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Do I buy Beyerdynamic T1 or Hifiman HE500 as upgrade solution to my current HD650/K701 combo?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Sorry for creating a new topic, but I did not see a recommendation thread on Summit-fi.   OK, here is my situation:

Currently own:  AKG K701 + Sennheiser HD650.   Using my Onkyo reciever as headphone amp (and its headphone out is very capable, it can drive even the Hifiman HE6s).    

I alternate between the two headphones depending on what style of music I am listening to (701 for classical/acoustic/jazz/experimental, HD650 for rap, electronic, rock, basically anything bass heavy).

I am not happy with either headphone:  I mourn the lack of bass impact on the K701, but mourn the HD650's dearth of soundstage, imaging, and top-end clarity that are the K701's strengths.   

- Thusly I am in the process of determining a suitable headphone upgrade that combines the strengths of both of these headphones.  I am leaning (heavily) towards the Beyerdynamics T1, despite not having had a chance to audition it.     

 

-Also considering the Hifiman HE500, but, from what I understand, their soundstage will not be as good as the T1.  If the soundstage on the Hifimans is as closed in as the HD650's, I am not interested.  Apparently this is true in general for orthodynamic headphones, having smaller soundstages?   

 

- Audeze are out of the question (can't afford the LCD3, and the LCD2 do not have the wide open soundstage that I like about the K701s.  Furthermore, I am not interested in leather earpads; I prefer velour)

 

-Sennheiser HD800 don't have the bass that I love about the HD650s, thus they are out of the question.   HD 700 don't seem to offer comparable bass performance either, from what I have read.  

 

-Grados are out of the question (I find them overpriced, especially their higher-end models)

-Not interested in Audio-Technica or Denon

 

To reiterate:   are the Beyerdynamic T1 my solution headphone - my ideal replacement for both the 701s AND the HD650s?   Or are the Hifiman 500's also a worthy alternative, despite their smaller soundstage?    I would also consider the Hifiman HE6's, but I will buying used, and I have not seen too many used HE6's for sale.   

post #2 of 24

I have both the headphones you are considering. The HE500 has more bass impact than the T1's (more weight) but the T1's has better bass definition and detail. The sound stage on the T1's is wider and deeper and more 3D than the HE500. I would point out that for ortho's the HE500 are no slouch when it come to sound stage, but they cannot compare in that sense to the T1. There is a massive comfort difference in favor of the T1's. I simply cannot wear the weight of the HE500 for long without discomfort. I can wear the T1's all day long and relax with the music. The T1's are perhaps more revealing of source than the HE500 and as such you may find that your Onkyo is not up to the job. It will certainly drive the T1's but it will probably not reveal all their potential. The T1's really like tube amps. The HE500 would probably pair better if you are set to stay with the Onkyo. The HE500 is a bit warmer than the T1 and it mates better with solid state although they will work with some tube amps. Overall if I had to choose one it would be an easy choice I would choose the T1.

post #3 of 24

I loved the Beyer T1 when I owned them for 2 weeks (I was auditioning them), but the amp does matter. I was using the Beyerdynamic A1 amp but compared to my friends Woo Audio WA3 it didn't compete, woo was better. Tube amps will do the Beyer T1 justice. Honestly if I was in your shoes, I would upgrade my headphone amp, dac and then buy better headphones. After all, you may find your HD650 sounding more like HD800/T1 when properly powered. 

 

For example:

 

(This represents Beyerdynamic T1 with a "decent/barely capable amp and no external DAC)

Would you like to have a ferrari but have to drive it at 20 miles per hour, use basic unleaded gas, and drive down dirt roads. 

 

OR

 

(This represents HD650 with a great amp and DAC)

Would you like to have a Honda Civic and drive it at 90 miles per hour, use super unleaded gas, and drive down highways, tunnels and anywhere else? You choose. 

 

I would pick option 2 IMO. You could always upgrade amp and dac then sell HD650 and K701 and pickup T1 used.....(HE-500 is even cheaper used).

post #4 of 24
Quote:

Audeze are out of the question (can't afford the LCD3, and the LCD2 do not have the wide open soundstage that I like about the K701s.  Furthermore, I am not interested in leather earpads; I prefer velour)

you can get the audeze with velour pads, true the audeze doesn't have much air in the sound stage but it's really 3D. also Beyerdynamic raised the price of the T1 recently from 1295$ to 1399$ with no reason at all, and you can have the LCD-2 for just 995$ and the remaining cash for a powerful amp.

