Considering Sennheiser HD 580

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Matt Stone, Apr 12, 2003.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    A friend of mine just bought a pair of HD 600s, and after listening to them yesterday, I'm hooked [​IMG]

    I don't have ~250 to invest right now, but I've found the 580s for 130-150, and do have that kinda dough. From what I've read they compare pretty well to the 600s. I understand the "need" for an external headphone amp, but that's something I'll worry about if a problem arises. Price vs. performance, can I do any better? I've heard only good things about these, and just want to make sure there isn't some hidden catch.
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Well...I bought them [​IMG]

    Guess I don't need your thoughts anymore [​IMG]
     
  3. David_Stein

    David_Stein Second Unit

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    im quite sure you will be very happy with your senns. i had i seen this earlier i would have suggested trying to listen to some grado headphones, as the two brands are frequently mentioned in the same breath. im listening to my sr-80s as i type.
     
  4. Tim Hess

    Tim Hess Second Unit

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    I've had the 590s for over 2 years now, use them everyday! Great phones.
     
  5. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    David,
    I've actually listened to some Grado's and found them to be a little too bright.

    Thanks for the thoughts, guys.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    The just came, and wow...they sound pretty damn good. Very good complete sound stage. I'm used to everything being a little muddy in the mids, but this is damn nice.

    They sound a tad harsh on the high end right now, but I'm assuming that will go away with a little break-in.
     
  7. John H

    John H Second Unit

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    Matt,

    I own the HD600 and the HD580. Both are very nice phones. In the future if you decide to pick up something dedicated to drive them may I suggest a Antique Sound Labs MG Head OTL tube amp. This is an excellent match for the 600/580

    My headphone system can be seen at the bottom of my HT page.

    John
     
  8. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Thanks!

    How much does that amp go for?
     
  9. DerrickW

    DerrickW Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm lucky to have a friend who is an absolute headphone nut, and I've been auditioning his stuff lately. He has two HD600's, the Cardas cables ($140), a Headroom Supreme amp ($450), and a Headroom Max with stepped attenuator ($1900 amp). He has decent Rotel sources.

    Personally, I gotta say that the HD600 is a great headphone. I've heard the HD590 and the other new Senn's, and they are HORRIBLE in comparison. The 580 is WAY better than the 590. The 590 does not have a flat response at all; Senn apparently thought it sounded better to some people. Well, there are several online forums for headphones you can search around (headwize, headfi, etc) and general opinion agrees that the 580/600 are some of the best headphones around.

    As far as amps go, I could actually tell only a little difference between the Supreme and Max. It is there, but certainly not much in my opinion. My friend has decided that his "horrible" Rotel cd player is the weak link and needs to upgrade it to get the most out of his Max amp. When using his portable cd player without the amps (Sony 20th anniversary, not shabby for a portable), the HD600s just couldn't get much volume, and the quality was down a bit. So in that situation an amp is rather necessary. (note: use the line-out, not regular headphone jack for external amps to avoid the circuitry). But on high quality home receivers and sources, the difference is much less. I intend to try the HD600 off my receiver and compare it to using his amps before I buy an amp.

    Another consideration for getting an amp is CROSSFEED. Coming from speaker setups, I much prefer crossfeed on my headphones since it preserves my expected imaging. Basically, it delays one channel's info and feeds it to the other channel softly, just like speakers in front of you would. So instead of the sound being in your head, its on a soundstage in front of you. You can read about the Headroom crossfeed http://headroom.headphone.com/pdfs/MaxManual.pdf starting on page 8 for some explanation. Or http://www.meier-audio.com and click HA-2 and scroll down. Sadly, I don't like Headroom's crossfeed as much as some others like Corda. The Corda offers several levels of crossfeed, and also doesn't add extra bass like the headroom. Headroom adds bass since there is a psychoacoustic effect of 'less' bass when the info is sent to both ears. Some think the Corda is weak on bass, some think the Headroom is heavy on bass- so that's getting pretty personal for opinions. Some people are very against crossfeed in general though too, but I find that on many recordings it improves the experience.

    Corda HA-1 (new version just hitting the streets is reputed to be excellent for the price) is $380; the HA2 is $590. Both are highly recommended for the 580/600. The Headroom pieces are also recommended sometimes, but are rather expensive. There are also too many to list here... The MG Head OTL is also recommended, but I have no experience with it.

    JohnH- everytime you post I notice something more in your system that I wish I had. Of your headphone amps (Audio Valve RVK MK II, HeadRoom Maxed Out Home w/reference module, Wheatfield Audio HA-1, Antique Sound Labs MG Head OTL), how would you compare them?
     
  10. DerrickW

    DerrickW Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as cables go, their difference was also only slight. To my ear, the Cardas give slightly tighter bass, and extended high-end response. But by slight, I do mean slight.

    Of all the differences I've tested with his gear (sources, cables, amps) the greatest difference was clearly between the HD600s he had! The older one had been used regularly for 4 years, the newer was a few months old. The newer one had much tighter bass and midrange response, enough that I think even my gradma would be able to tell through her hearing aid. After the thousands my friend has spent on his setup the last 4 years, he's found that the greatest improvement was spending only $250 on a new set of phones that weren't as worn-out.

    Just realize that headphones cost much less than speakers to reach audiophile grade. This also means that you reach diminishing returns too.
     

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