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Sennheiser HD 700 Impressions Thread - Page 82

post #1216 of 1980

IMHO it is best to start with the notion that the HD-700 is in fact a flawed headphone.  The treble response is not neutral and that means that different music and head/driver angle/fit issues have the potential to mitigate or exacerbate the issue.  So those of you who do not care for the HD-700 certainly have reasonable and well corroborated evidence to support your lack of enthusiasm for this headphone.

 

For those of us who love it, it seems clear as to why and we seem to be very much in agreement generally speaking.  The flawed treble can add a nice sense of energy and excitement to music, and can also help bring out the details.  My own theory is that in the frequency spectrum that best supports phase coherence, spatial imaging, vocal realism, percussive snap and rhythm, bass and guitar strings, etc.. the HD-700 is technically excellent, and I think that range happens to be 40 Hz to 3 kHz.

 

If I had the option to alter the HD-700 to be perfectly neutral, I would pass, because I happen to like the "personality" of these headphones.  Just like a friend you like to hang out with, every once in a while they are a bit much and you want them to settle down a bit, but for the most part, and for the vast majority of time, you are glad to have such a fun friend to hang out with. Now, if I could just knock 2 dB off the two peaks in the treble range, and boost the slightly more broader dip by the same amount... I would be very tempted.

 

This just is what it is, the personality of your other headphones and of your chain will undoubtedly play a big part in your decision to keep these around for a while or pass on the experience.  I don't see the HD-700 as my ultimate reference headphone, but I sure do like the idea of us hanging out together for quite some time to come.  For a music lover that really values the personality of these headphones, they could in fact be the "one and done" solution, but for a true audiophile this is definitely not going to be the case.  For those of us who like to keep one foot in each camp, the HD-700 is extremely deserving of your audition and may in fact earn a prominent place in your collection.


Edited by Greggo - 1/23/14 at 2:11am
post #1217 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by truelies View Post
 

 

I don't think amplifier has any improvement on technology. Actually this review also said about sibilant,

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13

 

Seems I only have it on some pop songs, not as heavy as the review.

 

I think that review is just as good/fair as any other and I agree with his praise of the HD-700 which I read to be substantial in a number of areas.  Fortunately, I also experience much less of the "weakness" he pointed out and I also believe that "burn in" is real and in this case a substantial benefit.  I also believe that cables can make a contribution to the signature of a system and in fact have made a swap that I feel is for the better.  And finally, the rest of your chain, more so than cables, can contribute to the final signature as well. The more a DAC and amp plays into supporting the strengths of the HD-700 and not pushing the treble to be any more forward/bright/aggressive the better since the HD-700 already leans in this direction on it's own.

 

I don't hear any sibilance however, as I feel that term is best applied when more distortion/congestion/sympathetic resonance is at play.  I do hear some occasional peakiness or hotness/brightness in the treble, but it does not spill over into something more nasty or destructive from my perspective.  I also think that is why some folks use the term treble grain... it is more sibilant for them and thus the sense of detail then suffers.  I can see this being the case for some and would never argue that they aren't hearing what they are describing.  I find the treble grain free and well resolved from a detail perspective, so I offer this up as another testimony for others to consider.  Not the ultimate, but a solid step above mid tier phones and in the ballpark of a flagship headphone (Yes, I know, HD-800 owners are justified in feeling they are still a significant step up in this regard).


Edited by Greggo - 1/23/14 at 2:09am
post #1218 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggo View Post
 

IMHO it is best to start with the notion that the HD-700 is in fact a flawed headphone.  .....

 

Yes, all headphones and speakers are the weakest link in the quest for audio nirvana but it doesn't mean we cannot enjoy music through them. :smile: 

post #1219 of 1980

Agreed, nothing is perfect... but I wanted to call out that the HD-700 is not reference material.  I am a big fan of these headphones and just wanted to offer some perspective.  I promote and defend them, but don't want to make excuses for them.  They are more of a "voice" than they are a "window".  Listening to Daft Punk's Get Lucky right now just off my chrome book and direct into HD700.  Far more enjoyable than it has any right to be given the source.  I love these headphones.

 

Rob80b, I hope you read the rest of my post above because I made the point that music is extremely enjoyable through these phones.  The first sentence you quoted was simply an acknowledgement, not the overall premise of my posting.


