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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. myusernameislove
    I will compare them on Mojo for you. And if you wait a little longer (month), I will compare them with wang’s velour pads as well. Those are on its way as well.
  2. myusernameislove
    And same comparion of pads with Chord Mojo:

    Mojo is not as sensitive to the timbre thing. Hd430 pads (6) are very clean but they lack bass and are bright. Stock HD540 pads (1) are a little behind in bass amount to HD560 velour pads (2) which is a little behind in bass amount to wang’s pleather pads (3). The difference is rather subtle. But wang’s pads are THE pads that sound best here - both perfect clarity and bass and mids have weightier body (than velour and than stock) with wang’s pads. Do you want even little more bass and more comfort - then go to Brainwavz memory foam pads (4). Wang’s pads and also Brainwavz pads have fun sound, while velour pads sound differently (less fun, less slam, less energy) and softer - not as crisp and clear. Maybe you need to search for another pleather pads instead that are taller. When I wrote about fabric pads offering on ebay for AKG K701 they sell there even pleather versions - those could hit the spot - they are taller, they have exactly the same shape as original pads and they are made from thick pleather - at least they are worth trying. Will I buy them? No. Mojo is not my preffered source, and on R2R which gives bassier signature to all pads I tend to go the fabric pads route. It is upto you to search now in that direction. Good luck :).
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
    dakanao and sennsay like this.
  3. sennsay
    I'd agree re the R2R too, the fuller sound might be better with pads that are slightly more lightweight in the bass dept, though we wouldn't want to lose the detail and focus, would we :) However, I still thoroughly enjoy my HD540 Ref1s as they are with the R2R, the bass maintaining it's rhythmic integrity regardless of the extra warmth of the R2R's amp. Best match up though is with the Magni3/Mimby in what I have here.
    I have a new project that's come in the mail today in the form of the highly regarded Elekit TU 8500 tube preamp kit. I'm looking forward to not only using it in my lounge system with a power amp, but also with the Magni 3 and Ref1s. The TU 8500 has a built in phono stage too, for both MM and MC cartridges and I already have the upgrade resistor kit and a couple of Mundorf caps for it. The instructions are all in Japanese ... just as well I can read a circuit diagram, it's all in English, as are the markings for the parts placement on the boards :)
    myusernameislove likes this.
  4. myusernameislove
    Pads no. 7 added.
  5. myusernameislove
    Guys, let me say this clear and loud - HD250 Linear 1 600 Ohm (not LInear 2!) with wang_yifei's pleather pads sound better then HD540. So emotional. So clear. A little brighter, but so grown-up, interesting and sweet sound. It is HD540 killer. SImple as that. But not with Chord Mojo. With darker sounding R2R11 and with portable Shanling M0. Give them death metal, give them rock. You will like them more then HD540. I am tempted to buy second pair of HD540 or HD540 Gold to see if it is any better. This is incredible sound. Not HD250 Linear 2 (fun sounding, V shaped), but original HD250 Linear 1 - first itteration.

    /edit I am too evil to Mojo here. So I gave it a chance and listened. The magic was replaced by perfection. It (Linear 1) still has that difference from Linear 2 and HD540 but it is not as dominant as with Shanling M0. In my opinion M0 can not drive them properly and that is why it sounds so unique. With R2R11 and also with Mojo I am getting closer to the HD540 area, but it still has more interesting sound and dynamics. Not neutral, but natural in a way. And real.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  6. SHAMuuu

    I'm speechless.
    myusernameislove likes this.
  7. sotto123
    I have to say that after having purchased the LCD-2 pre fazor, LCD-3 pre fazor, LCD-4, Grado HP-1000 (HP-2), ZMF Auteur and already owning the HD 600, HD 650 (modded) and HiFiMan HE 500, which are all highly regarded, the Sennheiser HD-540 Gold are the finest headphones I've ever heard...and it's not even particularly close. This is as tonally balanced and uncoloured of sound as I've ever heard from a headphone. I'm sure it helps that my Gold's are in excellent condition with the stock pads practically unworn.

    The HD-540 Gold is the one headphone that doesn't do anything to annoy me. It is unmatched in tonal balance, which will always be my number one preference by a large distance, and timbre - the two most important things that 99% of headphones get wrong regardless of price. In fact, funnily enough, the more you spend the further away you get from these things. All manufacturers seem to care about is more detail - as if that somehow justifies the added price of a headphone - and a couple of more welcome aspects like transient response and bass. I understand this because it's the one thing that headphones can offer over speakers, but I've never heard anyone demand more detail from speakers, only a more realistic, natural sound. Despite speakers and headphones being inherently different why can't the same be embraced by headphone manufacturers. I long for the day when manufacturers embrace designing a headphone with a natural sound over a more detailed one. Sennheiser is the only company that seems to care more about this than the others, but even the HD 600 and HD 650 were released years ago, so perhaps the ethos is now different.

    It should come as no surprise that the Grado HP-1000 is the only other headphone that manages to deliver a natural sound. I say this because it was created around the same time as the HD 540 by the very talented Joe Grado, not the rubbish John Grado has come up with ever since he took over the company.

    The only areas the Gold's can be be beat in is bass and transient response. I would like more impact and quantity, but it's sufficient for the most part. I only mention transient response because while I actually find it one of the Gold's strengths and I'm perfectly happy with it as is, it can be beat, although not as as easily as you may think. Soundstage, while not the biggest, is right where I like it. Detail I'm not bothered by and is currently more than fine.

