Sennheiser HD 595 moving to HD 650 or HD 700
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directorguy7

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Hi all,
 
First post here so sorry if I am asking a question that's been asked a million times before.
 
Listening equipment:
 
Computer with a Sound Blaster ZxR sound card. Onboard 32/300 omh or switch to 300 ohm (never use 300 as I am afraid of melting headphones).
 
Source - MP3, some FLAC, Games with sound settings set at the highest (usually 24bit HD level quality or equivalent. ) Sound Card is impressive at upping even pretty bad source material to very very good quality. Look up my sound card if you want for more specs.
 
Music - No country or Rap, pretty much everything else. I love slow rock or Alt Rock  - Staind ( their older, depressing albums), Blue October, Some classical and classical vocal. Don't like heavy rock that is a mash of instruments. 
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Warning, I do not know the proper Audiophile terms, so please bear with me as I try to put aesthetics into words. Also, not to be rude, I would like to keep the scope of replies to Sennheiser 650 or 700 if that is ok, I appreciate all opinions but would prefer not to start a wild thread suggesting I go with a totally new brand I have no experience with.
 
I currently am trying to decide on a Sennheiser HD 650 or HD 700. I have a HD 595, and have been very happy with them. The time has come where I can't help but think there may be something I am missing though. Something better that will make me wonder how I could have missed this greatness for so long and probably be the last headphone I will ever buy. The 700s or 650 appear that they would do this for me.  I have spent a month trying to research as many reviews as I can, even as far as literally having the 700s sitting in my cart on amazon, but just cant justify 800 bucks for headphones unless its something well worth it. The following is - 1. My opinion of the headphones in question based on reading, and 2. Why I am getting buyers lock on pulling the trigger.
 
* I love my 595s. They seem very neutral and quality is amazing. They literally make everything sound so good. They are what I would view as entry level audiophile headphones, and as such, still have a flavor and quality levels that protect the listener from the flaws in the source material.
 
1. From what I can tell the 650s would be a worthy upgrade. They appear to have better bass than my 595s but may be too much of a warm dark bassy flavor. While this never affects the quality they still hide some of the detail. Almost like it steps on some of the analytical qualities of the headphones - too much veil. A very very fancy, nice thick veil hiding a very very high quality sonic  beauty- but still a veil and a maybe a too thick veil nonetheless. 
 
The 700s seem to improve in almost all aspects of the 650s. The veil is of an even higher quality and is not as thick. Still there is enough to protect you from source flaws, but some may be noticeable but is a worth while "sacrifice" as these are amazing headphones and are unbelievable outstanding with high end source material. The bass is the only concern, as all reviews say they have less than the 650s. That said, the bass they do have is on the level of precision and clarity we would expect from a premium German engineered product. Compared to the 650, the 700s are enough of an upgrade due to their HD 800 roots to justify the price over the 650s.
 
2. I am hesitant on the 650s as I keep thinking I am going to be missing out on something truly great if I pass on the 700s. While I am not a bass head, bass can add a lot. I do worry the 700 may lack the bass of even my 595, which in my opinion has the perfect amount. Will the 700s be at least as good as the 595 in the LEVEL of bass, while also improving the quality by a lot? I am not worried about them having too much bass, which is my concern with the 650. 
 
So I guess really, going from a HD 595 and liking "that type of "sound"" are the 700s worth it over the 650s?
 
Sorry for the long thread, just really wanting to pull the trigger on one of them, but I have to be sure as it is a big investment.
 
Thanks again for reading and sorry for such a noob question.
 
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Frequency balance aside , the 650s and 700s are without a doubt HiFi 
Balanced 650s  with a nice amp will eliminate that dark sound , going to the 700s will not give you that extra detail , granted its the most neutral in the treble
The 800 will be better , resolution and transparency is substantially better than either , 650s although rolled off up top are better in terms of transparency to my ears , 650s will be a better buy ....they scale up extremely well too   
 
More on the bass .. I still have to find a dynamic headphone  which has the 650 bass , from extension to texture , they always make me smile 
 
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jodgey4

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I've auditioned both side by side, and while neither was to my tastes, I'll try to explain my thoughts on them. The 650 sounded very dark and veiled, but I'm convinced it was the amp. It should be transparent, and dark, but not congested and awkward like it was. I think the 650 with a proper amp should be best for your tastes. The 700, while brilliant at low volumes, fast, dynamic, and still slightly warm... gets very fatiguing in the treble at higher volumes due to a peak. Also, I think you should be able to get them cheaper if you're in the US... maybe check used. Everyone's ears are different... is there any way you could audition them first? I tried them at Best Buy's Magnolia Theatre section out of a McIntosh speaker amp/receiver.
The bass honestly sounded darn near equal on both. Warm mid-bass with good texture and a very natural roll off. The high impedance of the speaker amp's headphone output probably did weird things to the bass though.
 
