Discussion in 'Headphones' started by rhythmdevils, Apr 11, 2021.
This part. You need to fix this part w/HD6xx.
I kind of think this should be turned into a thread about impressions from those on SBAF who dislike the HD650. Because SBAF is very one sided scout this right now and many people who dislike them are afraid to say so.
But I’ve got someone loaning me a pair so I’m no longer looking to buy
@ultrabike @jexby @shotgunshane convert to a thread or close
I only bought a 6XX because I wanted to try a cheap OTL and didn't want to do that with my HD800's. Only by chance did Jot 2 land soon after, which resulted in me becoming more involved in SBAF, and then the 6XX's allowed me to take part in more conversations. If I was simply keeping what I listen to when not demo'ing things, you'd find me with my HD800SDR, LCD2.1's, and the HD600's for Jot 2 at work.
So, in summary, I have my 6XX's for SBAF. If you took away all my other headphones I'd still enjoy them and be happy, but they aren't my first choice. The OG 650's are silkier but the lack of treble detail has always made them non-starters for me.
With the new Romanian production 6XX's, I'm also inclined to recommend the HD600 over the HD6XX unless someone is trying to be very cheap. The new HD600's are Romanian too but I think they're better with Jot 2.
Haha I guess this is a thread now. HD650 haters unite! Such dull.
It's the Yamaha NS10 of audiophilia!
That would be the MDR-7506, at least the Senss have a decent FR.
This is almost true. And for those that are not as familiar in the pro audio world, NS10's are love/hate. So many love, but there are many who hate.
I will say many who get started, and probably more or less about 20 years ago, start with NS10's. Meaning, if anyone was serious about wanting to be a mix engineer, get used to NS10's. They wind up translating pretty well, meaning they will sound decent on a high end system, and be very passable on a low end system. So they became a de-facto standard in pretty much most studio's and even home studio's. Some matched them with subs and such, which made them more decent, but they are not perfect.
Thankfully our systems got better and speaker technology improved for consumer systems, so therefore mix monitors could also improve and not be so mid-centric and harsh. They are still somewhat a standard though.
I don't know, I have described elsewhere here at SBAF (where I can't recall) how I think they are overrated.
1) They don't scale like many seem to assert, at least not in my experience. Yes they scale but on TOTL gear HP's, say OG Focal Clear, which start out much superior technically and subjectively scale the same or more.
2) They don't resolve as well as many assert. They are good, but again they don't overcome other HP's that start out much better.
3) The mids are quite good from a tonal balance and timbre perspective, but the bass sucks and the treble is not as technically competent as many seem to want to say. Heck, I think the treble is even somewhat grainy.
On the other hand they are priced right, comfortable, and the mids sort of set a standard - you have to equal or beat them if you want to be considered a good HP.
I think of them as like an pre-2000's 911 or Corvette in the sports car world - relatively cheap, competent within a defined domain, and sets the standard because of the (granted limited) competency by which others are judged.
Yeah, but some say older Porsche are better. Analogue vs digital. More real feel. irrelevant, just poking at your analogy because old porsches are so nice.
In my case, it's the other way around than some of you. After spending time with other more expensive phones, then came back to the HD6X0, I was surprised by the sound. Vocals sound so full and emotional. Strings sound so realistic. The decay, dynamics, timbre are all there. As a whole, it is a very cohesive presentation.
The most severe limitation is the sub-bass extension and bass tautness. Speed and transients are mediocre, but still fine for me. Hell, if only they have at least HD800's bass. Unfortunately they don't. People have spent big bucks trying to "fix" this compromise. So, this is not a headphone for hard rock or complex classical pieces. But when it comes to vocals and mids, it is as good as anything out there for me. Have tried the Focals, Arya, Ananda, Sundara, HEK, amongst others.....and no, they can't quite nail the mids like the HD6X0.
After being in the hobby for some time, my priorities have also shifted. Now I favor musicality over technicalities. And I notice that musicality often comes from the little things. Timbre, micro/macro dynamics, reverb, decay. fluidity, etc etc. The things that contribute to that "one more song" factor. Now I would take those over details, clarity, layering, separation, staging, etc.
If I were to keep 2 headphones, it would be the HD6X0 and HE-500. My ultimate musical headphone would be a marriage of those two.
Damn, what a spot-on summary. That's really why I am holding and returning to them frequently.
They still sound decent. Measure ridiculously good for many criteria. But my not-so-golden ears couldn't resolve the last few bits of engagement from 6x0 (largely in line with @crenca 's descriptions). I do need a more comprehensive, spoon-feeding, and novice-friendly tool for myself.
They are not perfect, but I can see how one can argue that they are hyped or overrated. They can sound dull and slow...warm without body, and yes, have some grain and veil.
However, the reason they have been around awhile, is that they do so much really well. They do scale well, that is been said since they came out and still said today. It is still the only headphone that I can enjoy both lo-fi and hi-fi almost equally. I still get chills when I hear Louis Armstrong sing, and I can still jam along with the Foo Fighters.
The thing is I can think of so many far worse headphones on the market, and also I bet you can find so many more that have come and gone that did not catch on. They are still the best sounding and performing headphones in their price range. We have come so far that now they seem dismissible because they can't compete 2x their price range. 10-15 years ago, there was hardly a headphone market in the >$1k range.
So I still don't think they are passed their prime. They are $499 ($449 on Amazon)...and found used for below $350, even $250. And even less if you wan 6XX. What is in that category? Sundara? LCD-2C? DT 177X? ATH-AD2000X? Sure, HE-500 used maybe, but those are long since discontinued. HE-5XX?- and that one is not the same. RS2E?- Grado?
