Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good.
Apr 19, 2023 at 3:57 PM Post #3,991 of 4,363
Newbie poster to this particular site. Long stories short. I have done some reading here for some years. Found out the Senn 540 II's I've been using since the mid to late 1990s are well thought of. I have used the search box for specific words related to my 'problem' and found much good info. The phones are 300ohm. Bought them at Sound Advice ha last century. So, here are my issues and was hoping to receive some advice and maybe even solutions?

A. 1 of the 2 plastic ridges on one side of the inside strap - whereby the knob on the headphone 'shell' snaps and fits into - broke. I don't have the piece that broke unfortunately. So the left side headphone shell or speaker is 'locked into' the ridge as it should be and with the 'rotating' or 'angling' effect as a result, but the other headphone shell can't 'knob' into and attach and snap in place due to the missing piece of hard plastic that broke. I'm still able to get it to 'sit' right near and around where it's supposed to, in and around the ridges, and against my ear, but the shell is loose from the band when off my head and since it's not 'locked into place' like the other speaker shell, it doesn't have that angling or rotating 'positioning' when listening. I have to do some fiddling. Not a big deal but still a problem.

So I guess I'm looking for an unbroken headband with the 'housing' of the same 540 II's to be able to snap BOTH speaker shells into? I've looked on ebay so far is all. I'd consider buying a whole pair for the part which I wonder if is my only option for this problem?



B. My headphones have the velour pads. They of course after about 25 years or so of wear, are worn. I am afraid to mess with them tho and I read on here that those pads are actually 'glued in' to the casing, so, I don't think I should mess with them at all. I wonder though if there is 'padding' I can 'attach' to them to beefen the original velour padding some? Then again, I find I have little problem with 'sound isolation' and also the 'bass response' as they are is adequate for me. In fact, the Bowie reissue LP of The Man Who Sold The World from the 2010's decade on Parlophone label, the bass guitar sound was overpowering (for me) and I could not listen to it comfortably.

C. I wonder if I should 'upgrade' the entire cable - from a new set of red and black connectors for the headphone to the 'plug-in' to the component/amp. Again though I am leery of trying to undo the existing connection.

Any suggestions on where and how to fix my "A." problem especially, is appreciated...

Finally I feel like it's important to understand when I try to fix things they also break :wink: so idiot-proof is not always the case...
 
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Apr 19, 2023 at 4:12 PM Post #3,992 of 4,363
Newbie poster to this particular site. Long stories short. I have done some reading here for some years. Found out the Senn 540 II's I've been using since the mid to late 1990s are well thought of. I have used the search box for specific words related to my 'problem' and found much good info. The phones are 300ohm. Never knew that. Takes less power to 'drive them' as a result, I guess, maybe that's why they still sound really good to me even without a headphone amp. Bought them at Sound Advice ha last century. So, here are my issues and was hoping to receive some advice and maybe even solutions?

A. 1 of the 2 plastic ridges on one side of the inside strap - whereby the knob on the headphone 'shell' snaps and fits into - broke. I don't have the piece that broke unfortunately. So the left side headphone shell or speaker is 'locked into' the ridge as it should be and with the 'rotating' or 'angling' effect as a result, but the other headphone shell can't 'knob' into and attach and snap in place due to the missing piece of hard plastic that broke. I'm still able to get it to 'sit' right near and around where it's supposed to, in and around the ridges, and against my ear, but the shell is loose from the band when off my head and since it's not 'locked into place' like the other speaker shell, it doesn't have that angling or rotating 'positioning' when listening. I have to do some fiddling. Not a big deal but still a problem.

So I guess I'm looking for an unbroken headband with the 'housing' of the same 540 II's to be able to snap BOTH speaker shells into? I've looked on ebay so far is all. I'd consider buying a whole pair for the part which I wonder if is my only option for this problem?



B. My headphones have the velour pads. They of course after about 25 years or so of wear, are worn. I am afraid to mess with them tho and I read on here that those pads are actually 'glued in' to the casing, so, I don't think I should mess with them at all. I wonder though if there is 'padding' I can 'attach' to them to beefen the original velour padding some? Then again, I find I have little problem with 'sound isolation' and also the 'bass response' as they are is adequate for me. In fact, the Bowie reissue LP of The Man Who Sold The World from the 2010's decade on Parlophone label, the bass guitar sound was overpowering (for me) and I could not listen to it comfortably.

