HateDis650 (oh God the dark side please don’t)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by rhythmdevils, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    That the crux of the mater I think. Few years ago I bought HD600 as my very first headphone and after few weeks I went to Bay Bloor radio to buy HD650 demo for a very low price. I tried them with Senn HDVA600 for maybe 5 minutes I I knew I would not buy them. Did not read Tyll at that time, and was in no position to critically listen to specific differences, but veiled and warm was my very first impression. I was influenced by the sound of HD600 as my only HP.
    Fast forward to present, and the same impression. I was looking for HD650 used just to add to HD800S and HD560 HD25 to have a "complete" picture, not anymore. I had a chance to listen vs my HD560 ovation which I prefer to HD600. No way, I am not buying HD650.
    I think it is entirely about personal preference,

    But there is one thing that irks me about this HD650 narrative, and it is the concept of extreme scaling. If you add 6k tube amp and 4k DAC to it, they are great. How about new Susvara and used BHA-1 for slightly less?
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Is that an argument against the 650 scaling or an argument that similar quality sound can be had for less?
     
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  3. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Neither, or to put it better: scaling and mods are great if you like the headphones and want it to get even better. But if I like Hd600 way more then 650 from a get go, and HD560 even more, why bother with mods and potential scaling up? Maybe there is a nirvana somewhere at the end of this, but there are other options that sound right from a get go and then I can think about scaling up.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  4. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while. It may be a dumb, rookie question, in which case I apologize in advance: does the HD 600 scale as much as the HD 650?

    My general sense, from reading the threads here on SBAF, is that fewer people speak of the scaling abilities of the HD 600. Or am I just wrong about this?

    To bring this back on-topic, if the HD 650 does in fact scale more than the HD 600, what explains it?
     
  5. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    It's been asked before, mate. Basically, same scalability and capabilities.
     
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  6. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    To answer in short, yes.

    To answer why I answered this way, I think both can reveal plankton with the right setup. I actually probably hear a bit more air and microdynamics with 600, but only because the timbre is more suited to the upper mids.

    Both have extremely similar drivers and share quite a lot of qualities closer than most any two headphones can and still be considered different. And I would say both are good at "scaling" and revealing more in the system with better equipment.
     
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  7. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Pretty much all of the high-impedance, dynamic Sennheisers "scale" in such a way, though often in ways unique, or perhaps better suited, to each model. There may be a few perspectives or stances one could take on the matter, such as...


    1. The Sennheisers are generally very capable and revealing of gear differences, even despite their unique flaws. Note that I don't mean "transparent" or "totally neutral" when I say "revealing." You have to think from a relative standpoint.

    2. The Sennheisers are more sensitive to gear. Or maybe you could call it "pickier." Note that I don't necessarily mean this in regards to an amp's output impedance...I'll get to that next.

    3. Since they're high-impedance, they're less susceptible to massive tonal changes from varying amp output impedances. "But wait, didn't you just say they're pickier?" Again, not thinking the same thing here. There's more to it. Anyway, this gives you a wider variety of "acceptable" amps to use. Think of output impedance like your foot, and the high-impedance Sennheisers are like a less sensitive pedal/throttle on a car. You can leverage OI with more granularity. More control over tuning and damping.


    And so on and so forth...basically variants of these ideas, and other similar ones, that manifest as "scaling." The Sennheisers can be picky and revealing, all while simultaneously opening up a wide variety of amp options due to lack of OI sensitivity.


    In the case of the HD650, I believe it generally to be the case that it has a smoother, more tonally accurate treble response, even if ever so slightly dark. The HD600 is a more aggressive sibling, and although still fairly accurate, strays a bit further from dead-center than does the HD650...just in the opposite direction.

    My guess, then, is that it's easier to adjust for this with gear than it is to try to relax the hotter HD600. Much like some toss warmpoo amps at the HD800, which often harms the HD800's unique strengths, toning down the HD600 with an amp runs a similar risk. It's probably a bit easier to maintain a sense of speed, authority, detail, and so on in an amp, or increase these factors, without venturing into warmpoo territory.

