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Sennheiser HD 490 Pro Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 5.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 76 44.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 67 39.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 19 11.1%

  • Total voters
    171
Put Amir's distortion measurements into context using:

1. Distortion audibility thresholds:
View attachment 365173

2. Music spectra:
View attachment 365174

3. Actual listening volumes:

..and all of a sudden the distortion alarmism becomes a bit silly.
How should I apply this in regard to the HD800s https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sennheiser-hd800s-review-headphone.18424/

Help a layman out, Harman bass shelf on it is still in the inaudible area in regard to distortion?
 
Which are more comfortable - 490 pro or HD800S?

They are both comfortable but feel completely different on the head.
When you live in a warmer climate the HD800(S) would probably be the best choice.
Not all people are equally charmed by the large pads and loose fit of the HD800, others love it.

Returned my HD490Pro, still own the HD800 if that's an indication.
 
How should I apply this in regard to the HD800s https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sennheiser-hd800s-review-headphone.18424/

Help a layman out, Harman bass shelf on it is still in the inaudible area in regard to distortion?
Depends on how loud one usually plays their music and how much low bass you want.
I can play my HD800 pretty loud without any signs of 'rougher' sound but admit I am not a Harman bass level fan and prefer a few dB less bass boost and on top of that usually only listen at low levels or moderately loud levels if needed.

Stereo imaging and 'spaciousness' goes to the HD800.
The HD490Pro is closer to the HD560S in many ways but with more comfort and the choice of 2 somewhat different tonal characters without any EQ.
A HD560 with some tone control can sound exactly alike but will just have different comfort.
 
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Quite similar distortion with 560S:
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I suspect that 560S was a one-off defective unit. Oratory measured the 560S with significantly lower distortion than that, around the same as the 490 Pro (which makes sense considering they use the same driver):

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So there isn't even distortion performance to favor the 490 Pro over the much cheaper 560S in terms of sound quality.
 
I can play my HD800 pretty loud without any signs of 'rougher' sound but admit I am not a Harman bass level fan
I respect your personal preference regarding bass level.

On the contrary, I am a bass fan and look for any open-back headphones in the world that can reproduce deep sub-bass without much distortion.
Do you think the HD 800 S with very powerful amplifier and parametric equalizers should be given a chance?

P.S Currently, I have an HD 650 and an HD 490 Pro. I'll be keeping a close eye on Fostex TH-808 availability and reviews in the coming weeks.
 
Do you think the HD 800 S with very powerful amplifier and parametric equalizers should be given a chance?
You need a semi-open headphone for that (one with closed front volume)
I'd look into the Audeze LCD range for that.

For the HD800S to reach 120 Phon at 20Hz you will need 12V = 0.4W
 
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I could be wrong, but this seems like Sennheiser's best performing over-ear headphone based on FR compliance with a popular target, THD, and phase distortion.
 
I could be wrong, but this seems like Sennheiser's best performing over-ear headphone based on FR compliance with a popular target, THD, and phase distortion.
Well, it's not that close to the Harman Target and distortion performance is OK. It's not outstanding or special on those two items. It looks like quite a nice smooth frequency response though to be sucessfully EQ'd.
 
johny_2000, even though Sennheiser HD 800/800S has large drivers unfortunately its thin earpads are designed to give you less than perfect/loose seal which significantly reduces the quality of subbass (with 10db bass boost to EQ it to Harman target curve you will hear subbass presence but you will not really feel it, your head will not be vibrating). I think you'd better try some planar headphones that offer very good seal and are known for detailed sound/high resolution and bass slam when EQed to Harman/similar curve. Audeze LCD-X, if I'm not mistaken, is often recommended for bass, and LCD-5 for smooth and perfect treble and high resolution with carefully done EQ. I would recomend you to find a store that has in stock as much as possible Audeze and Hifiman headphones to listen to, and go there and listen to them using Oratory's PEQ settings, and you will probably find the headphone that sounds great to you. Price of the headphones doesn't really matter when you use EQ to boost low frequencies on planar headphones, what matters is unit to unit variation and perfect seal, so your goal is to find a comfortable planar headphone that matches its average/smoothed measurments to get the best sound/subbass with ready-made PEQ settings from Oratory's page on reddit (try more than one unit of the same headphones, they all sound a bit different). I also suggest you to download Sonarworks 4 which has many Audeze profiles, you may prefer their 5 or 6db bass boosted curve over Harman because it has more warmth and slight subbass rolloff, and later on order an individual headphone calibration to benefit from the perfect channel balance and more accurate measurments on your planar headphones. As a free alternative to Sonarworks you may try ToneBoosters Morphit vst which has its own headphone calibration target curve as well as Harman curve, and it supports many other headphones, which Sonarworks didn't measure, like Hifiman edition XS and Arya Stealth (but as always it's a bit hit and miss with averaged measurments, but still a free decent alternative to Oratory's PEQ settings).
 
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Voltage is routinely a barrier to SPL as evidenced by anemic power you get out of Sennheiser HD6XX class of headphones. Replace them with a 32 ohm headphone and the job becomes simpler.
I'm listening to my HD800s plugged into a dongle with no issue :) The preamp is -7.0dB.
 
