Upgrading from HD650?

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JohnR

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #20 on: 22 Sep 2019, 11:46 pm »
The other issue is that if I decide to spend $1k+, I would prefer to be able to audition the headphones before buying them.  I live in the Boston area and know of a couple of shops that carry specific lines but I'm not aware of any that have several different lines (and their top or near top models).  I've been browsing reviews of a few different models online, but as I'm sure you know, what you read in a review can be quite different from how the headphone sounds to your own ears and when listening to your own music.

Good thinking :) Maybe you have a portable setup (or can put one together)?

wushuliu

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Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #21 on: 22 Sep 2019, 11:56 pm »
Toocool4 is right, the better the headphones the more resolving they are, crappy recording sound like
crap and great recording will reward you.

I'm going to push back on this because it's become a worn trope when discussing gear. Especially with headphones. You can have gear be 'resolving' and sound just as good with 'crap' (whatever that means) as with 'great' (whatever that means). When I read that something is too resolving and you need great recordings etc. then what I pay attention to are things like the frequency response and the distortion profile, because it tends to mean that there is an overemphasis in the mids to high frequencies and/or higher order distortion. That's not the same as resolving. Just means the mid/top end is perceived as accentuated and therefore 'detailed' etc.

I own the HD6XX/650 and after all the research the conclusion I've come to is anything more expensive gives you a different choice of presentation but not necessarily resolution - and those that do have superior resolution come with other trade-offs. No free lunch.

In the headphone world for some reason accentuated upper frequencies are linked to 'transparency' and 'resolution' and people are willing to accept that because it's supposed to mean it's good. Whereas I don't think most audiophiles would listen to speakers that are voiced the same way because their ears would bleed.

jawks

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Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #22 on: 23 Sep 2019, 12:12 am »

I own the HD6XX/650 and after all the research the conclusion I've come to is anything more expensive gives you a different choice of presentation but not necessarily resolution - and those that do have superior resolution come with other trade-offs. No free lunch.


Thanks for your insight.  So, is the HD6xx/650 the can of your choice, or do you have others as well?

AKLegal

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #23 on: 23 Sep 2019, 12:38 am »
I'm going to push back on this because it's become a worn trope when discussing gear. Especially with headphones. You can have gear be 'resolving' and sound just as good with 'crap' (whatever that means) as with 'great' (whatever that means). When I read that something is too resolving and you need great recordings etc. then what I pay attention to are things like the frequency response and the distortion profile, because it tends to mean that there is an overemphasis in the mids to high frequencies and/or higher order distortion. That's not the same as resolving. Just means the mid/top end is perceived as accentuated and therefore 'detailed' etc.

I own the HD6XX/650 and after all the research the conclusion I've come to is anything more expensive gives you a different choice of presentation but not necessarily resolution - and those that do have superior resolution come with other trade-offs. No free lunch.

In the headphone world for some reason accentuated upper frequencies are linked to 'transparency' and 'resolution' and people are willing to accept that because it's supposed to mean it's good. Whereas I don't think most audiophiles would listen to speakers that are voiced the same way because their ears would bleed.

This. 

On Focal...
The Elear seems to have a polarizing sound, I'd listen to it first.  The Clear or Elex (if you can find it) are much safer bets.  The Elex in particular is an amazing complimentary headphone to the HD650. 

Freo-1

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #24 on: 23 Sep 2019, 12:38 am »
Freo-1 your prerogative to disagree. 

I don’t go by reviews, I go by my ears and I have listened to all 3. When I first heard the Elear it was before the Utopia and subsequently Clear was released, I thought the Elear sounded wonderful which indeed it does. The Utopia came out and did make the Elear sound broken then the Clear came out did the same to the Elear.

Put them all on the end of high-end headphone amps / source, them you will hear what I mean.



I go by my personal experience and use reviews that have actual measurements as a tool to evaluate.  As far as electronics, the Mjolnir headphone amp is among the best SS amps available.  So, no worries there.  I'll always go for the phones that sound good, and the measurements back up what I think sounds good. 


Wushulilu brings up some valid points.  Price alone does not guarantee better.  For example, Wilson audio speakers tend to measure rather poorly, but cost a fortune. One of the benefits of owning a headphone like a Focal is the fact that it is built like a tank, so it will last a long time, and will be less likely to suffer wear related issues from lesser cost units that are largely plastic.


John R mentioning a portable setup also could be helpful.  I have a A&K KANN, which can drive a fair percentage of headphones. That could help with the review process. 


