With a bit of luck the red pads will be with you next week, they are on their way from Germany
Ah, that will be two sets I will have then Claus :-[ Solderdude has also got me a pair..... what I will do is recable a pair with this fancy microphone cable I have, fit the red leather pads and offer them up as a prize ..... actually, I may even go the whole hog and offer up my pair of Aluminium ringed, red leather pads, super duper cabled pair as they are well burnt in and sound eargasmic baby
"I can't remember if I talked to you about the SQ of the HD800 vs HD681 As an attachment a pic of an (unfiltered) HD681 and HD800 My assesment was a filtered HD681 = HD800 but with Bass (had about an hour of listening time with the 2 but alas not with music that I knew) As the pic shows this was close to the truth. The HD681 has more bass (clearly) but also more highs (681 graph = without filter) When the filter is applied the highs go about 7 dB lower and thus almost the same as the HD800 so... a filtered HD681 is a HD800 without the 'lacking' bass. Still can't believe the enormous value (price/performance ratio) of these Superlux things.
I cannot find a way to attach pics to postings on RG so PM you on this."
I haven't heard the Senn HD-800 but can say I prefer the HD-681 to my old favourites, the HD-600, by quite a large margin (especially so in recabled / alu ringed guise) There is no "veil" and the sound is extremely detailed.... bass is also a LOT better than the HD-600.
Frans says "Still can't believe the enormous value (price/performance ratio) of these Superlux things"....... I have to agree!! My recabled / alu ringed HD-681 are now my reference pair of headphones, they present the most honest sound, by far, of all the headphones I own..... I will be updating my post in the list your favorite headphones thread to reflect this. Interesting to note that Frans has also placed the HD-681 at number one on his list and good to see that snobbery plays no part here with the "best" being judged on merit and NOT price....
I really would love to say that the headphones I have which cost more than £200 sound better than the HD-681 but they don't :-[
When the filter is applied the highs go about 7 dB lower and thus almost the same as the HD800 so... a filtered HD681 is a HD800 without the 'lacking' bass.
Yeah, Right ! And all added filters are completely transparent ,and entirely different build doesn't come into it, let alone vastly different drive requirements ? With all due respect, the filtered HD681 may be at an entirely new level of performance, but highly unlikely to equal the performance of the HD800. No, I haven't heard the HD800, but I saw a whole group of people who were enthralled by the performance of the HD800. So much so, that I didn't get a chance to listen to them.
Sennheiser HD 800's specifications Frequency Response
Well ... I did actually compare the HD800 with the HD681 (with filter mod, otherwise the comparison won't stand a chance as the standard HD681 is more ' detailed', read has a higher peak in the 5kHz to 10kHz region) for about an hour and I was not the only one at that time. Sure the fit of the HD800 is better, but for 50x the price of an HD681 with AKG velours pads the HD681 isn't that uncomfortable either. The best part is, as you may well be aware of, the HD800 is (just like the DT880) a bit bass shy. The HD681 is definitely not which adds something that the HD800 doesn't have. This you can clearly see in the graphs. There can be NO dispute over this.
And yes ... we can argue what is bass shy and what is not and about sonic preferences. I'm no basshead by the way.
You probably know these books with optical illusions. This shows clearly how the brain interprets data received from its optical sensors (eyes). Well the hearing isn't that much better and can be fooled easily by your brain. When you have done the equal amount of designing, building, testing, measuring, comparing, listening as much as I have done in all my years then we will be on the same page. Your ears are not super measuring instruments. They are dependant of soundpressure levels, time of day, mood, cleanness inside, earcanal shape, preference and I can go on with that.
You haven't heard the HD800 yourself BUT heard great things about the HD800 from other people.
Have you heard a filtered HD681 with velours pads yourself.. won't cost that much and you can always sell it or give it away as a present at that price ?
Sure the whole build quality of the HD800 is far better. The cable is better, no microphony and far better constructed. it has more sense of 'high-end quality' which sets your mind in believing it MUST be better also (and so it will be). There will be better service and will last longer.
But the SQ of the HD800 and HD681 ARE quite comparable and we would debate better IF you had OBJECTIVELY compared them in a relaxed environment yourself instead of reacting to hear-say and disbelief because it simply cannot be true that Taiwanese people can make something that sounds as good as the years of experience from a world renowned brand ...bla bla...