Edited by Greggo - 1/23/14 at 8:02am
post #1220 of 1980
I don't think rega ear is a bright amplifier, and I enjoy it's musician. Actually I am not so sure how long I played the hd700, maybe only 20 hours. Will see how to be after burn in. I heard hd800 is brighter than hd700, is it correct?
post #1221 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggo View Post
 

Agreed, nothing is perfect...

 

Rob80b, I hope you read the rest of my post above because I made the point that music is extremely enjoyable through these phones.  The first sentence you quoted was simply an acknowledgement, not the overall premise of my posting.

Hi Greggo

 

Read it all, "music is extremely enjoyable through these phones",:beerchug:

post #1222 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggo View Post
 

IMHO it is best to start with the notion that the HD-700 is in fact a flawed headphone.  The treble response is not neutral and that means that different music and head/driver angle/fit issues have the potential to mitigate or exacerbate the issue.  So those of you who do not care for the HD-700 certainly have reasonable and well corroborated evidence to support your lack of enthusiasm for this headphone.

 

For those of us who love it, it seems clear as to why and we seem to be very much in agreement generally speaking.  The flawed treble can add a nice sense of energy and excitement to music, and can also help bring out the details.  My own theory is that in the frequency spectrum that best supports phase coherence, spatial imaging, vocal realism, percussive snap and rhythm, bass and guitar strings, etc.. the HD-700 is technically excellent, and I think that range happens to be 40 Hz to 3 kHz.

 

 

I'm going to go out on a long tenuous limb here and say: there's no such thing as a neutral treble. Take a dozen or more so-called neutral headphones and compare their frequency-response graphs and you might notice something unusual: the midrange and mid-bass fall into a rather predictable pattern, the response forming an arch through-out most of the frequency range, and then gentling rolling off around 50 Hz or thereabouts; in the opposite direction, things get a little dicey usually starting in the upper-midrange or the presence range. By the time you hit 6 KHz no two phones follow the same frequency path. No doubt, there are many reasons for this, but I suspect there's only one reason why you will never see a truly linear treble response: it would prove deafening or otherwise excruciating. I'm no excerpt--that should be abundantly obvious--so I won't argue this point too strongly, but I really don't think the HD 700's treble is abnormally bright, though it's certainly brighter than your average Senneisher headphone. Also, many other so-called reference or high-fidelity headphones have considerably more treble than the HD700. Consider the majority of Beyerdynamic or Grado cans. Anyway, that's just my two cents.   Cheers. 

post #1223 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madmollusk View Post
 

I'm going to go out on a long tenuous limb here and say: there's no such thing as a neutral treble. Take a dozen or more so-called neutral headphones and compare their frequency-response graphs and you might notice something unusual: the midrange and mid-bass fall into a rather predictable pattern, the response forming an arch through-out most of the frequency range, and then gentling rolling off around 50 Hz or thereabouts; in the opposite direction, things get a little dicey usually starting in the upper-midrange or the presence range. By the time you hit 6 KHz no two phones follow the same frequency path. No doubt, there are many reasons for this, but I suspect there's only one reason why you will never see a truly linear treble response: it would prove deafening or otherwise excruciating. I'm no excerpt--that should be abundantly obvious--so I won't argue this point too strongly, but I really don't think the HD 700's treble is abnormally bright, though it's certainly brighter than your average Senneisher headphone. Also, many other so-called reference or high-fidelity headphones have considerably more treble than the HD700. Consider the majority of Beyerdynamic or Grado cans. Anyway, that's just my two cents.   Cheers. 

Unlike speakers which are free to produce variable waves within the confines of a room, being a few feet or even several meters from the listener, headphones will always be a compromise due to their extremely close proximity to the ears and unless individual listeners resort to some radical ear canal treatment as opposed to room treatments we will all hear the direct sound differently in some ways.

If you think there is a plethora of different designed ear pads/baffels on the market and how they effect the sound imagine how many individual ears there are, and the then there is the real hurdle, the ear canal whose length, shape, angle and circumference are the major stumbling blocks as the sound waves make their way to the ear drums, basically a perfectly designed linear response from a headphone driver would in fact be acceptable to all but a handful of users.

There is a neutral treble, it's just not viable when it comes to headphones.


