Pink Floyd and Weed

Really enjoying some Pink Floyd, the Division Bell. Hi-Res download from my PC to my DAC. Anyway, listening to my headphones and noticing way less bass than through my main speakers, nothing I can adjust. My headphone playback is through a modified Musical Fidelity Amp going to a set of Sennheiser HD600 phones, is it the headphones or the amp sucking the bass life out of the music?

If necessary, I can replace the headphones or the amp, but not both.


Sativa. Strain is called Peanut Butter, born in Detroit.

Anyway, what might you think about my headphone playback conundrum? Is it the phones or the amp? What might you suggest for good bass reproduction?

The Division Bell is easily my favourite latter day (non Barrett) Floyd album (behind both DSOTM and WYWH).

From what I know, unless they're faulty, it's not a good idea to get rid of the almost universally loved HD600s.

Why not try them on your PC / laptop/ phone with some equalisation to see if that helps?
I appreciate your suggestion -thanks. I'll try them through my PC and see if I can adjust the bass. Maybe the problem is my amp?

I really like the "sound" of my HD600's, just missing the bass!

My headphone playback is through a modified Musical Fidelity Amp

Modified, how? Resistor across the output to drop the voltage? Maybe another one in parallel? Maybe values that would be fine for a high impedance low load IEC but runs out of gas trying to drive the headphones? That would explain the low bass from an otherwise exemplary set of cans.

I modified the amp with a kit I found on-line. Basically, new caps throughout, a new BB op-amp, new volume pot, etc. The amp has way more than enough power for the headphones, at around the midpoint in the volume range it is too loud to listen to.

I tried the headphones on a PC with a dedicated sound card and I was able to adjust the bass, the results were surprising in that there was a great deal more bass but for some reason it just did not sound right.

It’s the PC, Janelle Monae, dirty computer.
My sound card SQ is crap. I only use it for recording internet streams.
Through my main speakers I hear all the bass, so I think my PC is fine. I built the PC myself and have it connected to my system via USB and am very happy with the SQ. After digesting some of the feedback I have received, I am beginning to think the problem may be with the headphone amp??

Thinking my lack of bass issue may be due to my current headphone amp, I am wondering if anyone could suggest an amp that works well with Sennheiser HD600 headphones? I am thinking maybe even tubes?

I would appreciate your suggestions, something around the $1500 range or less.

I have Sen 650's....they are very much like the 600's.   I can tell you the highs and lows are truncated, but the mids are very nice.
stringreen, thanks! I did not consider a different set of phones, I tried a friends set of Cardas in-ear phones and there was more bass but they did not have near the clarity of my HD600's.

So, what this tells me is exactly what you observed, at the extremes, (mostly the bass) the HD600's truncate. I really like the sound of them, but am left wondering if there is a more full range option that can still hold on to that clarity/airiness that the Sennheiser's  possess while producing that wanted bass? I am concerned it may be cost prohibitive to best the HD600's. Thanks again!  
@grm -- I bought a Quicksilver Audio headphone amp a few months ago. I have the Senn HDXX (same as 650 and somewhat similar to your 600), Focal Clear and Hifiman Arya. The QS amp was a night and day difference. If you read my other threads, bass is one area where I saw the most noticeable improvement. It is an amazing amp!!!

As for your 600s, all I can say is that although my other two headphones are much more expensive than my HDXX, the Senn punches way above its price point, and definitely scales with better amplification. Try it with the Quicksilver amp, I think you will be pleasantly surprised what the 600s are capable of.
arafiq, thank you! I looked at the QS on-line and it is one impressive looking amp. I need to research where to obtain one where I can "buy and try", just in case it does not work out for me. Is there any low level buzz from the tubes? Also, I noticed it does not have audio pass-through, I kind of need the pass-through because my main amp does not have a pre-amp output or tape loop, so I am using the pass-through of my MF amp to connect to my PC speakers. Based on your feedback, as well as from others, I'll hold on to my HD600's for now. 

I really appreciate your help and suggestion!
grm.....I just got Grado GR10E phones.  They are in ear, yet if teamed with a really good amp, are faster, cleaner, more solid low end, etc. than my 650's
Hi stringreen,
Thanks for the tip regarding the Grado! I myself prefer over the ear phones. I tried a nice set of Cardas in ear phones and found them to be a bit heavy and not quite as comfortable as over the ear phones. What I like about the HD600's is that they are very comfortable, but they are also a open-back design and do not block environmental noise. If I were to look at obtaining a new set of phones, I would be looking for something over the ear, but I think I might try a new amp first. What do you think?

"If I were to look at obtaining a new set of phones, I would be looking for something over the ear, but I think I might try a new amp first. What do you think?"

To my mind closed back over-ear phones are superior in every way.

Apart from sound quality.

Even dirt cheap open back designs like the Sennheiser px100s or Koss Porta Pros can give far more expensive closed back designs a good run for their money.

It’s even worse than comparing box speakers to open baffle designs. It’s difficult to beat a driver that’s just centimetres from your ear drum with no closed-off earcup adding any unwanted reflections.

Having said that there are decent designs like the Beyerdynamic dt770s. You could get the ones with the most suitable impedance for your needs but it would be a little unfair to expect them to be on par with your HD600s.
Was listening g to my Quicksilver Amp last night.... I bought it sight unseen.... based on my experience with Mikes amps.... it is a great bests my Neve RNHP and the amp in my RME adi-2 DAC.

