Sennheiser HD 700 Impressions Thread
Aug 2, 2015 at 3:11 AM Post #4,786 of 9,143

takato14

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  @takato14, got some pictures of your mods?

Sure. They're really crude, but whatever.
 

 
I eyeballed the shape of the inner earcup, sans mesh.
 

 
The idea is that, when this is dynamat and not felt, there will be no bare, hard plastic exposed for sound waves to reflect off of. This should in theory reduce ringing and make things more coherent sounding.
 
However, I'm worried about the metal mesh, which is exceptionally dense and probably highly reflective. I'm probably going to have a secondary damping material in the cups to go over top of the mesh. I'd like to try replacing the mesh itself with something more open, but not only will that likely kill the bass response but the mesh is actually molded into the plastic, making it literally impossible to put anything else in its place.
 
I also intend to put filter paper directly over the driver. Hopefully this will be enough to kill the 6kHz peak.
 
As for getting the upper midrange dip to GTFO, I'll have to experiment with the capsule damping more. I suspect the outer ports are the key.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 7:50 AM Post #4,789 of 9,143

ppdv

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I'm like you, still like speakers but due to current living arrangements the use of headphones became necessary.  Hopefully in about 2 weeks I will have completed my move and have a dedicated room for my speakers (Magnepan 1.6, KEF103.3 Ref, and Rauna TYR).  The HD-700 is close to the Magnepans, TH-600 to KEF, and TYR to HE-560.


+1 David.
 
I really like speakers and used to have a fairly decent setup back home. But i am currently deputed to Amsterdam and dont know how many more places i might move to and hence i cant settle down at each location and buy a set of speakers with matching amp etc.. though i would love to.. but the pains to audition at each place and then selling of your gear at the end of your term makes it a bit sad to do so .. hence refraining from it.  Good luck with your final setup with the three speakers.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 8:11 AM Post #4,790 of 9,143

PETEREK

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Quote:
 
I'm like you, still like speakers but due to current living arrangements the use of headphones became necessary.  Hopefully in about 2 weeks I will have completed my move and have a dedicated room for my speakers (Magnepan 1.6, KEF103.3 Ref, and Rauna TYR).  The HD-700 is close to the Magnepans, TH-600 to KEF, and TYR to HE-560.

 
I think that's probably why most of the people on Head-fi own headphones; they have to be quiet to some extent. I'm a third shifter myself, so having music blaring while my family is asleep is not doable. 
 
One other reason is that an end-game (such a thing) quality headphone system costs much, MUCH less than an end-game speaker system. 
 
I guess my reasoning lands in both categories.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 8:44 AM Post #4,791 of 9,143

Rob80b

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On paper it would seem like a problem but with a midrange that sounds this good, I guess it isn't. As Rob80b said, this voicing must contribute to the nice spatial presentation.

Exactly…..if the HD700 had measured flat I would think their spatial presentation would be more in line with what we get from …example… a pair of Grados. So traditional measurements do tell us how the frequencies are distributed and obviously Sennheiser have put a lot of R&D into voicing the HD700 in an unconventional manner, the drivers and ear cups have been specifically designed from the ground up borrowing developments from the HD800s and the HD598s …not a total revolution in headphone development but definitely a step in the right direction.
So without going all out with say something like the AKG K1000, a totally impractical headphone or band-aid measures to increase the special presentation like the AKG K700 series or Grado’s GS/PS 1000s…Sennheiser as I’ve mentioned have taken measures from the ground up.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 9:34 AM Post #4,792 of 9,143

Rob80b

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  Sure. They're really crude, but whatever.
 
I eyeballed the shape of the inner earcup, sans mesh.
 
The idea is that, when this is dynamat and not felt, there will be no bare, hard plastic exposed for sound waves to reflect off of. This should in theory reduce ringing and make things more coherent sounding.......................
 