C. I wonder if I should 'upgrade' the entire cable - from a new set of red and black connectors for the headphone to the 'plug-in' to the component/amp. Again though I am leery of trying to undo the existing connection.

Any suggestions on where and how to fix my "A." problem especially, is appreciated...

Finally I feel like it's important to understand when I try to fix things they also break :wink: so idiot-proof is not always the case...
I can't help with spare parts, but I can tell you that the ear pads are definitely not glued in to the headphone. If you curl your fingers underneath the bottom edge of the pad, it will pop out. Just be sure to use as many fingers as you can fit under there, to reduce the risk of something tearing; age related weakness unfortunately.
There aren't any official replacements for these, but the two most popular options around here are to order a specific variety of chinese pleather earpad, or to wash the pads and put new foam inside them yourself.
Regarding cables, many of us have benefitted from a cable upgrade for these headphones. HD600 style connectors can be used, though some of the plastic and rubber at the end will need be trimmed away to fit
 
Apr 19, 2023 at 4:22 PM Post #3,993 of 4,363
1st, thank you for your reply!
I have read here a bit and seen a bit of online sellers about the pleather padding. I'll be honest with myself and don't trust myself to undo and replace the padding, lol. At least right now, ha. But will have to consider it.

For a newer cable I have seen listings for OCC? Compatible with the 540 II?
 
Apr 19, 2023 at 4:35 PM Post #3,994 of 4,363
1st, thank you for your reply!
I have read here a bit and seen a bit of online sellers about the pleather padding. I'll be honest with myself and don't trust myself to undo and replace the padding, lol. At least right now, ha. But will have to consider it.

For a newer cable I have seen listings for OCC? Compatible with the 540 II?
Its quite easy to remove the pads. The base of the pad is a plastic ring, which clips into place, it's made to be easy to remove them. In fact, you can fully disassemble the entire headphone down to just the driver: those old dears at sennheiser have made refurbishing these older models nice and hassle free!
You can use any type of wire you want to, there's no specific type of metal that is or is not compatible, the only compatibility consideration is the plugs, really. I dont want to teach anybody to suck eggs, but if it's helpful I could go into more details about what types of wire are available to choose from, if that would be of help?
 
Apr 19, 2023 at 6:33 PM Post #3,995 of 4,363
Its quite easy to remove the pads. The base of the pad is a plastic ring, which clips into place, it's made to be easy to remove them. In fact, you can fully disassemble the entire headphone down to just the driver: those old dears at sennheiser have made refurbishing these older models nice and hassle free!
You can use any type of wire you want to, there's no specific type of metal that is or is not compatible, the only compatibility consideration is the plugs, really. I dont want to teach anybody to suck eggs, but if it's helpful I could go into more details about what types of wire are available to choose from, if that would be of help?
Thanks again for replying and being helpful...plugs and plaids heh!
 
Apr 19, 2023 at 7:06 PM Post #3,996 of 4,363
Thanks again for replying and being helpful...plugs and plaids heh!
No problem, I've asked tons of questions in this thread! One thing I would recommend, with regards to cables, is that whatever type of metal you go for, get one that uses litz wire. I accidentally proved to myself a few months ago that regular stranded cables cause problems, and now I'm in the process of replacing them throughout my setup, recorded sound is no longer fundamentally 'wrong' to my hearing. So yeah, copper, silver, whatever purity or special processing you go for, do yourself a favour and make it a litz version of that
 
Apr 23, 2023 at 2:12 AM Post #3,997 of 4,363
Thanks again for replying and being helpful...plugs and plaids heh!
If you go to Mogami Cable on-line and take a look at the #2893 quad core microphone cable, you'll find a superb quality cable for not much money. Utterly silent black backgrounds (that's why many studios have used it for years) and a very even frequency response. I've used it on all of my headphones now. Sublimely natural tonal qualities as well. It allows the innate tonal balance of the headphones to be presented without any additions and same for the electronics ahead of it. Love the stuff. 2-3mm parachute cord can be used after the Y-junction where the left and right channels separate, I used 10-12mm heat shrink that has the glue on the inner surface and that one will naturally shrink to around 1/4 of the original ID (although in this case it can't go that far) and grips the cables very securely - you just smoosh (mould) it around the main cable and between the two channels to make the Y-junction .... AFTER you slide the stripped out parachute cord over the L/R channel wires of course! You can use some normal heat shrink over the solder joins on the capsule plugs, then pop another section of the glued version over the whole lot and around some of the plugs. Mine have lasted for years with no issues, once you get the hang of it. Same process for the headphone jack. The Mogami makes for a vastly better cable than the original steel ones ... even if I enjoyed the latter for many years.
 
