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Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good. - Page 17

post #241 of 750

I also feel that my Reference II has greater resolution than my Reference I. The scale of the music and spatial projection are noticeably improved. I doubt the Ref I 600 Ohm will be any more spatial. For better imaging than the Ref II, you'd have to use something like the HD800 or the AKG K1000,  I reckon.


Edited by o0CosmoMemory0o - 4/10/14 at 1:38am
post #242 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moriez View Post

 

What I've found up until now is that Ref II is noticeably brighter. Not just that, it's also of a higher resolution so to speak. Better at details so technically better in my opinion. Ref I sounds a bit muddy when comparing back to back but has a little more ''fun'' to it.

Well, imo, my 540-600 (250 Linear pads) resolves at least as good as 540 II and isn't muddy at all.
Ref II have a better  bass extension and more quantity, but it is less textured. Plus, Ref I 600's bass is a bit weak but doesn't have that somewhat annoying mid-bass hump (100Hz or 150Hz?) of my Ref II (which -- who knows -- could be a lemon or damaged?).

But for me the biggest differences ("night and day") are:
(this track, among many others, allows a good comparison:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRUL6uIYsiE)

1) the soundstage/imaging/presentation and vocals and mids reproduction:
- soundstage: wide airy  (AKG 701 like) with Ref I 600 Vs. almost claustrophobic soundstage with Ref II
- imaging of the highest calibre with Ref I 600 Vs. average imaging with Ref II
- presentation: very nice "middle row seats" presentation (not too laid-back, not to close) for Ref I 600 Vs. "in the head" or on stage presentation with Ref II (similar to my Grado sr60i or Senn HD 25)

2) mids reproduction (vocals, strings)
- vocals may at first listen sound a lil distant (not recessed though) with Ref I 600, but after a few minutes you realize that they are better located in space, centered, in front of you (same as an excellent crossfeed filter) and sound more realistic (timbre) Vs. shouty and kinda grainy vocals of the Ref II.
- strings have better timbre and separation with Ref I 600

All in all, 540-600 sounds way more refined to my ears.
I know most of you will completely disagree.
But I hope you won't give me hell for that one... biggrin.gif  tongue.gif  
Edited by Hairspray - 4/10/14 at 2:59pm
post #243 of 750
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hairspray View Post


Well, imo, my 540-600 (250 Linear pads) resolves at least as good as 540 II and isn't muddy at all.
Ref II have a better  bass extension and more quantity, but it is less textured. Plus, Ref I 600's bass is a bit weak but doesn't have that somewhat annoying mid-bass hump (100Hz or 150Hz?) of my Ref II (which -- who knows -- could be a lemon or damaged?).

But for me the biggest differences ("night and day") are:
(this track, among many others, allows a good comparison:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRUL6uIYsiE)

1) the soundstage/imaging/presentation and vocals and mids reproduction:
- soundstage: wide airy  (AKG 701 like) with Ref I 600 Vs. almost claustrophobic soundstage with Ref II
- imaging of the highest calibre with Ref I 600 Vs. average imaging with Ref II
- presentation: very nice "middle row seats" presentation (not too laid-back, not to close) for Ref I 600 Vs. "in the head" or on stage presentation with Ref II (similar to my Grado sr60i or Senn HD 25)

2) mids reproduction (vocals, strings)
- vocals may at first listen sound a lil distant (not recessed though) with Ref I 600, but after a few minutes you realize that they are better located in space, centered, in front of you (same as an excellent crossfeed filter) and sound more realistic (timbre) Vs. shouty and kinda grainy vocals of the Ref II.
- strings have better timbre and separation with Ref I 600

All in all, 540-600 sounds way more refined to my ears.
I know most of you will completely disagree.
But I hope you won't give me hell for that one... biggrin.gif  tongue.gif

Did you make that comparison using the exact same cable?

 

My experience is that the 540 model line is extremely sensitive to cable changes. (If anyone doubts that cables can make an audible difference, a 540 is the headphone to demonstrate.)

post #244 of 750
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostonears View Post
 

(If anyone doubts that cables can make an audible difference, a 540 is the headphone to demonstrate.)

 

People can co-send a HD 540 with a bunch of (presumably HD 540) cables over to Tyll's lab and he could measure them.

post #245 of 750

Different cable material, different earpad material and different inner material can all produce subtle (but significant enough to notice during extended listening) changes in frequency balance and spatial projection of the drivers. I foresee only an earspeaker design that allows interaural crosstalk to be able to better the stereo image of my HD540II.  Even the HD800 design uses earpads and will not permit interaural crosstalk in that configuration. I shall pursue the AKG K1000 soon, to test my prediction.

post #246 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post
 

 

People can co-send a HD 540 with a bunch of (presumably HD 540) cables over to Tyll's lab and he could measure them.

 

Ha-ha-ha..! :D

I bet his 'to-do list' is pretty long...

Tyll, could you please first measure the bass-port modded Q701?  :D 

.

post #247 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post
 

Different cable material, different earpad material and different inner material can all produce subtle (but significant enough to notice during extended listening) changes in frequency balance and spatial projection of the drivers. I foresee only an earspeaker design that allows interaural crosstalk to be able to better the stereo image of my HD540II.  Even the HD800 design uses earpads and will not permit interaural crosstalk in that configuration. I shall pursue the AKG K1000 soon, to test my prediction.

 

AKG K1000 is a statement product (like the Orpheus) to show AKG's know-how in the context of the competition against Stax.

And, as you have mentioned, AKG K1000 = a pair of loudspeakers on the head, not a headphone.

Wouldn't it be like comparing apples and oranges?


