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Sennheiser HD 560 Ovation II Review - Page 2

post #16 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkshan View Post

HD560 Ovation(not II) is the most accurate & musical Sennheiser dynamic,

Developed by the same HE60/HE90 team.sound is natural, clear & sweet.

way better than hd650/600s

 

It's the only Sennheiser dynamic which can compete with the stax lambda series

it costs 300 Euro in 1989

 

The second best Sennheiser dynamic is the 1993 German made hd580 (new hd580 sucks)

it has the best vocal, but the highs & bass are not as refined as the hd560

 

hd800 is something like an upgrade version of HD540, a monitoring can, best clarity, but the sound is lacking life

As a fellow who listen to the HD560(too bad not my unit), HD560 2 and HD540~ I agree with all the thing pkshan wrote~ Hd560 tonal balance, and accuracy is great! The instruments sounds as real! The vocal is clear and with emotions~ its wayy better than HD600 and HD650. HD560 Ovation 2 have the same veil sound as HD650 but IMO it's still sound better, better tonal balance and more accurate.

 

Although HD580 sound great~ but still lacking behind HD560! But at some point I cant totally agree that HD580 sounds better than HD650 as a recable HD650 sounds slightly more refined 

 

HD800 have the same sound signature (not quality) with HD540~ great monitoring headphone but again like wat pkshan said lack of life, or put in my words lack of emotions~

 

But if I have to choose I would say each of them hv their advantages~ smt I still use HD540 for music listening~ its a great tool to enjoy your amp/DAC after you tune it... you can get the exact feeling of my sound tuning. 

 

I also own the HD250 Linear 1... well its sounds great for modern musics! haha

 

Again I would like to ask pkshan, what's your opinion on HD560 Ovation 1 and Ovation 2? Ovation 2 got 2 version, Germany made and Ireland made... here I would like to compare Germany made 560~ :)

post #17 of 71

Well, aren't the Lambdas also much more expensive?

 

Stereophile prefers the HD 580 to the HD 560.  This is not a universal view: http://www.hifi-forum.de/viewthread-110-1633.html

 

I would be curious if anyone has made a close comparison of the HD 560 and the AKG 701/2.

post #18 of 71

Hello! I've been toying with the idea of designing-come-making a triode amp to drive my HD560s; I was thinking of playing with 6G-A4s, 2A3s, 6AS7s and maybe a 45.

Has anyone found what actually makes these headphones tick? Are they happy with a high-impedance drive (i.e. low damping factor)? Do they like low impedance drivers? Do they play well with tube amps, or would the distortion be overly evident?

Any advice / past experience would be welcome - in return, I shall put down all experience gleaned on these pages.

Thanks in advance!

post #19 of 71

I will be eager to learn of your results.  The HD 560 has a 300 Ohm impedance, so it should work with OTL tube amps, but I have not seen specific discussion of this.  I run my HD 560s on a KICAS regular, the now discontinued Purity Audio sibling to the Caliente but without bass boost.  It is very neutral, and so are the headphones.  Sometimes the sound is a bit dry, but that turns out to be largely a matter of the recording.  I listen to classical music, and many CDs are from performances in the '70s or earlier.  When I get a good recent performance (say, on Harmonia Mundi), the sound is wonderful.  I don't want to break the bank, so despite intense curiosity, I have not compared these to HD 800s, HE 500s, or even K 701/2 or DT 880/600 Ohm.  

 

There is a long discussion of the HD 560 on Hifi-de.  Most of the writers there, who seem to have purchased their HD 560s in the late 80s, seem to use them with the headphone output plug of old, high quality stereo systems.  

 

In short, I think the HD 560 is versatile.  But if your experiment produces magic, do let the rest of us know.


Edited by wyki - 4/8/13 at 5:09am
post #20 of 71

Hey wyki, do you still stand by your word about the good sound of the HD 530? I have a pair (non-II) arriving in some days and can do some measurements on them - frequency response and decay - to investigate them further. I can also compare them to an early Sennheiser electrostat, the Unipolar 2000.

post #21 of 71

The HD 530. With HM5 pads, don't got the originals.

 

.

 

Subjective impressions will go in the Unipolar 2000 thread, some day. Channels are matched with sub-dB precision over most of the spectrum.

 

Compare for example to the following. Top to bottom: Unipolar 2000, Yamaha HP-50, vintage Beyer DT 990.

 

 

 


Edited by vid - 4/11/13 at 8:54pm
post #22 of 71

Vid, I'm afraid I don't see the chart for the HD 530, which (unlike your comparison charts) seems to have posted blank.  I would also be interested in your impressions.