Apr 24, 2023 at 12:00 AM Post #3,998 of 4,363
I've made another change to my setup, and gained some further insight into things, and thought I'd share the experience. Going back a few pages, I'd spoken about hearing quite a strong sibilance with the 540's in particular, and nothing I had tried to do had really helped. I think in the end, the culprit is actually me, as I've noticed it's also becoming a problem when people are speaking to me, so, bummer.

But it didn't put me off wanting to improve my setup, to see whether there was something that might at least take the edge off. That said, I hate the idea of taking a backwards step in order to achieve that. I had been looking into mains noise as a possibility, and though a mains conditioner is too expensive for me right now, it did lead me down an interesting path once again, to power cables. A path I was already wary of, having had a negative experience with supra lorad cables. Specifically, I had noticed an exaggerated "wrongness" when I tried the thicker supra lorad cable vs the standard guage one. I had tried to find out what could have caused this, when the two cables were identical except for the thickness of the conductor, and the answer that came up from my research was the proximity effect. So whatever cable I tried next, had to have some geometry to address this.

Enter the QED XT-5. A mains cable with a twisted-strand, hollow-tube OFC wiring arrangement, and a ferrite-infused pvc jacket to keep out RF noise. Two birds, with one cable. Or at least I hoped, and either way, one of those differences would hopefully be audible.
I chose to start with plugging into my head amp, without the 540, because I wanted to stop myself from simply focusing on the sibilance range and throwing myself off.
In any case, the amp just seemed the logical place to begin with this. I had not at all expected what happened next.
Since I was a child, recorded sound of any type has always sounded fundamentally "not right". Music, film, digital, analogue, it all had the same something wrong, and though I didn't have the words for it back then, I can describe it now as the top of the sound being chopped off, along with a strange bass emphasis. This cable fixed that wrongness. The frequency response was linear for the first time ever, no weirdly rolled off treble, and the bass had changed from being somewhat diffuse and bloomy to being a precise point and being tight and controlled. Separation and imaging improved. Clarity was better, and the background quieter. Everything seemed much easier to hear, more effortless. Cymbols actually sounded like what I would expect from a small live venue, instead of an odd crunch, a real metallic ring for once! And choral arrangements now struck me as finally sounding more like they would when I used to sing in a choir. This cable's effect was not subtle. The overall impression was of having removed a lot of distortion, which I hadn't realised had been there all along. Stranded cables, it seems, are the devil, and this I assume must apply to every cable within the chain. The only possible downside I could come up with, was that there seemed to be a reduction in bass quantity because it was no longer distorted, but the bass also seemed to reach a little deeper as a result. As it turned out there was no help with sibilance, but this is the second WoW moment I have had in this hobby, the first being the first time I heard recorded sound from speakers that create a holographic stage.

I could only resist a month before ordering a second one to plug into my computer where my dac resides; yes I know I still need a better dac at some point, but I couldn't wait, and this was simply something I could get sooner.
If anything, the scale of the change was even greater this time around; perhaps a cumulative effect of reducing that distortion in the system? I also wasn't expecting that the types of changes, were entirely different from those I had with the amp. The immediate impressions were of a larger soundstage (width, height, and to a lesser extent depth, though that seems to be a weakness of the dac) and more detail (new vocal layers in songs I've known for 20 years is always a welcome surprise... does this distortion somehow affect the accuracy of the d/a conversion?). Separation, clarity, quieter background, were once again improved. Complex passages in busy tracks are now rendered with much more ease, suggesting that previously it had been a struggle. Generally listening feels easier, less fatiguing. Also, unexpectedly, without having touched the volume, there is now more power in the bass (making up for the apparant bass loss from only having one of these cables in the amp) and sounds had more impact. Kick drums now have a kick to them, and bass notes are now rendered not only with more weight, but revealing extra notes; in one case, one track finally matches the tablature, which I had always assumed had been written down wrong! Truly, I must now endeavour to build some endgame interconnects and complete the task of eradicating this proximity effect.

