2 albums of that so it's hard to say if it's the headphones or my two albums.

 

I'll note one really weird thing about the presentation of the two. I was listening to metallica's fade to black (one of my all time favorites) on the Beyers and the detail of the DT880s showed me slight changes in background instrument tones that I'd never noticed before on the 650s. I had to pull out the 650s to check, and sure enough the same thing there... plain as day, perhaps maybe even more clear on the 650s. The thing is, the 650s had never made me notice them before. I'm not sure what that says about the two headphones really.

post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 

Smashing, that article was a great read. I've owned the K702, and I had pretty much the same feelings about it that the author did, and agree with most everything about the DT880. I have a feeling, based on what I've heard about the HD650's, that I'd probably feel the same way about them. The PB1 in balanced mode seems to be a good fit for them amp-wise, so I they should give me a pretty good run.

 

Scarecrow, thank you for putting all that time and effort into your comparison. Based on what you've said, it seems like the HD650 would be a great fit. The DT880 is just that little bit too critical sometimes. It is not at all kind to a lot of my favorite albums, namely those that have overcooked highs, or those I haven't been able to get any other way than off iTunes. It eats them alive, and they're almost difficult to listen to. If the HD650 can soften them up just a little, they may just be what I'm looking for.

 

I'm going to give them a try. I'll try and pick a pair up from Razordog at some point in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the great replies, everyone. 

post #10 of 35

Let us know what you think of them. It's hard not to love the 650s. Even if they aren't the headphones for everybody, they're a charmer.

post #11 of 35
Yes, it's worth owning both. I had the HD-650 and DT-880 for awhile and really enjoyed both. The presentation is different and you'll have fun comparing the two.

I sold both to finance the HD-800, which I find wonderful. But I can't knock the HD-650 or DT880 too much - I could live happily with either.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarecrow77 View Post


 

I'll note one really weird thing about the presentation of the two. I was listening to metallica's fade to black (one of my all time favorites) on the Beyers and the detail of the DT880s showed me slight changes in background instrument tones that I'd never noticed before on the 650s. I had to pull out the 650s to check, and sure enough the same thing there... plain as day, perhaps maybe even more clear on the 650s. The thing is, the 650s had never made me notice them before. I'm not sure what that says about the two headphones really.



 many DT880 owners have this kind of feeling, the rediscovery of muscial details unawared before.

post #13 of 35

I found the HD650 to be such an engaging thing to listen to that I tend to forget about analysing the music or listening to little details and just sit back and listen to smooth jazz tracks. It's the main reason why I tend to miss details on these Senns.

post #14 of 35

I totally agree that most people will like only one of them. I heard both but not at the same time and currently very happy owner of HD650 since i love their natural-sounding balanced detailed presentation with any music i listen to, for example Armik, AC/DC, KISS, Deep Purple, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Queen, Def Leppard, John Mayal, Iron Maiden, Yanni, Rammstein

post #15 of 35

So... I currently own the T1 but am familiar with the 880.I love both my t1 and my hd650.Perfect compliments.Based on my experience with the 880 and what you say say your looking for I have to say definitely get the 650.

 

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