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My impressions with Sennheiser HD650 and AKG K701 - Page 2

post #16 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post

Acix, I sincerely hope you are correct :) But I do have my doubts. As I said in my first post, I had a used pair of K701s couple of days before my current new pair. They sound the same to me. But if I hear any changes with the sound quality over time, I will of course post about it.

tdockweiler, nice to hear your thoughts on this, and we seem to agree almost with everything :) I have never heard the DT-880, but they sure seem to be interesting headphones. I hope someday I will hear them.

colmustard, I just listened to in the aeroplane over the sea, and you are absolutely right :) K701s sound amazing with well recorded acoustic guitar. It is a joy listening to tracks like King of Carrot Flowers Part 1, Communist daughter and Oh Comedy through the K701.  I think it is better suited for that stuff than the HD650s.

But as we both know, that album has more going on than just acoustic guitar, and with those parts, K701 just does not deliver. And the HD650 does not do much better either. So, the overall performance with this album, which is one of favorite albums of all time, leaves me unsatisfied, both cans. Actually, I think with this album my HD25 delivers the most enjoyable performance, from my current line up. I hope the MS-2 changes this situation.

rhythmdevils, I am sure there is a lot of truth behind those words. As I said in my first post, bass performance is were an amp can deliver some clearly noticeable results. And the biggest difference, in my opinion, with my Nuforce HDP and Benchmark DAC1 is in the bass performance. DAC1 has more control, but it still is nothing special. I did have a dedicated hybrid tube amp with the HD650 before, but DAC1 delivered better results for my taste (and most importantly better bass control).

I think that when my budget allows me to go for more expensive stuff, I will go for the HD800, paired with DAC1. Rather than to get an expensive amp for my HD650. As we all know, when Sennheiser first introduced the HD800 and let reviewers and critics listen to it, Sennheiser used DAC1 as the amp. I believe Sennheiser would have used another amp, if they had felt that DAC1 did not deliver the full potential of the HD800.
Of course this is just my feeling, as I said, I have never dared to listen to a HD800 :)



while i'm not a fan of the HD650, i thought the pairing with the DAC1 was excellent.  the K70x/DAC1 combo, meh...too thin and bright.  rolling K601 pads fleshes out the K70x a bit and tames the treble, but they still need warmer upstream components.

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

Certainly not their full potential.  How could it, it is primarily a DAC.  And by all reports, a bright DAC, which is not what I would want with the HD800.  But if it sounds good it is good as they say.

 

I was just speculating with the HD800/DAC1 combo. As I said, I have no personal experience with the HD800 :) But still, I find it strange why would Sennheiser do something like that, if DAC1 was too low quality amp for HD800. It makes no sense to me.

 

Originally I bought the DAC1 only to serve as DAC. I was amazed when I plugged my HD650s in. Next thing I did, I sold my dedicated headphone amp (Vincent KHV111) because I was not going to use it anymore. And when I bought the Vincent I did compare it with some other amps with the HD650.

 

 

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishski13 View Post

while i'm not a fan of the HD650, i thought the pairing with the DAC1 was excellent.  the K70x/DAC1 combo, meh...too thin and bright.  rolling K601 pads fleshes out the K70x a bit and tames the treble, but they still need warmer upstream components.


I agree that the K701 sounds a bit bright with the DAC1. I like it more with my Nuforce HDP.

 

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post




I agree that the K701 sounds a bit bright with the DAC1. I like it more with my Nuforce HDP.

 

while not all of your biases jive with mine, it's a great review contrasting 2 excellent headphones.  i think you can dig quite a bit of performance out of the HD650 and K70x.

 

the DAC1 is a 'spicy' or 'strong' sounding piece - it seems to impose it's flavor no matter what's downstream.  i'm a 'source first' proponent, but that doesn't mean it takes a lot cash for digital.  the DAC1 partnered with the right headphones can be very nice.
 

 

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishski13 View Post

while not all of your biases jive with mine, it's a great review contrasting 2 excellent headphones.  i think you can dig quite a bit of performance out of the HD650 and K70x.

