Upgrade from HD 650?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Vaughan, May 23, 2020.

  1. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Essex, UK
    I'm sure this will have been discussed before, but I couldn't find it.

    I use a pair of HD 650's daily, and it's been a bit of a love affair. For me they really hit the spot when it comes to bass response and clarity. They have bass, but it's not boomy. It seems like everything I tried before these (which I've been using for more than two years) either had very little bass, or bass over everything else.

    Either way, the HD 650's are one heck of a great headphone. But the question is - is there an upgrade to an even better set of cans? Let me set a budget of say..... $750.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

    Is there anything about the HD650 that you don't like? If you're perfectly happy with them and it sounds like you are my advice is to stick with them until you're ready to make the leap into the $1,000 and up headphone category.

    Head-Fi.org is a good place to check for information.
     
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  3. intensemojo

    intensemojo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Have you tried planars? The lcd-x by audeze is an outstanding pair of cans. I’ve seen them as b-stock in your price range.
     
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  4. spartree

    spartree Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I was an HD650 guy for years. It’s a great headphone. I’m now looking closely at Audeze’s LCD line, probably the LCD-2 or -3. The LCD-2 Classic will fit your budget.
    LCD-2 Classic
     
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  5. adamos

    adamos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    I’m also curious about Audeze and have been looking into the LCD-2C. I’m happy with my HD-6XX but that’s one that I’d really like to try.
     
  6. Radio

    Radio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    What kind of amplification are you using for the 650s? Supposedly they "scale" very well with higher quality amps, so that may be something to consider in terms of an upgrade.
     
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  7. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Thanks for your help, all. I can wait a month of two and bump up the budget to $1000, so maybe that's the thing to do.

    I use the HD 650's on a couple amps, a Linn Majik and a lower end amp the Marantz 6004. Honestly, I don't have a problem with the 650's at all. This isn't a "I'd like something because what I have is not that great" type of thing - more of a, "Hm, I have an itch for something better...." thing. I'm not entirely sure what "better" means. Hey, we don't only buy stuff because it's better right - just different. :D

    I'll check out Audeze.

    No-one has mentioned later Sennheisser's, like the 800 and 800s, interesting. I assume that's because my price point is too low?
     
  8. souladdikt

    souladdikt Forum Resident

    Location:
    IL
    You're going to need a dedicated headphone amp for those Audeze. Calling @Ham Sandwich for some input on Audeze amplification needs.
     
  9. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    I went from hd650 to audeze lcd2 and love them ...been about 3 years now and have no itch to try anything else:)
     
  10. Opeth

    Opeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    I have the 6xx and LCD2 classic and a lcd2 with fazors from last year. It's hard to upgrade from 650's... While I love both the lcd2's the 6xx are not going anywhere. I would listen to as many amps as possible with 650 before making a jump. They really do get even better with better amps and dacs. An amp that works extremely well with both would be a wise investment. Liquid Platinum with both LCD2 classic and 650 is amazing. $500 right now.

    HD800 series I have never heard but it seems you really need to match amp and dac even more carefully with those.
     
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  11. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    I really want to go in the other direction and recommend something cheaper in the Sennheiser HD 239 which retailed for around 100 bucks and I like it better than the HD 650 or even the HD 800. I still own all three. Unfortunately, after a Google search it appears that particular model is no longer in production. It has great bass extension and features a more open sound than the (IMO) darker sounding HD 650. It's an over the ear headphone and perhaps not quite as comfortable as the more expensive Senn models but sounds amazing for the price.
     
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  12. all24bits

    all24bits Mature Adult

    Location:
    USA
    You'd probably want an Audeze LCD-2 Classic in your case and in your price range. Likewise, you can go with a Focal Clear for about 900 on the used market. You can also go with a Sennheiser 800 for about 750 - 900 on the used market.
     
  13. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Hm, tried looking at the Liquid Platinum Amplifier, but they all seem to be for the US.....
     
