Originally Posted by pbarach
I have 702s and love them. I found the Senn 600 and 650 to sound muffled on the highs. They didn't fit my head.
I agree that broken-in 702s have tight bass. But the actual bass extension isn't that deep, certainly not down to 10 Hz as AKG claims. With test signals, I hear nothing below 20 Hz, and not that much volume below 30.
The AKG701/702 certainly have great sound stage and incredible clarity and detail (they do need to be broken in a lot, they had weak sound stage, tough treble and an odd sort of a diving tank over your head sound to them, the first two parts went away after a few days break in, the latter part took longer but also went away; OTOH my Sennheisers didn't really seem to need any break in at all) BUT in the end I have to say that I agree with those who say they are simply to thin sounding to be as realistic as some say. It's not that they ahve super tight and precise and exactly true bass and lower-midrange it's that they simply are too thin (as with much high end audio stuff).
If you attend a classical music concert (and this is the way to judge as non-acoustic music depends upon the speakers they use which are often driven way hard) the thing that you are first struck by is NOT treble that leaps out at you, there is no sense of super noticeable and detailed treble jumping out at you as with so many speakers and headphones but a very rich presence of bass and lower mid-range, a very rounded, rich, full sound combined with a simply incredible clarity of detail. So you have insane levels of clarity AND YET there is absolutely no sense whatsoever of treble jumping out at you either!
I banged around on a piano a bit using an Audito Technica 825 mic (supposedly it is supposed to be very flat in FR, atlhough it's not some crazy high-end mic either, although i think it does list for $500, I got it used) and when I played it back through AKG701 it simply sounded too thin, the rich presence was missing even if it did have nice staging and detail but yeah just something very much missing somewhere in the bass or lower mid-range or something, too thin, NOT realistic.
I know some FR charts show the AKG701 to be super flat, however some say that the ultra-near field on ear response of the ear differs and that you actually need a roll off above 1khz to be realistic, there are all sorts of arguments about that and also the initial re-equalization model that to be applied.
OTOH, the Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 have that sense of superb clarity without any sense of a present treble and they have full richness and none of the artificial thinness of the AKG and so many others.
That said sometimes they do have just a touch too much bass to be entirely realistic either, the HD650 seems to have a reasonably smooth treble but just a bit too much bass incomparison and the HD600 seems to have a suck out around 8kHz so there is a touch of live sparkle missing.
Overall a trace too much bass if often easier on the easier than a treble push and the overall sound of the senns seems to match real live acoustic response better to me than the AKG701-type sound.
The senn may have just a trace too much treble roll off and at least one a bit of a treble suck out at one spot and the hd650 a trace of a bass boost at one point so sadly they don't seem to quite be entirely realistic, but that said they appear to be a closer match to reality than the rest I have tried (various slightly lower end current senn and older model senn, akg 701/702, grado sr60, grado sr80).
Again and again they were more realistic than the AKG701 on basically everything, even if not quite perfect themselves. With the AKG701 and other headphones or speakers like them you are always aware of the feeling of treble being present which simply is NOT realistic. Again, go to LA or NY Phil and listen and there is simply no sense that treble is present even though there is astounding clarity and detail and a rich presence. I think many headphones and speakers try to get that lifelike essence and clarity with various fake treble boots and various artificial bass/mid-range tamings.
The AKG 701 might have a touch better sound stage than the HD600 though.
I wish the HD650 has just a hair less bass and just a trace more treble bite, it's like sooo close and yet not quite 100% there. It and the HD600 do have that amazing thing where there is astounding detail and clarity even with no sense of present treble at all, which is very special, but they might overdo it just a touch too much. very, very, very close though. (on a typical not near zero impedance output though the lack of treble and bass/lower mid can get a bit more bloated, still more realistic than tbe akg701 overall but it's the issues they have are a bit more magnified)
The HD650 seemed to have a bit better sound stage than the HD600 and to have a bit more of a "live" sense to them and perhaps smoother treble, if maybe just a trace too much extra bass.
I should also say that the Senn HD600/HD650 seem quite sensitive to what drives them, a lot moreso than the AKG701, sure the AKG701 won't play loud driven by lots of things but the senn with their extreme impedance vs frequency curves tend to get some bass and lower mid-range mudding over some of the treble when they are played back with headphone outputs with too high impedance (sadly most headphone outputs are not near zero and are high enough to affect the senns to varying degree; i made the comparisons with Benchmark DAC1 PRE USB (has like .11ohm output or something, very low) to eliminate output impedance issues from clouding the game).
looking at the FR for what I have heard and haven't heard the stax 9 and the audeze LCD2 look to have some promise, althoguh I have never heard them and the audeze appear they might do what the HD650 does only even yet a bit moreso which i'm not sure would be ideal, although they might be a touch smoother on treble reponse up to 8khz??), although it's hard to say, since the FR is a tricky thing and the ear can get tricked by certain relative spikes and what you read on the FR at first glance might not be what you expect to hear