hd650 amp?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by teknovin2, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. teknovin2

    teknovin2 sssssssick

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    i have the hd650's comin in and im lookin for an amp, i dont want to spend anymore than $300. I've been told the headroom little would work well and i read a little about the X-Can V3, which is about a hundred out of my price range. Would you suggest me sacraficing less on the amp for a cardas uprgrade cable? Hopefully OT can give me some suggestions, thanks.​
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2005
  2. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    www.head-fi.org Read up there. I wouldnt buy the upgrade cable if it means spending less on the amp. Costs much more to upgrade your amp later than your cables.
     
  3. 04

    04 Guest

    I highly suggest not buying a cable. It won't change the sound at all (and if it does, it will be negatively). However, it will probably look better.

    As for the amplifier, what is currently going to drive the headphones? It's possible that it is good enough to drive the headphones to loud enough levels without an amplifier.
     
  4. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    A good headphone amplifier as I'm sure you are aware is not used only for increasing volume. Also, the 650's are the same impedance as the 600's, and although many sources could drive them to levels that were loud enough, it probably wouldn't drive them well.

    I'm interested in the reasoning behind saying an upgraded cable will if anything have a negative effect on sound.
     
  5. teknovin2

    teknovin2 sssssssick

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    are you sure about the upgrade cable i mean i've only read positive remarks of the cardas upgrade cable. have you personally used tried upgrading cables at all?
     
  6. 04

    04 Guest

    I havent upgraded my HD-600's headphone cable, but I have experience with swapping out cables between my headphone amplifier and sound card.

    Unless the cable is broken, the stock Sennheiser one should do great. The only increase in sound by upgrading to a botique cable would be caused by human perception.

    I never said the Cardas cable wasnt good in transferring the signal, infact it could be better than stock one. But that doesnt mean there is any audible difference. Once you get past a certain threshold, improving on something wont make it sound better to a human's ears (maybe on an audio precison though ;) ).
     
  7. 04

    04 Guest

    I'm aware that a good headphone amplifier can't do anything but provide voltage and current gain. If your source cannot provide enough of either for your listening tastes, then a headphone amplifier can certainly make a "sound quality" difference. Otherwise, it wont do anything (and yes I have a headphone amplifier for my HD-600's http://headwize.com/projects/showfile.php?file=cmoy2_prj.htm )

    Well, the stock cable does a flawless job (to human ears) of transferring the signal. If an aftermarket cable truely sounds different, then it either was designed to change the sound of the headphones in a negative way (that may sound different and be percieved as "better"), or the stock cable compared was broken.
     
  8. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    Are you saying that for instance the $10,000 blockhead is worthless in a sytem that already provides a signal that is amplified enough to power your phones? That's what it sounds like.

    The cable thing I believe is getting into whether or not you believe better cables make a difference, much disputed as you probably know amongst audiophiles. You are obviously of the opinion that a wire is a wire is a wire. I'm more on the fence about the whole thing. But, you seem to be presenting your opinion that the upgraded cable would not improve the sound because the Sennheiser cable is perfect as fact, which it is not. That's my only issue with your post.
     
  9. Afterimage

    Afterimage Guest

    That perception would be called your ears. I've listened to the 600's stock and with the Cardas cable and there's definitely a difference, I just don't think that difference is worth the proce they're charging for the cable.
     
  10. 04

    04 Guest

    :ugh: I never said the Blockhead was worthless. I never said ANY headphone amplifier was worthless either. In my opinon, spending 10K on a headphone amp for headphones that cost only 500 dollars (the HD-650's) is rediculous, but to each his own. That doesnt mean it or any other headphone amp is worthless. But yes, if your source has a low enough output impedence, and can put out enough voltage for the HD580,600,650, then there shouldnt be a difference when you add a Blockhead or any other amplifier.

    I never said the Sennheiser stock cable was perfect either. I said its perfect for the HD series headphones to human ears. If there really was a sound quality improvement between cables, then why would Sennheiser be so stupid to put the same cable on the inexpensive 580 as on the 650?
     
  11. 04

    04 Guest

    The perception i'm talking about would be called not accounting for human biases. If a person knows the Cardas is in place of the stock cable, chances are he or she will determine there is an improvement. It happens all the time, with all sorts of different audio equipment.

