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The bass on the 6xx is inadequate.
On "No Surprises" by Radiohead, lossless 16/44, the bass is distorted. Distortion is even worse on "High & Dry." The bass on the Massdrop x HIFIMAN Bolt is better for these songs, a little fat but less distorted! And deeper! I guess it could be my ears, but I don't think this headphone aka HD650 deserves its reputation.
I want to add that the Massdrop x HIFIMAN Bolt has rather poor highs (eg on Polythene Pam), so I'm not claiming its a better headphone.
Out of curiosity, what amp are you using?
Have u got them for a long time, they should get better after a week of use ( so I was told)
Distortion is generally due to amps not able to supply enough juice to the headphone, sometimes the distortion is in the music themselves, just being "lossless" doesn't mean the recording is any good. It may be you're hearing distortion in the bass track for the first time because these headphones are so transparent.
Edit: Just listened to it on my reference amp. Recording's not that great, but I hear zero bass distortions. It is clean and tight.
I know Magni 3 is not great, but listening again, the 6xx is muddy even in the bass it can reproduce. I guess it could mean I need my ears cleaned.
I get better results from even the modest Final E2000, FH1, Fidelio X2 sourcing from older Fiio X3 or Hiby R3. And No Surprises is fine from an iMac to Adam F5. It's not like I'm expecting fidelity for Bassnectar. Magni 3 is cutting corners, it seems that 6xx is perhaps a niche headphone.
Newer people should know they'll be getting diminished performance at the ground level.
I find the Magni distort quite a bit with the HD6XX. There's missing details and muddiness in the bass which you've experienced. The Magni is a good value budget headphone amp, it sure have enough power output for the HD6XX to get the right volumes, but it also have poor control with high impedance cans like the HD6XX where at 100hz can reach about 500 ohms, that would be where you're experiencing the most distortion. It's not about how much power it can deliver, it needs to be able to deliver power efficiently or have higher output impedance, inefficiency only leads to more distortion, and better matching output impedance brings better control to higher impedance drivers, but would really suck for lower impedance headphones. It's not really niche, the same would apply to any high impedance headphone.
Yes, it seems you have to spend about 2x the cost of the 6xx for an amp to get it to perform -- and yet it will still be rolled off on the top and bottom, and you can't fix that with an expensive amp. I imagine that the $250-400 Massdrop amps would be much better than a Magni 3 (or an iFi xDSD rather than the weaker iFi Nano Black); too bad reviewers didn't mention that.
It's ok, but newer people should know they'll be getting diminished performance at the ground level, no matter what the amp.
I should have had more patience and gone for the TR-X00 Mahogany, but wanted to find out about the standard fare. Thanks for the feedback.
Newer people generally like these because they've got nothing else to compare with. Even those people driving them from their phones.
Budget amps like the Aune T1 drives these with much better clarity than the Magnitude, though the DAC on chip plays a big part too. Sure an amp at X2 price will perform better, but so will an amp at X10, these cans don't stop scaling which is why so many people love them.
The Massdrop CTH work really well with these. And the Mahogany is a good choice when starting out with the Fostex's :)
Just tried these two tracks on my PC, an FX Audio DACX6 and a Musical Fidelity headphone amp and did not hear any distortion in the bass and yes the headphone did scale when I went to the MF amp. Cannot agree that it has bass distortion or that the bass is inadequate, or at least not for the music I listen to. Would agree that the sub bass is missing and for some more modern genres this is not the the best headphone. Maybe the reason it is a reference is that it can do everything well enough without necessarily being the best at everything. Anyway still my favourite new toy.
(try to correct me if I'm wrong but)
To the best of my knowledge, all amps actually perform better driving high impedance. Often enough high impedance headphones do have lower sensitivities (dB/V) meaning to get them loud you might be getting voltage clipping/distortion. So in a way, yes high impedance could mean takes too much voltage to get loud enough, but not necessarily. High impedance is like having a stronger grip/hold on the driver. It does exactly what you tell it to while lower impedance is slippery and misbehaves. Lengthy proof is hard to find for this. A good example might be looking at the massdrop x THX AAA 789.
-143 dB with 300ohm; -122 dB with 16 ohm (balanced - single ended shows similar relationship). 21 dB is like what, a little over 10x worse? Not the best of examples but it is something to ponder about.
650's do have like 7 or 8 % THD distortion @ 20 Hz 100dB SPL which is higher than many headphones but not a lot higher (taken from memory off of innerfedelity website - I don't feel like double checking the graphs right now - I no longer trust anything Head-fi does which is who reported THD for these on massdrop.). Anything above 0.5% I heard becomes audible.
With that said, 650's are amazing elsewhere in many ways. And the bass 650's do have is beautiful as long as you don't force it to play too much.
And... could be the amp (shoulder shrug). It's a reasonable conclusion. Why do I keep reading about how crappy the magni 3 is >.> what happened!
