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Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good. - Page 77

post #1141 of 1155

Hello to everybody this is my first post on this forum. As I see many active posters in this thread own different vintage Sennheiser’s that's why I decided to leave my questions here.

I have a chance to buy Sennheiser HD 430 for 40$ and want to know your opinion: is this worth to buy this pair of headphones or its better not to disperse money and get HD 598 instead? Now I am using old AKG-240 monitors I like them a lot mainly for nice trebles and soundstage but I lack some bass and clearance when a complicated part in music appears.

Also what do you think will my fiio e12 amplifier (880mW at 32 Ohm’s) be capable to run these headphones properly?

 

Thank you.

P.S. Sorry for my poor English.

post #1142 of 1155
Were there different models of the HD540?
post #1143 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudco View Post

Hello to everybody this is my first post on this forum. As I see many active posters in this thread own different vintage Sennheiser’s that's why I decided to leave my questions here.
I have a chance to buy Sennheiser HD 430 for 40$ and want to know your opinion: is this worth to buy this pair of headphones or its better not to disperse money and get HD 598 instead? Now I am using old AKG-240 monitors I like them a lot mainly for nice trebles and soundstage but I lack some bass and clearance when a complicated part in music appears.
Also what do you think will my fiio e12 amplifier (880mW at 32 Ohm’s) be capable to run these headphones properly?

Thank you.
P.S. Sorry for my poor English.

Personally I would not bother with the HD430. I knew it well from years ago, but never looked back once I got the HD540. The HD430 lacked deep bass and more importantly, IMO lacked spatial definition and detail, as far as I remember it. For some reason I really liked the looks of them though, with the gold-colored foam dust covers biggrin.gif
post #1144 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by holden4th View Post

Were there different models of the HD540?

Yes,

I think o0CosmoMemory0o might be able to give you a full breakdown, but summarizing I am aware of the following ones:

HD540 Reference, 600 Ohm, old headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference, 600 Ohm, new headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference Gold, 600 Ohm, new headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference, 300 Ohm, new headband style, velours pads

At some point Sennheiser also made the switch from a steel cable to a Kevlar reinforced OFC copper cable.
post #1145 of 1155

I had the 540s, bought in 1988 and only got rid of them last year. While they were good for their time, when I got the HD580s about 4 years ago I could hear an immediate improvement overall. I wonder if I had a lesser version of the 540s. I do know they were References.

post #1146 of 1155
Some of the original HD540 Reference (mk1) do not sound as good as the Ref II model. They can be a little less resolving where details seem slightly smudged over in comparison. They can also sound a bit dull with a tendency for high frequency clipping during playback. That was my experience with two old headband Ref 1 anyway; think one was 300 Ohm and one was 600 Ohm. The Ref 1 model therefore is less consistent than the 2, which is why I only recommend the 2 to others; I can almost guarantee that it will sound great whereas I don't know whether the 1 will impress or disappoint. The next Ref 1 I tried after those two equalled my Ref II performance; couldn't decide which one sounded better. Just different, I guess. At least the Ref II comes with velvet pads that are simple enough to clean and refoam. Any HD540 that matches an optimized Ref II sound will blow the HD600 sound out of the water, to my ears.
post #1147 of 1155

Looks like mine were the Reference 1 as they did not have the velvet pads. This also makes sense as I can't see your description of the sound of the IIs matching what I heard from my 540s. But even the 1s had flagship sound when they came out. Then in a HiFi store (remember those) I got a listen to the 580s. The sound difference was incredible. This was in the early 90s and I didn't acquire a pair until nearly 20 years later. They are exceptionally good when driven properly.

post #1148 of 1155

HD600 are good and sound more faithful/transparent than the HD650. HD600 has elevated upper bass compared to HD540; drums and orchestra double bass are over-pronounced, which becomes even more apparent when driving them from a neutral, capable headphone amplifier. This punchy upper bass also seems to adversely affect the dynamic changes experienced during crescendos and diminuendos, where the volumes change rapidly. With these transitions, I felt they lost a lot of their physical impact (therefore emotional impact) through the HD600, which didn't seem to express the full jump in volume of some aspects of the tracks I tried. This adversely affected instrument tonality as well; with Japanese instruments such as taiko drums and sho, the altered tonality compared to HD250II (and therefore HD540II, which sounds almost the same) was quite noticeable. The Okami 5CD soundtrack is filled with a myriad of simple and complex tonalities that will quickly help you to clarify whether a headphone of choice is conveying the sound faithfully. I did test with a lot of other music from a lot of genres but this particular soundtrack made the differences very clear indeed, to my ears. I felt that HD540II, HD560II, HD800 and K1000 all equally nailed tonal accuracy and they can't all be wrong, surely?

post #1149 of 1155

@o0CosmoMemory0o

 

Hi Ash. I'm wondering if you can make an estimation of how close your refoamed earpads come to your best pair of stock pads as far as differences in sq goes? Did you also try refoaming the original 540 pads (non-II)?

