Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
The Best I've Heard
on 28 January 2016
I have been using these for a few days now and I have to say they exceeded my expectations. I have been using the HD 598s almost daily for three years now. The reason I got these is because I was dissatisfied with the low end on the 598s.
Just some background; I have owned the 280 pro, HD 518, HD 598, and now made the jump to the HD 650. I will be comparing these mostly with the 598s and the 518s.
As far as comfort goes they compress the head a bit more than the 598s and the 518s, but they are not uncomfortable. The only noticeable discomfort would be below the ear where the bottom of the can presses against my jawbone. After a few hours this starts to annoy me, but simply moving them around provides relief so this is nothing. I would definitely say the 598s are more comfortable for extended periods, but the 650s feel more solid on the head. I haven't experienced any major warm spots even after long periods of use. The cans do keep my ears warmer than the 598s, but nowhere near as bad as the 518s used to. My main complaint about the 518s was how hot they would make my head due to the lower quality material and padding used. The 650s are nowhere near the 518s in this regard. Also, the headband on the 650s is narrower than both the 598 and 518. I found this to be a very noticeable difference since the compression is higher and have had to adjust it often. It just feels weird, but this is something I'll get used to with time since I've been using the 598s for so long.
The build quality is extremely solid, but the plastic feels cheaper than I would like. It doesn't make me feel uneasy about breaking though. This is mostly the outside of the cans and top of the headband. The outside grills are metal and the cushions are high quality. The included cord is nicer than what comes with both the 598 and 518, but is special since the 650 uses one input per can. The included 1/4 to 3.5 adapter is way better in my opinion since it has cord length. The included adopters with the 528s and 598s were a single adapter piece which looked like a freakishly long Frankenstein plug when used with a portable device. This adapter keeps the cable end at the typical 3.5 size so it looks normal and doesn't cause unneeded stress on the contact or the output jacks. The old adapter actually caused me to break a couple laptop outputs while being careless. I wish this adapter was included with all the other models.
I'm no experienced audiophile so I'm probably going to sound like a child explaining the sound. These have been described in other reviews as being "dark" sounding. I'm not sure what that means, but after using them I think I kind of get it. My 598s were very bright and almost airy sounding. The treble was very distinct, the soundstage was amazing, but the bass was very low key and had little impact which is good in some cases. The 650s definitely have more bass impact and I can concur that it is "punchy". I can enjoy electronic and hard rock on these much better. While the bass is heavier on these it is still crisp and accurate, not boomy or overpowering. The treble is still very present, but does seem a bit rolled off to me. The sound is not what I would call bright at all, and the soundstage is definitely smaller than the 598s. The overall sound seems more focused and impactful in comparison. I am amazed at how much more detail I was able to pick out in some of my favourite songs which I thought was impossible at this point. These really surprised me at how clear the entire range was. Now for web videos or Skype calls these were not as enjoyable to me. These made me well aware that I was not listening to high quality sources and since the sound is more focused and narrow when compared to the 598s voice calls can actually annoy me. This was something the 598s do extremely well, but this wasn't the reason I purchased these.
I guess it should be mentioned that the sound leakage on these is much higher even when compared with the 598s and 518s.
These headphones are hard to drive. It's been said everywhere and should be expected given these are 300ohm cans. I haven't had much experience with high resistance headphones so this is venturing into new territory for me. I had a small fiio amp with my 598s which increased the quality, but wasn't really needed for my main application so I got rid of it. I can DEFINITELY see where I would want that back now. Forget about using these with something like an iPhone. At max volume these were so quiet I couldn't enjoy them at all. On my 15" MacBook running boot camp I was only able to achieve a moderate volume with a few software tweaks that I would never use daily and hindered the overall sound. Now, my MacBook running OSX was actually able to push these fairly well. This is the only way I have to actually enjoy them right now. The sound is great and depending on the track, the volume could go above my comfort level with OSX. I will be purchasing a dac/amp combo for my system very soon and I feel like this will really open these up and sound even better. I should have factored this into my price, but luckily I have my Mac that can push these decently until I save up more.
The price on these is very reasonable. I'm a little mad because I payed the same for these as I did for my 598s at the time. Also, I think this is the only time ive seen UK Amazon have a better price than the US on these. I was able to save about 100 usd on these even with the VAT and shipping.
Overview: I really like my decision to "upgrade" to these. I quoted upgrade because it really can't be said that these are better than my 598s. Each has a noticeably different personality and I'd say it all depends on the application. The 598s excel in acoustic listening, voice calls, and movies due to its wide soundstage and crystal clear upper range. I wanted to move from the 598s because my heavier bass heavy music was lacklustre and the highs would get fatiguing to me when listening to the majority of my music (rock). The 650s definitely excel in the music department with a more focused sound and deep, quick, bass with some punch without sacrificing quality of the rest. They do not do well with lower quality sources or voices using Skype. I am very satisfied with these though since I bought them to relieve the bass situation I was having with some of my favourite music.