Sennheiser HD 600 Impressions Thread
Jan 29, 2015 at 6:35 PM Post #10,201 of 21,918

wahsmoh

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  This is how I view it as well. Some people might get more enjoyment out of the hobby knowing everything in their setup is top of the line. If they have the money to blow, then there's nothing wrong with that. 
 
I think that it's more of a concern to the people that are newer to the hobby. They often wonder if that they can spend like $50-$100 for an aftermarket cable to get the most out of their cans. That's the people I would recommend stick with stock, because the difference, if you're even able to hear one, will not be night and day.


I agree. Cables slightly alter the tonality of the headphone. What's more important though is the conductor that is being used in the cable. A well shielded and isolated cable should pick up no excess noise and shouldn't sound any different than another well built cable.The type of conductor used and the thickness/# of strands AWG of the cable seem to matter the most in my experience to tonally shaping the sound signature of a headphone.
 
Jan 29, 2015 at 8:45 PM Post #10,202 of 21,918

heishiro

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Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude /img/forum/go_quote.gif

The psychological factor can be HUGE with stuff like this.
 
If someone really, really wants to buy a cable because they are dead set certain it turned their $200 headphones into $2000 headphones, fine. But once they start telling other people that they need to do the same? I'm bothered. 

 
Agree. I also wonder why such big companies like Sennheiser/Audeze/Grado/etc sell their top of the line cans with stock high quality copper cables if silver
cables can really do improve the sound quality of their products?
 
Another thing, is there any audio company that sell their top of the line Dac/Amp with silver plated output jacks or silver plated RCA input/output
or silver plated usb ports?
 
Jan 29, 2015 at 9:02 PM Post #10,203 of 21,918

scizzro

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Speaking of cables, just finished my balanced cable for my HD600. 
biggrin.gif

 
Next thing I need to learn how to do is take a decent picture 
 

 
 
 

 
Jan 29, 2015 at 10:30 PM Post #10,205 of 21,918

BobG55

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  It's akin to a religious or political debate. It's like stepping on a wasps nest! I say if folks believe it gives them better sound, then more power to them. Who am I to say they're not?

 
The problem is it's very emperor's new clothes and it leads to a cycle of people insisting that cables totally change the sound and newbies afraid of being lambasted for having stupid ears so they either avoid the issue completely or buy a new cable and are so HELL BENT to hear an improvement that they say that they did. 
 
You get someone who scraped up the money for $400 headphones and they get people saying "oh pfeh unless you drop another $200 on a cable then you're not letting those headphones sing." Meanwhile maybe the person saying that has just placebo'd themselves into hearing that huge upgrade because THEY were convinced by someone ELSE that cables make all the difference. 
 
The psychological factor can be HUGE with stuff like this. Studies have shown that food tastes different depending on the color of the plate it's on. They did a test on wine tasters by giving them a white wine to sample and review, then the SAME WINE but dyed red, and found that everyone talked about typical "white wine" qualities in the former case and typical "red wine" qualities in the latter. Meanwhile Two Buck Chuck actually won a blind taste test competition.
 
It bothers me because it not only has people insecure with their headphones and spending tons more money than necessary on something that's just in their heads, but it enables flim flam artists to make a KILLING off of those same people.
 
I'll say it right now. Companies like Cardas and Moon Audio making $500-1000 cables just make my stomach turn. A cable sends a signal, that's all. A cable can't "improve soundstage" or "add clarity". Silver and copper might sound a bit different since it is, after all, analogue, but either the signal is making it there cleanly or it's not. Talking about 50 thread braids and percentages of oxygen is like in the old days of protein powder when "hydrolyzed" and "whey isolate" meant something so scammers could sell a $10 tub of powder for $100. 
 
If someone really, really wants to buy a cable because they are dead set certain it turned their $200 headphones into $2000 headphones, fine. But once they start telling other people that they need to do the same? I'm bothered. 


