How to rock Senn 580?
Feb 28, 2006 at 2:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

Xakepa

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I'm test driving HD580 with the setup below (AV710->PIMETA), and I have to decide to keep them or not.

My main complain is that the sound is flat: a bit warm and recessed in the mids. I know that's the general complain from this model, and it's not even a fault: HD580 are ment to be uncolored, unbiased "reference" headphones...but that makes them a bit boring, even compared with $20 HD201. On the other hand, I apprecaite the soundstage, the comfort and build quality.

So I started the tweaks. I rolled amps - TI 2132, 2227, 2107;AD 823, 843, now I'm up to try 8610/20. TI chips are flat; from AD, 843 is the best chip so far, although 823 seems better in the mid/high but less detailed. I'm using 1-1-1 BUF634Ps in wide BW mode: I tried 2-1-2 with 100K res... than shorted BW 2-1-2 - not much change...but gain of 10 will rattle your toes
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Now I'm a bit tired of swicthing chips, resistors etc. Could you suggest something else I can try w/o much work...different DIP-8 buffer, peculiar opamp (FET pls)... and is it really the buffers to blame?! Could anyone sell me EL2001?

Thank you very much.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 3:02 AM Post #2 of 19

Unearthed

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I think if you are deciding whether or not to keep them I would certainly send them back if you don't like the sound. You can take baby steps to change the sound...but if you don't like the way they produce your genre, chances are they will never satisfy you.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 3:14 AM Post #3 of 19

Xakepa

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I don't feel being able to judge the problem is with the cans and not at the amplification stage. HD580 are almost impossible to drive directly to have a first hand account.

From what I hear they have a great potential. It's actually amazing how different they sound with let's say Norah Jones (great) and Radiohead (bad).

After a week of burn-in they manage to get tighter but not lighter.

580smile.gif
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 3:44 AM Post #4 of 19

n_maher

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What is your PIMETA running for a power supply?

And in my personal experience it took a good couple hundred hours for my HD600s to really start to sound good. Part of that could have been my ears, part could have been burn-in.

Nate
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 3:55 AM Post #5 of 19

meat01

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The cans make the largest difference in sound. I would get different cans, rather than trying to tweak them with an opamp or other electronics.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 5:05 AM Post #6 of 19

blip

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I tend to agree if the sound is way off from what you want, you'll need to do a more serious upgrade. Most likely either source or cans. I've done a lot of the tweaking and, while it is interesting and helps a bit, it won't be night or day. (Just for the record AD823s are my baby!)

The Senns have a particular character that just isn't too everyones taste. (he he... they're called Grado users!
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) Personally I adore the 580s... The detail, the spaciousness, the effortless realism. It's almost like being in a good concert hall. Perfect for everything I listen to. With a good source they really shine... But they aren't what I'd describe as headphones that "rock" hard... They are a little too well mannered for that. More Porsche, less Mustang.

That said, Nate gives sound advice, they can take an ungodly time to settle (something that seems common amongst Senns) so if these are anywhere near new, hold on to them for a little while still..

Also, while I don't know what the consensus on this is, I don't find the AV710 to be a particularly rocking source. Nice detail, decent bass, decent soundstage, but a little on the flat/analytical/dry/dull side. (Choose whichever one you want to describe it!) Don't get me wrong, its great for the price... but if you're already a little displeased with the Senn sound, this could be making it worse. (Heck, you might even love the 580s with a different source... It's uncommon but it could happen.) Of course, they output a nice digital stream so you might think about heading into DAC territoriy if the mood should hit you!

.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 7:00 AM Post #7 of 19

bhjazz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by n_maher
And in my personal experience it took a good couple hundred hours for my HD600s to really start to sound good. Part of that could have been my ears, part could have been burn-in.Nate


Make that two...My 600s did nearly the exact same thing. If my memory serves me right, the before and after were quite different. With that in mind, are these 580s new or pre-owned? I reacall hearing a pari of 580s with a PPA once and it was the trigger for me to get into headphone DIY. Yeah, it was good!

Otherwise, lots of other good ideas in this thread. Read and heed!
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Feb 28, 2006 at 9:55 AM Post #8 of 19

Garbz

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The sound you are describing is very inherent to the high-end sennheiser sound. Indeed the 580s (590s 595s less so) 600s and 650s sound like this. They are an excellent headphone for jazz and vocals bringing out the midtones and very warm midbass. However they don't rock, not untill you put a big amp and a funky source behind them. If you're not up to building a Dynamid or Dynahi and spending money on your source these are not headphones for rock.