So yes, they have a certain reference sound in fidelity. If you don't like the syrpy sound, move on to HD600's. Some of us enjoy both. That one is even less expensive.
So maybe it gets treated as a higher priced headphone because for many years it has punched above it's weight class, so maybe let's just judge it by the weight class it is in.
Granted, not everything sounds exceptional on them, but they are still the most versatile headphone I own and why I will never get rid of mine. If all else fails and everything's gotta go, I am keeping my 650's.
I maintain the 580 is the jewel of that line of Senn headphones, which is why it’s the Senn I still own and it’s not going anywhere.
I purchased my HD650 in 2017 and I was about to KISS mod that HD650 - I just got the Dynamat Xtreme last week. I could have dug deeper into the posts on SBAF to draw my own conclusion, but I appreciate the opinions from all you folks who have so much more experiences on the HD650s and other phones than me. My question is, should I get a current in-production Hungarian-made HD6xx for my KISS mod and keep the old HD650 for a different flavor or for its sentimental value? In another word, do KISS mod HD650 and KISS HD6xx sound different enough to be considered as different phones in our discussions or impressions on other gears (DACs, headamps, etc.)?
BTW, I only have the OG HD650s and a pair of LCD2C. My headamp is a Jotunheim 1 and a Jotunheim 2 is on its way. Many thanks.
I've had mine for about a dozen years, and didn't really use them much until I purchased a beefier headphone amp and upgraded the cable. Now, I reach for them more often than anything else in my collection (with the possible exception of Elex w/upgraded cable).
What I don't know can't influence me, and having never heard a TOTL headphone, I don't know what I'm missing. Therefore, the HD650 with Silver Dragon cable will be one of my go-to headphones for the foreseeable future - my slothful and parsimonious nature will ensure this to be the case.
The thread successfully motivated me to give my 650K another shot. I carefully chose well-recorded tracks that didn't have lower bass components much.
After listening to each track then switching to two references (respectively 6x and 7x pricier in msrp).. 6xx still very good to me. Less than 20% of the price, 80-85% of the performance (maybe higher percentages if diminishing marginality taken into consideration). I really can't complain much.
I re-recognized my issue. It's kinda "Ok, it sounded much better than I thought. But how will this song sound with my other headphones?" I always found it difficult to keep listening to a couple of tracks in a row. Opposite to so-called 'one more song' effect. I may list specific points I am not happy with (not very many and nothing critically serious), but at this point, I rather think there exists more fundamental philosophical disconcordance between my preference and senn lovers.
To me the HD650 is a solid 7, it does many things. It isn't the most intimate headphone. It doesn't feel like it truly extended to 20hz, or past 16khz. It won't push air so you get a wave of sound. A solid 7, many others might give you the sense that they are better, or a slightly better paring with our newest toy, but they are a solid foundation of the hobby.
To me the HD600 exceeds it in terms of performance, but it will not do the vocal rendition of the 650. For all that is to me a 7, warmth, slight edge to passages, and performance. The hd650 is a solid 7. It isn't TOTL anymore, but it has been noteworthy for many years. But I can not say a silver screen, and black screen are both of the same quality.
Personally I enjoy the HD600 black silk so much when comparing both side by side. Part of me believes the black silk versions to have a unique transient signature that I would consider to be higher class, a smoother transient response, a way of being able to present information in a slightly more coherent way, that is truly something to be proud of. I might have already said too much.
What amps have you heard them on?
Only reason I ask is that 650 is way more picky on amps than 600. Jot 2 I found too closed in and claustrophobic for 650's and I cannot imagine Erish to be any better. Magni 3 and Vali 2 even I can see they are just okay. Enough power, but not enough magic. Liquid Platinum, Mjolinr 2, SW51, Gilmore Lite...those are all super fantastic to me on 650. Even ZDT Jr. is almost too dark for 650's for my taste.
I just think you have to think more synergy with 650 than some other headphones. Sign up for the BHA-1 tour even.
It's easy to beat the 600 series if you isolate individual areas of performance. But generally other headphones that perform at a superior level in one area will also suffer drawbacks in another area. It's a game of compromises and whether something is an upgrade just comes down to which parts of SQ you prioritize. If tonal cohesiveness is a priority, to me you cannot do better with another off the shelf stock headphone of any kind - full stop. If you prioritize anything else, you can do better. If you don't want to use an amp or DAC, you can do better.
Keep in mind the $499 launch price for the HD650 in 2003 would be about $720 in 2021 when adjusted for inflation. I'm not sure they'd be worth that much to me personally, but they're certainly worth $229 in 2021 drop bux.
Some pretty invasive mods to the 600 series can definitely help with a few of the drawbacks of the Senn sig like the veil, the softness, the grain, even the texture of the bass to some degree though extension never improves. I've killed several drivers, torn out baffles to test new materials, all sorts of gorey shit really trying to test the limits, but at the end of the day the drivers themselves are the bottleneck of the design. Too small, magnets too weak. It's never going to give the lively, tactile, superwide-bandwidth sound you get from a bigger driver (or one with a flexing surround and greater excursion a la Focal, ZMF, Foster). Not every aspect of the performance scales up with mods or amps either.
At least Tyll somewhat agrees with RD:
"The HD 650 is rather more problematic to me. While the sound remains very similar to the HD 600 and does seem a tad more refined, it also seems a bit warmer, lusher, and thicker...more "veiled" if you like. Yes, in this case it does seem to warrant the discriptor. Just a bit too much of good thing. I still think it's a great headphone and have no problem recommending it, but with a $100 lower price, and a more neutral and snappier sound, I think the HD 600 is the better buy."
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