 

the DAC1 is a 'spicy' or 'strong' sounding piece - it seems to impose it's flavor no matter what's downstream.  i'm a 'source first' proponent, but that doesn't mean it takes a lot cash for digital.  the DAC1 partnered with the right headphones can be very nice.


As I said in my first post, I don't believe many head-fiers will agree with my opinions on burn-in, amps, dacs and cables. If it isn't already crystal clear, I'm 'headphone first' kind of guy. Yes, we are rare breed on this forum :)

 

Although I appreciate high quality sound, I just don't feel the need to tune my rig to make it sound, in my opinion, marginally better. Despite the small short-comings, I am fully able to enjoy music with these two excellent headphones. That is the only thing that really matters to me.

 

These headphones just sound too sophisticated and refined to deliver the raw energy required with the artists I listed before. And no DAC, amp or cable can change that, in my opinion.

 

 

post #21 of 28

Reading your review, I think you'd like the Denon DX000 series.  I wouldn't say the headphone first types are a rare breed here at all.  This is ubiquitous advice found everywhere on head-fi - build your rig around your favorite phone.  You said in your original post that once you reach "a certain level," differences between amplifiers and DACs are nothing but marginal, but you failed to mention what level this is exactly.  Was it the Benchmark DAC1's level?  A Leben CS-300X's level?  Same with DACs.  I think it will help us keep your opinions in perspective better if you provided some more context (regarding components you've heard).

 

 

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post


 

Reading your review, I think you'd like the Denon DX000 series.  I wouldn't say the headphone first types are a rare breed here at all.  This is ubiquitous advice found everywhere on head-fi - build your rig around your favorite phone.  You said in your original post that once you reach "a certain level," differences between amplifiers and DACs are nothing but marginal, but you failed to mention what level this is exactly.  Was it the Benchmark DAC1's level?  A Leben CS-300X's level?  Same with DACs.  I think it will help us keep your opinions in perspective better if you provided some more context (regarding components you've heard).

 

 


I have listened to the Denon D5000 shortly and I did like what I was hearing. Closed cans have a better bass performance. I have never heard the D2000 though what I have read, those could be a good choice for rock. No doubt.

The biggest turn off with Denons (and most headphones manufactures outside Europe) are the prices in Finland. D5000 costs about 700€ (1000$) and D2000 is 350€ (500$). D5000 costs here over 3 times more than my K701. Resellers in the USA are not aloud to sell Grados or Denons outside the country. It is interesting though that Alessandro website is aloud to sell their Music Series internationally. They even have free shipping all the way to Finland.

 

Actually, I said in my original post that the Nuforce HDP already reaches that level of amp/DAC performance I was talking about. I don't know how else I could define that level, but I am happy with my HDP & K701 combo :)

 

My feeling is that DAC1 has a bit bright output, therefore it is has some good synergy with HD650. On contrast, HDP emphasises the low end a bit, so it goes well together with K701s light bass performance. But I feel the differences are small.

 

I did have an extended listening session with the K701 with local dealers multi-thousand dollar high end rig (I don't remember the source or amp, sorry). I did not find significant improvements in sound quality compared to my HDP or DAC1. The rig did not make me enjoy the music more.

 

Over the years I have heard the HD650 shortly with different rigs, and none of those times changed my overall feeling of the cans.

 

Before DAC1 my own listening rig for the HD650 was Music Hall 25.2 CD player and Vincent KHV111 hybrid tube amp. I bought the DAC1 originally to replace the CD player and to move to use computer to feed the DAC1 via USB. To my surprise, I liked the DAC1s headphone out a bit better than the amps out.

 

So I do not have extensive experience with different amps/dacs/cables, but I do believe I have enough experience to form my own opinion. Take that as you like :)

 

By the way, when I first went to audition the K701 to my local dealer, the salesman asked me did I find the K701 comfortable on my head. I replied yes. He stated that, in his experience, 9 out of 10 people find the K701 uncomfortable. He explained to me most people feel that the lower part of the cup presses the head a lot more than the upper part. The store has one of the best reputation in Finland among shops that are specialised in Hi-Fi gear. I was very surprised with that comment. I have read so much about K701 over the internet and I don't remember anyone stating that kind of problems. Have you guys and girls heard anything like this before?

