JAR HD600 Impressions and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Hands, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Been a long time coming on this, meaning I kept running into real-life delays (or just procrastinating), that kept me from posting my thoughts and some measurements on these.

    JAR = Jupiter Audio Research, this time with a modded HD600.

    Mod Updates, Context, and Background

    Please be aware, the original HD650 mod had a layer of foam sandwiched between the large damping piece in back and the rear driver/magnet, somewhat preventing the actual silicone stuffing from making full damping contact with the back of driver/magnet. He has since switched to making sure the damping piece has nothing in between it and the driver/magnet or enclosure.

    The new solution involves a removable, plastic piece, which you can attach to the back of the headphones (over magnet port), adhered with doubled sided 3M tape (easy to replace when it loses stickiness), with a cutout that will hold about a 2mm thick piece of circular foam. This means you can use around 1 layer of the original Sennheiser rear foam, choose your own, or go naked!

    The JAR HD600 in this case uses the new damping scheme. The JAR HD650 mod will now come as such too, and I think has been since he sorted this all out. I can't speak to what you might need to do to "retrofit" an older pair, nor can I say if it's worth it or not for you.

    JAR HD600 Impressions

    I was never a huge fan of the HD600. It always had too much of an upper-mid emphasis that drove me nuts. It sounded hot, hot, hot.

    To put the JAR HD600 in perspective, I've more or less stopped listening to any form of the HD650 since receiving it.

    I would say the JAR HD600 is sort of a mixture of the HD600, HD650, and Focal Clear, with its own sort of flavor and not so much of the more egregious downsides of those three individually.

    The low-end is similar to that of a fresh HD6XX, which I think are a little more neutral sounding than the older HD650 units. But, even then, it's dialed down just a wee bit from there. It's also just a little less thick through the midrange in general. It sounds a little tighter and cleaner than the HD650/6XX.

    There is still a bit of an upper-midrange bite to the JAR HD600, but it isn't hot sounding like the HD600 I had years ago. In fact, it's most akin to the Focal Clear here, having a bit of extra bite through 1-4KHz, but still not quite as aggressive as the Clear.

    Nonetheless, on some genres, you might hear a bit of that upper-mid sort of emphasis. I'd best describe it as a sort of high-pitched "heeeeee" sound. But it's fairly mild and not something that bothers me. A good tube amp can take the edge off, but even that is not necessary.

    Beyond that, the treble performance is again somewhere between the HD650 and Focal Clear. It doesn't have the bright, rough, metallic nature of the Focal Clear. It retains the nice Sennheiser timbre. But it's overall a little brighter than the HD650, especially around 10KHz. Taking this into account, it doesn't have the HD650 veil at all, but it's more agreeable to listen to than a stock HD600 or Focal Clear.

    Even though there's still a bit of upper-mid aggression on the JAR HD600, it's hard to go back to the HD650. The JAR HD600 is very lively, really grips the music, and has a little bit of that HD600/650 flair or coloration while remaining relatively neutral overall.

    I just find it to be a more engaging and tangible listening experience over the HD650.

    However, I do still think the HD650 reigns supreme with overall midrange and treble tone and timbre. It's more refined and balanced, but can be a bit sleepy at times. Well, I think it's more than the fatter bass/low-mids on the HD650 slow it down, which is certainly not an issue on the JAR HD600.

    But there are times the additional low-end coloration and more relaxed sound of the HD650 are more up my alley. Depends on my mood. I've also found that, with the new damping piece on the JAR mod, I can run denser foam on the JAR HD650 to make it a little more neutral sounding. I'll try to say more on that later.

    Note: For all tests, I ran the JAR HD600 with 1 piece of original Sennheiser foam on the rear side.

    Conclusion

    I couldn't deal with the hot sound of the original HD600. The HD650 can be a little too heavy handed or sleepy at times, even with mods, despite being so good in many areas. The Focal Clear improves on both of these in many ways, but its timbre isn't super great and it's a little too aggressive/bright sounding. It's also not comfortable.

    The JAR HD600 is very listenable, has some of the Focal Clear aggressiveness without so many nasty side effects, and has a more lively and more neutral sound than the HD650 (or HD6XX or JAR HD650). It has more or less become my main reference headphone for the last few months.
     
