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New Sennheiser pads measured.

solderdude

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New Sennheiser pads (HD580, HD58X, HD600, HD650, HD6XX, HD660S)


As of medio 2021 Sennheiser is sourcing their pads from another (I assume much cheaper) supplier. Sennheiser mentioned there is very little difference in sound and differences within the entire audible range will be smaller than 1dB. Also the stiffness is increased ensuring the sound stays pristine as long as possible.


Having received pads from a fellow ASR member from Belgium who ordered a HD6XX and these pads were fitted. These are indeed the newer type pads Sennheiser spoke about. The owner remarked these do not sound as good as the older pads. So below my findings.
pads-rear-view.jpg



The easiest indication is by looking at the rear side of the pads. The older ones (pre-2021) have a matte black plastic part (on the left) where the new version has clear (translucent) plastic on top of black plastic (picture on the right).
The front side is clearly different too. Below the front side and some dimensions.
pad-dimensions.jpg

The original pads had a thinner foam on the side where it touches the head. It is softer in that area ensuring a good seal as little force is needed to follow contours of the area around the ear.
The new pads have a round shape and indeed require more clamping force to reach the same amount of foam compression. The new pads thus indeed are somewhat stiffer. I hope the foam quality is improved as well as the lifespan of foam on these pads and in the headband padding is notoriously poor.

Below measurements of the HD650 (black screen) without the front foam for this test for easier pad swapping between fresh 'old' pads (pre 2021) and the new pads. Acoustic smoothing has been applied. The vertical scale is in 1dB divisions. Normally the plots on this website have 5dB divisions.
new-vs-old-pad-smoothed.png

Indeed it seems the difference for the HD650 differs from the original one. The new pads have about 1.2dB less bass.
Treble seems to be at a similar level but above 5kHz deviations are larger.
In a more normal scale the difference looks like the plot below. (no smoothing)
old-vs-new-pad-normal-view.png


Below a similar measurement but for a (modified) HD58X without smoothing.
hd58x-old-vs-new-pad-normal-view.png


Below the same plot but with a 1dB/div scale and smoothed. .
Here too we see a difference below 1kHz of about 1dB max. The new pads have slightly less bass/warmth.
Also the treble, again, is not as smooth as the old pads and the 6kHz peak is a bit higher as well.

When pads age they become softer and the ear/driver distance changes. Below the new pads with standard pressure (no compression of the pads) and with increasing pressure applied to the pads. The brown trace is with the pads compressed to half that of new condition and some compression levels between these extremes.
new-compressed.png

The older the pads become the more they compress the more bassier the headphone. When the pads are almost worn they show a similar (not the same) tonal balance as the pre-2021 pads when new.

There is a bit more info on pads in a more elaborate article including old worn pads and cheap similar looking Chinese 'replacement' pads.
 
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solderdude

solderdude

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After the measurements I have done some listening tests as well with various well made (and lesser recordings) without the foam in front of the driver.
No EQ was applied and a filtered HD560S was used as a reference to set my 'brain'.
Listening test were done at comfortable loud listening levels.

HD650 (Black screen) with new original (2019) pads: Neutral sound lacking subbass extension and clear midrange, smooth not elevated detailed treble. There is no harshness when the recording is well made.

HD650 (Black screen) with new (2021) pads: Neutral sound lacking subbass extension and clear midrange, not elevated detailed treble. There is some very slight sharpness/coarseness even when the recording is well made compared to the original pads. The differences are small but noticeable.

HD650 (Black screen) with look-alike Chinese replacement pads: Slightly fuller but still neutral sound lacking subbass with a clear midrange but the higher frequencies are slightly less accentuated. A bit easier on the ears at higher listening levels and with energetic music but lacking air with well recorded music.
Drum hits etc. are slightly less 'sharp' but certainly not poorer quality.
Downside is the mechanical fit is poor and there is less room for the ears. Comfort is similar to the 2021 pads.
Note: the volume control is always the same during the measurements so the Chinese pads have about 2dB higher efficiency.

new-vs-chinese-smoothed.png


For the HD58X the sonic consequences seem to be less. One needs to EQ the small peak around 5.5kHz anyway.

