Sennheiser HD650: Opinions? Best Price?

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
I'm currently thinking about a headphone upgrade. Sennheiser HD650s are a possible choice. Would anyone especially recommend or not recommend them? (I have a fairly respectable headphone amp to drive them - Graham Slee Projects "Solo" mk II).

And what's the cheapest anyone's seen them selling for? Best I've seen to date is ~£230 (including VAT and delivery) from either ProAudio Systems or Andertons Online. (Anyone got anything good or bad to say about either of them?)
 

Daneel

Active Member
You have the 580s don't you Nick? I've heard that the 650s are somewhat different sounding to the 580/600. I suggest you have a read of the forums on Headwize
 

Hawklord

Well-known Member
I too have the hd600's and the GSP solo h/p amp (the mkIII though) after your recomendations:) (many thanks for that!)

I can't imagine anything sounding better than this little set up:eek:

and I've now addressed the issue with improving my source too as I will soon be the proud owner of a Naim CD5i;)


Have you looked at replacing the leads on your current headphones? I seem to remember other ppl having favourable results over the standard leads.
 

cwick

Novice Member
Maybe it's worth popping down to the Bristol show this weekend if you're close ? The Senn stand has a pair of HD600s and 650s, both hooked up to individual Solo heap-amps. I thought the 650's sounded pretty nice in comparison - a little clearer, and tighter on the bottom end. Too much ambient noise to really appreciate either, and the source material wasn't familiar, but I'm already thinking that maybe I need some 650's at home so I can leave the 600's at work :D

I think they're on offer at the show for £250 and, if you're really lucky, you might win a pair in the prize draw.

And in other headphone related news ... also spotted some Grado SR somethings attached to the Creek headphone amp, and some HD600's connected to that WAD (?) self-build valve amp.

Cheers, Carl.
 

Hawklord

Well-known Member
There is a nice little review of the HD650's in this months Hifi Choice:)
If you can't get hold of a copy this is what they had to say in summary:-

Sound 95%
Comfort 88%
Build 92%
Value 91%

Overall 93%

Pro's- Fantastically detailed sound in the best possible way, never forcing detail on the listener and impeccably balanced

Con's- Fairly tight headband could become a little uncomfortable for some listeners. A coiled lead might be friendlier

Conclusion:-
One of the most impressive hi-fi experiences we've had in a while, with a worryingly substantial advance in what we had regarded as "high resolution" sound quality. Does far more than merely make headphones acceptable for late nights.


So I think they liked them:smashin:
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Did they compare them to anything else?

Btw, Hawklord, I'm glad you like the Solo/HD600 setup. (Always a relief to know that someone who has bought something even partly on my recommendation isn't sitting there wishing he had ignored me! :smoke: )
 

brendan

Standard Member
I use 650s with a Corda ha-2 headphone amp and a Arcam cd93t cd player.The 650s are very detailed with very good bass extension and clear treble.Apparently the performance can be improved by replacing the supplied cable.

Brendan
 

Hawklord

Well-known Member
They didn't compare them to anything else within the review but did add that even though the Bererdynamic's Dt990's as well as various high-resolution speakers recently on the market were all very tasty, the HD650's moved the whole resolution game up a level or five.

With regard to the solo/hd600's I can safely say I have never heard anything like the sound I get through them. It puts my normal listening set up into perspective and only goes to highlight it's limitations unfortunately. I would Imagine having to spend many £000's of pounds to get the same level of detail and soundstage the headphones and amp give when listening to both music and movies. The only plus I can see with my conventional set up over it is the fact that the subwoofer adds an extra dimension with feeling bass even though it doesn't go down as low as the hd's.

Although I did buy the solo blind (it seems very difficult to find many dealers with a variety on offer any how)and have nothing else to compare it to I'm perfectly happy with the results the combination gives me. The best £550 I've ever spent :D
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
With regard to the solo/hd600's I can safely say I have never heard anything like the sound I get through them.
:smashin:

:D

I've said it before, I'll no doubt say it again - it's quite remarkable just how much difference there is between a "bog-standard" headphone system and a good (£150+) pair of 'phones paired with a good (£350+) headphone amp. People always think I'm just being pretentious when I say "you shouldn't write off headphone-listening until you've tried a system like this" but it really is true! :p


Daneel, cwick, brendan - thanks for the feedback!
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Hi. I am not at that level, but I also have some Sennheiser headphones (sr-40) (cordless ones), I use them without dedicated amp, but the sound is really good. In fact, it is much better than my actual hifi system... I need to upgrade!
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Well, (obviously?) a dedicated headphone amp isn't any use with cordless 'phones....

