Sennheiser HD600 (~$300) vs. HD650 (~$375) vs HiFiMan HE 400i (~$219)

slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
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2,408 7 20
#1
Title says it all!

I was just browsing some headphone options, and all of these prices look like some smoking deals!

What is BEST for the price???

I have never heard any HiFiMans, nor have I heard a planar magnetic can.

I currently have Senn 598 and AKG845BT. I used to have AT-M50 but those were not to my taste so I sold them.

Anything else that can compete at the <$400 range???
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
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1,852 9 4
#2
I'd add the Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX to your list whenever they come back around. I'm sure they will come back around sooner or later. Tyll Hertsens says they measure nearly identically to the HD 650, but they usually sell for $200.

The AKG K7xx would also be worth considering. If I recall correctly what I've read, they lean more toward neutral with a bit more extension toward sub bass, perhaps at the expense of some accuracy in the sibilant range. You can compare the measurements for the AKG K7XX and the Sennheiser HD650 / 6XX and see how much sense you can make sense of any of it. The AKG drivers do seem to offer a more controlled impulse response from what I see measured there. I think both would benefit from some microfiber or perforated ear cushions to reduce the midbass humps.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
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#3
I'd add the Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX to your list whenever they come back around. I'm sure they will come back around sooner or later. Tyll Hertsens says they measure nearly identically to the HD 650, but they usually sell for $200.

The AKG K7xx would also be worth considering. If I recall correctly what I've read, they lean more toward neutral with a bit more extension toward sub bass, perhaps at the expense of some accuracy in the sibilant range. You can compare the measurements for the AKG K7XX and the Sennheiser HD650 / 6XX and see how much sense you can make sense of any of it. The AKG drivers do seem to offer a more controlled impulse response from what I see measured there. I think both would benefit from some microfiber or perforated ear cushions to reduce the midbass humps.
I didn't even consider the MD options. I've never done a MD before.

Thanks for reminding me about those!
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

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#5
I also found a thorough subjective comparison between the HD650 and K7XX that'd be worth reading. And since I haven't spent enough of your money yet, if you don't have a headphone amp, consider buying a JDS Labs O2.
Right!

Thanks for the link, I was already kicking around the idea of an O2, but had not actually taken the time to look it up yet.

I currently have this for a headphone amp (and of course the headphone output on my pre-amp).
SoloP Headphone Amp Kit
https://www.boxedkitamps.com/solop-headphone-amp-kit
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
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468 3 10
#6
It comes down to personal preference. I personally like HD600 best but I know many who prefer HD650 as well. For me HD600 was more neutral sounding. HD6XX how ever should be no brainer for price vs performance. Also something to consider as well: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/fostex-x-massdrop-th-x00?referer=4568TG&mode=guest_open they go for 399$ when they are dropped if you are not in hurry. I have purpleheart version that goes fforpr 449$ and they are really nice cans.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

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#7
I also found a thorough subjective comparison between the HD650 and K7XX that'd be worth reading. And since I haven't spent enough of your money yet, if you don't have a headphone amp, consider buying a JDS Labs O2.
Now you got me looking at that O2!

Massdrop has a "desktop" version that looks very tempting!
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-amplifier

Or, JDS even has some B-Stock available.

Just maybe I should start here......

EDIT: Any guidance on the O2
Gain: 2.5x and 6.5x / 1.0x and 3.3x (select your configuration)???
@rojo
@tyhjaarpa

EDIT 2--Well, right now the 220V version is the only one left available on Massdrop, doesn't help me out any.
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
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1,852 9 4
#8
Now you got me looking at that O2!

Massdrop has a "desktop" version that looks very tempting!
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-amplifier

Or, JDS even has some B-Stock available.

Just maybe I should start here......

EDIT: Any guidance on the O2
Gain: 2.5x and 6.5x / 1.0x and 3.3x (select your configuration)???
@rojo
@tyhjaarpa

EDIT 2--Well, right now the 220V version is the only one left available on Massdrop, doesn't help me out any.
I'd say go for the default +2.5 (L) - +6.5 (H). If you go to the O2 page on JDS Labs and click customize, you'll see an explanation of each of the boost level options.

