Originally Posted by Schroeder77
Thank you for your reply, and you're absolutely right, I am flying blind and have only formed opinions based on semi-obsessive reading and video reviews.
I was also assuming that since I'm so new to this (the 650's with the duet 2 have done more for my listening else than anything else in the last 20 years) that the next level of pairing amp and headphones would do the same again at the next level, and I thought at that level my tastes would adjust either way to however awesome that particular setup was. :-)
It's kind of nice to hear that those setups are by your opinion only marginally better, you may be pulling me off the ledge.
My main listening in my next combo would be for FLAC files through my computer, and I was considering, if they were able, hooking them up to my television for good audio. I live in an apartment with neighbors sensitive to noise, so I've never gotten decent speakers and figured this would be a good alternative. That's one reason why I'd considered the Sennheiser combo, so my girlfriend and I could each listen from headphones simultaneously.
Actually, since I have your ear, have a separate issue. I bought a recording of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" at the highest audio quality from HDTracks. I switched between that and my mp3 files several times and heard only the slightest improvement. I had assumed that it would be easier to pick up on. Through the HD650s, everything seems wonderfully clear, and try as I may, I don't really hear what's lacking in mp3. Is my perception just weak?
After starting this thread, I did begin looking into hi-fi audio places in my area to audition some of these things. I will add your suggestions to my short list of consideration, I've liked what's been saying about them as well. I am admittedly new to this and have gotten a bit overzealous, I hope my comments and questions aren't too frustratingly ignorant.
Thank you so much for your help!
The HD650 is "polite" in my opinion. It will not expose lesser recordings or compression quite the same as other headphones. It's due to it's very rolled off treble. I think if you listened to your new album on something that is brighter, you might just hear a difference. But on that note, the difference is minimal, if any, from high quality MP3 to lossless containers. It's different for each track honestly, because some compress well and some do not. I have tracks that I can tell the difference on. I have tracks I cannot tell the difference between when I test. It's very personal and different from track to track, album to album. Because of that, I just keep it lossless so I don't even have to consider if it's not perfect due to using a compression method that is not lossless. Simply my preference of doing it and recommend it because if nothing else, it rules out poor playback due to information loss secondary to compression. If that makes sense.
I'm sort of a dark horse when it comes to everything. Someone else will state easily that the HD800/LCD3 are night & day compared to the HD650. You'll get a little of both sides. But I'm a realist and I've put my head into a lot of headphones and found that the plateau into highend and summit level equipment is a very long, flat, plateau. And frankly, instead of focusing on quality, you really cannot distinguish if it sounds better (if at all) because it truly is superior tech, or if it's simply because your ears like the sensation of the signature (which also means, there are summit level items that you probably will not enjoy listening to as well; which just lends more to the theory that it's more likely a preference game, than a "reference" game, if you get my pun).
The HD650 is a world class headphone. I personally don't care for it, it's too polite for me. But it scales on equipment and really is something that can be an end game headphone for someone who likes the signature and wants a relaxed sound.
The moment you put your head into an HD800, you'll be in a new world of treble that you may or may not like and/or tolerate.
The moment you put your head into the LCD3, you'll be in a new world of weight, and a different kind of sound stage, that you may or may not like and/or tolerate.
Mind you, at the cost of $2k to $3k to start.
That's a lot of money, for very marginal increases in true quality, only to find out that it's mostly a preference thing and not necessarily just a quality thing, but a bit of both.
In reality, it's best to match the best headphone that you like the signature of that suits your music library best. Otherwise, you'll chase $5k setups for 5% actual improvement in quality, of which, is only known due to high sensitivity measuring instruments--which our ears are not.