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

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

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Can you elaborate a little more why we need #4? Imho that gives birth to many kinds of audiophile traps I've gone through for long. Roughly thinking when we afford better (usually pricier) gears, headphone affordability mostly doesn't matter in terms of relative price portion in the whole chain. If we value #2, with the same logic, I believe we have to value minimal amp-to-amp (or more generally upstream-to-upstream) variation.
     
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  2. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Perhaps I should rephrase it, but fundamentally, if we have a headphone that has no reactive qualities to the upstream equipment, if it homogenizes the sound of every piece of gear, then we cannot use it to determine how one piece of gear is different from the other, and our hobby is defeated. All impressions would become "it sounds like an LCD-2." Perhaps #4 should be re-written as "Exhibits a useful amount of transparency"
     
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  3. Friday

    Friday Friend

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    Sacling with better gear is definitely desirable. Why would I want something that sounds the same out of an O2 as it does on an EC amp, even if it does sound decent either way? The headphones are the biggest factor in the "flavour"; if I can keep using the same headphone with better amps to get a better sound while still keeping to the same flavour, that's a win for me, cos that's one less source of variation to think about in the long run. Like yeah, I could upgrade from hd650 to a Utopia and it'd still be cheaper than getting a Wavedream, but now I have to rethink my whole listening preferences and priorities.
     
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  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Thanks! Got it. That arose my next questions.

    Purpose and target beneficiary definition. By the latter, I specifically mean who particularly benefit from the concept of universal reference. It might be also helpful in which context you used the wording "reference". Gear reviewing purpose? (if so, which gear parts?) Music evaluation? Noob recommendation? Etc?
     
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Benefits of non-scalability (sonic quality per se aside -- independent problem) for "reference"
    • Easy to replicate (you don't have to buy the same amp twice when need to replicate your experience to other places -- or prepare secondary rig for better comparative environment)
    • Easy to compare subjective evaluations across different people as equations getting simpler
    • Better accountability/attributability of sonic quality to the drivers
    • Partly related. Easier to recommend to others due to lower randomness.
    • And maybe the most straightforwardly, money/effort/resource allocation can be much easier.
    Of course there can be benefits of scalability. These things highly depend on the context and scope/framework definitions. That's why I was asking.

    These days, I am leaning more toward to lower scalability headphones once my own minimum transparency cutoff met.
     
  6. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    The point of transparency and scalability in the context I'm talking about is making connections. Think about it like Metcalfe's Law for headphones: the value of the headphone as a universal reference is how many connections we can make to other headphones and gear based on a single impression. This has to take into account how many of various headphones are already in the wild.

    For example, the HD650 gets a high Metcalfe score because once you know how it sounds on an amp that allows you make reasonable guesses about how that amp might sound with a large number of headphones that people probably have- HD6XX's, HD600's, HD800's and probably a number of other popular but higher priced 300 ohm headphones. You might also know how those sound on another piece of gear like a DAC, so now you can start making exponentially more educated guesses based on a small amount of information.

    Knowing how a Sundara sounds on something tells you a little how other planars will sound, so it has value, but again, how many planars vs. dynamics are in the wild? So, perhaps not as high a Metcalfe score as an HD650, but still it gives knowledge to another group that may be distinct from the first.
     
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    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  7. Friday

    Friday Friend

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    Definitely disagree on those points by Vtory.

    If you set sound quality aside, then the only reference you have is the flavour of the headphone. In which case will not change that drastically from chain to chain, barring impedance interactions. A HD650 will probably be slightly dark, with linear mids and loose bass relative to a lineup of other headphones on any chain. Running it on a better chain will probably not change any of those characteristics, but instead bring out its plankton resolving ability better. If you only listen for "detail" in the treble, then yes the HD650 will never bring that out for you in a way that other headphones might. But if a chain doesn't bring out the magical mids of a 650, then you can be quite certain that it won't do the same for other headphones too.
     
  8. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I’m confused, don’t you use a Clear and a Verite? Are you suggesting those headphones don’t scale much?
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Thanks. I like you guys' explanation. For that aspect, I don't disagree much.

    My point is simplifying relative distance from the reference (headphone in this context). Both conceptually and practically.
    Here is the real example of the latter (practical): I always feel very stressful that I don't have the two identical amps when I AB headphones. I am conducting some factorial comparisons to address it, but less factors to control would benefit me better by making my life easier.

    In short, you guys explained the reference as a way to investigate upstream gears, my view closer to headphone to headphone comparison.

