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Am I deaf??? Troubleshooting deep/distant sound

supernova

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Hi everyone.
I'm new to hifi stereo ( hd598 + dragonfly red doesn't count IMHO ).
Recently bought drop hd6xx and drop thx one without balanced inputs and a custom DAC based on es9038q2m chip. Using my Mac as a source and Apple Music service.
When I first heard my hd598 + dragonfly I was so amazed that some songs made me crying what never happened before.
But now I am not satisfied with what I hear. It is like the sound in this system is very deep or distant. I feel like there is something between the speaker and my ear.
I always have irresistible desire to add some volume to overcome this deep or distant sound but I can't listen long enough with such a volume.
Slow compositions like so of Olafar are pretty ok but something fast - those that are the worst.
Is there something wrong with my set up? Is there a way to troubleshoot it?
I can listen to this and feel happy but I have every time a feeling that something is missing.
 

jae

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Get a hearing threshold test / audiogram from an audiologist if you're able. Also learn how to EQ your current headphones and see if you get any improvement (https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/ is a good place to start, find the settings for your headphones). It could very well be that you're just used the the sound of your headphones, fatigued etc.
 
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DVDdoug

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There could be something wrong or maybe you're just bored with the sound. Our brains adapt pretty quickly.

I don't know the characteristics of the HD598. The HD6xx is approved by Amir, but different people have different tastes so the "perfect" headphone may not sound perfect to you.

You might try some EQ and/or make sure you're not accidently applying unwanted EQ or other effects. (I'm a Windows guy so I can't help you.) You can also re-try the Dragonfly or the direct headphone-output from the computer or from your phone. If they all sound similar you are probably hearing the true sound of the headphones.

Also, if you have a way to "pan" or "balance" the sound left-to-right or if you can make a file with left-only or right-only sound, or if you have a recording with isolated hard-panned left & right sounds, check to make sure you're still getting stereo. (A broken ground to a headphone can create a "vocal remover effect" that can sound "distant" and it will also kill the stereo giving the same sound in both ears.)

I'm new to hifi stereo ( hd598 + dragonfly red doesn't count IMHO ).
What's wrong with that sound? (Try to be specific... Not enough loudness without distortion? Noise? Something wrong with the frequency response?)

...I'm not really sure what you mean by "deep" or "distant". Deep bass means low-frequency bass and that's generally a good thing. Distant makes me think of reverb (and a vocal remover usually leaves and "reveals" some vocal reverb.)
 
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threni

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Hi everyone.
I'm new to hifi stereo ( hd598 + dragonfly red doesn't count IMHO ).
Recently bought drop hd6xx and drop thx one without balanced inputs and a custom DAC based on es9038q2m chip. Using my Mac as a source and Apple Music service.
When I first heard my hd598 + dragonfly I was so amazed that some songs made me crying what never happened before.
But now I am not satisfied with what I hear. It is like the sound in this system is very deep or distant. I feel like there is something between the speaker and my ear.
I always have irresistible desire to add some volume to overcome this deep or distant sound but I can't listen long enough with such a volume.
Slow compositions like so of Olafar are pretty ok but something fast - those that are the worst.
Is there something wrong with my set up? Is there a way to troubleshoot it?
I can listen to this and feel happy but I have every time a feeling that something is missing.

I'm not sure what deep means (too much bass?) nor distant (too quiet?). It could be anything from a headphone fault (not plugged in properly/faulty wiring/damaged driver), or the "custom DAC" (home made? a commercial product you want to keep quiet about?), or a software problem on your Mac, or a hearing problem, or a corrupt file, or....
I can't see how the speed of the track can affect the audio quality.
Is there some way you can try different headphones, or try the same headphones on a different system, or get someone else to check it out and see if they hear anything wrong?
 

