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HD650 vs DT880 (2005 Edition): bass comparison?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

This Headfonia round-up of the DT880, HD650 and K701;

 

http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650/3/

 

...seems to suggest that the HD650 has a 'much weightier' bass presence than the DT880?

 

However, I currently own both, and cannot hear that there's much of a difference at all in their bass quantity. Overall, the sound coming out of the HD650 does feel more 'solid' somehow, but I am attributing that to the mids, especially the lower mids being much more lushly presented and more prominent than the low mids of the DT880. The bass itself, however, is very similar between the headphones in quantity, and I think the DT880 even extends a bit lower into the real sub-bass register.

 

Has anyone who has heard both of these headphones had similar experiences with the bass? Or, indeed, different experiences?

 

Thanks in advance!!

post #2 of 20

I haven't heard the 2005 edition, but I would say the HD650 is a bit thicker and punchier, but it doesn't go as low as the DT880. The HD650 is more midbass, whereas the DT880 is versatile and does all bass pretty well in my opinion.

post #3 of 20

Heya,

 

I actually don't know where the idea that the HD650 is "bassy" comes from frankly. It has a little more mid-bass than other sennheisers, but not much, and it's treble roll-off is what makes it sound warmer/darker to me anyways. I don't find the HD650 to be bassy. The DT880 is about the same "bassy" really, it has a small mid-bass hump as well. Funny how it's not referred to as "bassy" yet the HD650 does, and they have very similar bass levels. Oh, internet, how you construe things...

 

I much prefer the DT880 myself, but that's because I like more treble.

 

Very best,

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I know, I expected them to be markedly different in the bass region as HD650 are always described as being 'warm and dark' and the DT880's are always described as being 'fast and bright'. Those are actually two opposite descriptions, and I expected the headphones to sound almost opposite of each other, but they're really very similar. The bass of the DT880's is not in any way lacking and I hear it as being on par with the HD650 in quantity.

 

For example, one headphone that does sound very different from both the HD650 and the DT880 is the K701. That difference is as 'night and day' as I've heard in mid-fi audio. The K701 has clearly less bass than either the DT880 and HD650 and overall the transient response makes it sound much harder than the DT880 and HD650 which sound 'soft' by comparison, but not in isolation.

 

Still, what baffles me is that a lot of people put the K701 as being 'in-between' the sounds of the DT880 and the HD650 - including that Headfonia roundup I just posted. To me, the DT880 and HD650 sound like they come from the same family almost as both feature a quite solid, meaty sound - it's just that the HD650 has more emphasis on the mids and a tighter soundstage, and the DT880 has more emphasis on the highs and a larger soundstage. The K701 is very different from either of them (clearly not from the same family) and really lacks impact when compared to either and also sounds much 'sharper'.

 

I would say the basic sound of the K701 is airy whereas the Senn and Beyer are both solid.

post #5 of 20

Agree with the above posts. I owned the 650 for years and currently own the DT880, and bass to me is about the same on both. Bass aside though, I do think the DT880 is a better balanced headphone--better overall, in fact. I find much less listener fatigue with the DT880. It seems kinder to harsh material without missing anything, like upper mids, which is usually the case when a phone is easy on the ear. For all the lushness of the 650, the DT880 seems to more balanced, neutral and refined, and I'm surprised it doesn't have a larger following.  

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Agree with the above posts. I owned the 650 for years and currently own the DT880, and bass to me is about the same on both. Bass aside though, I do think the DT880 is a better balanced headphone--better overall, in fact. I find much less listener fatigue with the DT880. It seems kinder to harsh material without missing anything, like upper mids, which is usually the case when a phone is easy on the ear. For all the lushness of the 650, the DT880 seems to more balanced, neutral and refined, and I'm surprised it doesn't have a larger following.  

Though I don't really consider either to be very neutral, I'd give the HD650 the edge in neutrality. Bass, I agree, is about the same in both. The midrange is a lot more alive on the HD650 and I feel that the treble of the DT880 is a bit too much, especially for a can that's considered neutral by many. Not Q/K 701 treble, but still sibiliant at times, giving me listening fatigue. The HD650 was practically fatigue-free in comparison, though it was a bit more boring than the DT880 at times. 

 

Probably the notion that the DT880 has less bass than the HD650 is due to its larger treble presence. But when we compare just the bass of the two, they are very similar in quantity. 

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

Though I don't really consider either to be very neutral, I'd give the HD650 the edge in neutrality. Bass, I agree, is about the same in both. The midrange is a lot more alive on the HD650 and I feel that the treble of the DT880 is a bit too much, especially for a can that's considered neutral by many. Not Q/K 701 treble, but still sibiliant at times, giving me listening fatigue. The HD650 was practically fatigue-free in comparison, though it was a bit more boring than the DT880 at times. 

