Help please for headphones. Sennheiser HD 660s meh.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tone?, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I have a pair of Audio-Technica ATH M50x which I love.

    I thought I would upgrade and got a pair of Sennheiser HD 660s.
    Got them today.
    Nope. Not even close.
    Why do people rave about these?

    Yeah they had better imaging than the my Audio-Technica. And maybe a bit more resolution.
    But there is a sheen over the sound. And no punch and attack like the Audio-Technica.
    I found the Sennheisers boring actually. Didn’t make me tap my foot. Drums didn’t sound accurate. Guitars lost the grind and attack. Blah.

    Can anyone recommend me a pair like my Audio-Technica but with improved imaging and resolution? Maybe a tad more ‘ polite ‘ on the high end?


    Thanks.
    Really disappointed with the Sennheisers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    You'd likely do far better asking at head-fi.org

    Having said that, you haven't posted your source which might explain part of the problem.
     
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  3. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Source is no issue at all. I have my marantz HD DAC fed by tidal.
    I also have a pair of Adam audio F5 monitors which sound much better than the Sennheisers.
     
  4. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    The ATH m50x have a V-shaped response curve, heavy on the bass - can I assume from your experience you like a lot of bass?

    Also, we naturally become accustomed to a certain sound, and many times the "burn in" touted by manufacturers is as much (or more) your brain than it is the component...... so going from something like a 50x to another phone like the Senn HD 600 or 650, or a Beyer DT-880 which are more "neutral / natural" might be an initial shock,, but a lot of it depends on preference, in addition to if one likes a little "coloration" to enhance the sound.

    BTW, what's your budget?
     
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  5. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    "Better" is subjective, though. Out of curiosity, did you break the HD660s in for a few dozen hours?
     
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  6. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    I actually thought the Audio-Technica had a flatter response than the Sennheisers.
    I like the direct sound of the Audio-Technica. I also think they have a much more natural sound than the Sennheisers. Drums sound like drums. The Sennheisers have this sheen over the sound. And are quite frankly boring.

    My budget is around $500.

    I have said this before. I like to hear something like the Rush YYZ drum solo and hear those drums pound in your head with punch and attack.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    I think I just like a more direct monitor sound.
     
  7. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    There is no way break in will compensate for the lack of the Sennheisers liveliness and punch. They are way too relaxed for me.

    Thanks
     
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  8. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    To put it another way. If you really got me doesn’t rip your head off from the intro there is something wrong with the speakers or headphones. Same with violins. They were just boring with the Sennheisers.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    What you call direct sounds a lot more like forward. The Sennheisers are more laid-back and you find them dull and lifeless as a result.

    No accounting for tastes. Having my head taken off by any speaker (or headphone) is the last thing I want.

    As for the frequency response of your ATs, here's what they look like, in blue.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Nope not really honestly........ good luck in your search! :)
     
  11. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Yeah forward is good.
    I don’t want my head taken off per say. Just a more lively sound.

    Thanks
     
  12. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Maybe another pair of Audio-Technica or beyerdynamic?
     
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Again, the dudes at head-fi would be better suited to answer. If you liked the ATs, I'd guess going up the line might yield a better result. But before you fork over your money, I'd suggest consulting others with more experience with headphones specifically... and frankly, that ain't me.

    The source of that graph allows for the direct frequency comparison between up to 4 models which would be helpful but that tool is currently down. Once they have it back up though, that'd be a good tool to use, if only to narrow the search.
     
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  14. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco


    Thank you!
     
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  15. ivor

    ivor Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I have HD660s and also don't love them in general. Strangely, I liked them most when fed by an out-of-production DSD-only DAC. Maybe it was just rolling off the high frequencies?

    Coincidentally I have a new headphone amp coming soon, curious to see what difference that will make. I'm not sure what you mean by lively. Our ears and brains are all different.
     
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  16. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    What I mean by lively is they are laid back. They don’t make you tap your foot. And there is like a veil over the sound.
    I like tightness in drums and all instruments.
     
  17. What you've described is basically how the Senn HD600 series sounds. They can liven up and sound a bit faster with better amplification. But they're always going to be leaning towards the style of sound you're hearing. Obviously not a headphone for what you're after.

    Good IEMs can do the fast sound for drums and attack along with texture for gritty guitar. But IEMs are never going to give you the physical punch that you seem to want. IEMs in your ears just can't do that. That type of punch needs big drivers outside your ears.

    The type of sound you seem to be after is what I would assassinate with larger driver planar magnetic headphones. The type like what Audeze makes or HiFiMan makes, and others. However, the good planar magnetics are generally more than $500. The Audeze LCD-2 Classic would likely do what you're after, but they're $800 MSRP. HiFiMan makes some planars that are in the $500 and under category. But frankly I'm not a fan of the way HiFiMan does planars. A lot of people like them. I'm not one of them.

    You may want to keep an eye open for the Verum 1. It's a planar magnetic, but in pre-release status. I think the MSRP is now $350, though could possibly change once officially released. I mention these because they're a planar and most likely to have the sound style you're after at a price you're after. I haven't been able to hear them yet. So I can't say from experience what they sound like. The web site says they're about 6 weeks from shipping. If I were in your shoes I'd wait those 6 weeks and see how they're received once in the wild and official shipping status. You've got the M50x for now to keep you going. There are reviews available for the Verum 1 out on the web. Do a google search and see if what the reviews say line up with what you're after.
     
