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Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good. - Page 25

post #361 of 1363
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post
 

 

I don't see the basis for this idea of a natural sound - and if a source alters the response then you're screwed any which way. The way you hear a given pair of headphones will never be what the engineers had in mind even if you had the exact same source as them, and if you do hear something that sounds natural, you can be sure the drivers aren't what's producing it but rather the acoustic filtering produced by your pinna and ear canal, which are unique to you and which you can't get rid of. The notion that you can have direct access to 'the sound of the headphones' is fantasy to begin with, in my reasoning.

 

The second point about there being a limit to what you can accomplish through EQ is true in the sense that there are certain limits, but do they matter? I've literally EQ'd headphones to have 99% perfect impulse responses, something you can never achieve by modding nor by throwing money at headphone.com. So if you mind that you can't get the last 1% with EQ then you've at least gotten twice as much as you otherwise would've.

 

Some people just have a preference to not EQ, and that's fine. Sometimes it might prevent them from getting higher-quality audio, but...

I am not talking about the "natural" sound of the headphones as in what they were "intended" to sound like, but rather what they sound like on a non equalized source to you. Obviously sources are going to have some influence, but not as much as a full on equalization will. My point was that if you are used to your headphones with a certain EQ and then you go and plug them in to someone else's stereo they are going to sound totally different, so in order to preserve the sound you want out of them you need to carry around whatever holds your EQ everywhere. I prefer to have headphones sound how I want them to on any reasonably neutral device, so I prefer not to equalize them. I listen on a lot of different devices that have very different EQ capabilities, so there is no way I would be able to match them exactly.
This is more of a convenience argument than anything else, but it matters to me. I had a pair of HD280s for 7 years that I had to EQ to get a sound I didn't hate, and it was very hard to listen to them when I switched to something without EQ capability.

post #362 of 1363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjolnir125 View Post
 

My point was that if you are used to your headphones with a certain EQ and then you go and plug them in to someone else's stereo they are going to sound totally different, so in order to preserve the sound you want out of them you need to carry around whatever holds your EQ everywhere.

 

That's fair. Of course, if you knew you could drastically improve the sound of your headphones simply by bringing the means to EQ, I'd wager you'd do it, even if nowhere but at home, and I think at its core this is more about being dubious of EQ.

 

This is the Sennheiser HD 530 (modded):

 

This is the Sennheiser HD 600:

 

This is the Sennheiser Unipolar (modded):

 

And these are dirt-cheap '80s planar magnetics from East Germany (modded and EQ'd - chiefly EQ'd):

 

The way to read the graphs is that the less stuff you see on the z axis (towards you), the more resolution you're likely to find the headphones to have. With no EQ, only the modded Unipolar electrostats come close to the resolution of the cheap EQ'd phones. And there's no doubt that both the HD 600 and HD 530 would gain comparable resolution below 3 kHz with fairly simple EQ.


Edited by vid - 5/9/14 at 8:08am
post #363 of 1363

Isn't this EQ method more of a last resort than anything else? I mean, if I had never found the HD540II, I would have had to EQ the upper bass of the HD600 down or take the HD250 and EQ its midrange up a bit whilst bringing its low bass down fractionally.

post #364 of 1363

If the upper bass of the HD 600 was bothering you then yes, from the standpoint of sound quality, you would've saved the money you paid for the HD 540 by equalizing the HD 600. Well, most likely, anyway.

 

There's no magic to it - you need to know the exact target frequency response curve that'll produce the sound quality you want, you need to know how to apply EQ to reach the target curve exactly, and you need to know whether the target curve was reached or not. If it wasn't, you won't get the sound quality you were after.


Edited by vid - 5/10/14 at 4:37am
post #365 of 1363

Anyone have any experience with the HD520 (not HD520 II), and how does it compare to the other HD5XX models?

I picked up one of these today, and so far I'm quite impressed with it. 

The original pads were almost falling apart to I replaced them temporarily with Fostex RP pads + beyer foam discs. 

 

Even this rag-tag combination is very satisfying, so I can only assume these higher models must really be quite good.

 

Also does anyone have experience with these replacement ear pads (that can share positive/negative/neutral feedback)? -

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Replacement-Ear-Pads-Cushion-For-HD520-HD530-HD-HD530-II-HD-520-530-Headphones-/261338110308?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item3cd8f71964

post #366 of 1363

But there is more to sound quality than just frequency response. You can still have poor resolution with a flat frequency response, not to mention other things like phase fidelity play a role in perception of a realistic sound character. There is only so much that you can modify something before inherent limitations stand in the way.

post #367 of 1363
Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post
 

But there is more to sound quality than just frequency response. You can still have poor resolution with a flat frequency response, not to mention other things like phase fidelity play a role in perception of a realistic sound character. There is only so much that you can modify something before inherent limitations stand in the way.

 

There is more to sound quality than frequency response, yet this doesn't mean as much as the fact that by changing the frequency response you change sound quality (see below). Subsequently, in general, I don't think you can have poor resolution with a perceptively flat frequency response, and like I said earlier, I don't think you need to worry about being limited by EQ - you're more likely to be limited by the underuse of EQ.

 

These are some miscellaneous studies on this topic that can be read for free.

https://www.ak.tu-berlin.de/fileadmin/a0135/Publikationen/2009/Sch_rer_2009_Evaluation_of_Equalization_Methods_for_Binaural_Signals.pdf

http://users.spa.aalto.fi/mak/PUB/AES114_Hirvonen.pdf

http://public.vrac.iastate.edu/~charding/audio/Headphone%20simulation%20of%20free-field%20listening.%20II-%20Psychophysical%20validation%20-%20J%20Acoust%20Soc%20Am%201989%20-%20Wightman.pdf

http://www.cpt.univ-mrs.fr/~briolle/11thAESpart2.pdf

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by GREQ View Post
 

Anyone have any experience with the HD520 (not HD520 II), and how does it compare to the other HD5XX models?

