Sennheiser HD650 & Massdrop HD6XX Impressions Thread
Oct 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM Post #44,521 of 44,615

jlemaster1957

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Nice, you seem to know your Schiit very well (pun partially intended).

Well my ifi Zen Can has arrived today and i'm testing it thoroughly right now. SO far I'm liking it with 650 and Sundara. The XBass does an addicting job.. Kickdrums really come to life with it. Not sure about the 3D thing, very subtle. Thats gonna be some contemplation during the night to notice the difference it does to the soundstage (but its there i can hear it a little already).

I'm pretty positive on sticking to this Amp and getting some better Dac in the future. Also looking forward to tone-fiddling with the Loki Mini+. In the end turning knobs is a different interaction while sound-processing than it is with mousewheel scrolling while looking at LCD lights..



That's interesting, how do you even know this?
The Schiit page says as FAQ about Loki vs Lokius:



not stating anyhting about internal BAL->SE->BAL conversion.

But all the balanced stuff surely is a lil further down the rabbit hole for me. Gotta go with first things first.
Anyway thanks again for your insights and the tech-stuff!
I have the same iFi Zen stack but instead of Loki or Lokius inserted an inexpensive Douk Audio P2 tube pre-amp (so MacBook USB-c -> USB OTG-> zen DAC V2 -> se RCA -> P2 -> se RCA -> zen Can -> se 6xx). At my office I have a HIFIMAN Arya connected to an IFi micro iDSD Signature, and I think that the home set-up compares favourably in terms of staging width if not depth (though I have not conducted an A/B comparison, it would be interesting to do sometime). I especially enjoy the tube-y timbre of vocals in this set up — plus the P2 has 3 tone knobs (bass, mid, treble), which while not as detailed in terms of tonal control as a Loki or Lokius, works pretty well to my ears. The only problem that sometimes occurs is if I crank up the bass on the P2 while the Zen Can XBass is switched on, and a bassy track is playing, things can get a bit muddy in the low end. But most of the time it works well. I have balanced cables for the 6XXs and a 4.4 Pentaconn connection between the Zen DAC V2 and the Zen Can but hardly ever use them as the system above is my happy 😊 place.
 
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Oct 17, 2021 at 12:11 AM Post #44,522 of 44,615

Corti

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I'm pretty sure that I read this in a post from Jason @Schiit. He was talking about the design of the Lokius and said that they converted from Balanced to SE to implement the Tone circuits and then back to Balanced for the output. It's true that they also provide SE front to back which adds some flexibility.

It is in the FAQ page for the Lokius on the site too:

Even more tech. Is this thing really balanced?
It’s balanced and differential in and out, uses both phases in, and provides both differential phases out. However, EQ processing is done with a single-ended buffer and gain stage.

Why not “real balanced?”
Because the product would be twice the size, twice the heat, and maybe even more than twice the cost. We decided to put the money into a discrete dual-stage load-invariant superbuffer driving a discrete current-feedback gain stage, as well as custom inductors and quality capacitors, rather than trying to chase balanced-for-balanced-sake. If it makes you feel better, use the SE input and run the SE output into any of our Nexus™ products for a perfect SE-to-balanced conversion with an all-discrete stage; but, better yet, have a listen and decide if you like what it does, rather than worrying about technical minutiae.
Oops, must have overseen that 😅
Welp, this company really does a great job with their transparency (information- and sound-wise).
 
Oct 17, 2021 at 1:01 AM Post #44,523 of 44,615

Corti

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I have the same iFi Zen stack but instead of Loki or Lokius inserted an inexpensive Douk Audio P2 tube pre-amp (so MacBook USB-c -> USB OTG-> zen DAC V2 -> se RCA -> P2 -> se RCA -> zen Can -> se 6xx). At my office I have a HIFIMAN Arya connected to an IFi micro iDSD Signature, and I think that the home set-up compares favourably in terms of staging width if not depth (though I have not conducted an A/B comparison, it would be interesting to do sometime). I especially enjoy the tube-y timbre of vocals in this set up — plus the P2 has 3 tone knobs (bass, mid, treble), which while not as detailed in terms of tonal control as a Loki or Lokius, works pretty well to my ears. The only problem that sometimes occurs is if I crank up the bass on the P2 while the Zen Can XBass is switched on, and a bassy track is playing, things can get a bit muddy in the low end. But most of the time it works well. I have balanced cables for the 6XXs and a 4.4 Pentaconn connection between the Zen DAC V2 and the Zen Can but hardly ever use them as the system above is my happy 😊 place.