 

It seems that my preference in signature has changed. Haven't been enjoying the 540 the way I used to in the last couple of weeks. It's so darn flat (which definitely does have its charm) and a lot of the time too bright for my taste even from the most tubey tubes I have. Didn't see that coming.

Edit: not sure if I'm kidding myself but I started thinking what's changed since I stopped enjoying them. RCA cables! Second guesses right now but first impressions are it does seem to smoothen things out.. :confused_face_2: 


Edited by moriez - 8/19/15 at 3:20am
post #1150 of 1155

 

Just got my old HD540 MkII refs out and they are still great plus they are so much more comfortable than the Grado Alessandros I had "replaced" them with.

Got some new foam inner pads and a new cable a few years ago so these bits are still ok and the sound is still great with a headphone amp or my unmodded Asus Xonar Essence STX.

These were made in Ireland and I still have the box, which says 115 pounds, bought them on sale back in about 1993. Best money I spent on phones.


Edited by lardyl - 8/19/15 at 6:36am
post #1151 of 1155

I feel the HD540II lacks a little bass weight compared to HD800 and K1000; doesn't have quite as much authority. This is because of the small driver; the bass representation is neutral for the small driver size and is not elevated to try and thump or to hide its natural roll-off behaviour. They are calibrated well and I get a fantastic, detailed and enjoyable bass response when I pair them with amplifiers from the Graham Slee range of products. The extra power really helps to maximize the bass weight the drivers convey to the listener. I no longer have any stock velour pads; I ended up re-foaming them all with my own foam (after cleaning), which is slightly firmer and thicker than what I removed. The foam sponginess characteristics still allow sound to leave the listening enclosure through the pads (they are not overly damped like the HD250II pleather pads) so this really compliments a more natural stereo imaging and spatial sensation, I feel. If the foam is too flat, the drivers will sit too close to the ear and the sound isn't as spatial. If the earpads don't let some sound out, the music performance will feel cramped and the bass behaviour won't be as natural IMO. If the headband clamp force is too tight, the drivers will be pushed closer to the ear pinna and the sound won't be as spatial. If you use a steel-litz cable, I felt that the presentation may well have been slightly brighter in the treble area. I feel that the foam I bought and used in all my earpads did a very good job at imitating the original foam and preserving the natural stereo imaging. Haven't tried re-foaming the Ref 1 pads.

post #1152 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2leftears View Post


Yes,

I think o0CosmoMemory0o might be able to give you a full breakdown, but summarizing I am aware of the following ones:

HD540 Reference, 600 Ohm, old headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference, 600 Ohm, new headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference Gold, 600 Ohm, new headband style, cloth & pleather pads
HD540 Reference, 300 Ohm, new headband style, velours pads

At some point Sennheiser also made the switch from a steel cable to a Kevlar reinforced OFC copper cable.


The box in the photo I posted has a label saying HD-540-II and serial number (??), 22106673.

Labelled elsewhere as Reference II and Made In Ireland.

The main box is marked "OFC 99,99% cable".

There is a sticky (German language) label on it indicating reviews from Stereoplay and Hifi Vision from 11/91 and 1/92 respectively dating the cans as post January 92.

300 Ohm according to spec label on side of box.

post #1153 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post
 

<...> I ended up re-foaming them all with my own foam (after cleaning), which is slightly firmer and thicker than what I removed. The foam sponginess characteristics still allow sound to leave the listening enclosure through the pads (they are not overly damped like the HD250II pleather pads) so this really compliments a more natural stereo imaging and spatial sensation, I feel. If the foam is too flat, the drivers will sit too close to the ear and the sound isn't as spatial. If the earpads don't let some sound out, the music performance will feel cramped and the bass behaviour won't be as natural IMO. If the headband clamp force is too tight, the drivers will be pushed closer to the ear pinna and the sound won't be as spatial. If you use a steel-litz cable, I felt that the presentation may well have been slightly brighter in the treble area. I feel that the foam I bought and used in all my earpads did a very good job at imitating the original foam and preserving the natural stereo imaging. Haven't tried re-foaming the Ref 1 pads.

 

Do you by any chance know what type of foam you used?  Open-cell I assume, but polyurethane or neoprene for example?  And if I may ask, where did you source it from?

post #1154 of 1155

Unfortunately I don't know the type or the material of the foam. I bought a big roll of it for £15 from a local market many months back when I visited a local town. I went around touching and feeling all of the different foam thicknesses and (unnamed) types until I found something that felt very similar to what I removed from the pads. When I got my foam home and compared it, I thought I may have got a bit too thick but I was able to make it work by either trimming off a bit of my final doughnut-shaped foams or simply by squashing it all into the velvet skin. I do have a lot of foam left which I no longer need. I have cut it all into squares ready to cut circular doughnut shapes out of them all so I will be able to sell them off to HD540 owners in the future who would like to try re-foaming their pads. My current priority is to sell my six remaining HD540 first though, as I only wish to use the K1000 now. After that, I will help people out with re-foaming their HD540s.

post #1155 of 1155

Anyone can compare the HD540 or HD560 to the AKG K712?

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