    I do. I meant I don't appreciate their scalability that much any longer. Ideally, my current belief of good headphones is to sound consistently awesome out of any gears even in technicality.

    And I did find Clear mg didn't lose much technicality out of lower amps, which I am greatly appreciating. Previous gen focals and senn legacies don't have this virtue as long as my ears perceive (so my bet is it's not entirely independent from tonality issue).
     
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  10. Friday

    Friday Friend

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    This is the bit that is bugging me: what aspect of headphone to headphone comparison are you exactly referring to? Even out of a crappy laptop, I doubt you will ever mistake a Verite for a HD650. If you are talking about resolving ability, then you can only make a good comparison by seeing how they perform with different upstream gear and recordings, otherwise chances are that you are really comparing how contrasty the headphones are. If you are talking about awesomeness, then it depends alot more on your personal preferences, in which case there is no point in stressing over standardised comparisons.
     
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  11. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    It's a valid preference to want headphones that are amp insensitive. I think the problematic phrase is "awesome out of any gear" because now there's an implied subjective preference. What is awesome for one person may not be awesome for another. If you choose a non-transparent headphone as a universal reference for the group you've created a Procrustean bargain.
     
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  12. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    You’ve grown weak.

    Maybe it’s like taste buds (lose from age) where older people put hot sauce on everything (generalization) to give the flavor a little kick. I feel like now I need extended boosted sub bass otherwise it’s too plain. Maybe my upper frequency hearing loss means I cant appreciate high’s fidelity, so Id rather it just ease up and let me hear more (quality) bass. I also liked sweets when I was a kid...

    I was going to say the same except I think @E_Schaaf figured a nice looking mod for current T50RP (mkiii driver + baffle)
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  13. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Sorry for my lacking explanation. I didn't mean to drag this thread this long. So this must be my last post for this specific issue. Feel free to shoot me a pm if you want to discuss more.

    Suppose we have two different amps: amp X and amp Y (presumably one worse than the other)
    I need to evaluate two headphones: can A and can B (assume B as the reference)

    In my ideal world of amp-insensitive reference. X-B is indifferent to Y-B.
    Thus, I can one try AB one time at the minimum: say, X-A vs Y-B. Additional try to compare X-B vs Y-A will serve as an almost complete sensitivity analysis.

    Now back to the real world, where X-B is different from Y-B.
    In order to assess which are attributable to amps and which are to headphones, the complexity will increase a lot, even after doing X-B vs Y-A and X-A vs Y-B. Very likely I may end up with giving up instantaneous switching. I found the latter world not beneficial to me.

    By the way, I'd like to make sure that the reference doesn't have to be the best headphone among I own. That's my basic assumption. Like I said, I am using the word "reference" in the comparative context and baseline.

    I only described one person AB case, but I believe this logic can be extended to reading across multiple subjective evaluations, as the the crux of framework is more or less the same.
     
  14. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    I also don't like the HD650 stock, but KISS modded, oh boy, my favorite by far. It should be called something else at that point.

    FYI, I haven't tried any of the $1k+ headphones, and use modest gear (FiiO K5 + ModiMultibit V2).
     
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  15. Jay

    Jay Facebook Friend

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    My ears hear it the same way. Back when I started my mid-fi journey, I went from the DT880 (bass too low) to the DT990 (Mount Beyer too much), and then eventually to the HD 600. I really liked those. Then I got it in my head that I wanted more midbass and slightly rolled off upper treble, so I settled on the HD 650. Those have been my primary drivers for years because they did have a smoother and more rolled off treble than my previous headphones. They also handled "ssssssss" much better, which I am particularly sensitive to.

    However, as I've gotten older, I've found them to be a bit shouty while at the same time being congested in the upper mids/lower treble. This only got worse when I recently re-padded them. The reason the HD 650 worked for me in the "ssssssss" department is because they roll it off instead of playing them with better refinement and technicality.

    But oddly, every time I audition new headphones in an attempt to dethrone them, the HD 650 must be a highlander because there can only be one. They always seem to win and I can't replace them. While other headphones have better treble, less shout, and less congestion, I never feel right about their timbre. It's a love/hate relationship with the HD 650.
     
  16. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    OK full disclosure: I may have multiple personality disorder but.. I am seating here with my head comfortably wrapped in the 2003-2004 HD650 I just got from @k4rstar and it is 2004 again. Have never seen new 18 years old headphone before.
    It was mostly about a vintage headphone looking like new, and curiosity if those early production HD650 are different.

