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hey guys, guess what :D I just bought a Sennheiser HD565 :)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I decided to spend some time in one of the finest audio shops we got around here (HiFiStudio Wilbert) and try out some cans. They had a lot of Beyers some Senns, and Audio Technica monitor thingy (ugly bastard) and two pair of Stax's.

The ones I picked for my audition were:


(600ohms, they didn't have the 250ohms version)

I the CD's myself ofcourse:
Dream Theater - Images & Words (I used Metropolis pt.1)
Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (Isis and Osiris)
Pendragon - Not Of This World (Green Eyed Angel and the acoustic version of Paintbox)
Marillion - Brave (the first two songs: Bridge and Living With The Big Lie)

Amp: X-Cans V2 with an X-PSU (shame they didn't have anything else, I don't like this amp at all, but more on that later)

Source: Arcam CD-72 or something, looked good enough to me..

The salesman ofcourse started with "What's your source at home? And what do you want to spend". Not wanting to admit what kind of @#%$& I have at home, I just responded "Nothing much, but I've decided I wont pay much attention to that at the moment. I'm thinking about spending upto F400 (160$)". He then said "well, you know you could get a Stax system for f1500 (600$), will have you settled! You'll be wanting an amp anyways, and they start getting good around f1000 (400$), so you'll be spending that anyway..why not get a Stax". Well, that's out of my reach at the moment, but I must say, he has a damn good point, that Stax Lamba Basic isn't all that "off the scale" price wise. Well, you have to have something to dream about right? No Stax for me for now..

On the top of my list was the 580, but I was intrigued by the 565, and decided to start with an AB comparison between it and the 580. I started with the 565 and Metropolis Pt.1. Sounded damn fine, impressed already. Then I switched to the 580...took a couple of listens to pick out the differences here. Maybe the vocals were better, but only "maybe". Maybe it was fuller, not sure about this either.. I was sure it was clearer on the 580 tho, but I didn't feel it was a fair comparison, because the 565 was hissing like hell, my guess is from the amp, cause the hiss was on all the cans I tried, except for the Stax's which have their own amp. The hiss was a lot less apparent on the higher impedance cans, mainly the 600ohm Beyer and the 580 and 600.

Next came Pendragon, I started with the acoustic Paintbox. This one too had me coming back a few times, no clear difference between the 565 and the 580. Again maybe fuller on the 580. The vocals were almost sounding better.

Well, reading the last couple of posts comparing the 580 and the 565, I felt there must be some difference, but it might not be big.

So I tried Green Eyed Angel next. Now it was becoming clearer. Vocals were somewhat dry on the 565 compared to the 580. I found the bass and treble to be quite equal on both cans, tho the bass was maybe a bit more present on the 580. I guess I don't have the music to test the lower limits off these cans, a 20-20k sweep would have revealed a better extension on the 580 I guess. I don't listen to sweeps much tho.. The 580 had a slight edge here. The salesman walked back in that moment "Have you tried the 600 yet? Should be leaps better than the 580". Well, I was a bit sceptical about this at first, and the first few minutes of Green Eyed Angel didn't reveal much. But at the 5 minute mark, there a beatifull guitarsolo, and I'm a sucker for that kind of thing! Basically, that was the moment the 580 dropped of my list. The 600 was soo much more beatifull, sweeter, the guitar stood out more, was so much clearer, on the 580 it was recessed in comparison. Day and night, no doubt about it. Sorry Mike. Everything else was rather similar, but that solo was chilling on the 600 and rather dull on the 580 (*sigh*...audio is a bitch). The 600 is twice as expensive as the 565 tho .. %$#&@ bitch

I decided I should give the Beyerdynamic a go before going on with the Senns. First the 831. If anything, that can looks goood!! Much better than on the pics, rather shiny with a nice blue-grey-ishy finish. The headband seemed very sturdy too, especially the adjustment system (rocksolid). Same thing with the 931 really, tho not as shiny, and not as blue (looked damn fine too tho). I found the 831 to be rather bright and top-heavy. Waay too much trebble for me. More dynamic than the Senns, more precision in the (smaller) soundstage. But I still prefer the Senn-sound. I'm a laid-back kinda guy, hehe. The 931 had a very similar character, but was nowhere near as agressive in top as the 831, but still bright. A higher impedance on the amp's jack would've helped probably, but still not my kind of sound. The 600ohm 990 is a different beast tho, sat rather loose on my head, but has a lot of metal in it tho. Build to last! It sounded, ehm, although quite musical, very grey and blocky (how's that for a beginning audiophile completely vague descriptions already ). Didn't listen to it long, bad sound compared to the others. The Beyers all had a little less room for my ears than the Senns. My ears were completely free with the Senns (airco!), but touched the foam of the Beyers. Not uncomfortable, but possibly itchy and hot after a long session. Everything here was comfy (no Grado's), tho the Senns still won in this department (and most others too IMO)

