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Sennheiser HD650's sounding too 'thin' and 'clinical', any recommendations for warmer headphones?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I recently acquired a pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones, used. I connected them to a Schiit Audio Bifrost DAC and Schiit Audio Asgard 2 headphone amplifier.

 

I found the sound, after a 48 hour break in, and 3 days of intermittent listening to be far too lean and tight. Very little warmth to the low end, no low end volume so to speak, tight mid-bass but overly emphasised vocal mid range and shrilly top-end. At high level listening to the high end becomes lost in a wall of noise. I also noticed vocals caused the headphones to distort at high level / mid-high levels, as if the drivers could not handle those frequencies as efficiently.

 

Eventually I had to remove the Asgard 2 amplifier and connect an ultra-warm NAD3020a integrated amplifier. Sound was greatly 'improved', much more warmth and bass added. However clarity has somewhat been clouded.

 

I'm wondering, as the music I listened to was both classical and electronic whether there are any good alternative headphones that will provide me with both the warm, clarify, punch and depth that I so desire.


I've been looking to trade the Sennheiser HD650's & Asgard 2 amplifier for a pair of Audio Technica W5000, however I've read that some people have said these have little bass also?

 

Perhaps maybe a pair of Denon AH-D5000 would suffice with their bass impact?

 

I found the Asgard 2 to be under-powered, however it might be because the HD650s aren't very sensitive, I had the volume knob 90% full when listening. Perhaps I'm used to a closed-back design, and the perceived wider sound stage is forcing me to increase the volume to attain the punch I desire.

 

Any help and information would be greatly appreciated.

 

This is my first foray into hi-end headphones, although I've been a hi-fi enthusiast for many years.

 

Cheers,

Joe.

post #2 of 10

Could give the fidelio x1 a trial very warm and I know some hd 600/650 owners saying they are like a better 650

post #3 of 10

Surprising!  I turn to HD 650 when I'm looking for a warm, tonally rich sound.  

 

They do have an unusually high input impedance (300 ohms) compared to 

many other headphones (of 32 ohms).  So I wonder if you're not getting a

good match with the amp.  And based on your experience that the Asgard

is under powered, I think this is the main problem.

 

On the other hand, when I think of punchy bass response, it's hard to beat

magnetic planar designs like the Audezes or HiFiMan headphones.  I find

the bass very satisfying on those.

post #4 of 10

Sounds like you have the wrongest amp for HD650.

This thread discusses equipment that matches to HD650.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your input.

 

I think I'll go ahead and sell the amplifier but keep the headphones and try and match them to a more compatible amplifier in the future.

 

Or do any of you recommend I switch out the headphones for a pair of ATH W5000's?

Cheers,
Joe.

post #6 of 10

The HD650 too cynical? That's what you get for having philosophical discussions with your headphones.  :D

post #7 of 10

I assume you mean clinical? Give Grado a try. 325is is highly regarded and at a good price. Had a pair for a while, nice cans.

 

Audueze and HiFiman are also great headphones but a different price point. Although the 560's can be had for about $600 (if that's in your price range). 

post #8 of 10
What made you think of the W5000? They are some of the most bass shy headphones imaginable...

The D7000, JVC DX700 or Shure 1540 might be more up your alley.

Funny though as the hd650 are a darker and warmer sounding headphone.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by UNIFi View Post

What made you think of the W5000? They are some of the most bass shy headphones imaginable...

The D7000, JVC DX700 or Shure 1540 might be more up your alley.

Funny though as the hd650 are a darker and warmer sounding headphone.

Yeah thats my impression of the higher end AT cans in general.  As a whole not what I would consider bass heavy.

 

OP, the scenario you are describing with your HD650 I think is the difference between a properly amp'ed 650 and a poorly amped one.

 

With a robust amp they are brighter, articulate and more detail revealing.  With a poor amp they are darker, much less aggressive sounding.  One of my all time fave amps for the 300 ohm sennheisers is the Earmax series of OTL amps, along with the Darkvoice 336/337.  You might want to consider a tube amp.  You get robust amplification AND warmth.  My earmax and HD650 is one of my all time fave setups.

 

You mention being an audio enthusiast for a long time... bass response is one of the MANY fundamental differences between headphones and loudspeakers.  The latter use room acoustics/treatments/resonance, subwoofers and raw acoustic power to create sound pressure differences that we both feel and hear.  No headphone can replicate that sensation.... its the laws of physics, acoustics and the difference between pressure on the body versus isolated pressure only on the ear.  Its almost a left brain versus right brain kind of thing.  If you are using the loudspeaker part of your brain to evaluate headphones, you'll get your signals crossed up.  I have to do the same thing and re-calibrate my mind when I use a Mesa 2x12 guitar cabinet versus late night headphone practice through a speaker cabinet simulator.

 

Good Luck though!!

 

[EDIT]

Looking into those AT and Denon headphones specifically... I don't think either will suit your tastes well.   The Denon is considerably brighter than the HD650 above ~3khz, and the AT is considerably bass-shy.  The AT in particular I think is about as polar opposite as you can get from the HD650... theres some pretty serious recession below ~650Hz, that I both heard and headroom measured below.  I know these cans have their fan base here on HF... so take this with a grain of salt.


Edited by kramer5150 - 5/6/14 at 10:31am
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

[...] If you are using the loudspeaker part of your brain to evaluate headphones, you'll get your signals crossed up. [...]

Favorite quote of the day.  :-)

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