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Sennheiser Hd-650 and an AMP

Discussion in 'Headphones & Portable Music' started by Carnagerover, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have today purchased the Sennheiser HD-650's. They should be with me in the next couple of days.

    I plan on mostly using them on my PC, to watch movies and listen to music at night. I have a Creative Labs X-FI elite pro that i am going to connect them up to which has CMMS-3D which makes Stereo movies sound very nice i must say.

    I will also connect these to my Logitech Z5500d's via the headphone port on the control box.

    My questions:

    Do i need an amp to make the most of these, will the Creative control box and the Logitech amp the headphones or is that something completely different ?

    Also i want to watch some movies with Surround sound that downmixes to the headphones using Dolby headphone and the DTS one. Now Powerdvd has some of these features i beleive, will they be any good ?

    Should i buy an AMP ? if so are there ones that amp as well as hadle 5.1 surround sound excluding the pioneer and phillips ones ?


    Any help very con........fused :confused:
  2. Malice2009

    Malice2009 Guest

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    hi
    i don't really know what all those items are u mentioned.
    I tested those X-FI with my headset, and i don't know if it were teh software settigns on that X-FI, but it sounded rather bad. Not at all what i expected to hear. I have yet also to hear what my HD650 can produce, but i certainly hope it's more then what i heard from that soundcard.

    A headset amp seems absolutly necessary!
  3. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    I would have though it was the settings that were set on the software. I have other earphones plugged into the X-FI at the moment because i am waiting for my HD650s to arrive.

    The ones i am using at the moment go plenty loud enough, its when i have them plugged into my Logitech Z5500d's when playing xbox, its quite low then.

    I would like an amp with Dolby Headphone that doesnt come with any headphones and plugs in as appose to be portable
  4. firefoxx

    firefoxx Member

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    The HD650's are very capable - not the best thing for films imo.

    you definitely want an amp with them though, depending on your budget, a creek or graham slee. I don't know if its worth shelling out on somehting expensive though if you're only going to be watching films.
  5. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Why are they not the best thing for films. I wanted some headphones that dont sound tinny, i looked around and these are supposed to be the best you can get as far as headphones are concerned. I will be using them for Music as well.

    What will and amp do that my X-FI wont, on the current headphones i am using it is very loud?
  6. Malice2009

    Malice2009 Guest

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    those headphones need a lot of power to get some good sound out of them!
    And those headset amps do that trick. These X-FI soundcards are purely made for gaming and perhaps some movie watching.

    I tried my HD650 on a lot hardware already, and even surround systems that are supposed to give good sound don't even remotly come close to what it should sound, without the help from a headphone amp.

    i believe the X-FI only has a small plug ... it really isnt what you want to combine with a hd650, imo.
  7. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    I should be getting the headphones in the next couple of days so i will let you know about the X-Fi using the control box headphone input. I am worried about my xbox 360 though, i know that the HD's are not going to be very loud on that.

    This would require me to get a headphone amp that has got optical or coax inputs on it to give that some wallop.

    Ideally i need an amp that has analog and digital connections and that has dolby headphone and pro logic 2 for the stereo upsample to 5.1

    You may have seem my other post about a swap, if anyone wants to swap an amp for some sure ec5's then let me know :)
  8. alexface

    alexface Guest

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    I had this same problem I wanted to hook my 650's up to my pc as well as my other kit but my soundcard only has rca inputs and I don't know what soundcard has rca outs
  9. riverpug

    riverpug Guest

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    No soundcard will power HD650 sufficiently alone. You can gain enough volume, but that's not the point (in fact I think even an IPod can give enough volume with them). To use simple terms, amps with power untangle different instruments, tighten and separate each one of them. Lack of power results in a big mixed soup of sound. Think of it like putting a beef steak, vegetables, starter, desert all in a bender and turning them into a drink - it's all there, but not the same as having them separately.

    Personally, I think HD650 is an overkill without having a good amp ($300 upward). I think the likes of Gilmore Lite is the bear minimum if you want to get something out of those cans. Otherwise you might just as well pay less for HD580 or 600 (or lower) and you would still hear the same-ish result.

    The so called digital analogue converter (DAC) is another option. They plug directly into USB and converts the signal into analogue which headphones/speakers can understand. That way you can bypass the crap circuitry onboard a soundcard. Micro line of product is probably a good start, though there are many others. At any rate you would have to go pretty far equipment-wise if you wanted to squeeze every droplet of juice out of HD650.