  2. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Measurements

    I was sent two pairs, one for the SBAF loaner (currently in the hands of @purr1n, bug him if you want his impressions/measurements and to get the tour started) and one for myself. Both used 1 piece of Sennheiser damping in the rear in all tests.

    While I usually match everything at 1KHz, I broke my rules a bit here to better present how I think these sound.

    You'll see left channel results for both pairs here, just to show relative consistency. The variations you can see can mostly be chalked up to differences in pads, headbands, measurement mic insertion, etc. I'd wager that covers about 60-70% of the differences here, with the remainder coming down to product variance. And they sounded almost identical in listening tests. I could make up for slight differences by swapping out the pads and headbands on each.

    I think they sound like the measure. Little bit of upper-bass boost, slightly aggressive upper-mids, but relatively neutral overall.

    JAR HD600 FR Left Two Pairs.png


    Distortion results were more or less identical on both pairs, so I averaged a few takes on each together.

    Problem is, my radon mitigation system is just outside my exterior wall, and it's possible the AC was running too without me noticing. Ignore the low-end spikes. I tried to give my best-guess, conservative, estimate at the overall low-end distortion (green dotted line).

    JAR HD600 Left Distortion Pairs Averaged.png


    Both pairs had very similar CSD results, and since I don't have a way to average those together, I have -36dB and -45dB results for one pair below. Nice and clean!

    JAR HD600 Pair 1 Left CSD -36dB.PNG
    JAR HD600 Pair 1 Left CSD -45dB.PNG


    Frequency response compared against a relatively fresh HD6XX.

    Note the 6XX is a little thicker overall, from the low-end till about 800Hz. The JAR HD600 has a slightly more concentrated high-bass hump, so the mids don't sound quite as thick. (See how the response bows down more quickly after 100Hz on the JAR HD600 vs. HD6XX.)

    You can see the JAR HD600 is not quite as linear as the HD650 in the mids through low-treble, and overall a little more aggressive. But it's still fairly well behaved. It's also a bit more emphasized around 10KHz, which makes it sound sharper, less veiled, than the HD6XX.

    JAR HD600 vs HD6XX FR Left.png

    JAR HD600 compared to the Focal Clear. Surprisingly similar from about 80Hz to 4KHz. But whereas the Clear gets kind of ragged above 4KHz, the JAR HD600 is smoother. No 5-6KHz hot spot on the JAR HD600, less severe or sharp peaks and troughs. I do have to give a nod to the Clear for having a noticeably better bass response.

    JAR HD600 vs Clear FR Left.png

    Just for your convenience, as a reference point, here's the HD6XX distortion results. Don't worry so much about the D3/D4 "floor" being lower here than on the JAR HD600, because that all comes down to the how much I've used the 9V battery powering my mic supply. Ignoring the spikes in my JAR HD600 results, I think the JAR HD600 does just a wee bit better with bass distortion. Too hard to tell, though.

    HD6XX Left Distortion.png
     
  3. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Touching on the JAR HD650 using the new damping piece vs. the original loaner...

    I put some 2mm charcoal foam in the rear of my JAR HD650. It's denser than the Sennheiser foam, but generally behaves well with headphones (i.e. tightens and lowers bass without necessarily causing weird treble peaks, or is a very smooth front-side attenuator).

    It sounded quite promising! However, since I was packing up the loaner JAR HD600 to send to @purr1n, I went ahead and dropped that JAR HD650 in the box for him to test. I'm curious if he finds the new damping scheme beneficial, with the foam now in a removal rear piece, and if he likes the denser rear foam on the JAR HD650 over a single disc of Sennheiser foam.

    Because of that, I can't do any formal listening and measurement tests with that JAR HD650 configuration until it's returned. But I'm in absolutely no rush. Just wanted to bring that up so people were aware of some tuning possibilities.
     
  4. starence

    starence Facebook Friend

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    Thanks for the measurements and impressions, interesting stuff. I wonder why not many people mod their 600s.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  5. fierce_freak

    fierce_freak Friend

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    @Hands, is your jar 650 still out? Definitely interested in hearing your more detailed impressions between the two using different back foams.
     
