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Paullieb213
141
Dec 12, 2019
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Just finished 100 hrs break-in with my 887. Very noticeable difference in bass and overall smoothness. Highs have lost some harshness. Prior to break-in the amp was a bit thin sounding lacking dynamics and having bit of hardness in the highs. The amp is now a different animal. Was not expecting this much of a difference.
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Dec 12, 2019
Matthias1979
15
Dec 14, 2019
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I noticed the same as you do. I think I have only about half the hours of you (about 50) I broke-in the amp up to know. At the beginning the 789 sounded a little bit more "flat" (but far away from "boring") and the soundstage was not that big. The highest highs had somehow a certain amount of harshness at the beginning. Now they soft out more and more. But they are not getting silky luckily. The highs are still crystalline (what I really like and what my interconnection cables and headphone-cables both made of silver bring to the sound-signature) but the high frequencies are not that harsh anymore. As the highs sound less fatiguing now. Almost at the same time the deep frequencies seem to develop more and more.... So even though the user manual of the amp says that there is not break-in "required" it seems that the amp changes its sound-quality after some listening hours. I began noticing that somewhere between 10 and 20 hours of listening that the highs are still crystalline but less fatiguing. A little staggered to the optimization of the highs the deep frequencies still get more an more depth and texture. Also with these developments the soundstage got a little wider. The break-in process doesn't seem to be completed now at about 40 to 50 hours of listening... It's quite interesing how materials develop after some time. I notices the same with all of my expensive audio-cables made of silver. 20 years ago I was only using boring sounding cheap and thin interconnection cables. The sounded really boring and lifeless. Today and from the point on I call myself an audiophile a spent more and more money on audio-equipment and as as analytical person in gerneral I can clearly hear the differences. So at one time i started to spend more money for cables. Oxygen-free mono-crystalline copper cables (not normal cheap copper cables) sound already very, very good and also even better if these cables have some amount of additional silver in it). These cables are a close second to the absolute top-notch cables made of pure monocrystalline silver. Of course they are very expensive but the sound-improvement over the complete frequency spectrum is very well noticeably and impressive when the rest of the used audio chain is able to image those excellent qualities silver-cables can bring. (Like it is said: The whole audio-chain is only that strong as the cheapest/weakest element in it is able to perform)... While my previously used oxygen-free mono-crystalline copper cables needed about 40 hours of break-in time to release their full potential the silver cables needed about 80 hours. Now I'm curious how many hours the 789 will need to complete its break-in period to show full potential even though it already sounded very impressive at the very start... So obviously I'm not the only one who noticed changes of the sound signature after some listening hours. And this also seems to be the case with the 887.
Dec 14, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 14, 2019
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Yes. Thanks for your response. Glad to hear im not the only one that experienced an improvement after break-in. My experience was that after 50 hours of break-in there was a very noticable difference from 15 hours of usage. At 100 hours i noticed more improvement in the bass and high end. So i think it pays to go for 100 hours in total.
(Edited)
Dec 14, 2019
Matthias1979
15
Dec 25, 2019
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At the moment I'm somewhere between 50 and 100 hours of break in on the 789. The low end developed very well, got deeper, more textural and in general more impressive. The highs are still too bright, but are noticeably not as harsh as they were from the beginning. Also I notice more soundstage now than before and therefore there's better imaging and channel separation now... The sound improved a lot since the beginning of using the amp for the first couple of hours... Do you think that the highs calm down a good amount more at about 100 hours of break-in time? How would you describe the improvement especially of the highs at about 100 hours? Particularly in terms of harshness-calm-down or in additional ways? I still like them crystalline but my feeling tells me that the high frequencies will still calm down a little more.
Dec 25, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 25, 2019
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Yes absolutely there is a noticeable difference at 100 hrs. Highs not as sharp, edginess subsides and overall smoothness continues to improve at a slower rate. To be honest im still hearing a bit of improvement beyond the 100 hr mark. It may be that since this amp throws out almost no heat it takes a bit longer to totally reach its final sound signiture. Just a wild guess on that theory. Lol Btw just purchased balanced cable for my 6xx. Was using it at SE gain 3. Expect improvement in every catagory using the balanced cable. Went with sennheiser balanced because of problems with the periapt cable. Very low sound and almost impossible to take connector off.