  14. Opeth

    Opeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    I'm certainly not trying to talk you into it, I feel both headphones really benefit though :) LCD2 classic needs around at least 2 watts to really shine IMO and 650 gets better with better and better amps.
    What countries does Monoprice currently ship to?

    It is onsale for 500 with coupon, I paid $600 at launch. As I went through quite a few amps until I got to the LP, each time was an upgrade without ever changing the HD650. I can only imagine how good it gets with a few $2000 amps I drool over.

    Also I feel your pain I recently paid $90 to ship an amp EMS to me in Feb. It is made in Russia and is a SET amp that pairs amazingly with the 650.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
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  15. scotpagel

    scotpagel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    Beyerdynamic t1 2nd gen
     
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  16. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Neumann ndh20. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen.2 is a bit more than $750, unless you want to go for a used pair. Both are very nice, and the Neumann was modelled after the 600 and 650 series with improvements.
     
  17. scotpagel

    scotpagel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    Amazon has the new black or silver ones for $649 and $659 respectively right now.
     
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  18. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    WOW - glad I was wrong then, as they are then a bargain and well worth getting.
     
    timind likes this.
  19. musictoad

    musictoad Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    If you're gonna upgrade, my advice is go for endgame. Last pair you'll ever need level of upgrade.

    For me the HD-800S is just that. Soundstage as wide as an ocean. Extremely balanced EQ (unlike the regular Hd-800). Very natural, doesn't color the sound at all. Don't know what else I could expect from a set of cans, really.
     
    jl151080 likes this.
  20. My upgrade from the HD600/HD650 was Audeze. The Audeze LCD series can be an upgrade from the HD650, but requires what I consider heroic amplification. With average amplification the Audeze headphones sound constrained and boxed in. With heroic amplification they open up and become an upgrade to the HD650. But it takes heroic amplification. Otherwise there are better headphone choices out there. Heroic amplification is plenty of power (more than 2.5 watts) and the right style of sound that has synergy. The Monoprice Cavalli Liquid Platinum is one amp that achieves heroic status. For tube amps a Decware Zen Taboo would do it.

    In terms of low level detail the HD650 and LCD-2 are about equal. With heroic amplification I consider the LCD-2 to have more low level detail retrieval than the HD650. The LCD-3 and LCD-X have better low level detail and become a more obvious upgrade in that area going from the HD650.
     
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  21. somnar

    somnar Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC & Amsterdam
    Absolutely love the 800s. Hard to imagine spending serious time with any other phones at this point.

    Bought mine used for $650 four years ago and they’ve performed flawlessly.
     
  22. The Liquid Platinum has an external switching mode power supply. Similar to a laptop power supply. It handles 100v-240v and 50/60 Hz. It has a removable cable that goes from the wall outlet to the power brick. Replace that cable with one that has the right plug for the UK wall outlets.

    Monoprice is also doing a Cavalli Liquid Gold X amp due in a month or so (if it isn't delayed yet again). A solid state amp rather than a hybrid.
     
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  23. jpelg

    jpelg Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Elm City
    ^This.

    The HD6xx series really scales up with better amps. Running them from a good balanced output will be ear-changing comparatively, imo. Before investing in a new dedicated amp, try fashioning a speaker-tap adapter with ~100-120 ohm resistors & running the Senns off your speaker amp. An inexpensive stopgap, & you may be pleasantly surprised.

    I wouldn't consider the LCD2's a significant enough upgrade, especially before investing in better amping.
     
  24. spartree

    spartree Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    RobinetteBox

    I’m planning to build a very basic version of the RobinetteBox which would allow me to drive headphones with my main 300B amps. I’ve spoken to a few guys over on head-fi, as well as Rob Robinette himself, and it seems like a great option.
     
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  25. Linto

    Linto Mayor of Simpleton

    I went from HD600 to Grado GS1000e, another planet entirely
     
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