twsecrest

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Hi everyone.
I'm new to hifi stereo ( hd598 + dragonfly red doesn't count IMHO ).
Recently bought drop hd6xx and drop thx one without balanced inputs and a custom DAC based on es9038q2m chip. Using my Mac as a source and Apple Music service.
When I first heard my hd598 + dragonfly I was so amazed that some songs made me crying what never happened before.
But now I am not satisfied with what I hear. It is like the sound in this system is very deep or distant. I feel like there is something between the speaker and my ear.
I always have irresistible desire to add some volume to overcome this deep or distant sound but I can't listen long enough with such a volume.
Slow compositions like so of Olafar are pretty ok but something fast - those that are the worst.
Is there something wrong with my set up? Is there a way to troubleshoot it?
I can listen to this and feel happy but I have every time a feeling that something is missing.
Have you maxed out the volume controls on your sources (Mac Apple music service, etc) ?
You want to feed the THX One with a strong signal.
The 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX usually seem to do best when connected to a tube headphone amplifier (Bottlehead Crack with Speedball).
Tube are about a lot of voltage and not so much current.
I believe modern headphones are designed to run off more current and less voltage, head amps might designed more for that (compared to a Tube)
So the THX One might not be feeding the HD6XX what is really wants (guessing).
 
OP
supernova

supernova

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Get a hearing threshold test / audiogram from an audiologist if you're able. Also learn how to EQ your current headphones and see if you get any improvement (https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/ is a good place to start, find the settings for your headphones). It could very well be that you're just used the the sound of your headphones, fatigued etc.
I don't think I have any problems with my hearing ability :D I'm quite young
Adjusted parametric equalizer, it made the sound much better. But I still have a feeling when listening that the sound is distant
 
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supernova

supernova

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There could be something wrong or maybe you're just bored with the sound. Our brains adapt pretty quickly.

I don't know the characteristics of the HD598. The HD6xx is approved by Amir, but different people have different tastes so the "perfect" headphone may not sound perfect to you.

You might try some EQ and/or make sure you're not accidently applying unwanted EQ or other effects. (I'm a Windows guy so I can't help you.) You can also re-try the Dragonfly or the direct headphone-output from the computer or from your phone. If they all sound similar you are probably hearing the true sound of the headphones.

Also, if you have a way to "pan" or "balance" the sound left-to-right or if you can make a file with left-only or right-only sound, or if you have a recording with isolated hard-panned left & right sounds, check to make sure you're still getting stereo. (A broken ground to a headphone can create a "vocal remover effect" that can sound "distant" and it will also kill the stereo giving the same sound in both ears.)

What's wrong with that sound? (Try to be specific... Not enough loudness without distortion? Noise? Something wrong with the frequency response?)

...I'm not really sure what you mean by "deep" or "distant". Deep bass means low-frequency bass and that's generally a good thing. Distant makes me think of reverb (and a vocal remover usually leaves and "reveals" some vocal reverb.)
Can you please provide an URL for the recording?
I can't say - this is distortion or that is noise. I can say that I absolutely love contemporary classic nevertheless it still feels like I'm listening to it through water. But compositions like avenged sevenfold - the stage, my chemical romance or sum 41 all sound terrible because they have to be lively and they are dull because of that "obstacle " or "water curtain". Cannot describe better. I have a feeling is like I'm a little bit deaf ( what is definitely not true). It is like you are listening to a song from another room, and u wanna make it louder so you can hear it better but because there is a wall between you and the source - you can make as loud as you can but you still have a feeling that there is something in between you and the speaker.
 

LTig

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Recently bought drop hd6xx and drop thx one without balanced inputs and a custom DAC based on es9038q2m chip. Using my Mac as a source and Apple Music service.
When I first heard my hd598 + dragonfly I was so amazed that some songs made me crying what never happened before.
But now I am not satisfied with what I hear. It is like the sound in this system is very deep or distant. I feel like there is something between the speaker and my ear.
I always have irresistible desire to add some volume to overcome this deep or distant sound but I can't listen long enough with such a volume.
Slow compositions like so of Olafar are pretty ok but something fast - those that are the worst.
Is there something wrong with my set up? Is there a way to troubleshoot it?
Don't know about Macs but I've heard a horrible reverb like sound from a Windows Notebook. Turned out to be a sound "improvement" plugin and disabling it helped.
 