+1  Very well elucidated SomeGuyDude.
Here's how to handle a snake oil salesman : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sh0wr7HH8Y
 
Jan 29, 2015 at 11:08 PM Post #10,206 of 21,918

SomeGuyDude

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Agree. I also wonder why such big companies like Sennheiser/Audeze/Grado/etc sell their top of the line cans with stock high quality copper cables if silver
cables can really do improve the sound quality of their products?
 
Another thing, is there any audio company that sell their top of the line Dac/Amp with silver plated output jacks or silver plated RCA input/output
or silver plated usb ports?

 
That's actually a GREAT point. Why in the hell would any company put all that money into a product and then chintz out on the cable? Silver might cost more than copper, but it's not like it's so much more it would be cost prohibitive, ESPECIALLY when you're talking about TOTL products. Why in the hell would Sennheiser and Audeze make headphones tapping up at the $2000 area and then put a cheap cable on it?
 
You might say "well it lets the customer upgrade on their own," but that essentially means you're accusing all of these companies of shipping their products NOT sounding as good as they possibly can. Like brands send their flagship models out needing different parts and all this other crap to sound good. That is just IDIOTIC business practice.
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 12:09 AM Post #10,207 of 21,918

rovopio

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That's actually a GREAT point. Why in the hell would any company put all that money into a product and then chintz out on the cable? Silver might cost more than copper, but it's not like it's so much more it would be cost prohibitive, ESPECIALLY when you're talking about TOTL products. Why in the hell would Sennheiser and Audeze make headphones tapping up at the $2000 area and then put a cheap cable on it?
 
You might say "well it lets the customer upgrade on their own," but that essentially means you're accusing all of these companies of shipping their products NOT sounding as good as they possibly can. Like brands send their flagship models out needing different parts and all this other crap to sound good. That is just IDIOTIC business practice.

 
it's a hobby so im not diminishing everything you said. On the other hand i agree with most of what you said.
But since it's a hobby, i'd say more power to people who likes to change cables.
 
My personal experience after auditioning the hd650 for six hours, 2 hours one day and 4 hours another day, my conclusion is, i'm on the preferring the hd600 camp. Oh, also the seller told me in order for hd650 to really sing, i need a new cable, a $200 silver cable or a cardas cable or something?
 
Well, according to the store advice, i need a new amp. Since WA7 fireflies doesn't cut it to my taste. Only WA3 OTL tube amp makes the hd650 sing beautifully to my taste. I need a new cable to lessen the hd650 lower-mids coloration. and I also need a new source since fiio x1 can't cut it.
 
I prefer the sound from the 5 minute very not ideal audition on the worn-out hd600 direct to my fiio x1, than a 6 hours audition to let myself be able brain-adjust to hd650. Which in the end, i still couldn't.
 
I do revise my earlier statement that was responded by some people here, @62ohm and @brooko among them.
When paired to an OTL tube amp, based on the 5 minutes memory of the hd600, i think the two sounds remarkably similar, with hd600 being the more balanced and hd650 being the more musical and have more mid-bass so to speak.
 
During the 4 hours, i can understand @62ohm comments that you could forget which one you're wearing on your head at some given time. That could be possible with your setup.
Unfortunately with fiio x1 or magni 2 uber, (with educated guess based on WA7 fireflies), i think the hd650 will have warmer sound on lower midrange than hd600.
 
Anyway, hd600 is the one i prefer between the two of them in a less-than-ideal setup...
In a very ideal setup, i'd say the two will be remarkably close like brooko, 62ohm, and SomeGuyDude said. but hd600 is the one i prefer with my current situation...
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 12:39 AM Post #10,208 of 21,918

SomeGuyDude

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Honestly rovo, posts like yours are why I get so bugged by people who INSIST on extremely expensive peripheral gear. It's how NwAvGuy caused such a firestorm.
 
