Sennheiser HD650

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Proctimus Prime, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Proctimus Prime

    Proctimus Prime
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    Wow, i just received this headphones and they have blown me away.
    Ive read so many reviews on them, and now i can finally experience them. Im not using a headphone amp, and ive only just got them so there not 'burned' in either and they still sound INCREDIBLE. Im scared as to think how good these will sound once they have been used for 100 or so hours and once i have a decent amp.
    Would just like to point out that i don't have an amp of any sort, these are just running straight into my laptop and they run fine. Although im still yet to hear what they sound like through an amp, just a heads up to those thinking that these will sound rubbish without an amp. Because they don't!
    All kinds of music ive played through them, movies, games they are great with everything! I am yet to be dissapointed with them! :thumbsup:

    PS - Don't know why people have said these are uncomfortable, i could wear them all day!
     
  2. StevieDvd

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    Until you've actually heard them with an amp you can't really say this. The difference is not a big as some make out i.e not rubbish unamped to brilliant amped.

    The Senns are very scaleable in that they will be fine with a budget amp and will be just as good if not better with a top of the range one.

    It's a bit like hiring the Stig to drive a Fiat Panda, yes he'll drive it well and marginally better than you or I. But give him a Ferrari, Porsche etc he will leave us standing.:)
     
  3. NicolasB

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    They're also generally fine with no amp at all. The only time I've ever had problems was trying to run them off a battery-powered MP3 player; that really didn't work at all. But anything driven from the mains seems to work quite acceptably.
     
  4. naimbrain

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    I'm running the older Senny HD600s through a World Designs HD83 valve headphone amp that I built from a kit. Agreed Sennys aren't rubbish without an amp, but through a high quality dedicated headphone amp they're utterly unbelievable. That said, I think the HD83 was about £350 last time I looked, a lot to blow on spec.

    With amp, without amp?... it's not an important question. The big question is are you happy with them? If yes.. no problem.
     
  5. anadin

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    OMG what planet are you lot on.

    They are a 300ohm design they only really 'sing' when they have a good dedicated headphone amp backing them up . . . if you ever plug them straight into your laptop or iPod and think they sound good then you need to go and see a shrink.

    I don't mean to be nasty but you people need to know the Sennheiser HD650 need a heck of a lot of power to be driven to anywhere near there full potential.
     
  6. alexs2

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    If you dont mean to be nasty,try replying politely.

    If you'd read the replies above,you would see that most if not all recommend the use of a good amp,and that those posts which say that they work without,are saying exactly that...they do work,but they do not make comments as to the full potential.
     
  7. me-uk

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    I like my pair of HD650s however I do think they lack the 'wow' factor I get w/ grados. I do believe however that they are capable of sounding 'decent' unamped and are alot less 'fussy' than grados.
     
  8. hughwi

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    I got a pair of HD650's yesterday, and i have to say, after reading pages and pages of threads about which amp to buy, and what a necessity it was to have one, i was ready to be disappointed when i plugged them directly into my laptop, ok, so they may not sound as good as they potentially could, but they sound a hell of alot better than the headphones i was using previously (HD497)!

    I have an amp on its way, so i will be able to comment on their amped performance soon.
     
  9. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    Actually the Grado are a lot less fussy. Easier to drive than the HD650 and less need for an amp, especially the lower end of the line.

    However, they are better for certain kinds of music such as rock and not as good for classic as the HD650 are.

    The HD650 is still my favourite amped headphone, though I still keep the Grados on hand.
     
  10. Proctimus Prime

    Proctimus Prime
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    Cool, would appreciate that. :thumbsup:
     
  11. Member 266567

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    I'd also be interested in hughwi's review of the Sennheiser HD650 with a headphone amp, compared to without and connected directly to the headphone output on a laptop.

    In my experience a headphone amplifier makes a dramatic difference with the HD650 and poor quality headphone outputs, such as an MP3 player or laptop. It wasn't until I listened to the HD650's with a headphone amplifier that I realised what all the fuss was about! :D

    Shaun
     
  12. WhyAyeMan

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    I've had HD650s (three times) and am now using the HD600 and I would say unless you've got a monster system the HD600 is a better bet as it sounds far more lively and engaging on more modest equipment.
     