Finally then, a few days later, it was time to test the 540 with this setup. I went for an instrumental album, as I was no longer chasing this sibilance matter, I just needed to know what they could do now. Overall the first few tracks were easygoing, relaxed, gentle, nothing exactly wowing me, though nothing that sounded bad either. However, for the first time ever with the 540 I was particularly aware of how forward they sounded. The bass seeming a bit soft throughout, but bells sounding pleasantly clear. Once I felt like I was more or less acclimatised to listening, I skipped ahead to the busiest track on the album. Wonderfully effortless in the presentation, everything conveyed with good separation, less of a frantic beehive inside of my head as it had once been with this headphone, and more like laundry laid out on a long washing line with a visible gap between each item. Again though, quite soft. No impact. Strangely pointedly so. The 540's main draw for me in the past was their clarity and openness, but now they were sounding a little too easygoing, and forward to the point of feeling too flat.
After the next track, I switched over to the 560's and played the track again. Narrowing of sounstage, but a mild sense of depth now, bass was now much more present and impactful, leading edges of everything were much more defined, and I generally felt more engaged. But I didn't feel like "this is much better" though. In fact, I felt bugged by it, like I was still being held back from the full experience.
Alright then, switching over to the 700's. Much more depth. Much more microdetail. I just got more of everything, and it was a physical relief to get those extra layers of information coming through.

So, what can I conclude from all of this, with regards to the 540? I feel as though this cable journey has opened up a door on what it possible with audio in general, but at the same time, it has also shone a light on certain shortcomings.
Beforehand, I was very much mentally in the space of "getting a decent dac is going to be the big game changer, and that is really where things will probably end for my setup". But after this headphone comparison, I am wondering, for the first time in several years, what I may still have to gain from getting better headphones at some point.
I still have the intention to keep tinkering and improving the connecting parts of my system, as it has become clear that every part in the chain does have a notable effect on the whole, and abolutely no part of it should be treated with a "that will do" approach, even if ones budget means it will take a long time to achieve. I am tempted to try fuses next, because after all, if a power cable can make that much of a difference, then why not a fuse?

Will I eventually get to the point where the 540's start to shine for me again? I certainly hope so, and I wont stop until I find out one way or another.

Leave no stone unturned, I guess.
Edit: something I forgot to add, was that for the first time, the 540's and 700's now have equally wide soundstage. Every other time I changed something that resulted in a wider stage, it would apply to both pairs, and the 540's were always much wider out of the two. A significant development, which I can only speculate about for the moment.
 
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Apr 24, 2023 at 1:28 AM Post #3,999 of 4,363
I've made another change to my setup, and gained some further insight into things, and thought I'd share the experience. Going back a few pages, I'd spoken about hearing quite a strong sibilance with the 540's in particular, and nothing I had tried to do had really helped. I think in the end, the culprit is actually me, as I've noticed it's also becoming a problem when people are speaking to me, so, bummer.

But it didn't put me off wanting to improve my setup, to see whether there was something that might at least take the edge off. That said, I hate the idea of taking a backwards step in order to achieve that. I had been looking into mains noise as a possibility, and though a mains conditioner is too expensive for me right now, it did lead me down an interesting path once again, to power cables. A path I was already wary of, having had a negative experience with supra lorad cables. Specifically, I had noticed an exaggerated "wrongness" when I tried the thicker supra lorad cable vs the standard guage one. I had tried to find out what could have caused this, when the two cables were identical except for the thickness of the conductor, and the answer that came up from my research was the proximity effect. So whatever cable I tried next, had to have some geometry to address this.

