I should preface this by saying I am not a seasoned audiophile, so bear with my naivety.
Also, I have yet to receive my Aune T1 amp, which is underway. So I will update this later. For now, however, I thought a few provisional results are interesting:
I am using my ipod touch 4 and my ASUS G73Sw laptop for this. The Fidelios are being ran through the v-moda 80 cable, which clears up a lot of muffled distortion compared to the original cabled, I found.
With this in mind here are my impressions:
- It is generally said that the Fidelios are relatively easy to amp, while the Sennheiser's are quite difficult to amp. You would expect this from the 300ohm vs. 30ohm difference. However, I have found this to be quite false.
Both headphones perform to a very similar level from these sources, without an amp/DAC. Yes, the Fidelios can gather about 15% more volume in the ipod, but they are both very, very close in resolution.
- Everything that has been said about these cans so far in comparison seems to ring true. The mids of the HD600 are more prominent, while the bass is less punchy, if tighter. I find the soundstage to be fairly comparable, although the clarity of the 600's is damn impressive. I find the 600s to have better resolution overall, less boomy bass, more prominent vocals.
- I also have the 650 cable. And I must say that the difference between the cables is pretty much suspiciously similar to the difference often attributed to the headphones themselves. With the 650 cable you get more bass, a smoother presentation, but more rolled off highs, and more forward mids. While the 600 cable makes them a bit airier, clearer, and brighter. With the Hd600 cable the Senns are surprisingly as bright, if not brighter than the Fidelios. Whether this is a result of no amping, is open.
It makes one wonder how much of the differences attributed to these cans are due to the cabling.
I expect substantial improvements from the Sennheiser's with an amp, since that seems to be the agreement.
This has really confused me about the Fidelios. Either they need amping, just like the Senns, and will improve accordingly, or else they are just not in the same league. I have found that the Fidelios generally do not reach very high volumes from these sources, even if it is sufficient for most music (I have to use the boost in both Foobar and itunes).
I tested both with a variety of music:
- Bear in Heaven - Cool Light / Kiss me Crazy
- The Smashing Pumpkins - Zero
- Ben Monder - Elysium
- Antony and the Johnsons - Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
- Yeasayer - ONE
- John Coltrane - Solar
So far, I am enjoying the Hd600s more but they are very similar cans. Amping should hopefully make the differences more apparent.