 

 

 

The DT-880 treble is probably age-dependent. I'm 66, so it probably suits my HF rolloff. However, I was aware of it when I took them out of the box, but it's disappeared in the weeks since. Burn in?

 

Not sure about the 650 midrange being more alive. Or maybe what you're calling alive is to me forward and thus a little harsh. The two show a very similar FR graph save for the treble; use a typical tone control on an integrated amp and I daresay they could be made very alike, and that the DT880s midrange would step forward proportionately.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=853&graphID[]=963

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

 

The DT-880 treble is probably age-dependent. I'm 66, so it probably suits my HF rolloff. However, I was aware of it when I took them out of the box, but it's disappeared in the weeks since. Burn in?

 

Not sure about the 650 midrange being more alive. Or maybe what you're calling alive is to me forward and thus a little harsh. The two show a very similar FR graph save for the treble; use a typical tone control on an integrated amp and I daresay they could be made very alike, and that the DT880s midrange would step forward proportionately.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID%5B%5D=853&graphID%5B%5D=963

I always felt that the Beyerdynamic cans had a bit of a recessed midrange. The DT880 doesn't have this issue as much as the DT770 and the DT990 (which I auditioned a while ago), but still the vocals feel a tad recessed then it should be. Maybe this was due to a larger presence of the treble? I do not know. I feel like the HD650 rolls off treble too much and the DT880 has a tad too much treble. 

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

In a way I think the DT880 offers the best of both worlds of the HD650 and K701 because it has the powerful bass (for an open headphone) of the HD650 and also has the articulate highs of the K701.

 

However, it's not accurate to say sonically it sits in between the HD650 and the K701 because it has the same 'soft' presentation of the leading edges of notes as the HD650. In fact, I would say it sounds even softer than the HD650 in this regard. The K701 present transients in a very hard, unforgiving way. This is one way in which the frequency response can't tell the whole story because it doesn't account for this hard/soft presentation. If you are listening to very fast, complex music such as technical metal, there is an awesome sense of detail with the K701. Things can blur a little with the other two. But equally, if you're listening to groove-based rock, it sounds far more sterile on the K701 than the DT880 and/or HD650 which both sound a lot more 'liquid' with stuff like that.

 

Also, the midrange of the K701 (from what I remember) seemed more pronounced than the DT880. Some have suggested that the treble is actually less prominent in the K701 than the DT880 (the focus of the K701 seems entirely in the mids) - but I can't compare them directly as I no longer have the K701. I guess the hard transients the K701 produces might lead some to believe there is more treble emphasis than there actually is.

 

Of the three, I would say that the K701 by far sounds the most analytical, but my opinion jars with the Headfonia article in which it was proposed that the DT880 sounds the most analytical.


Edited by cactus_farmer - 12/27/12 at 5:54pm
post #10 of 20

 I've been trying to make up my mind between hd650 and dt880 600ohm for quite some time now and this thread seems like a good place to ask questions about the two smile.gif.

 

I was just about the get the hd650 but saw this thread where I see that some people here favor the dt880 in certain ways that I have not read elsewhere (like headfonia).

 

I listen to instrumental music most of the time at home, especially jazz (90% piano trios like Bill Evans and Brad Mehldao/ EST) and post/math-rock.

 

I was wondering which one of the two is better suited for my musical preference..

 

I would like to know which one's got more of a 3-D soundstage with better imaging(!) and depth.

 

And which one would be better for low level listening? (and should I worry about the dt880's 'harsh treble' and its infamous listening fatigue? or would that treble emphasis be better for low level listening?)

 

I guess I would like to be fully convinced before finally buying one without being able to try any of them.

(and my source is HRT msii+ and indeed g3 and probably going to upgrade the amp after)

 

I'm sure any one of these is a great choice but I would love to hear any input from you guys. Thank you!


Edited by goodwithtempos - 1/4/13 at 4:08am
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodwithtempos View Post

 I've been trying to make up my mind between hd650 and dt880 600ohm for quite some time now and this thread seems like a good place to ask questions about the two smile.gif.

 

I was just about the get the hd650 but saw this thread where I see that some people here favor the dt880 in certain ways that I have not read elsewhere (like headfonia).

 

I listen to instrumental music most of the time at home, especially jazz (90% piano trios like Bill Evans and Brad Mehldao/ EST) and post/math-rock.

 

I was wondering which one of the two is better suited for my musical preference..