    As for RCA input/output, you can just buy adapter cables from any audio accessory store. They then just plug straight into each other.
  10. alexface

    alexface Guest

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    Sorry if I'm being foolish - but how does a converter help me? I have tried plugging the headphone amp into the rca connections on the soundcard and no sound comes out - so do you mean rca to 1/4 jack - if so how does that help as it would then be plugged back into the original bad headphone socket
  11. NicolasB

    NicolasB Active Member

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    Trying to drive HD650s directly from a sound card might work or it might not - hard to be sure. The most obvious use for a headphone amp is if you're listening to something like a CD player: if you take the line-level output of the CD player and plug that into a good headphone amp, then drive the headphones with that, this often sounds lot better than plugging your headphones into the headphone socket of your (speaker) amplifier or pre-amp. This isn't because of any magical properties of the headphone amp, it's simply that many manufacturers spend about 50 pence on their amplifier headphone sockets because they know hardly anyone will ever use them. The problem often isn't lack of power but simple distortion and noise.

    In cases where you have to choose between plugging your 'phones straight into the source or passing the same signal through a headphone amp first, it's much less clear-cut. It depends whether the source is capable of producing enough voltage (for high impedance 'phones) or enough current (for low impedance 'phones). There's no way for a headphone amp to clean up the signal, so it won't be any less noisy or distorted. This is certainly useful if you're trying to drive something like HD650s off something that's powered by batteries (as such devices tend to hobble the output power to improve battery life). A PC sound card I don't know about. Is the X-Fi powered entirely from the PCI slot, or does it have its own independent connection to the PC power supply or to the mains? If it has its own dedicated power connection, that might suggest it has enough power to do what it needs to do. If it's depending on the PCI slot for power, maybe not.

    If you do want to invest in a headphone amp then I recommend the Graham Slee Projects "Solo" amp very highly indeed. I use one myself with HD650s, and it's a superb combination. (Sennheiser thinks so too - they use a Solo amp to demonstrate their headphones at audio exhibitions). But it's not a cheap device.

    Original poster should note that what I think he is referring to as "the Pioneer and Philips devices" are completely different things from what is normally called a "headphone amp". The way they work is to take a digital input signal, and perform Dolby Digital or DTS decoding, then Dolby Headphone processing, and then feed an output to a set of (usually cordless) headphones that is sold as part of the system itself. (Creative's CMMS-3D system is basically doing the same thing inside the PC). A "headphone amp" is simply an amplifier designed to drive headphones rather than speakers - you feed a stereo analogue signal in at one end and plug your (separately bought) headphones in the other.
  12. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Thanks for the last post, very informative. I got my seinhieser Hd-650 headphones today and plugged them into the X-FI's external headphone on the control box.

    This is the version i have:
    http://www.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=208&product=14064

    I was very very impressed with the sound, best i have ever heard, amazing. Worth the money and there not even burnt in yet. :)


    I am looking at getting an amp for my headphones but cant afford the one you have mentioned, i have just finished doing alot of upgrades so money is short. I am trading or possibly selling my shure e5c in ear monitors in the classified to afford this, i am looking to get the value of £250 for my shures.

    What is the best amp i can get for around £250 ?

    Thanks for you post before and hopefully your next one
  13. Grahamhyde

    Grahamhyde Member

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    Sounds to me you need to visit www.head-fi.com for the answer to all your questions.

    After the headpnone amplifier, you may probably want to look at an external DAC, cable upgrade, lossless music as a source to reach an even higher plain of satisfaction.

    Remember, the burn-in time for the headphones from new.

    Also remember how noisy open backed phones are, when played loud (with an amp), to other people in the house and especially late at night when the house is much quieter!
  14. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Does anyone know if this amp is any good for the seinhieser hd 650s. Looking on the reviews it is supposed to be good and is in my budget at £250.

    Oh the amp is the musical fidelity x-can v3

    Thanks

    Stud
  15. riverpug

    riverpug Guest

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    No, I haven't used that amp I'm afraid, so I don't know.

    Incidentally stud, I think getting £250 ish with E5c is tough these days. A brand new one goes for just over 200 if you shop around online, so I would be surprised to see a second hand one go for anything more than that.

    alexface: I think I misunderstood your question, sorry. I thought I read RCA output from your soundcard. If it only has input (that sounds very strange), there isn't a way.
  16. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Which shop can you get some for just over £200, i would be interested in knowing as i only bought mine a few months ago and the best price i could find was £305
  17. riverpug

    riverpug Guest

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    I guess saying "just over 200" is crude of me. Sorry about that. That comment came from my general perception these days that E5/UM2 is a mid 200s grade and well, sometimes covered by the term "just over" colloquially.

    Anyway, I visited a few sites I've know over the years and saw how they are now. PJBox lists it as £285.95, popular US based exporter Earphone Solutions lists $499 which would be about £280. I've seen ebay fall somewhere around in mid 200 as well. So yes, my expression was admittedly too cruel.

