A few years ago, there weren't HD800 yet, Westone 3 just came out, and there weren't Westone 4 or even Westone UM3X yet of course, I was at a headphone shop and bought the Westone 3. At that time I also auditioned the HD600 and the HD650. I remembered clearly that the the HD650 has a smooth and dark sound, quite similar to the Sennheiser IE8 in sound signature too. I remembered it because I was comparing them head to head to the Westone 3 that I ended up buying. The amp used to drive the HD650 was Beyerdynamic A1. I liked the sound of HD650, and tell myself that someday I would get a pair myself.
Fast forward to today. I had the Westone 3 for a few years, I rarely use it, as I find it veiled and muffled. For portable my most often used phone is the Etymotic ER4P which has a reputation of being trebly (although I don't personally find it so). To home use my go to phone is the AKG K501. I think we can establish that I am used to a sound that is generally not considered dark.
Today I went to the same shop and had a listen at the HD650 again, with the same amp. I wasn't really planning on trying it, but I want to use it as a baseline for evaluation the LCD2 (and also the HD800, and W3000). To my surprise I find it has quite a splashy treble, and definitely not recessed. I would even say it is on par, if not brighter, than the Westone 3. Which is contrary to my prior conclusion. And also not as smooth as I remembered it.
Thus I wondered, has anything changed with HD650? Did Sennheiser adjusted their house sound? The HD800 itself is a departure from their traditional warm and laid back sound. I googled it and I was led to this thread. Years ago, the HD650's reputation of being dark seemed quite unanimous, but it seems that people think otherwise now?