Reminds me of my mods on my AKG K240DFs back in 2003...you're totally changing the sonic nature of your HD700s...but hey they are your phones so have fun...
smile.gif

Thought I would experiment with some isolation on my AKG 240DF. I am a big fan of wool felt for noise and vibration control on speakers so why not try it on the 240’s.
First one removes the ear cushions and the foam disk.
I started with quarter inch thick wool felt cut slightly smaller than the foam disks used between the driver and the ear cushions and a center hole slightly larger than the driver itself. I then placed the felt directly on the inner sides of the headphones making sure the inner hole does not cover the drivers. I then placed the foam disks on the felt and carefully reseated the ear pads.
I was only wishing to isolate some outer noise but got a lot more.
After a few hours of listening I kept noticing a larger sound stage with greater depth and air around the instruments, more of a three dimensional space.
By adding the felt I was able to control micro vibrations, probably coming from the plastic headphone shell itself, that previously mixed with the sound coming from the drivers and therefore creating a bit of distortion, which was not really evident prior to the mod.
Try it

 
Aug 2, 2015 at 10:18 AM Post #4,793 of 9,143

maverickronin

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  Exactly…..if the HD700 had measured flat I would think their spatial presentation would be more in line with what we get from …example… a pair of Grados.

 
Grados are about the farthest thing from flat that is somehow still considered hifi.  IMO the HD700 already sounds like a much cleaner Grado.  Besides all that, there are tons of headphones with are much flatter than the HD700 but still have great soundstage.
 
In headphones, basic changes in FR like that help a little with perception of soundstage.  Sucking out the upper mids can make things sound a bit farther away or boosting the high treble can give a sense of "air" and space, but it still doesn't help much, and is at the expense of overall tonal balance.  Moving the drivers farther away from the ear and angling them help more because it injects more of your personal HRTF into the final sound that reaches your eardrums.  Here's a graph from a link @mikoss posted earlier.
 
 
 
0b04ef24_HRTFElements.jpeg

 
 The HD700 already does that, and then has a weird FR on top of it.  I would describe the results as unpleasant.
 
All of this is kind of moot though, since the FR of the headphone is only part of how people perceive spacial localization of sounds.  Unless you listen exclusively to binaural recordings you'll also need to simulate the frequency dependent crosstalk that occurs as lower frequency sounds diffract around your head and at a minimum this requires a passive crossfeed circuit.  If you want to get serious about it you'll need an adjustable DSP or a really complicated filter circuit.  The best solution is an actual recording of your own personal HRTF and a full impulse response convolution.  If Senn was serious about proper soundstaging you'd think they'd at least put a passive crossfeed circuit on their amps.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 11:19 AM Post #4,794 of 9,143

mikoss

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Having heard OOYH, it is amazing how you can get the speaker sound from headphones. It literally fools your brain quite well... I found it was an amazing experience, but still preferred the stock sound of headphones because it sounded more hifi. Haven't heard the Realiser, but I have a feeling it would blow some peoples minds.

Also, Grados? I agree that they are probably among the furthest headphones from a flat FR, measured and perceived.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 12:08 PM Post #4,795 of 9,143

Rob80b

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Grados are about the farthest thing from flat that is somehow still considered hifi.  IMO the HD700 already sounds like a much cleaner Grado. 

With that I would need to agree, although many consider Grados bright their drivers are in fact much grainier than most, maybe not too obvious on their own but compared to Sennheiser and AKG for example with their higher sophistication in manufacturing, Grados…and I have to admit they are a fun listen..are more a kin to taking two small speakers and suspending them over ones ears…the HD700s are so diametrically opposed in their development that the two manufactures are a great example for comparative values between low tech and hi tech.
 
Besides all that, there are tons of headphones with are much flatter than the HD700 but still have great soundstage.  
....................................  
 The HD700 already does that, and then has a weird FR on top of it.  I would describe the results as unpleasant.
 
.....................

 
again...what I do like about the HD700s soundstage is that it is projected outward , ,away from the head including the central imaging with good depth and layering, many phones even though there may be adequate width and depth create a blob in the head, AKG somewhat succeeded with the K700 series but the end result is more 2 dimensional with a disembodied base, midrange and treble…   so the only current means available is to adjust the frequencies as you have indicated.
The complex way in which each individual’s ears may respond will determine if such an approach is successfully executed…for myself and many other it does and as you have found in your perception…unpleasant.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 1:57 PM Post #4,796 of 9,143

396208

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Are you telling me I should change what I listen on HD700??
 