 

I would like to know which one's got more of a 3-D soundstage with better imaging(!) and depth.

 

And which one would be better for low level listening? (and should I worry about the dt880's 'harsh treble' and its infamous listening fatigue? or would that treble emphasis be better for low level listening?)

 

I guess I would like to be fully convinced before finally buying one without being able to try any of them.

(and my source is HRT msii+ and indeed g3 and probably going to upgrade the amp after)

 

I'm sure any one of these is a great choice but I would love to hear any input from you guys. Thank you!

If you're looking for great soundstage with superior imaging, the HD598 easily beats both.

 

I remember the DT880 having a better proportion to its soundstage than the HD600, which didn't have enough width. In contrast, something like the AKG Q/K701 has too much width, with little depth to it. With that said, I would probably pick the HD650 over the other two, just because it has a darker sound for something like jazz. 

 

I don't listen to much jazz (occasionally Bill Evans and Coltraine but that's about it) but for classical music, I easily prefer the HD598 over the HD650 most of the time. The times when I don't are when I want that midbass emphasis of the HD650 for certain parts of a track, but EQ can always compensate. But who knows... maybe you'll prefer the slightly darker sound of the HD650 for jazz. 

post #12 of 20

Just to confuse goodwithtempos thoroughly,  I owned the HD598 and sold it after a week. Found it very harsh, with wiry strings (I listen to classical exclusively). Currently have the HE-500 and DT880 and can't choose between them. DT880 is a total steal at its price, and a good bit above.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Just to confuse goodwithtempos thoroughly,  I owned the HD598 and sold it after a week. Found it very harsh, with wiry strings (I listen to classical exclusively). Currently have the HE-500 and DT880 and can't choose between them. DT880 is a total steal at its price, and a good bit above.

Harsh? What kind of music specifically? 

 

If anything I find the DT880 to be harsh due to its treble. 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodwithtempos View Post

 I've been trying to make up my mind between hd650 and dt880 600ohm for quite some time now and this thread seems like a good place to ask questions about the two smile.gif.

 

I was just about the get the hd650 but saw this thread where I see that some people here favor the dt880 in certain ways that I have not read elsewhere (like headfonia).

 

I listen to instrumental music most of the time at home, especially jazz (90% piano trios like Bill Evans and Brad Mehldao/ EST) and post/math-rock.

 

I was wondering which one of the two is better suited for my musical preference..

 

I would like to know which one's got more of a 3-D soundstage with better imaging(!) and depth.

 

And which one would be better for low level listening? (and should I worry about the dt880's 'harsh treble' and its infamous listening fatigue? or would that treble emphasis be better for low level listening?)

 

I guess I would like to be fully convinced before finally buying one without being able to try any of them.

(and my source is HRT msii+ and indeed g3 and probably going to upgrade the amp after)

 

I'm sure any one of these is a great choice but I would love to hear any input from you guys. Thank you!

Btw for low level listening, some people believe that V-shaped curves of the frequency response will be more present than with neutral curves. And both the DT880 and HD598/650 are relatively neutral. 

 

DT880 doesn't have the harshest treble but it should be tamed down. Like I said before, I feel the DT880 should have more midrange presence. It's slightly recessed in that region. In contrast, I do feel that the HD598 can be very slightly harsh in the midrange to upper midrange. Upper registers of violin or very high soprano register of the voice can sound too forward at times. But this doesn't happen often, and is usually a good thing. In contrast, I just feel the DT880 doesn't cut it with vocals or most of the midrange region. And anything that has a good amount of treble (like say 20th century orchestral works or jazz with a lot of cymbals) can be fatiguing on the DT880. 

 

Uh for reference here are certain pieces of classical music where the HD598 can sound a bit too forward:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZaYvbGVZ_U  (3:44- 3:48) : it's worthy to mention that this may just be part of the recording 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPKTVg5hvQw (anywhere in the upper register is very slightly forward; never to the point of listening fatigue; now that I think about it, if you listen at low volume, the HD598 might be good for midrange oriented classical music). 

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

Harsh? What kind of music specifically? 

 

If anything I find the DT880 to be harsh due to its treble. 

 

My Lord, you didn't read my post--'classical exclusively'. If you check around you'll find another classical listener who also posted about the 598 being harsh with strings, only he put it down to a resonance in the cups. Personally I was surprised when I first tried them, as I always liked the HD595 and never found it harsh.

 

As for the DT880, I don't find the treble harsh at all. Probably due to HF hearing loss I'm not bothered by the treble peak, and in terms of quality and texture I find the DT880 just about spot-on.

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