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HD650 or SRH1840

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi There!

 

I was all set on the HD650 as an upgrade to my HD555 Modified. Then I came across the SRH1840 and people are comparing them to the HD800's which are significantly more expensive. I can stretch my budget but would most likely need to consider used (Hopefully replacement pads aren't too expensive). 

 

Mostly I listen to Pop/Light Rock, and stuff you would typically find on the radio, but favourite artists would be Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Simple Plan, Billy Joel, Elton John etc etc. I don't listen at super loud volumes and I don't listen to much if anything super heavy like death metal or even hard rock much.

 

I am looking for a headphone that will bring the hairs up on the back of my neck when I listen to music. I mostly listen to music on my PC which has the STX Asus soundcard in it, and my Oppo BDP93 connected to my RX-Z7. I don't have a huge budget for a separate amp and will likely have nothing if I went with the Shures. I know the HD650's have a lot of headroom and would improve with a good amp which I would likely buy at some point in the future, but I still want outstanding sound right now. 

 

If there are any other recommendations I am open to it. 

 

Thanks for your time. 

post #2 of 26

The 1840s are indeed very good headphones. The highs extend well, the mids are almost perfect to my ears but the best thing from them is the instrument separation (at least to me.). BUT I just found them too similar to Senns HD600s. So basically, for the price, I would just go with the 600s. The HD650s seems to be a bit more "darker" than the 600s (haven't tried them though.)

 

Anyway, full review on my signature + there are other threads regarding the 1840s.

Also, recently an epic thread was started which also has a review on this headphone:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-50-headphones-compared#user_SRH1840

 

Maybe you should check the whole reviews there ;-)

 

 

Thanks.

post #3 of 26

HD650 is warmer than SRH1840 with quite a bit more bass presence and punch. If the Shures have a real weakness, it's their low end IMO, especially the sub bass, which sounds a tad too rolled off at times. HD650 has about the proper amount of bass presence in my opinion, although some say that the sub bass could be louder with better extension - not sure about that. I think SRH1840 has the upper hand in imaging, but HD650 is not too shabby in this regard either. HD650 is much harder to drive - much harder. Whereas the Shures sound fantastic straight out of my $100 Sony Walkman flash player, HD650 sounds slow, congested and boring out of the same source. I am not sure at what point the Senns will begin to catch up to the Shures, but your source should be adequate for HD650, although likely won't bring out their full potential. I haven't tried either with very good sources, so I can't say which one will work better in your system, but I feel that SRH1840 aims for a more pleasing sound, while HD650 is dryer sounding and less fun. With that being said, for something like rap, trance, hip-hop or otehr types of dance music, HD650 is the clear winner to my ears due to the significantly richer low end response that lends itself much better to these genres than the Shures' polite bass. The mids and highs, as well as sound quality (including bass quality) are superb on the Shures though - really, really smooth (more so than HD650), very refined and with great dynamic (I think better dynamics than HD650, although the latter have good dynamics too). So in the end, it's up to you to decide.

post #4 of 26

I have to agree with Pianist with what he said above. My general thoughts between the HD650 and SRH1840. I felt the SRH1840 had a bit more energy while the HD650 were a bit more laid back, HD650 had the better bass in terms of impact and extension, SRH1840 has GLORIOUS mids (I would have to say the best mids from a Dynamic IMO. A step behind the HE-500's mids, which are my favorite mids ever...) and the HD650 had pretty good mids, both were pretty even in treble but the SRH1840 had a bit more energy giving it the upper hand to my ears. Both excellent headphones, but I would take the SRH1840 if price wasn't an issue over the HD650 for my preferences. I felt the HD650 excelled in every genre thrown at them, while the SRH1840 were more focused on specific genres. Just as a reference, The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli gave me goosebumps with the SRH1840. Really crisp female vocals and mildly warm male vocals.

 

About the SRH1840 being comparable to the HD800 is sort of... HD800> SRH1840 IMO... But the SRH1840 DOES compete with the HD700 easily, in some cases excels IMO.

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

I have to agree with Pianist with what he said above. My general thoughts between the HD650 and SRH1840. I felt the SRH1840 had a bit more energy while the HD650 were a bit more laid back, HD650 had the better bass in terms of impact and extension, SRH1840 has GLORIOUS mids (I would have to say the best mids from a Dynamic IMO. A step behind the HE-500's mids, which are my favorite mids ever...) and the HD650 had pretty good mids, both were pretty even in treble but the SRH1840 had a bit more energy giving it the upper hand to my ears. Both excellent headphones, but I would take the SRH1840 if price wasn't an issue over the HD650 for my preferences. I felt the HD650 excelled in every genre thrown at them, while the SRH1840 were more focused on specific genres. Just as a reference, The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli gave me goosebumps with the SRH1840. Really crisp female vocals and mildly warm male vocals.

