I'll start of by saying that I was biased towards HD598 as that's my set and even though indifferent to HD600 (owned by a friend of my), I did read a lot that it was a classic for many years.
Initially, 4-5 months ago when I compared HD598 to HD600 without using DAC or AMP, using WinAmp from my PC using FLAC files, I leaned towards HD598. It sounded more alive to me. It had more presence I guess and they got me on the whole "better clarity" in HD598 idea. I felt like HD600 was a bit dull compared to HD598.
When I first connected HD598 to Shiit Modi/Vali, I liked the extra volume on some tracks that I wanted to be louder. I liked the even more forward sound and I guess much better clarity of instruments. It felt as if I now could distinguish better between each instrument. and then I connected the HD600 ......
To be honest, I think I expected much more out of amping HD600. When comparing HD600 running out of regular PC sound card versus Shiit Modi/Vali, I was a little disappointed. Maybe I had much bigger expectations of what that dac and amp will do. OR maybe Shiit Modi/Vali is not strong enough to really make HD600 shine?
So ..... Shiit Modi/Vali in my opinion had bigger sound change influence on HD598.
Now we move on to something interesting ....
My friend suggested connecting both headphones to my home stereo system .... Source was SACD player (Sony 222ES) and we connected the Shiit Vali amp to it. Played a SACD "Pink Floyd - Money" in 2ch Stereo and then a few other sound heavy songs (regular CD quality). Results .,... HD600 killed HD598. I mean killed it. Better left and right sound separation, better depth, better bass, less plastic sound. I wanted to keep using HD600 and retire HD598. So is it my PC? is the problem with a DAC (Shiit Modi) ? Is it really the fact that CD quality is much higher than my FLAC files?
Back to regular PC listening/testing with Shiit Modi/Vali
After connecting back to my PC, I started paying extra attention to things that shined on the CD player and started noticing more of what I didn't like about HD598. All of that forward mids were not so cool anymore to my ear. Now I could understand that that HD598 sound is a bit "fake". It overemphasizes on the mids and thus causes sound to be artificial to my ears. Especially with the Modi/Vali, that extra clarity was simply increase in brightness of sound caused by either Modi or Vali ... don't know.
Not so great recordings with harsh mids or highs on HD598 became unpleasant to my ear while HD600 managed them well.
So ..... I am sticking with HD600 for sure.
Now the question is .... what DAC and what AMP are good enough for HD600 to be effected by in a good way. Like I said, Modi/Vali did not change sound quality by tooo much ... just added extra volume to HD600. However on CD player HD600 sounded much much better.
So I am assuming that Vali AMP is good enough and problem is with the $109 Modi DAC? Any thoughts>?
thank you all.
P.S. I am also quite happy my friend gave away his HD600 to me ... till one day he needs it back :-)
Edited by Pianist718 - 4/7/14 at 7:42am