Enter the QED XT-5. A mains cable with a twisted-strand, hollow-tube OFC wiring arrangement, and a ferrite-infused pvc jacket to keep out RF noise. Two birds, with one cable. Or at least I hoped, and either way, one of those differences would hopefully be audible.
I chose to start with plugging into my head amp, without the 540, because I wanted to stop myself from simply focusing on the sibilance range and throwing myself off.
In any case, the amp just seemed the logical place to begin with this. I had not at all expected what happened next.
Since I was a child, recorded sound of any type has always sounded fundamentally "not right". Music, film, digital, analogue, it all had the same something wrong, and though I didn't have the words for it back then, I can describe it now as the top of the sound being chopped off, along with a strange bass emphasis. This cable fixed that wrongness. The frequency response was linear for the first time ever, no weirdly rolled off treble, and the bass had changed from being somewhat diffuse and bloomy to being a precise point and being tight and controlled. Separation and imaging improved. Clarity was better, and the background quieter. Everything seemed much easier to hear, more effortless. Cymbols actually sounded like what I would expect from a small live venue, instead of an odd crunch, a real metallic ring for once! And choral arrangements now struck me as finally sounding more like they would when I used to sing in a choir. This cable's effect was not subtle. The overall impression was of having removed a lot of distortion, which I hadn't realised had been there all along. Stranded cables, it seems, are the devil, and this I assume must apply to every cable within the chain. The only possible downside I could come up with, was that there seemed to be a reduction in bass quantity because it was no longer distorted, but the bass also seemed to reach a little deeper as a result. As it turned out there was no help with sibilance, but this is the second WoW moment I have had in this hobby, the first being the first time I heard recorded sound from speakers that create a holographic stage.

I could only resist a month before ordering a second one to plug into my computer where my dac resides; yes I know I still need a better dac at some point, but I couldn't wait, and this was simply something I could get sooner.
If anything, the scale of the change was even greater this time around; perhaps a cumulative effect of reducing that distortion in the system? I also wasn't expecting that the types of changes, were entirely different from those I had with the amp. The immediate impressions were of a larger soundstage (width, height, and to a lesser extent depth, though that seems to be a weakness of the dac) and more detail (new vocal layers in songs I've known for 20 years is always a welcome surprise... does this distortion somehow affect the accuracy of the d/a conversion?). Separation, clarity, quieter background, were once again improved. Complex passages in busy tracks are now rendered with much more ease, suggesting that previously it had been a struggle. Generally listening feels easier, less fatiguing. Also, unexpectedly, without having touched the volume, there is now more power in the bass (making up for the apparant bass loss from only having one of these cables in the amp) and sounds had more impact. Kick drums now have a kick to them, and bass notes are now rendered not only with more weight, but revealing extra notes; in one case, one track finally matches the tablature, which I had always assumed had been written down wrong! Truly, I must now endeavour to build some endgame interconnects and complete the task of eradicating this proximity effect.

Finally then, a few days later, it was time to test the 540 with this setup. I went for an instrumental album, as I was no longer chasing this sibilance matter, I just needed to know what they could do now. Overall the first few tracks were easygoing, relaxed, gentle, nothing exactly wowing me, though nothing that sounded bad either. However, for the first time ever with the 540 I was particularly aware of how forward they sounded. The bass seeming a bit soft throughout, but bells sounding pleasantly clear. Once I felt like I was more or less acclimatised to listening, I skipped ahead to the busiest track on the album. Wonderfully effortless in the presentation, everything conveyed with good separation, less of a frantic beehive inside of my head as it had once been with this headphone, and more like laundry laid out on a long washing line with a visible gap between each item. Again though, quite soft. No impact. Strangely pointedly so. The 540's main draw for me in the past was their clarity and openness, but now they were sounding a little too easygoing, and forward to the point of feeling too flat.
After the next track, I switched over to the 560's and played the track again. Narrowing of sounstage, but a mild sense of depth now, bass was now much more present and impactful, leading edges of everything were much more defined, and I generally felt more engaged. But I didn't feel like "this is much better" though. In fact, I felt bugged by it, like I was still being held back from the full experience.
Alright then, switching over to the 700's. Much more depth. Much more microdetail. I just got more of everything, and it was a physical relief to get those extra layers of information coming through.

So, what can I conclude from all of this, with regards to the 540? I feel as though this cable journey has opened up a door on what it possible with audio in general, but at the same time, it has also shone a light on certain shortcomings.
Beforehand, I was very much mentally in the space of "getting a decent dac is going to be the big game changer, and that is really where things will probably end for my setup". But after this headphone comparison, I am wondering, for the first time in several years, what I may still have to gain from getting better headphones at some point.
I still have the intention to keep tinkering and improving the connecting parts of my system, as it has become clear that every part in the chain does have a notable effect on the whole, and abolutely no part of it should be treated with a "that will do" approach, even if ones budget means it will take a long time to achieve. I am tempted to try fuses next, because after all, if a power cable can make that much of a difference, then why not a fuse?

Will I eventually get to the point where the 540's start to shine for me again? I certainly hope so, and I wont stop until I find out one way or another.