 

About the SRH1840 being comparable to the HD800 is sort of... HD800> SRH1840 IMO... But the SRH1840 DOES compete with the HD700 easily, in some cases excels IMO.

 

Thanks that is quite useful. Considering I use The Prayer as a way to test my own existing gear, and I really want that "wow" I am thinking that the SRH1840 sounds good. It's a fairly significant price bump over what I had budgeted for the HD650's at ~$350USD (Black Friday Special maybe?).

 

I am still struggling to understand some of the terminology here and also how to work out comparisons, so in terms of Mids what sort of sound (Example?) would mids be prevelant in, and in terms of warm vs cold, could you give an example of that?  Is it correct that sound stage is what happens when you close your eyes and listen to music, and a large sound stage means you feel like you are in a large venue vs a small one (Sorry if that's wrong I imagine I possible made some people cringe). I know with Loudspeakers one aim is to not be able to identify where the sound is coming from.

 

One other factor is that the HD650 is said to be harder to drive, and a few people I have spoken to said they weren't that happy with their HD650s until they upgraded to a decent price amp and or cable, and that the SRH1840's don't require anywhere near as much if anything. I am thinking that if I can get second hand 650's for $280USD and second hand SRH1840 for $540 but I need to spend $200+ on the HD650 to be blown away, I might as well buy the SRH1840. 

 

Sorry if I am not making sense, there is a LOT of information on this forum, it's easy to get the wrong idea.

 

Doing a little more reading, I think I want excellent mids and highs and if it lacks a little lows so long as they are ok, it's probably going to be the focus I want. I want pianos, violins and Saxaphones and voices to be spectacular. There is one piece of classical music I LOVE to listen to, and that is "Classic Gas" by Vanessa Mae

 

I hear the term "rolled off" a fair bit, could someone explain that in real world terms with perhaps an example please?

 

Coming from HD555's I imagine most things will be a significant improvement.


Edited by networkn - 11/2/12 at 1:14am
post #6 of 26

For your reading pleasure:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/glossary-of-terms

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/a-hopefully-helpful-headphone-buying-guide-for-newbies-by-boomana

 

 

Best headphone I have personally heard (for vocals) has been the Shure SRH940s. These are indeed "bass-light" (or you could also see it as "treble-happy" ;-)). But the SRH1840s are excellent in that regard also (better than the Senns HD600s in that regard). Probably others will chime in though with specific suggestions regarding:

 

"I think I want excellent mids and highs and if it lacks a little lows so long as they are ok, it's probably going to be the focus I want. I want pianos, violins and Saxaphones and voices to be spectacular."

 

For the terminology, you'll find all you need in the links above.

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by networkn View Post

 

Thanks that is quite useful. Considering I use The Prayer as a way to test my own existing gear, and I really want that "wow" I am thinking that the SRH1840 sounds good. It's a fairly significant price bump over what I had budgeted for the HD650's at ~$350USD (Black Friday Special maybe?).

 

I am still struggling to understand some of the terminology here and also how to work out comparisons, so in terms of Mids what sort of sound (Example?) would mids be prevelant in, and in terms of warm vs cold, could you give an example of that?  Is it correct that sound stage is what happens when you close your eyes and listen to music, and a large sound stage means you feel like you are in a large venue vs a small one (Sorry if that's wrong I imagine I possible made some people cringe). I know with Loudspeakers one aim is to not be able to identify where the sound is coming from.

 

One other factor is that the HD650 is said to be harder to drive, and a few people I have spoken to said they weren't that happy with their HD650s until they upgraded to a decent price amp and or cable, and that the SRH1840's don't require anywhere near as much if anything. I am thinking that if I can get second hand 650's for $280USD and second hand SRH1840 for $540 but I need to spend $200+ on the HD650 to be blown away, I might as well buy the SRH1840. 

 

Sorry if I am not making sense, there is a LOT of information on this forum, it's easy to get the wrong idea.

 

Doing a little more reading, I think I want excellent mids and highs and if it lacks a little lows so long as they are ok, it's probably going to be the focus I want. I want pianos, violins and Saxaphones and voices to be spectacular. There is one piece of classical music I LOVE to listen to, and that is "Classic Gas" by Vanessa Mae

 

I hear the term "rolled off" a fair bit, could someone explain that in real world terms with perhaps an example please?

 

Coming from HD555's I imagine most things will be a significant improvement.

 

I would say the mids are very close to accurate neutral, but from experience, I would have to say they are a BIT warm, especially lower mids. They are quite forgiving and sibilance doesn't seem harsh. Yes, soundstage is what your ears hear as in, let's say, up close and confined, or far back and open. Also, people like to include instrument separation with soundstage. I would have to say the HD650 has the larger and a bit more open soundstage, but not by much.

