Alternatives to Sennheiser HD 650?
Dec 19, 2020 at 2:48 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

ZsoSahaal

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Hey everyone.

So I've decided to get myself a pair of open headphones for home listening and bought a pair of HD 650, and now I'm trying to decide if there's a better alternative. The mids in these are great, but I'm not sure I like the increased lower mids presence and the laid-back highs. Are there any alternatives that sound more balanced without losing mid quality and detalization in this price point that I should condider?

The gear I use is JDS O2 amp and Audiquest Dragonfly Black.

I've been considering HD 600, 660s, and AKG K702. Another idea I had was to return these and get HiFiman he-400 and k702 to complement each other for different music genres. A more spacious soundstage would also be a plus.
 
Dec 19, 2020 at 3:11 PM Post #2 of 14

Deolum

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Wasn't the HD650's purpose of existence to satisfy those who want increased lower mids and more laid-back heights? So i think the HD600 should be the optimal choice. The 702 is also very good but not an allrounder like the HD600.
 
Dec 19, 2020 at 3:16 PM Post #3 of 14

ZsoSahaal

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Wasn't the HD650's purpose of existence to satisfy those who want increased lower mids and more laid-back heights? So i think the HD600 should be the optimal choice. The 702 is also very good but not an allrounder like the HD600.
Some opinions state 600 to have realtively poor lows. Is this the case? While HD650 are not bassy, they have enough lows to my taste and I fear HD600 would be underwhelming in this sense.
 
Dec 19, 2020 at 5:01 PM Post #4 of 14

PurpleAngel

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Hey everyone.
So I've decided to get myself a pair of open headphones for home listening and bought a pair of HD 650, and now I'm trying to decide if there's a better alternative. The mids in these are great, but I'm not sure I like the increased lower mids presence and the laid-back highs. Are there any alternatives that sound more balanced without losing mid quality and detalization in this price point that I should consider? The gear I use is JDS O2 amp and Audiquest Dragonfly Black.
I've been considering HD 600, 660s, and AKG K702. Another idea I had was to return these and get HiFiman he-400 and k702 to complement each other for different music genres. A more spacious soundstage would also be a plus.
With your current headphone amplifier (O2), I think I would swap over to the (150-Ohm) HD660.
If you keep the (300-Ohm) HD650, I would suggest swap over to a tube (OTL) headphone amplifier.
Or buy what I use, the Takstar HF 580 planar headphones, with Sendyaudio AVIA ear pads, should work fine with the O2.
 
Dec 19, 2020 at 5:05 PM Post #5 of 14

ZsoSahaal

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With your current headphone amplifier (O2), I think I would swap over to the (150-Ohm) HD660.
If you keep the (300-Ohm) HD650, I would suggest swap over to a tube (OTL) headphone amplifier.
Or buy what I use, the Takstar HF 580 planar headphones, with Sendyaudio AVIA ear pads, should work fine with the O2.
Is O2 not enough to power 650 properly? I've seen someone comment that O2 pairs poorly with 650, but no explanation. Apart from that, 660s are said to be not much easier to drive than 650.
 
Dec 19, 2020 at 5:11 PM Post #6 of 14

PurpleAngel

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Is O2 not enough to power 650 properly? I've seen someone comment that O2 pairs poorly with 650, but no explanation. Apart from that, 660s are said to be not much easier to drive than 650.
The 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX headphone do best when you feed them lots of voltage.
The O2 can drive the 300-Ohm HD650, but I would steer you towards a more powerful headphone amplifier, to bring out it's best.
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 9:31 AM Post #7 of 14

Deolum

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Some opinions state 600 to have realtively poor lows. Is this the case? While HD650 are not bassy, they have enough lows to my taste and I fear HD600 would be underwhelming in this sense.
The 600 has indeed lacking lows but only in the subbass region. I don't think the 650 fixed this or did they?

