Headphones have much lower distortion than speakers, especially at modestly loud levels. You need an extremely good speaker to begin to compete with headphones. However, the sound is in your head...it really is a rather unnatural sensation - no depth to the soundstage. I am not a fan of headphones (versus speakers) except for technical evaluation of distortion - when they may help.
Great headphones. Try one of the aftermarket Zu Mobius cables and they get even better. Also the tube headphone amps from Singlepower are very good with the HD650.
I lurked into Headphone land about 4 years ago right before my son was born, thinking that I would probably not be able to do much listening to my main system at full level after he was born. (As I do a lot of late night listening.)
I diligently participated in the forums over at Head-Fi.org and went to all the local meets for a period of about two years. I now own 4 pairs of head phones and 5 headphone amps. There are just as many headphone choices as there are speakers out there. I made a decision early that I would stick with the Senn HD600. It's a great headphone for the money. I got the itch one year, and bought the HD650 for my birthday. Also have a pair of Grado SR-60 at work, and a pair of Etymotic ER-4S for on the road.
I primarily listen to Jazz, and the headstage thing just drives me nuts every time I listen to Jazz. Yes, for the money, you cannot beat what you get out of a good headphone setup. But I'll take a pair of speakers any day.
To my surprise, my son sleeps through most of the time when I play music. Or we enjoy music together. He has short attention span, so most of the time we don't play LPs but CDs. So now my headphone gear just sits there and gets turned on maybe once or twice a month.
The stock HD650 cable is pretty decent, but there are several aftermarket cables that work really well. Check out the comparison over at Head-Fi.org. I personally like the Zu Mobius/HD650 combo. And a decent headphone amp really makes it sing.
On Head-Fi, you'll find different camps when it comes to headphones. Senns are popular, so are the various expensive Grados (RS-1, PH1000, etc.), AKG, Beyerdynamics and Stax are also popular. The most high-end current production model is probably the Sony (I forgot the model). You have to make an appointment and go to a selected store to get custom fitted for a pair that will ding you US$5k. The most desirable is the Sennheiser Orpheus. They are no longer made. If you were one of the lucky ones that had purchased one when they first came out, you can sell them and double or triple the money you paid originally.
I have these same headphones and they "sounded" great until I changed my preamp to a Lexicon MC-12 which does not have a headphone jack?? Any advice, or am I missing it?
Some Great information as always. Thanks guys. I will look into getting a Zu cable.
Yes, the soundstage is missing but seems to be a good alternative when laying flat on your back in bed late at night.
I stumbled into having a pair of headphones when I saw a new pair of Sennheiser 600's on craigslist for $100 and couldn't pass them up. I soon after found a great deal here on audiogon on a Headroom Little More Plus headphone amp. I'm using an Ah! Tjoeb tubed CD player as a source and the combination is very nice.
The Headroom amp has a 'Crossfeed' option that mixes the signal a bit to simulate the more natural soundstage of speakers. It's not the real thing but I find it makes listening to the phones a lot more enjoyable.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but I to really enjoyed my 650s with Cardas cable, right up until the day a got a pair of AKG 701s. After repeatedly listening to both, it got to were I couldn't ever listen to the 650s anymore.
As good as they are, the 701s trounched them is overall accuracy, revealing the 650s sometimes pleasing, but VERY colored presentation, especailly in the bass.
I had tried several aftermarket cables with both of my Senn headphones. The one I could not stand was the Silver Dragon. It was way too bright. The Zu is not as bright, and the Cardas has that warmth similar to the Golden Reference.
I have both the HD650 and HD 600, and I also have the Zu Mobius and Cardas cables. I had tried various combinations. To me, the HD650 has a warmer sound and better bass. I think it's voiced specifically for digital playback. In my system, HD650 sounded better with Zu Mobius, and the HD600 sounded better with Cardas. HD600/Cardas sounded better when listening to vinyl and HD650/Zu sounded better with CDs. I had originally wanted to sell the HD600/Cardas after I got the HD650, but decided to keep it for that reason.
There are several other cables out there that I've not tried. And most of these companies, except Cardas have come out with newer version of these cables within the past year.
If you are looking for a headphone amp. Go over to Head-Fi.org. There are tons and tons of reviews on various amps from $50 to $20k. And you can check out the For Sale section.
Another growing site to check out that seems alot more geared towards the higher end headphone listening is.
It and head-fi.org will get you any info on headamps and phones you will need.
i have owned two over the top Singlepower amps in the past(SDS and SDS-XLR) and now have a Singlepower Maestro-XLR with outboard tubed power supply that pulls preamp and headphone duty. Amps like these and others take the Senns to a whole new level of headphone listening.
My sony headphones are better than my speakers. Hands down
Is there any trick on taking off the stock cable or does it just pull off?
Where can I get the best price on the Zu cable?
Sometimes they are a little tough to pull off. grabing them by the connector (not the cable) with needle nose pliers or something along those lines will work. Ive had some pr. that you really have to work to get them loose the first time. Just pull straight out very hard and they will come loose. Try not to wiggle them back and forth. Just pull straight out. You can find the cables used sometimes in the cables for sale forum on www.head-fi.org. But your best bet is go right to www.zucable.com and order a pr.
Will take a look at the website..
Be patient and check out Head-Fi.org's for sale page. They show up from time to time. Some one had also recommended Stefan Audio cables. But I have not yet heard them myself. Read before you buy. One of the things people complain about the Zu cable (at least about v 1.0) was that the cable is stiffer than most and you can sound microphonic if you run your fingers up and down the cable. These traits don't bother me as most of the time I am sitting down reading for on computer when I listen to my headphones, not walking around doing things.
Im using the Headroom Blockhead headphone amp which uses a balanced configuration. I replaced the cable which just plugs into the phones and the amp. The sound is super. Vandersteen and my dealer says thats because the acoutics of the room are nullified. I do like my speakers better - they sound more real, but boy do the Sens give me goose bumps
Lambda Nova Signature push-pull electrostatic headphones with SRM-T1W headphone amplifier. Traded my Creek and HD-650 for it. My friend got them from somewhere and though they were broken (sound only in L-channel) gave them to me for check-out. Sadly he never got them beck. To be fair - I gave him my headphone system which made him very happy.
So...what was wrong with it...?????
Well it turns out that he could not figure out the channel balance adj. that's it.
How does it sound.....?
OK......let me put it this way:
I have never heard anything like it before.....!
How is that for an answer.
Have the 650's as well. Awesome. I too enjoy them more than my speakers. I often put the kids to bed, slap them on and get lost in the music for hours. I use the stock cables and listen thru a Benchmark DAC - bliss. Might try the AKG's though just in case. Hope I'm not ruining my hearing in the process.
The new Zu Mobius cable for the Senn 650s is thin,
flexible, and sounds great.
We should all send our condolances to head-fi.org,
which has been laid low by a system crash. A post-mortem
of the problem has been posted at its website: http://www.head-fi.org/
I listened to the HD650s BRIEFLY at the 2007 RMAF and compared them to the HD600s, which I just sold on consignment. I thought that the 650s were significantly better. Those and the AKG 701s may be a consideration in the future.*
*Right now I'm so spoiled by the mains that I just ditched a Stax SRM T1 driver unit with both original Lambda Signature and 404 equivalent earspeakers.