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Upgraded to HD1 Yesterday

  1. Notanaudiophile85
    I purchased a pair of M50x over a month ago. While I appreciated the quality of sound for the price I paid ($150), I wasn’t wowed by them. I’ve found it to be challenging to purchase an item so subjective without having the ability to try them out first. My choice of headphone depended heavily on the reviews I’ve read on this site. From what I remember of the reviews I had read for the M50x, they provided an accurate description, for the most part, of my experience with the M50x.
    After a couple of weeks with the M50x, I decided to spend the extra cash and buy the headphones I had originally decided on, the Sennheiser HD1. The guys at the shop allowed me to return the M50x for store credit and ordered a pair of the HD1. I picked them up yesterday and I love them. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited to listen to music. I’ve missed this feeling and am glad to have it back. Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences on this forum. It’s been helpful.
    Also, I’d be interested in attending a meetup. I live in Maryland. If anyone knows of any threads that may help me to locate an event around my area I’d appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  2. RockStar2005
    Hi 85,

    That's great that you liked the HD1s so much more. I'd tried the M50X before, and ended up returning them. Out of the many HPs I've tried, I feel that they are the worst despite the amount of praise they get. I remember they had like NO soundstage and were kinda bassy.

    Regarding the HD1, I saw a reviewer on Amazon say he/she did not need to EQ these to sound great, which I found interesting b/c I always hear an improvement when I custom EQ vs. using no EQ or the "Rock" preset. Did you EQ these? If so, was an improvement over no EQ or "Rock"?? Just wondering. Thanks!
    Notanaudiophile85 likes this.
  3. cossix
    Congrats! I love my Momentum 2 and as for EQ, I find that the headphone sounds better if you boost the sub bass by a tiny bit, and raise the highs up a decent amount. The bass doesn't really need any adjustment and the mids might benefit by a tiny raise. Perhaps the mid bass could be lowered a tad.
  4. Notanaudiophile85
    Thanks for the response. This interest in HPs and music quality is new to me, so I have little experience with HPs. I agree with everything you said about the M50x. As far as the HD1 go, I’m really satisfied with the performance I get by streaming Tidal and just plugging them in. In a perfect world though, I would certainly EQU depending on which song or genre I’m listening. I played around with a Dragonfly Red and liked the extra volume I was able to get from it. I’m actually expecting my mojo to arrive this week. I’m not expecting a great deal of improvement but it will be nice to have when I’m able to purchase my dream HP :)
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  5. RockStar2005
    Sure thing.

    Oh ok. Yeah for a long time I felt that EQ'ing with the "Rock" preset was fine, and then for a while I felt like perhaps no EQ'ing (aka Flat, aka leaving the EQ on "Off" lol) was actually better. But now I'm not only back to EQ'ing, but also custom EQ'ing. With some help from people on here, I was able to come up with custom EQs for my current Meze 99 Classics, which took the sound quality to a whole new level. Initially, I wasn't impressed enough by the 99 Cs to pick them over my AKG K551s, but custom EQ'ing is really what saved them. So it CAN def make a difference.

    Essentially when you custom EQ, you are matching the sound signature of your player to the sound signature of your HPs. It's not easy, but what I really just do is take the "Rock" preset b/c it is a pretty solid EQ which fits most HPs and then just "fine tune" it to the sound of the HPs at hand. I love 99 Cs, but I am also interested in what else is out there too. Right now, the HD1s (and maybe the Blue Lola? which I may be giving a second shot) are the only ones I see matching the 99 Cs in the $200+ range.

    Yeah the DFR is a FANTASTIC amp/DAC! Great choice! Even the DFB (Black) is damn good! I tried the Black out a while ago and was pretty impressed by it, and I know the Red is better.

    Thanks for your response!
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    Notanaudiophile85 likes this.
  6. Notanaudiophile85
    This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. It makes sense that customizing the EQ would have a substantial impact on the quality of sound, given that it is subjective. Do you recommend any EQ apps? I have EQu but haven’t fooled with it for awhile tbh. I mainly stream using Tidal, so if I could find an EQ app that worked with Tidal I’d be pleased. Thanks again!
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  7. RockStar2005
    Sure thing!

    Yeah I never really thought about it but once I realized that all headphones are tuned differently based on the manufacturer's preferences, and your device (with the right tools/apps) can be tuned to match that signature, then I began to realize it was true. Before then I thought simply not using an EQ was better, yet I'd switch to "Rock" and in most cases the sound would be more lively and better. So by "fine tuning" "Rock" to each HP, that is how I got the right sound.