Audiophilia is clearly a personal thing. A lot of it is getting a setup that allows you to enjoy yourself the most possible. For some, this involves the psychological aspect of just knowing that there are no "weak links" in your chain. You love your headphones (regardless of what they are) so you get high end equipment so there's no pinch point that's stopping your cans from singing loud and proud. Even if you really can't hear any difference, you KNOW that there's something happening there and it will EAT at you.
 
I ran into that with Tidal. I tried for hours, over the course of two months, to hear Tidal as "better" than Google's streaming service. Lossless vs a 320kbps mp3? How could that POSSIBLY not sound better! This was with a set of LCD-2.2's through a Schitt Lyr with some 1977 Vokhsod grays and a V-DAC, optical cable out of my Macbook Pro. Not the most expensive in the world, but CERTAINLY enough to expose that difference. I couldn't. I just couldn't. I tried SO hard. I pulled out every genre I could and in the end it just wasn't there. But my brain just KILLED me the whole time, because I'd be listening to Google going "this CAN'T sound as good, it's compressed! It HAS to be worse! I'm listening to inferior sound files!!"
 
So there you are, having heard all of that high-end stuff and liking the HD600s out of an X1. I sold all my expensive stuff and now I'm listening to the 650s through a Focusrite Audio interface (and that ain't even a dedicated headphone amp). I honestly believe the drop in quality, which is minor but not insignificant, is due to the headphones and not the amp/DAC. If the hardware can translate the signal accurately and the amp can send enough power cleanly to your headphones, you're good. I don't think that requires $2000 and giant stacks of hardware the size of pizza boxes. 
 
I've said stuff in the past that, in hindsight, I'm not too confident in. The more I've experienced, the more I'm left wondering just how important so much of that stuff is. Hell my old Final Audio Pandoras sounded within arm's length of the LCD-2.2's (open/closed and dynamic/planar notwithstanding), and that was STRAIGHT out of my Macbook Pro. No extra hardware. I just am getting beyond the point of being convinced how crazy expensive hardware needs to be in order to properly drive tiny speakers. 
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 1:26 AM Post #10,209 of 21,918

rovopio

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  Honestly rovo, posts like yours are why I get so bugged by people who INSIST on extremely expensive peripheral gear. It's how NwAvGuy caused such a firestorm.
 
Audiophilia is clearly a personal thing.

 
I think liking sound system is a hobby.
I appreciate people who like the sound system hobby because my personal experience the past three days proved that with good design, good materials, and good tuning comes higher price and the sound does becomes different.
 
Better amps, better source, tube rolling, and better headphones does a make difference sound-wise from the hobby standpoint.
However, liking music and the rush and emotion associated with listening to music is universal.
For everybody that isn't in the audio hobby but likes music, to be able to hear that emotion and rush from music better, they would benefit from having a good audio device. This is head-fi so, a better headphones. I call that emotion-invoking aspect. Which i think is universal and inherently bias.
 
I didn't disclose this previously to avoid further confusions on my already-long-winded-and-structurally-messy post, but i have another small story.
Short version : i tried two hd650, the termination change (and cable change probably?), actually makes it sound worse.
 
Long Version : On the hifiman store (the same store i tried worn-out hd600), i also tried hd650. The hd650 there terminates to a 3.5 instead of a 6.5. And as far as i can tell, it didn't use the stock cable.
I found it noticeable that the vocals on that hd650 sound both really recessed, and dry. Actually, since i was also listening to the the hd600 on the same store, I immediately thought the hd650 (on vocals alone) doesn't sound good. I normally have no problem with dry and analytical sound so honestly, not sounding good is an understatement. It sounds like crap considering the hd650 retail price is $500.
 
Now when i go to the 2hours + 4hours store... their hd650 sounds normal. By normal i mean good.
 
So based on my limited experience on the hd650 with termination (and cable) change, and hd650 with stock cable it does sound different.
Cable change does make the hd650 sounds different. The cable change i listened to, It's just sound worse.
 