    Similarly, the HD650 responds very well to minor mods, often where one is removing material. The HD600, in contrast, requires adding material to adjust its tone towards more of a middle ground. Less is generally more with headphone tuning.

    So, what seems natural in my jumbled up brain is that you have less to correct out of the box on the HD650, and what you want to correct tends to be less harmful than trying to correct for headphones that sit north of dead-center.

    You might also compare it to how it's hard to EQ out a treble spike if it's accompanied by lots of ringing. (Though the HD600 might respond better to EQ than the HD650, if that's all you can use...not totally sure, to be honest.)

    Old age is also kind to the HD600. By that, I mean as you get old and lose your hearing, the HD600 slightly counteracts that. (Quit denying it, old people!)


    You also have to consider the history of what made the HD650 particularly popular in this circle. SBAF evolved from a site that aggressively went after headphones with fucked up treble response and decay. At the time, there weren't a ton of good sounding options, and most other listeners were on Head-Fi. This was before Jude did measurements, and most didn't know how to really read Tyll's measurements either. The HD650 was a very reasonable option for most, albeit some did prefer the HD600 or even HD800.

    Things have changed since then. But the HD650's legacy remains. Also, don't forget the HD650 was wildly accessible and cheap with the HD6XX. Easy recommendation.


    TL;DR: There's a lot of contextual history, personal preferences, weird acoustic interactions, blah blah that lead to the HD650 being much more commonly adopted. Hence why it's mentioned more for scaling. Most of the high-impedance Sennheisers scale in similar, but unique, ways.
     
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  8. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    I’m not really sure that most of us really want to find the perfect headphone. That’s not what keeps us in this hobby. It’s the exploration and experimentation. It’s the thrill of hearing new parts of music you know intimately for the first time. I think most of us enjoy the journey far more than the destination.
     
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  9. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I am really not sure about this part.. I thought of similar logic before, but empirically (my own case included) rejected very often. I mean.. I'm observing the other way around rather than seeing the old favors hd600 or bright cans.
     
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  10. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Well, I think Hands was making a more generic assertion that, on average, we tend to lose higher frequency hearing as we age, and that HD600's slight overemphasized treble could be more tolerable with older listeners. Whether or not you explicitly fall into the "over 40, can't hear above 16kHz" gang is up to you and your audiologist.
     
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  11. dietwater

    dietwater Acquaintance

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    I feel hd6x0 hype is overblown having heard it multiple times on different gear

    1. Scalability. Almost any decent dynamic driver (including my 30$ superlux hd562) scales well with more amplification power. Some require lots of current swing (many planars, srh940, srh1540, etc) some require lots of voltage (hd800, hd6x0, etc), some both (vintage sennheisers like hd250, hd425, etc). Very few headphones I've tried refused to change much with amplification (eg. Foxtex thx00, sony cd1700)

    2. The argument that it does more good than bad. Every headphone is unique with each of them having their own perks and pitfalls. Pair matching/synergy is a similar affair. For a person who is more interested in a specific trait, if a headphone fails to do it, then I guess they should look into other headphones, while keeping a part of their options open just in case the same headphone does that with a different source chain. As simple as that.

    3. Everyone's ear shapes are different. And different people have sensitivity peaks at different frequency ranges. There is unlikely to be a universal target that'll fit everyone.

    4. Appeal to authority. The first category of this we get shoved upon is squiggle numbers. There's two major fallacies in this approach. One there are other headphones that perform numerically better than hd6x0 in many of these analysis. Two, we cannot claim absolute superiority by these numbers as the correlation and weights of each of them to absolute perceivae fidelity is not well established. Part of the reason is that these are merely approximations and not the full real world model, and another part is that measurements can be gimped by various means. The second category of appeal to authority is showcasing use by artists. Well they also use dt880, mdr v6, and these days quite a significant number of these guys use r70x, srh940, srh1840, focal clear, lcd x, etc.

