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HD700 vs HE500 vs AKG712

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So here's where I'm at. I own Denon AHD2000, Fidelio X1 , Grado SR325 ( modded with maho shells and recable) and Senn. Momentums. I think I've got the Mid-Fi bases covered and prefer a somewhat colored sound with good detail retrieval>Soundstage>comfort. I generally prefer a somewhat colored headphone  and lean toward the sound profile of the Denons but would prefer a tighter lowend with more detail, the highend doesn't bother me. The SR325i are a bit harsh but otherwise pretty good sounding.

 

I like rock and metal. I know that soundstage is kind of a non-entity when it comes to recordings but prefer a headphone that has a quick response and no blurring in the low end. I do also like live jazz, vocal and some classical music. The Shure SE535Ltd do these genres quite well while sacrificing soundstage. 

 

I've come down to the Sennheiser HD700 as a bridge between the lauded HD600 and HD800. The HE500, I'm afraid would be a bit neutral and boring ( laid back ) for what I like although they get rave reviews for the <$1000 crowd. The AKG K712 Pros seem to be a good all around reference headphone with a bit of a bass bump and good extension. The AKG 712 and HD700 would have that immediacy and aggression I crave but the HE500 seem to good to overlook.

 

If I could save a bit-o-cash on a HD700 alternative I could probably buy a decent amp. Currently rocking the Fiio E17 and Fiio E9c

 

Thanks

post #2 of 16

HE 500.  Have you heard the bass from a good planar?!  I this is boring, give me more, sir! :

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HE500

 

But you'd need a new amp.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

I've been up and down the Flagship battle thread. Also the HD700 review by Purrin which was quite extensive. I like the idea of the Sennheiser level of resolution paired with some of the Grado tonality. I'm afraid that the HE500 would be a bit boring but at the same time, with a good amp and bit of EQ would be phenomenal. The HD700, I think, amy be better out of the box and could be well warmed and fleshed out with a good amp. Leaning toward a Little Dot MarkIV or WA6. I've more or less ruled out the AKG K712  and am leaning toward the $500 or above price point.

post #4 of 16
The thing about HD700 is I don't know anybody who doesn't collect headphones who decided to keep it. I don't think it's a case of falling through the cracks either.
post #5 of 16

To my ears the HD 700 is a bit of an odd duck that is almost always priced above its performance level.  It is very good with acoustic music.  I have a SACD of the first America album and it sounds great through the HD 700.  Each to their own (and the three cans you mentioned have very different sound signatures from one another), but I rate both the K712 and HE 500 as superior to it.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

I kind of get that. It seems that the consensus is the HD700 would be great at the $300 price point but is underwhelming at the $800 MSRP. I'm afraid it'd essentially be a bit more comfortable SR325. Maybe the HE500 and a decent amp would be a better use of fundage.

post #7 of 16

What about HE400? Don't let the cheaper price fool you. It's tops for jazz and plays rock and metal well. It's OK for classical (I prefer dynamic models). With the money left over you can amp it well too. 

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by benthughes View Post
 

I've been up and down the Flagship battle thread. Also the HD700 review by Purrin which was quite extensive. I like the idea of the Sennheiser level of resolution paired with some of the Grado tonality. I'm afraid that the HE500 would be a bit boring but at the same time, with a good amp and bit of EQ would be phenomenal. The HD700, I think, amy be better out of the box and could be well warmed and fleshed out with a good amp. Leaning toward a Little Dot MarkIV or WA6. I've more or less ruled out the AKG K712  and am leaning toward the $500 or above price point.

 

Actually - I wouldn't (personally) discount the HD700 yet.  Easy to drive - and the bit I highlighted in red sort of does describe it.

 

The thing is - they can be picked up in the 500-600 USD range (used but close to new).  At that price - IMO they are good buying.  Their biggest issue is the spike in the treble - but that can be EQ'd out if you need to.  I came from a woodied 325i (my shells were Iroko) - and ended up going to an RS1 (vintage) which I sold because it didn't quite have the magic that I personally liked with the 325i.

 

If you like the 325i - I do think you may well love the HD700.  It gets a bit of a bad rap sometimes - mainly for the initial comments on it's release (which are then unfortunately parroted by many who haven't heard the headphone and taken as gospel).  But for me (and others) it's a great headphone - so much so that my time with my DT880s and HD600s has been getting steadily less.

