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Sennheiser HD650 vs Sony MDR-XB1000

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Before your faces become contorted in all kinds of wtf-ness, allow me to explain what appears to be an odd comparison of cans which share nothing in common.. apart from the fact that they are both cans.

I am a shameless lover of bass. Huge bass in copious amounts. Gimmie gimmie.:L3000: That's why my XB700s are the most used portable headphones in my collection. I absolutely adore them. That said, I do enjoy a higher, richer level of sound and I also have DT990 250s and Fidelio X1 with the latter being the most lush headphone I have ever heard. I go through periods when I use the Beyers (unamped) and when I go back to the X1, it never fails to wow me. ALWAYS.

So here's my dilemma; I've been accumulating some Amazon vouchers and soon I'll be in a position to get some new cans. 

I've always wondered what the XB1000s would be like. I forgot to mention that I LOVE the XB700s ridiculous design. They are huge and I've grown oblivious to the odd looks I get when I wear them to work and the gym. The XB1000s are even bigger and way more comical. They also seem more durable than the XB700s which I suspect will start falling apart given how much I use them (even though I'm careful with them).

But mostly, I suspect they'll have a similar sound signature to the XB700s and most importantly, they are incredibly rare.

The HD650s on the other hand are generally considered some of the very best headphones around. I understand I'd have to get an amp for them, which isn't a big deal. That said, I am told they deliver a sound that's quite frankly magical. I know the danger of having lofty expectations. Unfortunately, I live in a small town and I can't audition the Senns :(

My question is.. for those who have spent a lot of time with the X1 and the HD650, is the HD650 that much better to justify owning both? 

Given my situation, which can would you go for?

post #2 of 2
Lol! I was in the same dilemma as you. I was in a position to get an X1 and a HD650 at the same time. I got the HD650 first, but had to buy a headphone amp as well. I originally got a Fiio E 11 but that's good only up to 150 ohms. I upgraded to a C&C BH amp which wad rated to 300 ohms. Then I got the HD 650, connected it to the amp and used the line out of a Sony D335 Discman. Went through my favorite cd's and a few live recording and it was a "wow" moment every time! I know I'm only using low end stuff for a headphone meant for more expensive equipment but hey I enjoy it as it was a clear upgrade to whatever I had before.

Now, after reading the review from inner fidelity and headfonia, in which they described the X1 as a HD650 with bigger slamming base, a more lively top end but still well behaved and mids not recessed I couldn't get the x1 out of my mind. I finally got the X1 today. I must say I'm impressed! Easy to drive as well, only 30 ohms impendance. Note though that you should not use the included cable in the box with the X1. Apparently that cable has too high a resistance which will affect bass definition as per Tyll from inner fidelity. I ended up getting a cable from Jaycar electronics with low resistance for $10 Aud and an A-B comparison with the 2 cables indeed made me hear that the bass is more defined in the Jaycar lower resistance cable.

So back to your question, yes il be keeping both. The HD650 suits any type of music and I heard scales well up with better equipment ( which hopefully il be saving up for). Jude Mansilla (head fi founder) was even contemplating on putting the HD650s in the high end category in the 2014 headphone buying guide as they are that good! The X1's for me is when an audiophile (not me by any stretch but I do know what sounds good to my ears) want a fun listening session with that extra bass slam and livelier treble without sacrificing too much else. It's been said that the x1 just got a U shaped response of what the HD 650's got.

Also I think XB1000 has been discontinued and it's now the XB920. Interesting to note I also got a DT770 pro 250 and I love them as well but for absolute bass I go to my audio technica pro 700 MK2. Sometimes the treble of the DT 770 becomes fatiguing.

So yes indeed! Buy the HD650 if you can! Have a decent headphone amp tho and yes it can become expensive if you have to buy better equipment just to justify owning the HD650 but this is what the audio journey is all about I think! Make do untill you can go up the next rung in the ladder!
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