    A similar hype train runs around koss porta pro as well where there are chifi competition like superlux that perform better in many indexes, porta pro better in other. Both porta pro and superlux have shoddy build quality so that's a tie.

    I am happy with the variety of options we have today, having one for each of our tastes. I own like over a dozen headphones and I find all of them unique, and no you can't turn one into another by eq (definitely not consumer grade eq running on low precision computation which gimps all headphones). Just because I am not fond of hd6x0 (I like it btw, just never understood the hype) doesn't mean no one should be fond of it, and just because a club is fond of hd6x0 doesn't mean everyone should take it as ultimate.

    I think most of these arguments come from trying to be fixed to a side and defend as much as you can whether it's true or not, changing narratives as the discussion develops. It's not a good approach in anything, openness is key to learning and experiencing better options. If I happen to hear hd6x0 on a unicorn amplifier setup and like it, I'll change my mind. I'm in search of good sound (as defined by my preferences) whatever gives it I'll take it.

    And more importantly suggesting purchase advices. The world is diverse and big, listen for yourself and choose for yourself than trying to shove an opinion on someone. Share your opinions (that's what forums are for). You can even be hyperbolic, but don't be a bully. Let people enjoy what they like, we donot need gatekeepers to enjoy good sound.
     
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  12. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Some people don't want to or can't afford to purchase 18 different headphones, sources, and amps, and swap between them with every track to taste. Having an immense assortment of possible sounding products... is that a feature of the industry, or just indicative of planned obsolescence and marketing bullshit?

    There are remarkably few 'jacks of all trades'... I want to see the bar for general purpose performance raised and the expected prices lowered. That's the 6xx magic. It's not simply 'more good than bad', it's 'less bad than many or most other more expensive options'. Maybe your standards for acceptable sound are just less persnickety, or you are richer than most. I for one cannot see past peaky, ringy, over-represented treble... ever. And yet we see that type of behavior in several much more expensive products.

    Now, if a product could exist that was cheaper than the net total of a 6XX + decent amp that could offer similar or better sound quality for general purpose use, that would be a winner... An accessible endgame for people who DGAF about amps and DACs.

    My attitudes about these things have a bit of a subtext... basically all of my IRL non-audiophile friends are low-paid gig/contract workers. I wish I could share the hobby more with them and others in my life, and sometimes a Senn is that ticket for long term enjoyment... especially when it sounds serviceable from a cruddy audio interface's HP jack for my independent musician / post-production friends.
     
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  13. dietwater

    dietwater Acquaintance

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    Well to me shure srh940 sounds better than hd6x0 on any index I can think of. At a similar or lower price. There are people who prefer cd900 to hd6x0 for critical analysis. Again another inexpensive headphone. There's the r70x if you want open back. And I also agree with the op that the he500 sounds better than hd6x0 while retaining similar frequency response.

    I've had friends who moved from hd6x0 to the sets of headphones mentioned above and never looked back. There's nothing wrong with suggesting hd6x0 as I said in the previous post. There's everything wrong in shoving it across as the only choice and trying to bully every other option mentioned.
     
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    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  14. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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    Mmm, I'm gonna respectfully deny (age mid-60s). Not the hearing loss, I totally believe the majority experience drop off at higher frequencies. Myself, I definitely have a dip at 15kHz, can't hear 16kHz, can hear a little at 17kHz, then nothing.

    But that's my, or anyone with similar loss, new normal. Everything is slightly rolled off up top. Up until 15 months ago, I tried to hear live music a few times a year. I never had the experience of 'what's the sound guy/gal doing, push up the treble'*
    Because it matches the general sonic profile I hear all day every day, so brightness/glare is still brightness/glare

    *I almost always mutter to myself 'what's the sound guy/gal doing', but that's because the drums and bass are so emphasized at most pop music concerts
     
  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    @dietwater

    I'm glad you like other things in your collection. Nothing wrong with going against the grain... But... did someone here say the 6xx was the best headphone ever? Or are you just set on putting it down? Even people who love them can see their faults.

