My final review for the Sennheiser HD595 and the Sony MDR-V6s
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morganafq

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As some of you know, I first posted in this forum looking for the perfect set of headphones. Actually, my husband, stark23x, put up my first piece for me (thread title "You guys are going to LOVE this"). I've been on a search for the perfect set of phones for my new iPod and my digital music. As I have very exacting standards for my phones, I won't settle for anything less than what I feel is superior quality. Unfortunately, my budget is limited, so that superior quality had to come at around $250 or lower.

To quickly recap, my top three criteria for headphones are as follows. First and foremost, they must be comfortable and easy to wear. Secondly, they must have a wide and spacious soundstage (which kills all in-the-ear buds for me). Thirdly and most importantly, they must have a warm, rich, true-to-life sound that is neither too shrilly or brassy nor overly bass heavy. Yes, I know I'm demanding.


I was directed by many members of this forum to try the HD595s, and, since I've previously had good experiences with lower quality Senns, I thought this would be a great place to start... and hopefully finish early. At the same time I was buying the Senns I also picked up a pair of the V6s based on my husband's and other's recollection of the quality of the sound. I burned in both for between 30-50 hours before making my final calls.

I'll start with the V6s. In a phrase... not good enough. They are comfortable, no doubt, so they passed that test. The soundstage was better than I had expected but still not quite good enough. They got a passing grade there. The real downfall for me was in the sound. They were much like the Eggos I had previously tried out - incredibly shrill and trebly. Furthermore, something in the bass end just distorts out in a strange way. It's as if low base notes continue to reverberate after the tone should be gone, causing a muddy lower tone to the music. Listening to rock, industrial, or any bass heavy music is nearly impossible in my opinion. I have to insert the "in my opinion" as my husband liked them better than I did and will probably keep them for himself. But, for me, they were a definite no-sale.

The Senns were, again in a phrase, a tremendous disappointment. I've heard many, including my husband, talk about the "Senn sound" before - I've just either never heard it or never had a problem with it. But, with these phones, it was a HUGE problem. I'm going to go into more depth on my Senn review since I know not many here have tried them yet and I want to be reasonably thorough.

They only half passed my comfort test. Yes, they are large and cushiony... but also heavy as hell. In addition, they are definitely made for larger sized heads, so they had a nasty tendency to fall off my head all the time - not good. If you are thinking of buying these phones and have either a small head or plan on moving around a lot with these phones on, you may want to rethink your purchase. And the soundscape I will say is amazing. Not as good as the Eggos - nothing I've tried yet is, IMHO - but extremely good none the less.

The real problem came with the sound. Right out of the box the sound was choppy but good nonetheless. I could immediately hear something in the sound I didn't like but I figured I needed a good burn in to get a feel for anything. I burned the phones in for 30 hours straight and tried them again.

This time the sound was much more apparent and I could clearly see where the burn was going. The choppiness I heard at the beginning was gone and the sound was smoother and more defined. However... it was just all wrong. What I was hearing wasn't what the music sounded like - it was like the Senns were producing what they thought the music should sound like. I put them through all my standard test songs and then some. None of them sounded either good or right. The sound is cold, harsh, and unforgiving. I would bet that long listening would produce great fatigue on the ears and might even produce headaches. By the time I was done testing I was completely done with these phones - the sound was quite simply fake. They utterly and completely failed my last test so I aborted the burn at 30 hours and we are returning them soon.

Needless to say... I am disappointed. I had hoped for a better performance for both phones and was very disappointed. But... I did finally find the perfect phones for me. That thread is next.
 
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lini

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Nice review - but did you do all your testing only with your Apple player, or did you use other sources/amps, too?

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
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gsferrari

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This review is really very limited in its scope. The Senn HD-595 is a headphone that demands an amp to sound good - its not meant to be used with portables - they are simply not powerful enough to drive these headphones and the V6's without becoming "choppy" because of clipping...

get an amplifier to sweeten the setup and reveal exactly what these headphones can do.

Did I mention "break-in" for 100 something hours...??


Also - try the Grado SR-60/80/125/225+amp

You will not be disappointed...
 
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radrd

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Quote:

they are simply not powerful enough to drive these headphones and the V6's without becoming "choppy" because of clipping...


The V6 should do fine with portables. Of course, like just about any headphone it will sound better with an amp, but I've never really heard of it requiring an amp.
 
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stark23x

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Quote:

Originally posted by lini
Nice review - but did you do all your testing only with your Apple player, or did you use other sources/amps, too?

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini


Hubby here...We used the iPod as source, since that's pretty much all she'll be using it with for the forseeable future. We also used a CMOY, a MINT and a Headsave Mini-Me as amps. Not top-o-the-line, but that Mini-Me ain't no slouch, neither. I head pretty much the same things she did...the Senns sound good, but kind of fake.

I tested them for fun from the heaphone jack of my PC and my AV rceiver (Sony STR-DE945)...not as good, but the same "tone" to the music, that Senn signature. I think it's quite simply you either like it or you don't.
 
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Andrew_WOT

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Quote:

They only half passed my comfort test. Yes, they are large and cushiony... but also heavy as hell


HD595 heavy as hell? That's quite a news for me.
 
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lini

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stark23x: Thanks for the info!

I'm not too fond of the HD 595 either, btw...

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
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nierika

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Quote:

Originally posted by morganafq
They only half passed my comfort test. Yes, they are large and cushiony... but also heavy as hell. In addition, they are definitely made for larger sized heads, so they had a nasty tendency to fall off my head all the time - not good. If you are thinking of buying these phones and have either a small head or plan on moving around a lot with these phones on, you may want to rethink your purchase. And the soundscape I will say is amazing. Not as good as the Eggos - nothing I've tried yet is, IMHO - but extremely good none the less.


I disagree, I think the 595s are rather light on the head.

HD 595s = 270g
A900s = 350g
(both without cable)

For the first week or 2 I had issues with the 595s moving around on my head. Then I realized I was sizing them too large, and now the fit is excellent. I don't see how someone with a small head would have a problem with them; when the headband is fully compressed, they're literally small enough for a child!

Quote:

They utterly and completely failed my last test so I aborted the burn at 30 hours and we are returning them soon.


30 hours isn't NEARLY enough burn-in.
 
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Iron_Dreamer

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Quote:

Originally posted by nierika
I disagree, I think the 595s are rather light on the head.

HD 595s = 270g
A900s = 350g
(both without cable)



The HD555 felt moderately heavy, due to how the sides pressed on the head, it felt heavier than the CD3000 to me. The A900 felt great the one time I tried them, it was so light almost like nothing at all.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by nierika
I disagree, I think the 595s are rather light on the head.

HD 595s = 270g
A900s = 350g
(both without cable)


And how many headphones weigh more than the HD595s besides ATs? Remember, it's all relative to what you're used to wearing on your head. If lighter headphones are what she's used to, the HD595s will feel like a brick on her head. Same thing happened to me when I first got my HD590s, after using only Grados and small headphones. They were much heavier than what I was used to, and its design actually made them feel heavier on my head than they probably were.
 
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