 

i'd take the audeze without an amp instead of the T1 with m-stage, the audeze have more qualities than you think, but in any case the T1 won't disappoint either, they're the best all-rounder considering the weight is a huge drawback for you.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

I would never pay retail for the T1 - I can get it used for under 900, thankfully.  Weight is not a huge factor...I did not know about the velour pads for the LCDs.  I will look into this.   Maybe I could upgrade to the T1s as my replacement for my 701s and have a pair of LCD2s as my replacement for my HD650s. 

post #6 of 24

I'm surprised you like the HD650s with rap, electronic, and rock.  I personally like them better with the classical, accoustic, and jazz music.

But if I were you, I'd go with what vampire5003 said.  Once amped well, the HD650s sound magical.  However, once again, there's not just one headphone that can do it all.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Also, guys, I have tried Hifiman EF5 headphone amp, Heed Canamp, and a Musical Paradise amp/dac.   I know that these are not considered high-end amplifiers, but I find them all inferior to when I run an HDMI from my computer into my Onkyo (thus using it as a DAC and headphone amp).   The Onkyo has, as far as my ears can tell, a perfectly capable DAC, and the headphone out has more than enough power.  So I am truly not interested in buying an amp.  

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzkammer View Post

I would never pay retail for the T1 - I can get it used for under 900, thankfully.  Weight is not a huge factor...I did not know about the velour pads for the LCDs.  I will look into this.   Maybe I could upgrade to the T1s as my replacement for my 701s and have a pair of LCD2s as my replacement for my HD650s. 

what are your priorities ? IF the airness in the soundstage and somewhat high-pitched treble are what you care about the most then go for the T1, they have a great bass response too. I'm pretty sure the T1 will combine the advantages of these two headphones and take to the next level.

post #9 of 24

Look if your going to get LCD-2, or any planar magnetic headphone, you will NEED a external amplifier and possibly a higher end DAC. If not those LCD-2 will be so underpowered, that they will sound worse than Beats by Dre (if that's even possible). Remember that a headphone amplifier has to be capable to drive, power and change current and voltage swings. Most receivers cannot and will not do all of that as fluid as a dedicated headphone amplifier will. I recommend the Burson 160 and if you want a good DAC the 160DS and 160D are great. All because the volume can get loud does NOT mean your receiver is driving those headphones properly. Keep that in mind, and there are many amplifiers in the DIY section (if your a handy man) and commercial amps that are great without breaking the bank. 

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

Thomas


Edited by vampire5003 - 9/16/12 at 12:36pm
post #10 of 24

I'd skip the LCD-2s based on your description of what you disliked about the HD650s.  I recently got the LCD-2 (rev.1) and to me, the soundstage is smaller (but more three-dimensional), imaging is not as great as the HD650, and there is a treble roll off in the highs.  

 

Bass impact and deepness are truly stunning however, and the LCD-2 engages you with the music (Any type of fast paced/ energetic genre) due to its very forward nature.  Clarity and music separation is also fairly top notch.

 

Keep these pros and cons in mind when you make your decision.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by vc1187 View Post

I'd skip the LCD-2s based on your description of what you disliked about the HD650s.  I recently got the LCD-2 (rev.1) and to me, the soundstage is smaller (but more three-dimensional), imaging is not as great as the HD650, and there is a treble roll off in the highs.  

 

Bass impact and deepness are truly stunning however, and the LCD-2 engages you with the music (Any type of fast paced/ energetic genre) due to its very forward nature.  Clarity and music separation is also fairly top notch.

