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HD600 - what's the break-in period?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Just got my HD600's from Jan Meier two days ago, and arnett's old Creek OBH-11SE today (it arrived in MINT condition, by the way. Mr. Arnett sure takes care of his equipment!!)

So I eagerly plugged everything in, dropped in Return To Forever's "Romantic Warrior" SACD - track one.. and... hmmm... sounds good... great soundstage... but something doesn't sound as wonderful as my old Senn HD545 'phones.

I go back and forth several times, and some things do sounds better with the HD600 - drums (particularly rolls) are tighter, highs are a bit cleaner. And the phones sound very transparent...

But (you know there had to be a but!) they aren't as enveloping as the 545s... something seems to be missing.... a certain warmth and fullness isn't there.

Soo... I'm wondering if this is simply a break-in issue? I did the comparison right out of the box. Are there typically dramatic changes after headphones are properly broken in?

Indeed... how long do HD600's typically take to break in? And once broken in... will they continue to get better the more they age? My 545's have a zillion hours on them (bougt them in '97, if memory serves correct), and they sounds really warm and relaxed. Can I expect this from my HD600s? Or are they more likely to remain more clinical sounding their whole life?

BTW, the *fit* of the HD600's are AMAZING. They feel soooo right. Just the right pressure (where the 545's have always felt loose and sloppy). The HD600's just hug my head perfectly, and feel a bit smaller and maneuverable, not to mention that they seem much more solidly built.

Thanks for any thoughts/advice!


p.s. Tides - your cd is in the mail!
post #2 of 6
I found that my 600's needed at least a full 48 hours worth of use in order to burn in correctly.
post #3 of 6
Give them a couple weeks to start sounding their best. I'm not sure if you'll ever find the hd600s warm and enveloping to the degree you're looking for, but they're certainly airy and spacious. Enya, for example, sounds wonderfull through these cans.
post #4 of 6
It could just be the simple fact that you are more used to the sound of the HD545s, or it could be that the Creek does not drive the HD600s as well as it does the HD545s. When I received my HD600s and Corda amp from Jan in March I immediately saw the differences compared to the HD545s, and to my ears they were all improvements. That said, the HD545 sound quite similar to the HD600, and others have reported preferring the HD545. Give yourself some time.

The lack of fullness you hear could in fact be that the HD600 has better matched drivers and less resonance (better construction) and hence has more precise imaging and better instrument separation. To my ears, the HD545 sounds a little mushy compared to the HD600, and that could be taken for fullness. I find the HD600's more enveloping, more engaging, more exciting -- but I don't expect that you necessarily will.

I've not noticed any dramatic changes in any of the headphones I own, but others seem to find burn-in changes a headphone from an unlistenable mess to an exquisite dream. Go figure. I can't help but wonder if the biggest change is our own mind adjusting to the new sound and fit of the headphones.

Good luck!
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've figured it out!

The difference was in the ear cushions. Specifically, the new HD600's cushions are still stiff and protrude more (as compared to my 545's cushions, which are copletely broken in and soft... less stiff, and sort of flatter as a result) therefor moving the speakers ever-so-slightly farther away from my head.

My first experiment in verifying the idea that the speakers being farther away was impacting the sound was simply to push the earpieces inward (towards my head) just a bit, and WHOA - there she is.. that's the sound I wanted.

So, to really confirm that it's the cussion difference, I swapped the cushions with the ones on the 545, which are completely broken in an soft...

... and that did it! The 545s now sound thinner, while the HD600s sound fuller. I guess by "fuller" I mean that the bass is just a tad louder, or more "there".

I'm not sure if I'll switch them back and let the new cushions break in naturally (the ones on the 545s are almost 4 years old now and do feel pretty spent... buy heck, it really sounds better with them this way!)
post #6 of 6
I've also found that the cushions of the HD-600 need break-in to flatten, and conform to your head shape. So I think that HD-600 and 580 headphones need to be broken in on the head, so to speak, so that the cushions do change. It usually settles down with a week's worth of listening time.

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