    People's perceptions play deeply into what they here. For example, take this into consideration: "Oh yes, we have heard of golden-eared audiophiles who claim to be able to consistently identify huge, audible differences between cables. But when these experts have visited our facility and were put to the test under carefully-controlled conditions, they invariably failed to yield a score any better than chance. For example, when led to believe that three popular cables were being compared, varying in size from a high-quality 12 AWG ZIP-CORD to a high-tech looking cable with a diameter exceeding an inch, the largest and sexiest looking cable always scored best - even though the CABLES WERE NEVER CHANGED and they listened to the ZIP Cord the entire time."
    http://www.verber.com/mark/cables.html

    Results such as the above are why I personally never rely soley on sighted audio comparisons when determining audiblity of a component. You may choose to believe otherwise, but I find it counter-intuitive to buying products that may not cause any change in sound without bias controlled testing to determine otherwise.
     
  12. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    Because then the 650 would cost more like $800 instead of $500, bringing down their sales?

    I find it hard to believe that a Blockhead or other high end amplifier would be worthless if the source just has the right impedance and voltage. It seems there would be more to it than that. Also, I'm not sure if you should be comparing prices like you are. The 650, while being "only" $500 is one of the highest end headphones you can buy. And, past that, they only really shoot up to the $1000 range until you get into electrostatic headphones. In that case, don't you use a specialized amplifier for electrostatics? Which means, these high end amplifiers are targeted towards the $500-$1000 range audience. I think the guys over at head-fi.org would have qualms with what you are saying about their amplifiers.
     
  13. teknovin2

    teknovin2 sssssssick

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    veonake thanks for the reference to head-fi.org, im enjoying it as much as OT
     
  14. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    no prob, it's a great site.
     
  15. 04

    04 Guest

    According to some posts on head-fi I've seen about the stock Sennheiser cable, they feel that it is simply terrible and seriously impeding the headphone. Others don't think it makes much if any difference to upgrade to an expensive one. If you ask me, people are associating the quality of the headphone cable soley by how thick it is and how it looks, and not how it performs. Sort of an emperor's new clothes... I'm sure that most will disagree with me, but the great thing about America is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Again, if the 650 is a better headphone than the 580, and the headphone cable is so bad, why would they upgrade just about everything but the cable (and transducer) on the 650 when compared to the 580's?

    What else is there to be? There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier, anything you insert into the chain is going to degrade the signal to some degree. Usually the performance degredation isnt audible. Same can be said about the Blockhead. Unless it's functioning as more than an amplifier (such as an equilizer or signal processor), it shouldnt do anything but increase current and voltage linearly. If your source is a low voltage soundcard, then I bet the Blockhead will do a fantastic job of amplifying the signal if needed. That doesnt mean it isnt necessary in all circumstances. Think of it like a high-end watch. People pay thousands of dollars for expensive watches such as Omega or Breitling. Do the people who own such watches actually believe they tell the time better than a 5 dollar childrens quartz watch? I think not. But they still buy them. Their function is to tell time, no? But the cheap watch tells time better. So why is the mechanical watch better? Is it possible they are buying for other reasons?

    I look at the audio industry the same way, there is a lot of finely crafted audio equipment out there, but that doesnt mean they will beat or even sound better than a cheaper one (like you say about the HD650's below)

    Why can't I compare prices like I am? In my OPINION buying a 10K amplifier for 500 dollar headphones (key word being for 500 dollar headphones) is rediculous, for me. I could buy a car instead. If I had several million dollars though, I would probably have a blockhead. Why? Because if I have that much money I want the best of the best.

    I wouldnt compare dynamic headphones to electrostatic ones either. Electrostatic speakers REQUIRE an amplifier due to the extremely high voltage needed. No headphone jack or soundcard (that i know about) can produce voltage levels high enough. The same cannot be said about dyamic headphones like the Sennheisers.

    I know the head-fi people would have qualms with what I am saying. I hardly ever read or post there anymore either because of this.

    I however, have an issue in that you seem to think that I am insulting all headphone amplifiers or something. I never insulted any headphone amplifier, nor did I claim anything about a specific person's headphone amplifier on head-fi.org. Who are you talking about on head-fi?
     