  18. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Dumb question. Are planers open back? I love the imaging of the open back.

    How bout a different brand of open back like the beyerdynamic dt1990 pro?

    Thanks so much!
     
  19. Planar headphones can be open or closed. However, most are open style. Doing closed planars well is more difficult to minimize the cup effect of closing in the drivers. Most open planars still tend to sound a bit closed in compared to fully open headphones. Planars need damping material in front and behind the driver. The damping material is usually something similar to felt or foam. The damping material tunes the frequency response. If you look at a planar headphone from the front or rear you are not going to see the driver. You're going to see damping material. So they're not fully open like some headphones.

    Beyer headphones can be a mixed bag. Some have a smile style tuning and sometimes a bit of a sharp treble peak along with that. Reviews I've seen of the DT1990 say it has that treble peak. So it's not a Beyer I'd want to audition for myself. I don't like treble peaks like that. But Beyer has been tuning some of their headphones to tame or lessen that style of tuning and peak. For example, the original Beyer T1 had a treble peak that I did not like, but the newer Gen 2 version of the T1 has tamed and reduced that. As a comparison, the original M50 had a bit of a treble peak and the M50x kinda reduced that a bit. I consider the MX50 to have more of a treble peak than I personally like. The M50x is a bit better.
     
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  20. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Can an open back headphone be as quick and punchy as my Audio-Technica ATH M50x?
     
  21. Open back headphones can do fast punch. In any comparison to prove it I'll bring along a JPS Labs Abyss headphone and challenge you to find a closed headphone that does better fast punchy sound. Fast punchy sound and bass is one of the Abyss headphones claim to fame, even though it's an open back headphone. It's also a planar.

    The reality though is that closed back headphones do have an advantage in delivering punchy sound. Closed back headphones are able to pressurize because the backs are closed. Sound pressure is able to push against the back of the headphone cups and deliver more of a punch. Fully open headphones don't have that advantage.

    It's sort of like home theater rooms and systems. A home theater in a fully sealed room is able to pressurize and make those dinosaur stomps and explosions really punch. Put that same home theater system in a fully open room and you lose that degree of physical punch and pressurization. But tweak the setup and you can still get physical punch in a fully open room. Closed vs. open headphones are kinda like that.

    Planar magnetics do have a theoretical advantage in quickness or speed. The driver for a planar magnetic is light with low mass. The driver is a mylar film with a circuit trace printed on it. Light and low mass drivers can accelerate and decelerate more quickly than relatively heavier and more massive standard dynamic drivers. Plus planar drivers can be made with more surface area than standard dynamic headphone drivers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  22. Robert Goodison

    Robert Goodison Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Suffolk, England.
    Some describe the 'house sound' of many Sennheiser headphones as 'veiled' - a general laid back, smooth signature which some find relaxing and preferable; others find unexciting.

    Notable Sennheiser headphones that don't have this sonic signature are HD800, HD800S and HD820 models - but are out of your price range.
    I've read mixed reports of the HD700 headphone model, and have no first hand experience - Head-Fi might be able to help.

    Grado headphones seem to be popular with those wanting to experience a more lively sound, at least in comparison to equivalent priced Sennheiser models.
    Personally, I've found them to be a bit 'in yer face' in the treble department, and without wanting to sound weird - I must have an unusual shaped head, and found them all to be uncomfortable in the extreme for relatively short listening periods.

    Beyerdynamic models offer a somewhat 'in the middle' presentation - treble that's not going to cause your teeth to explode, and a fast bass response.
    I'd suggest demo'ing a pair of Amiron (wired; avoid the wireless model) headphones.
    They should be within your budget (Amazon sell them, so you can exercise the 30 day returns policy).

    If you want to continue within the Audio Technica range - ATH-W1000Z headphones might fit the bill, and should be in your price range.
     
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  23. Tone?

    Tone? Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Yeah man I was thinking to try the beyerdynamic DT1990 pro. I read that it’s a bit more neutral and tighter than the Amiron. What do you think between those two?
     
  24. Robert Goodison

    Robert Goodison Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Suffolk, England.
    It's a coin toss between either model, to be honest.
    They both have the same impedance (250 ohm), and have the same sensitivity (102 dB) - so will be driven the same by your Marantz DAC/headphone amp.
    Similar materials, so similar levels of comfort.
    Both feature 'Tesla' drivers (think Amiron has the latest generation; the DT1990 PRO the previous generation, but I might be wrong on that count).

    The DT1990 PRO has two pairs of ear-pads, that will allow you to slightly 'tune' the sound (one pair of pads is 'neutral'; the other has a 'bass boost', but it's not a massive boost).

    If you're in a position to do so, I'd get both pairs from Amazon, or a dealer that will allow you to home demo both for a decent period of time - and see what model you prefer.

    If someone was pointing a gun to my head, and telling me to choose one over the over, I'd probably pick the Amiron (but that's only because I've heard it most recently out of the two; haven't had the opportunity to A/B both at the same time, and ultimately chose a pair of Focal Clear headphones and continued with my Sony MDR-1AM2 headphones...)
     
  25. Onrd

    Onrd I am not a number

    I went through the same experience with the Senns. I finally bought a pair of Hifiman 400s and never looked back. These will definitely give you the snap and attack on the drums you're looking for.
     

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