Leave no stone unturned, I guess
You are certainly going through quite a learning process, a damn fine thing, I reckon :) I started at 17 years old and am still learning nearly 50 years later.
If you are using the old stock steel cable with the HD540s then you will indeed get a forward upper midband .. though I can't remember if you are using a different cable with them. That cable highlights any hot tracks. The bass is capable of going incredibly deep into the lows, while being very open at the same time, depends on the electronics, like well into the chest deep! Like, far outside the head deep, it can be very uncanny.
The Mogami cable removes that upper mid glare potential and smooths the whole range out. I do have a second pair of completely stock HD540s, so I can compare them with my original 34 year old set with it's newer cable, pleather pads etc. With the quality Schiit DAC and amp/silver cables I have now, my improved original set are significantly preferable for in-depth and longer listening sessions, though if I had a nice old Sansui or Yamaha integrated amp around, the stock HD540s would sing very well indeed, they seem to prefer the higher output impedance of the older amps' headphone jacks - usually around 330 ohms. I sometimes used them for years that way, far preferring them to the HD650s.
Glad to hear you are making progress and it would be great for you to eventually hear what the HD540s can really do. They are capable of great vertical height in a soundstage too, though that is very recording dependent. Ricki Lee Jones "Naked Songs" album is a ripper. I've been jaw-dropped a few times with some of those tracks. Exquisite.
 
Apr 24, 2023 at 2:12 AM Post #4,000 of 4,363
You are certainly going through quite a learning process, a damn fine thing, I reckon :) I started at 17 years old and am still learning nearly 50 years later.
If you are using the old stock steel cable with the HD540s then you will indeed get a forward upper midband .. though I can't remember if you are using a different cable with them. That cable highlights any hot tracks. The bass is capable of going incredibly deep into the lows, while being very open at the same time, depends on the electronics, like well into the chest deep! Like, far outside the head deep, it can be very uncanny.
The Mogami cable removes that upper mid glare potential and smooths the whole range out. I do have a second pair of completely stock HD540s, so I can compare them with my original 34 year old set with it's newer cable, pleather pads etc. With the quality Schiit DAC and amp/silver cables I have now, my improved original set are significantly preferable for in-depth and longer listening sessions, though if I had a nice old Sansui or Yamaha integrated amp around, the stock HD540s would sing very well indeed, they seem to prefer the higher output impedance of the older amps' headphone jacks - usually around 330 ohms. I sometimes used them for years that way, far preferring them to the HD650s.
Glad to hear you are making progress and it would be great for you to eventually hear what the HD540s can really do. They are capable of great vertical height in a soundstage too, though that is very recording dependent. Ricki Lee Jones "Naked Songs" album is a ripper. I've been jaw-dropped a few times with some of those tracks. Exquisite.
Yes I certainly am learning, and I wish I'd started this journey when I was 17 and not in my thirties! I have a long way to go though, plenty more to learn, though I wish I could filter through 99% of the comments which are "cables are't science" etc. I am certain that I need to re-do the foam in the pads/drivers again at some point, once I can figure out what type of foam the original velours used.
Is the mogami cable shielded? I'm using a silver litz cable at the moment, modular with a 3-pin mini xlr breaking it up, which could be causing some issues. I'm considering getting some neotech nei-1002 interconnect cable, to use for interconnects, and headphone cable, though also considering whether using some ferrite tape to wrap everything could also be advantageous. I've also managed to find a rhodum plated silver 4 pin xlr connector, which seems mighty tempting, but it will certainly all add up, in sound, and price :sweat_smile:
 
Apr 24, 2023 at 8:08 AM Post #4,001 of 4,363
Yes I certainly am learning, and I wish I'd started this journey when I was 17 and not in my thirties! I have a long way to go though, plenty more to learn, though I wish I could filter through 99% of the comments which are "cables are't science" etc. I am certain that I need to re-do the foam in the pads/drivers again at some point, once I can figure out what type of foam the original velours used.
Is the mogami cable shielded? I'm using a silver litz cable at the moment, modular with a 3-pin mini xlr breaking it up, which could be causing some issues. I'm considering getting some neotech nei-1002 interconnect cable, to use for interconnects, and headphone cable, though also considering whether using some ferrite tape to wrap everything could also be advantageous. I've also managed to find a rhodum plated silver 4 pin xlr connector, which seems mighty tempting, but it will certainly all add up, in sound, and price :sweat_smile:
Yes, the Mogami is shielded and probably one of the quietest cables I've come across, although my superb Slinkylinks silver cables are not shielded and still utterly silent, so implementation may be the key. There are only 600mm long though, and yet the shielded pure silver La Cacanya cables from White Zombie, at 1M long, certainly do not have the same sense of an utterly undistorted open door, as good as they can be.
I probably would not go for the ferrite wrap, ferrite itself can create a particular distortion of the musical signal, I have done experiments with a previous colleague to show this. However, it can often be better to find these things out for oneself, then you KNOW. And besides, it may be a very good thing for you.
 