    I don't think SBAF as a crowd is as fanatical about it as you perceive them to be. Maybe you just got that sense from reading about SBAF on other sites. Many have moved on from Senns, others who know their own preferences well hold onto them for the long haul (or cycle back to them) because they realize spending more isn't worth it or comes with massive drawbacks.

    Your anecdote of 'XYZ sounds better' isn't terribly convincing. Granted, maybe some of the cheap headphones you've mentioned warrant more investigation here... I would love for something to be better than Senns for cheaper without the need for an amp, believe me, that's my dream in life. But it takes a long time for something to become a community reference.
     
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  16. dietwater

    dietwater Acquaintance

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    Thanks. The ones I mentioned do need a decent amp. R70x should work fine with any amp that pairs well with hd650, asking from my friends. Srh940 and cd900 need a clean supply of high current (1w into 32 ohms or more, preferrably discrete class A).

    I haven't come across much headphones that sound nice enough to me without a decent amp (by decent I don't mean absurdly expensive). Yeah most headphones make sound out of a phone, including my hd800 but they sound very weak on these sources.
     
  17. Cooper32

    Cooper32 Facebook Friend

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    Do they even test that high frequencies on a standard hearing test? Last time I went for a test (required for work), I don't remember any very high pitch sounds associated with a 15 kHz or 20 kHz tone, for example, but I know I can hear a 19 kHz test tone on YouTube.
     
  18. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    There are too many veteran audiophiles in hd650 lovers that make convincing points... This thread really motivates me to give them a regular head time lol. I am listening with my hd650k again.

    Interestingly, my takeaway is a slight variation of the statement above: "As long as decisions made carefully and tailored to tastes, I realized spending more can be worthy and may come without massive drawbacks". Focal, Audeze, Hifiman, and ZMF all have taught me that (from respective different angles) for almost four years since I joined SBAF. Garbage exists in any manufacturers I mentioned, but our detection ability grows as we better identify what we really want to hear.

    In this respect, I still think owning HD650 for a long period time could be very beneficial. If you like it, that's great. Even if you unfortunately don't (my case), why and how not to like it is a great cue to the next successful purchases. This must be a great starting point for those who are willing to have a serious journey.

    Back to my hd650(k) listening today (out of Jotunheim 2 and DAC 2541), not surprisingly, my evaluation failed to update. Still solid 5 performer tho. My 650 evaluation these days is they sound harsh on the mid treble and dull on the upper treble by comparison (both resulting in engagement loss and lack of cohesiveness). My lesser ears can't resolve sufficient details and plankton from hd650 compared to my daily drivers, either. I'll save my words for LF/transient.

    (Really no idea why I feel it brighter as I get older..)
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  19. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Historically at least, the HD650 and HD6XX have also been a good benchmark because Sennheiser has been extremely good with variation batch-to-batch. This has been ideal for having a reference of comparison as the silent revisions have been until recently, fairly minor. That being said, my Romanian HD6XX sounds different enough from my friend's Irish OG HD650 that they *nearly* qualify as different models in my mind. So, that's a bit of a strike against, but then the good news is that difference is easily identifiable. The Romanian stuff sounds different, and you know if your headphone is made in Romania.

    But say we were to nominate a new universal reference, name me one headphone that meets these requirements:

    1) Affordable, sub $500
    2) Minimal batch-to-batch variation and high consistency
    3) Genre master
    4) Scales with better gear
    5) Comfortable
    6) No egregious sins of omission or commission
    7) High availability internationally

    This list rules out everything by Audeze (fails nearly all of them), Focal (fails #1, Elex is still too much), ZMF (also fails #1). Dan Clark Aeon (Still fails #1), Fostex/AKG/Beyer (Maybe fails #3, #4 and #6 depending)

    If I had to come up with one possible candidate, it might be Hifiman Sundara, but potentially that fails #4.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I would nominate the T50RP (prior version which could be modded). But since the latest formulation is difficult / impossible to tame, I guess it would fail the availability requirement.
     

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