    I have a few questions:

    - I have a Mogami cable on the way. I hear that it needs to be shaved to fit but I don't actually know what this entails. What do I have to do?

    - I take it stock replacement pads are impossible to find?

    - Does a HD-540 Gold upgrade actually exist? All I would like from the Gold's is more bass quantity and impact, that is literally it. Perhaps a tiny bit more body to the sound too. I ordered a MySphere 3 loaner that sounds like it would have a similarly uncoloured sound, but beyond that I'm not sure. I'm thinking the Sennheiser HE-60 would be interesting to try, but I imagine the bass would be worse than the HE-60 being an electrostatic and all. I've practically heard every other headphone I've wanted to hear. Judging by impressions the likes of the Abyss, HE-1000, Stax, Empyrean, HD 800 and Utopia won't get me what I'm looking for so I've avoided them.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    sennsay and Narayan23 like this.
  8. dakanao
    Do you perhaps have a picture of your foam filled stock pads?
  9. Narayan23
    Hi sotto, where do you feel the HD 540 Gold surpasses the Auteur? From all the reading done around the forums the Auteur are the only headphones I´d consider purchasing at the moment, the other ones being the Mysphere 3.1 although I have my doubts about the bass reproduction with those. I have a pair of HD 540 Ref II which I really like, and as you I have a hard time envisioning anything better unless it´s in the bass department.
  10. sotto123
    It'd be quicker to state where the Auteur surpasses the HD540G; only in bass - and in all areas...extension, impact, quantity. I quite liked the ZMF Auteur. If you're looking for a modern take on a neutralish sound then I would choose it. If I hadn't heard the Gold's I'd probably have kept it. It's about the most neutral headphone I've heard apart from the HD540G and HP1000, but it's certainly a take on neutral instead of actually being neutral like the Golds. It's nicely tonally balanced, but with some excess treble energy that can get annoying. The Eikon pads mostly take care of the treble energy but at the expense of making it sound less neutral.

    I've heard a lot of people compare the Auteur to the Utopia and find it to be more musical because the Utopia is said to be so hyper-detailed and in your face. Well I'd make the same comparison with the HD540G. I find HD540G is the more musical of the two, though not for the same reasons. I found the Auteur somewhat boring in comparison. It doesn't have the same clarity and transparency and can sound a bit closed in sounding. It's also slower and has more of a romantic sound. The HD540G just lets the music through, which is why I say it's the one headphone that doesn't annoy me. It adds very little to the sound and just completely gets out of the way, so I can listen and get lost in the music instead of judging the headphone.
    Narayan23 likes this.
  11. myusernameislove
    Try cheap HD250 Linear 1 600 ohm. They are far from boring. Order 2 sets of pads - sennheiser hd430 pads from thomann - bright pads. And wangs pleather pads from ebay - all rounder pads. With bright pads try Dire Straits On the Night (live). With wang's pleather pads try anything. Share your impressions here afterwards :)

    Ps you may think you know what you want (bass ..) but you might be surprised to find out what lies out of such comfort zone. I am saying it is more interesting sound than that of hd540.

    Same years, same excellence, same Sennheiser, but another result.

    Cable terminations that fit in the shells must be carefully trimmed on sides with a razor blade or something similar to allow deeper insertion in case it does not plug inside deep enough. Just follow the already thinner part that fits in and make it few milimeters deeper. Do not forget to post selfie from hospital if anything goes wrong!

    Stock replacement pads are found by buying another pair of HD540 Reference 1 headphones on ebay, or read what I wrote about replacement fabric pads here yesterday or so.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  12. dakanao
    Is it possible for me to send over my Brainwavz Velours and stock pads to you, so you can fill them up for me and I pay you for it?
  13. myusernameislove
    Daka, I may seem like a guy with plenty of free time, which may bee true to some extent, but I would preferred not to. It took mme soem time to actually get up and spent 3 horst stitching it up carefully manually. I will post picture how I did it. It was a nightmare to do it without destroying the very fragile fabric. And one more step - I will probably try to stich back replacement pleather ring that fell out by age on top of them. I still did not find courage to start :) :) :).

    Plus good info for you - HD250 I sound actually very well with Mojo. I apologize.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  14. dakanao
    Alright np.

    Yeah I don't want any less bass or body to the mids than the thin pleathers give, so I guess I should look at comfortable big leather type pads.
  15. sennsay
    Hi sotto123, I have a feeling you may find the Mogami cable adds just the extra quality you seek, especially if you are currently using your Golds with the stock cable. Balance and extension, a superbly natural expression of music while keeping all that is wonderful about these headphones is the Mogami experience. I have found this also occurs with all my other headphones that now have Mogami cable, without exception ... basically all of them now.
    The trimming of the cable jacks is simple, a sharp fine edged craft knife or surgical blade is all that is required, the plastic plugs are quite soft and just a slight trim off the sides to match that of the original plugs is all that is required. Depending on which Mogami cable you have bought, you will find that it's a bit heavier than the original cable, I find that the cable made with the #2893 is lighter than the #2534 which is often used from eBay stores. While I use the #2893 cable, a full 10' length (as per the original cables) is noticeably heavier than stock and I find around 6' or so is a better match, although I do use my 10' cable when I need to. The quality upgrade is worth it!
    quimbo likes this.
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