There's a reddit thread where people discuss the differences between the Massdrop O2 vs. the JDS Labs O2. I haven't seen Massdrop drop the O2 more than once, so I think you'll be waiting a long while if you hold out for that one. But I also wonder if you could order the 220v edition and just supply your own adapter? The adapter steps down the voltage to 15v anyway. You could probably find a replacement compatible adapter on Amazon (something like this?). Or straight from JDS Labs if you don't want to gamble on the tip being the wrong size.

FWIW, My headphone amp is the Fiio A5. It's pretty good. The bass boost is stupid on it, but it's otherwise a nice amp. The high gain setting is pretty much identical in clarity and punch to the low gain setting, and it drives my low-sensitivity Aeon Flow cans to uncomfortable levels. It was $110 shipped on eBay. I'm honestly not sure how the Fiio A5 and the JDS Labs O2 compare to each other in performance. If in your travels you come across a comparison I'd be interested in reading it. I think the Fiio is thinner and probably feels less like a homebrew project box. *shrug* Also, it appears the A5 is marginally more powerful. The O2 is max 613 mW @ 33 ohms, whereas the A5 is 800 mW @ 32 ohms. I doubt that would translate into any significant audible difference, though.

One of these days I hope to upgrade to a miniDSP headphone amp, and maybe later get a calibrated measurement head so I can flatten by more than just trial-and-error. Probably not any time soon though. I need to cool it on buying stuff for a while. But it would be nice to move the EQ from software on my phone to NVRAM on the amp.
 
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slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
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2,408 7 20
#9
I'd say go for the default +2.5 (L) - +6.5 (H). If you go to the O2 page on JDS Labs and click customize, you'll see an explanation of each of the boost level options.

There's a reddit thread where people discuss the differences between the Massdrop O2 vs. the JDS Labs O2. I haven't seen Massdrop drop the O2 more than once, so I think you'll be waiting a long while if you hold out for that one. But I also wonder if you could order the 220v edition and just supply your own adapter? The adapter steps down the voltage to 15v anyway. You could probably find a replacement compatible adapter on Amazon (something like this?). Or straight from JDS Labs if you don't want to gamble on the tip being the wrong size.

FWIW, My headphone amp is the Fiio A5. It's pretty good. The bass boost is stupid on it, but it's otherwise a nice amp. The high gain setting is pretty much identical in clarity and punch to the low gain setting, and it drives my low-sensitivity Aeon Flow cans to uncomfortable levels. It was $110 shipped on eBay. I'm honestly not sure how the Fiio A5 and the JDS Labs O2 compare to each other in performance. If in your travels you come across a comparison I'd be interested in reading it. I think the Fiio is thinner and probably feels less like a homebrew project box. *shrug* Also, it appears the A5 is marginally more powerful. The O2 is max 613 mW @ 33 ohms, whereas the A5 is 800 mW @ 32 ohms. I doubt that would translate into any significant audible difference, though.

One of these days I hope to upgrade to a miniDSP headphone amp, and maybe later get a calibrated measurement head so I can flatten by more than just trial-and-error. Probably not any time soon though. I need to cool it on buying stuff for a while. But it would be nice to move the EQ from software on my phone to NVRAM on the amp.
"Homebrew"..the O2 seems homebrew to me. That can be a compliment!

Likely just re-wire the transformer input from series to parallel to convert from 220v to 110v. Pretty much trivial.

But, JDS also has the DIY kit for $60. If I'm dealing with rewires/mods, then the DIY KIT makes a lot of sense too.

https://www.jdslabs.com/mobile/products/82/objective2-diy-kit/
 
sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,311
#11
I didn't even consider the MD options. I've never done a MD before.

Thanks for reminding me about those!
I went with the Massdrop HD6XX (HD650) and power them with a Schiit Stack. I love them. I chose the Schiit Modi II Uber and Magni II Uber (Schiit Stack) over the O2 because of the amount of power that they put out for high impedance headphones. The newer and cheaper Magni III puts out even more. Plus I try to buy American when I can. Just think of the fun when you tell your wife that you just spent a couple of hundred on more audio Schiit. :p

http://www.schiit.com/products

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-sennheiser-hd6xx
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,408 7 20
#13
I been doing some reading on all of these suggested.

Right now, I'm gonna hold out and see if the Massdrop HD 6XX comes back around. That's looking like the best bet all around.

However, anybody heard the Massdrop HD 58X???
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-sennheiser-hd-58x-jubilee-headphones

And, I almost certainly have an O2 amp in my future. I just need to decide what config I want and whether I want to build it or buy it pre-made. I really like these options!