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supernova

supernova

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Can you please provide an URL for the recording?
I can't say - this is distortion or that is noise. I can say that I absolutely love contemporary classic nevertheless it still feels like I'm listening to it through water. Cannot describe better. I have a feeling is like I'm a little bit deaf ( what is definitely not true). It is like you are listening to a song from another room, and u wanna make it louder so you can hear it better but because there is a wall between you and the source - you can make as loud as you can but you still have a feeling that there is something in between you and the speaker.
I'm not sure what deep means (too much bass?) nor distant (too quiet?). It could be anything from a headphone fault (not plugged in properly/faulty wiring/damaged driver), or the "custom DAC" (home made? a commercial product you want to keep quiet about?), or a software problem on your Mac, or a hearing problem, or a corrupt file, or....
I can't see how the speed of the track can affect the audio quality.
Is there some way you can try different headphones, or try the same headphones on a different system, or get someone else to check it out and see if they hear anything wrong?
Tried to explain better in a reply to DVDDoug what is that sound feels like. It's is not about audio quality I'm sure. It's more about perception. Slow and deep tracks like of Nils Frahm, Olafur etc only gain from it because they are kind of made to be so.
If only I could. No other way I can check it. Custom DAC is home made.
 
OP
supernova

supernova

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Have you maxed out the volume controls on your sources (Mac Apple music service, etc) ?
You want to feed the THX One with a strong signal.
The 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX usually seem to do best when connected to a tube headphone amplifier (Bottlehead Crack with Speedball).
Tube are about a lot of voltage and not so much current.
I believe modern headphones are designed to run off more current and less voltage, head amps might designed more for that (compared to a Tube)
So the THX One might not be feeding the HD6XX what is really wants (guessing).
Yep, I did. That is the problem that I live in such a place where no-one cares about sound quality and I have no ability to check If any other components.
 

jae

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That seems to be the general consensus, however my ears tell me something different.
There may be slight manufacturing differences from legacy HD650s, but the entire design and driver spec is intended to be identical minus the cosmetics and cable. So, differences or variance between 6XX and 650 should be no different than two other 650s that may have been manufactured some time apart. One thing to consider is that on top of this fact, most 650s that one may compare a 6XX to are probably not going to be brand new and may have worn earpads, which can definitely alter the frequency response.

I don't think I have any problems with my hearing ability :D I'm quite young
Adjusted parametric equalizer, it made the sound much better. But I still have a feeling when listening that the sound is distant
Well, you're the one asking if you're deaf! I am young myself and have sensioneural hearing loss. It is not necessarily a disease of the elderly, and oftentimes, most people do not even know they have this condition and can go months or years without noticing. Exposure to loud noise, congenital defect, certain drugs, medications, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, viruses (common cold, flu, covid etc. - even if you don't necessarily get sick), genetic predisposition can cause all sorts of hearing loss, so don't assume you don't have any even if you believe you can hear well. It could also only occur in one ear (unilateral) and you won't notice it as much because your other ear/brain compensates, but when using headphones your ears are each receiving only one channel of audio so depending on how the song is mixed losses can become more obvious or pronounced. It is prudent to check your ears regularly if you are able; you may have perfect hearing across 99% of the audible spectrum but a significant hearing loss at even 1-2% of the audible range can dramatically alter the dynamics and timbres of notes throughout many bands, even ones where your hearing may be acute.

The 300-Ohm HD600/HD650/HD6XX usually seem to do best when connected to a tube headphone amplifier (Bottlehead Crack with Speedball).
Tube are about a lot of voltage and not so much current.
I believe modern headphones are designed to run off more current and less voltage, head amps might designed more for that (compared to a Tube)
So the THX One might not be feeding the HD6XX what is really wants (guessing).

I disagree with the suggestion to consider a tube amplifier, and it will just add distortion which is unrelated to this issue, if not would make it worse. This was a common suggestion years ago because good solid state headphone amplifiers were not a common commodity and most handheld/computer type devices were quite voltage limited. Most dedicated amplifiers these days will have absolutely no problem handling the headphone, especially any THX model should be capable of supplying the 3-6 vrms+ (THX can swing ~8.86 vrms @ 600R) needed for the HD 650 at deafening levels with the most demanding and dynamic music. If a tube amplifier does help, it is because it is altering your frequency response which can be solved through EQ regardless.


hd650-highly-dynamic-music-max-SPL%25255B3%25255D.png
 
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