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My quest for the perfect classical music headphone: a brief visit of the DT-880, T1, HD-800,... - Page 4

post #46 of 68

Hi Xenophon...your observations inspired me..

 

I have finally let go of my HD-800s after along love-hate relationship using them with a V200-V800 stack [in balanced mode]. I found them a little fatiguing and not always very involving....and at times the treble just plain irritating.

 

I have now ordered some HE-500s.

 

Any advice on gain\DC offset\ gnd or lift settings for the Violectric stack with the HE-500?

 

Any recabling necessary or advisable on the HE-500s?

 

Thanks in advance:gs1000smile:

post #47 of 68
Thread Starter 

Tell you the truth, I've also already have the evil thought of selling the HD-800 go through my mind.  But I keep them for the time being because for soundstage and wearing comfort they're simply without equal (that and the fact that if I sell them off I'll 'only' have the HE-500 and HE-6 left. Fortunately I got a very good deal on the Senns at the time.  I already posted on the gain setting/pairing for the HE-500 in the other thread :) 

 

For the cabling you might want to get someone else's advice provided you believe it has an impact, I'm a 'cable sceptic' and don't think it makes a demonstrable auditive difference to swap cables, except if you go balanced (but of course then you need to feed 'em from a balanced amp).  But opinions about this differ and I'm not preaching the sound gospel.

 

Kept the stock braided cable on the 500, sounds great to me.  My HE-6 at the time came with toxic cables and to my ears there's no sound difference with stock.  I also heard a HE-6 that used -as I later found out- some hideously expensive cabling (the brand slipped my mind but I recall wondering if it made any sense to spend as much on the cable as on the headphone) and to me there was no discernible difference but to each their own.

post #48 of 68

Thanks Xenophon...

 

I am also a cable sceptic and have yet to hear these huge differences people claim to hear. Going balanced is obviously an entirely different consideration as I realised with the V200-V800 combo.

 

The HE-6 is now also on the back of my mind especially after reading that it works well with your V200.

 

Anyway am looking forward to the HE-500 for now....and a glass of Oban single malt..:)

post #49 of 68

Pity you gave up on the HD800's, they are fabulous when you get the synergy right

I have had the same problems of you but decided they were so good and had such potential I must persevere! They are extremely sensitive to anything in the audio chain, including the quality of the recording and will ruthlessly expose any shortcomings

Hopefully I'm reaching the end of my journey now and really enjoying them with my current line up.

My primary rig is Stax electrostatics, but IMHO the HD800's are the best dynamic in current production. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by guido View Post
 

Hi Xenophon...your observations inspired me..

 

I have finally let go of my HD-800s after along love-hate relationship using them with a V200-V800 stack [in balanced mode]. I found them a little fatiguing and not always very involving....and at times the treble just plain irritating.

 

I have now ordered some HE-500s.

 

Any advice on gain\DC offset\ gnd or lift settings for the Violectric stack with the HE-500?

 

Any recabling necessary or advisable on the HE-500s?

 

Thanks in advance:gs1000smile:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

Tell you the truth, I've also already have the evil thought of selling the HD-800 go through my mind.  But I keep them for the time being because for soundstage and wearing comfort they're simply without equal (that and the fact that if I sell them off I'll 'only' have the HE-500 and HE-6 left. Fortunately I got a very good deal on the Senns at the time.  I already posted on the gain setting/pairing for the HE-500 in the other thread :) 

 

For the cabling you might want to get someone else's advice provided you believe it has an impact, I'm a 'cable sceptic' and don't think it makes a demonstrable auditive difference to swap cables, except if you go balanced (but of course then you need to feed 'em from a balanced amp).  But opinions about this differ and I'm not preaching the sound gospel.

 

Kept the stock braided cable on the 500, sounds great to me.  My HE-6 at the time came with toxic cables and to my ears there's no sound difference with stock.  I also heard a HE-6 that used -as I later found out- some hideously expensive cabling (the brand slipped my mind but I recall wondering if it made any sense to spend as much on the cable as on the headphone) and to me there was no discernible difference but to each their own.


Edited by complin - 2/5/14 at 1:25pm
post #50 of 68
Thread Starter 

Oh, I haven't 'given up' on them, like/admire them a lot but alas, I own quite a number of older classical recordings that are very good but were recorded with the technology available at the time and hence, the artefacts and warts.  Try as I might, with the HD-800 I just can't enjoy the music on those, they're too revealing and my brain fixes on the defects and not the music.  