 

Keep these pros and cons in mind when you make your decision.


before i got the LCD-2 i was afraid of what i was reading about their drawbacks like the cramped sound stage the rolled off treble but when i got my LCD-2s bamboo version i found those accusations to be absolutely false. because when i compare them to the T1 in the sound stage for example they have 3D imaging like the T1 and even more, it's just doesn't have a lot of air flowing around the treble but once you amp them properly they are truly engaging and musical and the best.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEDO View Post


before i got the LCD-2 i was afraid of what i was reading about their drawbacks like the cramped sound stage the rolled off treble but when i got my LCD-2s bamboo version i found those accusations to be absolutely false. because when i compare them to the T1 in the sound stage for example they have 3D imaging like the T1 and even more, it's just doesn't have a lot of air flowing around the treble but once you amp them properly they are truly engaging and musical and the best.

I agree, but the same can be said about the HD650 when amp'd very properly :-P. 

 

The LCD-2 is wonderful in almost every way and I love them so far, but if I had to be very nit-picky just to find something from virtually nothing, my above comments still stand.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by vc1187 View Post

I agree, but the same can be said about the HD650 when amp'd very properly :-P. 

 

The LCD-2 is wonderful in almost every way and I love them so far, but if I had to be very nit-picky just to find something from virtually nothing, my above comments still stand.

you don't understand, i know the HD650 are a steal in its price range (exaggerating ,,,) but what puzzles me is when I compared the LCD-2s to the T1 they had a better imaging, bass extension and treble extension ( like in real life, and i can see why anyone would call it rolled-off ). So when you rank the HD650 above the LCD-2 it's ... !! I'd say it's not the majority's opinion. just so we can get to the point fast, I've never heard of anyone upgrading from his LCD-2s to the HD650 ( and you wanna make me the first to do it ! ). they share the same sound sig ( dark,smooth treble,bass .. etc ) with the Audeze's being an ortho and double the price and of course should be better IMO.

 

I'd suggest you give a listen to the LCD-2.2 bamboo ( they're even different from the previous rev.2s ),

 

____________________________________________________

 

sorry for invading your thread Jazzkammr


Edited by MEDO - 9/17/12 at 11:17pm
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEDO View Post

you don't understand, i know the HD650 are a steal in its price range (exaggerating ,,,) but what puzzles me is when I compared the LCD-2s to the T1 they had a better imaging, bass extension and treble extension ( like in real life, and i can see why anyone would call it rolled-off ). So when you rank the HD650 above the LCD-2 it's ... !! I'd say it's not the majority's opinion. just so we can get to the point fast, I've never heard of anyone upgrading from his LCD-2s to the HD650 ( and you wanna make me the first to do it ! ). they share the same sound sig ( dark,smooth treble,bass .. etc ) with the Audeze's being an ortho and double the price and of course should be better IMO.

 

I'd suggest you give a listen to the LCD-2.2 bamboo ( they're even different from the previous rev.2s ),

 

____________________________________________________

 

sorry for invading your thread Jazzkammr

I never said that the HD650 was better than the LCD-2s, I was strictly pointing out that the negatives he did not like about the HD650 have some relevance when talking about the LCD-2, so it may not be the next go to headphone for him.  That being said, the LCD-2 is currently my go to headphone.

 

From what I've heard, and headfonia's review on the HE-500 (especially when upgrading from HD650 to HE-500), it may be the headphone you are looking for based on your descriptions in your first post.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEDO View Post


before i got the LCD-2 i was afraid of what i was reading about their drawbacks like the cramped sound stage the rolled off treble but when i got my LCD-2s bamboo version i found those accusations to be absolutely false. because when i compare them to the T1 in the sound stage for example they have 3D imaging like the T1 and even more, it's just doesn't have a lot of air flowing around the treble but once you amp them properly they are truly engaging and musical and the best.

 

 

Well, I only have the Rev 1 and I don't hear any of those faults either. I think there's a lot of rubbish talked about headphones that has to do with making the sound more "exciting" and nothing to do with hi-fi---high fidelity to the original. Live sound doesn't have heaps of "air" around instruments, but headphones with exaggerated treble certainly do, and in my experience most of the headphones extolled on these forums are far brighter than real life.

 

The LCD-2 in all its iterations is an amazing headphone, at least compared to live instruments. Compared to most other headphones, however, it will sound positively muffled and probably closed in as well, because one of the results of exaggerated treble is an overly defined and expanded soundstage. And that might be what people want, but it sure as hell ain't true to life.  

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