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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. manueljenkin
    Definitely do so. I'll soon try to make a list of filter compatibility to make hd700 compatible with any amplifier with good enough power. The pickiness comes from a certain type of. Transient pattern.
  2. manueljenkin
    Saw your flair. My mdr F1 is arriving soon. What should I expect from them - closer to hd700 or closer to srh1540? In terms of transients.
  3. Malfunkt
    I'd say, don't have too high of expectations. The transducer is decent, but perhaps even not at par with something the likes of the HD650/600 series. The HD700 is a above and same the with the 1540. The 1540 I'm less familiar with, I don't regard it as highly as yourself and wouldn't put in the same leagues as the HD800 - but don't get me wrong they are good headphones.

    The HD800 is still markedly better than the majority of dynamic drivers produced even in high-end headphones. The tuning may not be to some peoples liking (easy to adjust with EQ), and the bass is not going to extend as low as planar or Focal Be driver - but really, it's still up there with the best.

    So a headphone like the F1, it is more of curio. It is an almost alien design, that is open and light. It has a mid-forward signature, with subdued highs and not the best sub-bass. It also has a built-in crossfeed circuit so blends a bit of the stereo image to help make them a bit more speaker like for stereo recordings. They will still sound good for binaural recordings, but they are missing the top-end extension to truly have shimmer.

    I keep them around as I don't think they are worth the hassle selling and shipping. I think I probably should have tried to track down the MA900 with its improved 70mm driver instead. Or just kept my HD700!

    You have a good combo with the HD700 and 1540

    Edit (couple hours later): hmm, fired up the MDR-F1. Yes, these are quite good, and in some way fill the gap for me no longer having the HD800/HD700 series. It is a very spacious listen, and in my initial reviews I feel they are closer to the traditional diffuse field curve than the 700/800 while still being quite expansive.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    manueljenkin and dmdm like this.
  4. trellus
    @manueljenkin I'm a little surprised at your comparison on detail between the SRH1540 and the HD 700, I have both as well as the SRH940, and while I've never honestly A/B'ed any of these, I've never thought of the SRH1540 as detail monsters, something I do associate with the SRH940, and to some extent as well the HD 700. To me, the SRH1540 a very pleasant, musical headphone with good detail but there's some elevated -- mid-bass I think? -- that softens it to my ears, to the point of almost making them a tiny bit "boring" or unremarkable at least with respect to detail retrieval. I do enjoy them, I've just never considered them on the level of the HD 700, I guess?
    DavidA likes this.
  5. manueljenkin
    You're right about the stock tone of srh1540 being a little too boomy, especially for music with lot of center channel content. But otherwise it's the same as srh940 (maybe slightly technically better? Idk). I'd say i also prefer the tone of srh940 for analysis purposes or detail freaking purposes, which is why I eq the 1540 to 940 curve often (eq does introduce smoothing artefacts, atleast the one i have but that's fine for me atm). I am not getting the 940 because of two reasons

    1. 940 is fragile. Seen enough horror stories of broken headbands.
    2. With proper filtering and eq 1540 can do pretty much everything 940 could do. The chord progression in bass guitars that get muffled in stock srh1540 tone comes back up once you drop the 100-300hz region (I've posted what I'm using in the srh1540 thread as an image).
    3. The tone of 1540 works better for side panned music. The perceived detail on left and right channels is higher. I'd still maintain that even stock srh1540 is quite a lot more detailed than hd700 when you want to look and analyse filters and other stuff.

    Regarding the fun/boring part. I found the srh1540 to be heavily sharp/impulsive with certain pairing of music or dac/amp. It's highly sharp on my nx4dsd. Though nx4dsd had a slew of other issues (poor bass conductivity, some odd noise pattern) this particular trait was there. Same was the case with fiio q5

    On my burson fun + V6 vivid opamp, though it's rid of all the other noise and conductivity issues of nx4/q5, I'm seeing a sense of the boominess/lack of hit you mention but it's there on all headphones I've plugged into this. Waiting for the sparkos ss3601 opamp.

    Edit/update:: burson fun + V6 vivid is low passing/transient smearing. As i expected. Someone measured on asr and high frequency squares are blunted and sines are phase shifted. So yeah. Srh1540 is still right. Hd700 couldn't show this delta coz it's not as transparent to filters as srh1540

    Not sure what is causing that lpf. It could either come from the opamp characteristic, or from the low pass filter in the amp. If it's the opamp im safe. Can swap it out for ss3601 and keep moving on. If it's the lpf, then I'm stuck. Maybe check with burson and see if i can tweak the lpf circuit.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    trellus likes this.
  6. manueljenkin
    Update:: Just received my Geek out 450 (gen 1) today. I finally understand why people were hating HD 700. It is very sensitive and unstable to dynamic range compression to the louder parts. The geek out sounded loud and compressed with all the headphones I've tried and even as a line out it was somewhat compressed. It was very clean (read no random noise) and fairly detailed tho, and the bass was very forward in both TCM and FRM filters (can give a perceived illusion of detail in the lower ranges). Finally understood what HD 700 likes and dislikes. It doesn't need particularly large amount of power, just give it good dynamics and enough space to "breathe" (not pushing loud stuff all the time). It was unlistenable out of the geek out.