  6. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yes, @purr1n currently has both the loaner JAR HD600 and my personal JAR HD650, latter with a different foam I picked for the rear. It’s a pretty easy and risk free tweak. Helps tone down bass and tighten overall sound (cleaner bass, less treble veil) IIRC.

    Though we may need to check if the loaner HD600 is missing some silicone damping on the front side to see if that caused the slight extra bass and upper mids/treble.
     
  7. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    ECB80325-97B6-42E5-850C-AB97358D9184.jpeg
    After reading @Hands ’s impressions on the JAR600, I became curious with the mods and contacted @ext1 (Jupiter). He was more than happy to send me a review unit for me to try before deciding whether to purchase or not. I think about a week later, the headphones arrived at my doorstep and I was quite smitten by the sound as soon as I put it on my head. I couldn’t put it down for many hours even though I still had studying left for the day.

    Listening chain: Eitr > Gungnir Multibit A1 > ZDT Jr.(loaner from @ChaChaRealSmooth ) > JAR600 | 650K
    • Aesthetics and non-sonic related: JAR600 is a bit heavier than the stock HD600 due to the added parts, but no where near ZMF and Audeze level and still extremely comfortable.
    • Overall tonality is that it retains a similar overall signature to the original 600, but slightly tweaked to get rid of that hot upper-mids and technical refinements on the macro level. Like Hands has stated previously, the upper mids are nowhere near as hot as the original HD600. It’s quite enjoyable to listen to now. The hot upper mids were the major nitpick I had with the stock 600 that made me choose the 650 over the 600 even though I preferred the treble presentation of the 600. Ultimately, the JAR mod fixed that issue for me. It has a bit of that “focal aggression” or forwardness that I personally enjoy without the metallic timbre.
    • Macrodetail and Macrodynamics: Overall, it feels more focused and dynamic on the macro level. What I mean by “focused” is that sound feels less dispersed and blurred out and each component of sound seems to be more localized and exact. Therefore instruments are better separated and compartmentalized than stock 6X0. Images sounded less blobby than with stock 600/650.
    • JAR600 vs. 650K: Everything seems tighter and hits a little harder with more energy and impact. Cymbals have more “crisp” and energy contributing to the overall livelier sound. When comparing complex passages in classical music, the JAR600 is a step above the 650K in terms of rendering macro detail and transient. Music sounds more snappy with a bit more air in the JAR600, where the ends are more clearly defined. Attacks are just a bit sharper without being overly bright or causing listening fatigue. Long and complex piano passages sound a bit rounded on the 650K when directly compared to the JAR600. Listening to classical music on this headphone was just pure bliss.
    • I still love the 650K as it instantly made me doubt my kilobuck headphone purchases. Sure it sucks at bass extension, but it’s super resolving and affordable. But from time to time, I would get listening fatigue from it. Maybe it’s the quarter-sized hole that exposes the driver directly up against my ears from the mod? I’m happy to report that there was no listening fatigue at all when using the JAR600.
    • Bass still rolls off in sub bass but there is more heft and weight into it, contributing to the increased macro-dynamics. definitely punches harder than the stock 650/600. I listen to a lot of vocal oriented music so the roll off doesn’t bother me as much. I’m sure this could still be a deal breaker for some. Maybe give JAR650 a go if this bothers you, or look for a different headphone with better extension.
    • Clarity: No Sennheiser veil here. Excellent clarity without a hint of veil or darkness. Vocals and instruments sound vivid and clear. Switching to JAR600 from 650K, it felt like cranking up the contrast knob... More vibrant images and I was kept engaged with any genre I threw at. Seriously addictive sound.
    Closing thoughts: To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first, but JAR600 is legit. It won't transform your 600 into a different headphone, but a noticeable jump in some inherent qualities such as macro-detail and -dynamics. It's livelier, snappy, full of color, and with a hint of aggression and forwardness for more engagement. Even though the JAR600 felt brighter, it was less fatiguing for me than the 650K. Jupiter is doing something right with his mods. I haven’t heard the JAR650, but I’m perfectly happy with how the JAR600 sounds and effectively dethroned the 650K as my daily driver.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  8. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    I've never heard a HD600. This is partly because when I really started this hobby, Massdrop was selling the HD6XX for $200, and partly because I was convinced that I'd enjoy the more relaxed presentation of the HD650. I've learned more about myself since then; mostly the fact that I can and do enjoy a variety of different presentations, as evidenced by my normal rotation. Reading the above impressions and having heard the JAR 650, I was convinced I was in for a treat when a loaner JAR 600 arrived at my doorstep.

