Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by hairspray, Jun 29, 2013.
  1. jon parker
    Hi, Ive tried a few pads on my own HD540 but the best by far are the following from eBay. They are softish velour but are firm and not very thick (in height)

    I tried the brainwave velour/pleather pads which although very good gave too much space between the drivers and the ears so although accurate they were a tad light in the low end
    In a subtle way though they were just not quite 'right'

    [Personally] I wouldn't go for silver cables as the HD540 are so sublime in their balance and accuracy the extra potential 'zing' from the silver may change this?
    You can buy a new cable from Sennheiser spares - The older cables can be steel! but the newer replacement ones you can buy now are copper

    here is the official site for Sennheiser spares - search for HD 540 - cable is top left!
  2. sennsay
    Thank you, jon, that's terrific. I see they show two types of pads there, did you go for the pleathery type ones, or the velour? I know you said velour in your post, but there will likely be a sonic difference between the two, just to clarify. I've just replaced the stock pads on my HifiMAN HE-400S cans with the Focus pads which are pleather on the sides and velour on the flat face, stunning!! They are very aptly named indeed. Like lifting a blanket from the lower midrange on down with stunning clarity. So, I say this knowing the difference that the pleather (sides, at least) can make, certainly with the HE-400S's. I feel that the HD540R's need filling out in the bass to balance the sound into being truly amazing. I like how there are new foam discs with the pads, I had to make my own temporary ones when the old ones disintegrated. Do you find the oval ear opening focuses the sound at all? More control? Sorry to ask so many questions, these cans have been treasures for 28 years now and it's very exciting to be able to improve them further :) I have a set of obviously quite basic copper cables (thinnish and soft) from Sennheiser spares in Australia, I don't think they're particularly awesome, but they do for now.
  3. jon parker
    These were the Brainwavez ones I tried:
    I felt they had a very articulate and accurate rendering of the music but were just too far from the ears :/

    The velour ones from ebay are the ones I use now - They just work the best 'over all'
    For me the problem is that the 540's are so good [reference quality] it can be quite subtle the differences with for example
    different pads. They are so close to being perfect [in one sense!] that Im quite fussy about them
    Ive been using a nice tube amp for a while now instead of my more neutral NAD 1980's amp so this also has an influence

    There is another pad which I have bought 4 of now because they are so dam good and stupidly cheap for AKG 240's (sextett, DF & 280)
    they are super soft velour that just do something magic with all the AKG 240's I havent tried them yet on the 540

    MagiDeal Replacement Ear Pads Cushions for Sennheiser HD250 HD540 HD560 HD560II

    Anyhoo, with the brainwavez I they actually become O shaped on the headphone, they loose their ovoid shape
    For me foam discs tend to subtly warm up the highs with the AKG's al;though thinking about it I think they a re fine the Senns . . . but it depends like everything headphone related on so many other conditions!
    I have quite a few old Senns / AKG's so it just depends n what moods my ears are in - sometimes Im more into a warm analog tube scene
    other times I like the more reference type of sound through colder more analytical solid state amps :)
  4. sennsay
    Ah yes, tube amps :) I have the Shiit Audio Valhalla 2, with new Amperex 1968 NOS Orange Globe tubes coming today. The stock input tubes are very neutral and don't really ease the mid forward balance at all, hence the recommendation from Tom at Schiit for the Amperex versions. I am VERY much looking forward to hearing them!
    Foam discs, yes, mine are thinner than they probably ought to be, it's all I had available and likely to be not sonically ideal. See attached photo.The pads on the HD540R's are the last replacements from Sennheiser OZ some years ago and are still in good nick, despite some slight fading around the edges. They are soooooooooo comfortable! I'm tempted to get the pleather pads first to see what happens, although they are cheap enough to get both. Your information and conversation is very much appreciated. Cheers!
    P.S The two English sites won't export to OZ.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  5. sennsay
    Actually, there are some nice pads available for the Senn HD222/230 cans, they look remarkably similar, might they be the same size, do you know?
  6. Ophidian
    Bought last week a Senns HD 250 mk1 model (600 ohm) in good shape, fitted them with the same velour pad i'm using for my hd 540 (velour pads of the HD560) and they sound great ! A little more bass than the 540 because of the closed design. 540's can not be beaten by the 250 for soundstage but they are perfect when listening to more bass music !
    Malfunkt likes this.
  7. sennsay
    Good one! Are the HD250's quite detailed too? I've never heard them. Same driver but just in a closed capsule? I'm awaiting new pleather pads for the HD540R's. I DID receive my new Amperex NOS Orange Globe 6DJ8 tubes for my Valhalla 2 yesterday and I've already put some 6-7 hours on 'em :) Fabulous! Total yum for the HD540s.
  8. Ophidian
    The drivers sounds very similar between the 250 and 540, the 250's is quite detailed (rougly the same as the 540)... I will have to listen some more to both to be able to give a better review. But at the moment both complement each other really well depending of the kind of music i'm listening to .
  9. bluzrip
    I finally received my Chinese pads for my HD540s. I have never changed pads on these. Any illustrations or instructions available?
  10. Bostonears
    The pads are mounted via a plastic ring that press-fits into the earcup housing. Just pry the pads off by inserting your fingers into the gap between the plastic part of the earpad and the earcup housing. No twisting or unscrewing involved. Be careful not to damage the plastic rings, as most third party earpads don't come with replacements, so you'll need to reuse those rings.

    Here's what the backside of the pad looks like with the plastic ring in place.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  11. bluzrip
    Thank you for your kind reply. The existing pads on my HD540's are really glued onto the rings. I'm concerned I'm going to damage the rings trying to pry the old pads off. Any additional advice... anyone?
  12. Bostonears
    There shouldn't be any glue holding the earpads to the rings unless a prior owner did that for some reason. Do you already have the earpads off of the headphone housings? Once they're off, you could just cut the old pads off the rings.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  13. jon parker

    Respectfully, actually, when new the headphones come with pads that are attached directly to the plastic ring. Unfortunately you need to separate the pad from the plastic with a razor and as such
    they are not easily reused BUT, luckily you can easily attach new pads by folding over the edge of the pad onto the plastic ring.
    Sometimes though the material is larger than the ring so you have to be careful to keep the part that slots into the ridge is clear or you can trim your new pads

    Edit: sorry Bostonears - I see you have said the same thing! :) I miss read you
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  14. Stfagos
    Hi all, is the general consensus that the reference ii are much better than the reference I and worth holding out for, or are the original hd540 reference worth buying as well?
  15. Hofy
    Buy any 540 you can find, at a reasonable price of course.

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