Your current gear is indeed not optimal for the 600 or 650. If you want to upgrade it too i would stick with the 600 or 650 as you don't have to change your headphone then. Just stick with the headphone and you can improve your gear and the headphone scales with it. If you don't want to maybe other headphones are better.
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 1:52 PM Post #9 of 14

ZsoSahaal

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So I'm considering upgrading to JDS Element II and replacing HD 650 with HD 600, HiFiman Sundara, or getting AKG K702 and HiFiman HE-400 together. I had a thought about getting something from Schiit, but importing it to Europe will be too costly and long.
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 6:10 PM Post #10 of 14

buke9

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So I'm considering upgrading to JDS Element II and replacing HD 650 with HD 600, HiFiman Sundara, or getting AKG K702 and HiFiman HE-400 together. I had a thought about getting something from Schiit, but importing it to Europe will be too costly and long.
Well depends on which HE-400 as there is the HE-400,HE-400S,HE-400i and HE-4XX and all a a bit different. If mids are your thing scratch the HE-400 as they are more V shaped with the mids pretty sucked out but with some modding and power can be a lot of fun but still not good on mids. The 400S better mids and fairly easy to drive but the 400i is better in my opinion with better highs but a bit harder to drive I don’t believe I’ve heard the 4XX’s but is supposed to be a little of the S and I but not for sure and they are only available on Drop or used so might be hard to find for you at a reasonable price.
One thing I will say is the Dragonfly Black could be a problem as it only puts out 1.2 volts and most line outs are 2 volts so you might not be putting enough into the O2 amp. If it were me I would find a inexpensive dac that put out more to line out level and then listen for a bit and see if that changes things.
I like the Element and Element II but might be wish to try a cheaper dac that can put out 2 volts first. It’s your money not mine though .
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 7:04 PM Post #11 of 14

ZsoSahaal

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Well depends on which HE-400 as there is the HE-400,HE-400S,HE-400i and HE-4XX and all a a bit different. If mids are your thing scratch the HE-400 as they are more V shaped with the mids pretty sucked out but with some modding and power can be a lot of fun but still not good on mids. The 400S better mids and fairly easy to drive but the 400i is better in my opinion with better highs but a bit harder to drive I don’t believe I’ve heard the 4XX’s but is supposed to be a little of the S and I but not for sure and they are only available on Drop or used so might be hard to find for you at a reasonable price.
One thing I will say is the Dragonfly Black could be a problem as it only puts out 1.2 volts and most line outs are 2 volts so you might not be putting enough into the O2 amp. If it were me I would find a inexpensive dac that put out more to line out level and then listen for a bit and see if that changes things.
I like the Element and Element II but might be wish to try a cheaper dac that can put out 2 volts first. It’s your money not mine though .
Thanks for the description and comparison. Atm, the ones I can get are 400i v2020, though I'm not sure to what extent they differ from the original 400i. Also big thanks for pointing out the voltage requirements for O2. I've actually haven't seen this info anywhere before, so I'm gonna find another dac to check out.
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 7:30 PM Post #12 of 14

buke9

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Thanks for the description and comparison. Atm, the ones I can get are 400i v2020, though I'm not sure to what extent they differ from the original 400i. Also big thanks for pointing out the voltage requirements for O2. I've actually haven't seen this info anywhere before, so I'm gonna find another dac to check out.
Have to say haven’t heard the new version and don’t know what the differences are so can’t help you there. Being totally honest I’m a planar fan so might be a bit biased but the 650’s with a Bottlehead Crack are just wonderful the mids steal the show.
 
Dec 26, 2020 at 6:01 AM Post #13 of 14

manueljenkin

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Try shure srh1540 and srh1840. I own the srh1540 and have auditioned hd600/650 multiple times, and I prefer the 1540 by a big margin. I have also tried srh940 and it's amazing too but build quality is poor. My friends who have tried srh1840 were extremely positive on it but it needs power. All of these do need a clean amp though, the jds atom or O2 will do okay but somewhere down the line you might want to look for a 2watt into 32 ohms or more amp in a discrete class a fashion.

Another suggestion would be to try different amps at meets or something to see if it makes the hd650 good enough for you. They do sound different from different amps (as do many other headphones), so it's likely that you just don't like the jds atom than disliking the hd650.
 
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