Hi everyone. New user here. I've gotten into the world of audiophiles recently "thanks" to a friend. Now my bank account is in a drought. Anyways, I got the M50 a few months back, and at the time they were an amazing upgrade from my long list of $20 headphones. However, summer came and it got hot, and the M50 got very uncomfortable to use. Couldn't wear them for more than 20 minutes at a time.
So I looked for pair of open headphones that are comfortable and I decided on the HD 598.
Maybe my ears just naturally attuned to open headphones, but to me the upgrade from M50 to HD 598 was greater than from the $20 headphones (okay Koss KSC 75 at least) to M50. I should also note that I listen to pop/rock music mostly, though recently I've been listening to acoustic guitar and other lighter rock. I'm currently in a Jpop phase. YUI <3
I started looking into more high end headphones, and the HD 700 piqued my interest since they were cheaper than the HD 800 and people mentioned they were less fussy on amps. I went to a local Best Buy the other day, and they happened to have the HD 700 on display to try. So I brought along my HD 598 to compare.
Unfortunately, they didn't have any amps, so I was left to try both without. Now I have been using my HD 598 with my smartphone (HTC One), without an amp, but the HD 598 work really well unamped.
Here is what I thought about the two headphones without an amp (and with smartphone DAC):
- HD 598 was the clear winner over the HD 700 (am I crazy? once again, NO AMP)
- HD 598 was very clean, and I could hear the instruments and vocals distinctly. Instruments did not overpower vocals.
- HD 700 had more bass, but it seemed to make everything muddy. All of the instruments and sounds seemed less clear, almost as if at a lower quality. Less separation of instruments.
- This may be just placebo from looking at the HD 700 price tag: HD 700 brought out some sounds and instruments that the HD 598 did not bring out, but once again it was all muddy.
So am I crazy here, or does this make sense that without an amp, the HD 598 outperforms the HD 700? If I was really hearing more instrumentation with the HD 700, perhaps a proper amp/DAC will reduce the muddiness overall and really bring out all the sounds. In that case, it would beat the HD 598 with same or better clarity and even more sounds.
I guess what my personal preference on what I should hear from music is a wide soundstage, distinct separation of instruments and sounds, and a clean, crisp vocal that is not overpowered by other instruments.
I'm still interested in the HD 700 if an amp/DAC will bring out its true sound and obliterate the HD 598. Hopefully, my experience with the HD 700 was just the result of the lack of amp/DAC.
Can anyone confirm my experience to be valid or should I go and get my ears checked ?
Here are examples of some of the music I used to compare (LAME mp3 VBR V0 quality on my device):
Heavier stuff, probably as heavy as I'd ever go: