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High end Sennheisers timely warning!

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Leporello, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Leporello

    Leporello
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    Hi People,

    I have a pair of Sennheiser HD580 headphones which have developed a fault in the cable or right ear piece. I rang technical support at Sennheiser UK for a replacement or repair and in the course of this call I picked up some information, which other users of these excellent 'phones (also the HD600 and HD650) might wish to bear in mind. So I pass it on here.

    Do not switch on your system with these 'phones connected to it. Apparently many systems give a power surge at startup that can melt the copper or alumunium parts in the 'phones. This can happen in a single surge or as a result of leaving the 'phones plugged in, thus giving them repeated jolts and causing the damage.

    I'm a little disappointed that my 'phones failed after only a few days use and don't think that the above is the cause of my problem. I'm returning them (purchased in Germany a couple of weeks ago) to Sennheiser UK and am impatient for them to be returned as they are terrific phones.

    Leporello
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Many thanks for that very useful bit of info....there are a good number of us here using Sennheisers,so I'm sure everyone will be very grateful for that.
     
  3. mattross

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    I think Sennheiser might be making excuses. In the past there have been quite a lot of problems with the connectors on various models. I know this because I have a pair of Ovation 565s with the standard cable and the connection is not great, sometimes when I turn my head [wearing them of course!] I lose the signal in one side.

    Don't have the problem with my 650s, but then I don't use the standard cable on them!
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    That's also a possibility,and one I couldn't confirm either,using a valved headphone amp here,with a very slow startup.
     
  5. Leporello

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    I don't think anyone at Sennheiser was making any excuses. The people I spoke to listened carefully to me. The matter of the power surge was raised during a longer conversation. I was happy to be heard and happy to be 'phoned back promptly as promised.

    By all means remain sceptical or assume the worst about Sennheiser, but I'll bear this warning in mind rather than dismiss it out of hand and risk burning out some expensive cans. :thumbsdow

    Others reading this thread will make their own minds up. So there! :p

    Leporello
     
  6. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Some headphone amps warn STRONGLY against not having headphones plugged in at startup... :D
     
  7. x-pro

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    There is one simple way to tell - if there is a problem, you will hear it as a loud sound (click, boom or whatever) on a switch-on. Well-designed headphone amps will give either very little or no sound at all on startup. I've so far never heard of a headphone blown up by a dedicated headphone amplifier. Integrated amps, receivers etc. - a completely different matter. Some of these could produce a lot of voltage on a headphone output, especially on high-impedance headphones. Safe maximum voltage on Sennheisers 300 Ohm phones, i.e. HD565, 580, 600, 650 is about 5V RMS (that is for the phones, not for your ears!) . There is at least some possibility that a switch-on voltage jump (or a full volume output) of a powerful amplifer can go over this limit.

    So the conclusion is - if you use a decent headphone amp, don't worry, keep your phones plugged in. If you use a high-powered integrated amp, receiver etc. to drive your headphones - take care, especially if there is a loud sound in the headphones when you power up the amp.

    Alex
     
  8. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Eh? Why should an integrated amp or receiver be potentially more damaging? You do know there is resistors in its path dont you? I fail to see where this extra danger you speak of is, unless you have your cans connected to the speaker outputs, in which case I'm not surprised.
     
  9. x-pro

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    Mostly because these can produce a lot of voltage. Common value of resistors on a headphone output is 330 to 470 Ohm. If the amplifier rated 50W into 8 Ohm it can produce at least 20V RMS (probably more into light load) and the voltage across 300 Ohm headphones could easily reach dangerous for Sennheisers levels .

    Alex
     
  10. Leporello

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    if you use a decent headphone amp, don't worry, keep your phones plugged in.
    Alex[/QUOTE]

    Well that's very reassuring to know Alex. Now where might I obtain a decent headphone amp in Crouch End on a cold Thursday evening? :smashin :D

    Leporello
     
  11. x-pro

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    Perhaps it is easier to get on a cold Wednesday evening?

    :)

    Alex
     
  12. StevieDvd

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    I'm sure you can buy one in Enfield ;-) I got mine at 7pm Kings Cross in the coffee shop, honest!

    PS Welcome to avforums Alex.
     
