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Sennheiser HD650 or other alternatives

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
A complete noobie to headphones , but I now have a top notch headphone amp in the form of Audiolab M-DAC.

Seems the best place to get headphones is off internet and the best price I've seen these is here

Sennheiser HD650 Open Dynamic Headphones (Grey) - AccessoryJack


Was originally looking at the B&W P5. I have a budget max of £250.

Don't need any special features like noise cancelling . Dont like closed back.

Prefer open and dynamic sound with natural bass reproduction.

Is the HD650 the best one ?

As I probably wouldn't be able to try before buying ...

Cheers
 

Drubbing

Active Member
There is no 'best' headphone. THe Hd650 is very good and popular, but I think it's very overpriced; the build and materials are quite disappointing for the money. But if you can get them for about $400 that's around what they're worth.

The Beyer 880 is worth a look.
 
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GBDG1

Distinguished Member
You can't really go wrong with the HD650, it is a very well rounded headphone. I've run a side by side comparison between AKG 701, Grado RS1 and HD650 and after that chose to purchase the HD600 (I got a good deal, so it made sense over the HD650)

Wouldn't touch the 701s, they have no bass. Grado RS1s are excellent, but very expensive and uncomfortable.

One under rated element is just how comfortable and fatigue free the Senns are, you can listen for hours at decent volume without any significant after effects. There might be other headphones that suit your taste better, such as getting more bass from something like Ultrasone or Beyer, but if you can't test before hand then Senns are a safe bet, and you wont be disappointed.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
You can't really go wrong with the HD650, it is a very well rounded headphone. I've run a side by side comparison between AKG 701, Grado RS1 and HD650 and after that chose to purchase the HD600 (I got a good deal, so it made sense over the HD650)

Wouldn't touch the 701s, they have no bass. Grado RS1s are excellent, but very expensive and uncomfortable.

One under rated element is just how comfortable and fatigue free the Senns are, you can listen for hours at decent volume without any significant after effects. There might be other headphones that suit your taste better, such as getting more bass from something like Ultrasone or Beyer, but if you can't test before hand then Senns are a safe bet, and you wont be disappointed.

Thanks for the feedback. Was there much in it between the 650 and 600 ?
 

GBDG1

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the feedback. Was there much in it between the 650 and 600 ?

I've never listened to the 650/600 side by side from the same source, so I couldn't tell you. I like both headphones a lot and I wouldn't be able to pick between them if I was given the choice.

From what I've read, the 650s are supposed to have a slight edge, but not enough for me to worry about. The 650s look a bit better in my opinion, if that makes a difference to you.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
HD600 more rounded and lighter sound. HD650 do add this extra bass veil, which not to mislead is nothing about thumping bass but more this darker sound. Neither is superior to the other, just alternative presentations and misleading numbering

Have demoed both side by side on same sources several times and am still quite content with my HD600. Would depend on your system and genre preferences though. For vocals/pop heavy listening the HD600 is OK but would be tempted by Audio-Technica instead. If you are into classical and jazz then the AKG K701 is a real alternative contender - and also if those are your genres then disregard the HD650 imo
There is no 'best' headphone. THe Hd650 is very good and popular, but I think it's very overpriced; the build and materials are quite disappointing for the money
Perhaps you expect more than plastic for your money, which is a reasonable point to make, but have owned my HD600 for four years and they are absolutely fine. I'm a grown adult and look after my kit. If they fell apart from normal careful usage then no way in hell the HDxxx line would be as popular as they are
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
A bass veil not liking the sound of that , or is it over pronounced bass , or as you say a darker presentation, is this at the expense of overall clarity?. I think when it comes down to it I'll have to make the effort and demo a pair. At least I know some of the options to start with.

Thanks.

:smashin:

As for music tastes... well its changing and I'm experimenting at the moment.

I dont think I tend to listen to just one type ;)
 

Drubbing

Active Member
Perhaps you expect more than plastic for your money, which is a reasonable point to make, but have owned my HD600 for four years and they are absolutely fine.

Less. And plastic that's not cheap looking and feeling would be nice. They probably are durable, but aesthetically, up close, they look cheap IMO.

The Beyers are a good example of making a quality headphone look and feel like one.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
By chance I found this 6Moons review...
6moons audio reviews: Beyerdynamics DT 880

In comparison with the Sennheiser HD600s and HD650s, the Sennheisers are your stereotypical copper cable and the Beyerdynamic DT880 a silver cable, both silver and copper cable from the same company with a similar sound but different voicing. The Sennheiser HD600s and HD650s offer warmth, a texturally rich sound and an engrossing midrange with a certain euphonic quality that is pleasing to many. The Beyerdynamic DT880s, like a silver cable, are fast, clean, with great detail, clarity and separation, albeit somewhat lean in the lower and mid frequencies. It might be best then to pair the Beyerdynamics with a tube amp and avoid silver cabling.
 