The sonic impact of the new pads seems to be limited to slightly less midbass hump which is welcome to some. The treble quality seems slightly 'less' with the new pads.
The Chinese replacement pads I have (ordered a few years ago) seem to have changed. They are difficult to fit and change the sound a bit more than the new pads.

I there was a choice I would buy the old pads and swap them a bit more often when the foam softens up too much. Alas, chances are when ordering original spare pads you will end up with the 2021 pads.
 

Tks

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Ordered a new pair, seems I got the oldies. Appreciate the new ones being 3mm taller internal diameter though.

Cool observations btw.
 

abdo123

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Does the increase in Bass make the Sennheiser 650 perform worse or better in adherence to target?
 

mysiak

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Aren't new pads more comfortable? I found the shape of the "old" type too thin and they dug into my skin. The larger contact area of the round profile might be less irritating.
 

charleski

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I've tried no-name pads from China on my HD580 Jubilees (1995). The biggest problem with them is that the pads mount by press-fitting into the frame and the plastic rim on these is very slightly off, so they don't mount perfectly and end up ringing slightly on bass notes, which creates a small but audible 'thrum'.
 

Nango

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New Sennheiser pads (HD580, HD58X, HD600, HD650, HD6XX, HD660S)


As of medio 2021 Sennheiser is sourcing their pads from another (I assume much cheaper) supplier. Sennheiser mentioned there is very little difference in sound and differences within the entire audible range will be smaller than 1dB. Also the stiffness is increased ensuring the sound stays pristine as long as possible.


Having received pads from a fellow ASR member from Belgium who ordered a HD6XX and these pads were fitted. These are indeed the newer type pads Sennheiser spoke about. The owner remarked these do not sound as good as the older pads. So below my findings.
pads-rear-view.jpg



The easiest indication is by looking at the rear side of the pads. The older ones (pre-2021) have a matte black plastic part (on the left) where the new version has clear (translucent) plastic on top of black plastic (picture on the right).
The front side is clearly different too. Below the front side and some dimensions.
pad-dimensions.jpg

The original pads had a thinner foam on the side where it touches the head. It is softer in that area ensuring a good seal as little force is needed to follow contours of the area around the ear.
The new pads have a round shape and indeed require more clamping force to reach the same amount of foam compression. The new pads thus indeed are somewhat stiffer. I hope the foam quality is improved as well as the lifespan of foam on these pads and in the headband padding is notoriously poor.

Below measurements of the HD650 (black screen) without the front foam for this test for easier pad swapping between fresh 'old' pads (pre 2021) and the new pads. Acoustic smoothing has been applied. The vertical scale is in 1dB divisions. Normally the plots on this website have 5dB divisions.
new-vs-old-pad-smoothed.png

Indeed it seems the difference for the HD650 differs from the original one. The new pads have about 1.2dB less bass.
Treble seems to be at a similar level but above 5kHz deviations are larger.
In a more normal scale the difference looks like the plot below. (no smoothing)
old-vs-new-pad-normal-view.png


Below a similar measurement but for a (modified) HD58X without smoothing.
hd58x-old-vs-new-pad-normal-view.png


Below the same plot but with a 1dB/div scale and smoothed. .
Here too we see a difference below 1kHz of about 1dB max. The new pads have slightly less bass/warmth.
Also the treble, again, is not as smooth as the old pads and the 6kHz peak is a bit higher as well.

When pads age they become softer and the ear/driver distance changes. Below the new pads with standard pressure (no compression of the pads) and with increasing pressure applied to the pads. The brown trace is with the pads compressed to half that of new condition and some compression levels between these extremes.
new-compressed.png

The older the pads become the more they compress the more bassier the headphone. When the pads are almost worn they show a similar (not the same) tonal balance as the pre-2021 pads when new.

There is a bit more info on pads in a more elaborate article including old worn pads and cheap similar looking Chinese 'replacement' pads.
Nice piece of research. Tvm.
 
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solderdude

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yep... the ones I tested also came from an HD6XX
 
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solderdude

solderdude

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Does the increase in Bass make the Sennheiser 650 perform worse or better in adherence to target?

