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Sennheiser HD 600: Almost Ready to Order

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  1. ladon
    Well I started looking for a Bluetooth headphone with good sound and isolation, however my preference evolved into an open-headphone wired set that has great sound and will grow in sound quality as I upgrade components down the line. I want to find out what's great about the open style headphones, and is HD 600 a good place to start?
    Right now I have a pair of ATH-M50 and enjoyed them, but looking for a more "open sound". They are being driven by Behringer UCA202 which has a decent DAC, however may not have enough power to drive HD600 to full potential.
    Are there good recommendations for inexpensive dac/amp that people like to use with the HD600?
    My appeal for HD 600 came from many glowing reviews, so I'm not sure there's anywhere I can actually try them out before buying. The neutral response is highly desirable, however slight emphasis on bass would not necessarily be a bad thing at all. Any other headphones people liked better?
     
  2. ladon
    Found what appears to be a decent deal on an O2 amp, on massdrop:
    https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-amplifier
    It seems tough to find the DAC/AMP combo that also has an optical out, so how about instead the following setup below? I absolutely require optical out for my home system (Denon-4802):
    PC->UCA202->Objective 2->HD 600.
    Perhaps, as I mentioned before the reasonable upgrade later might be a better DAC.
    Would this be decent for listening semi-good quality MP3, Itunes Podcasts (AAC, I wold assume)? Sometimes I mix in Spotify. But I noticed for my low-def non-premium Spotify account, Itunes has better quality sound for podcasts.
    I should mention I mostly listen to deep house, old school techno. Strangely enough I do enjoy classical music too; strong female vocals, sometimes everything combined.
     
  3. Monsterzero
    Couple things....
    Im not sure I understand your need for optical out. Analog out(RCAs) will send the music out from most any amp/DAC to your receiver,which looks to have several RCA inputs,any of which will work except for the phono in.

    Secondly the HD600 IMO isnt a great choice for your musical tastes. Youre going to want something with more bass than what the HD600 can provide.

    Whats your total budget for all the gear youre wanting to get?
     
  4. ladon
    Thank you Monsterzero for your response!
    The optical cable runs to my AVR-4802 currently powering floor-standing speakers, is simply matter of convenience (maybe a bit more lossless, perhaps?). The UCA202 has an optical out, so it was a good choice at the time. The RCA isn't out of the question if I have to switch (since I only have stereo setup).
    Appreciate the opinion on HD 600, what would be a better choice? I read maybe some AKG or even Beyer may have stronger bass response?
    Overall budget I suppose the current price of HD 600 and O2 is about $400 total; should it have to swell to get much better performance?
    Thank you again.
     
  5. tomb
    Try not to make a decision based on one opinion … including mine.

    I get surprised every time I see someone suggest that the HD580/600/650 doesn't have enough bass. The Senns are among the most full-bodied headphones that you will hear. The difference with the Senns is that they also have a glorious midrange. You mention female vocals? There's no better headphone, perhaps. Classical and orchestra - those are givens.

    I'm not so enamored of your amp selection, but at least you're aware of the fact that you really need to amp them.

    As for improvements, that's a rabbit hole you should stay away from for the moment. The Senns are known for noticeable improvements with almost any improvement in your music chain. They upscale almost infinitely, if you can accept a bit of hyperbole.
     
  6. ladon
    Thank you for recommendation! I also read several reviews / posts citing excellent bass in HD 5-- line. As well as excellent clarity in midrange (vocals).
    What amp would you recommend "in the meantime" for around $100 or maybe slightly more until better upgrade can be appropriated?
     
  7. Monsterzero
    Im not an expert on all DACs and receivers but my experience is that when you send a signal out of a DAC via optical that youre bypassing that DAC and sending the digital unrendered signal to the receiver,thus using the AVR as a DAC.

    I suggest you allow the DAC of your choice to do the decoding and use the RCA out to the receiver. If youre concerned with the sound quality of RCA cables then I suggest in buying upgraded RCA cables. I have done that and to my ears it makes a difference.

