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Sennheiser HD560s Owner's Thread.

_theLaughingman

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Hello all,

Thought I'd create a thread where owners of Sennheiser HD560s can have an exchange of ideas and information for their headphones. I know @Robbo99999, @MrBrainwash and few other members have these and have shared information about EQ presets and measurements. Hoping that this will help any other members with useful information regarding these headphones. Including Oratory' measurement and EQ below.


Oratory Measurement and EQ.
 

Robbo99999

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Hi keebz28, good idea about setting up an owners thread for the HD560s, it's my joint favourite headphone with my K702, both EQ'd to Harman Target using Oratory's measurements. They're my favourites primarily for soundstage and "detail" reasons, K702 has an interesting and involving wide soundstage, whilst the HD560s is not quite as wide but perhaps more accurate within that soundstage....so they're my two best headphones for soundstage, so for me therefore also best for gaming & likewise music.

I did my own EQ of the HD560s to combine measurements from various sources as Oratory at the time had only measured one HD560s, however after he's measured my sample he'll have then measured 3 units in total, however until that time I have this EQ devised which combines measurements from Oratory / Crinacle / Resolve, find attached the EqualiserAPO config file at end of post.
HD560s multiple measurements EQ V2.jpg


There was quite good agreement between the measurements from the different sources (all done on GRAS rigs):
HD560s measurements compared.jpg


Other benefits of HD560s are easy to drive, not too expensive at £169 here in the UK, bass quality/definition is nearly the best of all my headphones after EQ, (only surpassed by my Hifiman HE4XX planar headphone), the HD560s seals every time reliably on my head so sounds the same each time, the replacement earpads from Sennheiser are pretty good value, and the unit to unit variation seems quite low, but I'll know more when I get the measurements of my unit back from Oratory. So it's a really solid headphone in a lot of ways.

I'll update with more info when I get measurements of my headphone back from Oratory - channel matching, distortion, and he'll probably update his published pdf to include my headphone in his average.
 

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goldark

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sweetchaos

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In Canada, these are the only budget Sennheiser (at around CDN$250) that are affordable (short of spending double...CDN$500+ for HD600/650/660s).

There are 2 others that are in this price bracket:
1. Drop's HD 58X (US$170=>CDN$212)
2. Drop's HD 6XX (US$220=>CDN$274)
But that doesnt include shipping and duties to Canada...which will most likely be higher than CDN$300 at the end.
Plus warranty claims will be difficult, so I'm not completely sold on the idea on purchasing from drop.com

Overall, I'd like to see a review of HD560s, since they are available here.
 

Robbo99999

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If you don't mind Amazon refurbished, the HD560S is on sale for $118 total with the 15% off coupon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09378SDN7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A great price for this headphone. Just picked one up myself as an open-back complement to my K371's. Anyone know how close it is to the Harman Curve without EQ?
HD560s is already good value, but your deal there is a no-brainer, and congrats on your find & purchase!

They're really quite close to the Harman Curve, you can see that in my EQ in my previous post, but you can also see it in Oratory's measurement:
HD560s freq resp Oratory 20.7.jpg

And in jaakopasenen's AutoEQ database they're listed as one of the highest placed headphones in terms of conformance to the Harman Curve:
It's ranked 9th out of all headphones ever measured on the GRAS rig, and you've got the likes of the venerable HD600 just 2 places above:
AutoEQ Headphone Ranking.jpg


Having said that, how high a headphone ranks in this conformance to the Harman Curve is not always the most important consideration, especially if you're going to be EQ'ing anyway. I normally look for traits like smoothness of frequency response free from as many sharp peaks & dips as possible - which means it's easier to EQ smoothly to the Harman Curve with less variation, plus there's immeasurable traits like soundstage that I take into consideration which is probably best inferred from user reports/reviews on soundstage, ideally I'd also look for low distortion but I'm less focussed on this last point (beyond a certain level) as I've found it not to be as an important aspect as the others based on the different headphones that I own that have different amounts of reported distortion - my preference does not align with my lowest distortion headphones.
@amirm Boss, you need to review these ASAP. :p
Yeah, good call, there's a lot of positives about these headphones. I even think distortion will be quite low, on bass too. I'm guessing he'll find them very easy to measure as they seem to seat & seal very consistently on my head to provide the same sound, I think they're quite resilient to placement as in not much frequency variation with placement.
 