There is a slight decrease in bass with the new pads (-1dB opposite older pads).
It depends on what you mean by target. It does not follow the Harman target below 100Hz. It gets good ratings because the response is even (little bumps and dips)
 
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abdo123

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There is a slight decrease in bass with the new pads (-1dB opposite older pads).
It depends on what you mean by target. It does not follow the Harman target below 100Hz. It gets good ratings because the response is even (little bumps and dips)/

Sorry I misread the post i thought it was the other way around.

I would say the 650 has a lot of nice things going for it, not just the lack of bumps and dips. ;)
 

Jimmy

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I can't see it in the picture, but some non OEM pads have a separate ring that also clicks and retains the foam in place.

That ring can be separated with a cutter, inserted first in the cups and then reattached again to the earpads. For this you can use thicker double sided foam tape to create a better bond (being careful not to leave air gaps that break the seal).

Anyway, note that doing this will put the drivers slightly further away from your ears, so it will change the sound.

I've tried no-name pads from China on my HD580 Jubilees (1995). The biggest problem with them is that the pads mount by press-fitting into the frame and the plastic rim on these is very slightly off, so they don't mount perfectly and end up ringing slightly on bass notes, which creates a small but audible 'thrum'.
 

Shazb0t

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Thanks for providing these pad measurements @solderdude!

I wouldn't worry too much about the measured differences in this case. You could realistically induce frequency response changes on this order of magnitude just by how you position the headphones on your head, wear glasses, style your hair, etc. In my opinion they're still going to have the same overall sonic signature.
 
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Paweł L

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Maybe it would be good idea to buy old style pads if still available. I just don't like what the new pads do to treble. Seems like the new pads with it's round profile might be easier to produce. Ahh, cost cutting measures again.
 

Renerem

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So, the HD650 basically becomes a HD600 with slightly better drivers with the new pads?
 

Paolo

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As of medio 2021 Sennheiser is sourcing their pads from another (I assume much cheaper) supplier.

That’s interesting, my new HD560s pads from Sennheiser are not cheaper than the default ones.
The 560s came with velour pads, stiff and uncomfortable, the replacements are plush and feels like suede, way better than the originals.

I’m only talking about materials and comfort, no idea about the sound since I’ve swapped the old ones as soon as the new arrived and never looked back, the sound seem as good as it always was.
Also, if by chance the difference has to be similar to the ones you just tested, I’m pretty sure the delta would be too small for my ears to notice after all the time required for the swap.

Edit: just realised that maybe you’re taking about a new supplier for the default ones… now I’m curious about eventual differences between spare-parts from Sennheiser with the HD6series too.
 
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solderdude

solderdude

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Only the pads and headband padding changed. The HD600 padding is no longer available, only the HD650 style padding.
 

Carlo2AC

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The Chinese pads measure surprisingly well considering how much people riot about only using original pads on the 6 series, wonder how they behave on the 660s?
 

ziddy76

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Interesting. The new pads for my HD58x arrived today and I definitely thought, had no idea my old pads were that deformed and worn out. I know some recommend replacing yearly and I went three years and these get used about 2 hours a day. But looking closer, my replacement appear to be the prior 2021 version.

I went for the "genuine" Senn pads because on the inner angle on the pads compared the nearly round of the alternative pads, but I see Sennheiser decided to go with those alternative pads as their new genuine?

Are there new HD6xx customers receiving them with these new pads?

@solderdude have you compared the Sennheiser pads from the Dekoni pads I saw on Amazon that look near identical to the Sennheiser pads? Not their other abomination that changes the sound significantly. Was cheaper too around $30.
 
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Paweł L

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I have 2020 HD58X (028695) with older style pads (moded with 4mm hole felt) . But my 2021 HD6XX came with the round profile pads. Ziddy76, are the older style pads style pads still available in North America, where did purchase yours if I may ask (Canadian Sennheiser has most likely the same stock as USA, and the pads were unavailable for a while).
As for Dekoni they provide measurements here, and to me they change the sound significantly not to recommend them.
https://dekoniaudio.com/sennheiser-hd650-measurements/
I would rather go with the Chinese pads Solderdude provided link to.
 
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