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HD 650 or HD 600: hard choice...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Finally I managed to cross over from my IPC/ Portable amp to CD Player and desktop amp, but entry level ones: Cambridge audio 651 a &C. Now I think I am ready to upgrade my HD25 to either Sennheiser HD 650 or 600.

I NORMALLY listen to pop, vocals, jazz and some blue rock. Shall I choose HD650 or HD 600 instead? I heard that they are only classic cans, and only tubes can drive them well...

Thanks!!
post #2 of 24

I listen to much of the same genres as you. Is price a consideration? There was a sizeable price difference between the 600 and 650 where I bought them from, so I chose the 600 over the 650. I also didn't hear a significant difference/improvement between the headphones.

post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by yosment View Post

Finally I managed to cross over from my IPC/ Portable amp to CD Player and desktop amp, but entry level ones: Cambridge audio 651 a &C. Now I think I am ready to upgrade my HD25 to either Sennheiser HD 650 or 600.
I NORMALLY listen to pop, vocals, jazz and some blue rock. Shall I choose HD650 or HD 600 instead? I heard that they are only classic cans, and only tubes can drive them well...
Thanks!!

 

Heya,

 

Why those two headphones? How about you describe what kind of sound you want to hear, what signature you prefer. As they're quite different. And frankly, for the cost, there are a lot of other mid-fi options that could be better for you. Anything with sufficient power can drive them well; not just tubes. That's pure preference. And while they're classic, that's only because they're long known and well established headphones. It still doesn't mean they're the best for you. On that note, the HD600 is brighter (ie, treble has more volume) and less bassy. The HD650 has dimmer (less treble volume) while being slightly more bassy.

 

Very best,

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks, MalVeaux. It is good to know that any amp with sufficient power can drive these 2 cans. The specs of the  Cambridge Audio 651 set can dive anything between 32 to 600 ohm. When I am driving the HD25 i ii (which is not so difficult to drive well), the volume is only at 7 or 8-ish. 

 

And as for my preference of the sound. I tend to like good separation of music and vocals, or between various instruments. I will enjoy the music most when I can hear or "see" clearly the fibers of those music "threads", if I can describe in that way. Beyond clarity of the sound itself, I would like to listen to sounds balanced between treble and bass. Last but not the least, the sound stage and precise positioning are of great interest of me. I think HD25 i ii does a great job in terms of positioning, however lacks sound stage.

 

As for why HD650 or HD600, I think it is purely due to the influence of reading various posts on the forums. Not to say here HD650 is ranked among the top few. I have tried HD600 & HD700 at the HIFI shops, but via IPC+Fostex HP P1 DAC then through a desk amp, was not impressed by the sound. The owner told me that it was due to my source and the cans need burn-in hours. 

 

As for the price, my budget is up to 400 EUROS, so both HD600 and HD650 fall into this category. But of course will look at other options, as long they can beat my current one HD25 i ii.

 

Cheers,

Jon


Edited by yosment - 8/31/12 at 1:21am
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

I listen to much of the same genres as you. Is price a consideration? There was a sizeable price difference between the 600 and 650 where I bought them from, so I chose the 600 over the 650. I also didn't hear a significant difference/improvement between the headphones.

 

What is your setup, sound source and amp? How well is your HD600 driven by that? 

post #6 of 24

I just use an old CD player or my iPod (line out), connected to a Meier Corda Rock. It's a very space-efficient solid state amp, and I find it to provide good, clean amplification with no channel imbalance and a reasonable amount of gain--on high gain, the volume knob usually sits at 10 o'clock for me. 

 

What desktop amp did you demo the HD 600 and 700 on?

 

Edit: Actually, I realise we haven't asked what you like or dislike about the HD 25-1 that you currently use.


Edited by Eric_C - 8/31/12 at 1:43am
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

I just use an old CD player or my iPod (line out), connected to a Meier Corda Rock. It's a very space-efficient solid state amp, and I find it to provide good, clean amplification with no channel imbalance and a reasonable amount of gain--on high gain, the volume knob usually sits at 10 o'clock for me. 

 

What desktop amp did you demo the HD 600 and 700 on?

 

Edit: Actually, I realise we haven't asked what you like or dislike about the HD 25-1 that you currently use.

 

Good question :) I am very satisfied with my HD 25 i ii. Amazing cans. I have changed the cable to the HD650 cables ordered from Sennheiser's official webshop. It gave me a sound that I like. Great positioning, good bass. However, it is sort of lackluster when I play classic with it (it has never been good with my ipc+fostex hp p1 rig). With the cambridge set it is veiled and not powerful when playback CD tracks. But I do not listen to classic often anyway... The reason that I want to "upgrade" to HD600 / 650 is purely based on the good reviews these cans have had. They are the dream cans that I want for some time, though with no other reason but vanity maybe.

