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  Reply # 717033 14-Nov-2012 13:48 Send private message quote this post

I'll check when I get home.



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  Reply # 719214 18-Nov-2012 22:34 Send private message quote this post

Interesting listening session today with networkn at our little two-person mini-meet.

Really a very nice headphone the HD650, and based off the selection of music he brought around, and his sensitivity to sibilance (extreme compared to my own), I think singularly well suited to his tastes as a one-stop solution. Lacks the PRaT to cut it for my tastes, which are eclectic like his, but run to metal where his diverges more into female vocal pop. Stuff like Blackened just lacked the bite and definition it needed, and in the guitar solo for Battery the aggressiveness of Kurt's pick attack was just lost resulting in a slightly 'smeared' sound (smoother and less fatiguing, which I'll grant some may like, but that isn't how it's meant to sound). Reasonably contracted soundstage as well, at least compared to my GS1000i. That's a somewhat unfair comparison though, since the GS1000i is known for that, and more expensive to boot. I think the smaller soundstage probably suits networkn's taste in music though, given the amount of very vocals-driven music, which is sometimes improved by a smaller and more intimate soundstage (I find that quality with my LCD-2 for female vocal jazz like Ella Fitzgerald).

I mentioned his sensitivity to sibilance, that was quite interesting for me, since I'm aware that all the headphones I enjoy most tend to have a bit more treble energy than most (I think due to some high frequency hearing loss that I have from playing guitar and going to a lot of metal gigs). We played a couple of his Celine Dion tracks, and there was one where he found the GS1000i a bit unpleasantly sibilant where I had no problems at all, and then another where I removed them fairly quickly after the onset of the vocals (can't remember if he listened to that one after me, must have been frankly tortuous to him if even I was quick to rip the headphones off). I don't really have anything in my music collection that strongly picks out sibilance, so that was a new experience. The HD650 are known to have fairly rolled-off treble, so again that aspect doesn't work quite so well for my tastes, but played nicely into his.

Overall I think his favourites amongst mine were the W3000ANV (which is the headphone probably most like an upgraded HD650 in my collection), and the GS1000i, which I think really complimented the HD650 well since its strengths correspond to areas of weakness in the HD650 sound (soundstage, treble energy/sparkle/ articulation).

Most notable moment for me was listening to some of his Cat Steven's on the Audio Technica W3000ANV. Every time I listen with those I realise I should be spending more time with them. I'm secure enough to admit I melted a little bit hearing how beautiful that track sounded on these headphones.

We had a listen with my portable amps too, and it was pretty interesting to see that his order of preference from least to most favoured aligned perfectly with rising cost (he wasn't aware of their respective costs when he was listening initially). The HD650 scaled well with the amps too, so will be interesting at some point to hear how they go with the monster desktop one I'll be getting shortly. I think for my tastes the HD650 is better paired with a SS-amp and a DAC on the colder side like the Cirrus Logic ones, as that wouldn't subtract too much from what they're good at, but would improve their voicing for rock and overall versatility. Tend to think that they'd be far too lush paired with tubes, although naturally that will be to some peoples tastes.

Was a shame that my balanced cable terminations for the HE-6 hadn't quite arrived in time for today, would have been interested to see how much better they would have sounded out of the two amps I have with fully-balanced set-ups. I don't think they'll lift the HE-6 to the heights its capable of, but may at least make it decent enough to spend more time with while the financial stars align over my new amp purchase [please note the reason I expect them to sound better has nothing to do with the cables as such, but for the fact that the fully-balanced amps will output double the power per channel compared to single-ended, and power output matters a very great deal with the HE-6 being one of the least sensitive cans ever produced].


EDIT: Oh yes, and there is no problem with channel balance in his HD650. Perfect centre balanced out of all my stuff, so maybe something hinky with his desktop setup at home.

EDIT EDIT: Hope I haven't spoken too much for networkn there, would love to hear his summation also now that he has had some time to reflect!




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  Reply # 719222 18-Nov-2012 22:49 Send private message quote this post

hmm i wonder how the HD600 compares




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  Reply # 719225 18-Nov-2012 23:02 Send private message quote this post

Thanks that was an excellent summary and a very interesting experience. I really liked the GS1000i, some music was quite startling and stunning.

I have some opamps coming from the US for my Asus STX Sound Card (THS4032 if anyone is interested), which supposedly is supposedly better for Vocal/Pop/Jazz, and increases the sound stage. I would have to say, I don't have any doubts about sound stage after today. 