I'd tend to look more towards AKGs for rock music. BeyerDynamics can be good too althought they are a bit warm like the sennheiser.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 4:09 PM Post #9 of 19

Xakepa

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Thank you, guys.

PIMETA is powered by "drop-in" LM7815 and 18V wallwart (which gives 21V), and sqeezes up to 100mA. Cans are brand new, from J&R and I can keep them another couple of weeks.

Gain is 5.25 and it's barely enough.

That same source could be brittle or even harsh with HD201 and 823 PIMETA, so I guess it's the cans. I'm leaning toward longer burn-in...I remember comparing my HD201 with a pair a bought for a friend and they were soooo different.

Maybe I'm just too picky.
 
Feb 28, 2006 at 4:32 PM Post #10 of 19

Tomo

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Hi,

HD201 is a pair of CLOSED headphones. HD580 is OPEN. You can't make a fair comparison. ...

I drive my HD580 with a TI's high power opamp. No buffer.

The sound from HD201 is colored. ... Drums sound like coming from a synthesizer. I want it to sound like that diaphram shake. Somehow I get picky on that sorta thing. I never pay too much attention to genre lately.

Tomo
 
Mar 1, 2006 at 6:48 PM Post #11 of 19

Xakepa

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Approaching 100h total burn-in time, they start to open up. I bet what I'm complaining about is the dip on the freq response graph b/w 4KHz and 8KHz

I'm almost sure now they sqeeze more power to sound louder, and the highs (ocassinaly) start to sparkle
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...I mean steel guitar sounds almost like real steel guitar. I still have to pump up the volume to make them sound good. I also bet that freq response curve moves with the power level - at really low volumes bass prevails over the sound.

I also discovered "defoaming" (thanks to Chri5peed) - replacing the foam in the pad with nylon stockings. High and Mid/high attenuation goes down, sound feels closer.

Much recommened fast and easy upgrade - costs 33c and takes 30 sec. Now I have stockings hanging from my ears...

580smile.gif
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 2:13 AM Post #12 of 19

Tomo

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Hey,

I think you are right about 4kHz and 8kHz. I was testing some equipments using SINE tones and we forgot our earplugs. Oh boy 4kHz SINE was piercing loud. I think it's like resonanting in my ears. I had "ringing" in my ears for few hours afterwards.

I think this reduced output at ear's resonant freq is what makes HD580 "laid back" sounding. But it would be wicked if Senn was doing this on purpose.

There are really nice frequency response diagram at www.headphone.com . But I can't read it right. Help me? Gradoes look like peaking at those frequencies, but I am not sure.

Tomo
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 3:34 AM Post #13 of 19

Xakepa

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Yes, SR-60 peaks at about 4.5KHz and again at 9KHz, without ever dropping below 2-3dB. Senn 580 dips at 6KHz below 12dB. Freq response of those 2 above 4KHz (mid/high and high) is very different.

From what I see, all Senn models have a pronounced dip there, while Beyers, Grado and AKG 501 are relatively flat and peaking at 9-10KHz.

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Mar 2, 2006 at 6:24 AM Post #14 of 19

Garbz

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Thoes peaks and dips are inherent in headphone design. It's done because the transducers are literally right beside the ear and the natural curve no longer flattens the sound. There's a great article on headwize about it including how properly equalised circumaural headphones should be eqed, however everything still comes down to the individual ear. I've seen some funny ears on people so my guess is a flat headphone to one person may not be perfectly flat to the next. And on that note Grado and Sennheiser staff probably have differen't looking ears, I know sennheiser's must be bigger
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Mar 2, 2006 at 6:44 AM Post #15 of 19

bhjazz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Xakepa
Approaching 100h total burn-in time, they start to open up. I bet what I'm complaining about is the dip on the freq response graph b/w 4KHz and 8KHz.


First off...never mind the curves. Audition those 580s with your ears, man! Keep in mind that your ears are very, very sensitive at these frequencies, so I think Sennheiser chooses to have their headphones down in response there a bit to compensate. Check out Fletcher Munson curves in Google if you want to read more.
Keep 'em burnin' in (burninating) and they will continue to get better. Also, do you have access to an amp with more power? Just a thought. It might help. My Mint has a gain of 7 and seems to do a good job.

Have fun!
 

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