 

Good question with the desk amp... I cannot remember the model or brandname. It is a solid, huge amp twice as big as the Cambridge Audio 651A priced over 1000 Euros as long as I remember. I think that one should have enough power.

 

Price difference here between 650 and 600 is merely 60 Euros here in Denmark. But in numerous times, I have heard that 600 is better than 650 as per some experienced HiFi'ers. Here on Head-fi 650 is ranked much higher than 600 though..

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

According to this review on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZU7sgKQFQ4, he says HD600 is "garbage in garbage out", HD 650 is more colored. Thus he chooses HD600 cause he prefers the real sound...

post #9 of 24

Just my 2 cents -

 

If the head amp is capable, HD600 can make wonders.  Yet, if the head amp may not be up to challenge, HD650 is a safer buy.

 

HD600 is more neutral.  HD650 has a slightly mega-bass effect and can easily get great result with vocal and jazz.

 

In any event, both are great cans.

 

Cheers. 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenYC View Post

Just my 2 cents -

If the head amp is capable, HD600 can make wonders.  Yet, if the head amp may not be up to challenge, HD650 is a safer buy.

HD600 is more neutral.  HD650 has a slightly mega-bass effect and can easily get great result with vocal and jazz.

In any event, both are great cans.

Cheers. 

Do you know if Cambridge Audio 651A can drive 600? Or at least 650?
post #11 of 24

With All Due Respect, u got to do more digging, this kinda issue had been discussed a million times in this forum. But any way, if you wanna more bass, get 650, u wanna more neutral tone, get the hd600

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrucYSN View Post

With All Due Respect, u got to do more digging, this kinda issue had been discussed a million times in this forum. But any way, if you wanna more bass, get 650, u wanna more neutral tone, get the hd600

I couldnt find anything on cambridge audio driving 650/600 performance here...
post #13 of 24

Despite the frequent mention of "more bass", which is true, it should be kept in mind that the more notable feature should be "less treble" more than "more bass"...more more specifically a warmer midrange on the HD650.  Yes, it's most prominent feature is that midbass hump and the rolled off treble, but the real key to the HD650 sound is the lush and warm mids and laid back sound.  HD600 is the more neutral/flat of the two.   For jazz, HD650 is hard to beat.  For rock...it's more preference of whether you like it warm and laid back, or more energetic.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Despite the frequent mention of "more bass", which is true, it should be kept in mind that the more notable feature should be "less treble" more than "more bass"...more more specifically a warmer midrange on the HD650.  Yes, it's most prominent feature is that midbass hump and the rolled off treble, but the real key to the HD650 sound is the lush and warm mids and laid back sound.  HD600 is the more neutral/flat of the two.   For jazz, HD650 is hard to beat.  For rock...it's more preference of whether you like it warm and laid back, or more energetic.

Thanks. It is good to know. I am using the HD650 copper cable on HD25 i ii. I have had a touch of warm and laid back sound which I like a lot. Never thought about going back to its steel stock cable. Less treble is good for me.

What about sound stage then? Any noticeable difference?
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by yosment View Post


Thanks. It is good to know. I am using the HD650 copper cable on HD25 i ii. I have had a touch of warm and laid back sound which I like a lot. Never thought about going back to its steel stock cable. Less treble is good for me.
What about sound stage then? Any noticeable difference?

If you're avoiding treble, HD650 should be top on your list.  That's it's fame (and it's bane) is its rolled off treble.  Many people hate it because it's "not exciting enough", and many love it because it's "wonderfully refined and fatigue-free."  If you like it warm & laid back, HD650 is certain to please. 

 

Sound stage-wise, they're more similar than different really, and it probably depends more on amplification than which headphone you get.  Being more flat, HD600 may come across as a bit wider, and being more warm HD650 may come across with a more coherent center image, all in your head of course.  But that may be compensated as the HD600 drivers sit a bit closer to the ear.  I'd say soundstage will have greater difference between amps than between these two headphones. 

 

Also, in response to your original question about tubes (though answered already), it's purely about preference.  There are many HD650/600 owners who swear by tubes who like the smooth "liquid" sound they create, and others who insist the headphone is "liquid enough" and benefits from SS sharpness to liven them up, so it's purely 50/50 preference.   These headphones do respond well to the difference between the two.  My favorite amp with them is the my Schiit Lyr (tube/hybrid) with a collection of nice tubes.  I disliked my Headroom Micro SS (congested mids), moderately accepted the O2 (too neutral, analytical with HD650, IMO.)  But on my Marantz PM6004 (big speaker amp I bought for HE-6) they actually sound quite good, similar to the Lyr tubes.  They take advantage of the differences between amps very well, so it's more about finding the sound you want than "good or bad" types.  It's picky about what you pair it with, but there are valid choices at every price point.  It's not so much about "needs expensive amping" so much as "needs one it likes at a given price."  Obviously, it scales well (both 600 & 650) to expensive amping too, of course!

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