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Sennheiser HD 700 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by windsor, May 31, 2012.
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  1. Sajakhaki
  2. slex
    I'm all rooting for next senn turbocharged HD650. It's time for senn to establish thier stronghold.
  3. LugBug1
    Been wanting to try these since forever.. So I've finally had the spare change to do so. I'll post my impressions asap. Long time Sennheiser fan with IE8, HD595, HD280, HD600 (twice), HD650 (twice), HD800.
    My favourite Senn's up to now have been the HD800 I think are unbeatable in the price range and are true hifi champions. Having said that I've probably spent more time with HD650's then I have with my wife (married 9 years) :O They are a hifi classic and I do hope they are never discontinued.  
    So looking forward to checking out these party crashers that some love, some hate... Hope I'm a lover!  
  4. Krutsch
    I will every curious to read your impressions in comparison with the HD800. I am seriously considering trying a pair. I've listened to them at meets, but that's not the same as owning and acclimating to their sound.
  5. LugBug1
    Yes and you really need to hear them on your own system. I'll post some early impressions probably this weekend. 
  6. Oregonian

    Long time no see!  I think you'll like the HD700 - I have had the 650 and 800 and overall prefer the 700.  Fed from vintage speaker amps it has great balance and the bass is very tight and plentiful. 
  7. LugBug1
    Good to see you my friend. And yes ofcourse vintage all the way :) 
    Received them today and I'm pleasantly surprised by the treble up to now. Very sweet - sharp and sweet. I'm reminded of the HE500 treble. Seems like a healthy balance with the bass. I'm still adjusting to them so not going to say anything else yet. Just having fun! 
  8. LugBug1
    Few early impressions from my first night with these fellas (I think early impressions are important before they have time to brainwash you :D ). As I've already said in the above post I was pleasantly surprised by the treble straight away. It's hard not to have preconceptions when a headphone has been labelled this or that.. So I try as hard as possible to listen with my ears and no-one else's when judging SQ. 
    So... Starting with the overall balance: These seem balanced to me in regards to treble and bass. I hear both a hump in the mid bass and also a peak in the upper registers. This creates an exciting/fun sound. Its fun, but also refined at the same time. There is a missing part in the upper mids (just like the HD800) that helps create a smoothness. But also gives this headphone a more U shape compared to the HD800 because of the extra bass lift. Sometimes I'm getting the feeling that the bass is sometimes segregated a little too much from the treble. Bass extents low but is more concentrated further up. 
    Soundstage: This took me a while to understand fully. It doesn't seem that much bigger than the HD6xx series when you first put them on, but when the music calls for it they are capable of going very wide indeed. (something the 6xx can't do) So depending on the music, they don't over-stretch a cozy quartet, but they will expand to let an orchestra breath. The depth is good but not much different to the 6xx. What is better, is the space around instruments and overall control of different timbres. No smearing.
    Tone: The overall tone is warm. Very warm at the bottom but also reasonably bright at the top. The treble really extends well and is on par with the hd800 for allowing the top to breath. Every nuance in the recording is there. There is also no hardness in the treble as with the 6xx series and I'm putting this down to the dip in the upper registers. The bass seems to change with amplification. On my trusty NAD vintage amps (the best amps I've tried with HD800) the bass is big, warm and thunderous at times! There is a very slight bloat in the lower mids but not as much as the 650. Changing to a solid state hp amp and the bass drops significantly. It is tight and better controlled. But this loses too much drama for me. It turns a fun hp into a more delicate and easy listen. 
    I'm still sussing the mids out. I was expecting these to suffer with the freq response graphs I'd seen posted. But just like the HD800 they are actually very pleasing. Strings sound silky smooth, violins don't have the hardness (grain) that the HD600 especially can show. Now, I know a lot of folk like the response to be flatter in the upper mids as this gives electric guitar grit and texture for example. But from an acoustic perspective the mids here are pleasing. Maybe a little polite, but pleasing. Vocals sound natural to me, again for the same reasons quoted above.