Regardless, the best advice is to get a short list of candidates,  go review them for yourself with music you are familiar with, and go with what sounds best to you.  Audiophiles rarely agree on anything, and headphones are perhaps the most difficult to get widespread agreement.    :D

brooklyn

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #25 on: 23 Sep 2019, 12:51 am »
I'm going to push back on this because it's become a worn trope when discussing gear. Especially with headphones. You can have gear be 'resolving' and sound just as good with 'crap' (whatever that means) as with 'great' (whatever that means). When I read that something is too resolving and you need great recordings etc. then what I pay attention to are things like the frequency response and the distortion profile, because it tends to mean that there is an overemphasis in the mids to high frequencies and/or higher order distortion. That's not the same as resolving. Just means the mid/top end is perceived as accentuated and therefore 'detailed' etc.

I own the HD6XX/650 and after all the research the conclusion I've come to is anything more expensive gives you a different choice of presentation but not necessarily resolution - and those that do have superior resolution come with other trade-offs. No free lunch.

In the headphone world for some reason accentuated upper frequencies are linked to 'transparency' and 'resolution' and people are willing to accept that because it's supposed to mean it's good. Whereas I don't think most audiophiles would listen to speakers that are voiced the same way because their ears would bleed.



While, you do make valid points, I do know what I heard and some recordings since getting better headphones sound like crap to me, Sorry. Please feel free to choose any word you would like to use to describe it... also feel free to quote any of the words in this paragraph..

Tyson

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #26 on: 23 Sep 2019, 12:56 am »
I've heard most of the high end headphones at this point and the general point that after a certain level, you're really not getting something "better" as much as "different flavor" holds true. 

However, there is an exception.  The Meze Empyrean truly excels at both resolution and musicality.  It's quite impressive really. 

adydula

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Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #27 on: 23 Sep 2019, 01:34 am »
I feel the same way about the Clears after 3 days of solid listening....they articulate as good as or better than other cans, but even if the resolution is equal to others its ability to combine this with its tonality and musicality make it one of the best for me.

I feel the same way as Tyson does with the Meze Empyrean!

Alex

Wind Chaser

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #28 on: 23 Sep 2019, 01:49 am »
The headphones that sound the least like headphones in the manner of how they present and structure the spatial element are the right ones for me. The HD800 are said to be in a class by themselves in this regard. I hope to hear them somewhere in my travels and I definitely wouldn’t consider buying anything else without hearing them first.

toocool4

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #29 on: 23 Sep 2019, 06:41 am »
wushuliu good headphones can be detailed and revealing without being ruthless i agree with you. 2 examples that come to mind are Beyerdynamic T1 and the AKG K812, but the HD800 is a different animal it takes no prisoners.

toocool4

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #30 on: 23 Sep 2019, 06:42 am »
Freo-1 again for me I don’t care about measurements, my ears are the measurement device I need. The are plenty of things that measure well but sounds bad, I’d rather it sounded good then measure well. I listen with my ears not my eyes.

I am sure Ultrasone Edition 10 measures well, but it sounds like crap. 

Freo-1

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #31 on: 23 Sep 2019, 11:50 am »

If something measures well, it will sound accordingly.  If it measures poorly, it simply can't sound good, in absolute terms.


I've noticed with headphones there is a WIDE diversity of opinions.  At the end of the day, it comes down to individual choice based on preferences.  The recordings strengths and shortfalls are much more noticeable with cans than with speakers.  Spending more does not necessarily mean better performance.  The electronics driving the headphones can make a large difference in perception as to how a set of phones sound.


Measurements can help with decisions, but at the end of the day, individual preferences are what folks follow. 

JohnR

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #32 on: 23 Sep 2019, 03:01 pm »
I am sure Ultrasone Edition 10 measures well,

Not really... https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/ultrasone-edition-10-page-2

With that said, headphones are tricky to measure. There is no such thing as "flat", for example, only with respect to a reference ear/pinna response, which varies. Tyll wrote some good articles on the subject.

toocool4

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #33 on: 23 Sep 2019, 04:37 pm »
Anyway JohnR I think you get what I am saying? Measurement means nothing if it sounds like crap, some people are all about measurements. Me if it sounds good to me, I don’t care what it measures like. :wink:

Freo-1

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #34 on: 23 Sep 2019, 07:56 pm »

Agree that headphone measurements can be a bit tricky, BUT, they damn sure are engineered to production with measurements dictating the overall success of the final product going to market. 


The sonarworks correction curves are designed primarily for professionals who use phones to mix music releases.  I wish I could apply this to my A/K KANN for the Sony MDR Z7 cans.   Therefore, when making a list of what headphones to consider for purchase, I'll use reviews that actually have some real world data to assist in the evaluation.  The final decision always comes down to what sounds the best for the price range I'm willing to spend.  So, if I find that headphone A is 50% of headphone B, and headphone A gets 95% or closer to headphone B, then I'll chose headphone A, and use the savings elsewhere.   An example of that IMHO is the Stax SR-007 vs the SR-009.  The SR-009, to me, is not worth the extra cost, as the SR-007 actually sounds better (to me). 


