Sennheiser HD 700 Impressions Thread
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roguegeek

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  I just demoed the HD700 today with a FiiO E9 (not sure of the DAC). I did not really like them, the highs sounded harsh and the music seemed to lack seperation. Vocals also sounded a bit too warm for my taste. Do you think this is to do with the amp used? I also demoed the Beyerdynamic T90 using the same setup and they sounded quite superb.
I used this exact combo this weekend and can tell you that, without a doubt, it's a very bad combination. The E9 is just a bad amp to use with any bright can, IMO (although I haven't heard the T90 on them). With the HD 700, my observations were exactly the same as yours. Harsh treble. No separation. Very forward vocals. It's a shame because the HD 700 has some of the best separation and imaging out there as well as an amazing vocal presentation.
 
My recommendation is...
  1. don't come to a judgement using an E9, E09K or any other Fiio product on the HD 700
  2. more than any other can I have experienced in the past, the HD 700 gets better with break-in (although I'm sure your demo copy may be ok)
 
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PTom

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I see, I thought as much. Shame, I would have loved to hear it properly.
 
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Bigglesworth

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  I just demoed the HD700 today with a FiiO E9 (not sure of the DAC). I did not really like them, the highs sounded harsh and the music seemed to lack seperation. Vocals also sounded a bit too warm for my taste. Do you think this is to do with the amp used? I also demoed the Beyerdynamic T90 using the same setup and they sounded quite superb.
Really?  It sounded bad out of a 100 dollar Chinese amp? No way.  Seriously folks, why are you even pairing a 1k dollar headphone with this stuff.  Fiio products, while a bargain (I guess) for budding audiophiles on a budget, they should not been seen as anything more than that.  It would make way more sense to buy a mid-level headphone in the 300-500 dollar range and pair it with a decent DAC and Amp than to buy HD700's and pair it with such a budget product.  Same goes for the entry level Schiit products.   
 
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PTom

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For demos, the shop only seemed to provide the E9 and it sounded great with the T90 which is also similar price range so....
 
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Madmollusk

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  I just demoed the HD700 today with a FiiO E9 (not sure of the DAC). I did not really like them, the highs sounded harsh and the music seemed to lack seperation. Vocals also sounded a bit too warm for my taste. Do you think this is to do with the amp used? I also demoed the Beyerdynamic T90 using the same setup and they sounded quite superb.

The FiiO E9 is possibly the worst amp you could use with the HD700. My flirtation with that setup pretty much resulted in what you described: a  coarse and anemic sound. I had no doubts though: the Fiio E9 was most assuredly the problem. The Little Dot Mkiii verified this for me; the HD700 sounded so much fuller and richer with the Little Dot, and the soundstage opened up considerably. Unfortunately, my unit developed a fluttering sound that no amount of tube rolling or cleaning could resolve. I next moved to the Matrix M-stage, and am very happy with the results--though I'm pretty sure a high-end tube amp would service the HD700 best. I think that's pretty much the consensus now. For the time being, however, I plan to stick with the M-stage. I would definitely recommend the  M-stage, not so much as the ideal amp for the HD700, but a solid starter amp compatible with a great variety of headphones. 
 
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roguegeek

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  For demos, the shop only seemed to provide the E9 and it sounded great with the T90 which is also similar price range so....
I'm sure it's not going to sound bad on all cans. The HD 700 just seems a bit more sensitive to amps than other cans, much like the HD 800.
 
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Get a decent tube amp, the HD 700 sounds superb :wink:
 
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  I just demoed the HD700 today with a FiiO E9 (not sure of the DAC). I did not really like them, the highs sounded harsh and the music seemed to lack seperation. Vocals also sounded a bit too warm for my taste. Do you think this is to do with the amp used? I also demoed the Beyerdynamic T90 using the same setup and they sounded quite superb.
You basically just filled a Lamborghini with cheap gas...
 
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While I totally agree (Usually shunning Fiio products in general).
I don't exactly see why one must have a thousand dollar amp and high quality gas to extract the best out of a headphone.
The Sennheiser HD700s sound fine out of my portable setup. A Sansa clip+ and a RSA Predator.
There must be something seriously wrong with the signature if they are anemic and lifeless with the E9. On the contrary, I think that amp just emphasizes the inherent weaknesses (note: treble peaks) and this creates such a presentation.
The HD700 is polarizing, it's far from neutral, but I enjoy them.
 