    To me, the JAR 600 kind of sounds like a HD650 and a Clear had some strange lovechild; it has the Sennheiser 6x0 timbre with some of the Focal aggressive character. If the Clear is a little step back from the ultra-athletic, dynamic and speedy Utopia, the JAR 600 is a step or two back from the Clear. It's definitely not relaxed; it's further from the HD650 and closer to the Clear. The JAR600 also has little to no trace of the infamous "Sennheiser veil." I just don't hear it with this headphone. The background seems black and the overall presentation is taut and clean, especially in comparison with the HD650.

    Tonality shows the Focal-Sennheiser character quite well. It still has evident subbass rolloff of the HD650, but the bass and bass-to-midrange on the JAR 600 feels more neutral, actually pretty similar to the Clear (although the Clear is obviously faster and has much better extension; just better bass performance). It's not at all like the somewhat bloated, slightly indistinct bass of the HD650; bass heft and pitch differentiation is present on the JAR 600. I also don't really hear the bass bleed into the mids with the JAR 600; very Focal like. In the mids, the JAR 600 definitely has some of that Focal shout (doesn't bother me one bit, but is worth noting). Highs are refined and maintain that Sennheiser timbre. If you hate the metallic timbre of the Focals but want a brighter headphone than the HD650, this might be the ticket.

    The transients and dynamics again are a mixed bag of Sennheiser and Focal traits. Its transient and dynamic performance is more Focal-like as alluded to in the second paragraph, and it displays a level of control where the decays and space between notes are present. This contributes to its clean presentation, and does give it a touch of the "moar hifi than HD650" sound, but just like the Focals, I think the JAR 600 can get away with it.

    Resolve is what you'd expect from a Sennheiser HD6x0. Absolutely terrific, and serves as a gold standard for resolve. And stage is also what you'd expect from a Sennheiser HD6x0; don't expect HD800 stage.

    In terms of amp synergy, most amps that work well with the HD650 can work here. If you're the type who pairs amps to take the edge off Focals or the slight edge the HD650 has, some tubes might be in order. I do want to mention that the Euforia worked especially well here (I thought this would be case given how that amp sounds), and the IEC out on the Starlett also worked very well. It's also worth checking out the rear damping; removing it may pair better with more solid state-sounding amps (and is really a matter of preference).

    Headphone comparisons in no particular order (may be updated later because this was done quickly):
    • Focal Clear: Really similar sounding. The Clear is even more aggressive and has faster transients with more explosive dynamics, but at the cost of a metallic timbre that some find extremely off-putting. However, the Clear has better bass; unfortunately the JAR 600 is still plagued with subbass rolloff and isn't as good here.
    • ZMF Verite: These are two extremely different sounding headphones. The Verite lays things on thick in the mids and lows, has its unique rich timbre, and obvious cup reverb. The JAR 600 sounds clean and clear. The Verite is more resolving and layers better, but I don't feel that I'm missing anything with the JAR 600. However, the Verite is undisputably better in stage; larger, more "holographic." The Verite is also better at nuance, micro and macrodynamics.
    • ZMF Auteur: Again, not really similar headphones. In my opinion, timbre is a toss-up of personal preference; I happen to like the Auteur's timbre more, but to me the JAR 600 sounds more neutral (probably because I started this hobby with a HD6XX). The Auteur might just be a touch more resolving, but maybe it's because the Auteur just does nuance and microdynamics very well.
    • Sennheiser HD6XX: Some similar character. In direct comparison, the HD6XX is a bit veiled, gray, and somewhat sleepy. However, the JAR 600 can't match the HD6XX's level of refinement in the mids to treble transition, and just doesn't have that buttery, glorious smoothness in treble that the HD6XX has. That being said, @Hands has it right when he said it's not easy to go back to this headphone; in comparison it's just not as engaging.
    This is a great headphone and I recommend it for those looking for something a bit more aggressive than the HD650, but are put off by the Focal timbre. Just don't expect an entirely different headphone than a HD600; this ain't no transformation like the HE-5 into the venerable Code-X (probably because the HD600 isn't borderline unlistenable to begin with). Personally, I'm not sure I'd buy this given my current rotation; there's too much overlap and I like what I have (granted, the JAR 600 is a LOT cheaper than anything I'm currently rotating between, and that counts for a lot).
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    @ChaChaRealSmooth This is with foam on the rear side, yeah? I'd recommend trying without and sharing impressions that way too.
     
