HD 600 – liquid and magic at last!
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JaZZ

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Like others, I often doubt if I should content myself with the sound my headphones generate, including all of their tiny, but sometimes decisive flaws which make it difficult just to lay back and enjoy the music. So I share the justly mentioned reservation vis-à-vis the Sennheiser HD 600’s «sobriety», maybe a certain lack of elegance… although a more neutral and accurate phone is hard to be found.

My notorious modifying appetite finally has led me to a really satisfying, if not enthusing result. Nevertheless it’s easy to do – and without any risk for the valuable cans. (And please don't insist on the standpoint that Sennheiser would have done the improvements by themselves if they were so obvious...)

First step: remove the thin foam pad covering the diaphragm. Admittedly, as Moonwalker stated, this results in a slight loss of «magic» of sound – although personally I can’t exactly reproduce the foam alternative as such –, by all means, the bass hump disappears, and the sound changes to very clear, if not a bit coolish, though lacking the kind of roughness/dryness or primness the foam variant provokes.

To prevent this, I replaced the foam by some nylon gauze, acting at the same time as a dust protection. This restores, or I would say: brings to bear the «magic», without the roughness of the foam solution. Anyway, there’s a slight sharpness in the upper treble, accentuated by the fabric on the other hand. But there’s an ideal cure: I covered the inner plastic ring (of ~6 mm diameter) by some self-adhesive artificial suede (or velours, e.g.). Thus the treble gets pleasantly smooth, without losing the least bit of resolution and accuracy – quite the opposite! Finally the HD 600 gains the long-awaited elegance, liquidity and musicality, without any restriction – to my ears. It’s fun! (Special regards to Beagle: with the X-Cans, the sound is wonderful, too.)

JaZZ
 
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Beagle

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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ
First step Moonwalker the bass hump disappears, and the sound changes to very clear, if not a bit coolish, though lacking the kind of roughness/dryness or primness the foam variant provokes.

Finally the HD 600 gains the long-awaited elegance, liquidity and musicality, without any restriction – to my ears. It’s fun! (Special regards to Beagle: with the X-Cans, the sound is wonderful, too.)

JaZZ


Yes, removing the flat pieces of foam definitely clears away the veiling and bass wooliness.

Something useful to cover the drivers is to cut a piece of anti-glare screen that used to be put on computer screens. It's thin, open but keeps dust out.

Just keep the combo and stay happy. Don't succumb to curiosity and buy other headphones and amps. You will ruin your audio life!
 
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Leporello

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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ
First step: remove the thin foam pad covering the diaphragm. Admittedly, as Moonwalker stated, this results in a slight loss of «magic» of sound – although personally I can’t exactly reproduce the foam alternative as such –, by all means, the bass hump disappears, and the sound changes to very clear, if not a bit coolish, though lacking the kind of roughness/dryness or primness the foam variant provokes.



Hello JaZZ,

I actually tried the same thing with my HD600s but ended up putting the foam pads back in place.

I saw in your profile that you use Corda HA-1. I have been interested in that amplifier for a long time.

Could you please tell me your impressions about Corda? I am especially interested in the differences between the 0 ohm and 120 ohm ouputs when using HD600s. Particularly: is the bass noticeably leaner, tighter (or something else) when using the 0 ohm output? Does it sound like a 'hump' even then?

Thanks in advance,

Leporello
 
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JaZZ

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Hello Leporello

It's a pity you have resigned from the foamless listening! (Maybe if you reproduce my complete modification...?)

Yes, with the Corda, the bass is a bit leaner from the 0 ohms output, and the sound is clearer. I never had the desire to use the 120 ohms output. The often mentioned «bass hump» has never been a problem to me, since my HD 600 are free from the corpus delicti (the foam pads) since I own them. My only concern is the bass extension to low frequencies – in comparison, my favorite electrostatic has more low bass (even a bit too much, but it sounds good in most cases).

«Fast», «clear» and «lean» (without restriction of the bass extension!) are the main attributes I would attach to the Corda. Vis-à-vis the direct connection to the DAC line out and the X-Cans I usually prefer the Corda to drive the HD 600 and the ER-4S. If you could familiarize yourself with the modifications I propose, the Corda would possibly be a nearly ideal Partner for a really fair price. Otherwise you may wish to take a high-priced tube amp into consideration. But why go the expensive (loop) way...

JaZZ
 
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JaZZ

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Beagle...

Quote:

«Just keep the combo and stay happy. Don't succumb to curiosity and buy other headphones and amps. You will ruin your audio life!»


