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Senn HD518s sound undetailed or is it just me?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I finally tried out an open ear set with the HD518s to upgrade my home listening from a pair of HD202s. I love absolutely everything about these cans from the fit, design, weight, cord...all except for the sound. I felt the difference between closed and open ear almost instantly and was at first distracted by this. But what quickly became apparent in my favorite recordings was the lack of overall detail, especially in the mids. Now why would I be preferring the sound on my vastly inferior HD202 closed cans...to my ears it feels like sections have simply been scooped out, leaving portions muted to almost inaudible while refining the low end and giving more high end range.

 

Is this merely an issue of needing a headphone amp, or is this the way the 518's are meant to sound? I've only been listening a few hours at a time due to a new job with long hours, but it doesn't seem like a burn in thing unless they take a massively long time.

 

I listen to all lossless sources, hi-res occasionally and my own vinyl. I've tried my usual setups, which consist of: Headphone into desktop PC audio card (basic onboard card with Realtek..nothing fancy, but straight audio played via foobar), Headphone into Yamaha stereo receiver for vinyl, Sony multichannel receiver for movies/games and into Rockboxed Sansa Clip+.

 

Any help would be appreciated, as I'll be the first to admit that I'm a complete newbie when it comes to dedicated headphones.

post #2 of 7

Something is not right.  See:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennheiser-hd-518/reviews/8283

post #3 of 7

Yup. Something is probably wrong with your HD518s.

 

I have heard the HD518, and own the somewhat similar HD558s. I also own two HD202s. To my ears my HD202 seem to be more bass emphasized than my HD558 and the HD518s that I heard. 

 

The HD202 seem also more scooped and weird in the mids, and don't have the treble extention of the HD558s (and HD518s).

 

Here is a frequency response comparo of my HD202s (yellow) and HD558s (green):

 

 

Neither absolutely requires a dedicated amp. Sansa Clip+ (I have the Zip) should drive both well.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

The best way to describe the feeling I get when listening to my 518's is how a fellow member on shtv described his hd558s:

 

 
"My issue with the HD558 (I haven't listened to the HD598) is that the midrange detail is lacking. Gives the impression that the midrange frequency response is more sucked out than it actually is. I'm not hearing the detail that I know is in the recording, detail that I can hear clearly on other headphones. Makes them somewhat frustrating for me to listen to because I know how much they're obscuring the mids and other regions which makes the music sound dull. Overall the sound is reasonably good. But one you should audition first to find out if it is good enough for you."

Now I'm pretty much back at the drawing board. Maybe the ath-m50 would be a better fit for my tastes or even a higher Sennheiser model.

Agreed about the 202s, but the sad thing is that I can hear details that get obscured in my 518s. And when I plug into my vinyl rig, the 518s go nuts with low end to the point of obscuring everything else and leading me to pull down the knobs on my stereo amp.

post #5 of 7

:blink:

 

Oh well. Dunno. The two are definitively different in the mid-range though. 

post #6 of 7

Open headphones almost always are more detailed. I have the Sennheiser HD 558 and they definitely are more detailed than any closed headphones I've heard. The soundstage helps with this because open headphones by nature will have a better soundstage. If you keep having issues try exchanging them, maybe you got a lemon.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainsolo View Post
 

Is this merely an issue of needing a headphone amp, or is this the way the 518's are meant to sound? I've only been listening a few hours at a time due to a new job with long hours, but it doesn't seem like a burn in thing unless they take a massively long time.

I listen to all lossless sources, hi-res occasionally and my own vinyl. I've tried my usual setups, which consist of: Headphone into desktop PC audio card (basic on-board card with Realtek..nothing fancy, but straight audio played via foobar), Headphone into Yamaha stereo receiver for vinyl, Sony multichannel receiver for movies/games and into Rockboxed Sansa Clip+.

Any help would be appreciated, as I'll be the first to admit that I'm a complete newbie when it comes to dedicated headphones.

An Asus Xonar DG sound card ($27) might improve headphone audio, over the motherboard's on-board audio.

 

Returning the HD518 for HD558 might improve on the mids/vocals.

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