Senn HD 650 a little lacking in bass
Oct 27, 2010 at 9:12 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

Cpyder

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Hey everyone. I've been reading this forum for a while now, but recently decided to become a member when I sold my speakers and decided to join the headphone community due to horrible room acoustics. 
 
I went with a pair of Sennheiser HD 650s after reading so many positive reviews. I was especially interested in these as so many have said that they have a laid back sound and non-fatiguing treble. 
 
Well, I pulled the trigger and I'm using a Marantz SR5003 receiver to power them. They've got a few hundred hours on them so they should be burnt in by now. The reason I'm posting is because I feel that they are a little bass shy, which is odd because so many say they have very good bass response. It's not bad by any means, but I wouldn't say they were good for bass if I was writing a review based off of my setup. 
 
Is it possible that my receiver is applying a high pass filter which is the reason for reduced bass? Could a dedicated headphone amp help with this?
 
Thanks for your help!
 
Cpyder
 
Oct 28, 2010 at 2:33 AM Post #4 of 19

kingtz

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+1 for dedicated headphone amp!
 
Most speaker receiver/amplifiers have their circuitry and whatnot optimized for the speaker feature. The headphone out is generally just an added on gimmick that will appease the average consumer, but will be nothing like a dedicated headphone amplifier.
 
Oct 28, 2010 at 7:31 AM Post #5 of 19

pp312

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Quote:
Does the headphone section not use the same amp as what powers the speakers? Because the receiver sounded amazing when connected to speakers.



Yes, in the case of Marantz amps it does, and with the high impedance 650 the headphone sound should be as good as the speaker sound (this is based on using the 650 with many Marantz amps). I suggest if you feel there's a lack of bass it could simply be that you're used to a very bassy headphone. What were you using before?
 
 
 
Oct 28, 2010 at 7:41 AM Post #6 of 19

pp312

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Quote:
+1 for dedicated headphone amp!
 
Most speaker receiver/amplifiers have their circuitry and whatnot optimized for the speaker feature. The headphone out is generally just an added on gimmick that will appease the average consumer, but will be nothing like a dedicated headphone amplifier.



Please don't keep repeating this stuff when it's been contradicted in any number of threads here. Almost all stereo amp HP outs take their signal from the speaker outs; it's the same signal, just attenuated. There's no "optimisation" for speakers; it's just good design or otherwise. There's nothing "gimmicky" about a HP out on an amp, nor is it designed to "appease" anyone. And most people with wide experience of both well-designed integrated amps/receivers and dedicated HP amps agree that there often is very little difference until you get into the stratospheric price range of dedicated amps (I can attest to this myself from my own long experience--I'm 64). To say that a HP out on a good brand integrated will sound NOTHING like a dedicated amp is--sorry--just nonsense.
 
Oct 28, 2010 at 3:46 PM Post #7 of 19

miloxo

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I don't agree or disagree, just asking
 
 
But is the HP out of a $500 speaker amp as good as a $500 'dedicated' HP amp?
Quote:
Please don't keep repeating this stuff when it's been contradicted in any number of threads here. Almost all stereo amp HP outs take their signal from the speaker outs; it's the same signal, just attenuated. There's no "optimisation" for speakers; it's just good design or otherwise. There's nothing "gimmicky" about a HP out on an amp, nor is it designed to "appease" anyone. And most people with wide experience of both well-designed integrated amps/receivers and dedicated HP amps agree that there often is very little difference until you get into the stratospheric price range of dedicated amps (I can attest to this myself from my own long experience--I'm 64). To say that a HP out on a good brand integrated will sound NOTHING like a dedicated amp is--sorry--just nonsense.

 
Oct 29, 2010 at 6:49 AM Post #8 of 19

pp312

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Quote:
I don't agree or disagree, just asking
 
 
But is the HP out of a $500 speaker amp as good as a $500 'dedicated' HP amp?