I totally get the concept of letting one's listening experience be the final judge of what cans to get.  Since all of our hearing is different, getting a group of audiophiles to agree on what headphone setups are best is a bit like herding cats,   :green:


Sadly, I think price subconsciously drives opinion as to what is better. 

Tyson

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #35 on: 23 Sep 2019, 08:01 pm »
Agree that headphone measurements can be a bit tricky, BUT, they damn sure are engineered to production with measurements dictating the overall success of the final product going to market. 


The sonarworks correction curves are designed primarily for professionals who use phones to mix music releases.  I wish I could apply this to my A/K KANN for the Sony MDR Z7 cans.   Therefore, when making a list of what headphones to consider for purchase, I'll use reviews that actually have some real world data to assist in the evaluation.  The final decision always comes down to what sounds the best for the price range I'm willing to spend.  So, if I find that headphone A is 50% of headphone B, and headphone A gets 95% or closer to headphone B, then I'll chose headphone A, and use the savings elsewhere.   An example of that IMHO is the Stax SR-007 vs the SR-009.  The SR-009, to me, is not worth the extra cost, as the SR-007 actually sounds better (to me). 


I totally get the concept of letting one's listening experience be the final judge of what cans to get.  Since all of our hearing is different, getting a group of audiophiles to agree on what headphone setups are best is a bit like herding cats,   :green:


Sadly, I think price subconsciously drives opinion as to what is better. 

For many people, price does indeed drive a lot of subconscious decisions.  Which is one reason, when I attend a show, or go to a dealer showroom, or attend something like Canjam, I never, ever ask the price of anything.  It makes the whole demo/listening process so much simpler. 

Freo-1

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #36 on: 23 Sep 2019, 08:03 pm »
For many people, price does indeed drive a lot of subconscious decisions.  Which is one reason, when I attend a show, or go to a dealer showroom, or attend something like Canjam, I never, ever ask the price of anything.  It makes the whole demo/listening process so much simpler.



Excellent point. Well taken.  :thumb:

toocool4

Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #37 on: 23 Sep 2019, 08:32 pm »
Price does not influence me, I go purely on sound quality. One headphone I really like and if I was on a budget, I would get is the Sennheiser PX100-II at £30 I would take this headphone over a Ultrasone Edition 10 at about £2000ish I think it was at the time.
The PX100-II is a real bargain.

adydula

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Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #38 on: 23 Sep 2019, 11:17 pm »
The actual auditioning process is very, very important...I was so close to buying the HD800s...in the cart ready to shoot...

Then someone tells me you ought to go and listen to them....etc...

Sometimes its hard to go to a place and listen, because of the logistics etc..

Im my case I have a reputable dealer just a few miles away that I havent been inside in years..thinking they
are only home video/audio and high end 2 ch setups...boy was I shocked.

I found myself listening to the Focals 15 min from my house on a $20,000 tranport player!

If I hadnt done this I would be telling you all how great my HD800s are! :>)

But in all fairness, price IMO plays a role in can I afford these?

$1500 is still big bucks for me being retired....and when that item that you have heard and really like AND the price drops $500.

Well...some common sense comes into the picture here for me!!   :duh:

Also I would not put my decision making into any one review or opinion....we all can go out anf find a positive review of sorts on most of our stuff.

It takes more than one to convince me especially if I am buying blind.

Also I still find it hard to understand all the verbose adjectives that we all use in describing our personal audio nirvana...

The ultimate way to be sure IMO is listen and then buy.

Take some material you know / like etc...and go audition...

It will take the pain out of chasing that elusive perfect experience...

Ok...time for a beer!!

:>)

Alex

rif

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Re: Upgrading from HD650?
« Reply #39 on: 23 Sep 2019, 11:25 pm »
I don't know if this kind of thing matters to you, but grado headphones (and cartridges) are hand made in Brooklyn.  A family run business with only 2 dozen employees (iirc).

I personally like supporting small businesses wherever their located, but that still secondary to sound.

From their website:
Quote
Grado Labs is a Brooklyn based company that hand makes headphones and cartridges. Family run since 1953, Grado has seen three generations: Joseph, John, and Jonathan Grado. As Ars Technica says, “…on a quiet street in south Brooklyn is a manufacturing operation that produces some of the most renowned headphones… it's just the Grados in their narrow townhouse making the little-known, well-loved line of headphones.”