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HD650 with Xonar ST - Page 2

post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

It's impossible to do blind tests, too. It's a completely subjective experience. The facts say a tube sounds different than a transistor, and it does. There are emotions in both camps of things. I tend to find the scientifically minded people to be irrationally emotional, because they will say that because the numbers say this, that it sounds bad, and that everything and everyone is the same and must feel the same. The "irrational" people they quote as being pseudoscientific are perfectly happy just coming to the "different strokes" conclusion.
If one is serious about music on high-end headphones one should at least give a tube amp a try.

Very true, not everyone hears the same and your mind plays tricks on you. Just like NwAvGuy says, most listening experiences are placebo effects, the best thing you can do is just listen to the components yourself and determine what sounds good to you without having everyone's subjective opinions in your head while doing so.

Just because you have a clean amp doesn't mean it will sound better for you. The only way to truly know is if you knew nothing about amps and I placed an MKV and an O2 in front of you with your headphones and then you could choose the one you like based strictly on what you hear.
post #12 of 37
Some things are also placebo effects because people on both sides of the camp are set in their ways. If someone doesn't want to hear a difference, it's not hard to just let the brain ignore it or to literally choose random. I am in the camp that if it can't be measured, it sure as hell isn't going to be audible. That means I don't buy into silly stuff like cables, fuses, power cables, etc. but I believe highly in the source and the amp. I know my tube amp colors the sound, but I am happy with it, and I am not blissfully ignorant about it.
 
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post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

I know my tube amp colors the sound, but I am happy with it, and I am not blissfully ignorant about it.

that's really the bottom line of the tube vs transparent ss debate. if you're aware of what's occurring and you're happy with how it sounds, you've won the battle.
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post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster View Post

The HD650s I've seen typically go for about $280 used on Head-Fi. Also, the Xonar ST/STX is just not enough to bring out the best from the HD650. The 650 is a headphone that scales well with a good source (the Xonar will suffice for that purpose) and great amplification (which the Xonar isn't great at). The Xonar will make it sound cold and uncontrolled because there's just not enough power behind it to do the HD650 justice.

Are you sure about that? Like, have you tried the HD650 with Xonar ST?
post #15 of 37
The amp is strong enough to drive them, but you either like the solid state sound it gives or you won't and will want a tube amp.
 
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post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by CULLEN View Post

Are you sure about that? Like, have you tried the HD650 with Xonar ST?

I've tried my HD600 with my Xonar Essence STX and it was cold and tinny. It's substantially more enjoyable with my Little Dot MKII tube amp in the middle. Considering that the HD650 is even pickier than my HD600 about power, I'm going to stick by my original statement.

EDIT: And dammit, all this talk of HD650 makes me want to go pick up a used one.
Edited by RallyMaster - 11/13/12 at 12:16pm
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post #17 of 37
I tried my 650's on my xonar essence stx, and though they sounded worlds better than the ath a700's I have before, they sounded phenominally better when I picked up my Audinst external amp for the headphones. That being said, I'd love to try a tube amp if I had the money for one.
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post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster View Post

The HD650s I've seen typically go for about $280 used on Head-Fi. Also, the Xonar ST/STX is just not enough to bring out the best from the HD650. The 650 is a headphone that scales well with a good source (the Xonar will suffice for that purpose) and great amplification (which the Xonar isn't great at). The Xonar will make it sound cold and uncontrolled because there's just not enough power behind it to do the HD650 justice.

I'd just like to encourage people not to use the word "power" in this context unless you're talking about electrical power (are you?), which has a very specific meaning that's not up to wishy-washy audiophile interpretation. Not having enough power means that it can't reach the output power levels or it starts to distort heavily as you turn the volume up. If you crank the volume up on the Xonar ST/STX, you can get to 7V cleanly (easily, well within the capabilities) into ~300 ohms, with negligible distortion. If you're wearing the HD 600 or HD 650 while that's happening, and you get to a loud portion of the music, you will be blasting your ears off. Okay, technically, "only" 120 dB SPL or so. Actually, the headphones may already be distorting badly before that point, ears notwithstanding. It's not about "not enough power" unless you're really serious that you're maxing out volume to 100% on the highest setting, so give that a rest.


Not having the sound you think you want is a completely different matter, subject to your tastes and opinions.

With an OTL tube-drive amp like Little Dot Mk II with those headphones, you'd get a slight midbass bump up in effective frequency response from the high amp output impedance and headphone midbass resonant hump in impedance. That might sound warmer. You'd also get a little higher nonlinear distortion, maybe noise floor too. HD 600 and 650 are relative clean in the mids for headphones; maybe some extra harmonics can thicken (dirty? depends on perspective) the background a little. Whether or not you consider these improvements or not, is up to you.
post #19 of 37
I am not speaking about power in the electrical sense but rather in the "does it sound good to my ears or does it sound...bleh?" sense. I prefer the sound of the tubes with the HD600 and realize that it may not be for everyone. I got my Little Dot MKII way before I got my HD600 and it was one of those things I've considered selling. Every time that thought comes up, I plug in my HD600, turn on the Little Dot and off I go into musical bliss. Even though I come from an electrical engineering background, it's not always about the numbers. Audio is about enjoyment, IMO. If you like what you hear, then no one else can tell you differently.
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post #20 of 37
It's just my opinion, and you don't need to follow it, but my point still stands about using the word "power". It's just plain confusing. I don't care if the word has been so heavily misappropriated (IMHO) by the audiophile community.

Even if you know what you're talking about, somebody else may read the word "power" and make a very reasonable interpretation that electric power is meant, which doesn't help, especially if they don't have a background and understanding of what that is. I don't think such ambiguity is doing anybody any favors except amp manufacturers.

edit: Do you know how many times people say "device X doesn't have enough power for headphones Y" and actually mean electric power? How is anybody supposed to be able to figure out what is meant if within identical contexts, "power" sometimes refers to electrical power and other times does not? Why do this to us?

Even if we disagree, we should at least be using the same language so we know what we're talking about.

Aren't there any number of alternative descriptions, some even more specific or colorful, that could be used in lieu of "power"?
Edited by mikeaj - 11/13/12 at 1:30pm
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