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A "basshead's" unexpected experiences from demoing a little more neutrally balanced headphones...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well today I got to demo AKG K272 HD, Sennheiser HD25-II (adidas), Sennheiser HD 598 and Sennheiser Momentum as I went on a trip to Helsinki (capital) in Finland

 

The AKG K272 HD suprised me probably the most, REALLY enjoyed listening to this and to my suprise, I didn't find the bass lacking AT ALL, what was there was perfectly satisfactory and this out of an Android phone + FiiO E5 only. Very clean bass response, large soundstage, well balanced throughout, not too bright, not too dark, just right.

 

Sennheiser HD25-II I enjoyed also quite a bit better than I would have expected, now I'm very curious at the demo station on what equipment was used there though as I didn't find the soundstage that compressed sounding at all which I expected for this headphone but what immediatly struck me the most was the rather forward and high detailed midrange as well as the exceptionally snappy & punchy bass and I very much enjoyed those two things in the headphones.

 

Then I went on to test the HD 598 and was expecting to hear almost no audible bass due to open design and my spoilt basshead quantity levels from M-Audigy Q40 + digiZoid ZO2.1, to my suprise it was perfectly there and provided a quite a decent amount of punch. I was very puzzled, here I stood auditioning an open headphone in a crowded market place and I thought bass were satisfactory and I'm a basshead that typically enjoy the bass of my M-Audio Q40. I really wonder what kind of source was used in the demo station, didn't get a chance to ask if the personnel would know. They had a classical recording also among the demo recordings and it really WOW'd me bigtime.

 

Then I saw the Momentum, thought to myself, finally I get to actually demo a somewhat anticipated headphone even in Finland of all places where demoing headphones seems like an exception as such possibilities are almost nowhere to be found here. Was pretty excited but they looked a little smaller and expected and didn't go around ear as expected but it still was very comfortable to wear. Well this headphone was REALLY disappointing, I listened to it only about 5~7 mins when I got bored of it's sound, very bad micro detail throughout the whole frequency response, bass that bleeds a little into mids and lacks a tightness, slightly harsh highs at times and recessed midrange with really poor detail retrieval. I was thinking to myself, why are these costing 319 EUR? I was thinking 149 EUR or so had been a more appropriate pricing, the design is awesome except for the pads which could have been a little larger but the sound is very disappointing IMO compared to the afore mentioned headphones, even AKG K272 HD which only were priced 129 EUR I enjoyed much more! I was very near to pick up a pair of those haha.

 

I also happened to demo a pair of Bose headphones out of curiousity, not sure which it was anymore, it was some around ear noise cancelling headphones but I took off those like in less than a minute, it colored my music so horribly I couldn't stand the output of it.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 11/10/12 at 3:41pm
post #2 of 17

Out of curiosity, what kind of cans were you listening to before you went all basshead?

post #3 of 17

I also own the Q40's and I was told that the HD598's lacked bass big time, but when I received my pair I was honestly surprised at their bass. No where near the Q40 but it was there, for an open can design I'm shocked. Also, that was a good read. +1

post #4 of 17

Basshead here too. All I listen to is non-pop electronic music. I've always loved my DT990s. Bought a pair of K550's recently even though I was worried about them being too neutral for my tastes. After about 50 hours of break in I really find them to my liking. They trade blows with my DT990s which says a lot for a closed can.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

It seems like my priorities start to change quite a bit... in my case the funny saying is really true:

 

1) The non-audiophile craves bass

2) The starter audiophile craves clarity (bass & highs)

3) The real audiophile craves mids

 

I've gone through all those steps myself too. My way of listening has greatly changed over all the years. First I was just looking for the bassiest headphones EQ'd some if need be, then I seemed to enjoy a V-shape sound later on and had a Sennheiser HD 212 pro that is V-shaped for starters and EQ'd it to be even more V-shaped. I got those settings saved and when I test them out I just *facepalm*, the mids are almost non-existant and can't understand how I once in my life enjoyed such kind of sound.

 

Today it seems for me that mids have really become top priority, forward and detailed mids. It's no longer bass, I can still enjoy the sound if the rest is great even if the bass isn't that huge. It was especially clear when testing the Sennheiser Momentum, the midrange seemed too recessed sounding which is what bugged me and overall it lacked microdetail bigtime, it outputted all frequency ranges but without any finesses why it didn't appeal to me.

 

I'm still suprised at the experience how I could enjoy all those other cans so much though, here's link to those:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK272HD.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD251IIB2012.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD598.pdf

post #6 of 17

Nice read.

 

Cheers!

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

It seems like my priorities start to change quite a bit... in my case the funny saying is really true:

 

1) The non-audiophile craves bass

2) The starter audiophile craves clarity (bass & highs)

3) The real audiophile craves mids

 

I've gone through all those steps myself too. My way of listening has greatly changed over all the years. First I was just looking for the bassiest headphones EQ'd some if need be, then I seemed to enjoy a V-shape sound later on and had a Sennheiser HD 212 pro that is V-shaped for starters and EQ'd it to be even more V-shaped. I got those settings saved and when I test them out I just *facepalm*, the mids are almost non-existant and can't understand how I once in my life enjoyed such kind of sound.

 

Today it seems for me that mids have really become top priority, forward and detailed mids. It's no longer bass, I can still enjoy the sound if the rest is great even if the bass isn't that huge. It was especially clear when testing the Sennheiser Momentum, the midrange seemed too recessed sounding which is what bugged me and overall it lacked microdetail bigtime, it outputted all frequency ranges but without any finesses why it didn't appeal to me.