  10. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    Yeah, the above impressions were with the rear foam.

    Without the foam, it seems to get a bit bloated in the bass. loses some control, and doesn't seem to decay as well. I didn't like this much at all; with the JAR 650, the undamped version does offer an interesting presentation that some may like more than the damped ones. I'm not sure that's the case with the 600.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  11. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    With which amps, specifically? I know you had mentioned the IEC out as a good pairing, so wasn't sure if you were adjusting as such, given I think that's a 120ohm OI, for example.

    I tend to run the JAR HD600 without rear foam if dealing with amps that aren't tubey sounding, like the SW51. Still seems more controlled, less bloated, than the JAR HD650 w/ rear damping.

    Now, you start tossing tubey, bloomy, and/or high OI amps into the mix, things certainly shift.
     
  12. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    I like the foam in, but I can definitely see this being a synergy and preference dependent thing. I did also try with the low Z out of Starlett, and also the 3F. No foam has merit out of some of those, but personally I still would rather have the rear damping. This was consistent no matter which amp I used, and which DAC (Bifrost 2 or X-Sabre Pro).

    Edited my post above to reflect personal preference/synergy.

    I definitely recommend people play around with the foam to find what you generally like. It's not hard to take the plastic pieces off and experiment for yourself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  13. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Well, that adhesive is pretty damn strong at first. And there are a couple pokey parts on the removable piece. But not too hard in the grand scheme of things. :)
     
  14. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    [​IMG]

    First of all, a big thanks to @ext1 for hand-delivering me his latest JAR600 (along with a modded HD800).

    I met @ext1 in person for the first time last year, when his JAR650 was still a work in progress. When I had heard it, I preferred it to stock HD650 (which sounds too veiled and congested), but I wasn't sure if I liked it more than my trifecta-modded HD650. With enough feedback, I felt there was room for improvement.

    Fast forward a year later, @ext1 told me how he has moved on to HD600 as his newest project.

    To provide some context, I never liked the HD600, because it was way too bright. Pairing it with an euphonic amp like ZDS did not help. Honestly, I don't understand people who say that HD600 and HD650 sound similar, because they have completely opposite tonality. I hate both headphones in stock form, but if I had to choose, I would rather listen to HD650 than HD600. Modding the HD650 makes some of its veil go away and open up the sound a bit more, though it's not a night-and-day difference. On the other hand I've never heard a modded HD600. All HD6xx family of Sennheiser headphones I've heard, stock or modded had the so-called "Sennheiser veil" which could only be pierced by a select few amps such as Jotunheim or Studio. I have not heard the Bill-p modded HD580, which is said to be a good compromise between HD600 and HD650.

    Well, after listening to JAR 600, I gotta say that this is the best iteration of HD6xx I've heard.

    Its tonality lies somewhere between HD600 and HD650, closer to HD600, but nowhere as bright. It is more exciting and aggressive than the HD650, which sounds laid-back and muted in comparison. I don't hear treble roll-off, and bass is tight. Soundstage is slightly better than both headphones in stock form. As for the Sennheiser veil, it's still there but less so. Imaging and resolution are excellent, though (obviously) eclipsed by those of HD800.

    I know there are still a lot of fans of HD6xx here. If you are one of them, then the JAR600 is a must-listen. It's not perfect, but we know how well they scale an a TOTL amp.

    A comparison between JAR600 and Bill-p's HD580 would be interesting.
     
  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Borrowed these from @brencho for a day, and I guess he got them from @tommytakis . Here's a chart -

    [​IMG]

    You'll see on this chart there are a few places where the 580 and 6xx overlap and track each other - keep in mind these Senns (aside from the stock 800... ew) are more similar than different. And a 1-point difference is hard to quantify when there are various degrees of subtlety - best not to consider quantities an equivalent scale on every quality, but the differences on each quality are relative among the headphones compared.