I'd be interested to see if my Yamaha RX-Z7 Home Theatre Amp is a reasonable driver for your HE-6's. I don't like it at all for my HD650's nor did it do my HD555 any favours.

I am now considering my options for Amps, even though the most expensive AMP produced the closest to the result I got with the HD650's during my Audition, I still didn't clear the same level of clarity in the River Deep Mountain High backup singer section, that was startling to me during my time at Marbecks. I might post and see who can hear it best on Head-Fi for the HD650 appreciation thread with whatever amps they have. I have a reproducible benchmark which is very handy.

I was surprised that I didn't love the LCD2's as much as I thought I would, but it wasn't probably a fair sample, but comfort wise they certainly didn't rank against other phones I've tried (the GS1000i was excellent). They are very detailed but I found my short time with them gave me the impression they demand you pay more attention.

I did find my sensitivity to siblence surprising as a lot of the music I listen to would be considered by some to be shrill. I would be keen to see what your thoughts of Classical Gas by Vanessa Mae is like on your various phones. 

Are dual input Amp's common? I would quite like an AMP I could plug 2 sets of phones into for A/B testing.



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  Reply # 719226 18-Nov-2012 23:02 Send private message quote this post

Would also be interested to hear the the HD600 and see how they compare. One of the guys whose opinions I most value at Head-Fi prefers them, he finds the smoothness of the HD650 boring (by which I take he means doesn't engage him in the music the same). I didn't personally find them so, at least not for non-metal genres and the tracks we listened too, although I could certainly see that being the case for some given the PRaT and treble presentation.

Oh, and should mention it was really nice having a listening session with another person with an open mind, not blinded by fanboyism or so emotionally involved in their investment so as to blind them to the things the HD650 didn't do so well in comparison to the other headphones. Good company.

EDIT: Regarding the LCD-2 - I think we really only listened to one track where they really shine. For tracks that like they just eclipse everything else I have, and is the reason they will remain in my collection even after the purge I will shortly be having. Given more time, and listening to more tracks they do well in, I think they would win you over a bit more (although nothing is really going to help them in the comfort stakes, possibly the bamboo-cupped version weigh a little less). It was at least interesting to have another person validate my own experience there, in terms of them not being the be-all-and-end-all for all music that some at Head-Fi (and elsewhere) would have you believe.

EDIT EDIT: Dual-output amps aren't that common, would certainly make A/B comparisons easier as it would speed change-over - impressions of audio quality are so fleeting! Really helps there to have some reference tracks and headphones, where you really know how different aspects of the music should sound. A session like today really helps expand your frame of reference a great deal, like your audition of the HD650 in-store did in terms of their sonic capabilities. Would also be interested to run the HE-6 off the speaker taps from your stereo amp, but unfortunately I'd have to order in a custom made adapter with stereo amp terminations, so that probably isn't going to happen.




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  Reply # 719435 19-Nov-2012 12:20 Send private message quote this post

Odd !

http://www.head-fi.org/t/197776/sennheiser-hd650-appreciation-thread/8745#post_8877926

They are saying they can hear what I am missing, from the same STX I have. I wonder if it's the source file perhaps? Just to clarify nztf, did your experience reflect mine that the backup singers were less present using your desktop and low end amp and more clear in the more expensive amps?




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  Reply # 719483 19-Nov-2012 13:25 Send private message quote this post

networkn: Odd !

http://www.head-fi.org/t/197776/sennheiser-hd650-appreciation-thread/8745#post_8877926

They are saying they can hear what I am missing, from the same STX I have. I wonder if it's the source file perhaps? Just to clarify nztf, did your experience reflect mine that the backup singers were less present using your desktop and low end amp and more clear in the more expensive amps?



I wasn't really specifically listening for them on the desktop, but certainly they were not at all obvious in the mix, and the Xonar is better than the STX. On the other amps they were definitely most clear on the Intruder. 

The source file may have contributed, it was M4A wasn't it?

EDIT: Just listening now on the GS1000i and I can hear them quite clearly from the Xonar on the same source file.

EDIT2: Can hear them on Ed8 and T5p too. They actually become much more forward into the mix a little way in, have you listened through the first couple of verses? 






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  Reply # 719485 19-Nov-2012 13:26 Send private message quote this post

I need to check. I have the original CD so I might rip to Flac and see what happens after that.

Wasn't that!

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  Reply # 719794 19-Nov-2012 22:08 Send private message quote this post

The HD650's are 300ohm right? So In my headphone setup for the sound card, there are options for Low gain and High gain (75-300ohm) and Extra High Gain (300-600Ohm) Was set to the lowest, should it be set to high gain?




