Sennheiser HD 600 questions. About to buy!
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Agrajag

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I want a pair of Sennheiser HD 600's but of course want to pay as little as possible for them. On epionions.com I found a link to an eBay seller selling them with a Buy Now price of $229. He has an excellent sellers rating with great quotes. Has anyone gone this route before? He says they're new units. It's either that or risk eTronics which seems to have a very mixed bag of reviews (many 5's and many 1's).

Someone else recommended Jan Meier from Meier Audio in Germany so I've sent an e-mail asking for pricing.

Also, I keep seeing mention of the need for an amp to drive these headphones. I own a Mackie 1202 mixer with a powered amp but it's in need of a clean-up so I had removed it from my system temporarily. Would that cover it?

Right now my Sony MDR-V600's are plugged into a Creative Lab's Live!Drive bay port with a typical crap amp. Not sure what the output would be like on that. I only really plan to use these for serious PC game play, CD audio and MP3 listening on my computer. Have I gone overboard?
 
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eric343

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Yes and no. You'll NEED a better source for those HD600s, but they'll still kick the unmentionables off the V600s out of damn near anything. On the other hand, for computer use with or without an amp, I can't recommend the Etymotic ER4P/S (4P with adapter and amp, or 4P alone) enough. The advantage they give you in first-person-shooter games is INSANE, especially on small maps. During the summer I did some late-night LAN gaming at a digital-video course I was at, and with my Etys/META42, I was consistently the best player there. Without, I was mid-to-bad.

On the other hand, I did pretty well using the same amp and my HD600s at another LAN game, too...
 
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Snufkin

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At least a better soundcard is advisable.
And a dedicated headphone amp, then you'll be getting somewhere


The HD600 isn't instantly fantastic, you have to match it with the right gear, otherwise you won't be doing it justice and you'll be wondering what all the fuss is about.
 
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Agrajag

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
Yes and no. You'll NEED a better source for those HD600s, but they'll still kick the unmentionables off the V600s out of damn near anything.


I expect them to run circles around the V600's, which I really liked, so I should be in for a real treat. But on the amp, really??? I thought, though I could be wrong, that the 1202 put out up to 300 watts!

Quote:

On the other hand, for computer use with or without an amp, I can't recommend the Etymotic ER4P/S (4P with adapter and amp, or 4P alone) enough.


I seriously thought about these especially the 4P because I also have a minidisc player that doesn't have enough boost to the headset of course. However, I also have several pairs of Koss KSC 55's (used to be a game reviewer and wrote the Official Sound Blaster book series so I got a lot of free audio stuff back in the day) that work fine with them during a workout. The main concern is fatigue on my ears. I often can spend an entire afternoon in Delta Force, GTA3 or Return to Castle Wolfenstein, for example and with them being in the ear, I worry about the feel.

Quote:

The advantage they give you in first-person-shooter games is INSANE, especially on small maps. During the summer I did some late-night LAN gaming at a digital-video course I was at, and with my Etys/META42, I was consistently the best player there. Without, I was mid-to-bad.


That's a pretty strong recommendation to a fellow gamer. I'll re-think this quickly. In Delta Force I am often one of the best on the field and am often accused of cheating because no one can knife me. It's all due to the use of headphones so any boost there should be of great help. So which of the two is more comfortable? Sounds better? Anything else that would help make the choice between the two?
 
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Agrajag

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Quote:

Originally posted by Snufkin
At least a better soundcard is advisable.
And a dedicated headphone amp, then you'll be getting somewhere


Well, first, it's a jump to spend this much just for the headphones. I spend for toys but it's hard to sell the price to the wife for things seen as so .... secondary in nature. As far as the soundcard, it's a Creative Labs Audigy which is the best they offer and for a gamer, it's hard to beat. I have some MUCH better equipment here but for games, it's hard to match the support and extras Creative gets.


Quote:

The HD600 isn't instantly fantastic, you have to match it with the right gear, otherwise you won't be doing it justice and you'll be wondering what all the fuss is about.


So given that, do you think I might want to consider the Etymotic ER4P ahead of it?
 