I just got these back from Amir and spent time listening to them today. They definitely are bass light, and they also need a real headphone amp. I would rather listen to the HD650s that I own for serious listening, though these have a "clean", less veiled element that makes them an interesting alternative. What makes these stand out (even though for most the price won't be worth it) is the industrial design, which people who have tried a lot of headphones will appreciate. They are feather weight, easy to have on with just the right level of clamp. The velour pads (I haven't tried the other ones) fit my large ears just right. Maybe the easiest over the ear headphone to have on for long periods that I am aware of. The retail price is too high, but when it goes on sale I think a lot of people will appreciate this product.
 
I just got these back from Amir and spent time listening to them today. They definitely are bass light, and they also need a real headphone amp. I would rather listen to the HD650s that I own for serious listening, though these have a "clean", less veiled element that makes them an interesting alternative. What makes these stand out (even though for most the price won't be worth it) is the industrial design, which people who have tried a lot of headphones will appreciate. They are feather weight, easy to have on with just the right level of clamp. The velour pads (I haven't tried the other ones) fit my large ears just right. Maybe the easiest over the ear headphone to have on for long periods that I am aware of. The retail price is too high, but when it goes on sale I think a lot of people will appreciate this product.
From the measurements I'd expect them to be good after EQ at least, although Amir's comment on lack of deep bass even after EQ was a negative point against that conclusion. It might come down to how important deep bass is to the individual, as to whether or not it's a worthy buy.
 
although Amir's comment on lack of deep bass even after EQ was a negative point
Remember that he used the Mixing Pad Set which reduces some of the low bass. Using the Producing Pad Set the overall bass response is slightly higher than the HD650 (by a few decibels) and the cutoff frequency is also slightly lower (down to 35Hz I believe).
 
Remember that he used the Mixing Pad Set which reduces some of the low bass. Using the Producing Pad Set the overall bass response is slightly higher than the HD650 (by a few decibels) and the cutoff frequency is also slightly lower (down to 35Hz I believe).
I'm sure he was using the Producer Pads for the listening review because the EQ he developed was specifically tailored to frequency response of the Producer Pads and he EQ'd up the bass sufficiently to reach Harman - so the EQ was fine in that department yet still the headphone didn't satisfy in deep bass.
 
still the headphone didn't satisfy in deep bass.
This is true. I've owned both of these headphones for quite some time, and I can confirm that they don't produce deep, deep bass. After EQing them to Harman, they seem a little more bassy to me than the HD650, but not enough to call it significant. Considering the current price of them, I said no and returned them.

Among the open headphone models, so far, I haven’t found one that suits me in terms of price/bass response ratio.
I'm waiting for the release of Fostex TH808. I hope for prompt publication of their measurements and listening impressions. Maybe later I’ll make a decision to buy.
 
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This is true. I've owned both of these headphones for quite some time, and I can confirm that they don't produce deep, deep bass. After EQing them to Harman, they seem a little more bassy to me than the HD650, but not enough to call it significant. Considering the current price of them, I said no and returned them.

Among the open headphone models, so far, I haven’t found one that suits me in terms of price/bass response ratio.
I'm waiting for the release of Fostex TH808. I hope for prompt publication of their measurements and listening impressions. Maybe later I’ll make a decision to buy.
I'm no expert here, but given the eq treatment, all headphone should sound virtually similar no? I don't own the HD650 myself but heard them from a friend of mine. They were fantastic without eq. I think there were some sub-bass insufficient but most accurate sounding headphones I've heard. With EQ. I'm sure it would be untouchable for price/performance despite the increase in distortion in the sub regions.
 
I'm no expert here, but given the eq treatment, all headphone should sound virtually similar no? I don't own the HD650 myself but heard them from a friend of mine. They were fantastic without eq. I think there were some sub-bass insufficient but most accurate sounding headphones I've heard. With EQ. I'm sure it would be untouchable for price/performance despite the increase in distortion in the sub regions.
You are absolutely right in your thoughts. I've had HD650s for 14 years now and still can't find a replacement for them. I think I read some article that said that Sennheiser with its headphone driver was ahead of its time for the next 20 years, which they cannot beat even now. In terms of comfort, they were very good. I think better than HD650.
 
I'm no expert here, but given the eq treatment, all headphone should sound virtually similar no?
Correct if they correspond to the same EQ curve and Sound Pressure Level.

Unfortunately, this is currently unattainable in the world of audio, which is analog in nature.
There are too many variables that cannot be combined in one product.
 
I'm no expert here, but given the eq treatment, all headphone should sound virtually similar no?
Correct if such eq treatments are based on measurements (or at least subjective perception) with your own ear-head-torso.

When physically different headphones are equalized to same sound profile (FR) on a certain head(-simulator), they may sound/measure very different on other heads(-simulators), even more different than they were without equalization.

So don't use any EQ preset on internet unless you are the dummy head which those presets are made from/for.
 
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