    Oh yeah..........the BEST & ONLY one I use is Poweramp. (Get that main app first, then get this Unlocker app (($3.99)). WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!) It sounds better than like all other apps, and/or it's more user friendly than the rest are. They are still on Version 2 (3-4 years old now), but Version 3 is supposed to be out before the end of the year. I have a Beta version so I know what's coming. But for now, just get Version 2 but know Version 3 will be out VERY soon. It offers even (slightly) better sound, and a couple cool options. Poweramp ALSO lets you save your settings and any custom EQs onto a file that you export out and save, and then when you get a new phone you can simply import that file and all your settings get AUTOMATICALLY changed! You can also apply certain EQs to certain situations and/or specific songs. I love it and have been using it for YEARS!

    I don't think it works with Tidal. It's more for playing downloaded music. Since I mainly listen to Hi-Res and CDQ files, that's pretty much all I use. I only use Spotify for like parties or else to preview an album before buying it.

    Hope that helps!

    It would be nice if you could come up with a custom EQ and see if it sounds better to you vs. no EQ. But that's up to you. No big deal if not.
    Notanaudiophile85 likes this.
  8. Notanaudiophile85
    Thanks so much! I’ll definitely give this a try. Sorry for all the questions, but from where do you purchase your music? I’ve never purchased Hi-Res audio. Also, my portable device is an iPhone so it’s my understanding that I would need a different app to listen to FLAC files. Do you have a preference between CDQ and Hi-Res file types?
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  9. RockStar2005
    Sure thing bud!

    I don't mind at all. It's something I enjoy talking about.

    This post of mine from a different thread I started will answer ALL your questions. Read it carefully as well, but ignore the first part (Walkman) and last part (DX50). Bookmark those sites, and the link too! Understand that these Hi-Res (and also CD-Quality, or "CDQ") files only sound better b/c they get better masters than mp3s do. The resolution doesn't matter as long as you're above mp3 (320+ kbps AAC included as AAC is next gen mp3, or mp4). If an album I like is not available in Hi-Res, I will either download the digital CDQ version of it off like 7digital or else if I can find a used (in "Like New" condition) physical CD cheaper on Amazon or eBay, I'll just buy it from there as long as the CD isn't scratched. Then when I get it, the key is to rip it to FLAC, ALAC, or just 320+ kbps AAC and NOT TO MP3 like I used to before.

    Hi-Res is what got me into all this Hi-Fi headphone stuff really. Until late 2014, I was using a $30 pair of V-Moda earphones and thought I was cool. lol

    Oh ***........iPhone?!! Uggh. I only say that b/c Poweramp is not available yet on iPhone (well they do, but it's complete trash lol). But regarding FLAC, depending on how new your iPhone is, it may be able to play FLAC. But even if not, I do not at all believe anyone can tell the difference b/t FLAC and 320+ kbps AAC, and since iPhones can play AAC files, I would just downsample to those using dBpoweramp (NO relation to Poweramp lol). I use iTunes to downsample my physical CDs though to 320 kbps AAC.

    Ok try AmpliFlac Free - HD Flac Player for iOS. Not only does it play FLAC files, but it also features a 10-band EQ (which is what I use; 5 is too little, 20 is too much)!! I would also try out this one as it's slightly better rated but may or may not actually be better.

    Well, Hi-Res releases again sound the best b/c they typically are given the BEST SOUNDING masters (or remasters), then CDQ, then mp3. I would say 90-95% of the time the Hi-Res version sounds the best, but now and then I may not hear a difference. Still, 90-95% is awesome! So to answer your question, I definitely prefer Hi-Res (DSD or "DSD Hi-Res" is one step higher, but much more rare) over CDQ, but you're more likely to find a random album in CDQ than Hi-Res, and yes even less so for DSD (Note: If you want to get DSD files, which includes Super Audio CDs or SACDs as DSD files are what they use, PM me and I'll explain how to get them and what to do. Not hard, but don't wanna get into it now.). But the studios are releasing new Hi-Res albums ALL the time, including for new albums and older ones that are remastered, so there are a lot to choose from. Over the last 3 years I've steadily upgraded pretty much all of the bands I really love to Hi-Res (or else CDQ), and now with me having my 99 Cs and my LG V30 with its Quad DAC and super powerful headphone amp, listening to music is much more engaging now than it ever was before.