    Sadly a $400.00 budget for headphones/amp/DAC doesnt get you very far these days. This hobby can be expensive,but the Law of Diminishing Return is very real. To get a significant improvement you will most likely spend over 1000.00 before you to start to hear dramatic differences.

    Neither AKG nor Beyer are known to be bass heavy headphones. I own 5 AKGs and two Beyers at the moment and have sold or traded several others. In my experience those arent what youre looking for either.

    I might suggest reading about the 1More Triple Driver . I have it in my home on loan currently and it is a good headphone for the price,easy to drive and has good bass. A better option IMO would be the HD650 or HD6xx(same headphone really). That provides you with more thickness in the midbass than the HD600 does. Note that neither have an expansive soundstage,so for that you'll want to refer back to AKGs and Beyers. Perhaps you see why many members have several pairs of headphones.

    IMO the HD6xx is the best bang for the buck headphone currently available on the market today. Amping it to get the most out of it though can get expensive,but if I were you,with your budget I'd take a long look at the 6xx.
     
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Typically lower driver distortion since you don't get the soundwaves coming off the rear side of the diaphragm bouncing off a closed earcup back to the driver which is also spitting out more soundwaves that way ad infinitum. That said, good closed headphones manage most of this with sound dampening materials, and give you slightly more isolation and hence, less noise to get past, so you'd have a tendency to not listen as loud as with an open headphone.


    For the most part, yes - they generally do most things well.

    That said, it isn't the only one out there. The HiFiMan HE400S has a similar response curve, lightly lower driver distortion at high volume output (since planars don't have to violently pump the way dynamic drivers do), has a slightly higher sensitivity, and is at a lower impedance than the HD600 (amplifier power tends to drop the higher the load impedance).

    HD650 also pumps out more and deeper bass, and doesn't have the HD600's 3500hz spike, although it's weaker above 1000hz than below it. When both are on new earpads though it's hard to tell the difference between the two until you get to a track with vocals that can be slightly sharper on the HD600. HD6XX is also the HD650, and you can get that for $200 when it comes back up on Massdrop.


    AudioGD NFB-11
    Schiit Modi2 Uber and Vali2


    Look into the HE400S and HD650 or HD6XX.
     
  9. ladon
    Wow thanks a lot of info!
    1. Closed versus open: yes that is interesting! I like M50, but they still sound like a headphone, somewhat closed proximity sound: it is hard to explain, but being very aware they are headphones. Hoping to open up the sound with the HD600, 650 or 6XX as time will tell.
    2. I will be checking out other options for recommendations. Let me say this: I AM biased, I have to admit. I have several cheap CX2-- and CX4-- IEMs that I love the sound of for gym or other activities. So I am partial to Sennheiser brand.
    3. HD650 is definitely $100 more and outside the budget. However, I see they are almost identical to MassDrop 6XX which I literally missed by a few days. Do you know how often these come around? I can wait, but maybe not for a year.
    4. AMPs: those sound good and I've been doing some reading the HD 600 respond very well to Vali2 because it does have a tube. The NFB 11 looks awesome! However outside my budget, again.
    Maybe totally out of the blue, but what is the opinion for a used Matrix M-Stage HPA-1? I can attain for about $130 shipped. This setup of course still be using the UCA202 RCA output into the amp.
    Thanks again! Great help.
     
  10. ladon
    You are correct! I may have had my setup run incorrectly this whole time.
    The USB->UCA222(optical)->Denon AVR-4802 basically sends translated USB digital signal into optical AVR port and the AVR does the DAC and amplification. It may be good to try the RCA port on the UCA222 since that is the intent of its design. Now since we are on topic, is it completely crazy to use the headphone port on the 4802 for one of these high demand HP (HD 600, 650 or 6XX)? It would be temporary solution as navigating through DAC/AMP selection is also quite difficult.