Dec 25, 2019
Matthias1979
15
Dec 26, 2019
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OK, thank you. I will see what happens at around 100 hours... Right after writing the previous comment I had an experimental idea: I use the 789 on gain 3 right from the beginning after I noticed I would have to turn the volume knob up to 3 o'clock with gain 2 in use. With my previous amp (Beyerdynamic A 20) I drove my Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO with a volume amount that I had the volume knob at about 12 o'clock (sometimes a little further, sometimes a little less depending on the peak-level of the listenend signals). So using gain 2 with the 789 looks a little strange to my eyes at the volume marker at 3 o'clock. :-) Therefore I quickly jumped from gain 2 to grain 3 and there the volume knob ist mostly at around "half past one". Now to the just made experiment: I jumped back to gain level 2 to check how the treble would behave on that in comparison to gain 3. Surprisingly the highs are a tiny bit less harsh (but still quite noticeably for a practiced ear). Of course I have to increase the volume again now and listen to the same songs while comparing the treble-region between gain level 2 and 3. And also of course I'm listening at the same (felt) volume-level on every gain level. Please do the same experiment. Would be nice if you notice a difference in the highs at different gain-settings, too. What I'm asking myself now and what I want to find out is if my headphone somehow likes gain level 3 in several regions more to get a better sound than on the same volume level on gain 2. Maybe it sounds "the same" on both (despite the sligth differences in the highest highs). I will compare on different topics like soundstahe and so on... I also think about why there is a little less harshness now on gain level 2 and why and if maybe the DT 1990 is a little bit "overdriven" on gain 3 if "overdriving" is possible at all and would then lead to negative side effects. I will let you know what will change the next 30 to 40 hours of listening on the amp and also what else I eventually may notice comparing the overall sound signature on gain 2 and 3 the following days.
(Edited)
Dec 26, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 26, 2019
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In SE mode the sennheiser 6xx is way too low at gain 2 using my dac. Also the dynamics and detail is comprised. Im using a 2 volt ess sabre 9038k2m. People think that gain just impacts volume. No way! Using higher gain improves impact and crispness assuming you have no overload problems. The negatives for high gain is possible roughness compared to a lower setting. Lower gain pushes the mids and highs back a little and you lose some punch and dynamics. My problem is with every amp i tried going past 2 oclock starts to introduce some thickness and detail loss for high volume modern recordings. Going past 3 is not an option for me on any recording. With balanced output, gain 2 should be perfect using 6xx. Im just hoping that the sound has noticeable improvement using balanced output with SE input. I have fooled around with every amp at different gains and since i like a more intimate signiture i usually opt for the higher gain settings. Im also hoping that gain level 3 SE is not the same as gain level 2 balanced using SE input. If that's the case i will be forced to buy a balanced amp! LOL
Dec 26, 2019
Matthias1979
15
Dec 26, 2019
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In my case I use only the single-ended output, just to let you know when I talk about gain-levels... I did some testing now. When I use gain-level 2 I totally agree to your description. At first (and until yesterday) I also thought indeed, that there would only be a difference in volume. The sound on gain 2 really lacks in detail (especially micro-detail and dynamics and punchiness/impact). You are right. And what I found out and already mentioned, the highs are a little tamed. As you said, additionally the mids are also a little recessed. I like mids and now that I compared gain-levels 2 and 3 with each other I of course will permanently use gain level 3. :-) And decay works also better on gain 3. But the decay-aspect is of course stands in relation to dynamics. Futhermore I noticed that gain 2 delivers less soundstage than gain 3 in comparison. With gain setting 3 and better soundstage through that channel-separation can be noticed more clearly and the placement of instruments is better noticeably on a wider sounstage. All together there will be no way back to gain 2 for me. Thank you for making me aware for the differences you already noticed and informed me. That made me realise quicker (if you had not mentioned it before) that gain 2 is a degradation of sound in several aspects. And even someone thinks gain 2 might be enough for a headphone: Its clear to me now that if a headphone gets more current that you would expect it would need to show its full potential. So its better to give the headphone more power and just lower down the volume instead of giving the headphone less energy and raise the volume. This will not lead to the same result... So thank you again for your information. I noticed the same with thickness. Beginning from a certain point in terms of volume I can hear increasing thickness. But in my case that luckily doesn't go with a lack of detail/clarity and recessed/less hearable mids. So to me its not the same as having an emphasis on the low frequencies that might often "bleed" into the mids and recess them (what I noticed with cheaper simple copper-cables I used in the past.) With monocrystalline oxygen-free copper this problem disappears almost (and even more when a little silver is added to those cables). You can strongly increase the low end (through different earpads or in other ways) and the mids are not influenced negatively. With ultra-pure silver cables which are even more expensie this effect gets even stronger. Low end can be strong without influecing the clarity of the mids). In addition in terms of the high notes: Monocrystalline oxygen-free copper increases the highs a little bit (they sound silky, glass-like). The highs clearer than they would sound with normal copper-cables. With pure silver cables the highs are crystalline in quality. Of course this not a good idea when someone uses a headphone that is has an analytical emphasis on the highs like my DT 1990. But: These highs definitely sound less aggressive now than in the first few hours i used the 789. Highs are crystalline but better resoluted.... I will see what happends after some more days with the 789... By the way: ultra pure silver cables in comparison to monocrystalline oxygen-free copper-cables not only let the highs sound more crystalline, they also add a wider soundstage, give better imaging, better instrument-separation, more dynamics, higher resolution over the whole frequency-spectrum and additional clarity and transparency. Therefore there is more detail that you can hear. (By the way I use silver cables as interconnectors and also as headphone-cable). More detail means automatically less relaxing listening. Listening to very detailed music with headphones while sitting in front of the computer for example to read something there is most of the time not possible for me. :-) My brain then only wants to concentrate on one thing because there is too much information that comes in through the ears. My system is too analytical. I really like that and when I listen to music my focus is completely there most of the time. The whole audio-chain I use demands full concoisness while listening with it.... So I hope the highs on the 789 "calm down" just a little bit more. It's already quite okay in relation to the state ist was from the beginning with the 789. At the moment the highs are only too aggressive when a specific album is generally recorded/mastered "poorly" with the use of a little bit too much of high frequencies. Back to the thickness: The thickness you mentioned sounds good to my ears because luckily its sounds different than added warmth over the whole frequency-spectrum which sometimes leads to vocals sound to full and annatural or a piano that is recorded alreadly with too much warmth sounds then even more warm and less likeable to me. Additionally added warmth to the sound-signature (through cables, tube-amps or else) doesn't sound good to my ears. While the thickness you mention (and I also talk about here) is somehow different while not recessing the mids (don't know if that is the case in general or if it comes through the positive effects of my silver-cables). In your case you could lower down the voume a little but, but then you would loose a little bit of punchiness. :-) Unfortunately I don't have any experience with balanced-hearing to talk about the balanced-aspect with you. I did not hade a headphone with a balanced-option up to now also I would need a DAC with balanced output. At the moment I use the already quite good DAC that is build in on my Network-Receiver which unfortunately doesn't offer balanced-output but a lot other output options. You write that you like a more intimate sound and therefore you like to use higher gain-levels to reach that. How is that possible when higer gain-levels obviously add more soundtage? Of course a singing-voice can still be intimate and sound very close to your head but maybe the instruments on the music are too far away from you to give you an overall intimate listening. Of course the type of cables you use (like I wrote down in terms of their quality-differences) and the type of heaphone you use influence how intimate or wide a sound-signature is... but: It seems that you like gain 3 for some aspects it lets music sound better but on the other hand gain 2 (or less power) delivers less soundstage and a voice would come closer to you then (what you prefer). Gain level 3 on SE is not the same as gain level 2 on balanced-output as the product page of the 789 shows. On SE gain level 2 means adding +0 db to the volume: While gain level 3 on SE adds +10 db to the volume but gain 3 on balanced adds +16 db to the volume. We audiophiles always try to improve the sound and seem to be never satisfied or at least this is the case after a lot of experimenting with this and that (cables, amps, dacs, modifying eard-pads and so on). :-) I hope that you can find a way to reduce the thickness-factor in your sound-signature.
(Edited)
Dec 26, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 27, 2019
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Yes you are correct in that the interconnects make a very noticable difference. Im currently using an audioquest evergreen that costs approximately $38. I have 2 of these cables in which one of them i bought a few yrs back and one that i bought 2 months ago. The newer cable ( shockingly) sounds noticeably better! I think they may have modified them over the years. Yes there is that much of a difference. Hence im going to buy upgraded audioquest cables called big sur. Cost about $130. Btw the thickness i mentioned only occurs at extremely loud sound levels where i would not normally listen. On lower recording i have no problem going to 3 pm. Thanks for all your compliments. Like i said i believe you will continue to get improved sound from your THX. BTW my XLR cable from sennheiser is now out for delivery. Can't wait.