 

I still like them very much with classical works that are well recorded, btw. 

post #51 of 68

It may well be you dac that is causing the problem. I moved away from upsampling dacs for this reason. Have you tried/heard the Metrum NOS dac? There are quite a few NOS type dacs available and they tend to be much kinder to less well recorded or vintage material.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

Oh, I haven't 'given up' on them, like/admire them a lot but alas, I own quite a number of older classical recordings that are very good but were recorded with the technology available at the time and hence, the artefacts and warts.  Try as I might, with the HD-800 I just can't enjoy the music on those, they're too revealing and my brain fixes on the defects and not the music.  

 

I still like them very much with classical works that are well recorded, btw. 

post #52 of 68
Thread Starter 

Pretty sure it's not my DAC, it has a hardware switch with which you can set the up sampling frequency (off, x1, 2, 3, 4 or 'best' where the hardware determines the optimal rate based on the input signal).  I already switched it off  a couple of times and it makes no significant change in that respect).  But you're certainly right with your remark, I'm not a huge fan of upsampling myself when it's taken too far.


Edited by Xenophon - 2/6/14 at 1:09pm
post #53 of 68
Thread Starter 

I took a look at those Metrum DACs while I was wasting yet another couple of hours in an airport lounge, the bane of my professional life...intriguing (and unbelievable that I've never heard of them while they're based in the Netherlkands of all places)...it sounds almost too good to be true at the price.  Am fascinated by some of their other gear (notably their HEX-dac).  Will try to do some digging but as it seems you know your stuff:  in the +-2 K GBP range, which non oversampling DAC would be your recommendation?  Still very happy with my Vio V800, mind, it doesn't offer the latest flavour of the week but does imo a good job.  But looking around doesn't hurt..  

post #54 of 68

Loving the HE-500s...if they get better with some burn-in bring it on!

 

I find them so much easier to listen to than the HD-800s...I must have very sensitive ears to certain frequencies...I am not clenching my jaw at all when I listen to these.

 

I have swapped to the velour pads which I find more comfy...soundwise they seem pretty much the same as the leather ones.

 

One thing I have changed is the cable.  I used a Zy-cable from my HD-650s and using the spare supplied connectors have made up a cable for the HE-500s.

It is made from single crystal four-core twisted-pair copper (6N)

No more microphonics compared to the stock silver cable and easier to use .

Sounds somewhat mellower but as detailed...time will tell.

 

post #55 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by guido View Post
 

Loving the HE-500s...if they get better with some burn-in bring it on!

 

 

Good to hear that. That was some quick delivery :)

Keep us posted of your journey.

 

 

As for me after spending over a month dedicated to the HE-6 I felt the need of refreshment, so I dug out a 40 CD of Vivaldi Masterworks and hooked up the HD800 two days ago. I just started the 5th album - Concertos & Symphonies for Strings and love it. The music is flowing so spacious, effortless and detailed, it doesn’t let me move away from looking at the sea and the rocks under my window. This music goes very well with the HD800. Better than with my other cans.

 

 

Just like Xenophon I let the DT880 [600 ohms] go. I agree it’s an excellent price/value headphone, but when I was thinking of pairing music with headphones it rarely came to my mind beside a few albums. It generally very good with everything, but when you get accustomed to the HE-6/HD800/T1 trio, it’s not a fair comparison.


Edited by hennessys - 2/7/14 at 6:42am
post #56 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hennessys View Post
 

 

Good to hear that. That was some quick delivery :)

Keep us posted of your journey.

 

 

As for me after spending over a month dedicated to the HE-6 I felt the need of refreshment, so I dug out a 40 CD of Vivaldi Masterworks and hooked up the HD800 two days ago. I just started the 5th album - Concertos & Symphonies for Strings and love it. The music is flowing so spacious, effortless and detailed, it doesn’t let me move away from looking at the sea and the rocks under my window. This music goes very well with the HD800. Better than with my other cans.

 

 

Just like Xenophon I let the DT880 [600 ohms] go. I agree it’s an excellent price/value headphone, but when I was thinking of pairing music with headphones it rarely came to my mind beside a few albums. It generally very good with everything, but when you get accustomed to the HE-6/HD800/T1 trio, it’s not a fair comparison.