    Can I pose the same question to you above about the Matrix M-Stage HPA-1 amp I found used for about $130?

    I will certainly entertain the 6XX as it is an amazing deal at $200, however I just missed it by a few days. Also reading more about the 1More Triple Driver: they are interesting as well.
     
  11. Monsterzero
    You can certainly try the receiver as an amp,you might even like it. It wont damage the headphones if thats what youre asking.
    I use old 1970s recivers as headphone amps and they work fantastic in that capacity. Times have changed though and modern AVRs no longer use the same headphone design as in years past.

    I have no experience with it,sorry.
     
  12. pbui44
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  13. Rattle
    I've been enjoying mimby and Valhalla 2 with HD600 with the sheepskin pads. Enjoying means every second I can listen I try to. Can't get enough.
     
  14. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    HD6xx line isn't going to make for an "out of the head" image, in fact that entire range is not even in the radar for gamers. What they're good at is relative positioning, ie, you don't get anything too abnormal that headphones fail at vs speakers like having the cymbals too far forward and to the flanks like the drummer has really long but fast arms, but they're slightly more proportional. Angled third party earpads will not help either as they'll just push those same cymbals closer to the center and a little bit to the rear, where they should be, if you shrink the image to a mostly in-head size and keep everything proportional. You gain some depth here but it's not going to be anywhere near what speakers do when it comes to imaging. Same thing with Crossfeed, which basically tries to emulate how both ears can hear both speakers as they interact with a room, except instead of just filtering everything across both channels and basically just making for bad levels of crosstalk, Crossfeed has variable gain and high pass filters. Filter higher frequencies across both and you push the cymbals to the back, as they should be, but also closer to the center because proportionately your drummer should be around the same size as the rest of the band, but some interpret that as "narrow" soundstage and consider "wide" when the cymbals are disproportionately set wider than where the rest of the instruments are.

    At minimum you've got the K701 which projects a wider and deeper, ie overall larger, image with more of the soundstage in front of your eyes, but evne the K702 isn't that much better when it comes to bass. Then the K7XX and K712 ditched their angled earpads because people too used to headphones instead of speakers complained that everything seemed unnatural. Past that there's the HD800 and HD800S, and to a lesser extent maybe the Beyer T1 and a few others.

    If you really want to go all out on simulating speakers on a system the size of a headphone, just save up and pray you get lucky and come across a used AKG K1000, plus a good amp to drive them (you can get any 10w to 15w Class A speaker amp).

    They basically mount at the same general direction speakers would be, except they're still on your head, with a similar toe-in angle, and both ears can hear both speakers just like actual speakers.
    [​IMG]



    If you want a more out of your head sound there's the HD800 and HD800S.


    Well these aren't exactly the best for your goal of out of your head sound, so you can just save that money now, and keep saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving, and saving and eventually you might be able to get an HD800 or HD800S.

    Or by that time something new has come out that can give you what you're looking for for less money, without requiring you to blow even more money on an amp or at least can easily get away using a less expensive one. You never know.


    If you start saving for an HD800 now, and assuming no new developments in headphone technology (that isn't DSP) by the time you can get one, then you can get the HD800. And then maybe drive it with a Darkvoice DV336se fed by something like an ODAC.

    Alternately, if you want a shorter wait, maybe save up for a K702 and a Schiit Asgard+any decent DAC (ex Modi) or an AudioGD NFB-11.
     
  15. tomb
    I think you would do well with a JDS Labs CMoyBB. Get the option for 2x9V batteries at $63.29. What you really need with a 300 ohm headphone is the ability to swing voltage. The 2x9V batteries will allow the CMoy to swing 8 or 9V peak-to-peak across the Senn. The 2X9V CMoy is a great, inexpensive way to start. Chu Moy is a legend in the headphone world and he originally invented the CMoy to power the HD580 so that he could use it with a portable CD player … back in the day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
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