Listening to HD 598 some more, I'm really interested to see what the next step or 2 up the line for the Senns gets me.

Could say the same for those AKG7XX, but those look to be a bit more difficult load to drive.
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
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1,852 9 4
#14
I been doing some reading on all of these suggested.

Right now, I'm gonna hold out and see if the Massdrop HD 6XX comes back around. That's looking like the best bet all around.

However, anybody heard the Massdrop HD 58X???
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-sennheiser-hd-58x-jubilee-headphones

And, I almost certainly have an O2 amp in my future. I just need to decide what config I want and whether I want to build it or buy it pre-made. I really like these options!

Listening to HD 598 some more, I'm really interested to see what the next step or 2 up the line for the Senns gets me.

Could say the same for those AKG7XX, but those look to be a bit more difficult load to drive.
I wouldn't discount the AKG headphones because of difficulty to drive. The O2 amp should drive a 62 ohm load no problem (as would your SoloP amp I'm sure),and the 105dB/v sensitivity of the K7XX is pretty high.
 
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slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,408 7 20
#15
Anybody have any comments on Grado cans? How much would I have to spend on Grado to get to the same league as the others we been talking about here?

I don't have any experience with Grado, but every article I read about them and their history makes me want to give them a shot.
 
<eargiant

<eargiant

Full Audioholic
Ratings
144 37 2
#16
Get both (Sennheiser 6XX & AKG 7XX) from Massdrop, at those prices it's a no brainer. That's what I did. It's the only way you'll know which you prefer as they sound completely different. You should be able to easily sell the ones you least prefer. I kept them both.



I recommend the Mayflower version of the O2 with the lower gain settings of 1X & 3.3X. It will drive either nicely. You can use it as either a standalone headphone amp or external DAC to feed an amp.



 
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sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,311
#17
Anybody have any comments on Grado cans? How much would I have to spend on Grado to get to the same league as the others we been talking about here?

I don't have any experience with Grado, but every article I read about them and their history makes me want to give them a shot.
In my opinion Grado (I've only heard a few models - the SR60, SR80, and SR225) are good but a bit different sounding with an emphasis on efficiency and highs and with their circa 1935 styling comfort was never king. My advice is to find a place that you can try them out, and the HD650s as well.

I own an absolute butt-load of cans, although nothing mega exotic. For under $150 RBH's HP-2 are great if supposedly delicate closed-back headphones. For open-back under $200 I love my HD6XX/HD650. I've heard that the HD600 are more accurate but a bit more fatiguing while the 650s are more cozy - but I really don't know because I have not heard the 600s, but yes the HD6XX are pretty darned cozy. IMO for $200 the HD6XX is super awesome if you have the power to drive them. I'd really like to listen to Hifiman's HE-400S but my AV toy budget is maxed out for 2018 and I'd be surprised to see a review copy.
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
468 3 10
#18
In my opinion Grado (I've only heard a few models - the SR60, SR80, and SR225) are good but a bit different sounding with an emphasis on efficiency and highs and with their circa 1935 styling comfort was never king. My advice is to find a place that you can try them out, and the HD650s as well.

I own an absolute butt-load of cans, although nothing mega exotic. For under $150 RBH's HP-2 are great if supposedly delicate closed-back headphones. For open-back under $200 I love my HD6XX/HD650. I've heard that the HD600 are more accurate but a bit more fatiguing while the 650s are more cozy - but I really don't know because I have not heard the 600s, but yes the HD6XX are pretty darned cozy. IMO for $200 the HD6XX is super awesome if you have the power to drive them. I'd really like to listen to Hifiman's HE-400S but my AV toy budget is maxed out for 2018 and I'd be surprised to see a review copy.
I personally haven't found HD600 fatiguing, could be the case if one blasts them really loud tho. And I must agree on Grados that they are not even nearly as comfortable as HD600/HD650.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,408 7 20
#20
I found a used JDS Labs O2 on eBay. Delivered to my door for a total of $72, not bad at all. Checked it all out last night and looks to be in excellent condition and works properly.

I also picked up a copy of the Chesky Ultimate Headphone CD, but haven't listened to it yet. It is binaural recordings, never heard any of those to my knowledge.

Yeah, clearly I'm down to the HD6XX vs the AKG 7XX. I guess it just comes down to whether I want to wait it out for the Senns or scoop up the AKG since they are available now.
 

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