Dec 27, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 28, 2019
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Have about 2 hrs of listening with my sennheiser balanced cable that came yesterday. Very satisfied. In one word the sound is much cleaner. Base is tighter highs are smoother. Also the connectors to the phone are perfect. Not too tight or loose just perfect. No screwdriver required. Lol The only slight suprise is that the volume ( balanced gain 2)was a bit lower than se gain 3. I just raised the gain on my dac one notch to compensate. I also noticed i can go much further up the volume with no change in the character of the sound.
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Dec 28, 2019
Paullieb213
141
Dec 31, 2019
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Once again i opened my mouth too soon. The balanced cable was not an improvement over the standard SE cable at gain setting 3. As a matter of fact the negatives were greater than the positives for using a balanced cable. The sound being a bit smoother but at a loss of dynamics, sparkle and more engaging sound. Also surprisingly volume using balanced gain 2 was significantly lower than SE gain 3. Spoke to sennheiser and i will be receiving my refund when the returned item is received by them. Can't believe i spent $250 for their balanced cable. However, I have to say it was a pleasure to be able to take the connectors on and off with ease.
(Edited)
Dec 31, 2019
Matthias1979
15
Jan 4, 2020
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I also started with cables around that pricing (in my case in Euros). They had a neutral and acceptable sound, but after the passing of time I was ready to spend more and more money on cables and did'nt regret it in the latest buys. Afer the interconnectors for about 30 to 40 Euros (which I bought many months ago) I wanted to have a little more low end for more fun, because the neutral RCA-cable was a little to less fun litening to because it was too neutral even though it was analytical. The cable i bout then for about 70 to 80 Euros to increase the lowend and becaue the new cable had a lot of strands (around 300) the dynamics were increased queite noticeably. Unfortunately I realised that the mids were recessed through increasing the low end. So I had to find out how to increase lowend, impact and detail there without the low-frequencies having a negative effet in certain ways on the mids and also on the highs by rolling them off. My solution then were interconnectors for around 200-220 Euros which solved the problem and increased the sound in different aspects. (silky and clear highs, a little wider soundstage, better imaging, instrument-separation, more dynamics, higher resolution over the whole frequency-spectrum and additional clarity and transparency). This interconnectors were out of the mentioned monocrystalline oxygen-free copper with a little bit of added silver. These cables had a thickness of arond 10 millimeters (just like a garden hose) and were therefore quite unflexible. :-) But what a sound! And suddenly I realised I was an audiophile willing to spend more and more money. Now I am at RCA-interconnectors (as mentioned) for about 400 to 450 Euros made of Ultrapure silver and worth every cent. Like I mentioned before the highs are crystalline now and the silver-cable increases the sound in the above mentioned aspect additionally. Whenever I thought there surely can't be a much better sound I was wrong. All the mentioned RCA's by the Way are from Oehlbach, a well known German audio company. So let's see jow long you will the with the around 40 Euro-cables, when you know that there is much more possible improvement to the overall sound quality. :-) You were already positively shocked about how much besser the cable you bought was. :-) Imagine how you would react If you hear what's possible on top of that. ;-) With my THX I'm around/close to 80 hours break-in time I guess. Since my last message to you some days ago the low-end still developed noticeably while the smoothing-out of the highs took a little longer but here there was a small imprrovment (but now as much as in the low-end frequencies). I will give futher input to you about the highs after nearing or passing 100 hours of break-in. I believe you when you say there still happen changes to the sound on the way to 100 hours and above that. You were right with all the other input you gave me because I could also hear it on my side. So we had the same findings. It's good to share the same realizations with other audiophiles who a well-practiced listeners who can clearly here suble differences here and there.