 

I must frankly say that my basis for comparison is limited, because I don't have free access to a wide variety of headphones and cannot afford to buy a range of them just to experiment.  What I can say is that connected to a good source, the HD 530 is a high quality headphone for classical music.  My other headphones are the HD 560 and the (much newer) HD 448.  Of the three, the HD 560 is clearly the best, and I can now hear a bit of imprecision in the HD 530 that I was not conscious of before listening to the HD 560.  I would be very interested in the comments of someone who has heard the HD 560 and the newer audiophile headphones.  As for the HD 448, it's a very good inexpensive offering, which for certain purposes has the advantage of being closed, low impedance, and portable.  But both the HD 530 and (even more) the HD 560 sound richer and more natural for long term home listening.

 

PS: Rereading, I see that pkshan (first post in this thread, quotation) has done what I asked -- listened to the HD 560 and newer headphones -- and finds the HD 560 holds up.


Edited by wyki - 4/13/13 at 5:06am
post #23 of 71

Thanks for the renewed impressions.

 

I made some slight mods to my HD 530 and posted the updated graph along with my impressions there: http://www.head-fi.org/t/650400/sennheiser-unipolar-2000/45#post_9346649. I removed the old graph here to avoid having many slightly different graphs of the same thing floating around.

post #24 of 71

I'm listening to my HD 560 Ovation-II right now. I purchased mine in late 1994, for around $250 (if memory serves). It was my first higj-quality headphone and my first experience with an open design. I didn't know much about headphones at the time, but they looked beautiful and sounded better than any headphone I had heard up to that point. Initially, I bought them to pair with a Denon PMA-520 amp and CD player, but I later expanded their duties to computer audio and portable digital audio as those uses became prevalent.

 

At time of purchase, I lived in a small apartment and worked nights. I was also just out of college. For these reasons, an expensive loudspeaker set up was out of the question. I had read somewhere that for $300, you could buy headphones that sounded as good as loudspeakers that cost 10 times as much. That was likely marketing hype, but it convinced me to give headphones a try. I could come home from work and immerse myself in beautiful music without waking my roommate or the neighbors. It was a private heaven.

 

I have used them HEAVILY during the intervening 18 years -- at home, at work, on trips -- but I have taken care of them. I have replaced three or four sets of ear pads and as many cables. As of 2010 (last time I looked), I could still buy replacement parts. Sennheiser's commitment to this headphone is impressive and it is a big reason I continue to buy their products.

 

I agree with other posters who describe the sound as "accurate". When I bought them, I thought they sounded a bit sterile, but I later understood that this characteristic was a good thing. Classical music was crisp, clear and textured. The mids were warm and smooth, but not overly so. Strings and horns sounded like I was in the orchestra hall. Although this orchestra hall was smaller than the real thing (I now understand this to be "narrow sound stage"), I could hear separation and positioning of instruments better than I ever had outside of a live concert. To my then-young ears, the treble was piercing, almost unbearable. (Perhaps time has mellowed the earphones, or my hearing has simply "matured", but they don't sound quite as much like needles to the eardrum as they once did.) 

 

Rock music was disappointing, however. I remember coming home with the CD for Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy" soon after its release. My amp and headphones conspired to produce a very thin, clinical sound that in bore little resemblance to what I'd heard on loudspeakers and at concerts. I cranked up the bass knob and hit the "Loudness" button on the amp, and still found myself wishing for a more powerful low end. Turn down the treble, and the mids took over. Turn up the bass, and the sound was boomy and muffled. The bass lines were fine, but the lower end of the mids sounded like crap.

 

This chart from Inner Fidelity explains what I heard, and continue to hear: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD560OvationII.pdf. The HD 560 Ovation-II seems to measure as very bright with a very strong treble overshoot, strong mids, and tight but weak bass. The frequency response resembles that of other mid-to-higher end Sennheiser headphones, at least according to the charts. The real difference seems to be in the way the 30hz square wave plummets to zero (but doesn't go below).

 

I've since used this headphone with different amps and sources, and used equalization. The latter, in particular, can fortify the bass and warm the treble somewhat. Using a "V" equalization that emphasized bass over treble, this headphone does a fine job with rock, alternative and metal. (I'm listening to Morbid Angel's "Blessed Are The Sick ... " in FLAC of all things, and it sounds tight and right with the 1991 recording.) Adjust it to a flatter response, and you can tweak detail on classical, jazz, folk, salsa and on solo instrumental recordings. This headphone is fantastic with voice, especially if amplified (soprano can be a bit grating). It can still seem a little thin, but that's inherent to this headphone. The trade-off is clear, tight and neutral sound.