 

Edit, sphinxvc, this may well be a stupid question but, what on earth does AGD FUN mean in your sig? :)


Edited by Nowhere Man - 3/28/11 at 3:07pm
post #23 of 28

^ Audio-GD FUN.  

 

My sympathies re the prices in Europe.  I heard a LA2000 recently and it was pretty darn good.  More of an all-rounder than the 701s or 650s, not my cup of tea, but it seems like yours.  Thanks for expounding on your points of reference.

 

In my experience, amps have changed okay cans to pretty amazing ones, some amps sound amazing with can A, but mediocre with B, C, D and so forth.  All a matter of synergy sometimes.  I think the only amp I've personally heard that transcends issues of synergy is the WA22.  I think that's where I'd peg that "certain level."  There and beyond.  

post #24 of 28

Wonderful writeup Nowhere Man. And I just wanted to add that you're not the only headfier who shares similar "opinions on burn-in, amps, dacs and cables". wink.gif

 

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

Oh ok, I imagined AGD referred to something much more humorous fun :)

 

After your Denon recommendations I have read quite a bit about them. Now I am considering selling my HD650s and getting the D2000. Though I would hate to lose the yummy, thick & creamy, well defined, non-fatiguing laid-back sound the HD650s are about...

 

In the end, as you can see from my first post, I think K701 and HD650 are at their best with same kind of music, though from different reasons. As time goes on, I'm beginning to like K701s performance with Classical and other unplugged stuff even more. The K701 just feels more open and natural with this kind of stuff. I am also getting used to the more fatiguing sound. I''m interested to see how I will feel about these headphones in the near future. The upcoming MS-2 can change my feelings also...

 

I am not looking for perfect audio gear synergy. I am here to enjoy my music to the fullest, and I honestly feel, I reach this level with the Nuforce HDP as my DAC/amp. Soundstage is well defined, details are adequate, music feels fast enough, dynamics are fine, sound is non-fatiguing... I am sure that more expensive DACs and amps can deliver better performance on every sector, but I don't believe I would enjoy my music more. That's why I say, I wouldn't get significant improvements with more expensive rig, and therefore I feel the differences are marginal.

 

There you go, that was my better definition for that "certain level" :)

 

JxK, good to hear :-)

post #26 of 28

I think if you heard your HD650 with one of these you would change your mind evil_smiley.gif but you're right, the goal is to make your music sound good, and if it's sounding good, then you don't need to go any further.

 

 

img0584x.jpg

post #27 of 28

really useful information - thanks for posting

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

I think if you heard your HD650 with one of these you would change your mind evil_smiley.gif but you're right, the goal is to make your music sound good, and if it's sounding good, then you don't need to go any further.

 

 

img0584x.jpg

So you are saying if I modded my HD650 by changing the cable, headband, adding wooden cups (to look very much like the Sony R10) and plugged it to a 50kg system, I would get significant sound quality changes? I believe you are right, no doubt. wink.gif

 

Just kidding.

 

Seriously, I understand that my opinion on amps/dacs/cables may irritate many of you. I believe majority of the forum users have invested (or are thinking about investing) considerable amount of money on that stuff. I am sure you are hearing (or expecting to hear) significant improvements on the sound. Now someone like me comes along and states that, in his/her opinion, all that is in vain.

 

I am not trying to be disrespectful, but I also see no reason not tell my opinion. As rythmdevils says, if someone is truly happy with the sound quality his/her equipment is producing, why go further? It does not mean the sound quality would be pleasing enough to other people, and I am saying nothing like that.

 

I also very much like the fact that my Nuforce HDP is so small that it practically does not take any space on my desktop. Most of the time it is conveniently located on the stand of my display. smily_headphones1.gif
 

 

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