Thank you! Yes- the Brainwaves pads were pretty uninspiring in this application, but they weren't as bad for me as the original OEM Hybrid pads. Speaking of which, the hybrid pads I have here are like-new, except of course the pleather lining on the front of the pad falling off, and leaving the white fabric behind. This won't change sonics though, as the pleather only comes in contact with the head. The foam in my hybrid pads is like-new and is still as spongey as any new pad I have here with me. I can't stress enough how much better the 540 Golds sound with the OEM velour pads. It is truly night and day. I haven't tried the Wang velour pads, but I have heard they don't hold a candle to the originals. Shame. The originals are unobtanium now.Gidday, ConnorG, nice write-up there. You've brought up a couple of points for me, it was Brainwavez that were the second set of memory foam pads I tried with both the HD6xx and HD540 Ref 1s (I couldn't remember the name a few pages ago when I described them), they were as horrible as the Dekoni versions - I think memory foam with velour faces. As with you, "Dismay" was my experience too. Secondly, those white-faced pads in the pad pic are the ones that came with my second set of HD540 Ref1s, also hideous, thin and bright with almost no bass at all, I suspect that the foam was perishing, as it was a tad 'crunchy' without actually breaking up. The opposite sound to the memory foam pads.
I've had no experience with the HD540 Golds, having owned my 34 year old main Ref1s since new and not been impressed with others I've heard or needed anything else. The only time they have been 'bright' is with thin velour pads combined with the stock cable. They aren't inherently bright sounding cans. Mine are as smooth as silk as I have them here and especially so with the FrankenDAC/Burson Vivid V6. They will show up that a recording is either brighter than neutral or has the sound of digital processing that isn't especially organic. A good example being Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love album, one I have avoided for many years, even on LP, with it's quite processed digital sound. It presents, now, as the very best I've ever heard it! Frankie and the Vivid V6 let all the music through while showing the hard compression that Kate has used throughout the album, yet allowing it to be listenable and even admirable in it's creativity. Mine now sound more like the slightly lusher and fuller sound of the HD650s, yet without their staging flaws and lack of sheer timbral expression. Bass detail and focus is much better!
I'm not surprised at all that your Golds held their own at a Schiitr meet-up I'd like to have seen the looks on some of their faces.
BTW, what is the little amplifier with the fold down door flap? It looks a little familiar, as if I've seen it a long time ago but can't place it. Good of you to add all those photos, even though I don't own a pair of Golds ... yet ... it's good info to have available. Thanks for chiming in!
People at the Schiit meet were indeed very surprised - Facial expressions included. Many of them stated they sounded nothing like how they'd expect a vintage Sennheiser to sound. The tiny amplifier shown there is a Sony TA-P7F. I brought it along with me as it sounds mighty fine driving the 540 Golds. It also has a variable loudness contour circuit which, when added, really helps the 540 Golds out on the low end side of things. It's a remarkably built and great sounding little integrated amp that can even drive loudspeakers! You can learn more about it here.