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first impresions 650 senn's

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by monkeyboy69, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. monkeyboy69

    monkeyboy69
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    Hi I'm no techy or in the soudn business just your regular joe bloggs

    Well just got myself a pair of senn 650 today , was using senn's hd 280 prior to this and just thought I'd give my untechnical opinion
    Yes the 650 cost more and therefore should be better but .... well read on

    I like my 280's yes they are closed and therefore block out any unwanted distractions from crying children or protests of the washing up not being done, so I salute them for that. I've always felt they gave a good representation of what was played present good treble and quite a thumping base. The cons were the comfort factor which after a good hour just made me feel quite tired and my ears became extremely hot. But I endured this cause they sounded good.

    the 650 initially feel completely different the cups are bigger and surround my ears better and they sit on your head very comfortably. The cable unlike the 280's is straight and not the coiled type, I bonus I feel as I was always garoting myself and can be changed for another if suited. The sound is completely different , bear in mind I probably haven't even broke these in yet. Spatially they sound a lot wider with instrutments easily being picked out, when swapping back to the 280's some tracks tended to sound crowded and different percussion beats were over lapping each other. Never noticed this before. The 650 do sound softer but it does make for a more pleasurable experience. The base is on par with the 280's even though they are open its not as thumping but is far more clear. treble is lovely and clear

    While the 280's were a great headphones and if I'd never listened to the 650 I would have been ignorant but content however after hearing the 650 I think ebay is on the cards next week, 280's may they rest in peace :thumbsup:
     
  2. mattross

    mattross
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    I have the 650s as well, bass is stunning on these things. I've always been a Sennheiser can fan though, so my opinion is biased.
     
  3. ttree sound

    ttree sound
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    I also have the 650s but I find myself losing base energy when using these compared to my speaker set - a pair of PMC FB1s accompanied by a REL Q400E sub. Ther is simply no comparison when using the 650 headphones. The clarity and smoothness is superb but the base is somewhat lacking, the very low notes are just about audible but not enough to enjoy proberly whilst the speakers low notes are far more rounded and full. I have only used them for about a total of 2 hours or so, perhaps they need far more use to "break in." Anyone with similar observasions?
     
  4. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    Most audio fanatics will tell you that the headphones (and new cables) need to settle in for around 100 hours so you should expect some impovement in sound over usage.

    Additionally, the higher impedance headphones like the HD650s do tend to need a headphone amplifier to get the best results.

    Careful it can cost you a lot if you get sucked in to headphone amps though!
     
  5. monkeyboy69

    monkeyboy69
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    ok so could anyone recommend a reasonable priced cable and amp. looking at the price of these headphones am i naive in thinking they came with a good cable?

    also where does the amp sit in the loop
    currently I have 2 ways of getting sound

    source to processor to amp to speakers

    or
    source to headphone

    would the headphone amp sit after the processor or after the source
     
  6. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    You will never achieve that level of bass from headphones, unless you went with something like the Beyer DT770, but then the rest of the sound isnt as good quality and you may very well find them fatiguing - bass being produced less than an inch away from your ear is very different to having a room with bass in it.
     
  7. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    The basic Beyerdynamic DT231 will give you more bass energy than the HD650, with a very similar overall sonic character otherwise. It comes fairly close to even a "Zu Mobius'd" HD650 for one-twelfths of the price, and I'd say it's the more involving phone of the two. For £35, why not give it a try? At the worst case you've got a pair of additional throwaround PC phones.
     
  8. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Do you honestly feel a 231 comes that close to an HD650? Seems pretty unlikely to be fair....
     
  9. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    The headphone amp sits between the source and headphones only, usually a line out though I have read of tape output being used.

    Depends on your budget you might want to checkout http://www5.head-fi.org/forums/index.php? ranging from say a Headsave Classic (£100) to a built for you PPA (£250 upwards) which would be from North America and a lot more besides.

    There are some UK ones to consider:

    White Noise Amps (diy or pre-built)
    Graham Slee Solo (commercial)
    Ant Amber (prebuilt)

    I'll mention that I have the WNA (built for me), and will be trying an Ant Amber soon. I also have a Headsave Classic optimised for my Senns which I use with my PC.

