Grado vs. Sennheiser: Agree with these comments
Feb 27, 2006 at 3:51 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 37

jtevol1

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I am interested in upgrading from my Grado SR80, and I asked this guy who has an audio store and sells the entire line of Grado and Sennheiser. I know he likes the Grado sound, but I asked him if I should upgrade to the Sennheiser HD650, because I've heard so many glowing reviews about this headphone, so I wanted to know his response, since he has both of them. Here was his response:

Thanks for your inquiry! We'll that's more of a tough question than you might think. You see, those who rave about the Senn sound often think the Grado's are too bright. And those of us who rave about the Grado sound think the Sennheiser's are too muffled. Once you get up to the level of a Senn HD580... the HD600 and HD650 barely sound any better than the HD580. Too those who are truly into good recordings and careful listening, they can often hear the slight improvements in sound between those three Senn models. Same is somewhat true of the Grado's.

Yes, the models in the Grado line more spendy than the SR80's do sound better... but we're talking minor steps up. The SR125's and 225's are just the SR80 tweaked for slightly better sound. The SR325i is larger with a different body material and is a bit more noticeable improvement over the 80's than the 125's and 225's. And the RS1... well yes, it sounds even a bit better than the 325i... but only by a little bit.
We're in audiophile territory here... you pay a lot for little improvements.

Bottom line. Given I love the detailed Grado sound for the type of music I listen to, even an SR80 sounds better to me than a Senn HD650.

Hope this helps some. FYI, I listen to a lot of acoustic music with few instruments. If you listen to full sounding music with lots going on, you may find you like the Senn sound which is a bit more distant and fuller sounding?


Do you agree with his comments about the improvements along the Grado and Sennheiser line? But most importantly his comparison of the Grado SR80 and the Sennheiser HD650?
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:11 AM Post #2 of 37

OceanEnthusiast

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i don't really disagree with anything he's said. but a minor improvement in sound to someone who can't really tell or doesn't care may be a football field of difference to someone else. but i think he's right. to the average person (non-audiophile), the differences for every $100 spent are going to be pretty small.

but it's all relative.

i own the hd580 and 325i

i did very close listening between the 225 and 325i. difference was small, but still the 325i was better to me and noticeable. they were still very similar, but slightly different nuances. worth a $100? well, that's relative.

i don't however agree that even the sr80 is going to be better than the hd650. that's his opinion with the sound he's looking for. he values what the grado do better over what the senns do better. neither is perfect, the senns do things the grados can't, and vice versa.

i spent the last 2 weeks listening entirely to my grados, because the sound is cleaner (well, in my case the 325i's are also twice was much as the 580's, so they're in different leagues; prefering the 325i should be expected). however, i just put the senn's on 20 minutes ago. now im remembering how much i love the senns sound. these things that cost half as much do so much the grados don't! great headphones. they are easier on the ears, the space and soundstage is incredible, im surrounded by sound, warmer, very deep articulate bass, and SUPER comfy. makes me think about getting the 650....

so yeah, they both have their strengths and place in my collection. but in a way, his comments were right on. and as he said you could also be a senn guy and prefer the senn sound too.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:18 AM Post #3 of 37

jagorev

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I think the comments are fair. It comes down to personal preference. Try it out for yourself and see which one you prefer. Although, I personally find the Senns even better with acoustic recordings of just a few instruments. I think they're even stronger with solo or small ensembles than with orchestra.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:21 AM Post #4 of 37

jtevol1

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I listen mostly to Jazz and R&B, so I'm wondering which headphone would be the best. I only have the Grado SR80 as a reference (for headphones at least). I briefly heard the Sennheiser HD600, and it appeared to have a muffled sound, in comparison to the Grados. I also heard the HF-1, and it sounded similar to the SR80. I don't know what I should do--move up the Grado line, or try the Sennheiser. I also have the Hornet as my amp.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:22 AM Post #5 of 37

Zorander

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jtevol1
Bottom line. Given I love the detailed Grado sound for the type of music I listen to, even an SR80 sounds better to me than a Senn HD650.


When I just got the HD-650 and compared it to the SR-80, I had similar thoughts. However, I realised then I was only looking for excitement typically expected from an upgrade. Excitement-wise, a Grado will always win against a Senn. Fast forward a few months later, the HD-650 is easily the superior phone to me. It is truly refined-sounding and has superb detail resolution (unlike the bright Grado, which gives the impression of being detailed but really is not).

I find the stark honesty this seller is showing rare and unbecoming of someone who makes a living from selling audio gears. Why would he be stocking Sennheiser products if he is going to turn his customers away from them? Even if the number of customers insisting on Senn products is numerous enough he does not care, it still does not make much business-sense.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:27 AM Post #7 of 37

jagorev

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jtevol1
I listen mostly to Jazz and R&B, so I'm wondering which headphone would be the best. I only have the Grado SR80 as a reference (for headphones at least). I briefly heard the Sennheiser HD600, and it appeared to have a muffled sound, in comparison to the Grados. I also heard the HF-1, and it sounded similar to the SR80. I don't know what I should do--move up the Grado line, or try the Sennheiser. I also have the Hornet as my amp.


I think you should spend more time listening to the HD 600, in a good (quiet) environment with decent amplification. There's a lot more to its sound.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:28 AM Post #8 of 37

Kirosia

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Once the true gradoheiser is finally completed, none of these comments will mean jack.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:38 AM Post #10 of 37

jtevol1

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He also addressed the criticisms of Grado being "bright" by stating that what people may confuse as "bright" is its detail. My SR80 is fully burned in, but sometimes I've found the highs too harsh even though it's detailed. I don't know if this is what people mean by "bright."
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:46 AM Post #11 of 37

drarthurwells

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Bright and detailed are different but related.

Bright means a treble emphasis somewhere in the treble range of the frequency response (above 2500 Hz).

This emphasis emphasizes overtones and can make a note stand out in detailed way.

Detail is a matter of tone edge definition or resolution and tends to be inversely related to tone body emphasis. For instance if bass is well defined then it will not be bloated (fat tone body) or tubby, but if it is tubby or fat it will not have sharp, well-defined edges to the bass note and will be muddy.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 6:02 AM Post #13 of 37

nsjong

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I can't really argue with the reply that guy gave you.

But really, it all depends on you as everyone has unique tastes.

But you can't beat the looks of HD650's. They look damn sweet.
580smile.gif
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 6:05 AM Post #15 of 37

NotJeffBuckley

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Well, at least he's not trying to hide his bias.

You'd have to be listening to a recording shelfed at 120Hz to not be able to tell the difference between the HD600 and the HD650
basshead.gif


Edit: I don't know what he's smoking regarding "slight differences" between the SR-80 and the SR-225. The difference slaps you in the face if you've got them side by side, and makes you seriously consider spending the extra cash, at that.

Honestly, man, it comes down to this: listen if you have an opportunity to do so. People have such strange, unique viewpoints regarding sound, and everyone has a different set of ears. Grados are bright, but it's not screeching and it probably won't hurt your ears; Sennheisers are dark, but it's not dampening and highs are extremely well defined and detailed. The words can only go to the limits of symbolic language to express the differences, and the differences go beyond the language we've got to define them.

I love my HD650. They're a fantastic headphone, and they do me right. I also love my SR-225, for the same reasons. It's a false dichotomy and I really don't understand the fanboy mentality that must pick one or the other and attack the unchosen.

One thing, though - the HD650 definitely do sound "fuller." It's difficult to explain exactly what that means, but the difference is vast.
 

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