  13. Leporello

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    Perhaps I should have explained that it is/was Thursday to me. I can't really be held responsible for the fact that everyone else starts a day ahead of me. I spoke to my Guru about this and he reassures me that everyone else is out of step.

    Incidentally, I'm listening to some music via the amp right now. You would'nt believe just how good Des O'Connor's Golden Hits sound now. :clown: :smashin:
     
  14. Leporello

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  15. pp312

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    Sorry to say this but I think Sennheiser are feeding you :censored:. The 580 (+ 545, 565, 600) has a long history of connector problems, which Sennheiser has notoriously been in denial about. Apart from fitting a (permanent)replacement cable the only solution is to coat the connectors with a contact enhancer like Caig Pro-Gold. This needs to be done every few months.
    As for surges in systems--crap. I've always left my phones plugged in and never had a problem, nor have I ever heard of anyone else having a problem. Think about it. If amps were liable to blow plugged-in phones at switch on, there'd have been a huge scandal about it years ago. Frankly, it doesn't happen unless the amp is faulty and/or the protection resistor has gone AWOL. No, this is definitely just the latest chapter in Sennheiser's long history of denial, and it's time they started to feel ashamed.
     
  16. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'v had no connector problems with my Senn 600's,but continual problems with the 565's that my son now uses(solved the problem neatly,and an upgrade into the bargain).

    The only thing that seemed to work with them was seating the connector as tightly as possible,and being careful with it......600's....no problems currently.
     
  17. severnsource

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    Have to agree with pp312. All the Sennheiser phones that I've owned, starting with the 414s in 196? have ended up with intermittent connections. Mind you the cable on my first set of 580s lasted nearly as long as the ear pads!

    Bill
     
  18. pp312

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    Actually I had no problems with my 580, but that was probably because I bought them late in the game, long after Sennheiser had been forced by angry consumers to do something about the problem (though unacknowledged). However, at that time the 580 were still in production; there was no incentive for Senn to do anything about the cheaper, by then discontinued phones, least of all admit that there was a problem in the first place. As for the 600s, they use gold connectors and never suffered the problem to the same extent. If your 600s ever do play up, I suggest you consider a bottle of Pro Gold or similar--it's an extremely handy product (albeit expensive). Maybe for your son's 565? You do love him, don't you? :laugh:
     
  19. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I've got enough Kontak should that be required.....given the amount of time he uses them it may be better without! :D
     
  20. Leporello

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    Oh well, bull**** or not, I didn't get the impression that the guy from Sennheiser tech support was feeding me a corporate alibi. He seemed genuine enough to me but I'm a trusting soul. Perhaps he believed his company's party line. Anyway, Sennheiser has had my new 580s for a week now and I'm anxious to get them back in time for the Eurovision Song Contest. The bump titty bump titty bumpy titty bump bump bump bump doesn't sound half as good on my Grados and they make Bruce Forsythe sound kind of corny and Dolly Parton a little forward. :smoke:
     
  21. pp312

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    It's not the Grados that are making Bruce corny and Dolly forward! :rolleyes:

    Incidentally, I don't suggest the Sennheiser guy was telling you a barefaced lie. It's long been corporate policy to pretend this connector problem doesn't exist. Sennheiser probably pretends to its employees as well.
     
  22. Leporello

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    Thanks for the reassurance re. my Grados. I guess the corny and forward sounds of Brucie and Dolly must be down to the microphones they use at their end.

    Well, my HD580s arrived back from Sennheiser this afternoon. That's the good news and the bad? The engineers report read "Cleaned contacts. Headphones tested OK." Bear in mind that these cans were brand new and please assume that I have the technical competence to plug two colour coded connectors in successfully, my experience tends to confirm the opinion expressed here that Sennheiser's warning was a pile of equestrian poo after all. I do hope that my intended good deed of passing on the said poo will not have caused panic amongst the poor and undeserving here. :oops:
     
  23. pp312

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    Add yourself to Sennheiser's long list of undeserving victims! "Cleaned contacts. Headphones tested OK," is a standard Sennheiser catch phrase, and I can assure you the technician who wrote that was very well aware of the contact problem as yours would have been the 23,874th phone to be sent back with just that problem! Never mind, just use a pin to slightly expand the spade connector so that it makes tight contact and use the contact enhancer and all will be well--for about six months at a time. And record yourself in the book of life as a much wiser man than before!
     

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