    Exact phraseology aside, the point is that I don't know if £250 price tag would cut it for a second hand in today's market. It might do, but I wouldn't be surprised if in some weeks it didn't sell for that.
  18. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    I have put them up now for £220, thats all i need to make the £250, hopefully i will be able to get a half decent amp for that.

    Do you think that is possible or should i save up some more over the coming months.

    I am pleased with my Sen hd-650's, they sound amazing but i would like to get a decent amp to futher the listening experience. I am already hooked on these headphones so i am looking forward to even better things to come.

    :)
  19. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd Member

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    if you pop over to head-fi to get a lot more info on headphone amps we won't bite you, but be prepared for the expenditure that a visit there can instigate.

    The x-can 3 has been popping up recently and getting mixed reactions - good but then they come up for sale.

    With the HD650s (a very good set of cans) you need a decent amp to get the best from them. But be careful of the 'night & day' terms some use as you are getting into an area where a few percent improvement is regarded as 'huge' by some audiophiles.

    The graham slee is a good amp for the 650s which I've only heard once at a meeting. You'll see 2 models - the amp is the same the only difference is the power supply (approx £150 for the upgraded brick).

    Personally I have used amps from cmoys to portables, from kit built to my main amp listed below.

    On head-fi the most annoying thing is that the US members get a better deal and range of options. You can import but may get hit by customs duty & vat etc.

    If you are worried by the looks go for a commercial amp but for better performance for the price the kit build ones are good (you can diy or get someone to build it for you).

    Where are you located? It can help when recommending places or sellers who demo or loan gear out.

    Steve
  20. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    I looked at the Graham Slee one, the solo i beleive its called. That looks great but it is out of my budget.

    The Musical Fid one though i cant find anywhere to buy online.

    I am in Doncaster/South Yorkshire
  21. Reano

    Reano Active Member

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    Hi The Musical Fidelity is absolutely fine for the HD650 I have used that with mine of course others like the solo, graham Slee, Sugden Headmaster and the Grace sound better but they cost almost at least double and upwards. Try eBay for the Musical Fidelity. I still have one but I also have the x10 upgraded power supply so sounds even better
  22. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Hey Reno,

    Do you know of a shop online or anywhere where i would be able to purchase the amp from. Can't seem to find it anywhere :)

    Any info would be good
  23. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Also while i am thinking for a change,

    I have the sen hd 650's and the Shure E5c's, none of which i use with an amp. By the looks of these forums i have been missing out.

    I am going to buy an amp, and a portable amp regardless to the answer to this question but just how much of the sound quality have i been missing out on. ?

    Does all this have to do with the Ohm rating of the speakers in question ?
  24. Reano

    Reano Active Member

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    Best to look on eBay to get amp. As for sound quality it all depends what you used before and what amp your now going to get. I find that the portable amp is a lot better for e5c from say an ipod.
  25. Carnagerover

    Carnagerover Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have never used a headphone amp before, portable or otherwise. I have looked on Ebay but there doesnt appear to be anything decent at the moment that i can see.

    Would you recommend waiting until something appears on there.

    The only thing i did see was a musical fidelity xcan v2 with mods, that was about it.

    Stu d
  26. HighlandeR

    HighlandeR Member

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    Newbie Q.

    Whys everyone going for headphone amps with there Senns?

    Wouldnt a decent Stereo integrated amp, popular choices like the Nad C352 or Cambride Audio 640c be a better choice for quality wise?

    Or does a dedicated headphone amp (£200-300+) do the job better in terms of audio quality?
  27. Daneel

    Daneel Member

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  28. PaulBoy

    PaulBoy Member

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    ... from what I've read here & at head-fi the headphone output on most integrated amps is not that good and almost a token effort for people who might occasionally use it - that said I have read threads about people who have compared some decent headphone amps against a £200-£300 integrated and found little difference - my only experience is a Rega Ear v a Rotel RA-01 and I couldnt find much between them using Senn HD555's (perhaps more expensive phones would - although I have a pair of HD600's on trial at the mo and the Rotel still sounds sweet) ... HTH - Paul
  29. HighlandeR

    HighlandeR Member

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    thx for reply kinda can understand why many jump on a headphone amp, ive only tried some senn HD595s unapped off an X-fi and its good, but amped thru an AV sherwood amp made it obviously alot more accurate/refined and open staged/warmer.

    Id expect little difference with the newer amps/kit with the acception headphone amps are portable and would work great with ipods/mp3/media devices :)
  30. S-H-A-N-E

    S-H-A-N-E Guest

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    I ve had my Sennheiser Hd-650 for about 2 weeks and they are the best , better then HD600 :thumbsup:

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