    I think the newer 650 cable is better than the old though now I have an Oehlbach on my 650s - never tried any upgrade cables yet, I bought the Oehlbach as I disliked the very thin original cables.
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    You could also take a look things like the Earmax,and Sugden Headmaster if you're looking upwards in terms of price,and from the US,the Headroom amps are especially well priced currently.
     
  11. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    Well... what I mean is that it's a more entertaining phone to listen to for much less. The transparency isn't quite there with the 231 of course, but you really would be quite surprised how close it does get compared with some other phones bearing in mind the cost differential. Oh yes, I prefer the Oehlbach cables as a replacement for the HD650. The most practical, the most non silly priced. I don't use the HD650 a lot so I just leave the Zu on it. If I did use it regularly, the Techflex on the Zu and the inflexibility of both Cardas and Zu cables would be a pain.

    Ampwise, £450 'commercial' and £300 'diy built' should be the starting budget of a 'proper' HD650 amp. If you fancy a bit of DIY, £200 or thereabouts will get you some good sounding amp kits... and if you're feeling brave, the World Audio Design HD83 is an excellent DIY tube amp. It's the simplest tube amp to build yourself, although high voltages mean that you should work carefully. Below that, receivers, integrated amps, etc might actually do just as good a job (although with those it's admittedly a bit of a crap shoot). Did you have something like that in mind monkeyboy69, less, or more by 'reasonably priced'?
     
  12. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    I see your point... I've got the 531 and I find that in a similar way, maybe not as good in the hifi sense but ultimately more entertaining to listen to, just didnt expect the 231 to sound that close.... I actually sold my 650's when I had them to get the 531's back!
     
  13. ipodstudio

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    monkeyboy69, just wait a while....those HD650s will sound a whole lot better after around 200 hours burn-in; don't worry if they start to sound strange sometimes during that burn-in period, as often the sound will change several times before finally settling.

    People often forget that putting a rig together is about synergy: it's about putting several components together in order to achieve a sound that is to your particular acoustic taste and is a bit more complex and subtle than simply basing your choice on price category alone.

    There are many amps out there that match well with HD650s. Why? Many people like and respect the HD650s and they are reasonably priced within their class; as such many amp-builders and manufacturers build amps with Sennheiser in mind. That said, they all sound pretty different and what one person may love, another may hate. You'll probably find this article to be interesting.
    Try having a look in the headphone amp galleries; those will give you a good idea of what's actually out there and give you some specific amp names that you can later search on, anywhere on the net. Then read some reviews on the various sites (ipod studio, headwise, head-fi, 6 moons etc..) until you start getting an idea of how those different amps perform. Armed with that info you can at least make a partially-informed decision if you can't actually get your hands on one to audition.
    I personally use the HD 650s together with my Larocco Full Monty PPA-based amp. It's a beautifully detailed yet silky performer and to my ears it pairs perfectly with the HD650s via certain rig combos, but not all.
    To give you an example: I recently tried a combination of Arcam FMJ CD33t CD player source, full monty amp, Cardas NR ICs and a Zu Mobius upgrade cable for the HD650s: it was awful!! Compared with other combos I'd tried, this was one of the worst, yet it was also one of the most expensive (what is that, $5000 worth of equipment?)....The detail was no longer fun to listen to, nor did it have that silky, fluid appeal that I've become so spoilt by. Instead the sound was ultra-detailed, piercing, fatiguing to my ears and unnatural...

    The system that sits on my desk as I write this is a Denon DCP-150 portable cd player, full monty amp, Zu Cable Pivot RCA-Mini connects and a Cardas v2 HD650 cable: this system is far cheaper than the previous one due to the source costing about 15 times less yet to my ears it's way more enjoyable than the Arcam setup described.

    It's a tough decision to make if you want to get it as right first time as possible but via some good research you'll probably get alot closer than by guessing by price range.


    ....and we haven't even got into tube amps or solid state/tube combos, yet....

    With regard to cables, you really have to test these yourself and should think about this as the last link. I've so far tried the Zu Mobius, Cardas v2 and the stock cable, with the Moon Audio Silver Dragon currently on order. So far the Cardas has come closest to achieving what I need a cable to achieve within the combos I've tried. That said, I'm about to pick up another Mobius to test within this particular rig; it may well be perfect for this one....