    And, with minimal EQ from the @Crinacle list on AutoEQ, it sounds plain lovely from balanced RME ADI-2 Pro. The strings are smooth, natural, even the harshest treble excesses of The Alban Berg Quartet sound friendly.
    No, I have not migrated to the HD650 love and appreciation thread. Actually the opposite. It is not about the headphones it is a bout the hype.
    The justifications why HD650 over so many other headphones focus on: affordable quality and scaling with better gear. The first may be true from the POV of an average buyer who knows what to look for, but in the SBAF context?
    Here is a great comment on affordability vs scaling, from @m17xr2b:

    The best reasons for buying HD650 comes still from NwAvGuy years ago:
    1. Very low listening fatigue
    2. Detailed and revealing sound
    3. Relatively accurate (leaning towards warmth)
    I would add it still looks fantastic, very comfortable, and they fill important gap in my Senns collection:HD25, HD560 Ovation, HD650, HD800S.
    For me HD650, particularly this lovely specimen from the first production years I have in my hands, is either a headphone you like and use as is, maybe with minimal mods, or an expensive hobby I do not want to get into.
    By the way 2021 LCD-X, out of the box, offers very low listening fatigue, detailed and revealing sound, accurate leaning towards warm, plus well controlled and extended bass. No need to mod or scale, use any decent amp you've got.
    Too expensive? Then find used HE500. Higher listening fatigue but more exciting.
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  17. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    Jeez you guys can complicate things! There is a very simple solution. If you don't like the HD650, get the 600. But then again they sound the same. I know it's true 'cause Amir said so.
     
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  18. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Just making clear that FWIW those who are voicing loudly 'not my cup of tea' already tried out all of senn 6x0. This includes 580, 600, 650/6xx. And very likely exposed to several different revisions (e.g., black or white screens, Malaysian production, etc etc) no matter whether fully recognized or not. I believe many also tried out easily applicable mods and eqs. Any of them helped, but none of them can fully flip the way of thinking -- at least for me.

    I like the statement that "those who don't appreciate hd6x0 out of magni may not appreciate 6x0 out of stellaris." Unsure if it's universally true, but I found it very convincing. Some hear magic A (e.g., mid timbre) but conclude differently, some hear but don't value it much, or some may even hear it oppositely. All those three are possible I believe. My basic 650 attitude is the 40-30-30 mixture of the three btw.

    Nevertheless, I still fantasize someday I may meet a miracle combo that sticks me to 6x0... Feeling skeptical as getting older, but I somewhat want to see it happens. It's my personal audiophile dream.
     
  19. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I think the popularity of the HD650 et al says more about the state of the headphone industry than it does about the HD6X0. Come on, be honest, they suck balls.

    Just because they do less wrong than other headphones doesn’t mean they are actually good. They’re dull as fuck, have shitty treble, shitty bass, lack clarity, have terrible dry tonality, and often howl in the upper mids.

    they do not have horrendous ringing or peaks. So what. Most headphones shouldn’t. Someone actually paid attention when designing them. They aren’t just drivers thrown into enclosures.

    big woop. I’m not impressed.

    I have an HDXX and KISS modded HD650 here on loan. Since my SOHA sounds as good as 2 first watt amps I’ve had here with the HE6se and better than the Jottunheim2, black amp and Monoprice LP (balanced) I think it’s enough amp to fairly judge them. But it’s no Singlepower SDS XLR (the only time I’ve truly loved the HD650).

    So I’ll try to write some impressions.
     
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  20. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I am with you on everything except "dry", though perhaps I don't understand what you mean. Well, I don't think they are all that "dull" either, though I do think their lack of technicalities compared to newer designs by Focal et. al. does lead to a lack of excitement. Vocals are not "dull" or "dry" out of them I don't think despite their limitations I would say.
     
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  21. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    dull because when I put them on I feel like 75% of the music is suddenly gone.

    dry is a hard one to define without just saying the word “dry” again. It’s the opposite of liquid. Obviously. If liquidity refers to a smoothness of timbre, dry would then be rough. I think it’s kind of like pixelation in photography. Like there is a roughness to the timbre instead of smooth edges. I wouldn’t go so far as to say digital vs analog though because their dullness makes it so they have no sharp edges like pixelation. But something similar. Maybe an analog 35mm photograph that is blown up huge so you can see the film grain.
     

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