    Overall I enjoyed the JAR600 - its an energetic phone, but somehow I could get more volume with it than I could with my stock 580 despite the 600 sounding generally hotter and livelier. Not sure how or why - that's just what happened. If the 580 /6xx were snare drums, the 600 would be a piccolo snare - higher tension, faster snap, more controlled decay. I was surprised at the improvement in image clarity as well, though the soundstage remained mostly the same in terms of width, depth, etc.

    Definitely lifted a veil over the others (including the stock 800). A bit on the lean side and not quite enough bass for my tastes, but the tactility was nice and I enjoyed them more than I thought. Makes me want to hear the JAR 650.

    Swapping from the JAR to the 6xx felt like throwing a blanket over everything (alright, maybe this is a bit hyperbolic - I mean this in the sense of dynamic contrast and imaging moreso than FR). Swapping from the JAR to the 580 was a bit strange - 580 does feel fuller in the mids and smoother on top, but somehow I couldn't turn it up as much without fatigue. Maybe the JAR cleaned up some ringing I didn't even know was there.

    Some of the markings on the graph might be polarizing - like me hearing the 6xx as airier than the 800. These quantities were determined using Eitr > EAD DSP 9000 III > Valhalla 2 / Feliks Echo (wish I had a better amp to do this with but that's what I had on hand the one day the headphones were here). Side note - my HD580 pads are the most broken-in pads in the world. Pads were fresh on the JAR and the 6xx. It's weird to see the stock 6xx score better on the graph than the 580 - I like the stock 580 better most of the time. HD800 scores well but I absolutely hate it (just keep it as a reference). Read between the lines.

    I don't do avg. SPL matching because I always listen at the highest possible level I can without fatigue (only way to have a tactile and engaging dynamic experience with headphones IME) - catch is I get fatigued at fairly low levels with most headphones, so in most cases we're talking probably between 75-85dB. I'm very treble sensitive.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  16. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    JAR 600 vs HD 600

    [​IMG]

    I am a long-time fan of the HD 600, and recently found myself wanting to own a pair again as a backup to my ZMFs. When I put out the WTB request on SBAF, @k4rstar was nice enough to sell me a JAR 600. I was ecstatic as I have long wanted to try this mod. Thanks to USPS dysfunction currently though, I ended up having to wait 6 weeks for them to arrive. During that time, I bought a stock HD 600 as well. Timing lined up great to spend a better part of the past week comparing these two headphones. It has been an interesting experience. The high-level takeaway is that the JAR 600 is still distinctively a HD 600. It fixes some of the “sins” of the HD 600, with very few drawbacks. Are the drawbacks a deal-breaker? That is going to be based on personal preferences.

    Chain used for testing: Gungnir Multibit A2/Tavish Vintage Phono with Sumiko Amethyst cart -> Freya S -> Cap Modded Liquid Platinum with Amperex Bugle Boy D-Getters (NOTE: First few days I did all my testing with the same 7n OCC braided balanced cable, but eventually started to use a silver cable with the JAR 600 as I will explain later)

    I am going to assume most people are decently familiar with the signature of the HD 600, so going to present my findings as a pros and cons of the JAR 600 vs stock. (DISCLAIMER: This is personal pros and cons, some of these findings could certainly shift from pros to cons and vice versa based on your preferences)

    Pros:
    • Soundstage: The JAR 600 unfolds the HD 600 stage like an accordion. It gives the stage a cavernous sort of sense and creates separation that is just not there with the stock HD 600.
    • Plankton: Ok, everyone hates this term, but this is one of the most noticeable differences to me. That unquantifiable quality of extra meat on the bones of the sound. You notice extra little nuance to certain instruments and sounds that are just buried under the shouty and compressed presentation of the stock HD 600.
    • Low end: Not just talking about bass here, there is much better detail and texture from the mids on down with the JAR 600. It was especially noticeable to me with low piano notes. They feel real and visceral from the JAR 600, with a real sense of the hammers hitting the strings. When it comes to the bass, it is much cleaner and more articulate. The HD 600 sounds incredibly bloated and rounded by comparison. Bass quantity is roughly the same though or slightly less than stock, just more restrained at least.
    • Bye bye sizzle/etch/shout: Even if you like it, it is hard to argue against the take that the stock HD 600 is HOT HOT HOT. The JAR pretty much entirely alleviates that issue. Sometimes when I would switch back to stock HD 600 my knee jerk reaction would be “Why are you shouting at me?!” The JAR rounds out some rough transients. This was especially noticeable on cymbals and other percussion that sometimes has that “ttssst” sort of sound on the stock HD 600, but would sound much more natural and less fatiguing with the JAR 600.


