Sennheiser HD 600 Impressions Thread
Jun 5, 2023 at 3:21 PM Post #22,786 of 23,234
Who said tube headphone amps were the only path? There were lots of hybrid and tube integrated amps since about 1985 with headphone outs, and perhaps directly driven.

This is what I do know: SS amps, even the relative hammer - the Ragnarok 1 in balanced out mode, and the perhaps more audiophile Bryston BHA-1 also in balanced out did not ever approach the musicality of the BHC stock, BHCs (mine well overbuilt), and the XDUOO T-26 - all fairly cheap OTL tube amps do. On paper the Rag 1 delivers 3X more power than the BHC. Now the Violectric V-281 did do better, better than the other two named SS amps - in the bass, but not clear on mids/highs

My idea of music is unamplified music in great halls, and more popular music mixed by Doug Sax, not bass cannons, and stacks of Marshall amps.

Not only do I find this true for the HD-600, but also the HD-800, and HD-800S.

I made the point several times that I did not find tube amps a solution for room speakers. Hybrid pre-amps using small signal tubes not such a problem, but still the issues kept me away until I heard my HD-600 paired with my BHCs probably the cheapest way to get to real musicality (as I see it) avilalbale in either headphones or room speakers. I had the 600 as my only can for 2 years, and one of two for a year on my very functional Ragnarok 1 and never once thought that combo was above the threshold of musicality I get from it the past 3 years or so on the BHCs.

The differences I find are:

* 3 blob sound stage is now 5 blobs. It's not correct, but its better.

* Bass with the BHCs is more robust, but not fat which I do not tolerate.

* harmonics - in particular 2nd, are much closer to real - is that THD? Yeah, but I do find the 600 on SS to be a bit astringent, and that is gone

* timbre due to those changes is better, and the need to quiet some of that low->mid treble stuff is also well mitigated.

I'm just one voice, but, if you check the 800, 800S, and 600 threads here you will find dozens that have arrived at essentially similar conclusions about the sound - as far as how it was developed, probably always an open question.
Why did you make the claim that hd600 was developed on tubes? What is the source of this info? Amps make very little difference with hd600 anyway.
 
Jun 5, 2023 at 4:17 PM Post #22,787 of 23,234
You wrote above that the HD600 was developed on tubes and I was curious if you had additional information on this.
I've written it probably 5-6 times over the past year or so. It's a surmise. Find it interesting, or not.
Since I don't have a BHC I can't comment on this combo. I have a Valhalla 2 which sounds nice but compared to my solid state options it lacks the ability so resolve microdynamics, it doesn't manage a holographic soundstage and bass quality is a level lower.
I have not heard that combo. Others have opined. RE: equipment I'm only commenting on what I have heard.
still sounds nice sometimes because of it's ability to add additional body to notes,. My main solid state amp is the RME ADI 2 DAC FS (also a Corda Jazz FF and Classic FF). I add some 4db bass via EQ and also some higher treble and in my experience this is helps the sound much more than tubes or unique amps.
If it works for you, that's the test.
I also doubt the HD600 needs lots of power, textbook says it doesn't. I had high powered amps like SPL Phonitor, Violectric V280 and Schiit Jot 2 and sold them because they had no additional value over the ADI 2 DAC FS (used on high power with the HD600) with it's EQ abilities.
That's for my taste, others certainly found different setups to suit their taste. I'd be curious to hear a BHC but here in europe it's expensive and hard to get hold of.
The Rag 1 provides 3x the power into the HD-600 than the BHCs, and as generally against many subjective beliefs in audio that I am (but not all), I found it hard to believe too. But the proof is in the hearing, and my buying and building a BHCs, and only plugging the HD-600 into my Rag 1 to demonstrate this to others, and not having any interest in hearing that combo ever again for pleasure. I have a HE-6 SE for a more muscular sound which couldn't be driven by a BHCs under any circumstances, that's what the Rag 1 is for, and my room speakers and other planars.
 
Last edited:
Jun 5, 2023 at 4:23 PM Post #22,788 of 23,234
Why did you make the claim that hd600 was developed on tubes? What is the source of this info? Amps make very little difference with hd600 anyway.
I've made that surmise a number of times right here on Head-Fi. How else to explain how OTL amps of fractional cost of big bucks big power SS amps sound fey in comparison?

Added: Let's face it, every sense is subjective, and while you can educate yourself, and do blind AB comparisons to decrease the bias. But, to kick at a headphone style that I personally disdain - (all closed backs with bass elevated above 5 db or more below 250 Hz), anybody that enjoys them is automatically not going to be paid attention to by me. You are welcome to do the same with my surmise based on surveying others along with my own experiences with the HD-600 and OTL amps on the cheap side.

I've heard 6 amps on the HD-600, and they all sounded different, in some cases quite a bit different. Other headphones like the HFM planars I like are useless on any OTL amps I have tried them on (3).

I'm not some single voice, review this thread, lots agree with me on this topic, but I discovered it on my own with help from a member who lent the BHC to me and just said, try it out.

Added: what amps have you heard the HD-600 on? Assuming of course you want a discussion.
 
Last edited:
Jun 5, 2023 at 4:58 PM Post #22,789 of 23,234
l
This is untrue. An iphone dongle is all you need if you do not want deafening levels.
A high perceived volume does not mean it is a good match between headphone and amplifier. If the amplifier is underpowered it will drive the headphones badly and make them scream. This also happens between integrated amplifier and speakers. Matching oversized speakers to the amplifier will stress the tweeter more and give a lean and fatiguing sound. In this case, the higher the volume, the greater the risk of damaging the tweeter. You can connect the HD600/650 to any device, but if you want to balance all frequencies well, I recommend a good amplifier.
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 1:26 AM Post #22,790 of 23,234
I've made that surmise a number of times right here on Head-Fi. How else to explain how OTL amps of fractional cost of big bucks big power SS amps sound fey in comparison?