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  Reply # 719802 19-Nov-2012 22:21 Send private message quote this post

networkn: The HD650's are 300ohm right? So In my headphone setup for the sound card, there are options for Low gain and High gain (75-300ohm) and Extra High Gain (300-600Ohm) Was set to the lowest, should it be set to high gain?



At least high gain. will probably cope at extra high gain too (but you'll less play on the volume controls). I think for the reference track in question the HD650 sounded best from the Intruder on its high gain setting (really quite high at 21dB, ~quadruple the volume of the source input). Did you try listening further into the song? The backing vocalists are much louder later on, and that may be what the other listeners at Head-Fi were referring to when they said they could hear it clearly from the STX (if it isn't just a matter of gain).

Incidentally, my balanced terminations for the HE-6 stock cable arrived today. Wow, what a difference. I don't think I'm hearing the HE-6 particularly close to their best, but the volume output and perceived sound quality from the Intruder is very noticeable (probably most of the increase in the latter coming from the former). 




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  Reply # 719805 19-Nov-2012 22:25 Send private message quote this post

Yah the higher gain has definitely helped, I am still playing around. The sample I am referring to as part of my auditions was that first 30 seconds and I did specify that however I have asked the person who said they could hear more, for a copy of their control centre settings to see if I can replicate it.

Great news on your new arrivals, I presume to get better out of your HE-6's you are going to need a bigger amp still? What are you considering ? (I think you mentioned, but I can't recall).



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  Reply # 719814 19-Nov-2012 22:45 Send private message quote this post

networkn: Yah the higher gain has definitely helped, I am still playing around. The sample I am referring to as part of my auditions was that first 30 seconds and I did specify that however I have asked the person who said they could hear more, for a copy of their control centre settings to see if I can replicate it.

Great news on your new arrivals, I presume to get better out of your HE-6's you are going to need a bigger amp still? What are you considering ? (I think you mentioned, but I can't recall).


Yep, I will be getting the very powerful desktop amp for them - probably the Audio-GD Reference 10 (which can do 6W into 50ohm). Just the addition of the balanced cable makes such a big difference though, even then I know its mostly just a volume increase that is helping there. It still isn't putting out enough energy to really excite the drivers and get the best of the HE-6 transient response, so I think as significant as the SQ improvements are that I've had today they are a much smaller part of the equation than the power output and voltage swings required to truly make the HE-6 shine.




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  Reply # 719825 19-Nov-2012 23:03 Send private message quote this post

NZtechfreak:
networkn: Yah the higher gain has definitely helped, I am still playing around. The sample I am referring to as part of my auditions was that first 30 seconds and I did specify that however I have asked the person who said they could hear more, for a copy of their control centre settings to see if I can replicate it.

Great news on your new arrivals, I presume to get better out of your HE-6's you are going to need a bigger amp still? What are you considering ? (I think you mentioned, but I can't recall).


Yep, I will be getting the very powerful desktop amp for them - probably the Audio-GD Reference 10 (which can do 6W into 50ohm). Just the addition of the balanced cable makes such a big difference though, even then I know its mostly just a volume increase that is helping there. It still isn't putting out enough energy to really excite the drivers and get the best of the HE-6 transient response, so I think as significant as the SQ improvements are that I've had today they are a much smaller part of the equation than the power output and voltage swings required to truly make the HE-6 shine.


If/When you get that, I'll definitely want another meetup :) 


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  Reply # 719885 20-Nov-2012 07:31 Send private message quote this post

I mentioned this before, but I borrowed a US$2000 HeadRoom balanced reference amp, compared it to my $500 semi home made amp, no difference in sound. Both were operating at about 10% power, with the LCD2 and HD650. I didn't even bother with the balanced cable after a while, a single cable sounded the same.

Just don't get carried away without good reason, for that imperceptible 1% gain. You may have good reason, I'm not reading carefully any more as the thread has sped up a bit.




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  Reply # 719909 20-Nov-2012 08:45 Send private message quote this post

timmmay: I mentioned this before, but I borrowed a US$2000 HeadRoom balanced reference amp, compared it to my $500 semi home made amp, no difference in sound. Both were operating at about 10% power, with the LCD2 and HD650. I didn't even bother with the balanced cable after a while, a single cable sounded the same.

Just don't get carried away without good reason, for that imperceptible 1% gain. You may have good reason, I'm not reading carefully any more as the thread has sped up a bit.


Heh, the reason is the HE-6, which are extraordinarily insensitive and difficult to drive. On full volume with my present desktop amp they are very quiet!




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