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Sennheiser HD 598 vs HD650 (source: laptop)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hi!

 

I am currently looking for a new pair of headphones to use only at home. I once had an HD 555 with the foam mod and I liked the sound sig and stage. I am looking for something better and I'm torn between the HD598 and the HD650 (a common doubt here on head-fi). I can get the HD598 for 165€ and the HD650 for 365€. It really is a big difference.

Besides, I don't own any headphone amplifier, so at least at first I'll be running the headphones directly from my Asus laptop, which has a pretty clean signal. Even if I buy an amplifier, it won't be anything fancy, maybe a Shiit Magni only.

I know that if I buy the HD650, I won't be upgrading for 20 years or so, but I don't see that hapenning with the 598.

 

I like a sound that's never piercing on the ears but still detailed. I much prefer the HD555 over the Grado's SR60i, for instance, if that helps.

 

So, which one should I get? Straight out of the laptop, the 650 still sound better, am I right?

 

Thank for your help!

Luis

post #2 of 36

Save some cash, buy the HD558s and maybe a Fiio E10 USB-DAC-amp.

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the suggestion on the FiiO E10. I did read a bit about it on Headfonia and it seems to be an excellent product for the price.

About the HD558, I don't think it would be much of an improvement over my old HD555 and I really want better, more refined sound (although just adding the FiiO will improve things).

post #4 of 36

I own the HD558, HD650 a Fiio E10 and....well....a laptop :), so I can give you information first hand.

 

Yes, the HD650 sounds better then HD558 on laptop, but is nowhere near the way they should sound and the difference is not big. As long you want to listen through your laptop you must add a DAC to the mix. The amp, in my experiance, is not enough. Also I have to tell you, that I don't like Fiio E10. It made just a very slight improvement over listening directly from laptop and it is not worth the price. The HD558 sounded better on my onboard sound card on my asus motherboard then via Fiio E10. If you are thinking about buying the Shiit Magni, maybe buying also a Modi is not a bad idea. 

 

Basicly the HD558 are very good headphones, but I didn't know that until I plug them in my current setup (MF M1 DAC + Violetric V100). 

 

BTW, I don't know, what music preferences you have or what kind of sound preferences you have but  I am compelled to tell you, that the Q701 that I own, at least to me, sound way better then the HD650. :)

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 

That really is great information! Thank you for your comprehensive reply!

So, even when driven directly from a laptop, the HD650 still sounds better than the HD558. I wasn't expecting the Fiio E10 to show such a small improvement after what I have read, but since you own all the gear we're discussing here...

 

I like a laid back sound signature with detailed but non fatiguing highs. I'm not a basshead, not even close. I use a RE0 with my Sansa Clip+ when outside, so that might give an idea.

 

I mostly listen to 70s and 80s: Dire Straits, Queen, Scorpions, Pink Floyd, Barclay James Harvest, Alan Parsons Project and so forth...

 

Most AKG tend to be a bit bright (correct me if I'm wrong) and since I liked the Sennheiser HD555, I was thinking about buying the same brand.

 

What can you say about the AKGs? What's the difference between the K701 and the Q701? Since I didn't appreciate my Grados, will I like the AKGs?

 

Thank you!

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

The AKG Q701 cost 100€ less that the HD650... It's enough for an entry level amplifier... 

post #7 of 36

If you don't have an amplifier, you should definitely get the HD598s.

 

I own the HD650s, and my close friend owns the 598s. We bought 'em at the same time. The HD650s really need the right amp to get off the ground. The 598s can run decently without any sort of amplifier. The HD650s are, in my opinion, unacceptable without an amplifier.

 

The 598s are like the 650s with like 7-10% less treble detail, and with a 20% mid bump, and a 20-25% smaller soundstage.

 

I would strongly recommend the 598s. 

 

If you are interested in an entry level rig, I would get the 598s, and the Schiit Modi/Magni combo. 


Edited by Pepper - 9/27/13 at 5:09pm
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your input!

 

I'm beginning to think that first - the HD650 are too expensive - and second - they need strong amplification.

 

The HD598 is one option, but I really dig a big soundstage and pristine highs (not a bass head at all), so the AKG Q701 might be an option, as they are closer in price to HD598 than to HD650.