I'm not buying a headphone in premium league that does something OK while doing other things like crap. A niche premium headphone should do something spectacularly well while do other things reasonably well, i.e. TH900. Otherwise a premium headphone should do things good enough across the board. I put on a premium headphone then I don't need to change it whether I listen to 1812 Overture or Stairway to Heaven or Rolling in the Deep or Celtic music.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 4:41 PM Post #4,797 of 9,143

Rob80b

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Are you telling me I should change what I listen on HD700??
 
............ whether I listen to 1812 Overture or Stairway to Heaven or Rolling in the Deep or Celtic music.

Cost differentiation and practicality between owning a pair of high-end speakers means deciding on one pair…headphones being relatively cheaper does allow one the luxury to own two or even multiple pairs…brighter, warmer, airier…denser.. etc…but regardless… the drivers make no distinction to how they are set in motion…running a pure sine wave or a full blown symphony orchestra it’s all just reproduced sound.
Now having said that manufacturers do design phones for specific target groups and musical tastes…these may have over emphasized base, piercing highs, exaggerated mids but their higher end phones normally strive to be as neutral as possible. Some obviously disagree but IMHO the HD700 are a higher end phone…for me they bridged the deficiencies with which I had with my previous hand full of phones so that I’m just down to the 700s for all my eclectic listening…so no… one does not need to change phones regarding to what one listens to…although you’re welcome to so and it’s what make this hobby fun.
smile.gif

 
Aug 2, 2015 at 5:07 PM Post #4,798 of 9,143

396208

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  Cost differentiation and practicality between owning a pair of high-end speakers means deciding on one pair…headphones being relatively cheaper does allow one the luxury to own two or even multiple pairs…brighter, warmer, airier…denser.. etc…but regardless… the drivers make no distinction to how they are set in motion…running a pure sine wave or a full blown symphony orchestra it’s all just reproduced sound.
Now having said that manufacturers do design phones for specific target groups and musical tastes…these may have over emphasized base, piercing highs, exaggerated mids but their higher end phones normally strive to be as neutral as possible. Some obviously disagree but IMHO the HD700 are a higher end phone…for me they bridged the deficiencies with which I had with my previous hand full of phones so that I’m just down to the 700s for all my eclectic listening…so no… one does not need to change phones regarding to what one listens to…although you’re welcome to so and it’s what make this hobby fun.
smile.gif

1. I'm in no objection against owning multiple headphones, for distinctively different sound signatures, portability, and form factors. I'm objective against a pseudo-flagship headphone with a MSRP over $1K sounding only good with a very limited genres of music, while sounding like crap with others. Plus, the 6K Hz peak made a lot of instruments sound untrue, which is utterly against the higher fidelity purpose.
 
2. Targeted groups and their respective music tastes are one thing, performance across the board is another. Regardless of the mindset of design - whether bass, vocal, or treble to be the emphasis - given marketing language of premium products are usually "non-compromise", "ultimate", "master-of-all-genre", I do expect those products to be literally so.  
 
3. Have you seen anyone reporting from major audio shows that Sennheiser has brought HD700 onto their table? It's always something like "Sennheiser brought their usual 800, 650 and 600". This should be telling something.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 5:43 PM Post #4,799 of 9,143

takato14

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What surprised me most about the HD700 is how poor it resolves. Despite being faster and lower in measurable distortion, the Sansui extracts more low level information. It sounded okay in this regard at first, but I'm noticing a lot more on the SS-100 than the HD700.
 
Aug 2, 2015 at 6:24 PM Post #4,800 of 9,143

mikoss

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Tak: this all boils down to midrange information lost IMO. I spoke about resolution with the 650's vs the LCD-3's, and it translates over to the 700's with the scooping. This also highlights where FR can strongly correlate to "resolution" IMO. I think a lot of people mistakenly believe that resolution comes from brighter/emphasized treble, which is completely false. A majority of micro detailing is found in the midrange, especially upper midrange as far as decay and vocals are concerned. I do find that treble does project overall ambience, and is also essential for proper tonality, but the loss of midrange always translates to me as loss of fidelity/clarity/resolution.

Furthermore, I think that this has traditionally been Sennheisers strong point, to the point that I believe it's their "house sound" - I think that this is why people felt betrayed by the 700's. They chose to bring about a more quality sounding bass, while "changing" the midrange, and skewing the treble. There are good changes, but overall it seems much different than the other HD headphones midrange presentation.
 

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