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solderdude

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my HD560S: Green trace is how I perceive them.
fr-hd560s-corr.png


My 'EQ' is a passive filter that lowers the 3kHz to 10kHz region. Takes of the 'edge' the HD560S has.
filter-in-cup.jpg


To me bass EQ is not needed but if one wants to I would only boost the 20Hz by 5dB and set the Q so at 50Hz there is no more boost.

For the price it is an excellent and neutral sounding headphone with reasonable good imaging properties due to angled drivers.

An alternative is the Sundara but the HD560S is lighther on the head.
 
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Robbo99999

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my HD560S: Green trace is how I perceive them.
fr-hd560s-corr.png


My 'EQ' is a passive filter that lowers the 3kHz to 10kHz region. Takes of the 'edge' the HD560S has.
filter-in-cup.jpg


To me bass EQ is not needed but if one wants to I would only boost the 20Hz by 5dB and set the Q so at 50Hz there is no more boost.

For the price it is an excellent and neutral sounding headphone with reasonable good imaging properties due to angled drivers.

An alternative is the Sundara but the HD560S is lighther on the head.
Thanks for your input Solderdude. (Just for the readers, that frequency response is taken on a flat plate that doesn't have an ear attached, so that's why the frequency response looks different to what we're used to seeing with the GRAS units (Oratory / Amir / Crinacle / Resolve) which have an artificial ear). What do you mean by the green trace is how you perceive them? Either that's the measurement on your flat plate after your EQ or what else is the green trace?
 

Coin3

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I bought the HD560S right when they came out, to see how it would compare to my HD6XX. I also own Hifiman Sundara, and for closed-back listening I have AKG K371 and DCA Aeon 2 Noire. They all have their differences when it comes to stock sound signature, but after adjusting each to my liking with EQ, the HD560S is easily my favorite for daily use. It is light and comfortable, with a simple durable design, providing great value in all respects. The main benefits I found over the HD6XX are: 1. enhanced spatial qualities, 2. more space for my ears in the cups, and 3. the single connector (vs both sides) is more convenient.

As far as EQ for the HD560S, I started off with Oratory1990's EQ, since it seemed to make an improvement, then I made some additional modifications based on resonances I heard during A/B testing of pink noise. In general, I also agree with Solderdude that extra attenuation of the upper range helps to take the 'edge' off. This ended up overcomplicating the filter set a bit, and the improvements may be specific to my own ears, but you can see the resulting curve below.

1633893495316.png


One thing that I discovered while tuning EQ for the HD560S is that my ears aren't perfectly symmetrical, as we would all like to believe they are. Using a tone generator, I found several frequencies where one side dominated the other, the main one being a 5 dB peak at 4500 Hz on the right side. To confirm that it wasn't due to L/R driver variation, I performed the same test on the HD6XX. The peak was not as high, and at a slightly lower frequency, but it persisted even after turning the headphones around. For the HD560S, I believe the angled drivers and the extra space given to the ears increases the effect on frequency response of any differences in driver to ear interaction between the two ears. I fixed the differences between my ears with additional notch filters on the individual L/R channels. The result was a much smoother sound. I have since done similar tuning with my other headphones and found smaller, but still noticeable differences between my ears. I especially recommend to any HD560S owners interested in EQ, that you check and correct for any L/R resonances, as the result may have as much of an effect on your listening experiences as overall EQ for tonality.
 

solderdude

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Either that's the measurement on your flat plate after your EQ or what else is the green trace?
Red/blue is measurement, green is how I perceive them (using my other box 'o tools).
Basically, not by accident, the difference by lack of pinna at almost 90 degree angle.
Not everyone is bothered by the peak and may even prefer the extra 'bite' the peak adds.
There are even folks that do not hear 'mount Beyer'. That doesn't mean the mountain isn't there.
 