Judging by the specs, they should run ok through the laptop because of the 105dB SPL and 62 Ohms resistance.

post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 

Ok, I now see that despite the specs, the AKG Q701 are hard to drive...Hummm. Really got to think.

I'm listening to Eagles through my Hifiman RE0 connected to the laptop and I love the sound they produce. Never harsh and so detailed!

post #10 of 36

I second the 598s and Modi/Magni combo over laptop and 650s. True, the HD650 needs an amp and also the laptop needs a DAC. I haven't heared them, but the Modi/Magni get a lot of praise (same goes for O2 Odac).

 

I didn't want to confuse you, but to me the Q701 are better then the Senns and I just had to give you my opinion :)

 

The HD650 to me sounds a little too laid back and I can certainly hear the so called vail. That makes them a bit boring to me. On the other hand, the bass with the 650s is deeper and has more body, but the 701s bass is a little tighter and faster. Q701 are a little bright, but to me they are not by no means fatiguing. Overall, the Q701 are a bit more engageing with better soundstage. Don't get me wrong, they are both great headphones, it only comes down to preferences. You won't be sorry with neither I belive.

 

The AKG are not so hard to drive as the Senns. Yes, it is good to have an amp, but for example, I can listen to Q701 on myiPod and they produce a decent sound, what I can't say for the 650s.

 

I didn't hear the K701, so I don't know the difference between them and the Q701. As I heard the Q701 have a bit better bass, but others would be a better source.

post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 

No, you didn't confuse me at all. In fact you opened up my mind to a different, very competent option! And I'm sure the Q701, technically speaking, are superior headphones to the HD598. My only concern is if there's sibilance or very foward mids, because that's what's leading me to sell my Grados. They're very fatiguing for me.

post #12 of 36

All this talk "made me" make an A - B comparison between my headphones :D

 

If I assume, the sound signature of the SR225 and SR60 are similar, and further more assume, that I know what bothered you with your SR60s, then don't worry, the Q701 doesn't have that sibilance or fatiguing sound that Grado has. Although I kind of like that Grado sound, I never had them for long periods of time on my ears, as they are very uncomfortable to me, so I don't know if that would bother my after listening to them for hours.

The HD558 sounds great, taking the price into account, however they have more forward mids then the Q701 considering that would bother you. I don't mind that either. And of course, the SQ, the details are better on the Q701, what is to be expected, as they are a step up from the HD558s.

For me the Q701 are practically perfectly balanced.

I don't want to sound like an advocate for the Q701. You have to understand, that I like the Q701 the most from my collection so naturally I would be cheering for them. However evryone has his own taste. However, when I wrote about the differences between headphones I tried to be objective. Best course of action would be to find a store that let you test the headphones...if you can find that :)

post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrezicR View Post

I second the 598s and Modi/Magni combo over laptop and 650s. True, the HD650 needs an amp and also the laptop needs a DAC. I haven't heared them, but the Modi/Magni get a lot of praise (same goes for O2 Odac).

Since you are in the UK, the EHP-O2D (which is the ODAC and O2 combined into one unit) may be cheaper for you than having the Modi/Magni shipped to you. People that have heard both the ODAC/O2 and Modi/Magni tend to describe them as equivalent in SQ.
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrezicR View Post
 

All this talk "made me" make an A - B comparison between my headphones :D

 

If I assume, the sound signature of the SR225 and SR60 are similar, and further more assume, that I know what bothered you with your SR60s, then don't worry, the Q701 doesn't have that sibilance or fatiguing sound that Grado has.

And of course, the SQ, the details are better on the Q701, what is to be expected, as they are a step up from the HD558s.

For me the Q701 are practically perfectly balanced.

 

Ok, with that information you sold me on the Q701s! I really love a detailed sound (that's why I bought the RE0s to use on the move). Q701 it is! :)

post #15 of 36

Oh man, now you got me worried that I made the right suggestion :D

Anyways, read some more reviews as I only have 2 ears :)

 

I hope you will like them if you are about to buy them, however don't forget to upgrade your source further down the road, so you can enjoy them to their fullest.

 

And yes, I find the Q701s very detailed and combining that with a big soundstage is a part of the reason why I like them.

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