Looks interesting aswell! But i think Sundara will not approve of this since planars dont work with tubes afaik. However this is the 650/6xx thread, so thats fine.
Also the P2 as an addition seems to be really inexpensive and can easily be switched on/off, i wonder if there is a "pass-through" mode aswell. Additionally may i ask how long and frequently you have used it (concerning the build quality).

About Tone Control: Do you know how the Bass/Mid/Treble knobs alter the sound? Like What are the frequency ranges that get elevated/lowered and with what Q/Bandwidth..

Couldnt find those information on the Product site (if thats the product you are refering to)

The Loki/Lokius have the 20Hz tone control which makes the most sense to me.. While, e.g. those that are placed at around 80-100Hz really only lead to mid Bass bloat.
 
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Oct 17, 2021 at 2:12 PM Post #44,524 of 44,615

jlemaster1957

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Looks interesting aswell! But i think Sundara will not approve of this since planars dont work with tubes afaik. However this is the 650/6xx thread, so thats fine.
Also the P2 as an addition seems to be really inexpensive and can easily be switched on/off, i wonder if there is a "pass-through" mode aswell. Additionally may i ask how long and frequently you have used it (concerning the build quality).

About Tone Control: Do you know how the Bass/Mid/Treble knobs alter the sound? Like What are the frequency ranges that get elevated/lowered and with what Q/Bandwidth..

Couldnt find those information on the Product site (if thats the product you are refering to)

The Loki/Lokius have the 20Hz tone control which makes the most sense to me.. While, e.g. those that are placed at around 80-100Hz really only lead to mid Bass bloat.
The product site is the correct one. Been using about 4 months almost daily, it is holding up well so far. Documentation of how the unit works was very sparse, certainly nothing of the sort of information of which you ask- ie the Q and frequency ranges- in fact there was some debate on line whether the tubes were in fact even in the sound chain but after someone with electronic nous examined the circuits this was cleared up.

Joshua Velour shares some thought on the ‘why’ of doing this here , making the point that the particular tube unit is less of importance than the principle, and shows an approach at about 4:00 in that allows (for some amp set ups) a way to connect the unit that allows (if I understood correctly) parallel wiring of the tube amp so that the tube-altered sound chain and the unaltered sound chain are both simultaneously active- this could I think allow ‘pass through’ mode by switching which connections are active. His approach aims to reduce noise in the sound chain, though I have not noticed this to be much of a problem, though I am 64 so I don’t have ‘Tiger ears’ and may be not hearing it. ‘Passthrough’ would only be possible in the Zen stack by switching to balanced output using the 4.4 Pentaconn connection between Dac and amp.

Anyway as this is a 6xx/650 thread, I only mentioned the set up here as one I am using that seems to work well to my ears for these HPs- and is relatively inexpensive. I have thought about trying the Lokius in place of the P2 sometime soon, and comparing the SQ effect. It seems Lokius would provide much more ‘fine tuning’ although without the tube effect- though as you say for some HPs that may be less helpful.
 
Oct 17, 2021 at 3:28 PM Post #44,525 of 44,615

jlemaster1957

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Looks interesting aswell! But i think Sundara will not approve of this since planars dont work with tubes afaik. However this is the 650/6xx thread, so thats fine.
Also the P2 as an addition seems to be really inexpensive and can easily be switched on/off, i wonder if there is a "pass-through" mode aswell. Additionally may i ask how long and frequently you have used it (concerning the build quality).