Maybe you should just abandon the rest of the system and stick with headphones? :)
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Ups! Of course, you are right... (I think)... Sometimes I am more stupid than usual...
Yes, your advice is a good (and cheap) one... Unfortunately, I got already too deep into this game, and I am already going for auditions to find some nice speakers (B&W 603 and Klipsch RF 15 are top in my ranking, by now!)
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
In my opinion, to get an amp/speaker system that sounds as good as Sennheiser HD600s with a "Solo" amp (total cost ~£550), you'd have to spend comfortably over £5000. (Obviously that depends on how you weigh up sound purity and sound staging).
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
I can believe you... Just take a linear approx of your rule, and think that my heaphones were around 80 euro, that means I'd need to spend minimum 750 euros in an amp/speaker set (stereo). Well, I think it can easily be the case... Minimum!! I think the B&W's I heard are better than my headphones... But they are 1000 euros the pair!
On the other side, it is difficult to compare, because as Hawklord said, the bass sound is not the same just in your ear as in your whole body. And this is actually the only thing that makes me think about investing the money! Otherwise I'd try to find some headphones with surround (nowadays they are pretty good, I've read..).
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
If earth-shaking bass is your priority, you should think about investing in a subwoofer rather than new main speakers.
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Not really. I don't mean just the earth-shaking bass. At say 80 Hz or more I can also find some feeling that I can't get with headphones. I'd say in the headphones you get the music, but with speakers you can make it alive. Not just because I feel it in the guts. I can't explain it, but that is what I feel... Maybe I'd need to know more english.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Another thing that's worth saying about bass is - it depends what you mean by bass. :)

I like to listen to classical music. Sometimes that includes a big pipe organ. An organ with a 32-foot stop produces a LOT of sound in the 16-31Hz range. Compare that with the stated response range for B&W 603s: 44Hz - 22kHz, -6dB at 34Hz. That means that if you try to listen to a piece like this on 603s, the entire bottom octave simply dissappears. HD600 'phones, on the other hand, have a stated response range of 12Hz to 39kHz. You may not feel that bottom octave in your gut, but it sure as hell makes your head vibrate! :)
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
:) Good to know! Can you tell me what piece of art is that? I'd like to try and play it, to see what it feels like...
12 Hz!! I believe you have a beautiful piece of kit! Man, I want to be rich... You know, once I put a 5 Hz sinus into my sub, and it was funny to see how the membrane was moving, but no sound at all! It is not a very good one, I think it reaches -3 dB at 35 Hz, maybe at 30...

On the other side, think about the equivalent to your headphones in speakers... It must sound magnificent!

BTW, I bought the headphones for late listening, and it was then when I realized that somehow I was getting more at night than in the rest of the day... (hey, I am talking about music and movies!)...
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
12 Hz!! I believe you have a beautiful piece of kit! Man, I want to be rich...
Well, as I said, you can buy Sennheiser HD600 headphones (or even the new HD650s) and a good headphone amp, all for the same price as a pair of B&W603s. So you don't have to be rich - you just to have to care more about being able to hear 12Hz than you care about being able to hear 44Hz through speakers. :)

You'd have serious problems finding stereo speakers that can go down to 12Hz. There are very few which even go as low as 20. (B&W's £11,000 Nautilus 800 hits -6dB at 25Hz). There are plenty of subwoofers that can't usefully go that low. This forum used to be madly in love with the Velodyne HGS-18. It is/was one hell of a subwoofer, and many people felt it was good value at a bit over £2000, but even that's only officially rated down to 14Hz. If you want to spend £15000 on a Velodyne 1812, that'll take you down to 7Hz, but not many people have that kind of money.

Come to think of it, if you've got £35,000 to spend on a pair of the original B&W Nautilus speakers (not forgetting that you will need no less than eight top-notch monobloc power amplifiers to drive them, which will cost several thousand pounds each) that will get you down to about 10Hz. :)

The best recording I have ever come across for headphone listening is this one: (click here). It is actually designed to be listened to on headphones, and the soundstaging is a bit odd on speakers. But any good-quality recording of the same pieces made using a good organ (the sort of thing you'd find in a cathedral or a really big concert hall rather than your local church) should similarly be thrashing the 16-31Hz range.
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
I don't know if it is -3 dB at 15 Hz, or -6 (Magnat rate really bad!), but the Omega 530 is enormous! You can find it in www.magnat.de, it just pops up when you load the page.
And the vintage 990 of Magnat is also rated to go down to 10 Hz, although I don't know if -3 or -6, again...
Anyway, I listened to the vintage 650 (top of the magnat line after the 990) and compared with the B&W 603, and they lost in the comparison because the high freq were too enhanced and the low bass was simply not there. Kind of an agressive sound that I found in both Canton and Magnat. I have Magnat at home, and I want to change them...

But ok, I got your point :)
And thanks for the link!
 

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