Yes the HD681 is inferior in many ways. The headphone band sorta vibrates at a nasty tone when you put it on your head. the thing is made of crappy plastic. the cord is cheap. Yes of coarse it is ... it is about $ 20.- dude !! what do you expect.
But UNLESS you have heard BOTH of these cans together on the same equipment at the same time you really don't actually KNOW.. so you can only ASSUME.
Since when can we say something about how a headphone sounds by looking at data from a data sheet and completely ignoring graphs that say INFINITELY more about sonic behavior than just summed up specs. As long as a good headphone amp is used the impedance drive requirements are not of importance.
And no... filters are not complete transparent... that's why they are called filters ... they filter out stuff. It is all about how you configure filters is what determines what comes out of it. When configured correctly they correct EXACTLY what is needed.
I do know all of the above... and the filtered HD681 comes MUCH MUCH closer to the HD800 as you think it will.
There's not much wrong with my ears and certainly not with my expertise as an electronics designer/engineer which I have been doing as a hobby for over 30 years and as a professional for over 20 years.
And the price difference of over 50 times ... yeah .. you buy the HD800 on specs and hear say. I will use the extra cash for other things if you don't mind. ;D
Sorry about this rant. I will try to behave in the future.
But UNLESS you have heard BOTH of these cans together on the same equipment at the same time you really don't actuallu KNOW..I do ... and the HD681 comes MUCH MUCH closer to the HD800 as you think it will.
The HD 800 are designed to be driven directly from a low Z output source ,such as a Power Amplifier with no series output resistance. They have a maximum drive capability of 1.2W. Very few typical headphone amplifiers will be able to do them justice. Which amplifiers were you using when you compared them ? SandyK
I do not know the exact type of amp but it was a NAD. I used the headphone output in front so it would probably have an output resistance of about 100-200 Ohms. Almost all power amps that have a headphone output that is driven from the actual output stage will have resistors of around this value. If they didn't and you would accidentally turn up the volume too much on a lowZ headphone it would burn out immediatly !
Only dedicated headphone amps will have low Z outputs or power amps with a special end stage for the headphone output.
I don't know how you came to the knowledge about the lowZ output that would be needed and that it was designed for it. Sennheiser does not prescribe low Z outputs in fact they do not even mention it at all. BUT I do agree the performance will be different with a low Z amp as the impedance @150hz is more than double the nominal impedance.
with a 100 Ohm output resistance (as would be likely) there will be a 1.2 dB hump in the 80-200 Hz region compared to a low Z output of say 0 to 10 Ohms.
given the fact that that the whole frequency curve from 100Hz to 2kHz (acc to headfi measurements) varies 10dB you will understand the significance of this 1.2 dB.
It will sound a tad 'warmer' on a high Z output than on a low Z but NOT drastically better (which you say because it is supposed to be designed for lowZ outputs)
now about your figures.
when you drive it at it's max power (a staggering 1.2W !!) this would mean (with no output resistors) that the amp. must be able to deliver 19 Volts (300 Ohms do the math) thus you would have to drive it from a 100W@4Ohms amp (but the headphone will draw only 1.2W at that time)
The soud pressure will be 127 dB.
As if you listen at these peak levels.
No.. balony !!
acc to Sennheiser the max power = 0.5 Watts by the way
in this case the voltage = 12 Volts (meaning you will need +/- 19 Volts powersupply) = 36 Watts@4Ohms = 123 dB max level.
anyway I am sure I have not had the time/equipment to unleash the full potential of the HD800 And yes it will be 'better' than the HD681. I do not dispute that.
But YOU have only read things about it and heard 'hear say'.
I have DONE the comparison at a high-end shop together with the (astounded) personnel of that shop that spend more time with the HD681 than HD800 and were amazed how similar the SQ was. As was I even more amazed because I also calculate the price difference in my equasion.
Please DO it yourself... borrow someones HD800... buy a HD681 and mod it. Connect it to your superduper amps and give them both a listen. Yessss... you will find the HD800 better (except in the bass department) but you WILL be amazed how rediculously close the HD681 will come.