    Cons:
    • Recessed Vocals: This one is the potential deal breaker for me. When A-B testing the JAR vs HD 600 it is undeniable that vocals are pushed further away, and you lose some of the defining 600 character. I mentioned earlier that I moved to a silver cable with the JAR 600, it was primarily because I found it significantly helped alleviate this issue for me. Vocals sounded dare I say veiled in comparison to HD 600, but the silver cable helped lift that veil a bit.
    • More laid-back: I suppose this one is not surprising, the HD 600 is certainly not a laid-back headphone. The JAR makes everything sound less forward, instead prioritizing stage depth and separation, the drawback is things feel significantly more laid-back. Everything felt more like a groove in the pocket. It reminds me more of the HD 650 in that regard. Could these be a pro for some people? Absolutely, but for my particular preferences and chain I missed the HD 600 energy much of the time as I swapped back and forth.
    • Detail presentation is more subtle: Similar to the last one, and another one that is up for debate, but I like the aggressive/exciting presentation of the HD 600. Things are much more delicate and nuanced with the JAR 600, sometimes at the expense of certain detail retrieval. Kind of like certain sounds are having trouble poking their head out of the darkness. This could probably be alleviated based on your amp pairing. (EDIT: I realize this kind of contradicts my previous pro comments, so I will clarify that I am mainly talking more subtle macrodetail here, JAR 600 strength comes in microdetail/plankton)

    Bottom Line

    If you are someone that thinks the stock HD 600 is too fatiguing/hot but otherwise are a fan, this is the HD 6X0 headphone for you. I would say it is the HD 600 Smooth Edition, undeniably a HD 600, but tuned with some HD 650 sensibilities. Whichever way you fall preference wise, it is hard to argue against the conclusion that the JAR 600 is technically superior to stock. @ext1 has done amazing work here and his craftsmanship is second to none, I was blown away by the quality of the construction of this mod. Official production-quality work for sure.

    I really enjoyed the process of comparing these headphones, because it taught me a lot about my personal preferences. It helped me realize things that bug me about the HD 600, but at the same time helped me identify the intrinsic qualities that make me enjoy them so much. I guess based on these findings it is not surprising I landed on HD 600 rather than KISS modded 6XX when I owned both in the past. The JAR 600 helped remind me just how much I miss my ZMF Auteur, as I would say they are very similar headphones. Both have a very similar stage presentation and timbre, at least based on memory and reviewing my previous notes as I do not own one currently. Auteur just has an edge of increased musicality, more emotional dynamics, and obviously has vastly superior bass presentation/quantity. Ultimately, I will be opting for buying an Auteur again and finding the JAR 600 a new home and holding onto the stock HD 600 as my secondary/backup cans. The next deep-dive comparison from me then will be between Auteur and Verite!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  17. dematted

    dematted Friend

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    I've been listening to this for a couple weeks now. Really great work with the mods: it definitely sounds different (and improved) from the stock HD 600. A lot of what I have to say about this headphone has already been said by Inoculator and Hands, so I'll be focusing on just enumerating the key differences between this and the Auteur that haven't been already mentioned.

    The largest, and most striking difference to me, is just the general difference in the overall sonic presentation, likely due to different FR's and decay characteristics: above all, the JAR HD600 has a sense of being nimble and very light on its feet, whereas the Auteur sounds much more grounded, earthy, and weighty. This doesn't mean the JAR HD600 sounds artificial: although the images are definitely less fleshy than that of the Auteur, they don't sound -thin- or metallic. Perhaps a little dry, though.

    I think it's because the images of instruments are generally less saturated and "thick" than the Auteur that the JAR HD600 manages to sound "quicker". But the sense of quickness I'm trying to get it is not just transient quickness. The Verite has very quick transients, but also sounds fairly weighty and dense in its timbre. By contrast, the JAR HD600 is a headphone where the timbre is relatively unsaturated, and instrument images are a bit smaller on the soundstage, leading to an overall impression of speed, airiness, and weightlessness.