About Tone Control: Do you know how the Bass/Mid/Treble knobs alter the sound? Like What are the frequency ranges that get elevated/lowered and with what Q/Bandwidth..

Couldnt find those information on the Product site (if thats the product you are refering to)

The Loki/Lokius have the 20Hz tone control which makes the most sense to me.. While, e.g. those that are placed at around 80-100Hz really only lead to mid Bass bloat.
The product site is the correct one. Been using about 4 months almost daily, it is holding up well so far. Documentation of how the unit works was very sparse, certainly nothing of the sort of information of which you ask- ie the Q and frequency ranges- in fact there was some debate on line whether the tubes were in fact even in the sound chain but after someone with electronic nous examined the circuits this was cleared up.

Joshua Velour shares some thought on the ‘why’ of doing this here , making the point that the particular tube unit is less of importance than the principle, and shows an approach at about 4:00 in that allows (for some amp set ups) a way to connect the unit that allows (if I understood correctly) parallel wiring of the tube amp so that the tube-altered sound chain and the unaltered sound chain are both simultaneously active- this could I think allow ‘pass through’ mode by switching which connections are active. His approach aims to reduce noise in the sound chain, though I have not noticed this to be much of a problem, and I am 64 so I don’t have ‘Tiger ears’ and may be not hearing it. ‘Passthrough’
would only be possible in the Zen stack by switching to balanced output using the 4.4 Pentaconn connection between Dac and amp.

Anyway as this is a 6xx/650 thread, I only mentioned the set up here as one I am using that seems to work well to my ears for these HPs- and is relatively inexpensive. I have thought about trying the Lokius in place of the P2 sometime soon, and comparing the SQ effect. It seems Lokius would provide much more ‘fine tuning’ although without the tube effect- though as you say for some HPs that may be less helpful.
 
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Oct 18, 2021 at 6:36 PM Post #44,526 of 44,615

Fat Larry

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Anyone here using the HD6xx to produce music with? I'm looking for some monitors at the moment and read that the 6xx could be a good option but have also read that it's bass doesn't go as deep as it could which would be a deal breaker as i'd want as much extension and clarity as i could get.

Is that the case with the bass? Any other suggestions if the 6xx isn't as good as something else? DT1990? Apologies if this isn't the right place to ask.
 
Oct 18, 2021 at 11:54 PM Post #44,527 of 44,615

jasswolf

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Anyone here using the HD6xx to produce music with? I'm looking for some monitors at the moment and read that the 6xx could be a good option but have also read that it's bass doesn't go as deep as it could which would be a deal breaker as i'd want as much extension and clarity as i could get.

Is that the case with the bass? Any other suggestions if the 6xx isn't as good as something else? DT1990? Apologies if this isn't the right place to ask.
You can see a little about how they operate here: https://crinacle.com/graphs/headphones/sennheiser-hd650/

and here: https://headphonedatabase.com/oratory/headphones?ids=187

Keep in mind that's Crinacle's own target curve, but it can be thought of as a relaxed Harman with no bass shelf.

So out of the box you're looking at 35Hz before you'll notice a drop off in bass, softening to around 40-45Hz (with the presence to mid-treble going along with it). There's sub-bass, but it's not going to wow you anything like a closed back, which I suppose makes it relatable to many desk monitors. Imaging is a concern with the 650/6XX, and the staging isn't exactly huge for a closed back, complete with a very relaxed treble. EQ or learning the headphone will help you of course, but it's important to note that while the 6XX is exceptional (legendary, even), it has its drawbacks, like any headphone.

