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Sound "imaging" with the Sennheiser 5X8 series (and other headphones)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I'm a bit new at this and it's still a bit hard to describe it well with words but I'll try my best.

 

Anyway, a bit of background... I started with a relatively cheap set of headphones - the Sennheiser EH 250 and EH 350. Mostly I used the EH 350 as I enjoyed the better detail and smoother bass it offered. One thing I noticed about the sound, though, is that it always seemed to come from the back. With those headphones, I always picture the instruments (I like listening to classical) either at the side or distributed around the back.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The wires of the EH 350 started dying and while replacement wires are available, I thought it would be a good time to look for an upgrade. After going through reviews, I finally ended up with the HD 558. First of all, these cans sound great compared to the EH 350. There's certainly a lot more air and the soundstage feels larger. Strangely enough, the sound is STILL from the back. I also placed an order of the HD 598 and it should be arriving sometime next week and given the similarity in the designs, I'm guessing I'll also perceive the sound coming from the back.

 

So the question here is... Is this normal for these cans? Could it be something with my recordings? Or maybe my ears? Just as an extra note, I use a Fiio E07K to source my sound from my laptop, tablet, and phone and its still the same problem.

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightsky87 View Post
 

Okay, so I'm a bit new at this and it's still a bit hard to describe it well with words but I'll try my best.

 

Anyway, a bit of background... I started with a relatively cheap set of headphones - the Sennheiser EH 250 and EH 350. Mostly I used the EH 350 as I enjoyed the better detail and smoother bass it offered. One thing I noticed about the sound, though, is that it always seemed to come from the back. With those headphones, I always picture the instruments (I like listening to classical) either at the side or distributed around the back.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The wires of the EH 350 started dying and while replacement wires are available, I thought it would be a good time to look for an upgrade. After going through reviews, I finally ended up with the HD 558. First of all, these cans sound great compared to the EH 350. There's certainly a lot more air and the soundstage feels larger. Strangely enough, the sound is STILL from the back. I also placed an order of the HD 598 and it should be arriving sometime next week and given the similarity in the designs, I'm guessing I'll also perceive the sound coming from the back.

 

So the question here is... Is this normal for these cans? Could it be something with my recordings? Or maybe my ears? Just as an extra note, I use a Fiio E07K to source my sound from my laptop, tablet, and phone and its still the same problem.

 

 

Ok, the Fiio E07k doesn't have the biggest of sound stages, I can tell, I have it. After listening to really good amps and coming back to the Fiio I realize it's great for its price but it has limitations. I would go for a Modi/Magni (or Vali) stack or the O2 ODAC/Amp the soundstage is so much larger and the instrument separation even better. Especially with the HD598, one of my all time favorite headphones.

 

Cheers,

K

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post
 

 

 

Ok, the Fiio E07k doesn't have the biggest of sound stages, I can tell, I have it. After listening to really good amps and coming back to the Fiio I realize it's great for its price but it has limitations. I would go for a Modi/Magni (or Vali) stack or the O2 ODAC/Amp the soundstage is so much larger and the instrument separation even better. Especially with the HD598, one of my all time favorite headphones.

 

Cheers,

K

 

Well I suppose that might be one thing. Unfortunately, the budget only permits the Fiio. What bothers me more, though, is actually the direction or perceived source of the sound rather than the size of the soundstage.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightsky87 View Post
 

 

Well I suppose that might be one thing. Unfortunately, the budget only permits the Fiio. What bothers me more, though, is actually the direction or perceived source of the sound rather than the size of the soundstage.

 

Ok, Fiio it is then, no problem, it's a great little amp for sure.

 

Well I guess it's related. The Fiio is not very expansive, so a lot happens "in your head". Concentrate hard and try to "push" the stage to the front. It's amazing what your brain can do. 

 

Maybe you can try as well driving the Senns directly from the source without the Fiio and see how that renders.

 

Cheers,

K

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

 

Ok, Fiio it is then, no problem, it's a great little amp for sure.

 

Well I guess it's related. The Fiio is not very expansive, so a lot happens "in your head". Concentrate hard and try to "push" the stage to the front. It's amazing what your brain can do. 

 

Maybe you can try as well driving the Senns directly from the source without the Fiio and see how that renders.

 

Cheers,

K

 

So the 598 renders the sound from the front for you? I'll find out for sure once the new cans arrive but as for the 558, I've tried them amped and unamped, Fiio DAC and laptop/mobile device DAC, different albums and either way it still sounds like it's from the back. My wife also describes the sound the same way so its not just me.

 

On a side note, binaural audio (like the infamous barbershop demo) seems to work fine so my hearing shouldn't be all that weird.

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