...have you ever noticed my whole equipment and the endless alternatives I have? So, of course, I'm not totally free of the symptoms you actually show. And my curiosity has yet led me to the order of an additional amp: the Earmax Pro – after being a proud owner of the Corda HA-1 since four weeks or so...


JaZZ
 
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Anders

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Hi JaZZ!
Before beginning to consider this - is the operation completely reversible?
 
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JaZZ

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Hi Anders

Yes, the operation is completely reversible. Remember: remove foam pad, cover central ring with some self-adhesive stuff, replace foam pad by some fine fabric.

Greetings to Sweden!

JaZZ
 
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Moonwalker

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Hi!

Quote:

I actually tried the same thing with my HD600s but ended up putting the foam pads back in place.


To Leporello: I did the same.

To JaZZ: I did your mods and using my Creek 11SE, I found it's little change in the sound, but in the long run the original configuration seems to me less fatiguing (I listen at low volumes)

Still, nice to see people aren't happy with standard and uniform pieces of hardware and tend to mod them


Your
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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ
Hello Leporello

It's a pity you have resigned from the foamless listening! (Maybe if you reproduce my complete modification...?)

Yes, with the Corda, the bass is a bit leaner from the 0 ohms output, and the sound is clearer. I never had the desire to use the 120 ohms output. The often mentioned «bass hump» has never been a problem to me, since my HD 600 are free from the corpus delicti (the foam pads) since I own them. My only concern is the bass extension to low frequencies – in comparison, my favorite electrostatic has more low bass (even a bit too much, but it sounds good in most cases).

«Fast», «clear» and «lean» (without restriction of the bass extension!) are the main attributes I would attach to the Corda. Vis-à-vis the direct connection to the DAC line out and the X-Cans I usually prefer the Corda to drive the HD 600 and the ER-4S. If you could familiarize yourself with the modifications I propose, the Corda would possibly be a nearly ideal Partner for a really fair price. Otherwise you may wish to take a high-priced tube amp into consideration. But why go the expensive (loop) way...

JaZZ


Thank you, JaZZ.

Maybe I really should get the Corda. And then: "To foam or not to foam...?"

Regards,

L.
 
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JaZZ

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Moonwalker...
Quote:

«I did your mods...»


...you really reproduced all of my mods?
(And didn't simply recapitulate your earlier impressions?) Anyway, the sound change to my ears is, though not that important quantitatively, all the more important qualitatively! Maybe it's a question of the source, too?

JaZZ
 
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Moonwalker

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Hi, JaZZ!

I REALLY did all your posted mods, including nylon gauze as protection and for a while, also the center ring covering with piece of thin velour. Still, this sounded to me a bit 'broken', like the sound wasn't so coherent as before. I'm talking about minute changes, of course.

I keep prefering the factory setup now. As you say: Maybe the source, maybe the ears...


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JaZZ

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Hi Moonwalker!
Quote:

«Maybe the source, maybe the ears...»


You’re certainly right: the ears play an important role with different perceptions of the same configuration. If we only think of the micro-acoustical environments such a headphone/outer ear interconnexion represents and the individual anatomic properties hereby, not to mention the individual transformation in the nerve center…

Anyway, for myself I experienced that sound which is forced to pass through foam will always be mutated in an unnatural way, towards «grainy» or at least «matt», independent of its frequency response, which may actually be improved by this procedure in some cases. I concede that the damping function of foam with headphone application is useful in principal – while minimizing the reflexions between driver and outer ear/skin which may provoke some «coolishness». Nevertheless the sound seems to suffer from that… and loses some of its clarity and freshness. But here’s exactly the point of decision: one may prefer the compromise towards mattness, the other one may find a slightly coolish flavour to be more acceptable.

My modification aimed a fortunate compromise between the extremes, maybe a trace towards the fresh side… and I’m happy to have found it this way. But of course compromises are often perceived in a very individual manner.

Greetings to Prague!

JaZZ
 
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Now came as long as to look at the headphone. HD600 has a really thick material covering the membrane. My AT W11R has a very thin and transparent gauze. It should make a difference.
My current plan is to keep the HD600 for recordings of bad quality that need a little veiling, so I may keep them unmodified for the moment.
 
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kelly

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JaZZ

Which cable are you using with the HD600?

It does seem to me that someone should be offering replacement pads for the HD600 by now. But, since the cable also changes the sound of the headphone, it'd be good to keep that in mind.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by Anders

My current plan is to keep the HD600 for recordings of bad quality that need a little veiling, so I may keep them unmodified for the moment.


Are the HD600s veiled?
 
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