 

If you get the chance - at least audition it - and maybe see if you could borrow one for a few days.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at about $600 for a used in good condition HD700 and $500 for the HE500.

The HE500s come so highly recommended that it's hard to not be very tempted by these. I'm afraid they'd be a little dark sounding. My fidelio X1s are about as laid back as I'd want to get tonally. I just want a headphone that can keep up with fast paced music.

The treble of my Grado SR325 is a bit much at higher volumes.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by benthughes View Post

I'm looking at about $600 for a used in good condition HD700 and $500 for the HE500.

The HE500s come so highly recommended that it's hard to not be very tempted by these. I'm afraid they'd be a little dark sounding. My fidelio X1s are about as laid back as I'd want to get tonally. I just want a headphone that can keep up with fast paced music.

The treble of my Grado SR325 is a bit much at higher volumes.

HE500 is somewhat dark but not Audeze dark, and I don't find it too laid back.
post #11 of 16

I haven't heard the HE500 but its generally rated pretty highly.  As long as you have sufficient amplification - I'd probably go in that direction first.  Resale value around the USD500 mark would mean that if it's not to your liking, you wouldn't lose too much moving it on if it turns out not to be to your liking.  And there is no substitute for actually spending time with a can.

 

But again - don't write the HD700 off your radar.  As KC Jag said above it is very good with acoustic music.  I personally find it good with practically everything I listen to. 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by benthughes View Post

I'm looking at about $600 for a used in good condition HD700 and $500 for the HE500.

The HE500s come so highly recommended that it's hard to not be very tempted by these. I'm afraid they'd be a little dark sounding. My fidelio X1s are about as laid back as I'd want to get tonally. I just want a headphone that can keep up with fast paced music.

The treble of my Grado SR325 is a bit much at higher volumes.


I don't here the HE 500 as being dark at all.  In fact some have called it slightly bright.  I hear it as very , very close to dead neutral--almost as neutral as the HE-6.  Therefore, I am in agreement with the Flagships review to which I linked earlier:

 

"STRENGTHS

 

...

 

NEUTRAL: The HE-500 offers a very neutral tonal balance. All across the board, I do not notice any peaks that compromise the tonal balance. When compared directly against the HE-6, I feel that the HE-500's sound presentation lacks just a hint of air and dynamics, but many may prefer its less aggressive style."

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
I ended up going with the HD700. Absolutely no regrets. They are fantastic headphones and pretty comfortable, although IMO, not as comfy as my X1s or D2000. They can get a little harsh up high but it really depends on the recording.

I spent some time comparing them to my Fidelio X1s. At first I wasn't sure what to make of them. I've got a lot of rock and metal which,frankly, lacks dynamic range and really a sense of space with a few notable exceptions. The HD700s are very fast and very detailed with lean bass that makes rock and metal very enjoyable . Kind of grado-esque but not as extreme.

Listening to live music and some good binaural recordings is where the difference was really evident. Compared to the X1s I was a few rows back in a much larger room. Vocals seperate dwell from the orchestras and neither ever walked on each other. Acoustic music had a very realistic timbre without that boom I associate with the x1s. On slides you could hear the fingers as they passed over each fret and the pick attack.

Like I mentioned, the bass could be considered lean. I find it to be well balanced and natural. If you want to goose the low end with EQ (I do sometimes) it handles the bass while maintaining good separation between the bass and low mids.

Great headphones. Great detail and sense of space. I would, in my limited experience consider these a fun headphone while being fairly analytical. Neutral cans have always struck me as somewhat boring. I would still live to hear some HE500s but ,at this point, they'd likely be a side grade as opposed to an upgrade.
post #14 of 16

Nice summary - similar to my thoughts, and glad you are enjoying them.  I have to admit, my pair has really grown on me - to the point that I hardly use my DT880 or HD600 any more.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Compared to some of the people on this forum I feel downright retarded when trying to describe the characteristics of the sound of a headphone. I could be totally fine with just the HD700 as my sole headphone. I do still dig the more V shaped and somewhat less refined sound of my other cans.

 

I'm curious as to the benefits of possibly upgrading my source audio. Right now I'm running high quality MP3s from my Macbook pro through BitPerfect which is feeding my Fiio E17 96K 24bit signal from optical out. The Fiio seems to sufficiently power them and it sounds good. Also have the E09k which , I think sounds pretty good. I kind of think that, considering my source, the amp/dac combo is sufficient for my needs especially considering that I generally don't listen to music with huge dynamic range. 

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