    The Auteur, by contrast, has a much more fleshed out and filled out low-end, with better bass detail, slam, extension, and texture. But though the bass doesn't necessarily bleed into the mids on the Auteur (it doesn't), the very filled out lower-end (particularly in the sub-bass) gives the impression to the listener that the music is a bit...fuller on the whole, and in doing so makes some of the upper frequencies lose sparkle and verve. Ironically enough, it is the characteristic weakness of the HD600 - its lack of bass extension - which lets its mids and treble shine so brightly.

    Transitioning to the Auteur after listening to the JAR HD600, it occasionally sounds as if there's an anchor dragging down the upper frequencies of the music, leading them to sound somewhat fuller than they have the right to be. When transitioning to the JAR HD600 after a long session on the Auteur, meanwhile, one sometimes gets the impression that the mid and upper frequencies have no real sense of foundation, and are just floating above you, doing their own things from the bass. This means that the Auteur has a much better sense of overall sonic coherency, I suppose. However, there's something very pleasing, at least in certain tracks, to this particular lack of coherency: when listening to some of Vampire Weekend's stuff with a lot of upper-midrange and upper frequency energy, the JAR HD600 presents it with more verve and less restraint than the Auteur. This can be fun.

    For what it's worth, I think that the Auteur manages to beat the JAR HD600 in almost every technicality, save perhaps what I've called "vibrancy" in prior posts and sense of transient speed. Someone earlier thought they came somewhat close in resolution - I didn't hear this. Auteur sounded much, much more resolving to me, particularly of microdetails, even though the JAR HD600 has pretty good separation and layering. If I had to choose one headphone, I'm pretty sure I'd choose the Auteur - odd as it is to say, the lack of real sub-bass extension does make JAR HD600 something of a flavor can for me. But it's a fun flavor.

    Oh, and one more really cool thing about this headphone: somehow it is considerably less fatiguing than the Auteur to me despite being sharper in its timbre and having more perceived treble energy. Not sure how they pulled that off, but it's cool.
     
  18. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Short version:
    Just like purrin, the JAR600 will probably be replacing my 6xx as my "regular daily driver". They just don't really do anything wrong or cause me any fatigue and are enjoyable with a very wide variety of music.

    Performance wise - yes, it's still a Sennheiser 600 series, but again, I like the overall sound enough to see myself using it more than my other HP. Performance wise it's already enough to be in the "fun zone" with my smaller amps and the Stellaris is able to push it further into the fun zone.

    With regards to fatigue - I listened for about 4-5 hours with no listening fatigue - fatigue only came from the headband - easy fix by swapping to a HD6xx headband. It's weird because after 10 minutes I *think* I'm going to get listening fatigue but it never actually happens. I may try to obtain an extra 6xx headband for the longer listening sessions - it works better for me than current the HD600 headband does. The only other thing that may cause fatigue is I'm normally a pretty quiet listener - I don't listen as quietly with these - idk why, they just don't seem to come to life for me with my typical very quiet listening. I *speculate* that the dampening is the reasons for this but

    Sound wise - It's good. Oddly - it looks and initially sounds like it's *going to be* overdampened, have a sort of thin sound, bad separation, muffled dynamics, and a loss of resolution in the first 2 seconds. Yet, just like the fatigue thing - once I start listening more, none of the above happen. As a matter of fact, it's the same or better than stock in these areas for me. And yes, as others have mentioned, the stock HD600 treble spikes and peaks are tamed. Sound is not 100% neutral (which is not what I want on every HP anyways), but probably the most neutral of the Sennheiser 600 and 800 iterations and mods I've heard.

    Will post more thoughts after I spend more time with these.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2022
  19. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE MOT: NITSCH

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    Hey hey Senn-heads and JAR-heads...ever since I finally heard these and got them, I have been trying to figure out how to make them easier to get.

    Well, they are just nuts to make. But I made a few and so I'm necro-bumping this to make these easier to find for the faithful/followers!

    NITSCH Product Number 3 with JUPITER is live.

    The Story.

    Stock_and_JAR600.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  20. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    Very nice, congrats to both you and Jupiter!

    [​IMG]
     
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