Drubbing

Active Member
I find 6 moons reviews have little value. They appear to be little more than sycophantic shill merchants for advertisers. And waxing lyrical on the merits of differing cables reinforces the type of audiophile they're targeting.
 

dlg78

Active Member
A complete noobie to headphones , but I now have a top notch headphone amp in the form of Audiolab M-DAC.

Seems the best place to get headphones is off internet and the best price I've seen these is here

Sennheiser HD650 Open Dynamic Headphones (Grey) - AccessoryJack


Was originally looking at the B&W P5. I have a budget max of £250.

Don't need any special features like noise cancelling . Dont like closed back.

Prefer open and dynamic sound with natural bass reproduction.

Is the HD650 the best one ?

As I probably wouldn't be able to try before buying ...

Cheers

Would highly recommend the 650's, but do listen to them on the end of your system before committing to buy.

The 650's come alive when driven well, but will tend to sound a bit light in the bass if not taken by the scruff of the neck so to speak.

I found this out recently, had been listening to mine through a home made headphone amp bought from ebay - a very nice amp indeed and sounded excellent - I then tried them on an old transistor amp I have, which uses the main amp section to drive the headphone output (instead of a lot of amps which use a cheap additional headphone amplifier) and the 650's suddenly started going a lot deeper in the bass, it was quite a pronounced difference.

I have heard they work very well with the Graham Slee amps too.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
A bass veil not liking the sound of that , or is it over pronounced bass , or as you say a darker presentation, is this at the expense of overall clarity?. I think when it comes down to it I'll have to make the effort and demo a pair. At least I know some of the options to start with.

Thanks.
Darker sound. Sorry but as I do not have them side by side right now and neither are my last comparison fresh, cannot expand further. Googling the phrase yields tons of results though. The comparison of the two sister Senns has been done to death :p
 

penguinpaul

Active Member
Wouldn't touch the 701s, they have no bass

While I wouldn't disagree, I wouldn't say this is totally fair to them.. I have the K702 and I think they sound fantastic... So much detail, really beautiful sound. However, the bass isn't prominent. Well.. OK it's lacking :(
 

mike25

Standard Member
The K702 sound great, the bass is worse on portable equipment but the 702's were never designed for the portable world as they are not very sensitive & want about the same volume level as the HD650's.

They are both chalk & cheese, IMO sounding totally different but they compliment each other nicely, the 650's are not that dark.
 

Drubbing

Active Member
The K702 sound great, the bass is worse on portable equipment but the 702's were never designed for the portable world as they are not very sensitive & want about the same volume level as the HD650's.

It's not volume that makes them sound better, it's the power that provides it. A cheap $50 portable amp can make them go loud, but they'll still sound poor. Power is what makes the difference. Extra available volume is a side effect of power.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Quick update ...

Just listened to Sennheiser HD650 HD598 and then finished off with an audtion of the HD800 @ 1K:rolleyes:.

Since the purchase of my audiolab M-DAC I've been loving the impressive scale , openness and improved dynamics both in bass and treble. There seems to be endless top end with no harshness ( after a warm up period from new ). Luckily I was able to demo with an M-DAC as the headphone amp.

Demo was fed from audiolab CDQ cd to M-DAC, music was Blue Nile - A Walk Across the Rooftops - a mixture of some elegant guitar strings funky bass and synth effects . And then briefly another CD accoustic guitar, some piano can't remember the details.

First the HD598, had a pleasing forward and lively sound, nice and spacious. The top end was very revealing , but was a bit edgy for my tastes. Not harsh as such but may have been tiring for long listens. There was noticably more background hiss on quiet passages than the 650's, which was there but less noticable. The headphones felt fairly light and comfortable. They looked good as well, modern white all over with tan ear pads.

I kept swapping and repeating the same passage of play and I found that the HD650's were a very capable headphone and different to the 598's. More polished sound, but not as fun and lively as the 598. The top end was rolled off and I would have preferred a little more range here. Also they seem to have gone over board with the velour pads and were bit heavier to wear than the others. Not over bearing , but was more aware of them.

After the two auditions I reported my findings to the Audio T consultant. I was really after a headphone which gave me the good qualities of both sets. I'm not sure whether headphones require running in and perhaps the slight edginess of the 598's might soften slightly. With that in mind he persuaded me to have a quick listen to the HD800's and guess what ... yup, pretty much ticks all my requirements in what I like and as above was both lively and controlled across the range. Really is a magical headphone. Sorry no in depth analysis hear. I was expecting them to be heavy , by their appearance , but no they're light and although large really place themselve's quite nicely and cup your ears comfortably.

Best start saving :eek: Not sure if I can justify 900/1K so will carry on in new year sales to find alternative ... if there is one.