    So my advice is to play around with those EQ apps, prob starting with "Rock" and just fine tune from there............check out and bookmark those Hi-Res sites and sign up with them so u get weekly e-mail updates on new releases.....................and make a list of artists/band/albums you love the most, and start searching them out on those sites to see if they have a Hi-Res version available. Remember, Hi-Res = 24 bits (i.e. 24/96, 24/192), and CDQ = 16-bit. Then download and compare to your mp3 version and decide for yourself if it's worth it. I believe it is, esp if you have premium headphones like the ones we do. I for one ONLY d/l mp3s if I HAVE to, like if even the CDQ isn't available, as is the case sometimes for bonus songs etc.

    I would recommend holding off on downloading dBpoweramp for now. The Hi-Res files are huge, but until you start accumulating a lot of them, there's no point in downsampling. But if that point comes, then you def wanna downsample them (aka reduce them in size) to AAC or 16-bit FLAC/ALAC (ALAC is the Apple version of FLAC btw) to save room on your phone and cloud storage. I back up ALL my music on my Google Drive cloud storage. For Apple, I know you store them with iTunes, but I wouldn't recommend that for Hi-Res or CDQ. I would store them elsewhere as if Apple stops that backup service, you're screwed and will lose them all. Google Drive offers 100 GBs for only $1.67 a month if you prepay the 1-year option of like $19. That's what I do.

    Feel free to ask more questions, but know this isn't as complicated as it sounds once you try it out.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    Notanaudiophile85 likes this.
  10. Notanaudiophile85
    This is exactly the type of explanation I’ve been looking for. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this and break it down the way you did. It makes it much easier to understand and unlike much of the information out there it’s specific to my circumstances. I’m definitely going to play around with some of this stuff and bookmark the pages. I’ll see if they have some Dylan (It’d be great if they had some of his bootleg stuff). I’m sure I’ll have questions as time goes on. I appreciate you being so helpful.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  11. RockStar2005
    NP at all 85! YW! Very happy to help!! And always glad to hear that someone finds value in a post I put out there too.

    Yeah I mean, now that you have premium headphones, you've taken a GIANT step into much larger and better world.

    Now you mentioned you play off an iPhone. The next thing I'd HIGHLY recommend for you is to consider incorporating a solid amp/DAC into the mix. Most phones' (including iPhones) audio components don't come with the kind of high quality that one would want when using premium HPs. There are a couple exceptions to that, but assuming that you want to stick with Apple, then you want an amp/DAC that is great and portable. The #1 choice I have to offer you comes in 2 versions: 1) The AudioQuest DragonFly Black (DFB; $94, "Great Sound Quality") and 2) The AudioQuest DragonFly Red (DFR, $199; "Excellent Sound Quality"). These are both the size of a flash drive, so it's more like the in-line remote on an audio cable then a "device you have to carry around". They are both powered by your phone (with the Red taking slightly more power, though both don't take much.) If you have an issue with that, then we can look elsewhere. I have tried the DFB and can say it was quite impressive. A solid amp will give you the volume you need to power your HD1, although they are quite sensitive and don't need much, a good amp can still improve the sound in the way it renders the music itself. Then there's the DAC (Digital to Audio Converter), which all devices have including your iPhone, but we're talking about a SOLID QUALITY DAC. What a DAC like this does is it increases clarity, expands out the soundstage, helps to remove "hiss" and other distortions, give you better instrument separation, etc. Trust me, you WANT to have one ASAP. It WILL make a difference, ESP when you start listening to CDQ or Hi-Res albums.

    Oh and you will need a Female USB to Lightning adapter cable to connect either one to your phone and HD1. So don't forget to buy it too. If you don't have one already, then ignore the Amazon links above and buy either the DFB/Adapter Cable combo or the DFR/Adapter Cable combo. (Note: "What Hi-Fi?" is my GO-TO reviewer.)

    I can CONFIRM for you that there is a pretty good amount of Hi-Res Dylan out there because I myself own some of it! lol Here is what I have (singles & albums) and how to get it:

    Blonde on Blonde album: Visions of Johanna, I Want You, Just Like a Woman (7digital is awesome cuz u can buy single tracks MOST of the time from them, where the others usually only sell the album)

    Blood on the Tracks album: You're a Big Girl Now, Shelter from the Storm, Buckets of Rain