 

The HD650s are harder to drive, yes that is correct, but that doesn't mean they are impossible to drive. I've heard success stories with small portable amps that drives the HD650 easily and despite the higher impedance rating, the HD650 isn't a particularly hard to drive headphone. I've heard that the Schiit Valhalla sounds magnificent with the HD650 and the Darkvoice 336se are killer pairs. With the SRH1840, I wouldn't know how well it responds to weaker amps and no external amplification at all because I only tried it with the Schiit Lyr and my Hifiman EF5. But from reading plain specifications, it doesn't seem like the difficult headphone to drive, but I'm not too sure what amps goes nicely with it. The Lyr and EF5 seemed nice.

 

To be honest, both headphones are excellent mid-fi and entry to high-fi headphones and going for either will satisfy you. I would say, if you're into classical, jazz, vocals, definitely go for the 1840 as they have really sweet mids. If you want an excellent all-rounder, HD650 may be your best bet.

 

Rolled off treble means the volume is decreased as it reaches higher into the frequency. Same story with rolled off bass. It doesn't usually mean it's completely rolled off, it just often means that it's turned down in volume for whatever application.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi There!

 

Thanks for all the replies, I am slowing getting there information wise. 

 

Based on what I have explained I value and the music I listen to (Though I have only given a small sample of what is a reasonably eclectic collection), and that I mostly listen (with Headphones) at relatively low volumes, how would you rate the 650's and the 1840's for purpose. I guess it would be most useful if your recommendation took into account budget, but I am slightly less focused on budget than I am about getting the wow factor, though we all have to be a little sensible. I guess the other thing is taking into account the likelyhood of needing an amp in each device to get the best result. 

 

I am still not sure I understand rolled off. 

 

One more question. I am going to audition both headphones in the next 2-3 days, and the only device I have with the music I like, is my ipod, I guess I could take some CD's or something, but I presume, at least in the example of the 650's it wouldn't be ideal to use an Ipod?

 

Thanks very much.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by networkn View Post

Hi There!

 

Thanks for all the replies, I am slowing getting there information wise. 

 

Based on what I have explained I value and the music I listen to (Though I have only given a small sample of what is a reasonably eclectic collection), and that I mostly listen (with Headphones) at relatively low volumes, how would you rate the 650's and the 1840's for purpose. I guess it would be most useful if your recommendation took into account budget, but I am slightly less focused on budget than I am about getting the wow factor, though we all have to be a little sensible. I guess the other thing is taking into account the likelyhood of needing an amp in each device to get the best result. 

 

I am still not sure I understand rolled off. 

 

One more question. I am going to audition both headphones in the next 2-3 days, and the only device I have with the music I like, is my ipod, I guess I could take some CD's or something, but I presume, at least in the example of the 650's it wouldn't be ideal to use an Ipod?

 

Thanks very much.

 

Are you getting the two shipped to your home? If you're going to an audio shop, I'm sure they will have proper equipment for you to try the two with. If not, do you have something that has a bit more grunt than the iPod? Something like a Receiver.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by networkn View Post

Coming from HD555's I imagine most things will be a significant improvement.

 

I wouldn't get your hopes too high...

post #11 of 26

HD555 is a very good headphone for the price, but SRH1840 and HD650 are a major upgrade even out of fairly mediocre sources like my HM-601 or Audigy 2 ZS. Even out of a typical consumer grade portable player like Sansa Clip, I can tell that HD650 has more potential than HD555 - there's obviously more depth and refinement to the sound with the former.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

I wouldn't get your hopes too high...

 

I am surprised to hear you say that. I auditioned the 650's the other day, I was pretty blown away. 

 

I admit the 555's are a great headphone, but not really in the same league (At least to my ears), the 650. 

 

To be far it was connected to a particularly nice amp. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by networkn View Post

 

I am surprised to hear you say that. I auditioned the 650's the other day, I was pretty blown away. 

 

I admit the 555's are a great headphone, but not really in the same league (At least to my ears), the 650. 

 

To be far it was connected to a particularly nice amp. 

 

What were your thoughts on the HD650?

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

I listened to two albums, the new Phil Collins - Going Back, and Celine Dion's - Falling into you. 

 

I have heard Falling Into you at least 200 times, and I can honestly say I've never heard some of the instruments being so clearly defined, and some parts of the music (Like the backup singers, in some of the tracks) I didn't know existed before!

 

My head felt "full" of music and it was easy to listen to.

 

All and All I was very impressed. I am hoping I get that level of sound without a $2000 amp :) 

post #15 of 26

Great to hear! Like I said, both are spectacular headphones! If your mind is set on the HD650, I strongly urge you to get it, but if you are still curious on the SRH1840, I suggest trying it before buying the HD650. If there is no available place to audition them, I suggest ordering them from a site where the return policy is fair and you compare them side by side and make your decision there. Be sure to burn in the Shures if you plan on ordering them to demo, even if you don't believe in it!

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