Sennheiser HD 600 Impressions Thread
Aug 25, 2016 at 1:32 AM Post #15,751 of 21,838

kman1211

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  So I guess HD600 is top of the line, and beyond this it's the law of diminishing returns

There are better headphones and they often don't come cheap. But the HD 600 is the point where sound signature preferences really come into play as it's definitely audiophile quality. Even if a headphone is technically better in all ways doesn't necessarily mean one will like it more. 
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 1:34 AM Post #15,752 of 21,838

DavidA

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  So I guess HD600 is top of the line, and beyond this it's the law of diminishing returns

Agree that beyond the HD-6XX is diminishing returns but if money is not an issue .....
 
 
What about Mr. Speaker Ether?

Haven't heard the new flow version but the original was a little dry and lacked the bass kick that I would have expected from them, but this is still a personal preference so some may like it, it just was not my cup of tea.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 3:44 AM Post #15,754 of 21,838

Midgetguy

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So I guess for someone who's really loving the HD600, upgrading to a high end amp would be a better move?

Again, how high end? You don't have to go all that far up for a good amp either to pair with the HD600s. You could, but you don't have to. There are many that people have recommended in this thread (can't recall exactly which ones ATM though) that don't have to break the bank.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 4:09 AM Post #15,755 of 21,838

audiojun

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So I guess for someone who's really loving the HD600, upgrading to a high end amp would be a better move?

for a $500 budget
 
I'd go with an upgraded Torpedo I or stock Torpedo III (or upgraded Torpedo III if you spend the money), it can drive all your headphones very well, unless you have inefficient planars. BTW it's DIY and very good value.
 
It's a summit fi amp, puts out a lot of dynamics, details, clarity, sound stage, blah blah it's there if it exists in the music.
 
After the Torpedo III probably get the best Dac you can afford, dac is all that matters after your get something like the Torpedo III.
 
If your going to be on a "budget" then just get vali 2 and save for something end game. But if you can only afford a $500 amp well just get a vali 2 instead.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 8:22 AM Post #15,756 of 21,838

madwolfa

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So I guess for someone who's really loving the HD600, upgrading to a high end amp would be a better move?

 
I'd say obtaining a better (made) music would be a more obvious choice. :)
Don't fixate on better hardware... even with basic (but quality) amplification, you are having a 95% of the performance.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 8:37 AM Post #15,757 of 21,838

Sonic Defender

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@madwolfa, yes that is a part of the puzzle for sure. I found that hi-fi pursuit aside, I was growing unable to listen to poorly recorded music, I physically was unable to tolerate it. As a result, much of my rock and pop collection is unlistenable to me. This was more of a blessing than a curse as it forced me to seek out music that I could enjoy, and that sounded good. As a result I have become a fan of new artists and even new genres that I once either didn't know about, or ignored altogether.
 
I think it is entirely likely the OP could find a headphone that he liked better than the HD600, it would likely not come cheap, but who knows, there are other gems out there I'm sure, it just depends on our tastes. So yes, I would say that trying new and better recorded music is while a smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth considering. I know it helped me rediscover what better audio can be.
 
Perhaps at first it was a little planned and robotic in terms of me researching and pursuing better recordings, but now these discoveries are really core parts of my collection that I enjoy completely. I find most rock and metal (I liked the progressive kind mostly) now bores me to tears. Not completely, but certainly rock and related genres just don't speak to me anywhere as much as they did. I'm sure that is not in a small way due to getting older, much of the subject matter of rock works are for younger, angrier people, or people who are constantly "Looking for A Place To Happen" (Tragically Hip reference, couldn't help myself).
 
Anyway, to the OP, I would suggest that to revitalize your music enjoyment, as Madwolfa suggested, might not hurt to try some new, and well recorded material.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 8:54 AM Post #15,759 of 21,838

Argyris

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  @madwolfa, yes that is a part of the puzzle for sure. I found that hi-fi pursuit aside, I was growing unable to listen to poorly recorded music, I physically was unable to tolerate it. As a result, much of my rock and pop collection is unlistenable to me. This was more of a blessing than a curse as it forced me to seek out music that I could enjoy, and that sounded good. As a result I have become a fan of new artists and even new genres that I once either didn't know about, or ignored altogether.
 
