HD-650 burn-in?
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JefferyK

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FedEx brought me a nice present today: a pair of Sennheiser HD-650s and a HeadRoom Maxed Out Home amp. Yahoo!

One question, though: Any estimates on how long it takes HD-650s to burn in? Straight out of the box, connected via my Cardas cable, they sound a bit muffled. I know they'll open up, like my HD-580s did, but I'm impatient!

Jeffery
 
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gpalmer

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I would agree, figure 200-300 hours (and they will go through some nasty stages in there on their way to their ultimate goodness...)
 
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I just received a pair of HD650's, sound is very disappointing so far after 3 evenings of solid listening, I sold my Denon AH-D2000 and upgraded to these but so far they sound worse, bass has no weight and there is slight distortion when the high mids get busy.
I'm expecting them to burn in over the next week or so because I remember the Denons took a week or so before they sounded good, after that they sounded great.
For anyone who is interested I'll post again in a week with a progress report...
 
 
 
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The HD650 do sound dark and laid back (muffled and muddy). It just sounds that way. 

 
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Quote:
I just received a pair of HD650's, sound is very disappointing so far after 3 evenings of solid listening, I sold my Denon AH-D2000 and upgraded to these but so far they sound worse, bass has no weight and there is slight distortion when the high mids get busy.
I'm expecting them to burn in over the next week or so because I remember the Denons took a week or so before they sounded good, after that they sounded great.
For anyone who is interested I'll post again in a week with a progress report...
 
 

I don't know anything about the Pro-ject Headbox but the distortion you speak of could be beacuse of the amp not driving them properly.
 
 
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essex853

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I guess on paper the Headbox is the weakest link in the chain because it's only a £100 amp but it sounded great with my Denons so I'm thinking it's the Senns. I plan to upgrade the amp in the new year either way, my shortlist is Musical Fidelity M1HPA or Audiolab MDAC, any thoughts on either of these would be appreciated. Any other options between £500-£1000 would be considered although I think a lot of the amps spoken about on this site are US market only.
 
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Guldkrull

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Quote:
I guess on paper the Headbox is the weakest link in the chain because it's only a £100 amp but it sounded great with my Denons so I'm thinking it's the Senns. I plan to upgrade the amp in the new year either way, my shortlist is Musical Fidelity M1HPA or Audiolab MDAC, any thoughts on either of these would be appreciated. Any other options between £500-£1000 would be considered although I think a lot of the amps spoken about on this site are US market only.


I mentioned it because I've read that other people had the distortion problem but it disappeared when they bought a better amp. I'm buying a new amp myself to fit with my HD650 for that very reason, probably the Valhalla.
 
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jackwess

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Sennhs (650) are more sensitive to amping than the Denons. Or maybe you dont like the Sennhs sound signature? 
 
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essex853

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Valhalla looks great but I don't think anyone sells it here in the UK, I will put a couple of hundred hours on the 650's and see how it goes, thanks for your advice all.
 
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Guldkrull

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Quote:
Valhalla looks great but I don't think anyone sells it here in the UK, I will put a couple of hundred hours on the 650's and see how it goes, thanks for your advice all.


No problem, Schiit ship internationally!
 
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essex853

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So, it's been a week and due to a few nights of the HD650's playing to themselves through the night I reckon I have about 100 hours on them.
 
There has definately been a step forward in sound quality, not a huge difference but bass goes down a little further now and the distortion in the upper mids when the music becomes complex is gone. They seem to be opening up a bit, initially they sounded like everything was squeezed into the midrange and anything dynamic enough to push outside this was bouncing off the walls/ceiling. 
Another thread I posted has revealed some truths about my Pro-ject Headbox ll so I am looking at upgrading this for the Musical Fidelity M1 HPA, i'll post again in another week with an update, until then, MERRY CHRISTMAS HEAD-FIERS!
 