---
Above while i said liking sound system is a hobby, liking music and the rush and emotion associated with listening to music is universal.
I'm on the opinion that average people don't need a top of the line audio-chain for that. Which is why, on Grado Fan Club thread earlier today, i posted that sr325e direct to fiio x1 is equally as good to hd650 + WA3 OTL tube amp, to my ear, for female vocals, on my music collection.
 
Another user replied that while normally they don't argue with the taste of others, they pointed that i'm dead wrong.
 
Well, in strict sound-system hobby world, i know that on "the headphone sound quality", it could be considered wrong saying sr325e is equal to hd650 plugged to OTL tube amp.
However, in addition to listening to the quality of sound aspect, i also judged my headphone from my own universal aspect. I call it emotion-invoking aspect. I focus primarily on female vocals, and seek both how much micro-details from vocals is conveyed by the headphone, and on the opposite spectrum, how much emotion i feel while i'm listening to them.
 
On that aspect, i can see the POV of people experience that hd650 + synergy OTL tube amp is magical. I can hear the magic too.
But that's also why on the grado fan club thread i said "it's equally as good, depends on preference". Well I prefer sr325e to the hd650. I'm biased because I'm a grado person, but soul level is inherently bias. And all three, hd650+otl tube amp / hd600 / sr325e is to my eye equally as good on the soul aspect, to me.
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 1:37 AM Post #10,210 of 21,918

heishiro

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Originally Posted by rovopio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
Long Version : On the hifiman store (the same store i tried worn-out hd600), i also tried hd650. The hd650 there terminates to a 3.5 instead of a 6.5. And as far as i can tell, it didn't use the stock cable.
I found it noticeable that the vocals on that hd650 sound both really recessed, and dry. Actually, since i was also listening to the the hd600 on the same store, I immediately thought the hd650 (on vocals alone) doesn't sound good. I normally have no problem with dry and analytical sound so honestly, not sounding good is an understatement. It sounds like crap considering the hd650 retail price is $500.
 
Now when i go to the 2hours + 4hours store... their hd650 sounds normal. By normal i mean good.
 
So based on my limited experience on the hd650 with termination (and cable) change, and hd650 with stock cable it does sound different.
Cable change does make the hd650 sounds different. The cable change i listened to, It's just sound worse.
 

 
but they are not the same store, right?
they do not have the same setup of equipment, right? what amp did you use for comparison?
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 1:57 AM Post #10,211 of 21,918

rovopio

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but they are not the same store, right?
they do not have the same setup of equipment, right? what amp did you use for comparison?

 
Both from fiio x1. Both for 15 minutes. Both played the same songs in the same order. As for the factors i can control, i make it as fair as possible.
 
I didn't use WA7 fireflies until 75 minutes mark on the second store because i'd like to know the bare minimum sound of hd650 also, i'd like to judge the emotion-invoking aspect of the headphone from a bare minimum setup.
 
Honestly, barring Audez'e and Hifiman previous generation planars, i always do that. I always plug stuff straight to my Sony and Iphone cellphone for my own reference stick. (before owning fiio x1). Not for proper impressions or head-fi post reports, just for my own reference stick. Even when the source is crap and severely underpowered, if a headphone can convey emotion, it'll be able to do that even with a cellphone. It's just now that i have fiio X1, it's with fiio X1.
I call that method listening with my sister's ear. Technical stuffs like bass response, midrange recess level, naturality, treble extension and soundstage is appreciable to people in the hobby, like you and me. But whether a headphone can sound good emotionally or not, is appreciable to more people, say my sister, who doesn't care about the difference between headphones, as long as it's better than her $20 logitech H150, all is good in her world.
 
Btw, i also tried the he-560 from my cellphone on the hifiman store. With my sister's ear method and it's good, for her, bass is just bass, controlled or not. and treble is just treble, extended or not. She judged based on emotion, and it's inherently bias, her reference stick is her own $20 logitech headphone. My reference stick is direct to my underpowered cellphone.
 