Well, it was between my perfectionistic character and my bankaccount now. The 580 seemed like an inbetween solution (a step up from the 565, an IMO similar step dowmn form the 600). I don't like inbetween solutions. I would want the 600 later on anyway...no, actually, I want it now . I could buy it too, but having the $$$ isn't the same as being able to afford it tho. The salesman wondered if my music would justify the 600. I knew it would tho, plenty guitarsolo's. And I'd buy it for Pendragon alone, the CD is that good! But I decided it was out of my reach, for now (and coming reall close to those Stax's in price too...). The 565 sounded damn fine, and if they didn't have anything else, I wouldn't have thought twice about buying it. But after thinking twice it still seemed the right thing to do...my bankaccount won.. For while at least, you guys know how it is And any money I saved will be going towards CDs in no time, but that's what it all about anyway.

I listened to Marillion a couple of minutes too. The 565 was great. The 600 was better...audio is indeed a bitch . Then Ayreon, the 565 had me headbanging ("..in search of the graaaaaaaaaaiiill! rambambam bam deng *insert growling guitars* rambambambam"...I love that part!).. the 600 was just a bit fuller, not by much tho and both were equally enjoyable. Actually, both were equally enjoyable all the time, except for that particualr solo..

Finally, I got to listen to the Stax Classic 303 with the Basic's amp. The salesman got me some chamber music kinda CD (didn't want to use one of my own, would remind me of Stax everytime I listened to that cd..). One word to decribe it: wow! Yup, this is it, I've seen heaven My god that was awesome! I was just sitting there with a big stupid grin on my face. Almost said "Put that 565 back man, I'll take this one!!". I can't afford that kinda stuff yet tho...and hooking up a pair of electrostatic headphones to a portable minidisc player didn't seem that smart either

Some other things I'd like to mention. I already talked about the X-Can V2...that pot is a joke man! Off-balance to just above my regular listening level :/ And hissing (mainly left) so much it was killing every near-silent passage. Most annnoyingly was it on Made Again, an acoustic song with some light subdued pianos and H doing some beautifull vocals, almost whispering. Nothing left of the song but hiss
The 600 had a broken connection on the right. A little push restored it, but worrying for such an expensive headphone to have such a malfunction. I also found the coild cords on the Beyers way too heavy, very annoying on the 990 as it only connects to the left earpiece on that one and pulled on the cans...not a wise decision of Beyer IMO. If you got the cable lying on a table/desk, it shouldn't be much of a problem.. but still..
The 580 and 600 were clamping a bit, as some have already mentioned, but I didn't notice them after 15 minutes. They were the display cans, so they were already streched a bit. This clamping will be no problem at all if you decide to keep these cans for a while I'd imagine.
The buildquality of all the cans I've seen was remarkably good, very professional (except for the stupid Sennheiser cables...). The 580 felt real sturdy, although it was mainly plastic. The 565 has a nice metal grill and the headband is connected to the cups with metal strips, looks good. The 600 indeed looks better in person, and feels better than any of the other cans. The only the thing the Stax's had against them was looks (toaster-irons anyone? also bit cheap compared to the 600 for instance) and fit: a bit too loose, but possibly streched by a lot of different sized heads.
They also had a lot of speaker too drool at I like the low-profile look of those Magnepans! just a thin black screen. They didn't have them hooked up tho, shame. Would love to compare them to a good pair of headphones.

I will be posting a proper review of the 565 later, but it'll be a few weeks (vacation coming up, England here I come!!). I'll also be waiting for Jan's Porta-Corda. Should make a killer portable combo !. I'm surpised how good they do out of just my mdp, tho. And now I don't have anything better to compare them to, I feel better already about my decision. Hope the connection doesn't go bad on me tho..

Well, I'm off to enjoying more music goody!

BTW, Jude, I need more smileys in my post damnit! Took an hour to edit my post!! Now it's all dull and it was all shiny before I cut out all the smileys..*sniff*

edit: damn, missed a few codes
post #2 of 20
Nice review Braver thanks

Intrestingly thats two people now that have said that there isn't that much difference between the 565's (my pair ) and the 580's so that really HAS got me wondering if it wouldn't be better to splash the £70.00 on new music instead!

Also intresting about that hiss on the left hand side of the x-cans as that has RECENTLY happened to mine

Thing is when I first had it it didn't do it but as you know, on some of the stuff we listen to when there are quiet places in the music (and in prog there are a LOT of quite passages followed by really loud ones ) and when its just the vocalist and keyboardist thats all you can hear : hiiiiissssssss.) I thought it might be a fault on my unit but now I ain't sure. I'm taking it in to the shop tomorrow after work so will find out then!

Glad you enjoy your new senns!

Keep listening the music!!