BTW as reported best buy are closing down this week and have a sale starting Mon.
Denon AHD5000 £599 , Grado Rs-1i £849 Rs-2i £599

With upto 30% off ... any views welcome on the above 3.
 
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Steven

Senior Moderator
Demo where possible before you buy as with any high value consumer electronic purchase. Totally heart the top end Grado's myself. Fast, accurate, just the right balance and none of that treble harshness strangely present in their low/mid end offerings (almost unrelated such is the difference in their top end). Actually preferred them to the HD800 which I find too "correct" (read sterile and boring). Which only emphasises that old thing about system synergy, think the HD800 would benefit from a warmish bass system behind it

As for Denon, will keep saying it they are not for me. They just add a bass bias unnecessarily. Completely understand why they have done it but frustrating for me the bass thump distracts from what is a quite reasonable sound in the rest of the spectrum

Just bear in mind the reason Best Buy did not succeed is that like the rest of the high street they could not compete with the internet: Advanced MP3 Players Grado RS-1i Headphones - Flagship Grado RS Model for Audiophiles (remember cashback sites)
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Grado's next dem then ...cheers.

Can't see myself going over £500 as I started out at £260:rolleyes::facepalm:

If BB can do 30% off then maybe Rs-2i's

Cheers
 

GBDG1

Distinguished Member
If I was buying Grados I would import them from the US. They're so much cheaper over there, it really makes sense to. I imported a pair of SR80s a few years ago without problem.

If you're looking higher end than the HD650 then it makes sense to add the Hifiman HE-4/ HE-5 /5LE into the mix. They use planar magnetic driver, which is supposed to have some benefits over dynamic drivers.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
If I was buying Grados I would import them from the US. They're so much cheaper over there, it really makes sense to. I imported a pair of SR80s a few years ago without problem.

If you're looking higher end than the HD650 then it makes sense to add the Hifiman HE-4/ HE-5 /5LE into the mix. They use planar magnetic driver, which is supposed to have some benefits over dynamic drivers.

Yea noticed the Rs-1i for around $650ish ... will get hit with import tax , not sure how much that will be . Might check to see when a friend of mine is visiting again.

Ok thks will look for those mentioned hifiman models
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
This is no help to you at all but have demoed Audio-Technica AD2000 several times and they are on my to-buy list (long, long term, damn the packed PS3 release sched :laugh:). They are quite coloured so if you want a more natural curve stick to K702/HD600. But I cannot get enough of that AT female vocals mids presentation
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
Grados have immediate audition appeal. They get it by basically attacking your eardrum directly with the agricultural drivers due to their design. I personally think they're the Beats of the audiophile community - underachievers sold with an image that the marketed-to community responds positively to.

No offence - well some offence for sure due to what I'm going to say - to many enthusiasts, but if someone says "I love my Grado" I know they can't really hear for [insert expletive here]. The drivers really can be quite terrible, and illustrate how much a 'wakey wakey' sound due to placing poor drivers right next to the ear will often trump the 'kinda asleep' but far more accurate diffuse field equalised sound of the Sennheiser HD600/650.

I wanted to like the AKG K701's and if I hadn't had them alongside the HD650, I probably would have been pretty happy with them. I had some comfort issues which I don't have with the 650, and also they're far more head-positioning-sensitive in terms of the sound they throw out. Nevertheless very good phones if you get a good fit.

The HD650 has some of the best build quality and product engineering - plastic or not (the major plastic bits are a carbon fibre reinforced resin - not exactly the 'carbon fibre' you probably know, but plastic strengthened with finely chopped carbon fibres - tougher than many other materials, and high-wear areas are steel) - in the headphone world. It also has probably the best outright sound quality of a sub-£800 headphone (The Tesla T1 is the only Beyer to beat it in that regard, but it has a 'drier' sound. Personally I like this better, but if I was doing a value-comparison proposition, the Sennheisers would win hands down every single time).

In terms of build quality, the DT880 definitely has some rough edges in the build execution and this carries on throughout the entire DT-based product range, right up to the T1. Things like the rough adjustment of the headband, the overall coconut look, etc - just does not scream quality in my book, although they are very *robustly* built.
 
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Drubbing

Active Member
Grados have immediate audition appeal. They get it by basically attacking your eardrum directly with the agricultural drivers due to their design. I personally think they're the Beats of the audiophile community - underachievers sold with an image that the marketed-to community responds positively to.

I don't agree. I've an Alessandro MS1 and Grado RS2 and they're both aurally and physically comfy. Lower end Grados can be too treble happy tho. The RS range are smooth and punchy.

Not underachievers, just overpriced outside the US. That's where the Alessandros are better value. Grados marketing is practically non existent. Fanboi's do most of it on forums, with no input from Grado at all.
 

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