Though i have a line that i don't cross too. Some chinese no-name cellphone and tablet i found is really bad, so i'm sticking with sony and iphone at least.
 
Anyway, the point is that, i think my comparison of the two hd650 is as objective as i can be, from the part i can control.
However I can't control the condition of cable-changed hd650 has worse earpads and no headband padding and how old it is, in comparison to the stock-cable hd650.
 
  I've said stuff in the past that, in hindsight, I'm not too confident in. The more I've experienced, the more I'm left wondering just how important so much of that stuff is. Hell my old Final Audio Pandoras sounded within arm's length of the LCD-2.2's (open/closed and dynamic/planar notwithstanding), and that was STRAIGHT out of my Macbook Pro. No extra hardware. I just am getting beyond the point of being convinced how crazy expensive hardware needs to be in order to properly drive tiny speakers. 

 
do you in the end sell / not use the pandora anymore?
which pandora 4 or 6?
 
just out of curiousity, since im familiar with the sound of 4
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 9:47 AM Post #10,212 of 21,918

SomeGuyDude

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I sold the Pandora, and it was the 6. Actually, I traded it to the guy I got the LCD-2.2 from, did a trade+cash for it. Both are absolutely stellar headphones. 
 
Really the point I'd been nudging at earlier was mostly that the emotional end of the HARDWARE can sometimes turn out greater than the end result OF it. Sitting down and going "ahhhh yes, I finally have this $2500 amplifier and my vintage 1945 $450 apiece tubes..." turns into a bigger deal than any indication that the sound out of it is better than what you had previously.
 
Like others have said here, do you listen to MUSIC, or do you listen to EQUIPMENT? I think for too many people the answer is on what I would call the unfortunate side of that question. 
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 9:49 AM Post #10,213 of 21,918

sicko

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The problem is it's very emperor's new clothes and it leads to a cycle of people insisting that cables totally change the sound and newbies afraid of being lambasted for having stupid ears so they either avoid the issue completely or buy a new cable and are so HELL BENT to hear an improvement that they say that they did. 
 
You get someone who scraped up the money for $400 headphones and they get people saying "oh pfeh unless you drop another $200 on a cable then you're not letting those headphones sing." Meanwhile maybe the person saying that has just placebo'd themselves into hearing that huge upgrade because THEY were convinced by someone ELSE that cables make all the difference. 
 
The psychological factor can be HUGE with stuff like this. Studies have shown that food tastes different depending on the color of the plate it's on. They did a test on wine tasters by giving them a white wine to sample and review, then the SAME WINE but dyed red, and found that everyone talked about typical "white wine" qualities in the former case and typical "red wine" qualities in the latter. Meanwhile Two Buck Chuck actually won a blind taste test competition.
 
It bothers me because it not only has people insecure with their headphones and spending tons more money than necessary on something that's just in their heads, but it enables flim flam artists to make a KILLING off of those same people.
 
I'll say it right now. Companies like Cardas and Moon Audio making $500-1000 cables just make my stomach turn. A cable sends a signal, that's all. A cable can't "improve soundstage" or "add clarity". Silver and copper might sound a bit different since it is, after all, analogue, but either the signal is making it there cleanly or it's not. Talking about 50 thread braids and percentages of oxygen is like in the old days of protein powder when "hydrolyzed" and "whey isolate" meant something so scammers could sell a $10 tub of powder for $100. 
 
If someone really, really wants to buy a cable because they are dead set certain it turned their $200 headphones into $2000 headphones, fine. But once they start telling other people that they need to do the same? I'm bothered. 

You made my eyes wet. So beautiful. 
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 10:50 AM Post #10,215 of 21,918

Tuco1965

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I think of cables like jewelry.  They can add the flash and bling, but don't bring anything else to the table.  If you like to dress up your gear, then go for it.  I don't buy into it.  I'll buy the music instead.
 

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