    Nashville Skyline album (in DSD, or Direct Stream Digital; NOTE my review on that page). You will have to see that post I sent earlier with the store sites listed to find instructions on converting these files. Essentially you need dBpoweramp + the DSD plug-in for it. It will be able to convert the DSD files (which display as .dsf) to FLAC/ALAC/AAC, then you're home free. Again, SACDs use .dsf files, but until you come across one you wanna buy, don't worry about that. I've only bought a few SACDs, either from Amazon, or else Mo-Fi. DSDs I get from AS or else HDTracks, but AS has a lot more and they have SACDs too. DSD/SACD are typically better than Hi-Res, though I wouldn't say every time, but most of the time. I've been pretty lucky there though. The most recent SACD I bought was this one (again, see review at bottom). Pricey (though it's $5 cheaper now), and more than I usually pay, but it's a Limited Edition one and sounds beyond incredible vs. what I had, so F it. lol (You could just get the Hi-Res version of NS too, but it's likely to not be AS good as the DSD)

    To further illustrate, I've filtered out Dylan's Hi-Res albums on the 3 main sites. See here: 7digital, HDTracks, Acoustic Sounds. Note the price differences, and always check the version (24/192, 24/96, etc) to make sure they're the same before comparing.

    ALWAYS: 1) Compare the prices on at least the 3 main sites (HDTracks, Acoustic Sounds, and 7digital), if not all of them 2) Look out for sales. When you're on HDTracks and esp Acoustic Sounds (AS will always have it on left side of screen on PC/Desktop), they always have promo codes that you apply on the Checkout page. Don't be a sucker..........USE those codes! Save $$! This *** can get expensive! lol That's why I only buy a couple a time per month (usually), some months none since at this point I've accumulated A LOT of albums and singles in Hi-Res & CDQ. 3) If you see like 24/96 vs. 24/192, go with the smaller 24/96 version. Unless you've read reviews to counter this, I find there typically is no difference between the two. Only one time I heard a difference, but it wasn't even a big thing. If the price is the same, which sometimes it is, then just get the bigger one I guess, but only if it's the same. 4) Note that many times an album may be available on one site but not the others. It happens. HDTracks tends to get new stuff the fastest, so maybe wait a week or two for the others to get same album as it might be cheaper.

    I think that's enough for today. lol Yes, lemme know any questions you have. But yeah go ahead and look into the Dylan links I posted and def lemme know your thoughts on the amp/DAC thing.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    Notanaudiophile85 likes this.
  12. RockStar2005
    I forgot you said you had a Mojo coming in soon. That is gonna be slightly less portable, though maybe better sounding. I say maybe cuz some ppl have said they couldn't tell a difference b/t it and some $200-$300 amp/DACs.

    Do you still own the DFR, or were you just testing it out somewhere?
  13. Notanaudiophile85
    Haha. This is certainly a lot to absorb but it’s making sense.

    About the Amp/DAC; I’ve researched them quite a bit and actually purchased the Dragonfly Red, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I ended up purchasing a pair of HP (open box) from the same store on a whim and wasn’t pleased with them. Last week I made a deal with the guy at the shop. I’m exchanging my dragonfly and HP’s for the Chord Mojo. They should be getting it in sometime this week. I’m looking forward to that. So I’ll have the iPhone SE, HD1s, and the Mojo.

    I went on HDtracks.com and purchased The Last Waltz In 48/24 FLAC format before I read your last response. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet. What do you think of that format? I’m still waiting on the Mojo and I imagine I’ll need that to hear the nuances and depth that this format has to offer.
    It’s very exciting to me because music has played such a major role in my life. During the years it’s felt like it’s lost something. Now I feel like I’m getting that back. Also, thank you for the Dylan specific information. It’s extremely helpful to me. I’ve learned more from you in the past couple days than I’ve learned searching on forums the past few months.
    I still have the DFR but I’m exchanging it with a pair of Sony HP for the Mojo.
    I bought the DFR in early November and bought the Sonys two weeks later from the same store. I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the Sonys and the store said they don’t accept returns. They said they would accept an exchange for something more expensive though. I figured the best thing I could do is exchange the DFR with the Sonys for the Mojo. I’m not too concerned about the portability factor since I mainly listen while at my desk.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  14. RockStar2005
    Yeah that's why I try to explain it in spurts and not ALL at once. lol

    Ok. I wish I had remembered that then I wouldn't have spent time on the DFR, but oh well. lol Which Sony HPs are you exchanging?

    I don't know if the iPhone SE can play FLAC files, even if you have that one app. The article I linked you said only the 7, 8, and X can. So you most likely HAVE to downsample the files to 16-bit ALAC or AAC. The one good with thing with HDTracks is that unlike the rest, they give you the option to download in "Apple-friendly" formats like AIFF and ALAC (ALAC again is the Apple-version of FLAC). I think ALAC takes up less space, so go with that one in the future. Then you wouldn't have to convert/downsample to listen to it.

