Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by hairspray, Jun 29, 2013.
  1. jon parker
    It was one of those aspects of my 'Audio Journey' that I had known about for years but only recently dipped my toe into!
    Have to say, Ive been blown away by this next level in my audio chain
    The solid state part of the amp is superb but with the added range of textures and warmth from the tubes it punches way way above its weight :)
    Alistair Wint likes this.
  2. Alistair Wint
    I've owned one or two pieces of tube gear in the past but the cost of maintaining them proved prohibitive. Perhaps I may consider getting a unit for my audio rig and something else for portable use, has to be small and work with devices like cell phones, tablets, laptop etc.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  3. jon parker
    I was very lucky to find a world class headphoneamp when I first started - if you can still find any of the models I would grab it immediately (some on ebay now) - any amp by Nico soundlab
    Alistair Wint likes this.
  4. Alistair Wint
    I"m thinking something small like the Fiio A5, rather than a standalone head amp, not looking for a dac either. Eventually I'll invest in a unit to incorporate into my home audio gear. My headphone listening primarily with phone and tablet right now.
  5. bluzrip
    I have just ordered some replacement pads for my HD540's from an eBay seller. The info says they will be coming from China. I'm excited to find anything that will fit, but I will report back. It appears there are others who are fond of these classic cans.
    Alistair Wint likes this.
  6. Ophidian
    Glad to be part of the senns 540 enthousiast ! I own a model 1 600 ohm, 300 ohm and a senns 560 ovation 1. Using them at the moment with a ibasso dx 90 and they all sounds fantastic! I ordered some 560 velvet pads to try to mod to the 540 (the hd 430 pleather pads arent that comfy on the 540...)
    Alistair Wint likes this.
  7. Ophidian
    Hi bluzrip, which type of pads have you ordered? Could you let me know how they fit?
  8. jon parker
    Ive just put Brainwavz Hybrid Memory Foam Earpad - Black PU/Velour on my 540's and they sound fantastic - in other words, they maintain their accurate, reference qualities - I think they are the closest we can get to the original pads in terms of materials and how the original pads were put together. As they are a very high quality build they should last longer than some of the Chinese ones?
    These ones:
    Ophidian and Alistair Wint like this.
  9. Ophidian
    Hi jon. Thanks for the info !
  10. jon parker
    I should add that I previously had a Chinese ebay Velour pad on them. They were quite firm. I was happy with them BUT the Brainwavz are a 'nother level
    Very much worth the investment :)

    ALSO - On some of the original pads, you have to carefully remove them with a razor to not damage the plastic ring that is what connects into the cup itself
    You 'can' cut the rubber lip on new earpads and lightly glue them onto the ring but sometimes the new pad will sit on the plastic ring and not over lap (so the ring wont click into place)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  11. compubomb
    I wish I could find some company which actually sold just this ring so I could try out some other ear pads with these headphones. Pads can make all the difference. I found some website online a while back, claimed they had made the right ring for the 540's, got the rings and they didn't fit at all :frowning2:
  12. jon parker
    I was thinking the same thing - Does anyone know anyone who can do 3D printing? :wink:
  13. Ophidian
    IMG_5894.JPG Little diy cable upgrade (cable is official senns copper cable) . O lot easier now with the 3,5mm connector IMG_5898.JPG
    Alistair Wint likes this.
  14. sennsay
    Oooh .. they look nice, good job! I am totally new to this thread and topic, as I have not really investigated the HD540Rs as a topic here, been meaning to for ages.
    I have an original pair - 28 years old now! - of HD540 Reference cans that probably got one of the last pair of original pads left in Australia some years ago, I had to make a set of the foam inners. I ADORE these headphones, they do things that no other cans I've owned or listened to in all that time have given me and that includes the HifiMAN HE-400S which I currently enjoy with their new Focus pads (essential and fabulous!). The HD540Rs have many countless hours on them and this is really cool that there is a decent thread here! I have very little idea about the HD560s, the HD540IIs or the Gold models.
    I bought my Valhalla 2 amp last year specifically to run the 540s and I have a new NOS set of matched 1968 Amperex 6DJ8 Orange Globe tubes about to appear on my doorstep today or tomorrow. I bought them on the recommendation of Tom from Schiit Audio, as he uses these slightly warmer and more detailed tubes for his own Senn cans, HD650s/700/800. After so many years of listening to the 540s, enjoying their sheer joy of life, rhythm and musicality, I have always been aware of the rather exposed upper mids of them, which CAN make them sound a bit bass light, they aren't really - the number of times I could have sworn I left the speakers on is just uncanny - they just do bass differently from anything else I've heard, basically by NOT adding a mid bass hump and blurring the timing and detail with extra warmth.
    I'm probably not telling you guys (and gals?) anything new :) The reason I bought the Amperex tubes though was to assuage the tendency to harmonic leanness in the mids and push vocals just a bit too forward, to just ease back a little on that balance and fill the bass out a little more. I'm really looking forward to hearing them!
    Now, I could go back over many many pages of this thread, or I can just ask here if there is any new information on where decent pads - maybe something like the excellent Focal pads for the HE-400Ss - can be bought from, inner foam etc. Also, cables. Silver would probably be horrific with them, making the mids even leaner and brighter, possibly - not always the case though, as my pure silver Slinkylinks IC cables are supremely neutral - and the connecters into the capsules need to be a bit better than the ones I bought on eBay some time ago to make up some cables myself, using Mogami mini quad No2893, as per the Merkl mods I have on my old Denon AH-D1000 cans. The Mogami is ok with the HD540Rs, the connecters are rounded pins though and the originals are flat and don't stay in that well. I would love to hear some ideas from you guys! My original cables I still have, the ones with the balanced to 6.5mm plug on the end. I suspect they are copper and steel cables and don't really help with the exposed mids of the cans themselves, yet they rock! The two channel wires have separated apart from each end ... well it's been 28 years! Currently I'm using some cheap standard replacement cables from Sennheiser, again bought a few years ago, though I've often gone back to the original cables.
    Nothing I've heard since 1989/90 has such a completely out-of-the-head soundstage like these things, it's like the bones of my skull have disappeared! This has always fascinated and amazed me, even today.
    I would love to hear some of the variants of this great headphone! Did the HD540 II's smooth out the sound balance, or was it just a tiny upgrade ... maybe? Cheers and I look forward to any future conversations.

    P.S. I've read that the HD560 Ovation copper cables fit the 540s and if so, where might I find some?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  15. sennsay
    YES! Exactly! They engage like a bastard :) Oh do they ever! I was listening to Ricki Lee Jones on Naked Songs (live) a few days ago - the Valhalla 2 doing the honours - and talk about riveting! Not possible to do anything else except close my eyes and be there with Ricki and the audience in that space. Wow. Her voice so focused and THERE.
    Now, if the new Focus pads for the HE-400S's can bring such an astonishing improvement to everything, what might such pads do for the Senn HD540R's? Someone somewhere must have created some really good pads for them?

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