The HD681 can be driven directly from MP3 players etc. which the HD800 cannot.
That's what my remark is all about. Not about which is 'better'.
Let's lay this discussion to rest until YOU have actually done the comparison yourself like I have.
solderdude My apologies. For some unknown reason, I was thinking about the AKG K1000 which is designed to be driven directly by a power amplifier without series resistors.
I do not know the exact type of amp but it was a NAD. I used the headphone output in front so it would probably have an output resistance of about 100-200 Ohms. Almost all power amps that have a headphone output that is driven from the actual output stage will have resistors of around this value.
The only RG member that I am aware of who uses a Power Amplifier to directly drive his headphones from the Loudspeaker Output is Nigel , who owns the AKG K1000 that I was thinking of. I am unaware of any RG members that use the headphone outputs of power amplifiers to drive their headphones via series resistor values as high as 390 ohms. (several published designs) Considering that many new headphones are designed to meet IEC 61938 which specifies that all headphones should be driven by a 120 ohms source regardless of headphone impedance, driving any pair of complying headphones from a typical Power Amplifier's headphone jack is likely to result in far less than optimum performance, and also to dangerously high levels, for both the headphones and the listener's hearing.. In fact, the headphones are likely to exhibit a rolled off treble response. Also the amplifier's residual noise level may also be objectionable with resistor values as low as you quoted. Incidentally , the Class A HA in the DIY area of RG is quite capable of driving the AKG K1000 to their maximum rated power of 1.2W if the output resistor is reduced to 4.7 ohms, as it has supply rails of +-20V and a bias of 100mA. This is of course not recommended for either ears or headphones.
Almost all headphones have a higher impedance around 100 Hz (resonance point) and starts to run up again in the treble range. This implies that the higher the output impedance the higher the reproduction level at these points. The higher Z headphones (HD800) usually have relatively higher bumps than lowZ headphones (like the HD681) so makes highZ headphones more dependant of output impedances than lower Z ones (point for the HD681) So the lows/mid-lows AND treble will be boosted ... not rolled off as you state. BUT because the lows will be emphasized more than the treble one might experience this as rolled off treble while in fact it is boosted low/mid-lows.
I agree with the noise level thing of power amps and low value resistors.
A lot of amps (I serviced) use a resistor dividing network at it's output which lowers the output impedance effectively and correctly lowers the voltage.
The K1000 (where your 1.2W came from) cannot be called headphones IMHO.. a more precise desription would be ear speakers but what's in a name. Anyway the HD800 and K1000 have nothing similar (except the fact you can put them on your head and listen to music) where as the HD800 and HD681 do have a lot in common soundwise at least.
If an amp has a higher than 100 Ohms (120 as you will) output impedance the headphone NOR the listener will be subjected to high levels as most of the output voltage will fall over the output resistor so higher output impedances protect headphones and ears. But higher resistor values do affect the sound more than one would like.
So if the HD800 is compliant it is designed for optimal performance on highZ outputs, that is HighZ = 100 to 120 Ohm and lowZ is 0 to 10 Ohms and not for Low-Z amps as you say. Unless ofcoarse you feel that 100 Ohm is LowZ and 600 Ohm is high-Z.
But this thread is about the HD681's and it's mods and I suppose we should keep it this way.
Anyway I (and Mike) feel the HD681's are killer headphones and not only at their price point. I recommend you try one... their really fun cans. cheap and the SQ is excellent. I have auditioned and owned many many headphones at various price points (nothing more expensive than the HD650 though) and these Superlux cans really beats them. At least I think so, if your SQ preference is different you might not like them at all. They sound very forward and open and have deep bass WITHOUT being boomy. The instruments can be easily placed and are clearly separated. If you like that SQ it may be something for you to try. Should you prefer darker sounding phones it is not the can for you.
If I use a headphone amp (don't need them with my KSC75, HD681 and SRH840 because my MP3 player drives them with ease) I use only my own designs. Be it a portable amp or my IC or hybrid amp.
Should you (or anyone else) be interested in the designs I can e-mail them. Posting is for some dark reason not possible, I can't include attachments, there is no button for it.