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  While I totally agree (Usually shunning Fiio products in general).
I don't exactly see why one must have a thousand dollar amp and high quality gas to extract the best out of a headphone.
The Sennheiser HD700s sound fine out of my portable setup. A Sansa clip+ and a RSA Predator.
There must be something seriously wrong with the signature if they are anemic and lifeless with the E9. On the contrary, I think that amp just emphasizes the inherent weaknesses (note: treble peaks) and this creates such a presentation.
The HD700 is polarizing, it's far from neutral, but I enjoy them.

This certainly sounds reasonable, but I think there's something else going on here. The HD700 sounded far better connected directly to my Surface Tablet and Nokia Windows phone. In fact, I tired the HD700 with a half-dozen set-ups, and only the FiiO e9 degraded the HD700's sound signature. Clearly, the HD700 is not overly particular when it comes to amplification; you certainly don't need a 1K amp, though these cans do prefer a set of warm tubes.  With all that said, one thing is clear to me: the HD700 and FiiO E9 hate each other. Try that combo, folks, at your own listening peril. 
 
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Rob80b

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  While I totally agree (Usually shunning Fiio products in general)..........
  The HD700 is polarizing, it's far from neutral, but I enjoy them.
Don't know about that.....so far IMHO I've found that the HD700s are by far the most neutral/balanced phones I've experienced, may come down to listening references/preferences and expectations, mine being to get as close as possible my speaker setup with a properly delineated sound stage and frequency spectrum.
 
Live music is still the best reference overall or "the stereo" if that is what one is trying to emulate.
 
Front wall

 
Back wall: Headphone and music listening location

 
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  While I totally agree (Usually shunning Fiio products in general).
I don't exactly see why one must have a thousand dollar amp and high quality gas to extract the best out of a headphone.
The Sennheiser HD700s sound fine out of my portable setup. A Sansa clip+ and a RSA Predator.
There must be something seriously wrong with the signature if they are anemic and lifeless with the E9. On the contrary, I think that amp just emphasizes the inherent weaknesses (note: treble peaks) and this creates such a presentation.
The HD700 is polarizing, it's far from neutral, but I enjoy them.
 
I don't think anyone is saying you need a $$$$ amp to power this or that. With the HD 700 specifically, I think we can all agree it's a tab bit more sensitive to amps than most. With that, I feel fairly confident saying the E09K makes the HD 700 sound hollow and empty. That's not me criticizing an amp based on price. Case in point, I tried my HD 700 on a friend's Vali yesterday for a second and found it to be fairly nice. Although it wasn't long enough to really give it a vote of confidence here, I knew right away it was better than an E09K or Magni and it's only a $120 amp.
 
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Front wall

 
Back wall: Headphone and music listening location
Nice setup, Rob! I'm rocking some pretty nice B&W bookshelf speakers in my "mantuary." Don't want to derail this fine thread, but what are you using? You have a nice vinyl collection too, I see. How does that good old analogue sound play with the hd700? I imagine it's exceedingly nice!
 
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Rob80b

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  Nice setup, Rob! I'm rocking some pretty nice B&W bookshelf speakers in my "mantuary." Don't want to derail this fine thread, but what are you using? You have a nice vinyl collection too, I see. How does that good old analogue sound play with the hd700? I imagine it's exceedingly nice!

Thanks Madmollusk
 
My equipment list is under my profile, but the speakers are Dynaudio Special 25s powered by a Bryston 4BSST, and the HD700s are off a Bryston BHA-1 so sort of a family resemblance there.
The setup comes very close to mirroring one another so I'm no longer perturbed when asked to turn down the volume, I just turn to the HD700s.
 
 
Vinyl sounds fine although I'm using the Bryston 2BLP pro off the BHA-1s pre-outs to get sufficient gain.
 
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Thanks Madmollusk
 
My equipment list is under my profile, but the speakers are Dynaudio Special 25s powered by a Bryston 4BSST, and the HD700s are off a Bryston BHA-1 so sort of a family resemblance there.
The setup comes very close to mirroring one other so I'm no longer perturbed when asked to turn down the volume, I just turn to the HD700s.
 
 
Vinyl sounds fine although I'm using the Bryston 2BLP pro off the BHA-1s pre-outs to get sufficient gain.

Excellent! Thanks. 
 
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