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Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by hairspray, Jun 29, 2013.
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  1. Malfunkt
    It more has to do with the style of production. Synthesizers were in large use throughout the 70s and 80s. The HD540 have no problem reproducing synthetic sounds. Inherently, acoustic sounds and timbres are much more complex. The accuracy of the HD540 can present an uncoloured (in other words 'not smoothed') version of synthesized sound, which for some recordings, may sound harsh. Not the headphones fault, it more has to do with engineering and mastering.

    Enter the 90s later electronic era, and there are many recordings that aren't up to par. At the same time there are many excellent electronic recordings. For instance, take any Trentmoller album and the HD540 will sound superb, though perhaps lacking bass for some tastes.

    Still, I get why you may want something a bit smoother up top, and the HD650 certainly fits the bill. I haven't heard, but you may want to check out the HD545, HD565 design. It is from the era. Here you can compare HD560 with HD565


    You can see how the 565 slightly warms up the top end. Whereas the 540 and 560 were designed for true to life reference, the 565 were more forgiving. Later on Sennheiser sound would incorporate a bit of both.

    If you aren't adverse to the fit of the HD650, the Massdrop HD58X is going for a good price at the moment.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    trellus likes this.
  2. dakanao
    For example, do these synthetic drums here on 0:24 on this track, sound unrefined through your HD 540?

  3. Malfunkt
    At 0:24? There was barely any percussion? Is the right track Rittz -Indestructible?

    The kit he is using throughout most of the track uses a mix acoustic and electronic samples. Haven't heard this recording, it is quite good and fairly dynamic. The soundcloud file is not quite up to par but overall it sounds quite good on the HD540.

    Listened to another track of his, I'm Only Human. The HD540 is correct throughout the mid-range and top-end, but the sub-bass could use more impact for this type of style. So I prefer my HD250, D2000 and HD630VB for this.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    trellus likes this.
  4. dakanao
    I'm now listening to the Sennheiser HD 579, just to see how they compare to the HD 540.

    Wauw, they sound so lifeless in comparison.
    Malfunkt and trellus like this.
  5. trellus
    Yeah, I don't think the new "5" series are really in the same league as the older 5 series, they're positioned very differently now in the Sennheiser lineup.
  6. dakanao
    I just gamed with them with virtual surround on the xbox 360. Even though they were underpowered, I felt like I could hear anything in Modern warfare 2 when no killstreaks were in the air. The HD 579 definitely isn't able to pull all that detail of.

    For that reason alone, I'm going to try to connect the Mojo to the 360, and see how they'll fare when they're sufficiently powered. Should be epic
  7. sennsay
    Might be just me, but I loved hearing synth music through my Ref1s :) They sound as if they have a life of their own, almost organic in a way. They don't just sound like digitally created robotic noises. Like Chicane, f'instance. And Faithless. Daft Punk.
    Might be a source thing, ear thing, something thing. I'm quite happy not to have my HD6xx now, they were almost always pushy, slightly shouty at times, uneven and I got back all that I paid for them, spare pads and all. Amazing to me was the fact that although the HD430s sounded bright due to the rolled off bass, they were/are in fact much cleaner and more even than the HD6xx ever were on any amp I used them with. The sale will pay for nearly half of the new Elekit tube preamp kit, a damn fine trade in my book :) I will get the upgrade resistor kit and Mundorf caps .. maybe, as I already have some wonderful Russian ex-airforce Paper In Oil caps that I have used liberally in other projects as bypass caps, wow do they work a treat! I already have the upgrade op-amp option for the phono stage. It ought to be a very fun kit to build while I recover from a bit of surgery soon and I'm keen to hear it with the R2R just as a quality DAC and out into the new Yamaha HS8 monitors in the lounge.
  8. quimbo
    I just received a MassDrop HD6XX and will be giving them to my son in law who is in music production business on the side. The 540 Ref1 and 250 sound much better to me
  9. sennsay
    They will need quite some running in and do improve a bit after 40-50 hours or so, but still they sound just so lumpy in their response compared to the Ref1s, on both the R2R and the Magni 3 and an old Pioneer amp - where they sounded more fun actually. It's the slightly shouty forwardness that bothered me the most ... and the lower treble peak, which is probably the cause or part thereof of the latter issue. Someone else might love them now. I'm off them for good now.
    True, Mr Quimbo, the HD250s not only don't do 'shouty', they also have a much wider soundstage than the V-shaped stage the HD6xx gave me.
  10. swagadelic
    i have the original Hd540 reference from the 80s. 300 ohm version. The acoustic foam need replacement and the pads are kinda meh. Im looking to get a new pair though, like a modern pair of headphones. Im thinking about the AKG k712 pro. How do they compare? or rather, are they a decent upgrade or just a sidegrade? spec-wise, the hd540 doesnt even come close (dynamic range for example) so it LOOKS like a good upgrade. furthermore, I like the frequency response of the K712 pro. I also like the "+3db more bass extension" thing as im producing trance music. However, I do love the HD540 sound so much but I dont want to buy a brand new pair of headphones just to realise it wasnt even an upgrade.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  11. WilliamLeonhart
    This is exactly what my Hd540 was like when it had stock pads :frowning2:
  12. dakanao
    I like the Chinese pleather pads a good amount more than the Original stock pads of my 2nd version 300 ohm HD 540
    Hofy and WilliamLeonhart like this.
  13. WilliamLeonhart
    Please please give me the link. I never really considered any pleather because the stock ones were more velour-like
  14. jon parker
    Just scroll back through this thread all the links and discussions about different pads are here
    You can still buy new velour pads for the HD560 Ovation
    Which pads you prefer in the end depends on your set up though
    The 712 pro is called 'pro' because they tuned them for professional work - I used them for a while. Whilst they were quite reliable for mixing/mastering I didnt think they very impressive for music..at all
  15. dakanao
    Make sure to select ''Leather''

    With these pads, it eliminates a bit of harshness and adds a welcome amount of intimicy and bass response. Comfort is still excellent, due to the design of this headphone and light clamping force.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
    WilliamLeonhart and Hofy like this.
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