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Requesting advice on headphone setup

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I am needing some assistance. I recently bought some equipment and was so excited to try it out and feel like something is missing. The sound feels too distant to me. I am just beginning to learn what all of the terms in the audiophile world mean (i.e. neutral, soundstage, accuracy etc). The sound that is my north star is the live music experience. I want to feel the music. I tend to be drawn toward rock n' roll (Led Zeppelin, Petty, Stones, Hendrix, etc) , acoustic, and electronic (Radiohead is my favorite band). 

 

The equipment that I now own, after much research before buying and with a somewhat limited budget, is:

 

YAMAHA A-S300 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

Project Debut Carbon turntable

Sennheiser HD600 headphones (I wonder if I should have gotten the HD650s in retrospect)

 

What do you recommend I do to get more of the sound that I am wanting? I know the options are limitless so I suppose it helps if I include a sense of a budget. I don't want to spend more than $300 on whatever upgrade I make. Also, does burn-in really matter on the headphones? If so, what do you recommend?

 

Thanks in advance. I very much appreciate the ability to reach out to others about this.

post #2 of 6

Do you have anything else you could plug the HD600s into?

Maybe a modern A/V receiver at a friends house, see if another amplifier improves the audio quality?

You could try leaving the HD600s plugged into an active audio source, over night, several times, see if that improves the HD600's audio quality.

Maybe look into buying a Little Dot MK III headphone amplifier?

 

You could read up and ask questions on this dedicated HD600 thread.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/538255/sennheiser-hd-600-impressions-thread

post #3 of 6
Sounds like you're describing the very large soundstage thrown by the HD 600. If I were you, I try to get my hands on a pair of Grados and see if they do what you're after.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by JasMel View Post
 

Hi everyone,

 

I am needing some assistance. I recently bought some equipment and was so excited to try it out and feel like something is missing. The sound feels too distant to me.

 

----------

 

 

Sennheiser HD600 headphones (I wonder if I should have gotten the HD650s in retrospect)

 

I. The sound feels too distant. Without further details, I would assume that the sound is a bit outside your head, which is not what it's like on most headphones (actually the HD6x0 isn't even the best in that regard among better headphones; there's the AKG x7xx series for example; the HD650 wouldn't make much of a difference in that regard over the HD600). You are basically having the reverse of what traditional audiophiles experience when they use headphones. These people who are used to the expansive and precise soundstage of speakers, where your left ear hears the right driver and vice versa, switch to headphones and to them a lot of headphones have a too-strong L-C-R signal that is somewhat pushed farther back in the soundstage between L-C and C-R. In your case, assuming you have not used the more precise kind of soundstage from certain speakers in acoustically treated rooms, going into a headphone that tries to simulate that sounds like it is lacking compared to the usual headphone sound.

 

Here are a few quickie Paint diagrams I made for other threads differentiating the HD600 (whose earpads take on an angle akin to angled driver mounts; also, I wear them pushed forward, so the drivers aren't directly on top of my ear canals); the HD800 (which comes with angled driver mounts); and the Grado SR225 (which is an on-ear, worn in two ways). Circles are drums, rectangles are electric guitars, and triangles are vocals.

 

SR225 worn directly over ear canals - note where the percussion seems to be coming from, which is too far left and right, and loud at left, center and right. Some hits that aren't well enough in those zones seem like they're coming from behind.

 

 

 

SR225 worn slightly forward of the ear canals - notice how the drums even out well enough.

 

HD600 - notice how the percussion are in a more consistent position relative the Grados. By comparison, the above diagram seems to make it look like the drummer has really long arms, or you have the guitar amps just in front of the drums and just off to the right and left.

 

 

HD800 - notice how the whole soundstage is generally pushed back more, but with a clearer/louder reproduction of the main vocals' image.

 

 

 

 

Note though that angled mounting isn't the only factor here - in the same manner that speakers that have the Grado signature aren't usually the ones known for expansive soundstage, like the entry level speakers from Focal; to a lesser extant, also Dynaudio and B&W. 

 



II. Preference vs Hi-Fi as defined by speakers. There are a lot of debates going on a bout these, mostly ranging from people who adamantly prefer speakers, some who would make concessions to a more consistent and precise soundstage where each instrument is in a more consistent position relative to each otehr rather than have a huge soundstage that will never match speakers anyway (that's where I am), and then there are some who would vehemently oppose how headphones are being made to sound like speakers (you can find some of these people on, for example, the Beyerdynamic DT48 thread) through such things as angled driver mounts (that mimic speaker toe-in and relative position relative to the ear canals) and Crossfeed (which allows a range of upper midrange to treble frequencies to bleed between each channel, simulating how one ear hears the midrange and tweeter on the speaker on the other side).

 

Here's a quickie diagram I made for another thread but I feel would be some way of explaining the difference. Speakers are the boxes, toed-in (very roughly and for illustrative purposes only; actual set-ups won't be angled as much as these); usual headphone design and worn "commonsensically" right on top of the ears are lines drawn on the sides of the head for contrast vs speaker placement; and angled driver mounts/earpads such as on AKG's x7xx, Beyer's Tx, and to a much lesser extent how the earpads on the HD6x0 naturally take shape when worn.

 

 

Personally none is ultimately "wrong," although of course some are more accurate or correct; more important though is that everyone should note that wherever on this spectrum they're on doesn't mean they're absolutely correct.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasMel View Post

 

What do you recommend I do to get more of the sound that I am wanting? I know the options are limitless so I suppose it helps if I include a sense of a budget. I don't want to spend more than $300 on whatever upgrade I make. 

 

Check out the reviews on the Grado SR325. It sounds like it's exactly what you need but you need to read the more detailed reviews and make the decision; at this point the best we can do is point at a certain direction. :wink_face:

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDoe View Post

Sounds like you're describing the very large soundstage thrown by the HD 600. If I were you, I try to get my hands on a pair of Grados and see if they do what you're after.

+1

A more intimate soundstage seems like what you need. For example, while I can appreciate why others like the AKG Q701s for their big soundstage, it was a little too surreal for me with some kinds of music. And even though my Soundmagic HP150 soundstage is smaller than the my AKG K612s, for some music, I like the more intimate soundstage.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Man, thanks guys. This is really, really helpful. I do have to say, I wish there were an easy way to test out "higher-end" headphones before buying. I did a lot of research but being I am just getting started it was hard to describe what kind of sound I am looking for. I would love to try out the Grado's that were described without having to buy them first. As it is I have these HD600s that are essentially brand new but that I dropped some cash for. I digress. I appreciate your help. It does sound like a better way to describe what I am looking for is a more intimate soundstage. Thanks again!

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