What you do get with the 6XX is a headphone that a lot of people gravitate towards, with exceptional timbre and detail for the price. Other headphones you might want to consider for some aspect of monitoring or checking the final mix are:

  • the Audio Technica ATH-R70X, but what you gain in soundstage and imaging, you lose in vocal timbre and detail, with a little more warmth added to the bass
  • the HIFIMAN Sundara, but what you gain in soundstage and detail, you lose in vocal timbre and imaging (moreso in busy passages), though this is more of a 'true neutral' tonality
  • the AKG K371, but as a closed back option for something that dances on Harman neutral without being painful in the upper mids.
  • the Sennheiser HD 560S, but what you gain in soundstage, imaging (more marginally), and bass and treble extension, you lose in timbre and detail
If you can shed more light on your existing setup, someone might be able to bob up with better options for your exact needs.
 
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Oct 19, 2021 at 7:38 PM Post #44,528 of 44,615

geta123

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You can see a little about how they operate here: https://crinacle.com/graphs/headphones/sennheiser-hd650/

and here: https://headphonedatabase.com/oratory/headphones?ids=187

Keep in mind that's Crinacle's own target curve, but it can be thought of as a relaxed Harman with no bass shelf.

So out of the box you're looking at 35Hz before you'll notice a drop off in bass, softening to around 40-45Hz (with the presence to mid-treble going along with it). There's sub-bass, but it's not going to wow you anything like a closed back, which I suppose makes it relatable to many desk monitors. Imaging is a concern with the 650/6XX, and the staging isn't exactly huge for a closed back, complete with a very relaxed treble. EQ or learning the headphone will help you of course, but it's important to note that while the 6XX is exceptional (legendary, even), it has its drawbacks, like any headphone.

What you do get with the 6XX is a headphone that a lot of people gravitate towards, with exceptional timbre and detail for the price. Other headphones you might want to consider for some aspect of monitoring or checking the final mix are:

  • the Audio Technica ATH-R70X, but what you gain in soundstage and imaging, you lose in vocal timbre and detail, with a little more warmth added to the bass
  • the HIFIMAN Sundara, but what you gain in soundstage and detail, you lose in vocal timbre and imaging (moreso in busy passages), though this is more of a 'true neutral' tonality
  • the AKG K371, but as a closed back option for something that dances on Harman neutral without being painful in the upper mids.
  • the Sennheiser HD 560S, but what you gain in soundstage, imaging (more marginally), and bass and treble extension, you lose in timbre and detail
Helpful thanks
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 9:22 AM Post #44,529 of 44,615

tkddans

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Ok, I know this thread probably has this discovery SOMEWHERE, but it has over 40,000 posts...so...yea...if someone already found this out on their gear, I'm not the first. But dang, was I suprised by what I found. The HD650 does NOT sound like the 6XX at all. Actually, the 6XX sound a lot like the 600, in my setup! My mind was blown when I heard these comparisons.

 
Oct 24, 2021 at 9:36 AM Post #44,530 of 44,615

Kammerat Rebekka

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Your comparison isn’t really valid before you have equally fresh/used pads on each headphone:)
That is effectively how the HD600 and HD650 are considered the same headphone on some sites…because they’ve listened to and measured two headphones with vastly different pad wear.
I see the same thing in your vid. There is a big difference in pad wear which will result in a slightly different tuning.
It is however a very very common mistake that folks make around here. It’s one of the main reasons as to why some still think that the 650 and 6XX are different headphones and that the 600 and 650 basically are the same.
Pads and the wear of them make the biggest of differences in headphone audio. When Sennie pads have a couple of months of usage on them, they tend to deflate a little and become more comfortable (not too sure about the newer ones which seem to hold their shape much better). When pads deflate it invariably ends up changing the distance from drivers to ears…and that makes a difference. We just don’t perceive them via everyday usage..similarly to looking yourself in the mirror on a daily basis - the difference in appearance gets lost on yourself. Yet people who haven’t seen you for a couple of years instantly notices. Conversely, swap out a pair of old Sennie pads for some new ones, and the difference in sound quality is immediate. It’s like getting a brand new headphone back:)
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 10:06 AM Post #44,531 of 44,615