Jan 4, 2020
Matthias1979
15
Jan 4, 2020
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Lie I said I do not have personal experience with balanced cables and headphones but read already a lot about "the balanced music listending" and what to have for that goal. I read a lot about that here on these community pages. Like you I am surprised that if SE use should have 25 percent power-output in comparison to the balanced-output your finding is strange (balanced on gain 2 with lower volume than SE with gain 3). More surprising is your finding that a balanced-cable (your newly buyed one) does sound worse than the RCAs. The community pages give information from people who find that balanced is definitive the more powerful option than SE use. You wrote the negatives with the balanced cable were bigger than the positives. Did you try if it sounded also that worse when you tried balanced with gain 3 and therefore lowering the volume-level a little bit but on the other hand having the before missed dynamics and sparkle with this possiblitly to try? I can't believe you are that unsatisfied with your absolutely not at all cheap balanced cable. Did I get you right that this cable is the connection between the amp and your headphone? If yes, then I would try to buy an unbalanced headphone cable. I think your 250 Dollars might me better invested there. (After I had the mentioned silver interconnectors) I started to improve on the headphone-cable for the DT 1990. And there I did the same with the RCA-interconnectors. So my first non-stack headphone-cable was monocrystalline, oxygen-free copper which had the same improvement-level than the 10 millimeters thick RCA's. And now I'm at an ultra-pure silver-cable here with the same additions to the sound-quality than the RCA-upgrades already did. And just to use other words: The two steps of better headphone-cables improved the sound in addition (with every step) to the already existing silver RCA's!!! So imagine the quality-improovement you've heard from your about 40 dollars-cable to the cheaper one you used before. Now imagine to have better sound 4 times with silver cables everywhere. :-) But if you want to go with unbalanced-cables to use the SE-outputs: I would say you better invest in upgrading the RCA's first. Especially if you are not sure if you wanna keep your headphone for a very long time. If you invest a lot of money into headphone-cables you need to be sure you are not playing with the thought of buying another headphone in the near futere of some months. The thing is, that every company uses different connectors to the headphone itself and with a new headphone you eventually cannot use an expensive headphone-cable anymore. By th way: Mine for the DT 1990 are both from Moon Audio. This company is well known and appreciated by audiophiles around the world. The good thing is you can first choose the cable you like (monocrystalline, oxygen-free copper which is called "Blue Dragon" which I bought first. After that I upgraded to the "Silver Dragon" which is the silver-cable. So this is the best cable you can by there. The type of silver quality they use is hard to produce performs outstandigly). Then you can choose your headphone. The production of the cable then is done with the fitting connectors for your specific headphone in use. And in a futher step you chose the connection-type on the AMP. They also make balanced headphone cables as "Blue Dragon" or "Silver Dragon"-Versions. There also is a "Black Dragon"-cable with a third different sound-signature. It's neutral with a little warmth and a certain emphasis on the low-end (without altering the mids negatively). Moon Audio's website offers a good amount of information to each cable-type and in which ways their differ soundwise from each other. Maybe you wanna check that out.
(Edited)
Jan 4, 2020
Paullieb213
141
Jan 4, 2020
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Balanced gain 3 was way over the top. Unlistenable loudness and very harsh. I just think that the sennheisers hd 6xx sound the best using SE gain 3 with my 2 volt SE dac. However as you must be aware there are so many variables with different dacs that have different voltage etc. So all im saying is that with my setup SE gain 3 works best with the 6xx phones. Im getting better interconnects from audioquest that cost $140 which are highly rated by stereophile magazine. Hoping it provides some of the increased sound quality that you have experienced. Wish i was able to afford your cables. However i really need a better dac. The sabre dacs that i have can be brittle sounding if not implemented properly. I plan on getting an AKM chip which they say is generally much smoother with a more lush sound signiture. Need it for my elex which im not crazy about with the thx. Way too dry and a bit coarse.
(Edited)
Jan 4, 2020
Paullieb213
141
Jan 10, 2020
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Getting smoother fuller sound at about 150 hrs. Especially with my elex. I guess this amp will go beyond the 200 hr mark before it reaches full potential. Elex now sounds satisfying to me.
Jan 10, 2020
Lisasonictower
664
Jan 12, 2020
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Gain 3 has a maximum input voltage of 2.1v and then you start clipping the input. So use SE input for gain 3. Gain 1 and 2 have a maximum input voltage of 7.0v so use SE or balanced. All gain settings used in this way will give an unclipped output at maximum volume on the knob. If you wish to use gain 3 at its maximum voltage output with a balanced input then attenuate your source by 7db and again you can get the maximum voltage unclipped maximum volume.
Jan 12, 2020
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