If you want to hear something REALLY lively from Vivaldi, try the Rachel Podger CD of 'La Stravaganza' (violin), recorded in a Polish church in 2003, you'll hear it (soundstage).  Goes perfect with the 6, didn't hear them with the 800 yet.  Almost too much to take in 1 sitting.  Sorry for the OT.

 

Glad everybody's happy!  Give the HE-500 about 50 hours, that's where I noticed most changes.  And enjoy the weekend guys!

post #57 of 68

OT!

 

Thanks, i'll definetly look for it.

post #58 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

 I can also immediately lay to rest claims that the HE-6 will only work on a speaker amp as no desktop amp would be powerful enough to drive them well:

 

They sound glorious on my Violectric V800 DAC / V200 amp combo.  The V200 delivers 2.75W into 50 Ohm (single ended output only although it accepts XLR input from the DAC).  I usually listen with the volume pot at 11-12 'o clock, no extra gain and trust me, that's more than sufficient.

 

Where are these claims?  

 

If you would look in the HE-6 thread you'll see it's all about comparing.  Sure the HE-6 sounds relatively good out of many headphone amps, no one as far as I've read said they didn't.  However, what was said is the vast majority of headphone amps compared to speaker amps in most side by side comparisons -  the speaker amp came out on top the vast majority of the time.  

 

Sure the HE-6 sounds fine out the V200 no one has ever debated that, but from my experience they sound better out a speaker amp by a very margin at that (yes, I've head the V200 a few times).  It's not about the watts either my amp is only 10 watts into 8 ohms.  It's a current driven amp and the transformer is bigger than most of the headphone amps themselves.

 

I'm a firm supporter of using speaker amps to drive the HE-6 for the best possible performance.  Why?  Because I put them to the test many of times, first hand experience with many headphone amps and many speaker amps side by side.

 

I'm not trying to argue - but their are no such claims.

 

I also agree with your impressions on the HD800 comparisons.

post #59 of 68
Very interesting thread, found the essentially singular focus on classical music refreshing as I don't listen to a great deal of it.

Like others in the thread here, and as an owner of the HE-6, HD800 and T1 my ears very much concur with the OPs assessment.

Might interest some to know that I reached the same conclusions on the basis of how the HE-6 sounds with rock and metal. That leads into another big plus for the HE-6 for me - the genre bandwidth. It's just superb, and important for my listening, where playlists frequently can go from Massive Attack to Pantera to Ella Fitzgerald (the T1 matches it for genre bandwidth, but to my ears isn't a match for the HE-6 for SQ).
post #60 of 68
Thread Starter 

Look, I'm not into picking a useless fight over this topic, especially not while sitting jet lagged behind my desk at 5 am on a weekend.  But I'm totally not convinced that the contention that you need a speaker amp to get the best out of the 6 is true.  I've auditioned it on a couple of those  so far and none of them convinced me.  Let's just say that the entire headamp pushing scenario on threads like the HE-6 thread lacks nuance, to put it mildly.  I'm sure you'll agree that they also present risks and disadvantages, especially if you also own other headphones.  And just like the HE-6 certainly won't work on many headphone amps I'm convinced it'll also have problems with many speaker amps, for various reasons.  This is a point that's often not mentioned.

 

But ok, I don't actually own a speaker amp and want to get to the bottom of this and that requires more than just a quick audition.  You run it on the FirstWatt F1J, correct?  That's not an easy brand to source in the EU (won't even mention India) and for an experiment the sticker price is a bit rich.  But I'm willing to put my cash on the table to test  my assumptions so if you have a recommendation for a speaker amp that DOES in your opinion get the best out of the 6 then I'll purchase one next time I'm in Europe, snap some pics if anyone requires proof and do the comparison.  I'll drive it via my V800 DAC and compare with the V200 amp and the 337 dual mono tube amp I own and let the chips fall.  Preferably something easily available in Europe, price upto 2K USD (lower is evidently better) and no-frills, no flickering lights, no sales BS and no gadgets.  Looks are not a criterion.  I'll use it wirth the 6 but if it also drives the 500 and my Senns that's a bonus.

 

If I like it better than what I have it'll stay, else I'll sell it on, done more stupid things in my life than wasting a couple 100.  

 

BTW:  nice review you wrote.

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