  16. Afterimage

    Afterimage Guest

    Uh...when I can take one pair off of my head and put the other pair on within a matter of a couple seconds and clearly hear a difference, it's not a bias.
     
  17. 04

    04 Guest

    Well, if I had the same amplifier, and changed the volume controls, it would sound different as well. Does that necessarily mean the amplifier sounds different though? Just because it's set to a different volume level?

    It's hard to make an unbiased comparison between two electronic devices when they aren't matched very close in amplitude (some people can tell .1dB or less).
     
  18. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    This is true, since when you listen to two different speakers at different amplitudes, the louder ones usually appear to sound better. But, he made no mention to amplitude, and I'm not sure that a different cable would produce an audible change in amplitude. Oh well, we all know you are a wire is a wire guy, no use debating if cables matter anymore than it's already debated.
     
  19. 04

    04 Guest

    Except almost all headphone amps have a flat frequency response. Speakers don't. How can you match something in amplitude when it varies greatly like that? Even if the speaker had a ruler flat amplitude response, you would still have issues with differing dispersion patterns and time domain response.

    Exactly, you arent going to change my opinion and I obviously wont change yours.
     
  20. Afterimage

    Afterimage Guest

    When both sets were being driven at the same time by the same piece of equipment and I can switch back and forth between both pairs and hear noticable differences that is more than good enough to me.
     
  21. 04

    04 Guest

    I misunderstood you, I thought you were talking about switching between headphone amplifiers, not cables.

    How are you able to switch between the same cable within seconds? Do you have two pair of the same headphones? Either way, have you considered a blind test? You could have a friend hand off both sets of headphones without you knowing which has the cardas and which has the stock cable. Be sure not to touch the cable, and keep a blindfold on. Swap it back and forth between the two 5 or 6 times and see if you can still hear a difference. If the difference is indeed large, it should be easy to tell, and it certainly wont hurt anything to try. That way you're only testing your ears, and no other senses can cause determination.

    My friends and I plan to do the same thing, except instead of swapping cables, we are going to try and swap between the HD-580's and HD-600's in a blind test. It's definatly an interesting experience if you've never tried it.
     
  22. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    :ugh: You are obsessed man. Who even cares if it happens to be a placebo effect? He's happier with it, and that's really all that matters. It's not that hard to believe he might have two pairs. For instance, my friend and his brother have identical phones.

    Your test with the 580's and 600's will be tougher since your friends will have to put the headphones on you. Also, is the 580's earpads exactly the same as the 600's? You'll also have to make sure the bands have the same tension in them and everything. I could easily tell which headphones were mine when both my friend and I had 590's just by wearing them because his were more stretched out. That will be an interesting test, and I would not be surprised if you can't tell a difference seeing as how they use the same drivers. Even I think the carbon fiber of the 600's is somewhat of a gimmick, but it looks higher quality and frankly I'll pay the extra money for that confidence.
     
  23. Afterimage

    Afterimage Guest

    Why are so you so damn obsessed with proving everybody 'wrong' and racking up everything to placebo effect? :rolleyes: I have no money in it...I'm simply telling you what I heard plain as day with my own two ears. It was at a place where my friend works and they had two pairs of 600's being driven, one with the stock cable and one with the Cardas cable. I couldn't have given a shit less if one sounded better than the other, they weren't my headphones. All I know is that the pair with the Cardas cable definitely sounded different and I liked what I heard.
     
  24. 04

    04 Guest

    And you aren't obsessed? What's the difference between an obsession to find what does and doesnt make an audible difference, and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on performance enhancing audio components that may or may not make a difference. I never said he didnt have two pairs, I was curious how he was able to switch so quickly.

    I know it will be tougher, but I plan to wrap the headband in a cloth or something to make it difficult to tell the difference. From what I could tell, the 580's earpads seem to be identical.
     
  25. 04

    04 Guest

    You don't have to take my advice. :)

    The only time I try to prove anyone wrong is when they are.

    I've heard plenty of things with my own two ears to know how faulty human hearing is. You obviously do not believe me so there is no sense in continuing this discussion, no?
     

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