    Compared to the other top Senns. (HD800, 600, 650)
    These come across as being more different than better. Yes they are technically impressive but I believe it comes down to music enjoyment - as that is the their job right? Last night I was getting shivers up my spine with some of my favourite classical tracks and so this is a good sign. Other times my attention was drawn to the "sound" of the headphone itself. So only time will tell if I can switch off completely from the technical merits/effects of this hp to immerse myself fully into the music (like I can with the HD650, but couldn't with the HD800).
    Putting my HD650's on this morning after another hour with the HD700 and I welcomed the airy, relaxing sound.. But I soon could hear the 650's shortcomings in regards to the treble and separation. I soon went back to the HD700 and welcomed the refinement and smoothness.
    Early days, but I think I'll be welcoming these to live alongside my trusty 650's.      
  9. Bacci
    I've had the HD700 for over a year now and I completely agree with your impressions. 
    With my class A SS amp (AMB M^3) music sounds very crisp and clean with the HD700, but bass can at times be too controlled at the cost of impact, and some songs can sound a bit too harsh or have sibilance issues (whereas other songs come out just brilliantly).
    I have been listening to the HD700 on a Bottlehead Crack (with speedball) tube amp these last few days and to me they pair unbelievably well.
    The reason I think is probably because the output impedance of the Crack (like many other vintage amps) is 120 ohm, not far from the HD700's nominal headphone impedance of 150 ohm. In conventional wisdom this is frowned upon (i.e. output impedance "should" be < 1/8 of the headphone impedance), but bear with me:
    High impedance amp = The impedance peaks in the graph around 100Hz and in the highs actually result in a higher gain around those frequencies, in a bass and treble boost in other words whereas the HD700 problem area (harshness + sibilance ~ 5-8Khz) are on the low end of the impedance curve so become less prominent relative to the emphasised bass and highs. 
    To me, it seems the mechanical damping is already so good on the HD700 that the trade-off is hardly there. Even when listening to demanding electronic music (like Above & Beyond, Radiohead, ...) the little bit worse transients and control on the Crack vs. SS are still eclipsed by the royal bass and smoothness of the tube amp paired with the HD700. 
  10. DavidA
    Agree with you about the BH Crack being a great amp for the HD-700.  The output impedance of the BH Crack will vary a little depending on the power tube in use so depending on the tube used it could be as low as 80 ohms IIRC for a TS-5998.  I used to like my Ember better with the HD-700 but have found that it depends on the tubes used in either the BH Crack or Ember that makes me prefer one or the other.
  11. Sajakhaki
    Man, these get better the more I hear them.  Bass is really thumpin on songs that have it.  Even better than I initially thought.  
    On a separate thought, I wonder if the people who don't like this HP were using a decent tube amp with them... Seems to me it would be hard not to like this HP if you have.  Maybe, those complaining of the too hot treble peak were using them on a SS?  Because these sound AMAZING through a Modi 2 U, and Valhalla 2.  I don't think the Valhalla is especially warm either, maybe a slight bit, but just smooth and musical.  They are definitely a step up compared to anything in their price range now.  
    I would also add - Electronic is Fing Awesome with these.  I'm not even usually that into it, but man I can't stop listening to it right now....  feels like floor speakers with a sub.  and the imaging is crazy good... 
  12. DavidA
    I think many that didn't like the HD-700 were just saying what was posted as the first impressions from well regarded reviewers and never really tried them, but they are still a love or hate headphone to many that actually do try them which I can understand since a few friends hate them and few love them.
  13. slex
    Could it be new tweak by senn consider the long sale life? Im aware the some of the latest HD6xx batch could be tweak by senn, i might be wrong. Anyone have evidence of the tweaking?
  14. LugBug1
    That makes sense to me. I keep changing to my SS amp for comparison purposes and its just too polite sounding for me. 
    The more I'm listening to these (call it burn in, brain burn in or whatever) the more I'm thinking how good they are. I might even go out on a whim here and say I'm enjoying them more for orchestral music than the HD800 (unless the recording is spot on) :O The reason is, these are much more forgiving. HD800 will show you how good/bad the recording is constantly. HD700 kind of bypasses this most of the time and focuses on the music. Think it's the extra bass and more focused image. They are so smooth! Smooth as planar.  
    Matro5 likes this.
  15. slex
    Anyone using multibit DAC with HD700?
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