Depends entirely on the models and designs involved. There is no technical reason why a $500 speaker amp should not sound as good as a $500 dedicated HP amp, especially with high impedance phones like the 650, which are relatively impervious to output impedance. My current amp is a Cambridge Audio A340SE and I get fabulous results with the 650, certainly better than I heard from a Little Dot Mk V I once owned. Previous to the Cambridge the best sound came from a Marantz PM8100SA integrated. I would urge people not to believe that because an amp is designed for headphones it automatically becomes endowed with magic powers. There are good designs and indifferent designs, and often major brands like Marantz are able to achieve economies of scale in terms of design efficiency and component quality that small HP amp makers can only dream about.  
 
Oct 29, 2010 at 9:56 AM Post #9 of 19

mcmalden

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I don't know anything about headphone amps but I do know that Naim Audio deliberately doesn't include a HO on there amps because they think that buying a headphone amp is necessary if you want to listen to headphones. It might mean that headphone amps really are better for headphones but at the other hand: it might mean that they want to sell their Headline Headphone amp that costs 465 euro (and you got to buy a powersupply with it).
 
Oct 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM Post #10 of 19

miloxo

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@pp312
But headphones like the HD650 have 300 ohm impedance, while for example my passive speakers have 8 ohm impedance. Dont they need totally different amp-designs to sound at their best? I dont know much about electronics...
 
 
Oct 29, 2010 at 11:37 AM Post #11 of 19

IneptSavant

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We all have different ears, but I'd imagine it's your amp. My last series of posts was about how the HD650 was a little too bass heavy for me. I'm listening to them through a hybrid amp(solid state and tube), and they pound my ears on electronic tracks or anything with a low drum loop. I mostly use them for classical(where there's not so much bass). So if you want more bass... I'd suggest getting an amp designed for high impedance headphones. Then of course we could be hearing almost the same thing and I just get listening fatigue easily from the low end.
 
Oct 30, 2010 at 2:54 AM Post #12 of 19

pp312

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Quote:
@pp312
But headphones like the HD650 have 300 ohm impedance, while for example my passive speakers have 8 ohm impedance. Dont they need totally different amp-designs to sound at their best? I dont know much about electronics...
 



The signal to the HP jack is attenuated by resistors which raise the output impedance to typically something between 120 and 220ohms. This is usually ideal for high impedance phones like the Senns. The typical difference between a well designed dedicated HP amp and an integrated is that the integrated will have a slightly fuller sound with less tightly defined bass, but it's very subtle, and on some material is to be preferred. As always it's a case of suck it and see. The real downside of using speaker amps is the power they consume in these days of "green" awareness; the upside is that they can drive speakers, have multiple inputs and--usually--tone controls etc. I personally wouldn't swap my Cambridge 340se for the best dedicated amp on the market. Not only does it provide me the sound I'd always hoped to get from the 650, but it has tone controls that only affect the frequency extremes, allowing me to add a bit of sparkle where sparkle is lacking. And let's face it, recordings are not all created equal; some need a bit of bringing into line, which is very difficult to do with a dedicated HP amp.    
 
Oct 30, 2010 at 5:01 AM Post #13 of 19

mcmalden

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Quote:
The signal to the HP jack is attenuated by resistors which raise the output impedance to typically something between 120 and 220ohms. This is usually ideal for high impedance phones like the Senns. The typical difference between a well designed dedicated HP amp and an integrated is that the integrated will have a slightly fuller sound with less tightly defined bass, but it's very subtle, and on some material is to be preferred. As always it's a case of suck it and see. The real downside of using speaker amps is the power they consume in these days of "green" awareness; the upside is that they can drive speakers, have multiple inputs and--usually--tone controls etc. I personally wouldn't swap my Cambridge 340se for the best dedicated amp on the market. Not only does it provide me the sound I'd always hoped to get from the 650, but it has tone controls that only affect the frequency extremes, allowing me to add a bit of sparkle where sparkle is lacking. And let's face it, recordings are not all created equal; some need a bit of bringing into line, which is very difficult to do with a dedicated HP amp.    


The Cambridge 340se does look interessting, might buy one when I go to college, thank you.
 
 
Oct 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM Post #15 of 19

Chimera-se

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If you're really wanting to keep them, try recabling them. I have a pair of HD 600 and with the stock cable they sound bass light. With the recable, I'm shocked at how well the bass is now. They won't satisfy bass heads, for sure, but much MUCH better. Just my .02, of course. I think the work is worth it if you like the sound in other regards.
 

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