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Upgrading from HD598

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am currently using the HD598 with M1DAC & M1HPA. The sound is overall balanced and just a little bit warm, and I really love the sound this combo produces. However, I want to find a headphone that provides more detail and a little bit more bass, but still maintaining the overall balance. I am also considering replacing my dac and amp after deciding which headphone I am going to purchase. My budget is around $4200 including the dac and amp. I usually listen to Japanese pop music and classical music.

 

I first tried most of the Stax headphones, which I found to be great in some areas, but not all. This makes the sound overall imbalanced, which I don't prefer. After that, I tried the HD800, which is excellent in the area of classical music. However, when I was listening to Japanese pop songs, it seemed that every instrunments were very far away from each other and simply couldn't combine together. The P-1u amp did help narrowing the soundstage a bit but it just won't work. The DA200, however, did add a bit warmth to the music, which helps "combining" the sound from different instrunments, but the details in DA200 is much less than that of P-1u.

 

Are there other options available out there? I guess I will try beyerdynamic t1 another day, though I don't think it suits me after reading reviews on the net.

post #2 of 22

HD650 is always an option if you're a fan of your 598's.  I'm assuming the 598's are similar to the 595's?  I had 595's and the 650's are an overall improvement to me, but more specifically, in the bass department.  The bass still sucks compared to closed headphones, but it's a large improvement over my 595's.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleudeciel16 View Post
 

HD650 is always an option if you're a fan of your 598's.  I'm assuming the 598's are similar to the 595's?  I had 595's and the 650's are an overall improvement to me, but more specifically, in the bass department.  The bass still sucks compared to closed headphones, but it's a large improvement over my 595's.

 

The problem is my friends warned me that the HD650 is not good at Japanese pop-music


Edited by enochtesta - 3/2/14 at 9:41pm
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by enochtesta View Post
 

 

The problem is my friends warned me that the HD650 is not good at Japanese pop-music

 

it's weaker on the lower two octaves, so if it's dance type of music, your friend is probably right.  i'm not super familiar with j-pop.

 

he-400 would probably be a great choice though.  $300.  ortho so the bass will be top tier. 

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleudeciel16 View Post
 

 

it's weaker on the lower two octaves, so if it's dance type of music, your friend is probably right.  i'm not super familiar with j-pop.

 

he-400 would probably be a great choice though.  $300.  ortho so the bass will be top tier. 


Sorry for the late reply

I will try the he-400 next week. Meanwhile, could you suggest headphones that sounds similar to HD650 but still can handle dance type of music?

 

It seems that HE-500 is also an option.

 

Thank you


Edited by enochtesta - 3/7/14 at 10:28pm
post #6 of 22

Hifimans is an option, but it will also mean a lot less comfort, IMO, 

 

Maybe some of the Ultrasones could sound a bit like an HD650, but with more bass. 

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buyer no 1 View Post
 

Hifimans is an option, but it will also mean a lot less comfort, IMO, 

 

Maybe some of the Ultrasones could sound a bit like an HD650, but with more bass. 

 

your results may vary, but I JUST bought HE-400's and will be returning them.  when I listen to them first, they sound ok.  when listening to my 650's first, then the he-400's, they were unbearable.  bass is a hair "weaker", as in intensity, than my 650's, but once EQ'd, the bass is tighter and can go MUCH lower than the 650's.  i just had echo'ing inside the cups that drove me insane.  not something I expected from open headphones.  highs were really harsh too.  made them too bright for my ears.  (I prefer slightly warmer headphones)

 

comfort was ok.  they're HUGE, but that means even the largest ears will fit inside, and the cups are fairly comfortable, though velour would've been a better choice over the pleather.

 

mids and upper mids were great.  tons of resolution and clarity.  tiny soundstage.  especially compared to the 650, which is known for its huge and awesome soundstage.

