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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. Grumpy Old Git
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    WilliamLeonhart likes this.
  2. jon parker
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  3. dakanao
    To me, the Chinese pleather pads just add more lower mids and especially bass presence, which is much needed when I had the stock pads on. The sound balance differences between the pads will be consistent on different amps, it's just whether you don't mind the clear lack of bass with the stock pads, since otherwise I could see people not needing the extra lower mids and reduced upper mids. For me though, it makes them way more engaging and needed smooth.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  4. lantian
    To me all the Chinese pads seem far to thin/shallow, so are all the pads that sennheiser is selling. Best so far has been brainwavz with their 3cm depth, almost the same as original "cloth" pads foam. Otherwise brainwavz velour seemed good. Anyhow would recommend ones that are at least 2,5cm deep, that's the original depth.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  5. sennsay
    Ah, maybe the Beyer DT880/990 velour pads from the same seller as the pleather pads. Tried both, pleather much better - more open, spacious, deeper and more linear bass, very smooth and linear top end, wonderful midrange. Kept the pleather on, demoted the velour to other duties, they sound better on the HD250s, which get very little use these days. Combine pleather pads with Mogami cable and voila, fab open intimate linear communicative rhythmic-integrity and a way of allowing access to the music in a way that few others can. Even with a restored (by my own hands) 40 year old Akai AM-2600 amplifier or 22 year old Technics SA290 receiver, let alone my Schiit stack or Audio-gd R2R-11. Same overall result. Brilliant.
  6. seanc6441
    So I'm parting ways with my 540ii if anyone is interested I have them FS here on headfi


    The connectors can be a little finicky on one side of the cup but the headphone,pads and driver is in good condition as far as I can tell.

    Thought id let you guys here know as there's not too many of these going around anymore and someone on here might be looking for one :)
  7. myusernameislove
    Best inserts for HD540 hands down. It is really something.
    sennsay likes this.
  8. sennsay
    Compared to? Just asking' :) I'd be interested if they can ship to OZ, the price is good. In fact, two sets could be the go, as I can see what they're like with both the Ref1s and the HD430s.................................... Damn, it's ended already!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  9. myusernameislove
    He sells these in different colors in orher auctions, just see the auction titles, and state headphone model number upon purchase and all should be fine. HD540 without it is too sharp. With it it still has some sharpness to it, but not that much. I compared it to HD430 inserts fro Thomann and it seems to muffle the sound less. It is all to your preferences which you like personally best.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  10. sennsay
    Ok thanks. I have absolutely no issues with either muffled sound or sharpness with my current set up! It would be very hard to find better and even then it would be pretty small, so if you have found a great match for you, that's really excellent.
    myusernameislove likes this.
  11. Malfunkt
    HD540 long-term impressions and comparisons with some open back dynamics

    I can still say without a doubt that these are some of the finest headphones and are still very much competitive.

    I've had the extended luxury of being able to compare the 540s to some great dynamic headphones including the HD800, Focal Utopia along with planars such as the LCD2.

    Really, the 540 can hang with both the Utopia and HD800.

    In brief:

    Get the Utopia if you have the dough, and want a single headphone that can play a wide range of genres very well. The Utopia does everything extremely well - and in this regard is among the very best.

    The 540 plays acoustic genres exceptionally. It has more top-end energy than the Utopia, but is not overlay sharp or too strident. Is very organic and lifelike. Both Utopia and 540 have soul, but the 540 has an extra sizzle on the top-end, and the Utopia has a weightier low end by 3-4db. 540 doesn't play modern genres as well. Is comfier and lighter (both in weight and on wallet). May not be as similar model to model, as there is a wide range of production variance, driver and pad types. My 300ohm 540 sounds exquisite.

    HD800 - glassier sounding, yet massive. Trades natural frequency curve for an expansive sound that is larger than both Utopia and 540. In a sense this relaxed sound, brings it's own realism. Although slightly artificial, it doesn't take too long to adjust to the 800s modern tone. It still has accuracy, brilliance, and is incredibly dynamic not far behind the Utopia. Comfort is supreme, but the 540 is better. 800 still has some clamp, but still comfier than Utopia.

    As all of these trade some areas, it is hard to say which is the better headphone. In overall balance, it is likely the Utopia. But depending on how and what you listen, the 540 may be preferred. The HD800, if I'm honest is very cool, and consistently does it's thing - but it is more an acquired taste. The 540 is more essential tonally in a collection imo.

    Some other comparisons of stuff that I happen to have on hand. Compared to my Etymotic HF5 in-ears the 540 is superior. The Etymotic has similar accuracy in mid-range tone, but ultimately the 540 is more dynamic, and not boxed in sounding. Perhaps the ER4S would fair better. Frankly, I would imagine only the world's finest IEMs would be able to get close to what an open-back dynamic like the 540 is capable of - its a matter physics.

    Compared to Denon AH-D2000. These old bio-cellulose are becoming classics. They are more neutrally tuned than some of the latter models. Really, having the 540s with the D2000 makes you appreciate the 2000. The 2000 sounds quite open being a semi-closed headphone. It has an somewhat dark-tilt, very extended subbass without midbass hump, and at the very top end, quite a bit of sparkle. Probably the only other headphone here along with the Utopia that could rock dubstep, drum'n'bass or trance and then soar with classical. They would make excellent companions to a 540 setup. Still natural sounding and very linear. I've had these for a while and they seem to survive headphone roulette and eBay attrition. Likely to stick around for a long-time and so are the 540s.

    Small update: my opinion of the Etymotic is continually rising so much so that I ordered an ER4ST. With the right material the HF5 can be expansive sounding.

    Oh and D2000 went to a friend :)
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  12. BucketInABucket
    Has anyone tried the round Brainwavz Sheepskin round pads on the HD540 Golds? I currently am using them and they sound pretty good!
  13. dakanao
    I'm looking for deep pads that'll bring more bass to the HD 540 Gold, yet retaining forward vocals and smooth treble… How would you say the Brainwavz do in this regard?

    And do you perhaps know other pads, that'll bring that sound signature?
  14. BucketInABucket
    I'm gonna have to do some comparisons to be able to answer that, I've forgotten what other pads I've tried on the HD540s
  15. lantian
    Brainwavz velours, or better yet if you still have the old pads with the original cloth restoring them is a possibility by replacing the foam with brainwavz memory foam.
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