Edited by Hairspray - 4/12/14 at 2:54pm
post #248 of 750

HD540II is excellent within its design limitations but if I want better spatiality now, I have to try a headspeaker. I tried the HD540II capsules in a headspeaker configuration and the spatial qualities improved at the expense of the lowest bass frequencies. I do not use speakers so I want a reference headspeaker alongside my HD540II, to compensate. 

post #249 of 750

I have been using the Graham Slee Bitzie DAC twin analogue outputs to play music into my 600 Ohm HD540 Reference I capsules and my 300 Ohm HD540 Reference II capsules simultaneously. To give the fairest comparison, both headphones are fitted with a HD540II headband, thin inner cloth, default HD540II velour earpads and standard OFC HD250II cable. The differences between HD540I 600 Ohm drivers and my reference HD540II drivers are very subtle, at best. I probably couldn't tell them apart in a blind test. I think the Ref II might be very fractionally more forward in the treble but this may be because they've had a longer "run in" period than the HD540 I 600 Ohms. I deem both to be equivalent and excellent. The 600 Ohm HD540I capsules I have now are more refined than those I previously had; I don't know why... Perhaps the quality control for the Ref I model was less stringent than it was for the II, leading to a less consistent sound quality in the I models?? Anyway, both are amazing and I may keep the 600 Ohm HD540I as a second reference, as it now kicks my HD560 Ovation II out of my number 2 spot. Both HD540s seem to be more spatial in their sound presentation than the HD560II, although the Ovation II also has the same exceptional neutrality.

post #250 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post
 

I have been using the Graham Slee Bitzie DAC twin analogue outputs to play music into my 600 Ohm HD540 Reference I capsules and my 300 Ohm HD540 Reference II capsules simultaneously. To give the fairest comparison, both headphones are fitted with a HD540II headband, thin inner cloth, default HD540II velour earpads and standard OFC HD250II cable. The differences between HD540I 600 Ohm drivers and my reference HD540II drivers are very subtle, at best. I probably couldn't tell them apart in a blind test. I think the Ref II might be very fractionally more forward in the treble but this may be because they've had a longer "run in" period than the HD540 I 600 Ohms. I deem both to be equivalent and excellent. The 600 Ohm HD540I capsules I have now are more refined than those I previously had; I don't know why... Perhaps the quality control for the Ref I model was less stringent than it was for the II, leading to a less consistent sound quality in the I models?? Anyway, both are amazing and I may keep the 600 Ohm HD540I as a second reference, as it now kicks my HD560 Ovation II out of my number 2 spot. Both HD540s seem to be more spatial in their sound presentation than the HD560II, although the Ovation II also has the same exceptional neutrality.

 

Very interesting. Thanks for doing this comparison and posting your impressions.

Regarding the Ref I 600 ohms, I have to admit that I was suspecting a placebo effect.

I have no problem with taking advantage of the placebo effect if it improves my listening experience.

I was afraid I was fooling myself though... :D

 

But your comparison kinda confirms my guess that the theoretically lighter and more responsive diaphragm of the Ref I 600 ohms (vs. 300 ohms) and/or the higher damping factor have an "objective" positive impact on the SQ.


Edited by Hairspray - 4/17/14 at 5:17am
post #251 of 750

I agree with most of you, this one is by far the best headphone i have ever had. I've got one it's over 25 years old and i never changed the parts, which i really need to :P

post #252 of 750

For my expectations of audio equipment and my current experience with headphones, I consider the HD540II, under the right conditions, to be one of the best non-speaker music solutions in the world IMO. In my experience, they are consistently excellent drivers. The HD540I models seem to be hit and miss (less consistent in sound quality), with some driver pairs matching the fidelity of the Mk II drivers (e.g my HD540I 600 Ohm) whilst other HD540I driver pairs are good but significantly less refined. My experience with the HD560II is also very positive. They are very neutral but less spatial and immersive than the best HD540s IMO. The HD250 models with pleather pads are also excellent but dip a little bit in the lower midrange and their bass can sometimes tend towards being a little overpowering on some of my test material (well mastered work). Overall a little less natural than the HD540 but do very very well for a sealed headphone. I sold the HD600 several months ago as they are less transparent than all of these other Sennheisers and the emphasized upper bass reduces sound dynamics and alters the tonality of real instruments, especially those with more complex character.


Edited by o0CosmoMemory0o - 4/19/14 at 4:54am
post #253 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post

[...] My experience with the HD560II is also very positive. They are very neutral but less spatial[...]

Agree100%. HD 560 Ovation II is highly neutral.
HD 560 Ovation I sounds completely different though: uber-detailed, resolves way better than 540 I/II and 560 Ovation I, but is too bright IMO.
Anyway, both 560 I and II are clearly inferior in terms of soundstage and imaging ("less spatial" as you say) vs. HD 540 I 600 ohm.
BTW, if you haven't tried Beyerdynamic DT 250 - 250 ohm yet (another -- almost vintage -- high-end underrated HP), you should. IMO, it cannot compete with Ref I 600 but, although it's a closed-back, that Beyer offers easily better imaging than 560 I and mk II.
Edited by Hairspray - 4/19/14 at 5:56pm
post #254 of 750

I wonder if it rivals the Sennheiser HD250 Linear I and II in overall performance. I tried a HD250 Linear I with HD250II copper cable and HD540II inner cloth and earpads and then compared it directly with my HD540II. The two sounded extremely close, with me preferring the Ref II a little. Although sound porous velour pads no longer made the HD250I a sealed headphone as sound could leak. So this is kind of cheating.


Edited by o0CosmoMemory0o - 4/19/14 at 11:55pm
post #255 of 750
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post

"I wonder if it rivals the Sennheiser HD250 Linear I and II in overall performance."

Which headphone do you mean by "it"? (sorry if i'm a bit confused).
Edited by Hairspray - 4/20/14 at 6:12pm
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