IEM / Full Size

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Ricka, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Ricka

    Ricka New Member

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    I'm pretty new to the world of decent headphones and I have a few questions..

    I currently own the UE super fi 5 pros and the Senn HD 595.The difference between the two is pretty big and I'd like to understand a bit more about why that is so that I know what I'm doing when the time to upgrade comes. It's only so long before the temptation for something better gets me.

    My UEs sound fantastic for electronic music.. really nice, warm and exciting bass. Guitar music sounds restrained by comparison.. the sound seems much more narrow and never excites me in the way the electronic music does.

    My 595s seem to excel where the UEs suffer. Guitars and mids in general just jump out at you and never sound restrained. Electronic music still sounds good but not quite as exciting as the UEs and the bass isn't quite as pronounced.

    I suppose the key thing I want to know is whether or not this is purely a style/sound thing between different phones or it's a price bracket thing. Can I find something that ticks all the boxes with both types of music or will an increased bass always hold back the guitar side of things? I'll be looking at upgrading the full size first (amp = iBasso D2 Boa).

    Rick
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Ricka,

    The HD595 is an excellent headphone for it's price, it is balanced warm and relaxed sounding without too much colouration, giving quite a flat frequency response. The Super fi 5 pro is a dual balanced armature headphone which gives a really curved frequency response lacking in the mids whilst bright at the top and emphasising bass response.

    This is the reason why Dance music (which is normally a big bass line and rhythmic staccato hits with little subtlety or detail in the mids and little space left in the music) sounds good on the Super fi 5 pro and Guitar music or music with traditional instruments (which even if quite heavy is normally about the subtle timbres and emotion of the instruments and therefore needs space in it for you to appreciate this) works much better with the HD595.

    So if you only like one type of music you can choose a headphone / earphone which emphasises the character of that type of music.

    I've been a Musician and Recording engineer in my time which I guess has given me a taste for all types of music which I divide into only two genres - good and bad. When I listen to a recording What I want to hear is an accurate representation of how the music really sounds. Not an absolute clinical dissection of song, but an uncoloured, uninfluenced reading of what the musics maker intended me to hear. This way I can make honest assumptions about the emotional and technical intentions of the artist.

    The drawback with this approach to listening is that you will discover that albums you have loved for years and sounded great on a little CD Player are actaully quite badly recorded and some records you never rated you will discover to be beautifully detailed and worthy of more attention.

    Some recordings just are not as exciting or as bass heavy or as lush as you might think they are. A DJ in a club (filled with speakers which reproduce a bass heavy sound which lacks detail) has an aggressive EQ and a pitch control which a lot of the time will explain why the CD lacks the same punch.

    What I guess I'm driving at is that no headphone will emphasise the best qualities of all music - as the user all you can do is choose between headphones that lean in the direction of your tastes or aspire to a neutral sound and hear recordings as close as possible to the musicians original intentions.
     
  3. Ricka

    Ricka New Member

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    Thanks for the very informative response!

    I have read that the 595 stands out a bit in the Senn range in that it doesn't have their typical sound. Is this the case? I'm curious because I'm wondering if the IE8s would be a better choice for non dance music. I also plan on trying out the HD650s as I hear they give quite an improvement over the 595.
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    HD650 are more relaxed with a chunkier bottom end and plenty of detail. They are much harder to drive so you need to think about the budget for an amp. Have a look at the Graham Slee Novo and if you want to get every last bit of detail out of them the Graham Slee Solo is a fantastic choice with the HD650. Some amps just will not drive these affectively so there is no cheap choice here.

    Sennheiser IE8 In-Ear Noise Isolating Earphones
    are actually quite bass heavy and suit Dance music quite well - I don't feel they are well suited to any light music such as Acoustic or classical but work well with powerful Rock music.
     
  5. Ricka

    Ricka New Member

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    Would my iBasso D2 not cut it with the HD650?

    Could you point me in the right direction for an alternative IEM that would suit where my UEs don't quite fit the style?
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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  7. Ricka

    Ricka New Member

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    Thanks Robin, the triple fi sounds like the one!

    If (when) I go down the slee/650 route, will the ibasso be suitable for use as a dac to feed the slee via the line out? I use my PC as my main source with the ibasso as amp/dac.

    I'm curious as to how well the 650 will work with the ibasso (compared to my 595) as this will help me decide whether to go for the 650 first and amp later or wait till I can get both.
     
  8. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The DAC stage in the iBasso is great and would work well with either the Novo or Solo. It is also worth people who don't already have a DAC having a look at this great full size amp with built in DAC too -

    Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Premium Class A Headphone Amplifier
    £499.00

    HD650 are really quite hard to drive and the iBasso amps tend to struggle finding some distortion with HD650 particularly with lower frequencies.
     
  9. Ricka

    Ricka New Member

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    Great, I do like my little D2!

    I plan on trying someone else's 650 this week and if it convinces me of it's worth, I'll go for it. I'd most likely combine it with the solo as I don't want to be thinking about upgrading again for quite some time. My last questions..

    - Is the PSU1 likely to make any difference given my setup? Seems an awful lot of money for a different power supply.
    - It's a little unclear as to whether you sell the SRG or the SRG II. Are they both the SRG II regardless of which PS you get?
     
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