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directorguy7

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So just an update. I look at a headphone for this price as an investment and similar to a laptop, once you plop down the cash you better be happy with your purchase. The 700 after reading and really compiling the data, seemed like the best choice. Got them today. Still have to be some burn in, but wow. Ultra comfortable. And the  Bass is not a worry. Not sure how reviews can knock them for having bad bass, its perfect and more than the 595. Hands down the best sounding  headphone I've ever had. I could see market for these where the 800 could be a little to harsh.  Thanks again everyone for the help!
 
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migasson

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Oldish thread, but ill have my two cents:wink:

Here we go.. The HD650 has the be one of the most overrated phones in audio. Muffled to the point where I felt I had two pillows over my ears! The HD700 has the dark tone, but all the transparency, rhythm and dynamics that's missing out of the 650's.. And decent treble..
 
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LaserFocused

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I could get the HD650 for 325 euros and the HD700 for 595 euros. Which one should I get, given that I'm planning on buying the Maverick TubeMagic D1+?
 
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lawrecedent

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Just chiming in for any latecomers. I have had and loved the 650's for about 6 months and recently bought the 700's to trial. After listening exclusively to the 700's for a fortnight I switched back at the weekend and think I'll be sticking with the 650's. I need to test further and give the 700's another exclusive week or so before coming to a final decision but for me it was about the bass and dynamics of the HHD650. I mainly listen to rock/indie with a bit of edm and rap thrown in and for me I just craved more thump. With the 650's I used to be able to crank them on an old favourite and every aspect of the sound would improve. The same move with the 700's just gave more of the same and left me witghear fatigue due to the spiky trebles. Now don't get me wrong, the 700's are great headphones in their own right. The comfort build and looks of the 700 are leaps ahead of the 650's in my opinion, which when going back almost look cheap by comparison. Also, the soundstage and level of detail retrieval are better through the 700's. But for me I'm leaning towards the 650's being more suited to my musical tastes and therefore the potential overall winners in my audio journey.
 
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ledrover999

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Lot of talk about headphones but do not forget about the cables. Sennheiser stock cables are not the best. The 650 has a well deserved reputation for being somewhat dark sounding. I am not sure of prices lately but I bet a nice e-series cable on a 600 would sound better than a stock 700.
 
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francisco Z

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Hey I'm sort of a rare type I'm a sixteen year old audiophile and as you can imagine I'm on a shoestring budget. I own the fiio x5 and e12 combo paired with the sennheiser momentum, though I'm soon to upgrade to the cayin c5. I'm trying to buy my first true audiophile headphone and the hd700/650 are at the top of my list. With my gear would the difference between the two be earthshaking, is it worth dropping the extra 100+ to get the 700's? I listen to mostly edm, ambient, and r&b. Any suggestions would be great.
 
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See if there's a Best Buy nearby with a Magnolia home theatre section - they usually carry both. Depends on price otherwise. If the 650 is $420, I would only pay up to $600 for the HD700. But my ears like the HD650 more anyways, so I'd take it nearly regardless, and spend the saved money on somethin' else :p.
 
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The HD650 wins easily. Heck, grab an HD600 and save a few more bucks. In the US, the HD600 drops under $300 every once in a while. On rare occasion it has dipped down to $240 after rebates.
 
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francisco Z

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Hrm wow, I was convinced for a while that the hd700 was leaps and bounds ahead of the hd650. I'll reach for the 650 when I'm in the store. Thanks for the help.
 
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Armaegis

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The HD700 is just a hot mess. It's like someone tried to mash a Grado treble signature into the HD650. It's got lots of zing if you like that kind of energy. Me personally, nope. Save up for the HD800 instead of you want that energy but actually refined instead of jabbing.
 
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