tkddans

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Your comparison isn’t really valid before you have equally fresh/used pads on each headphone:)
That is effectively how the HD600 and HD650 are considered the same headphone on some sites…because they’ve listened to and measured two headphones with vastly different pad wear.
I see the same thing in your vid. There is a big difference in pad wear which will result in a slightly different tuning.
It is however a very very common mistake that folks make around here. It’s one of the main reasons as to why some still think that the 650 and 6XX are different headphones and that the 600 and 650 basically are the same.
Pads and the wear of them make the biggest of differences in headphone audio. When Sennie pads have a couple of months of usage on them, they tend to deflate a little and become more comfortable (not too sure about the newer ones which seem to hold their shape much better). When pads deflate it invariably ends up changing the distance from drivers to ears…and that makes a difference. We just don’t perceive them via everyday usage..similarly to looking yourself in the mirror on a daily basis - the difference in appearance gets lost on yourself. Yet people who haven’t seen you for a couple of years instantly notices. Conversely, swap out a pair of old Sennie pads for some new ones, and the difference in sound quality is immediate. It’s like getting a brand new headphone back:)

But…the 650 always had that “veil,” even out of box when I first got them. We’ll, I do have a fresh pad set, so I could try swapping to see what changes it’ll make.


EDIT:: The video above is shared to show another reviewer’s opinion on the differences between the 600 and 650. It was always seeming to me that people were getting a warmer impression of the 650, that they had a “veil,” as Tyl put it. That’s what I still get. I can try adding new pads, but that signature style difference may still be true.
 
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Oct 24, 2021 at 10:38 AM Post #44,532 of 44,615

Kammerat Rebekka

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The 650/6XX always sounded slightly veiled to me too…at least compared with a 580/600. That’s why it’s my favourite for albums with poor production. The 6XX/650 smoothes out the bumps and gives me this euphonic buttery vibe. This facet magnifies with wear and tear of the pads…until you swap for a new set and you start all over:)
Same drivers in the 650 and 6XX, same specs, same construction around it as well as the same pads. They are indeed the exact same headphone..in slightly different colour schemes.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 10:43 AM Post #44,533 of 44,615

dakanao

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The 650/6XX always sounded slightly veiled to me too…at least compared with a 580/600. That’s why it’s my favourite for albums with poor production. The 6XX/650 smoothes out the bumps and gives me this euphonic buttery vibe. This facet magnifies with wear and tear of the pads…until you swap for a new set and you start all over:)
Same drivers in the 650 and 6XX, same specs, same construction around it as well as the same pads. They are indeed the exact same headphone..in slightly different colour schemes.
I don’t think it smooths out the bumps, I just think it’s highly refined, and other headphones sound distorted in comparison.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 10:56 AM Post #44,534 of 44,615

Dawgfish

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Agree with what the others have to say above. To my ears the 600 and 6XX sound very different. I haven't heard the 650 but from all the reviews and impressions I have read/heard, the sound signature of the 650 sounds very much like what I hear with the 6XX. Just want to add that the "veil" on the 6XX disappears when powered with an otl tube amp to my ears.

I go back and forth between which I prefer between the 600 and 6XX. Sometimes I prefer the more neutral presentation of the 600, sometimes I prefer the more laid back presentation of the 6XX. It just depends on mood, recording, type of music, and associated equipment I'm listening to at the time. I'm glad to have both though and glad I don't have to choose one over the other.

To complicate matters further I also enjoy the 660 and 58X (especially with curtain mod). There are times when I prefer either one of those over the others in the 600 family. It's nice to have options but if I were forced to keep just one I would probably go with the 6XX/650 because the way it sounds when combined with an otl tube amp is pure bliss.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 4:16 PM Post #44,535 of 44,615

jonathan c

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Just want to add that the "veil" on the 6XX disappears when powered with an otl tube amp to my ears.
The veil also disappears if you replace the ear-side speaker foams + use Dekoni fenestrated pads. [The photograph below shows my HD-600 which also has the Custom Cans UK backweight modification. I have also done this with HD-6XX - which is at ‘mountain house’.]
96FC6F11-4346-472C-B616-99A78124655F.jpeg
 
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