 

I'm still suprised at the experience how I could enjoy all those other cans so much though, here's link to those:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK272HD.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD251IIB2012.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD598.pdf

 

well the problem with people is that they are defining themselves too much... they do not enjoy a certain thing like they should or used to... this would apply to everything(e.g a movie critic will also enjoy those cheesy B-horror movies which are termed as "so bad that it is good")... there are things fun like a xb500 which would put a smile to my face as i have no illusions to what it does and i would use it for what it does best... i think it depends on what type of music you enjoy rather than anything else... if you are listening to dubstep then you won't be going with a particularly detailed headphone which is all about the mids.. and if you enjoy the classical music or something which is very instrumental, you should be complaining that your headphones are too bloated and full of bass when there is no bass around in the track... e.g i consider someone as mad to buy a 1000$+ headphone and that is even less justified if you do not see music as ART and want to enjoy it as such with all the super fine details etc... there are no audiophiles but people who have good music taste and overtime want to listen to even finer details in their music...

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well I listen to everything from classical to bass-driven EDM music but I still want to hear the same whit whatever I listen to. I never used multiple EQ settings, I always found one to sound best with everything I listened to for the particular headphone so I'm not a firm believer in that "certain stuff sounds best with certain headphones", I want the same amount of bass out of the headphone when listening to classical and dubstep.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 11/11/12 at 5:55am
post #9 of 17

I used to be a basshead, I liked my bass. I used to use headphones like the CX300, Sony XB500, Klipsch S4, Brainwavz M2, then I moved on to better things like the HD650, Sleek Audio SA6, Audio Technica CKM500. Now I use only the AKG Q701, and the Vsonic GR01 (a twfk BA based IEM) no matter what I am listening to. I was a basshead, now I'm a detail junkie. I like neutrality now. I also listen at a much lower volume now than I used to which makes detailed headphones seem less tiring. The Q701 and the GR01 still have a present, and high quality bass, but the bass isn't running the show by any means. I also listen to a variety, but mostly rock, metal, and some various electronic music. I feel like the Q701 with a slight 2db bass boost is the perfect amount, and overall sounds like what I think the artists intended for the most part.  

post #10 of 17
If you like the bass impact along with clarity, dip your ears under an ortho. I agree with the evolution process. Youth loves energy so more is better. Then you start desiring to hear those things being masked by that imposing bass. Eventually, you turn freakish in wanting to hear the proper decay of silverware hitting china at a live show. All good though. biggrin.gif
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

If you like the bass impact along with clarity, dip your ears under an ortho. I agree with the evolution process. Youth loves energy so more is better. Then you start desiring to hear those things being masked by that imposing bass. Eventually, you turn freakish in wanting to hear the proper decay of silverware hitting china at a live show. All good though. biggrin.gif

I agree with this. A great transition  is the HE-400. One of the best "all-arounders" that still has significant bass impact that is much better then the Q-40s bass in quality(not quantity) that is not in the 1000 dollar range.

post #12 of 17

i eq the bass up quite a lot, but only the subbass section to add weight to it, i absolutely hate bloated impactless bass, i do LOVE the lifelike mids on the HD558 though, and i will often miss them when i use other headphones (other than the HD598 of course)
i may consider an ortho next time, sounds promisingtongue.gif

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fearless1 View Post

I agree with this. A great transition  is the he-400. One of the best "all-arounders" that still has significant bass impact that is much better then the Q-40s bass in quality(not quantity) that is not in the 1000 dollar range.

Seconded, sounds like the he-400 would be right up op's alley. after trying planar magnetic headphones I cant see myself going back aside from a few specific dynamic headphones.


Edited by Scyy - 11/11/12 at 10:30am
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scyy View Post

Seconded, sounds like the he-400 would be right up op's alley. after trying planer magnetic headphones I cant see myself going back aside from a few specific dynamic headphones.

I thought I would be stuck with Denons for life because no little could match it's low end response, but the 400's are nearly as involved on the low end and open so it was the selling point for me. Though to be fair, I was willing to hang up the denons for the 650's too, I could live with that level of bass.

post #15 of 17

I think the reason a lot of people start out thinking they love bass over all else is that in the mainstream consumer market, we grow accustomed to hearing one of two things:

 

1. Horrific lo-fi, shower radio, earbuds, oem car stereo, alarm clock sound quality with no bass and crude grain where treble should be.

 

2. The next level up, which thickens/widens that sound in the most cost effective way possible: Tons of subbass frequencies and a shrill spike of treble way up top.

 

Shower radios evolve into boomboxes, oem car stereos have a 12" subwoofer installed, $5 earbuds evolve into "Beats by Dr. Dre", we buy an entry level home theater system that's nothing but a giant sub and 4 miniature tweeters, etc. We think "Man, this is living!" and if we get our hands on an EQ, we - quite rightly - start cutting out what's left of the horrific mid range still present in this grade of audio. The way we measure audio quality is by how rapidly a nickel migrates across the kitchen floor.

 

It becomes ingrained in our hearing that more bass, more treble, less mids = high quality, elite, theater sound.

 

Even when we come around and start to be exposed to speakers/headphones with sufficient separation and transparency to make mid range frequencies enjoyable again, it takes a while to shake the memories of microsoft sam/'90s tape recorders that we once associated with mids.


Edited by machoboy - 11/11/12 at 11:19pm
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