 

people in the he-400 thread said switching to velour pads and doing some port mod gets rid of the echo, and just EQ for the bass and highs, but i decided to just sell them and buy headphones that sound good without modifications. plus, what if i did the mods, and still didn't like the sound?  then i wouldn't be able to return them.  only reason I mention all of this is because you're now mentioning getting the he-500, and those have identical chassis, so you'd have the same problem, at least with the echo'ing.  not sure about the highs and all that.  i believe the 500's are more neutral.  (400's are known to be pretty colored)

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleudeciel16 View Post

 

your results may vary, but I JUST bought HE-400's and will be returning them.  when I listen to them first, they sound ok.  when listening to my 650's first, then the he-400's, they were unbearable.  bass is a hair "weaker", as in intensity, than my 650's, but once EQ'd, the bass is tighter and can go MUCH lower than the 650's.  i just had echo'ing inside the cups that drove me insane.  not something I expected from open headphones.  highs were really harsh too.  made them too bright for my ears.  (I prefer slightly warmer headphones)

 

..............

Thanks for the advice, I guess I will not consider HE-400 and 500 for now.

 

How about HE-6 and the other Hifiman headphones?


Edited by enochtesta - 3/8/14 at 12:20pm
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by enochtesta View Post

Thanks for the advice, I guess I will not consider HE-400 and 500 for now.

How about HE-6 and the other Hifiman headphones?

Not sure if they're the same chassis as the 400 or 500 but I do know that they're VERY well reviewed headphones. Only downside with those is that they need crazy power to drive them. People often get speaker amps to drive them
post #10 of 22
The 500 is a great headphone. Most high end headphones play by the book of being open and balanced. The 500 doesn't go that route. Rather than having technical bragging rights it is a music lover. The he6 is a superior headphone however. It plays like the big boys the 800, t1.... It's open, balanced and has pinpoint imaging with the right amount of air to freak you out. Only it's a planar and you immediately notice the strong integrity of every note played and how much body it's capable of producing especially in the lows with out ever sweating.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Decided to get a t1 with HDVD 800.

t1 with P-1u is not a good match. Slightly too much at mid-range and it puts some of the vocals far backwards of the headphone, making it hard to listen to the vocals. The HDVD 800 makes the t1 an overall balanced headphone with great details.

I tried HE-400 to find out what is called an "electrical sound", a word for describing some of the hifiman headphones in some reviews. Honestly, I don't like that kind of sound.

I also tried the HD650 for about a minute. The sound is too warm and bass-oriented.

The DT 990 25 ohm version, hovever, is gread even when I tried it with my mobile phone. You can't expect great details from a mobile phone, but the sound is so balanced and nice. I might buy one for outdoor usage in the future.

 

Anyway, thank you for helping me to choose the right headphone for me. If you think that HDVD 800 is not a great dac/amp for t1, please tell me. I want a neutral balanced sound. I choose HDVD800 mainly because it is a combo and it produces a decent sound.

post #12 of 22

Sounds like a great combo. Congratulations!

 

You could consider balancing the T1 then.

post #13 of 22
Ugh I hated the he400 the 500 is a totally different beast and 6 too
post #14 of 22
I heard the t1 finally and did not get the harshness people talked about. Maybe it was the amps I heard. Them out of. I did find the sound signature to be pretty bland however and knew the only way I would like them would be out of a tube amp. It was weird because they were smooth but I heard no emotion out of them
post #15 of 22

Sounds like you've made a decision. I listen to similar genres of music in JPop (YUI, Stereopony) and orchestral (Final Fantasy, Fairy Tail soundtracks). The headphones I've gone through are in order of acquisition: ATH-M50, HD598, HD700, Beyerdynamic T90, Hifiman HE-500, Koss ESP950, HD800, and AKG K812. The amps I've gone through in order of acquisition: JDS Labs O2, Woo Audio WA7, Bottlehead Crack, and Questyle CMA800R. My DACs: JDS Labs ODAC, WA7 DAC, Firestone Audio Spitfire HD, Audioengine D3, Schiit Modi, and Emotiva DC-1.