Anyway I (and Mike) feel the HD681's are killer headphones and not only at their price point. I recommend you try one... their really fun cans. cheap and the SQ is excellent. I have auditioned and owned many many headphones at various price points (nothing more expensive than the HD650 though) and these Superlux cans really beats them. At least I think so, if your SQ preference is different you might not like them at all. They sound very forward and open and have deep bass WITHOUT being boomy. The instruments can be easily placed and are clearly separated.
On this we can agree. Mike sent me a pair, and on suitable material they are quite exciting listening. However, for normal listening to Audiophile CDs and high resolution material, I much prefer my ATH W1000 headphones from my own design Class A HA,(also in RG DIY area) using 120 output resistors.Anything less, and they sound too sibilant, and although female voices may often sound sexier, they are ultimately fatigueing. It should be noted that for the majority of headphones with the Jaycar HA in the RG DIY area, that 68 ohms output resistors were found to be a good compromise, even with AKG K701 which can otherwise sound a little too "edgy"
Put a 200 Ohms linear potmeter in series with the output of a lowZ amp and tune it for various headphones. Or use switches for each can their own optimal output impedance.
but ahhh.. potmeters are not found to be not so 'high-end' by some.
My amps can be switched between 10 Ohms and 110 Ohms output but in practice they are always on 110 Ohms.
Chris already tried MF resistors on a rotary switch for that reason. with his Jaycar (SC) HA. He eventually settled on 68 ohms as his best compromise for AKG K701.With my Class A HA, I have PCB pins fitted for quickly mounting the appropiate series resistors, whenever I feel the need to use different headphones for a period of time, or a friend brings around his farly low Z Sony headphones. these days it is normally left at 120 ohms.
Hmm, so I've tried HD600's and hated them (veiled and hollow), I've tried HD650 and hated them more (similar veiled hollow crap but even more so), I've had a pair of K701's over a year now and still waiting for them to run in ;D put simply I don't like those either (just sound wrong). I tried the AT-A900 and couldn't live with those either, overpowering thumpy bass
So my favourites are still the HD250 linear II's, do we now have something which is finally close to these?
I owned the HD250II (between my DT990 that went dead on one channel a long time ago) and my current HD650. I liked the HD250II but liked the HD650 more.. so sold the HD250II
Give the HD681 a go and if you don't like it, give it as a present to someone. They costs almost nothing..
As Mike often says... there is no universal can that does everything well. If my audio memory serves me well (which it doesn't) the HD681 is closer to the HD250-II than to the HD650 (no veil of any kind) Both have good deep bass and are detailed. Yet the HD681 is different. In stock condition I find the HD681 to be 'over-detailed' (Mike doesn't) and the HD250 has 'smoother' highs as I recall. The HD681 sounds more direct... open... something like that.
As I always say... there are excellent, good, average and bad headphones for different people with different tastes/musical interests/hearing/age/preferences/mood e.t.c. so that's what it all boils down to... differences...
Everyone has it's own favorite headphone(s) and we are all right if we feel the ones we own are the best sounding .. (for yourself) So.... why do we keep looking for better ones all the time or upgrades or mods ?
answer: Because ever can is a compromise and we always think things could be even better when reading other peoples reviews.. The grass is always greener in someone else's yard. Always trust your own ears the most !
There is nothing at all I like about the 650's, I have tried to like them and live with them for a while but they always give me the impression music is being played in another room with the door shut rather than THE being there live experience. Sometimes more detail can be mistaken for exaggerated brightness, obviously everybody has different tastes and some do like the excited high's or extra bass etc , I personally like things as neutral as possible, this way great recordings sound great and the crappy recordings don't take the skin off your teeth
Anyway I'll probably give these things a go, my list of possible second/spare pair of cans to go with the HD250 linears is getting shorter
I was thinking about drilling my headband (is this the right term??) to improve ventilation, and using a thin layer of foam on the underside. Then wrapping the whole lot in a fabric. The original headband became a bit hot and sore after an hour or so listening. Has anyone tried modding the headband?
Another option might be to send it off as a template to a saddler and get a leather headband made, similar to my K701 but might be a litle pricey...
I have some "Chrome Magic" I'll be trying on my rings!!