I picked up one of these today, and so far I'm quite impressed with it. 

 

Would be interesting to know - without prejudice - how much similarity there is in the HD 5xx range.

post #368 of 1363

Does anyone of the boys have a left-over/spare Ref II headband for me maybe? I broke something again :regular_smile : FOUND!

 

Bought a Gold Reference on eBay for a pretty good price! Just had to get that shiner. Looks very good and should be in 100% working condition. I feel lightly but clearly excited.

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2


Edited by moriez - 5/16/14 at 12:26pm
post #369 of 1363
Originally Posted by moriez View Post

 

Bought a Gold Reference on eBay for a pretty good price! Just had to get that shiner. Looks very good and should be in 100% working condition. I feel lightly but clearly excited.

 

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

 

 

That even looks like it has the original earpads with the top surface still intact. Nice find.

post #370 of 1363
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostonears View Post
 

 

That even looks like it has the original earpads with the top surface still intact. Nice find.

 

Agree, those pads look like new.

Rare.

Excellent choice.

post #371 of 1363

I was lucky. Don't think it was for sale for longer than two hours. What I can say is that they're even better looking in person and sound noticeably smoother than my Ref II. Must be some of that 24K gold dripping into my ears huh. Now that I understand the trouble with 560 pads on 540's I wonder if the original pads on the Gold offer that much of an advantage. I may find that out later on by swapping pads. Speaking of 560 pads, I'm receiving a few new pairs and I want to experience no more than only slight hassle placing the 540 mounting rings. After another experiment with these older pads it's still a fail job:

 

Here I decided to open up the plastic ring on the pad evenly spaced. Still there's no way to get them out without using excess force and risking damage.

 

On the second one I cut the ring alltogether (just a little too much ). While this settles the deadlock of above approach I rather not cut away that much from the pad.

 

 

Suggestions? Thoughts?


Edited by moriez - 5/22/14 at 9:33am
post #372 of 1363
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moriez View Post

[...] sound noticeably smoother than my Ref II. Must be some of that 24K gold dripping into my ears huh.

A last someone who shares the same opinion as me. I'll repeat myself but IMO Ref I sound clearly better than Ref II (at least my Ref I 600 ohm version).
In fact, both offer hardcore neutrality but, to my ears, they really do sound different.
In particular in terms of presentation, imaging, soundstage width/depth and separation, where my Ref I is superior.
Is your Gold Edition also 600 ohm?
Anyway, I think that the only dfference between the regular and the golden Ref I are the hand selected drivers + packaging.
post #373 of 1363
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moriez View Post

Still there's no way to get them out without using excess force and risking damage.

It IS a pain in the *****.
Edited by Hairspray - 5/22/14 at 9:35am
post #374 of 1363
Maurice, your cutting on those pads is so neat compared to the ones I cut. It is difficult to remove the ring and put in a HD540 one, as you have experienced. My 600 Ohm Reference I is equal to all of my Reference IIs. I don't think I can tell them apart. Some Ref Is are inferior to the II and some match it; it would seem the Is did not have as stringent QC as the IIs so it's pot luck. The Ref Gold appears to have a controlled quality so I'd predict that they all sound the same as IIs if you use velour II pads.
post #375 of 1363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hairspray View Post

A last someone who shares the same opinion as me. I'll repeat myself but IMO Ref I sound clearly better than Ref II (at least my Ref I 600 ohm version).
In fact, both offer hardcore neutrality but, to my ears, they really do sound different.
In particular in terms of presentation, imaging, soundstage width/depth and separation, where my Ref I is superior.
Is your Gold Edition also 600 ohm?
Anyway, I think that the only dfference between the regular and the golden Ref I are the hand selected drivers + packaging.

 

Welllllll... The Reference 540 - 600ohm (that I no longer have) was noticeably less refined than my Ref II. That same Ref II now sounds a little bright when comparing to the Gold - 600ohm. Not sure yet if they share the same refinement/resolution. It's also hard to tell if I'm a 'placebo' victim. Gold has made people gone mad before :basshead: Anyway, I swapped the Gold pads onto the Ref II and with that already the differences between the two became quite a bit smaller. Still not the smoothness of the Gold but one can clearly hear and understand the impact of pads. Also, as you can see in the picture, there's two extra layers of padding material in the Gold that I'm sure contribute to what I'm hearing differently. Ofcourse I put in the normal foam padding on top of those as well. Next up on the bench will be two Ref II's equally newly padded. Except for Cosmo most of us don't have two identical pairs of any headphone so should be interesting with all this quality control talk in mind.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by o0CosmoMemory0o View Post

My 600 Ohm Reference I is equal to all of my Reference IIs. I don't think I can tell them apart. Some Ref Is are inferior to the II and some match it; it would seem the Is did not have as stringent QC as the IIs so it's pot luck. The Ref Gold appears to have a controlled quality so I'd predict that they all sound the same as IIs if you use velour II pads.

 

Very interesting conclusion of yours. When the new 560 pads are here I will slap them on the Gold but, my prediction.. they will not sound the same due to the extra padding.

 

 

Quote:

It IS a pain in the *****.
Quote:
It is difficult to remove the ring and put in a HD540 one, as you have experienced.


It's the god awful. You're both saying there's no easy and safe way to do it? Any how-to's or tips, from anyone, would be helpful.

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