The RME / Quicksilver combo kills it ....  I also use the RME as my system's DAC , connected to my c-j preamps Tape Out.   
My main system Amp has no pre-outs or tape loop, but I think it's possible to convert one of it's single ended inputs to something called pass-through for HT use, whatever that means?? Right now my streamer has two outputs, one balanced going directly to my main amp and the other, single ended, going directly to my headphone amp. I am very interested in the Quick Silver headphone amp but I noticed it does not have a pass-through output which I need for my PC speakers. I guess I need to research my Amp to see how to configure one of it's inputs to pass-through, that would fix my issue and make the Quick Silver viable.
Are you a Roon user?  If so, go to the DSP settings, switch on the cross feed, then adjust the profile so you hear things how you like them, and save the settings for these headphones. 
I currently do not have Roon. I have heard quite a bit about Roon, but never researched it and am not sure what it is/does? I do play back my hi-res download files from my PC using an app called J-River Media Center. Right now I have J-River configured as pass-through, making zero changes to the digital file's. My Streamer is Roon Ready, not sure what that means either?

What is Roon and what is Roon Ready, anyone?
Room’s own website is excellent - Roon is not like any other service so it is a must read. 
But basically, you install software on a powerful processor (like your home PC or Mac). You then install Roon apps on your phone or tablet which you will have with you in your listening room, to control the music. 
Then you connect suitable streamers wherever you want music; as many as you like - I use a Bluesound Node, a R-Pi, a Chromecast, other Macs. If you want you can also connect a DAC directly to your main processor. 
Roon finds each streamer/DAC and can send different music or the same music to any combination of them. Each end point can have a custom profile of DSP and other filters. So for example if you only use headphones with your Chromecast you can build in a DSP profile for that combination. 
You hook up Roon to your NAS, to Dropbox, to your music folders on your main processor, and to Qobuz/Tidal.  Roon finds, sorts, and describes what you have got, dragging in information about the music it finds and showing it to you on your controller devices as you listen. It’s like having the best LP covers of all time, for all LPs, instantly. 
Best of all is the audio metadata. Roon tells you loads about your signal path quality. It is a digital fiddler’s dream.  

@grm  First are we talking problems with Division Bell or everything through the headphones?  Accepting that this is a general problem not DB specific, do you have any way beside USB to get out from your computer?  I live in Canada so I am too busy rolling to spend much time swapping from USB to co-ax or toslink to compare sound.  I use something completely different to get hi-def and vinyl transfers from my PC to the stereo so I never bother with it but I have seem many posts commenting on differences between the various methods and USB didn't seem to be very popular.  Great for compressed or low def formats but the better the audio signal the bigger the differences according to most who commented.

As for the other issue, have you watched the Gilmour in Pompeii blu-ray?  Great show and if you take the same break the the band takes between sets ;) the startup to the second set will blow you away, crank it!
Thank you for the detailed description of Roon, sounds like a nice enhancement to the overall listening experience, I will check into it!

Found David Gilmour Live at Pompeii on Spotify, listening to it now, what a blast, thanks for the recommendation! Listening to Spotify, I eliminate the USB cable and go strait from my network via a Cat7 cable directly into my streamer from my gateway. In the Spotify App, it shows all of the devices on my network and I just select my streamer and I'm off to the races.

Back to headphones. I found there to be similar results with respect to the overall lack of the bass registers. I connected my HD600's to the headphone output of my SACD player and my HT system, in all cases the bottom end seemed to be truncated, across all devices. However, even with the lack of bass, the HD600's sound great.

Back to the concert! 
@grm Are you hearing weakened bass through the headphones on other sources or just the streamer.  If it's everywhere is there a chance the headphones are wired out of phase?  
Just as an experiment, use the equalizer in J-River to wind up the lowest two faders.  If you get the expected bump in bass energy see if there is a boost setting that makes the phones sound more like you want.  Also run the faders to the bottom to see the effect.  Try the same thing with your speakers, of course watch your levels, massive boost at low levels can be dangerous.  Also check out the analyzer in J-Rivers DSP section.  The graph will give you a decent view of the music you are sending out.  It's great fun to watch if you are a music lover who is also a tech head.  After you get used to looking at it you can easily see if a track should sound bottom heavy, balanced or bright.  Being able to see the "tone profile" of a track makes it easy to determine what the overall sonic character of the song is.  Before I get jumped, no it's not a high precision evaluation technique but it does help.
The HD600's are wired correctly, the connectors on them are keyed in a way, one large and one small pin on each connector, you would have to use quite a bit of force to wire them out of phase.
I have fumbled a bit with J-River and am concerned I'll mess things up if I am not careful. I am using Media Center 23. It sounds like you have a more in-depth understanding of J-River. Any way you could share something like a fault tree that can get me to these settings? Anyone out there with J-River that might be able to help? Thanks!
@grm  No worries glad to help but you still haven't said, is bass light on everything or just the Floyd.  Anyway, J-River is dead easy. Pick TOOLS from the menu bar, bottom choice OPTIONS.In the main box you have a list, the first choice is Audio Device, second is Settings.  Usually the only choice under Settings is "DSP & output format", choose that. In the new box along the left side is a list of functions ; equalizer, room correction lots of fun tools.  The last one is the Analyzer, select it with a track playing and you see a graph of the sound level/freq.  Don't worry about messing settings up it's a computer app.  If you get way out of whack chose the default preset.  Also you are usually asked if you want to save changes before exit.  The analyzer is just for fun but is very interesting in what it displays. For simple checks involving boosts and cuts just to see what happens the plain old equalizer is the place to start.
The bass through my HD600's is light on everything. Through my main speakers everything is fine and it's not just the Floyd recording.

I have printed out your navigation instructions for J-River, I really like the app and what it can do. I'll be trying your suggestions with it right after this post, many thanks!
Adjusting the equalizer in J-River did the trick, many thanks! At some point I think I would like to invest in a new headphone amp, with the Quicksilver high on my list.

Happy listening!