Already Bought HD-595, Upgrade to HD-650 and Zero Amp?
Jul 20, 2008 at 10:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Garret Jax

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Dear Head-Fi community,

My situation is a little unique so I figured I'd post here and see what you think:

I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD-595's about two months ago. I have them plugged directly into an HT Omega Claro+ Plus sound card (uses AD8620BR OPAMP for Front Channel output which is what feeds my HD-595's). This is my first venture into near-audiophile level sound. So far, I LOVE my HD-595's and the Claro+ DACs. I'm listening to Cash: American IV and it's never sounded so alive!

Here's the thing: I could use a bit more bass, and a bit more power, so I was thinking of selling my HD-595's to my brother for $125 (they run about $250 new from authorized dealers), then buying a pair of HD-650 for only $279 USD new from an authorized dealer (got a sweet deal, I think). Also, I would buy the Zero 24-bit DAC/Pre-Amp/AMP for $179 shipped from biglawhk. So in essence, I would upgrade to HD-650 and a stand-alone headphone amp (and possibly an upgraded DAC, but I don't know if the Zero's DAC is better than the Claro+'s DAC).

The net cost for the upgrade:

$329 HD-650 - $50 rebate - $125 for HD-595 = $154
$179 for the Zero
TOTAL: $333

To be honest, the $333 is not a lot of money to me right now because I have some gift money that I HAVE to spend on something fun. My main concern is that the new setup won't sound better, or won't sound significantly better than the current HD-595/Claro+ setup. What do you all think? As for my tastes in sound, I think the HD-595's are good but could be better - more power, a bit more bass, something seems lacking. In fact, it was only when I heard the HD-595's that I realized how amazing music can sound, yet ironically that made me realize a different/pricier headphone set could sound even better!

Can you please advise me? If money were no object, or a fairly insignificant object, would you upgrade? Would it really be an upgrade?

Finally, what if I just bought the Zero amp and ran the HD-595's on that? Would that sound better?

Thanks so much for any advice. I've been reading on here for the last four hours and you all know so much about headphones, amps, and such that I'm overwhelmed. Thank you kindly and have a nice Saturday night.

smily_headphones1.gif


-Garret


EDIT: Also, I read that the HD-650 absolutely must be re-cabled for optimal sound, but the cables I found for it are $220 which seems like a lot to me given that the headphones can be purchased for $279 after rebate. So if I don't want to re-cable, should I buy a different set? Those AKG K701 get a lot of good press around here.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 3:42 PM Post #2 of 9

CountChoculaBot

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I'd suggest you get the HD-650. Then, instead of the Zero, get just an amp, and let the Claro+ serve as your DAC. I'd suggest a LD MKII or something.

Don't recable yet. If you do want to, there are cheaper alternatives for recables out there.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 7:56 PM Post #3 of 9

Garret Jax

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Thanks for the advice, Count. Too bad I can't do an A-B comparison with the Zero as DAC versus the Claro+ as DAC. I've read some reviews saying that the Zero as DAC blows the Auzentech Prelude out of the water, and I've read that the Claro+ is comparable to the Prelude, so I am even more confused now.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 12:42 AM Post #5 of 9

bada bing

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On the HD650's: Definite upgrade from HD595's, although they are very similar in sound.

On the recable: Don't spend the money. HD650 Recable is only worth it for balanced or after you have extreme upgraded the rest of the chain and are looking for the last 1% . Don't buy into the idea that recabling makes a significant or even audible difference. It doesn't unless all the other links have been gold plated (excepting going balanced which is a whole other subject).

On the Zero: I haven't heard a Claro, but I have spent a lot of time with a couple Preludes. The zero DAC is better than the prelude. I don't think it necessarily because the components (DAC chip mostly) are better. It is because the Zero has a clean stand alone PSU and is sheilded in it's case. I think that trying to get above mid-fi from a sound card is a fool's errand. No matter how high end the design and components, it still is installed inside a computer case with digital & fan noise and run off of switching PSU power. A sound card is inadequate to drive HD650's and get your money's worth from them over HD595's.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 5:39 AM Post #6 of 9

Garret Jax

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Thank you very much Bada Bing and the Count.

I purchased the Sennheiser HD-695's and the head-fi version of the Zero DAC for Mr. Chan Lawrence. I will post a review back here in a few weeks when everything is received, setup, and burned in.

Until then.
-Garret
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 4:37 PM Post #7 of 9

windrider

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ignore this (since you've already made your purchase). Hope you enjoy your new cans
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 4, 2008 at 3:43 AM Post #9 of 9

Garret Jax

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I haven't burned in the HD-650 cans or the Zero DAC, but so far they sound excellent. I think I may prefer the DAC on my sound card by a tiny amount, but we'll see as things burn in over the next week or so. Certainly the Zero has ample power to drive my headphones; I only turn the dial up to 9:00 - 12:00, except during poorly mastered movies with really low sound. I'm happy with my upgrade so far, and I think I will be very happy once everything burns in. Speaking of which, I am now a firm believer in 'burn in' for headphones. I noticed it with my HD-595 cans after about 40 hours; the bass got tighter and more powerful. Even after only 20 hours, the HD-650 is already opening up, the bass is likewise getting tighter, more powerful. I was skeptical of burn in before, but not now. I am still not buying that the Zero DAC will burn in considering that it's a digital circuit, but maybe. I've heard the capacitors can mature. IDK.
 

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