Originally Posted by inertianinja
oof, this is a helluva long thread.
I'm looking to upgrade from the ATH-M50. I'm considering these since Amazon has them for $300, which is apparently a good deal. I was also considering the AT-AD900X as my first open-back headphones. Driving them off my computer at least for now with a Fiio E17. I listen to a lot of rock, metal, and electronic music. This wouldn't be for super-critical symphonic listening, but I want something accurate. I like powerful, accurate, fast bass. Something that will work with the super lows of Drum & Bass, but also rock and metal.
I'm a little confused, because the reviews of these headphones are all over the place. Some say they have no sound stage. Some say they are super sibilant and painful to use. Some say they're the best thing you can get for $300.
I'll give you my quick thoughts. First everyone hears differently and wants different things. It's very hard to get decent impressions from what others say. If you get these from Amazon you have a return policy so there is no risk there. I got mine there as well.
I don't listen to a lot of Rock, Metal or DNB but I think you would like these for those styles. The lows are very good, but imho you need an amp. I own currently the HE-400's, HD650's, MA900's, DT770's (600 ohm) and amperiors. I'm using them all with a Fiio X3 or Music Streamer II/Asgard 2 combo.
The HE-400's can be very nice with some work. First, you really need to try the velour ear pads. They do make a slight difference and get rid of some of the tunnely effect I hated about the stock pads. Second, they need eq. They are sibilant to my ears at you have to drop 10k down about 6db or so to get rid of this very obvious harshness. Ther other thing is the mid range is just screwy. You have to play with eq settings to get it right and it doesn't stay right. I find that I am messing with eq a lot with theses headphones. That's the bad news, you have to work to make them sound decent. The good news is that they take eq VERY well. Very slight changes are immediately apparent. I still feel when listening to these headphones though that they are a bit boring. Once in awhile they will blow me away on something, but most of the time they are 'ok'.
The HD650's on the other hand (which I got after the HE-400's) sound great to me every time I put them on. No eq needed etc. They don't go as deep with bass as the HE-400's but the headphone just sounds musical and balanced to me. The HE-400 kind of has, great lows, messed up mids, weird sibilance around 10k and then other treble is good. The HD650 allows me to clearly hear separation in layered vocal harmonies that I have to strain to pick out on the HE-400. Is it because the HD650 has more detail in the mids? or because it produces less highs and lows that my ears don't get overloaded with extra info allowing me to hear the mids better? I don't know..just that details are more apparent to me on the Sennheiser most, but not all of the time.
Regarding that AD900x, I've never heard it but I did own an a900x...and I just ordered another pair last night! The a900x seemed to have a more 3 dimensional soundstage than the HD650 and also the HE-400. I regret getting rid of the pair I had so I'm buying another. It's hard to 'remember' exactly what headphones sound like and compare them to ones you have now, but when I get it I'll have all 3 again to compare. TBH when I got the HE-400 my first impressions were 'there's no sound stage, boring, etc". I still feel the sound stage is minimal. The HD650 I feel has a bit better sound stage but from memory the a900x is a LOT bigger. Like I said, memory is tricky but when mine arrive I'll be able to test again!..:)