I think it is entirely likely the OP could find a headphone that he liked better than the HD600, it would likely not come cheap, but who knows, there are other gems out there I'm sure, it just depends on our tastes. So yes, I would say that trying new and better recorded music is while a smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth considering. I know it helped me rediscover what better audio can be.
 
Perhaps at first it was a little planned and robotic in terms of me researching and pursuing better recordings, but now these discoveries are really core parts of my collection that I enjoy completely. I find most rock and metal (I liked the progressive kind mostly) now bores me to tears. Not completely, but certainly rock and related genres just don't speak to me anywhere as much as they did. I'm sure that is not in a small way due to getting older, much of the subject matter of rock works are for younger, angrier people, or people who are constantly "Looking for A Place To Happen" (Tragically Hip reference, couldn't help myself).
 
Anyway, to the OP, I would suggest that to revitalize your music enjoyment, as Madwolfa suggested, might not hurt to try some new, and well recorded material.

 
My sanctuary is classical. While this is far from a rule, it tends to be better recorded than many other genres, particularly popular rock and pop. If I want something to remind me just how good a high quality headphone can perform, I dip into my archive, pick something I haven't spent a lot of time with and just hit play. A well-recorded organ is a powerful, thrilling experience; a well-recorded solo violin is like drinking thick, rich maple syrup; an entire orchestra gives you textures and timbres and enough space to get lost in. It often doesn't even matter what the piece is (though I'll admit some 20th century work is a bit abstract for my taste); if it's a good recording, I'll listen to it and enjoy it just for the instruments, the phrasing, the tone.
 
It took me a little while to get used to the way strings sound on the HD 600, as this is the first thing I listen for on a new headphone and it's probably where the HD 600 sounds the most different to me from other headphones I own. But it also most closely resembles my memory of how live strings actually sound, and recently I was inspired to buy several new albums just to hear that wonderful tonal rendition on some new material.
 
A headphone that makes the listener seek out new music instead of new equipment? What sorcery is this?! 
very_evil_smiley.gif
 
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 9:03 AM Post #15,760 of 21,838

Sonic Defender

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A headphone that makes the listener seek out new music instead of new equipment? What sorcery is this?! 
very_evil_smiley.gif
 

I think it is called white magic. Sadly I find a great deal of classical poorly recorded, although much on the Nexus label is good. Perhaps my favourite is Itzhak Pearlman performing Bach Sonatas  and Partitas (not Nexus label, Columbia I think?). 
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 9:49 AM Post #15,761 of 21,838

FLTWS

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  I think it is called white magic. Sadly I find a great deal of classical poorly recorded, although much on the Nexus label is good. Perhaps my favourite is Itzhak Pearlman performing Bach Sonatas  and Partitas (not Nexus label, Columbia I think?). 


I have to agree on recording quality of classical, maybe something to do with recording a large number of musicians in a large hall versus a 3 to 5 musicians in a recording studio.
 
Nexus or Naxos?
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 9:57 AM Post #15,762 of 21,838

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I have to agree on recording quality of classical, maybe something to do with recording a large number of musicians in a large hall versus a 3 to 5 musicians in a recording studio.
 
Nexus or Naxos?

My bad, Naxos, thank you. Yes, there are many factors involved in getting good classical recordings. I find most I play are rather underwhelming, but the genre is massive so my sample size has been small. A huge classical aficionado I worked with a number of years ago also agreed that it is challenging to find good classical recordings (he was the one who suggested Naxos as a good label). 
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM Post #15,763 of 21,838

Argyris

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  I think it is called white magic. Sadly I find a great deal of classical poorly recorded, although much on the Nexus label is good. Perhaps my favourite is Itzhak Pearlman performing Bach Sonatas  and Partitas (not Nexus label, Columbia I think?). 

 
I like Naxos. My favorite ever recording of my favorite piece of all time, the final movement of Faure's Requiem, is on that label. I've also had really good luck with the 70s Philips output. Granted, this often involves Marriner and the ASMF, so if for any reason one dislikes the group, this takes a big chunk out of the catalogue. I'm also one of those weird people who actually doesn't mind 70s DG. I know a lot of people can't stand it, saying it's shrill and thin. I guess as long as the dynamic range is there and it's not so bad in other respects, I'm willing to listen through a less than stellar recording to enjoy a great performance.
 