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Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Originally posted by Snufkin
The HD600 isn't instantly fantastic, you have to match it with the right gear, otherwise you won't be doing it justice and you'll be wondering what all the fuss is about.


So do the Beyers that you seem to recommend.


But back to the HD600:

I found that it sounds great out of anything beyond your usual gutless portable or soundcard. But match it with the right gear, and the sound goes from merely "great" to a jaw-dropping "plonk." After all, what good is a headphone that sounds like crap no matter what gear you have it connected to? Or, in the case of the Sony MDR-V600, a headphone that only sounds good when you give it a lot of power - and craptastic on anything less?
 
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eric343

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Agrajag: Regarding the '600s, you will need a better source, since ANY sound card won't be able to drive them properly, and in fact apart from some vintage power amplifers (Dynacos et al) no headphone jack will do them justice. The 300w spec is for the speaker out, probably, since 300w into any headphone will probably fry it.

And the '600s are definitely more comfortable than the Etys if you're just sitting and listening to music, or at least until you get lots of practice with the Etys and/or custom earmolds(spoken as a *rubber* eartip user. apparently foamies are a lot comfier). On the other hand, the '600s are also pretty warm; if you get "really into it" while playing (don't we all?) your ears will sweat, leading to icky headphones. On the other hand, the Etys (if you use the rubber tips; I don't use foamies so I couldn't say about them)don't absorb sweat at all, and don't insulate your ears, either.

Lastly, regarding the gaming thing, if you already use headphones you probably won't see nearly as much of a benefit as I described; most of the benefit came/comes from eliminating the crossfeed inherent in speakers to give you very pinpoint imaging without lots of very precise placement of an expensive 5.1 system. Of course, if the headphones you use now aren't terribly good at imaging anyway (I've never tort^H^H^H^H subj^H^H^H^H made my ears suf^H^H^H listen to the V600s for very long) then you'll probably see a fairly big benefit in any case.

Also, the Etys have that famous isolation - you won't get distracted by phones, doorbells, or taunts at LAN parties. And you *really* feel like you're in the game, if you have a big enough monitor
he says, thinking about his dad's SGI 1600SW wide-format flat panel... mmm... [they're about $400 on eBay. Get one. They ROCK!!!]
 
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Snufkin

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Quote:

Originally posted by Eagle_Driver


So do the Beyers that you seem to recommend.




Yes, but I don't recommend certain headphones unless people have the right equipment to go with them



Quote:

As far as the soundcard, it's a Creative Labs Audigy which is the best they offer and for a gamer, it's hard to beat. I have some MUCH better equipment here but for games, it's hard to match the support and extras Creative gets.


The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz is much better for headphones, IMHO, it also has better drivers, less bloatware and less compatibility issues than Creative.

Quote:

So given that, do you think I might want to consider the Etymotic ER4P ahead of it?


Having not heard the ER4P, I can't really say for sure


People tend to recommend the Sennheiser HD590 when being driven from an unamped source as it's lower impedance than the HD600.

Akars recommendation of the Beyer DT250-80 is spot on, they're easy to drive, comfortable, offer excellent isolation and are a great all-rounder for music & games.

I'm not saying the HD600 is bad or anything, I just don't see the point in having a top-end headhpone when the rest of the chain isn't up to scratch. Maybe if you plan to buy a dedicated headphone amp in the future to go with the HD600, they'd be the way to go
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by Agrajag
On epionions.com I found a link to an eBay seller selling them with a Buy Now price of $229. He has an excellent sellers rating with great quotes. Has anyone gone this route before? He says they're new units.


I bought the HD590 and HD600 from hififorless on ebay. Service was excellent. On the first auction, I just followed the payment instructions, and the next day I got an email with shipping tracking info, and it arrived quickly. It looked brand new. On my second auction for the 600, I just called them to give them my address and credit card info, and 2 days later I received it (shipping was free 2-day air). It looked new also.
 
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Agrajag

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Quote:

Originally posted by Snufkin
The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz is much better for headphones, IMHO, it also has better drivers, less bloatware and less compatibility issues than Creative.