    What do I think of FLAC? It's fine. They're ALL fine really. It's the most commonly utilized format in Hi-Res currently. All the other sites ONLY offer Hi-Res in FLAC (or else DSD). People will tell you that because FLAC, ALAC, etc are lossless they're better than AAC which is lossy (aka you lose some music data info), but STATISTICALLY after talking to some very knowledgeable ppl on here, doing my own research, and doing my own ABX Blind Tests, the REAL truth is as long as you're above mp3 (AAC is mp4, or next gen mp3), specifically at or above 256 kbps AAC (though I prefer to convert to 320-512 kbps AAC), human beings can't tell the difference vs. like 24/96 FLAC. Your neighbor's dog prob can lol, but we can't. So why store them in the bigger formats? Plus the bigger the file, the more battery power it takes to play it. It took me a while to really believe that there's no difference, but I couldn't ignore the reality of my findings. Remember, Hi-Res really ONLY sounds better b/c they get the BEST SOUNDING MASTERS OR REMASTERS.

    That's a great choice btw. I didn't buy it, but was thinking I might maybe down the line. I really love "Mannish Boy" on there with Muddy Waters and the SICK harmonica playing of Paul Butterfield. His harmonica part alone I think makes that the best version of that song I've heard yet!

    I also have some Hi-Res "The Band" songs too. Just singles, no albums. Basically all their best songs. Also got a ton of Van Morrison (including some CDQ tracks), which I recently added by buying a few more of this late 60s - mid 70s albums or singles. The Hi-Res "Moondance" album was the first one, and I consider it a MUST-HAVE in this format. "The Essential (Van Morrison)" album on 7digital has some great cuts on it, my favorite being "Tupelo Honey". One of the greatest sounding Hi-Res tracks I own comes from him as well: this particular Hi-Res version (there are a few) of "Brown Eyed Girl". Man it's got it all.........you can hear the echos, the bass, the drums........etc........so much life & energy. I honestly was never crazy about that song, but now I actually get excited whenever I hear this version. The other versions are great, but this one is king.

    Yeah I feel you man. To say getting into all this Hi-Fi & Hi-Res stuff has completely revitalized my love of music would be a gross understatement. I play guitar and used to write songs and play in bands, so yes music was always a big part of me too. I prob love it more than movies, which I also love too. Albums I got kinda tired of YEARS ago (i.e. Lenny Kravitz' "Are You Gonna Go My Way", The Doors' albums, Fleetwood Mac, Zep, Stones, etc.) now are fresh & new to me after getting the Hi-Res versions. That's what happens when new details are revealed and you start hearing stuff you never heard before, whether big or little. A background vocal or echo here, a guitar fill there. To me it ALL makes a difference in some way.

    YW on Dylan. Now that you have an idea of what I mean and how to search, it will be easier for you to get the best version & value.

    Haha..........well that's awesome! Yeah sometimes if you find the right person you can learn a lot quickly. There was one person on here like that for me too. Well a couple actually. I learned WAY more from them than I did in all my other readings.

    Ok so it's a desktop set up. Got it. Then yeah the Mojo is more than fine. It's still small enough to be portable anyway if you changed your mind. I used to carry around the $299 Oppo HA-2 when I went on train rides into the city with my HPs. Excellent amp/DAC, and it's SLEEK design made it very portable as well.

    Well keep me posted on your thoughts after listening to that album with the Mojo. DEF compare it to your mp3 version too (or CD?).
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  15. RockStar2005
    Hi 85,

    So what came of your venture into Hi-Res Dylan/Van Morrison/The Band? How did Last Waltz sound on the HD1s? Let me know!

    Speaking of the HD1s.........the other night I decided to finally give them a try, and the ivory-colored one came in today! Initial thoughts: Excellent comfort (vs. my Meze 99 Classics), excellent sound quality, great premium looks, etc. Comfort-wise they remind me of the Sony MDR-1As, which although not the best sounding HPs I've ever owned, they were the MOST comfortable......and I feel the HD1s actually match them there, if not at the very least being a CLOSE second. What's amazing is both you and a reviewer on Amazon both stated these don't need to be EQ'd, and from my initial listening session I might agree with you both on this! I still need to do a side-by-side comparison with my 99 Cs, but I was impressed with how regardless of the type of song I played (i.e. more bass/less bass, more treble/less treble etc), the HD1s seemed to always sort of "adjust" to the sound of the song.

    Anyway, I will post back more soon, but these are very promising HPs for sure! I love how portable they are too, including that they fold in.

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