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essex853

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Week 3... I took Guldkrulls' advice and changed the Headbox ll for a Schiit Asgard headphone amp (Electromod is the very helpful/friendly UK distributor for any other Brits thinking of going for one) There was a slight improvement in sound quality with the new amp but I still wasn't completely satisfied with the sound...until last night when it improved considerably.
It is hard to believe that it's the same system, the distortion on the high mids has gone on all but the most complex tracks (it is still struggling a little with the new Noel Gallagher album which sounds bad to my ears), the bass is much improved and now comparable to my Denon AH-D2000's and instruments now sound clearly defined and the sound stage is far more realistic.
 
For anyone reading this who have just bought Sennheiser HD650 and are thinking what I did 3 weeks ago (that they sound ****), don't worry, BURN IN IS REAL! they really do change for the better but they will need 200+hours of use before you get there.
 
I realise that I am probably hearing the Asgard burning in too as this has played music for less than 100 hours so hopefully I will hear further improvements over the next few evenings of listening.
 
I will post a week 4 update next week, until then Happy New Year! 
 
 
 
 
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essex853

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HD-650 update for anyone interested... it's now been a month since I got the HD650's and they have been used on average about 5 hours a day in that time so I imagine that they are now fully burned in.
 
As the original thread was simply regarding the HD650 burn in, I will conclude that the HD650 most definitely improves over time, 100% no question, the difference is obvious after about 100 hours and after that they improve steadily to the point where they sound much much better than they did out of the box.
 
So, now that I'm hearing them as they are supposed to sound I am able to post my thoughts on their performance. My only other decent pair of cans were the Denon AH-D2000 so these are my point of reference and naturally I have drawn comparisons between the two headphones.
 
The sound quality of the HD650 is great paired with my Dacmagic and Schiit Asgard amp and I'm perfectly satisfied with the performance of the whole system considering the modest price (Under £800) so no complaints at all and I would have no hesitation recommending any of this kit.
 
Surprisingly, the HD650 doesn't sound any 'better' than the Denon AH-D2000 to my ears, just different which is slightly disappointing because all I had read previously suggested that they would be a clear step forward from anything else under £500.
The HD650 sounds brighter to my ears, the Denon seemed to shout less and provided a smoother sound, it's my guess that a true 'reference' headphone will be more revealing than a deluxe closed back design like the Denon so that is probably what I'm hearing, If I were a music producer I would want the HD650 because they probably reveal a little more truth in the recording.
 
Build quality and aesthetics are another important consideration for me, the Sennheiser is a solidly built headphone but on close inspection, the plastic used is pretty cheap looking and no better than the Sennheiser HD448 which cost me £50! I'd happily pay another £50-£100 to have a better finish, a shame and rather surprising considering these are aimed at a premium customer.
The Denon looks and feels really classy in comparison if I knew nothing of either of these headphones and saw them both side by side for the first tiome I would guess the HD650 cost about £150 and the Denon closer to £500.
I personally found the Denon a little more comfortable than the HD650, I don't have much hair to cushion headphones and the HD650 leave me with red blotches after an evenings listening.
The fact that the Denon AH-D2000 is about £100 cheaper, better looking, more comfortable and to my ears, certainly no worse sounding than the HD650, I would have to say the Denon is a better buy.
For anyone considering the two side by side I'd say save yourself £100 and buy the Denons, another bonus being they are closed back so you could listen to them on a train/aeroplane etc without bothering others.
 
Having said all that, I will be keeping with the HD650 because they sound fine! 
 
Now I'm going to start a rant...er, I mean post, about dedicated headphone amps sounding no better than my old Marantz intergrated!...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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MrJoshua

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I really do believe the HD-650 is very picky about which amplifier is driving it.
 
I am more than happy with the combination of 650 and Graham Slee Solo that I've been running for the past few years.
 
The 650's also continue to improve - I do wonder whether some of this might be down to the foam softening in the ear pads?
 
Stick with them!
 
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