Added: Let's face it, every sense is subjective, and while you can educate yourself, and do blind AB comparisons to decrease the bias. But, to kick at a headphone style that I personally disdain - (all closed backs with bass elevated above 5 db or more below 250 Hz), anybody that enjoys them is automatically not going to be paid attention to by me. You are welcome to do the same with my surmise based on surveying others along with my own experiences with the HD-600 and OTL amps on the cheap side.

I've heard 6 amps on the HD-600, and they all sounded different, in some cases quite a bit different. Other headphones like the HFM planars I like are useless on any OTL amps I have tried them on (3).

I'm not some single voice, review this thread, lots agree with me on this topic, but I discovered it on my own with help from a member who lent the BHC to me and just said, try it out.

Added: what amps have you heard the HD-600 on? Assuming of course you want a discussion.

I used my HD600 on a Marantz HD DAC1 which has a very good headphone amp. Which is kinda tube like.
I also have the benchmark Ha4 pre and headphone amp
I preferred the sound of the HD600 on the Marantz.
I also had an RME ADI PRO which I didn’t care for the headphone amp at all. The Marantz sounded much more spacious and musical.

I think the HD600 would sound good on tubes because for me at least , they were a bit thin sounding on SS.
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 1:45 AM Post #22,791 of 23,234
l

A high perceived volume does not mean it is a good match between headphone and amplifier. If the amplifier is underpowered it will drive the headphones badly and make them scream. This also happens between integrated amplifier and speakers. Matching oversized speakers to the amplifier will stress the tweeter more and give a lean and fatiguing sound. In this case, the higher the volume, the greater the risk of damaging the tweeter. You can connect the HD600/650 to any device, but if you want to balance all frequencies well, I recommend a good amplifier.
No, I mentioned volume because the dongle does not get very loud. But other than that a dedicated amplifier - I own a couple - will bring very little to table. There are headphones that may benefit from an amp, but the HD600 does not need one - provided the output impedance is low.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2023 at 6:34 AM Post #22,792 of 23,234
Yesterday late at night after swimming 3 hours in the medditerean sea and after a long trip back to my house I managed to put the balanced cable on and listen with my ka5 a dongle that propably cannot make full justice to this headphone.

It was 2 hours of pure musical magic...

Today morning I used the Ka3 and it was even better...almost missed my flight...

One way or another I have a feeling that I leave the best headphone in my small collection behind in my home country...

Farewell HD600 (and Elex) until I came back for more music magic...:)

20230606_090224.jpg
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 7:37 AM Post #22,793 of 23,234
I used my HD600 on a Marantz HD DAC1 which has a very good headphone amp. Which is kinda tube like.
I also have the benchmark Ha4 pre and headphone amp
I preferred the sound of the HD600 on the Marantz.
I also had an RME ADI PRO which I didn’t care for the headphone amp at all. The Marantz sounded much more spacious and musical.

I think the HD600 would sound good on tubes because for me at least , they were a bit thin sounding on SS.
Interesting and thoughtful.

Notable for your observations that different amps give different results with the HD-600. I can imagine that say class AB SS amps of different manufacture of generally similar output would sound the same/similar. My experience is that all six of the amps I have heard the HD-600 gave different results:

BHC stock - warm tubey, bass a bit soft, low noise for a tube, top octave soft, a bit unfocused compared to the BHCs w E80CC.
XDUOO T-26 - strong bass, clearly a tube, low noise, clear, but lacks subtle definition in the mids/highs.
BHCs w/ E80CC - more neutral and defined than previous two, best bass of the 3 OTL amps, harmonic body restored

Rag 1 - low treble issues of HD-600 and amp, not a good match. A little dry overall.
Bryston BHA-1 - rounder sound, better bass than Rag 1, still missing harmonics, better sound staging then Rag 1
Violectric V-281 - best bass impact/timbre of the six - harmonics still a bit short. Given its excellence with planars if I had to have just one of these, this is it.
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 10:03 AM Post #22,794 of 23,234
So today I made s***....

Bought a pair of black screen hd600s for 50 euros.

Pads need replacement a headband padding as well. Problem is they were missing the inside the pads foam disc and the drivers were exposed and therefore they had a bit of dirt/sand on the paper part. I blowed a bit to hard to take the dirt out and it worked.... Problem is... on the right side the paper part that covers the driver bent to the inside.

Is there a way I can pop that out again?

Sonic performance seems to be ok despite this...
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 10:25 AM Post #22,795 of 23,234
Put your lips around it and gently suck.
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 10:26 AM Post #22,796 of 23,234
You mean the driver dome itself is dented, I'm assuming

Post a photo
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2023 at 11:58 AM Post #22,798 of 23,234
Photo not very clear. Is the cloth torn near the pad ?
 
Jun 6, 2023 at 12:04 PM Post #22,800 of 23,234
No, I mentioned volume because the dongle does not get very loud. But other than that a dedicated amplifier - I own a couple - will bring very little to table. There are headphones that may benefit from an amp, but the HD600 does not need one - provided the output impedance is low.

You should try 600 on a OTL amp like bagwell said. I would add tube/SS hybrid is a huge jump in sound quality as well. It makes a big difference. It's not anything you'll understand until you hear it for yourself. And the 600 can be under-driven on SS even good ones. I've heard it on what I'd consider to be pretty powerful SS amps I've owned, such as the CMA Twelve Master, and that just doesn't do the job like my Liquid Platinum. The Liquid Platinum/600 combo is so good it'll make you cry haha. But I didn't understand the difference until i heard it for myself.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top