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Upgrading from HD598

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello HeadFi! Thank you for taking the time to possibly help me out here.

 

I've been in love with my 598's, but as everyone here knows you don't stop at one. Ideally I would love for this to be a desktop set up. I've been researching for about 3 months now on different headphones and DAC/AMP combinations. Needless to say I could continue to search for the next year and still wonder what is the best for me.

 

I'm huge into jam bands, DMB, Umphrey's, Disco Biscuits, moe., etc and that's my main listening line up. I do listen to classical and jazz at a close second. So I need something that can really represent these instruments and sound stage. I just experienced the album "Explorations in Space and Time" and holy batman was that an incredible experience. This will most likely be the first album I use to experience my new set up.

 

So with that:

 

I came very close to pulling the trigger on the HE-500 and bitfrost combo (both DAC and AMP), but then was very interested in the Crack/HD600 combo, as that was probably a more realistic upgrade from where I am now, however, I've never tackled a DIY project and am a little hesitant on building my own.

 

Basically I'm in that particular price range and would love any combination suggestions anyone has, and other headphones I may have missed that would benefit what I'm looking for better.

 

Thank you in advance everyone!

post #2 of 18

What are you currently plugging the HD598s into?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

NuForce uDac2 into a Macbook Pro......

 

Has this been greatly hindering the 598's true potential?

post #4 of 18

Heya,

 

The mid-fi offerings give you a lot of wriggle room for new experiences. A true upgrade is difficult, and costly, but also represents a huge plateau. If you get away from the word upgrade, and simply look for something that has a closer sound and set of features that you are looking for, you're more likely to get something you truly like to listen to, rather than a technical upgrade that you may or may not actually think sounds any better, but simply different sounding.

 

If you want to continue on your current sound arch-type with the HD598, but take it up a technical notch, look forward to:

 

Beyer T1

Shure SRH1840

Hifiman HE-500

Sennheiser HD600/HD650

AKG K702 Anniversary

 

If you want to simply look at alternative mid-fi options for new experience, look forward to:

 

Sony MA900

Hifiman HE-400

Beyer DT880

Sennheiser HD600/HD650

AKG Q701 / K702

AudioTechnica AD900X

 

If you want something different sounding, a little more low end response, look forward to:

 

Phillips Fidelio X1

Beyer DT990

Ultrasone PRO 2500

Mr Speakers Mad Dog

 

You may need a new amplifier for some of the above selections, but not all.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes exactly correct. Upgrade is the wrong verbiage here.

 

I'm looking for, exactly as you say, something that will represent the music I'm listening to as true as possible. I found that the 598's have flattened out a bit. At first the mids were very up front and vocals seemed to jump out at you, but as the burn has set it this has kind of faded into the background. Even solos with (guitars, saxophones, etc) seem kind of flat (compared to in the beginning). It was an extremely bright headphone that I feel has kind of diminished. It could be that I just got used to it, as this was quite an upgrade from my previous headphones.

 

I'd like to stay on the arc I'm on, and I love Seinnheiser. I'm really leaning towards the 600's, possibly the 650's, although I'm not sure I need the added bass response I've seen people talk about with the 650's.

 

Hypothetically speaking I spring for the 600's, will the uDac I'm using now suffice for the experience I'm looking to get out of these, or would you recommend a different set up to power them properly?

 

By the way I'm super interest in any meet ups in Florida! I'm located in Tampa and would love to get together with some members from the community.

 

Thank you for the response!

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

Yes exactly correct. Upgrade is the wrong verbiage here.

 

I'm looking for, exactly as you say, something that will represent the music I'm listening to as true as possible. I found that the 598's have flattened out a bit. At first the mids were very up front and vocals seemed to jump out at you, but as the burn has set it this has kind of faded into the background. Even solos with (guitars, saxophones, etc) seem kind of flat (compared to in the beginning). It was an extremely bright headphone that I feel has kind of diminished. It could be that I just got used to it, as this was quite an upgrade from my previous headphones.

 

I'd like to stay on the arc I'm on, and I love Seinnheiser. I'm really leaning towards the 600's, possibly the 650's, although I'm not sure I need the added bass response I've seen people talk about with the 650's.

 

Hypothetically speaking I spring for the 600's, will the uDac I'm using now suffice for the experience I'm looking to get out of these, or would you recommend a different set up to power them properly?

 

By the way I'm super interest in any meet ups in Florida! I'm located in Tampa and would love to get together with some members from the community.

 

Thank you for the response!

 

People seem very happy with the HD 600s the best thing to do imo, would be to look around the Head Fi for sale thread, and then compare your HD 600 to ur new HD 598, and then re sell the one you don't like

 
Head fi is a great place to be an the community is always helping one another out! You should b able to find a great deal on them, and more importantly you might get a new friend to if you can purchase from the FS thread 
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

NuForce uDac2 into a Macbook Pro......

 

Has this been greatly hindering the 598's true potential?

Are all or most of your music files ALAC?

post #8 of 18

Whatever you decide to do, just keep in mind that the 598s are 50 ohm nominal, and the 580, 600, and 650 are 300 ohms nominal. 

 

NK

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Purple Angel

 

I would say 1/3 and that's including FLAC. The rest is 360. I'm always trying to accumulate more though.

 

Nick 214,

 

Wow somehow I missed that! Thanks for the heads up!

 

 

 

Anyone have good suggestions on pairings with the 600's other than the crack?

 

Thanks again everyone!

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

Purple Angel

 

I would say 1/3 and that's including FLAC. The rest is 360. I'm always trying to accumulate more though.

 

Nick 214,

 

Wow somehow I missed that! Thanks for the heads up!

 

 

 

Anyone have good suggestions on pairings with the 600's other than the crack?

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

That's the interesting part. The 600/650 are very reactive to different amplification scenarios, though the 600s less so. The proper amp is make-or-break for the 650s. 

 
That being said, there are several great options on the FS board. Though if you're going up to 600 range, you're not doing yourself any favors by not upgrading your source and material, as alluded to by Purple Angel. 

 

NK

 

EDIT: Since you mentioned it... There is a Crack OTL on FS, too. 


Edited by Nick 214 - 9/20/13 at 12:00pm
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Headed there now!

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

NuForce uDac2 into a Macbook Pro......

 

Has this been greatly hindering the 598's true potential?

"hindering the 598's true potential?" is something I would have to be careful to speculate on.

The uDAC2's splits the power (it gets from the USB) between the DAC & headphone amplifier,

but the 50-Ohm HD598 are fairly easy to drive.

An AC powered external DAC/amp, with a better DAC chip then what the uDAC2 has and gets it's headphone amplifier powered by AC, might improve on the HD598s.

You seem to indicate that the HD598s use to sound better, which is weird as headphones usually improve with use (break in).

Any chance you have something else to plug the HD598s into? like a receiver maybe, to see if the HD598s audio quality improves?

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

Purple Angel

I would say 1/3 and that's including FLAC. The rest is 360. I'm always trying to accumulate more though.

"The rest is 360", I'm assuming you mean 320K audio files?

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes 320, and I wouldn't say it got worse. They still sound amazing, I just feel they've settled down when I got used to them being up front. And thank you for the suggestions!

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frmthmind View Post
 

Yes 320, and I wouldn't say it got worse. They still sound amazing, I just feel they've settled down when I got used to them being up front. And thank you for the suggestions!

 

That sounds correct. I'd keep them for a while longer to see what it is that you want to change from their sound... Senns are dark, so don't expect a matured Senn can to be up front or aggressive. However, if you find that the latter sound suits your style I would look to Audio Technica's offerings. 

 
NK 
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