That said, I have heard some pretty atrocious recordings that kill any possible enjoyment. For instance, this somehow got released. I know this because, inexplicably, I bought it. What happened was I listened to a bunch of samples of performances on Amazon, whose 30 second clips are at a very low bitrate and, most importantly, a low sample rate, meaning they all sound dull and low-fi. All I was listening for was the performance, particularly the tempo of the first movement of the A minor concerto, which too many performers take at a plodding pace. The tempo and overall performance seemed okay to me, and it was cheap, so I figured I'd give it a shot. What I couldn't tell from that highly-compressed clip was just how bad the recording really is. There's nasty digital clipping all over it, and it sounds like they're performing in a high school auditorium. It never occurred to me that anything this horrible would ever be green lighted for release.
 
The moral of the story? Even good headphones can't save a bad recording. Contrast the above with, say, Arthur Grumiaux's performance with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, which absolutely shines on a headphone with excellent midrange portrayal like the HD 600. This is what I mean when I talk about violins and maple syrup. It's also a sensation that can be quickly spoiled by a wonky or recessed midrange.
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 10:51 AM Post #15,764 of 21,838

alitomr

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My sanctuary is classical. While this is far from a rule, it tends to be better recorded than many other genres, particularly popular rock and pop. If I want something to remind me just how good a high quality headphone can perform, I dip into my archive, pick something I haven't spent a lot of time with and just hit play. A well-recorded organ is a powerful, thrilling experience; a well-recorded solo violin is like drinking thick, rich maple syrup; an entire orchestra gives you textures and timbres and enough space to get lost in. It often doesn't even matter what the piece is (though I'll admit some 20th century work is a bit abstract for my taste); if it's a good recording, I'll listen to it and enjoy it just for the instruments, the phrasing, the tone.
 
It took me a little while to get used to the way strings sound on the HD 600, as this is the first thing I listen for on a new headphone and it's probably where the HD 600 sounds the most different to me from other headphones I own. But it also most closely resembles my memory of how live strings actually sound, and recently I was inspired to buy several new albums just to hear that wonderful tonal rendition on some new material.
 
A headphone that makes the listener seek out new music instead of new equipment? What sorcery is this?! 
very_evil_smiley.gif
 

 
I had trouble with strings with the magni-modi 2 uber. sometimes they sounded thin, and even though it is not bad, they weren't as if you had, say, the violins in the same room as you. With the Valhalla 2 running from the same modi one of the biggest differences I've found is the realism of the strings, specially when they are in the background. It's amazing.
 
You get used even to greatness. I was shocked last night at the huge difference between the sound in the highly appreciated Sony Gold Wireless headset and the sound coming from the HD600 connected to the modi2 uber and Valhalla 2. The Sony Gold wireless is extremely convenient, and to be able to use the HD600 and have the possibility of lowering the volume of the chat audio (huge feature for me, playing FPS games, with very loud and noisy friends) I have to use two audio mixers and lots of cables, but the sound is so superior that I can't go back. Just a little story to show appreciation. :D Gaming audio was secondary to me, but now i simply can't go back to anything lesser. 
 
Even with how much I love my current setup, I still want a second amp that is a bit more forward than the Valhalla 2 while maintaining or improving instrument separation, clarity and soundstage (not the magni 2 uber). I dont want to break bank. Ideas? Maybe tubes that can provide this with the valhalla 2?
 
Aug 25, 2016 at 4:49 PM Post #15,765 of 21,838

madwolfa

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  @madwolfa, yes that is a part of the puzzle for sure. I found that hi-fi pursuit aside, I was growing unable to listen to poorly recorded music, I physically was unable to tolerate it. As a result, much of my rock and pop collection is unlistenable to me. This was more of a blessing than a curse as it forced me to seek out music that I could enjoy, and that sounded good. As a result I have become a fan of new artists and even new genres that I once either didn't know about, or ignored altogether.

 
HD600 was my first headphone and for more than decade I had it, the only music in my collection was jazz, acoustic, vocal and some quality classic/prog rock (think Pink Floyd, Rush, etc).. Gathering only the highest quality material (in the best possible mastering, etc.) was a painstaking experience, to say the least (ended up with a 900+ FLAC collection)... Listening to anything else was horrible.
 
Now that I have some other headphones like Fidelio X2 (and Audeze LCD-2 before that), I've stopped caring so much and started enjoying many more low-fi genres like death metal, EDM, etc. But HD600 will always have place in my system for truly audiophile-grade stuff.
 

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