 

Oh, and it's pretty lousy for dub-step. But you probably already figured that out. Also, "loudness" recordings like Metallica's "Death Magnetic" sound horrible. (Horrible recordings sound horrible on decent equipment)

 

A word about comfort ... these are hands down the most comfortable headphones I own. They are light and remain firmly on my medium-sized head if don't bang around too much. I can wear these for several hours at a time without discomfort or ear fatigue. 

 

Thanks for entertaining a long post. These headphones are one of my prized possessions for many reasons. 

post #25 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by wyki View Post

I will be eager to learn of your results.  The HD 560 has a 300 Ohm impedance, so it should work with OTL tube amps, but I have not seen specific discussion of this.  I run my HD 560s on a KICAS regular, the now discontinued Purity Audio sibling to the Caliente but without bass boost.  It is very neutral, and so are the headphones.  Sometimes the sound is a bit dry, but that turns out to be largely a matter of the recording.  I listen to classical music, and many CDs are from performances in the '70s or earlier.  When I get a good recent performance (say, on Harmonia Mundi), the sound is wonderful.  I don't want to break the bank, so despite intense curiosity, I have not compared these to HD 800s, HE 500s, or even K 701/2 or DT 880/600 Ohm.  

 

There is a long discussion of the HD 560 on Hifi-de.  Most of the writers there, who seem to have purchased their HD 560s in the late 80s, seem to use them with the headphone output plug of old, high quality stereo systems.  

 

In short, I think the HD 560 is versatile.  But if your experiment produces magic, do let the rest of us know.


Dear wyki, many thanks for your comments! I played with OTLs (Futtermans, circlotrons gblah) many moons ago, my it's been twenty years now... I was never really happy with them. Sonically, I really love Single-Ended Triodes above all else (directly heated or otherwise, who cares). However, this has always been driving conventional loudspeakers; I have never tried to run cans off bottles, maybe they're a different kettle of fish. I'll give it a go and see what gives; should I get something interesting, I'll post it here. Meanwhile, advice is welcome!

post #26 of 71

Excellent description.  Since I listen to classical music, the HD 560s work well for me.  They were made at the end of the period when Sennheiser assumed that high end listeners preferred classical.  Or was it the end?  I haven't heard the HD 800 and would be very curious to compare it to the HD 560.  But the comparison is beyond my budget, so I plan to live happily with what I have.  (A comparison with the AKG K 701/2 and Beyerdynamic DT 880/ 600 Ohm version would also be interesting.)

post #27 of 71

Since I found the Sennheiser Unipolar 2000 to be better than the HD 530, and if the HD 530 are similar - if not as good - in sound as the HD 560, and since the Unipolar 2000 cost about the same as the HD 560 - i.e. $100 or so - and assuming the important bit that I were on a budget, I would give a proper pondering as to whether to go for the HD 560 or the Unipolar 2000. I dare say the HD 560 will not be as good, but that's just speculation.

 

Though I don't listen to classical as much as I used to, so didn't give the HD 530/Unipolar 2000 comparison any weight in that regard. Closest I got was acoustic music. Also, the caveat with the Unipolar is that they need to be modded. The HD 560 might be more readily enjoyed - although I did find the HD 530 a bit too bright stock at least.


Edited by vid - 4/14/13 at 7:20am
post #28 of 71

Got around to opening up the HD 530. The tiny disc of foam covering the driver's air hole had started to crumble. It looked ok but as soon as I touched it it went into pieces. The HD 560 most likely uses the same foam thing seeing as so do the HD 650, HD 600, and HD 580, so it's probably a good idea to replace it before the foam decomposes into a goo and releases itself inside the driver.

post #29 of 71

Converted them to open backed while I was at it.

 

post #30 of 71

Compared the AKG K 701 to the open-backed HD 530. Similar sound signature, though the 701 were brighter. Overall, I'd say the 701 were about 1.1 to 1.15 times better technically than the open HD 530. Sonically, the open HD 530 were listenable while the K 701 were too bright. Assuming the HD 560 use the same drivers as the HD 530, and that the open-backed mod can be done on them as well, you can draw your conclusions.

 

The open HD 530 weigh about half of the K 701. I used a vintage Beyer DT 990 headband on them.


Edited by vid - 5/8/13 at 2:07pm
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