You're talking to a very big ex-Turtle Beach fan. I knew the original owners well (Roy & Bob) and was a huge fan of the Multisound (still have one around) but then went through hell with the Tropez, Rio, Monterey and others. So after the old days I gave up on them.

As far as needing the right equipment, let me ask a newbie question. I don't need LOUD. Adding an amp suggests adding volume. Can top equipment be driven to quality sound at lower volumes? I assume yes, but want to be sure. Also, if I went with the better equipment, what would I need minimally as an amp for they the 600's? How much would that add to the package? I have no intention of spending as much on the amp as the headphones.

The Beyer DT250-80 recommendation adds a third in but they sound very low end from what I am reading about them. No? I saw a few comments suggesting that my Sony MDR-V600's sound better and that's certainly not what I'm after. <grin>
 
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Agrajag

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
And the '600s are definitely more comfortable than the Etys if you're just sitting and listening to music, or at least until you get lots of practice with the Etys and/or custom earmolds(spoken as a *rubber* eartip user. apparently foamies are a lot comfier).


Okay, fill me in on where to find out about custom ear molds. Are you saying you use the ones that come with the Etys? How are they? Can you use them for hours without discomfort? Are custom molds expensive? Are "foamies" included? Readily available?

Also, how are they if I don't go for an amp? If I do go for an amp, I think you recommended a kit. Are they sold pre-built somewhere and if so, where and how much? Since these would also help the minidisc player when I'm on the elliptical trainer (sort of an advanced treadmill thing) then I might lean this way though I worry about the workout they'd get while I'm getting one. <grin>

I suspect the 4P's sound like the only way for me to go if this is the choice. I wish I could hear these somewhere. I wonder if Tweeter carries them.....
 
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You might want to do a little more research into what you want. An amp can do more than make things louder, it replaces the other typically poorly amplified headphone jacks at your disposal. Amps for HD600 typically do cost more than the headphone itself. Also the Sony V600's are just about never recommended over the Beyers. In fact they are just about never recommended period.

A lot of the questions you are asking already have an incredible wealth of information and answers to peruse through.
 
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eric343

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Well, about the custom earmold thing, I'm not really sure myself. I belive you just go to the local audiologist and get some earmolds taken, then you tell the guy they're for Etys and where to send them.

Personally, I use the white rubber flanged eartips that came with my Etys. I've used them on 9-hour flights with no problems, although sometimes I have to remove/reseat them just to air out my ears or fix a bit of discomfort that develops (because of the depth to which I insert them, the last flange tends to "fold" and create an uncomfortable pressure point after a few hours). The Etys do also come with a set of foamies; many (most?) people find them much easier to use 'out of the box' and more comfy too; however you do lose some isolation and possibly some sound quality as a result.

Both foamies and rubbers are availible separately from HeadRoom or Etymotic.

With the amp thing, I highly recommend (in order of preference) a META42, CHA47, Porta Corda, or a Total Airhead. All of these are (or can be) portable amps that you can transport, and they DEFINITELY do more than just make sound louder. Depending on the source, the difference can be night-and-day, or even more. You need to hear it to believe it...
If you go with the ER4p and either the META42 or CHA47, ask the builder to include a 73-ohm resistor on the output so that the ER4P will be automagically converted to ER4S when you use the amp, but will still work as ER4P anywhere else. (both the META42 and CHA47 aren't "kits," although they ARE DIY amps. You can either build one yourself (not too hard, if you can handle a soldering iron) or ask JMT, Tangent, or myself to build you one.)

Your other alternative would be to get Sneared to build you a Kevin Gilmore Class-A amp, if you only need the amp for home use. It's safe to say the KG will outperform all the amps listed above by a fair margin.
 
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Agrajag

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Eric,

If I go with the 4p's the cheapest I've seen them for is $269 from HeadRoom. Is that the best I'm likely to find?

Oh, one last one. Am I going to have major trouble using these for workouts given all the bouncing? The reference to changing the cable to reduce the "hit my shirt interference" through me a bit. I don't have that problem with cheaper phones. Unless they're saying it has something to do with the cable getting stuck and pulling on the plugs.....
 
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