    Good luck and happy hunting! :smashin:
     
  14. extremelydodgy

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    The advice that a few people have given about the HD650 requiring burn-in is a reasonably good one, because it does change a bit. Many have said it changes a lot after a few hundred hours. I've been through a borrowed and new HD650 and I can say that after a few hundred hours of playback (not necessarily use), there's been no hugely revelatory change in the sonic character. Perhaps the reason for this is because the HD650's are by no means the only headphones I listen to.


    www.head-fi.org is THE place to check out opinions. It's got the largest collection of knowledgeable and experienced people on the internet concerning this subject matter. But maybe I'll throw in other amp suggestions:
    The World Audio Design (www.worldaudiodesign.com) HD83 tube amp, as referred to before is a lot of amp for £200 (kit). It's simple in execution but it's ability to be a "slightly" tubey amp in tone means that it avoids the smudging and over-colouration of a traditional tube amp. Surprisingly capable and a fairly neutral sounding amp (which lends itself quite well to the HD650), I've compared it with tube amps costing ten times as much and it comes off very respectably.
    The "PPA" (www.laroccoaudio.com, www.jmtaudio.com) is popular as a higher-end DIY amp. It's variants have a generally nice tone (silky, as referred to before) although this is dependent on the opamps selected, but are universally not very transparent and technically somewhat limited, even when heavily upgraded. The PPA will not maximise the capabilities of the HD650, and they're most suited to pairing with more basic sources because they will make them sound nice... so it's best not to go balls-out with the upgrades. If you want one my advice is to keep it simple.
    The "PIMETA" (www.jmtaudio.com) is a relative of the PPA and is actually nearly as good as a basic PPA, for much less.
    The Ray Samuels (www.raysamuelsaudio.com) HR-2 is a good amp, with less affectation to the sound than the PPA and more capable of scaling up with better sources. It's shipped price is £500ish (you can get around some duty if you give R.S. precise shipping details) and is worth it IMO. The XP-7 from the same company is quite a good amp. The basic battery powered version is just a shade more capable than a 'Deluxe' Larocco PPA (although it doesn't sound quite so 'lush' with the default opamps, which you can change as well) and is quite a bit cheaper. Their new fully portable SR-71 is also generating interest but I can't tell you anything about this one. The one standout thing about Samuels amps is their standard of construction... absolutely top notch.
    The Sugden (http://www.sugdenaudio.com) Headmaster has a bit of tin in it's sound... I've not tried the HD650 out of it, but I found it slightly harsh with (admittedly much brighter) headphones such as the DT880. It's not bad technically though, and is the only reasonably priced headamp with a remote if I'm not mistaken.
    Kevin Gilmore is an interesting bloke who hangs around on Head-Fi and Headwize. He has some very definite opinions about how amps should be made, and publishes his designs for other builders to make. www.headamp.com is probably the most complete 'offerer' of his designs. I haven't tried any of his stuff, but thanks to the US dollar fall now, all the stuff is reasonably priced. Check out lots of opinions on www.head-fi.org.
    One manufacturer which shouldn't be overlooked is Germany based Meier-Audio (www.meier-audio.de), once again you'll find lots of views on head-fi. I think pbirkett on this board had a Corda, so you can ask him opinions about that. Dr. Meier is a really nice guy to do business with (although unfortunately I've never bought any of his own amps from him! :D ).

    I hope to have more relative opinions on the British made amps that StevieDVD mentioned in time.
     
  15. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    Monkeyboy69

    A small point but you don't show your location in your threads so if you are UK based then one set of recommends may be vaid, if you are US based you have a better selection (and probably cheaper prices too).
     
  16. suzywong

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  17. monkeyboy69

    monkeyboy69
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    well I'm overwhelmed with the response , thank you all, plenty of sites and information to look over.

    yes - I'm uk based
    running the senn 650 from either arcam dv27 or fmj dt26 (despite the reviews by some I actually like this bit of kit) with an av8 as a processor , hence the question from the source or through the processor.
     
  18. ipodstudio

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    monkey boy69, the HD650s pair well with the Arcams but it's easy to put together a system which can be too analytical, which was the case with the one system I described.
    Good luck and have fun!
     

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