PS I wonder how many people on this board actually recognised any of the bands you mentioned

PPs where are you going on holiday in england by the way??!
post #3 of 20
Hmm... thats now 2 people complaining about reliability issues with the X-Cans... (but... out of how many sold... as long as i stay positive... <playing with stress relievers>)

Braver... the 565s ARE really good 'phones, and I'm glad that you are happy with your purchase... I've had mine since 1994, and... they have served me well, and certainly in terms of VALUE, the 565s obliterate the 580s... As noted, there isn't THAT much difference to warrant the original retail values... £160 for the 565s and £200 for the 580s...

Please, don't take this as a flame... but, when you auditioned all the various 'phones, was it in a quiet environment (home like)... that would make a difference to your perceptions between the various 'phones?!?
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Damn, sorry to hear about your problems with the amp. The audition really has me wondering, "is this the amp everybody's raving about??". I dunno how good my mdp really is, but at least it's deadsilent! Maybe it's just comes with having a tube amp, seeing as how people have problems with the MG-Head, and now Vert (although that seems to be just an impedance mismatch). Good luck getting it fixed!

And you should really do an AB between the 565 and the 580. I dont know how picky you are, but the difference was quite apparent, but not very big. If I didn't like the 600 so much, I would've gotten the 580. But as I said, I don't like inbetween solutions, and right now, I'm really really happy with my 565! The 600 was definately better, but not always, just certain passages y'know. The 565 and the 600 do a lot of thing in a similar manner, but sometimes the 600 really shines. I bet with big orchestra's and stuff they'll be even better (I just don't listen to that kind of stuff -yet-). Now Stax...that's a different story altogether.

BTW, We (with the parents) are probably going to the south-east-coast (with our sailboat), and almost sure to do a trip down the Themes and pay a visit to London. You can lay in the harbor dead center middle of the town! Hope we get some decent weather
post #5 of 20
Nice review, now you made me want to get a pair of 600 now! or a pair of Stax even! But must resist!

Just like to say, my X-can v2 and X-psu made no hisssssssss what so ever.

While you are over here, you can pick up a pair of 580 for £70 or 600 for £150! Just not grado, a bit expensive over here.
post #6 of 20

You're hoping Braver... Our summer was like two weeks ago, and it lasted about 4 days... at THIS moment, the temperature is 9 degrees centigrade, peeing down with rain, and nearly dark...

back ON topic

DEFINETLY one of the 580/600 fortays is with rock, and classical... they really don't work THAT well with pop, and mainstream stuff... but, each to there own, when I auditioned the 600s compared to the 565s a few years back, I didn't like the 600s AT ALL, because of the airyness... and... well, look where I am now
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Duncan, as I said, this was the finest HiFi stores I've seen. They have their wall-of-headphones downstairs. Just me and the cans, dead silent. Sometimes there would be some sax sounds coming from upstairs, but nothing to interfere with my perceptions. Except for the damned hissing amp that is...

I really spent quite some time figuring out what the differences were between the headphones. I'm still a bit of a newbie here, don't let my registration date fool you But thinking about it now, the 580 was worth it. I guess. But I found the 565 highly enjoyable anyway. I started every song with the 565, and I was loving it, then switched and yeah, the 580 and the 600 did it a little better. The 565 has better value and thats ultimately why I picked it. I sounds ****ing fenominal to me (listening to Arena now). I don't have an amp yet either remember.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I can't keep up with the pace guys!!

I didn't find the Senns to be that airy at all. It surprised me at first really. Maybe it's the music or something I dunno. They were warm and personal, soothing.

I believe we had our summer last week too, a few day really great, rather decenmt again today, but lots of rain inbetween..
post #9 of 20
Just wait until you buy an amp then Braver...

Then they won't just sound amazing, they'll sound... fantastically amazing the sound will definetly clear up quite a bit, and... well, with better electronics behind you... the sky is the limit in terms of what you can get out of the 565s
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
hey david, I just listened to Jabberwocky again...damn, that is indeed quite a dodgy recording some weird half echo in one of the narrative parts, and those odd peaks whenever Tracy hits a T or an S... ah well, still a damn fine album
post #11 of 20

What a great audition

Braver, what a great review. I especially like the way you took time to bold each of the different cans in your review. It made the read much more user friendly. My compliments.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
aw shucks
post #13 of 20
My xcanV2 does not and has never hissed.
post #14 of 20
Braver........very impressive review. As JMT commented already, I like your idea of bolding the names of the headphones. With these old eyes, every little bit helps.
In some instances (many actually) I preferred the sound of the HD-545s to the HD-600s. The only area they fell short in was the bass department.
Congrats on your new toy.
Again, thank you for sharing with us.
post #15 of 20
Congrats on the new purchase. I'm yet another person that has a high opinion about 565s.
I have both 565 and 600s (just did a review comparing them) and frankly when I got the 600s I expected that the difference to be much bigger than it is. Yes, HD600 do many things a bit better, but only a bit. Straight out of a portable MD by the way 565 sounded much better. You need quite some power to get these 600s running.
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