Movies, Music and Gaming.....having trouble deciding which to punt for.....
Jun 23, 2010 at 2:47 PM Post #76 of 78

maverickronin

Headphoneus Supremus
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I'm going to be running an odd comparison next week.  Senn HD650 vs Grado SR80!
 
Allow me to explain.  I decided to go try the HD650s since they have a somewhat similar sound sig to my beloved SE530s.  I also happened to get a great deal on some SR80s off of ebay, since they the original owner broke the plug off and can't solder at all.  I'm planning to give the SR80s to my brother for his birthday in a few months, but since they're already used, I figure I should give them some thorough listening and write up a review.
 
Impressions here next week if anyone's interested.
 
Jul 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM Post #78 of 78

maverickronin

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Well, its been about two weeks, but I've done a lot of listening to both, and think I have some impressions that I won't almost immediately reverse.
 
First the HD650s.  I'm really loving them so far.  I wasn't quite sure at first, but either physical or mental burn in has changed my mind.  My favorite thing about them is their smoothness.  From the highest treble to the deepest bass, they are smooth and gentle, perfect for long term listening.  The bass goes respectably deep, but I'd prefer another octave or so deeper.  This is the only thing that I don't love about them.  It's quite well controlled, the the quantity is just about perfect but I just wish it went deeper.  The mids are great.  Detailed and smooth, with excellent tone and timbre.  Not quite as smooth as my SE530s on SS, but I hear that an OTL tube amp will pull the HD650s ahead in that department.  I don't yet have one to test however.  The highs are clear, smooth, and detailed, without any fatiguing peaks.  They get pretty much full marks for music.  I've been too busy to do any gaming, but I did get to try them out with some movies/tv.  I don't think the soundstage is quite a big as with the DT990s, but its better defined and sharper.  Locations in space seem more precise.  Things really do sound as if they are in front, behind, or all around you, as appropriate.  Speech is very clear and easy to understand, from deep and hyper-masculine to high-pitched Japanese female.  Sound effects come through crisp and clear enough to give you a new appreciation for their unsung heroes.  The tone and timbre makes them sound quite realistic.  Their only flaw is that they don't go low enough for the deepest of explosions and rumbles, but they come close enough for most.
 
The SR80s are more of mixed bag.  I've tried mine with only the "doughnut bowl" pads they came with.  The current model SR80i's only come with the flat pads, which I've read change the sound somewhat, so keep that in mind while reading this.  The Grados do great with some music, but not with others.  They excel with rock and metal, are poor with techno-ish stuff and other bass heavy genres, and are so-so with jazz and classical.  I rather liked my collection of death/black metal through them, but anything that has a lot of deep bass just doesn't work well at all.  The SR80s don't go very deep at all.  Their bass peaks around the lower end of bass guitars and higher drums, so it sounds quite good with rock.  Not very good for say, trance.  They are rather aggressive with a significant amount of excess treble, but they wind it up more slowly than the DT990s do, which removes the sharp peak, and makes them more suited to long term listening.  Not very suited, mind you.  I could only manage a few hours at most before either the highs, the pads, or both got to me, but the extra treble is done in a nice, refined fashion.  The mids are kind of so-so as well.  I don't really remember to much about them.  With movies, the SR80s are a mixed bag as well.  Their soundstage is very 2D.  It's quite wide, but there is next to no depth.  A good example would be rain.  With the HD650s it really sounded like rain was falling all around me.  With the SR80s I heard rain all they way out to the left and all the way out to my right but only a foot or two in front or behind me.  It was like I was standing in some sort of very narrow canyon.  Voices are decently clear, but not nearly as clear as the HD650s are.  Higher pitched sound effects are clear, crisp, and pleasantly exaggerated.  Thumps, bumps, explosions, and even footsteps are lifeless in comparison though.  If the Grados bass didn't peak so early they would be great for action movies, with their sharp and aggressive presentation but only end up being so-so.
 
Another note.  All of my movies are played with ffdshow's headphone HTRF.
 

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