HD600, right out of the box with my Xonar STX & Bravo V2:
STX RCA(non-amp'd) -- Great overall sound! Flat, unimpactful, as expected.
STX amp -- Brighter/sharper, overall somewhat harsh as expected; I can definitely tell/'realize' the weaknesses of this amp/opamp with this phone.
STX RCA into Bravo V2 -- Smoother, more impactful sound as expected; very nice across the board sound.
There was definitely a span of treble brightness from 1-4KHz, but a short burn-in has cured it. This phone is pretty smooth overall; it sounds good! Accurate & smooth. I feel quite "connected" with the music, with these, I'd say. Even without quality equipment, the HE-500 had that liquidy & electric/'alive' sound, but that clearly wasn't enough. I'm planning to snag a TubeDAC-11 soon, and see if that can't put the magic into these phones. Maybe a budget SS amp to add to the TubeDAC output later on, too, if things seem to be leaning for it. (Still just using Winamp with basic DirectSound output, so I'm sure there's a lot to be gained here)
Yeah, these sound smooth. Certainly not goofy like the Audio-Technica's, or spikey with female vocals like HE-500(or as dark). Bad recordings sound pretty good! Low quality MP3s, no problem here! Quite smooth & forgiving. I love the presentation. They don't have that magic 'sparkle' or bass like the planars, but they have everything else, I'd say, in a 'standard' sounding phone. A great-sounding 'standard' phone, with no detected special attributes otherwise, that seems to do everything well. Deeper bass in electronic music is certainly lacking VS HE-500, so I wonder if HD650 would sound better overall. With how things sound now, I'm pumped to hear the TubeDAC! These seem to respond very well to equipment differences and EQ changes. I'm sure I can just EQ that bass up...ah, there we go! I feel more 'connected' to the music, than with the AT's or HE's, I'd say. This phone only lacks qualities; what it has, it does well, with the possible sole exception of drums.
The headband clamp is a lot stronger than expected, but I still feel like I can go a long while with it. So far, I think I'd rate the sound a solid 6-7 out of a perfect 10. Even if I can only get to ~8/10 with the TubeDAC, that's still awesome for the price($281 phones new, $389 DAC+amp new). An especially good headphone, for being like 30 years old. =p There's nothing 'modern' to the sound, and that's OK, because you're not over-paying for 'modern'. With HiFiMAN seeming to follow the LCD design, I'd rather try an HD800 next, and stick with stuff that's actually comfortable... But I hope HiFiMAN's future designs proves me wrong, and makes the choice that easy.
Edited by CT007 - 4/19/14 at 3:54pm