  13. hughwi

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    Hi all, after getting a reminder from Hifi Headphones, I thought I better get back in here and let you know of my experiences after about 5 months of living with the HD650's.

    My setup went through several changes in the middle of february (blame the fact that I had a dissertation to procrastinate from doing!) and as it currently stands, I have both a pair of Grado 325i's and HD650's, amp-wise I have at my disposal a Marantz PM66KI integrated headphone amp, a Little Dot mk2 tube headphone amplifier, the standard laptop headphone out (realtek), and a headamp pico headphone amp.

    I have used all of the above amplifiers with a CD66KI through a beresford DAC, where appropriate (not the laptop) and the pico with and without its own internal DAC.

    I have found that whilst the HD650's sounded reasonably good to me straight from the laptop, they scale very nicely, and improve as the headphone amplifier driving them is of better quality, however this is not to say that they need £1000's spent on driving them.

    The little dot, whilst not a particularly expensive piece of equipment (£50 second hand on this forum), really did help in controlling the bass (for which the HD650 is renowned), making it tighter and punchier, and also providing more of a kick than either the PM66 or the laptop could manage. As for the grado 325i's, it toned down the treble slightly, with a bit of a warmer sound, however there was less of an overall improvement, something I can attribute to the resistance difference between the headphones and their different requirements for current and voltage swing.

    I then managed to aquire a headamp pico portable amplifier for a very good price, which has an integrated USB DAC section, allowing direct connection to the laptop as a source. I initially used it merely as a pre-amp and headphone amplifier for the CD player, and found that it performed well, providing a rather impressive open and airy soundstage for such a small package. If I was to fault it at all, it would be to say that with the grado 325i's, the transparency and solid state construction emphasised the headphones somewhat harsh and sibilant tones, and with the HD650's, the bass punch was lacking slightly compared to the little dot, although it had a fair bit more clarity, detail and sound stage separation, which i would take for a trade off in bass quality and quantity anyday!

    If it helps your decision at all, I would now avoid using the laptop output at all times, and am currently using the pico as a USB DAC for all my sources, even my ipod!

    If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!
     
  14. cribeiro

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    Hughwi, I can only agree with you regarding the HD650.

    1. It scales with the amp.

    I have tried it with several amps, and it really scales with the amp. In few weeks, I will have at home a Woo Audio WA2 (not mine, though, but I plan on buying one somewhen), and I hope it will get the most out of my headphones (and also serve as a superb preamp :D ). I tried several different amps at a meet, and found that good tube amps are the best choice for the HD650.

    2. A basic, cheap but good amp can already drive them good.

    Specially regarding bass control, I experienced the same you describe. In my case, with a Corda Porta II.

    3. Although it works, and sounds better than many, there is no point in using a laptop headphone output or similar with them.

    Some people are too "purist" and exaggerate in this regard, to the point that unexperienced fellas may be mislead to think that it won't work at all, or sound horrible. The HD650 will sound better than most cheapish headphones in a low-fi environment with poor driving capabilities. It is a waste of a headphone, though, and when they say "it sounds horrible" is only because they know it can sound miles better. It is just a matter of perspective.


    Regarding the Grados, I only tried them shortly once, but from that experience, I also expect them to behave as you describe.

    BTW, I have now also an AKG K701 at home (again, not mine), and although they are not yet broken-in, I can recommend these to the people who think the HD650 are veiled. They are really excellent, very neutral and controlled, with detail (no harsh, but with a tad too much high-end energy at times for my taste), and a very good bass.

    In the end, what do I prefer? My loudspeakers! :D
     
  15. hughwi

    hughwi
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    True, but in university halls/student house, I cannot always use what I prefer! hehe, in fact, right now in the height of exam period, that REALLY would not go down very well!