Edited by Rob80b - 1/23/14 at 7:58pm
post #1224 of 1980

Hi guys. I didn't find any interest for modding HD700 on local forum so decided to discuss it here. Probably, it's possible to fix high-frequency problem covering external radius of driver's plastic grid like Sennheiser does in 600/650 and others "dark" models? Like this (I can't add pictures to my post yet): http://www.lyra-media.com/ufiles/senn1006_driver.JPG or http://www.musicprogressive.com/images/HD600_olddriver.jpg

post #1225 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob80b View Post
 

Unlike speakers which are free to produce variable waves within the confines of a room, being a few feet or even several meters from the listener, headphones will always be a compromise due to their extremely close proximity to the ears and unless individual listeners resort to some radical ear canal treatment as opposed to room treatments we will all hear the direct sound differently in some ways.

If you think there is a plethora of different designed ear pads/baffels on the market and how they effect the sound imagine how many individual ears there are, and the then there is the real hurdle, the ear canal whose length, shape, angle and circumference are the major stumbling blocks as the sound waves make their way to the ear drums, basically a perfectly designed linear response from a headphone driver would in fact be acceptable to all but a handful of users.

There is a neutral treble, it's just not viable when it comes to headphones.


Fascinating stuff, Rob. 

post #1226 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madmollusk View Post
 


Fascinating stuff, Rob.

I know, just stating the obvious “Human Anatomy 101” lest some of us forget and why some may prefer the HD700s.

 

Next up "Psychoacoustics 101" :smile: 


Edited by Rob80b - 1/24/14 at 4:06am
post #1227 of 1980
It's good to see the HD700 getting some love, I always thought of them as a great sounding phone. I am glad that the lower price of entry has allowed others to try them out and ultimately own them once they get to hear how well they sound.
post #1228 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

It's good to see the HD700 getting some love, I always thought of them as a great sounding phone. I am glad that the lower price of entry has allowed others to try them out and ultimately own them once they get to hear how well they sound.

I definitely agree. I have tried some of the best out there - flagships of different brands, but the 700s are still my favorite combination of sound signature and comfort.

post #1229 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob80b View Post
 

I know, just stating the obvious “Human Anatomy 101” lest some of us forget and why some may prefer the HD700s.

 

Next up "Psychoacoustics 101" :smile: 

 

I have also commented about the role that individual anatomy and the "interface" between human and headphone probably plays an important role, but I am not so sure this applies to the degree you may assume.  It does seem logical, but are there any studies that confirm we might here close proximity sources so differently?  I would be very interested in learning more about that.  I don't think different ear shapes process sound waves differently enough to account for a change in perception between average people.  Yes there is a proximity effect in the world of microphones, and perhaps our ears are subject to similar reactions, but my assumption has been that bass response is clearly affected by the seal and/or the volume of air being stimulated along with the distance from driver to ear... and that different shaped heads and ears would affect this and account for why some people have very different takes on bass performance... AKG K550 being a great example.

 

I still think we are all mostly hearing the same things regarding mid and treble frequencies, but our source material and electronics chain are both important variables as to how the objective response of a headphone driver translates to subjective perceptions by the listener.  I would argue that source is most important, then followed by circuits (DACs and amps) then followed by "wires/connectors".  I think it is interesting to consider that "anatomy" may in fact be a significant variable, and more interesting still to consider how to qualify and quantify.  There are clearly some folks looking at this very closely, like Tyll or Purrin, and my own take is that psychoacoustics and maybe a general proximity effect common to the vast majority of human ears accounts for emphasis often found below 1 kHz, the dips above 1 kHz, and then some emphasis at some point (or multiple points) above 4 kHz.  I also wonder how much of the deviations from measured neutrality or purposeful by the design/engineer team and how much is just the result of wrestling with a driver that is being stressed to do it all.  In the world of single driver loudspeakers, this is clearly a constant challenge borders on alchemy to get it "right", with the definition of "right" being different for a variety of audiophiles who will obviously not share the exact same values/priorities in music reproduction and listening.


Edited by Greggo - 1/24/14 at 10:13am
post #1230 of 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

It's good to see the HD700 getting some love, I always thought of them as a great sounding phone. I am glad that the lower price of entry has allowed others to try them out and ultimately own them once they get to hear how well they sound.

The current retail price is worth it, IMO. I haven't heard anything at that price or below it that I've enjoyed more than the HD 700.

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