I also used to think that output impedance (voltage) needs to be as low as possible, so higher impedance cans receives a better damping factor, however this isn't always the case. It is true that the load impedance should never been less than 8x the output impedance at a particular frequency, however when the output impedance is too low and the load impedance is way higher than 8x, power won't be delivered optimally which causes distortion, even if it meets power requirements of the headphone.
It is hard to say whether an amp can deliver power optimally to a particular load by looking at basic specs (most specs make no sense since there is only 1 single point of reference), however we do know that power can be delivered optimally if the output impedance is well matched to the load impedance. Ever have an amp with both a high impedance and low impedance output? The HD6XX will always sound better on the high impedance output, and congested on the low impedance. This is also why people often report that OTL amps pair really well with HD6XX's because of their inherently high output impedance.
You're correct that high impedance means better grip, SNR and crosstalk are also lower with higher impedance headphones. I do wish more headphones come in higher impedance, but overall manufacturers are dropping impedance to appeal to the wider market.
"And the bass 650's do have is beautiful as long as you don't force it to play too much."
The lack of sub bass is what makes the 650/ 6xx a compromise. A lot of music since the 70s have sub bass more than 6xx can handle. I like that there's no piercing highs but it feels like the bottom has dropped out. Don't even think about taking on a Seven Nation Army with 6xx.
But yeah, Aja by Steely Dan sounds good, so 6xx is good enough for less demanding but well produced music. No amp can improved the sub bass on 6xx -- is that right? And yes, I think the X3 line out > Magni 3 is distorting at high volume. The problem is that I'd have to spend more for a good amp with 6xx than just getting a Fostex TR-X00 with proper bass.
But it's interesting to see what compromises audiophiles are willing to excuse, and how hard won are increments of good sound.
The bass is inadequate, because the 6xx can't reproduce sub bass.
And if you don't have an amp that costs more than the headphone, you'll hear distortion at higher volumes that won't be heard in say the Final Audio E2000 at 1/10 the total cost.
The sub-bass on the HD6XX is fine, its balanced and natural. Fostex's are know for a fat bass, they are fun to listen to but not very realistic. Out of these two headphones, the HD6XX is going to get you closer to live performance. High-end headphones that aim for a realistic sound all have a similar tonality to the HD6XX, of course there are also fun sounding statement pieces like the Audeze for those that are after a different sort of sound.
And remember, these headphones have a MSRP of $500, so a Magni is only 1/5th of the cost of the headphone.
I think that if I had spent $500 on a new set of headphones I would have expected better bass extension and a larger soundstage. My Sony MA900 have a huge soundstage in comparison and at the moment better bass extension and these are a very open back headphone. However I spent USD 199 for a 15 year old design and listen mainly to music produced in the the last century and for that purpose these headphones are good. I cannot say great as the Sonys beat them in every way except treble definition. However the HD6xx probably have less than 15 hours listening time on them and the sound is definitely more open than when I first got them so I expect them to be better after another couple hundred hours. Really hope I am not disappointed.
I've never listened to the MA900 but I do agree that extension isn't the best on the HD6XX, it does go very low but it's rolled off.
Soundstage wise, I do think they are very good and again, natural. Distance between instruments is correct rather than exaggerated like on the cheaper AD700 or more expensive HD800. On a good amp, soundstage realism is on the same level as a Focal Utopia.
The strengths of the HD6XX is the midrange, and they are great for acoustic and voices.
"fun to listen to but not very realistic"
I'm saying that bass lighter headphones are not realistic, and unrealistic might be kind as description for sound profiles that cause hearing loss. Happily, the 6xx isn't ear piercing.
It depends, if realism is a string trio or folk guitars, then yes neutral might be lightweight. If we're talking music since 1967-70, then we need to go back to the drawing board. Or it could mean I just like more sub/mid bass richness that doesn't get muddy.
MSRP is fantasy, especially considering inflation, tech improvements, and supply chain improvements. The HD 650 was selling for $300 when I bought the Fidelio X2, and it went back up $50. The 6xx have always sold for $199. In any case, the Magni 3 doesn't do much for the X2 (over a Fiio X3) and I think that the 6xx needs something better.
It's a bit silly of me to whine too much about what's still really budget gear.
Budget gear or not, ever since I "downgraded" to the HD6XX, I've not had any urge to change my headphones.
I've got TOTL reference level gears running the HD6XX and have not found anything that beats them in overall enjoyment.
Not wanting to argue with you, but once you have a better DAC & amp, give these another chance. Peace.
HD6XX - My favorites for comfort and listening pleasure. Beats every other set of headphones and IEM's in my collection.
Well my Sony's were my favourite but I seem to be picking up the HD6XX more and more because it just feels right. Then again my favourite IEM is the KZ ZST pro so what do I know.
Hey this in old comment but I wanted to check what you thought of the iFi xdsd I just ordered one to push the 6XX's which are also on order and I asked the community about a dac/amp combo with a couple recommendations for smaller less powerful DAC/AMP combos but settled on the iFi xdsd after much research for portable on the go use. Thoughts on how it works with the 6XX, I haven't received it yet?