 

While I have not heard the T1, I owned the T90 which is supposedly the baby T1, and many who have owned both say it's 90% the T1. I have not owned the HDVD800 either, but I found myself to stay away from amp/DAC combos after owning both the O2/ODAC and WA7. The reasoning for this is that you'll inevitably want to upgrade one of the components, and that part of it goes to waste in your combo. The WA7, for example, has a great amp section, but the DAC is mediocre. Really a $200 DAC at best for a $1000 combo device. I believe the HDVD800 has a similar problem where the DAC is also quite mediocre, and I'd recommend you get the HDVA600 instead if you really want the Sennheiser amp. The HDVD800 and HDVA600 has the exact same amp section, with the HDVA600 being a standalone amp. It's a good $500 cheaper, and really the DAC in the HDVD800 is a $200 DAC at best.

 

Once again, I want to reiterate that I have not heard the T1 or the HDVD800/HDVA600.

 

I got into this hobby about a year ago. Actually purchased the M50 last March. I soon upgraded to the HD598 and was enthralled by the open headphone sound. I immediately wanted to upgrade to something better. I went for the HD700 and the WA7. I bought each at the full price of $1000 each. But soon as I went on to other headphones, I realized how foolish a mistake that was. The HD700 was not worth $1000, and neither was the WA7 imo. The HD700 soon dropped to $650, and I ended up selling it for $500, half of what I paid for. I soon learned from then on to only buy when there is a deal. I don't know how much you paid for the T1, but it was listed on two different websites the past two months for only $750 new. You can read some more of my experiences in detail here:

 

www.head-fi.org/t/689679/a-lesson-in-audiophilism-saving-wallets-15-minutes-reading-this-will-save-you-15-or-more

 

Even that I wrote a couple months ago. I recently did the math on how much I've spend since getting into this hobby about a year ago. The raw amount I spent, not counting money made selling some stuff later on, was about $12,000. Yes that's more than the cost of Stax SR-009 + BHSE. Again, the actual amount I spend is somewhat less at around $8000-9000 if you consider the money I made back from selling gear I moved on from. Currently, I am very satisfied with my headphone and amp combo. I'm using the HD800 and Questyle CMA800R. The MSRP of each is $1500, but because I'm more seasoned now, and look out for deals, I got the HD800 at $890 and the Questyle at $1000, both new. This is cheaper than what I paid for HD700 and WA7. And to me, it's easily twice as good in sound quality. How much I would have loved to know what I know now and pocket back that $6000 and just gotten the HD800 and Questyle in the first place.

 

Now for me personally, I find my current HD800 and CMA800R to be the best I've heard and great for both JPop and Orchestral. The pairing takes away any brightness concerns the HD800 may have. Mids are the smoothest I've heard, especially with female vocals.

 

I just wanted to share my personal experience, because I see you are in a similar situation I was. I wish I has someone to tell me ll this back then. Personally, I think getting the HDVD800 out of convenience for the DAC/amp combo is a rookie mistake, as is buying the T1 at any price higher than $800.

 

Note: Don't get the Questyle for the T1. It was built for the HD800, and really only sounds good with the HD800. If you really like the HDVD800, get the HDVA600 instead. Even then at $1500, you have plenty of other options for the amp. If you have any soldering experience and wouldn't mind trying tube amps, look into Bottlehead. They sell DIY kits that cut away any of the labor costs. The Bottlehead Crack at $300 plays on par with many amps in the $1000 range, and should pair well with the T1. The Bottlehead Mainline is their top of the line amp at $1200, and I'd imagine it to compete with some of the $2000-$3000 amps such as the offerings by Eddie Current. Even then, you can get these kits at a sale price. I've seen the Mainline sell for $1000 during a sale they had, and I bought my Crack with the Speedball included for free ($120 value).


Edited by Sonido - 3/16/14 at 3:04pm
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