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Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Logarhythm » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 pm

*yay, another headphone thread*
Anyone tried them yet, and can we expect a review in the mag?
Found out today that I can get a discount on Sennheiser kit through work (no idea why - reference headphones aren't a common requirement in the food industry...), miss my HD650s and curious to know how these compare.
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:38 pm

There are several hifi reviews on the web already. Reports are all favourable, with most suggesting they are a worthwhile step up from the HD650s, with a tonality sitting between the HD600 and HD800. Faster and a little more open than the HD650. And supplied with a balanced connecting cable (as well as a standard one) for use with the latest generation of balanced 4.4mm socketed headphone amps.

I'm sure we'll get a set to test soon...

H
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Logarhythm » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:58 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I'm sure we'll get a set to test soon...
Good to know, thanks Hugh :thumbup:
I've read some of the Hifi reviews but tend to attach significantly more credibility to those found in your esteemed publication ;)
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:27 pm

:angel: :thumbup:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:35 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And supplied with a balanced connecting cable (as well as a standard one) for use with the latest generation of balanced 4.4mm socketed headphone amps.
Do we really need another standard here?

Sorry. Let me try that question again with a little less attitude! :)

Does a balanced connection make an appreciable difference with headphones?
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:57 am

Appreciable difference? You could ask the same of almost everything -- converters, speakers, preamps, sample rates, etc etc. This is about extracting every possible ounce of quality for those that are prepared to go to that level of detail and expense. There is a difference, whether it is appreciated is harder to define! :-) Diminishing returns is a phrase that comes to mind... As is popular fashion...

To be fair, there are some valid technical arguments in favour of the balanced headphone approach, particularly in battery-powered applications. By using a bridged-amplifier setup for each channel -- two amps operating in anti-phase powering each side of the headphone driver -- the driving voltage is doubled, as is the slew rate -- both things that help an electroacoustic driver to follow the required waveform more precisely. This configuration also removes the common ground path employed in conventional headphones, with a reduction in crosstalk and intermodulation effects. But there are also some disadvantages including a reduced damping factor, and so there is no overall consensus across the pro industry (Benchmark Media -- makers of the superb DAC1/2/3 products) argues strongly against it, for example), but it is increasingly fashionable in the hi-fi markets.

Image

A significant downside is that you need twice as many amp stages, of course (four instead of two in a stereo system), and each driver in the headphones has to have both sides wired separately back to the amplifiers (instead of sharing a common return path). Consequently the cable needs at least four wires instead of three, and a non-standard four-pole connector.

Most balanced headphones and headphone amps that I've used up until now have employed a 4-pin XLR connector for the job (or sometimes dual quarter-inch TRS sockets or XLRf3s, while portable players sometimes use 2.5mm TRRS connectors), but it seems there's a newly defined hi-fi standard being promoted by Sony to use the 4.4mm Pentaconn plug which is a 5-pole design. (Some balanced headphone cables are screened, so the fifth pole provides a cable screen ground connection.

Image

Here's a visual comparison of the familiar 3.5mm minijack (right) and quarter-inch (centre) plugs currently used on standard unbalanced headphones, alongside the new 4.4mm Pentaconn plug (left).

Image
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:13 am

Thanks Hugh!
:thumbup:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:02 am

Is that one of those 'I wish I hadn't asked now!' thanks? :lol:

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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:05 am

Well, there are times you learn things here that you didn't even know were there to be learned :)

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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:14 am

:lol: :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Is that one of those 'I wish I hadn't asked now!' thanks? :lol:

H
More of an 'I'll add that to the list of things i don't need to worry about' thanks.
But it's all useful knowledge. :)
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:07 pm

:thumbup: :D
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:41 pm

We'll I'm very glad this took a turn towards the balanced headphone amp question so thank you all, and particularly Hugh once again :thumbup:
I'd started looking into it when I saw the specs for the HD660 and got curious - had seen Benchmark's comments along with a lot of hifi waffle from various sources. As I was considering making an amp to drive them at some point, I had the silly idea that as I'd be doing the building I'd be perfectly placed to create four identical drive stages so I could do a true back-to-back on identical (ish) amps in both configurations. Then it occurred to me that to properly A/B compare I'd either need to devise a way to switch between the two configurations on the fly, or would need a complete version of each rig thus requiring six amp stages and two separate sets of associated gubbins. At this point I realised this was starting to look complex and potentially expensive, I'd end up with one more amp than I actually need (or an single needlessly complicated amp with a setup option I never used again), I'm doubtful my ears are sufficiently well trained to be able to discern the expected level of performance difference anyway, and life is probably too short.
If I end up with the HD660s I think I'll be sticking with Ye Olde 6.3mm jack plug :tongue:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby John Willett » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:00 pm

Logarhythm wrote:I think I'll be sticking with Ye Olde 6.3mm jack plug :tongue:

There never was a 6.3mm jack plug. :madas:

The standard is ¼" it's an imperial measurement standard - some people try and say this as some sort of metric approximation, but the standard is ¼".

In the same way, the small plug is 3.5mm - this was, from the start a metric standard and should not be expressed in imperial measurements (it's NOT 1/8").

:madas:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:13 pm

And condenser mics aren't, they're capacitor mics. That's people for you, I'm afraid.

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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Folderol » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:19 pm

John Willett wrote:
Logarhythm wrote:I think I'll be sticking with Ye Olde 6.3mm jack plug :tongue:

There never was a 6.3mm jack plug. :madas:

The standard is ¼" it's an imperial measurement standard - some people try and say this as some sort of metric approximation, but the standard is ¼".

In the same way, the small plug is 3.5mm - this was, from the start a metric standard and should not be expressed in imperial measurements (it's NOT 1/8").

:madas:

However...
Since 1959 the inch has been officially classified as 25.4 mm :(

Oh, and 1/4in is 6.35 mm :)
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:24 pm

John Willett wrote:There never was a 6.3mm jack plug. :madas:

The standard is ¼" it's an imperial measurement standard - some people try and say this as some sort of metric approximation, but the standard is ¼"

Yes, I agree and always refer to quarter-inch plugs or sockets because I'm a pedant too...

But given that every mechanical device is built with a tolerance, I think we can forgive references to a 6.3mm plug.

The technical drawing of Neutrik's jack plug in the pdf linked below specifies the diameter of the plug shaft as 6.29mm, or 0.248 inch... So actually closer to 6.3mm than a quarter-inch! :lol:

http://www.neutrik.com/zoolu-website/media/download/2659/Drawing+NP3C
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:27 pm

John Willett wrote:There never was a 6.3mm jack plug. :madas:
:blush:
I stand corrected!
Having grown up with the metric system I'd completely overlooked this. Can we agree on 6.35mm? :mrgreen:
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Re: Sennheiser HD660s

Postby John Willett » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:34 pm

Logarhythm wrote:
John Willett wrote:There never was a 6.3mm jack plug. :madas:
:blush:
I stand corrected!
Having grown up with the metric system I'd completely overlooked this. Can we agree on 6.35mm? :mrgreen:

I could, just about, agree to that....... reluctantly........
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