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HD 650 Weakest Link

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So today I finally completed my audio chain. I made basically all of my purchasing decisions based on the information that I've gleaned from these forums, so I figured this is where I would go for help once I had the gear.


As of right now, this is the setup: MacBook Pro Optical Out > MonoPrice Mini to Toslink Optical Cable > Schiit Bifrost > Bluejeans Cables LC1 RCA interconnects > Schiit Lyr with 6N1P tubes > Sennheiser HD650 with stock cable


My question to you is this: I love the sound, but honestly I feel like it should be better. What is the weakest link in this audio chain? I'm aware that some burn-in time for both the headphones and the tubes is required, but how much of a difference does that really make? If I just wait will the sound noticeably improve?


Value is the most important thing for me, so basically I want the biggest sound impact to dollar ratio.


Thanks you all in advance for your advice. I'm excited to be a part of this community.

post #2 of 8

I don't think there something wrong in your setup. BTW the cable are the last thing you wanna spend on if you are on a budget. Lyr and bitfrost while I have to experience with them are supposed to sound great. If you dont like the sound I suppose you don't like them.

post #3 of 8

Give it time my friend.  The set-up that you describe in your post most of us would envy.  However, as a fellow HD650 fan I can also say that sometimes expectations can move beyond reality, especially if you don't filter some of the hyperbole on these threads.


Initially, I was also a bit underwhelmed by the 650's, albeit from a less grand rig than yours,  But after six months my perspective shifted considerably.  Once the shock to your wallet has subsided, and you become accustomed to the sound signature of your system, I think you will have many hours of musical bliss ahead.  I'm sure "burn in" of the components will be part of this, but more probably, you will begin to think less about your gear and what you imagine that you're missing and simply enjoy the music that you are hearing.  To my mind, the only thing that you are missing is a bit of familiarity with a great head-fi rig.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

As I listened for a few more hours, I already find myself enjoying my headphones more and more. I find it so interesting how the psychological aspects of our perceptions come into play with how we assess our gear. I myself am skeptical of the idea of "burn in"… The mind probably burns in as much as any vacuum tube or dynamic driver.


Surprisingly to me, it has proven to be a bit of a struggle trying to just enjoy the music now instead of analyzing every transient and tone. As Greyowl said, hopefully soon the wallet shock will subside and I will be able to just listen for the pleasure of it.


Thank you both for your input. I am still looking for advice from anyone on any improvements (for a while down the road).

post #5 of 8

I often fail to understand why people choose Lyr to drive high efficiency (HD650 is 103db) headphones.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

That is another question that I have… I originally wanted a Valhalla but by some convoluted series of events I ended up with a Lyr for the same price. I figured since it was the "better amp" I had lucked out, but now I'm reconsidering. Would the OTL design of the Valhalla be a better fit for the HD650's? I have read a lot of posts saying so, and also a few people saying the extra headroom, power, damping factor, etc. that the Lyr provides is beneficial. 

post #7 of 8

The extra headroom of the Lyr is insane for the HD650. But in the future you can buy the Hifiman HE6 (very demanding powerwise) and you will be in heaven! You don't get hum with that uber powerfull amp and HD650?

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I don't have any hum at all. If I turn the volume way higher than I ever listen with the music off, it's still a deep black background. The main reason for this is the 6N1P tubes. They have a very black background, and that is one of the big reasons Valhalla is so quiet.


I e-mailed Jason though and he told me that if he was getting an amp only for the HD650 he would get the Valhalla. I'll probably switch my Lyr out for a Valhalla, and when I do eventually pick up my LCD-2s in a couple years I'll just get another amp for them.

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