    It is true though, that those who demand that people spend hundreds on a source for the HD650s, know what they are talking about, but at the same time do not. Yes, if you do, they can sound amazing, however, if you do not, they can still sound very rewarding, especially if you have not heard the more expensive gear! (This is the main reason I am not going to a head-fi meet any time soon, as I would want to upgrade...) :devil:
     
  16. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    From that perspective, I am glad those times are over :D Still have nightmares from time to time with my PhD exam :rolleyes: Good luck with yours!
    I know very well about that. I went to one just out of curiosity, and now it is hard to listen to my headphones before I get the Woo 2. I could stand the buying urge one year already, though :) But OTOH, it was a very cheap way to find out what I like and what not in the headphone world.
     
  17. WhyAyeMan

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    Must admit I myself normally prefer speakers, but now that I've managed to get a headphone system that sounds particularly good to my ears, I don't really feel like I'm compromising much at all by listening with headphones. :)
     
  18. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    :) Headphone listening is more revealing and has the advantage of no room-induced sound adulteration. I can hear more from the recording and indeed set with them the reference for a balanced sound in my loudspeaker rig.

    The downside is many-folded, although all these points are closely related:

    1. Closed-in sound.
    It can get very fatiguing to hear every sound next to your ear.

    2. Missing realism.
    It is related to the previous point, the scale of the sound is somewhat missing as compared to a good pair of loudspeakers.

    3. Bass can't be felt.
    The punch of good rock tracks is heard, but not felt.

    4. 3D imaging is missing.
    I love to sit there and hear the layers of sound at different distances, left and right, or even the height of the soundstage.


    I can imagine that a pair of Stax (or the AKG K1000, if you can find any) can improve on most of this (except feeling the bass). Someday... :devil:

    DSP also helps here, I shortly listened to a Stax rig connected to a dedicated computer which could make a very realistic surround experience with movies, and kept the soundstage fixed even when turning your head.
     
  19. -Ad-

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    Graham slee solo is the best amp I have heard with the senns. I think senn even use the solo as their amp of choice at their own demos, which is testement to the synergy between them.

    Never got to here the senns with a Woo 4 that was around at the time, and didn't get to compare the 650s with a zu mobius cable vs the standard cable, but through the solo is the best combo I have heard. But but but it was being fed by a meridian G08 Cd-player used as a transport and fed into a benchmark DAC-1, so one hell of a serious setup !

    Il get some senn 650s to complement the other side of the spectrum compared to the grados, but also think about a darkvoice amp as they apparently pair very very well with the 650s, especially the 336i which has a lot of tube rolling options as well.
     
  20. WhyAyeMan

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    I pretty much agree with your points.... all I will say for me personally...

    1. I'm pretty much used to it, but some headphones are better than others - I think the Sennheisers are quite good in that respect, stuff like Grados can be fatiguing I agree.

    2. Again I sort of agree, but I think after a while your ears just get used to it. Thats why for me though, its very important that your headphones can deliver an enjoyable musical message above all else - I can't stand stuff that clinically disects your music.

    3. Again, agreed, but then unfortunately I am rarely in the position where I can turn my speakers up loud enough for bass to be "felt" :rotfl: I think it might cause some arguments in here!

    4. Imaging etc... see no 2. I agree though. Its physically impossible I would have thought. Even my old Proline 2500s with the S-Logic stuff didnt quite cut the mustard, although it was an interesting effect.

    I listened to the basic Stax system, I can honestly say I didnt think it was any better than a decent dynamic setup for the same (or possibly less) money.
     
  21. cribeiro

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    I have also read so, and I was very tempted to buy one. Then I read about the Lehmann amp, which Sennheiser also used in their demos, and I could not decide which one to get... But the meet opened my eyes (or should I say "ears"? I could listen to a Lehmann there, and it was a very good amp, but I did not like it. My favourite was a tube amp (note: with my cd-player!).

    I also tried the K1000 with several amps, and the people were drooling in front of a MacIntosh amp+cd player combo in the 20k euro range. It was the worse sound I found in the meet, seriously. Overly analytical, very thin and shrill.


    pbirkett, I have a lot of hope on the dolby headphone technology, and plan to get one decoder some day. I listened to a couple of demo tracks in youtube, and they were really nice. Not like speakers, but at least the sound did not seem to shout next to your ear.
     

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