Originally Posted by MohawkUS
Might have something to do with the passive radiator design? I found that the HD700s sounded over saturated. With that design you're not only getting the sound coming from the drivers but that coming off the radiators with a slight delay. For me, it created a forward but in-direct sound. The HD598 had something in the cups that if I'm remembering right blocked the path between the driver and your ears, so you'd only be hearing the sound after it had reflected off of the cups. That headphones sounded smoothed over(or veiled) and had some weird separation in the soundstage. When listening to metal I'd get the drums in one ear and the guitars in the other, the center image was appalling. I haven't tried the 600 series, but going based on what I have heard I'd say Senn's design philosophy is all about having the sound reflecting off the cups into your ears(rather than straight from the driver).
Both headphones reminded me of the sound I got from my STAX when I tried the T1 tube amp. Maybe the way Senn headphones are designed, it creates some kind of even-order harmonics? Am I getting at something here, or just shouting a bunch of bull?
I don't want to come across as rude but I am opting for the second half of your last sentence
. I have never ever heard of a passive radiator design in a headphone, and especially not in a sennheiser open design. A passive radiator is used in speakers as bass tuning, midway between a sealed and ported design.
The HD700, unlike the HD800 with it's ring radiator and absence of audible mechanical resonances in the diaphragm, relies on a traditional membrane. Both headphones share the same open (thin wiremesh) baffle design / angled drivers, yet the HD700 has significant resonances in the upper mids/highs which have been attributed to the driver. Subjectively, as I recall reading impressions, the HD700 is a hit and miss depending of the listener's taste and/or frame of reference. E.g, many seem to have been bothered by the resonances and associated ringing / smearing, but some actually prefer a more lively presentation to the drier sound of a more "controlled" headphone.
In this way, the Hd700 is a anormally in typical senn's house sound (at least as far as flagship dynamic models of the last 15 years) as the HD580, 6X0, and especially 800. Why am rambling on senn, it's an Ultrasone thread after all! Well, my feeling is that, with the Hd700, senn has actually been trying to make a ultrasone like lively sounding phone. I vividly remember how impressed I was by the apparent speed of the Edition 9 and it's totally fun / lively sound. It would take me a few seconds to get over the "strange" tonality and I would then get into the music and enjoy a very raw snappy sound. I recall it portraying a very good sense of space as I could easily hear all the reverberation.
I loved my ed. 9 the whole time I owned it but upgraditis eventually striked in. That's when I moved to other transducers that I realized how peculiar the ultrasone sound was. As it turns out, the edition 9 (and other ultrasones I heard - edition series), had these sharp resonances in the midrange to treble region that were definitely noticeable when you started listening to the can but that my brain could soon get accustomed to. Are they a byproduct of the s-logic and it's indirect driver radiation or the diaphragm itself? I don't think it was ever proved by anyone but I suspect it's the acoustic resonances / reflections from the complex baffle and that the diaphragm is probably rigid over a good portion of the audio range.
I did not like the edition 10 most times I listened to it because of these similar midrange colorations, but it's worth noting I had been owning HD800 and Stax Omega rigs after the edition 9 so my tastes had diverged from the fun / colored sound of the edition 9 to something more neutral and less "gimmicky" in its presentation.
It appears Ultrasone has listened to the feedback from the market this time and the velour pads of the edition 12 is likely to make it sound more pleasant to me than the previous flagship so I am willing to give it a spin next time I get an occasion.
In conclusion, I agree that it's not fair to dismiss a brand entirely and hate it just because it's the norm. For one, designs can change (s-logic has actually evolved over the generations, edition 12 seems to tackle the brightness issues of the ed 10 through the ear pad...). Also, however small it might be here on HF, there's a market for ultrasone's house sound. Personally, I suspect it's more for the "less" experienced audience (like someone coming from colored speaker rigs or other non audiophile headphones) and/or people who favor a fun sound over an accurate one. There's nothing wrong with this, but people should state their preferences, experiences and what gear they compared against when reviewing such phone so that the audiences can put impressions into context.