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Apr 24, 2023 at 11:16 PM Post #4,002 of 4,363
I had a wonderful session yesterday afternoon listening to the first disc of the Genesis Archives set, '1969 - 1975', it's become almost an obsession in the last couple of months. Disc one is the first half of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, live in '75, probably the last or close to it concert Peter Gabriel ever did with the band. It's the sheer dimensional content of this music that has me reaching for it almost over anything else at the moment, such musical genius from all members, complex rhythms, time signature shifts, audience ambience, the scale of dynamics from the deepest synth organ notes to Phil's exquisite drumming and beautiful detail in the cymbals. The keyboards have a life of their own - something I've always loved about the Senn HD540s, even synths have an almost organic life to them, the skin tonality of Phil's drum kit is a joy, Steve Hackett's guitar playing (I saw him live here in OZ last year playing some of this music) is both tender and soaring, adding to the atmosphere of this weird and intriguing story and as for Peter Gabriel's voice, glorious, such a range of emotion! There is open and ambient space around the keyboards that allows me to hear every note no matter how complex the music gets. All hail the Magni 3+ amp which lets all this through with ease, from top to bottom. Ride and high hat cymbals are effortless, detailed and sound alive.
I had been using the HRT MusicStreamer II+ DAC from the iMac a fair bit lately, but yesterday I just took the amp and Slinkylinks over to the Schiit Modi Multibit DAC and connected the Questyle QP1R DAP via the Audioquest Carbon Optical cable, what a great little system! With the HD540s plugged in, the whole system doesn't sound like hifi, just wonderful music. Timing is so naturally fast yet effortless from top to bottom, I don't think about it, it just sounds 'right', no harshness, no metallic edginess, yet not soft or dulled or forward unless the recording is innately so. Phil's kickdrum at the beginning of both 'In The Cage' and 'Back In NYC' are as per a live set, ambiently rich with skin tonality and dynamic weight.
I plugged in the stock HD540s for a comparison. 20 seconds later they were unplugged again! And packed away until I can buy some much better ear pads, even the volume level was noticeably down on my constant Senn friends. They sounded thin, constricted and, certainly by comparison, unlistenable as they are. The pads that came with them are horrible and I shall investigate one or two of the suggestions made a few pages back.
So that's my next project, new pads for HD540 no 2 and foams as well. Overall though, they are in virtually as new condition, as my originals are, including the headband leather which is still as good as the day I bought them 34 years ago. No headphones I've owned since, no matter the brand, have maintained the leather/pleather/vinyl condition at a fraction of the age in years. Sennheiser, I salute you for the quality control back in the day!
 
Apr 25, 2023 at 7:24 AM Post #4,003 of 4,363
There is open and ambient space around the keyboards that allows me to hear every note no matter how complex the music gets.
I find Fly on a Windshield to be a useful reference track - there's just so much happening all at once, and headphones can struggle to keep up.
 
Apr 25, 2023 at 8:21 AM Post #4,004 of 4,363
I find Fly on a Windshield to be a useful reference track - there's just so much happening all at once, and headphones can struggle to keep up.
Indeed it is, though I have found no issues with my gear as used above. It is just one of the improvements of the Magni 3+, over the previous Magni 3, to keep even complex instrumentation flowing and clear, while maintaining dynamics and transparency.
The stunning rhythmic and time signature changes towards the end of Supper's Ready is also right up there as a masterpiece that requires fine control from the electronics, let alone headphones.
 
Apr 25, 2023 at 1:38 PM Post #4,005 of 4,363


Genesis: Live Shepperton Studios October 1973 (first time in HD)​

Read in the description about the process and huge amount of work invested in order to achieve such a video and audio quality from the original tapes.
 
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