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Headphones dont sound as good when on low volume (HD650)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

so I am not an audiophile, I own HD650 which are my first real good headphones.

 

however I found that there are details I cannot hear unless I pump the volume slightly on the high side.

 

I dont enjoy loud volume music\ movies, in fact I find it annoying, however I like the level of details I get when the volume on the high side.

 

it might be worth mentioning that I dont use an AMP, and drive my headphones from PC directly

 

as far as I know, an amp will allow higher volume ceiling with less distortion, but as I mentioned earlier I dont like high volumes.

 

let me know your thoughts guys

post #2 of 25

The Q701 is good for detail at low volume. Maybe give them a try.

post #3 of 25

I found this slightly annoying on the HD-650 too, even with O2+ODAC.

 

Maybe try HE-400 too?

post #4 of 25

i completely agree.  i too use the hd650, my only full size headphone, but i use it amped.

 

unless i crank the amp to 10 or 11 oclock, the music doesnt have the same presence as with lower volumes. 

i think i noticed a similar difference between high and low gain as well, but i havent done enough listening in low gain to notice.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

sounds like the HD650 have to go then.

 

by the way,  how do you compare amped vs un-amped HD650 on low volume?

 

does the amp unlock the headphones better even at low volume, or is the amp only job to increase max sound level

post #6 of 25

It very well may improve with a nice amp, but they are still not the most revealing headphone out there for low volume listening. I had them on an $850 HeadRoom desktop amp/DAC and although they sounded nice, they were just to polite. At the time I did like them, but now that I have heard brighter headphones I would not be able to deal with how laid back the HD650 is.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by razor1911 View Post

sounds like the HD650 have to go then.

 

by the way,  how do you compare amped vs un-amped HD650 on low volume?

 

does the amp unlock the headphones better even at low volume, or is the amp only job to increase max sound level

post #7 of 25

u need a dac with good resolution to hear the details better at low volume.

recently i switched between two dac..48khz n 96khz..hmmm quite telling.

And a very quiet surrounding for open cans. 

 

and i do think some cans just need to be heard LOUD...like an Ultrasone...to wake up the s-logic surround effect :P

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post

u need a dac with good resolution to hear the details better at low volume.

recently i switched between two dac..48khz n 96khz..hmmm quite telling.

And a very quiet surrounding for open cans. 

 

and i do think some cans just need to be heard LOUD...like an Ultrasone...to wake up the s-logic surround effect :P

 

I think I need to clarify by lack of details,

I mean missing instruments like subtle and quieter instruments.

post #9 of 25

A dac and amp will make some improvements, but will not solve the fundamental issue of low level listening. Read up on this... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

 

The gist of it is that at low volumes, you hear less of the lows and highs. The lows are where your impactfulness and body in the sound comes from, and the highs are where your detail comes from. I'm generalizing of course, but that's the basic idea. The louder you play your music, the closer your hearing approaches an even frequency response. That's why it's human nature to "turn it up" to make music sound better, and what accounts for the loudness war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_wars) in music recording today. 

 

A headphone with a more emphasized bass and treble would probably suit you well. Something that isolates well might also be an option because external noise affects our ability to discern lows and highs as well. If you're sticking with the HD650, then consider using EQ. I'd recommend getting a budget dac/amp (or upgrade to a decent soundcard with a headphone amplifier) just to take a step up from onboard sound which is usually pretty lousy. 

post #10 of 25

^Excellent post.

 

The HD 650 is relatively neutral (maybe a bit laid back), which will make the bass and high roll off of your ears at low listening volumes even worse.
 

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

the above does make sense now, I just read about the loudness wars.

 

would you think something like the hifiman HE-400 would sound better at lower volume? as I am currently looking to replace mine with those.

 

also I had Xonar ST in my PC, and noticed no difference between that and my onboard audio

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

found a problem to solve this problem for now.

 

volume equalizer in windows set to "powerfull" whatever that means.

 

but the sound is better, but after a while its sorta causes a headache. not sure if that make sense to anyone

post #13 of 25

While people like to say "source first" on the forums, the source feels diminishing returns the fastest. Spend the money on the headphones first, amp next, source last. 

 

If you don't hear any difference with the Xonar ST, that's fine. Don't spend any money upgrading the dac/amp then. Spend the money on the headphone instead.

 

Unfortunately I haven't heard the HE-400, so I can't really comment on the sound. 

 

I'm not sure what the "powerful" setting is, though if I had to guess I would think it'd be something like a loudness compensation curve which would boost the lows and highs. It might not be a terribly good eq, or maybe it boosts too much, or over too broad a frequency range, or has a lousy filter between specific frequency boost and envelope boost (if you don't know what that means, don't worry... different eq programs handle the calculations differently. EQ is way more than just "boost or lower this frequency).

 

If you can download a decent parametric EQ program, play around with that a bit and see how things sound. Give yourself a shelf boost by 3-6dB at around 100Hz and lower. In the upper end you might want to raise a few notches starting around 1000Hz, but be careful not to overdo it because the ear has natural resonance points and you'll actually want to tone down specific points (usually around 2k and 4k, but it varies per person). 

 

Or just try a different headphone. Something like a Sony V6 or 7506 is a nice one and doesn't need nearly as much power as the HD650. If you really want open and sticking to the same price range-ish, the K701/2 mentioned above is ok though again it does tend to want a bit more power (don't think of an amp as simply more power, but being able to provide headroon for the transient responses and dynamic range). An Audio Technica like the AD900 might also work (which I think has been replaced by the AD900X, but I haven't heard that one either).

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

here is a screen shot of windows settings.

 

http://postimage.org/image/r2zdoh3k5/full/

 

that setting remove the "muddiness" of the sound, however harsh sounds become even harsher.

 

what is a EQ program you recommend?

post #15 of 25

This is a certainly interesting topic, and I have put some times to study. One theory is that because the output power is not of constant at different volume, which the cans cannot perform as well. Even with amp this can happen, due to component used, etc. Gonna run ttyl.

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