    I think the geek out is fine as a product I got for fairly less price but I had quite high expectations, and needless to say, I was very underwhelmed, especially in comparison to the Apogee groove. This feels compressed (always loud and boomy) in comparison - missing the sense of buildup/surprise. I'd at best put this parallel to the nx4dsd stock as of now. The nx4 has issues with midrange noise/grain and bass conductivity (has a noisy midrange and poor bass below 50hz on a real load) but has sharp response otherwise. Geek out seems to be somewhat sharp but it's always loud and lacks the sense of surprise. Both nx4 and groove do the changes in dynamic passages much better. The bass is super nice tho. Couldn't spot any aberration. Both nx4 and geek out have different compromises, but at the end of the day both of them are quite compromised. Against apogee groove, filter and bass presentation is so different due to filter changed so comparison is quite hard, but I'd say the groove is leagues better on every front I can imagine, except filter which it is "different", and to my ears, better. Moving back to the groove was night and day! Every sound incites an involuntary physical response - a lot more moving/visceral.

    I tried both the 0.47 and 47 ohm output ports. Initially 0.47 sounded sterile and compressed and 47 was fairly fine but compressed and lower power. After the unit got decently warm 0.47 and 47 sounded similar, with 0.47 having lots more power. I think they improve with usage (they seem to have some capacitors inside, so maybe it might take time to get them to optimal state).

    Tried both filters as well - TCM had a decent sense of hit but it was marred by lack of surprise. FRM was trying to sound soft but again it ends up sounding loud and fake soft.

    Device used : surface book gen 1 usb port (usb 3.0 spec). It worked fine for apogee groove which apparently draws 1.7 watt at idle. I was able to use both the groove and an external hard drive on the two ports without issue. I had even used external cd writers and hard drives on Surface book without isses. The last hope I have is to see if the usb port is bottlenecking something, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Another Update, I went back to srh1540 after two weeks of exclusively listening to HD 800 on apogee groove. It was not even a contest, SRH1540 had more "openness and detail". They don't necessarily have more sound stage on most tracks, but the moment you put in a binaural track, the space explodes far and beyond HD800 in all directions (it gets more precise if I eq the SRH1540 to SRH940 curve). They are also brighter/sharper, and often more sibilant/piercing than HD800 when the music is very compressed (HD800 sounds veiled in 2-4khz region and upper treble by comparison). For well recorded music, they are very physical and thrilling. Both HD700 and HD800 are a lot softer sounding than SRH1540 but both of them are fairly unstable around 6khz region. Sibilance always feels uni textured. On Srh1540, I can see the different shades of sibilance, and visualize how much open/closed the singers mouth was and the position of the tongue. On HD800/700 it feels like they are always with teeth closed and hissing. I have tried HD800 on other occasions with other amps (HDV820 and some lehmann amp), and I also own a Burson fun amp to which my groove is used as a line in dac (tried NX4dsd and Geek out DAC, groove dac is miles ahead) and I actually prefer HD800 on the apogee groove. Its a current feedback amp and makes the wierd off phase treble of HD800 more correct and precise. I don't like HD800 on most amps coz of some treble phase offset (which gives it the fake soundstage a lot of people like). I genuinely think my urbanite xl + decent amp has a "wider" (not better) soundstage than HD800 for stereo tracks (it does it through chamber reverb with a significant delay), not that I enjoy it, but just stating it. I actually find HD800 + apogee groove pairing to a miniature version of SRH940/1540 + a good dac amp pairing in terms of dynamics, realism and openness (I know I'll be dissed for this, but CSD do agree with my subjective opinion).

    On the contrary, I find the HD700 to be a genuinely unique and nice product, that fills my dramatization desires. It doesn't resolve particularly great, but it doesn't sound like anything else, and doesn't strive for filter accuracy. It doesn't have the midrange veil I find on HD800. And one of the most unique things I've heard on HD700 which I've never heard on other cans. The center channel is so "big" sounding, I have some idea on what causes it - the mechanical softening response (which gets out of hand and clips if overdriven), but not 100% sure. I'll try HD800 on few other recommended amps, to see if it "clicks" for me, and I'll also try to measure phase and dynamic range relations with each paring. I don't think I'll enjoy HD800 on anything other than a impedance compensated current feedback amp (apogee's other interfaces, Questyle CMA series). I'll most likely sell HD800 and keep hd700. And considering that I like HD700 more than HD800, I should probably try the Beyer T1. I initially had T1 vs HD800 on my choice list, but went with HD800 since it was more universally accepted. Turns out that I'm an outlier. Of late I also got a real sense of curiosity over the Sony Qualia 010, considering it's the upgrade in the lineup of CD900 which is like the grand daddy of what Shure is currently doing.

    To give a better explanation, Srh1540 feels like the vocalist, if center panned is right next to my nose, facing towards me on a lot of occasions. Sometimes its spaced out, sometimes its not (depending on the recording and how far away the singe was from the mic). HD800 center channel feels similar, but less refined. SRH1540 has a lot more viserality, it feels like I'm the mic, and in a few songs, it feels like someone broke a glass bottle on my face and I can visualise the glass pieces disintegrating around my face, or in some other songs I can feel the hit and vibration on a drum. I don't get that on HD700, but in exchange I get a very very unique presentation. It feels like there's a person standing in front of me, facing away from me and singing. It's very unique and engaging for me when I just want to listen and not analyse too much. Like I'm in a choir and someone is standing in front of me and singing.

    He describes the effect in this video (though I don't agree on him saying it is "accurate", since I've compared with personal recordings as well) -
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  7. robo24
    The T1 certainly has many fans. I love the 700, but when I got the T1.2 I sold them within a week. While praised for their comfort by most, to me they weren't comfortable, but the bigger problem was sibilance, which I've never had on the 700 or 800.
  8. IgorC
  9. manueljenkin
    My mdr F1 came. It sounds pretty fine for something that's this old. Though it's not in any way comparable to most modern cans, especially not the hd700 or hd800.
    Malfunkt likes this.
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