Robbo99999

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Red/blue is measurement, green is how I perceive them (using my other box 'o tools).
Basically, not by accident, the difference by lack of pinna at almost 90 degree angle.
Not everyone is bothered by the peak and may even prefer the extra 'bite' the peak adds.
There are even folks that do not hear 'mount Beyer'. That doesn't mean the mountain isn't there.
How on earth do you graph a frequency response of "how you perceive them",? What's your process for determining that, and what even is "how you perceive them"?
 
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Robbo99999

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I bought the HD560S right when they came out, to see how it would compare to my HD6XX. I also own Hifiman Sundara, and for closed-back listening I have AKG K371 and DCA Aeon 2 Noire. They all have their differences when it comes to stock sound signature, but after adjusting each to my liking with EQ, the HD560S is easily my favorite for daily use. It is light and comfortable, with a simple durable design, providing great value in all respects. The main benefits I found over the HD6XX are: 1. enhanced spatial qualities, 2. more space for my ears in the cups, and 3. the single connector (vs both sides) is more convenient.

As far as EQ for the HD560S, I started off with Oratory1990's EQ, since it seemed to make an improvement, then I made some additional modifications based on resonances I heard during A/B testing of pink noise. In general, I also agree with Solderdude that extra attenuation of the upper range helps to take the 'edge' off. This ended up overcomplicating the filter set a bit, and the improvements may be specific to my own ears, but you can see the resulting curve below.

View attachment 158319

One thing that I discovered while tuning EQ for the HD560S is that my ears aren't perfectly symmetrical, as we would all like to believe they are. Using a tone generator, I found several frequencies where one side dominated the other, the main one being a 5 dB peak at 4500 Hz on the right side. To confirm that it wasn't due to L/R driver variation, I performed the same test on the HD6XX. The peak was not as high, and at a slightly lower frequency, but it persisted even after turning the headphones around. For the HD560S, I believe the angled drivers and the extra space given to the ears increases the effect on frequency response of any differences in driver to ear interaction between the two ears. I fixed the differences between my ears with additional notch filters on the individual L/R channels. The result was a much smoother sound. I have since done similar tuning with my other headphones and found smaller, but still noticeable differences between my ears. I especially recommend to any HD560S owners interested in EQ, that you check and correct for any L/R resonances, as the result may have as much of an effect on your listening experiences as overall EQ for tonality.
Yeah, I agree with you that the spatial qualities of the HD560s are better than the HD600 line (HD600 / HD650 / HD6XX) - the HD600 is the worst of my headphones for that quality in fact.

I notice you've essentially corrected your hearing imbalances between your left & right ear - I'm not of the opinion that hearing imbalances (not the same as driver balances) should be corrected. Afterall, you live your life everyday with these same hearing imbalances and your mind adjusts for that in terms of what it perceives as natural from a spatial point of view - if you correct for those deficiencies in your hearing in your headphones then you are in fact throwing off the natural "spatial awareness system" your brain has devised, so you're potentially making your headphones worse from a spatial awareness point of view. For instance, if your right ear hears naturally 2dB less than left, then you shouldn't boost your right earcup of your headphone by 2dB to make up for it - your brain is already used to the hearing imbalance and if you correct for that in the headphone then you're disrupting that learned balance. Now if you wear hearing aids in order to hear properly then I agree you should correct for that in your headphones so you don't have to wear your hearing aids when you have your headphones on, but otherwise I think it's counterproductive and unnatural in relation to how your brain has adapted to your hearing quirks if you attempt to correct for those slight hearing deficiencies by means of headphone EQ's. I believe driver imbalance in headphones should be corrected, but not your own hearing.
 
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usern

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HD560S are my daily driver headphones due to comfort. I bought it full price when released, but price has gone down a lot since then. Recent sonarworks review is praising it as well. Seems low distortion drivers.
 

Robbo99999

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HD560S are my daily driver headphones due to comfort. I bought it full price when released, but price has gone down a lot since then. Recent sonarworks review is praising it as well. Seems low distortion drivers.
That's interesting that Sonarworks noticed that channel matching was good between the units of HD560s they measured (they cited +/-1dB) - that's positive!
 

MrBrainwash

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I will add my full view on this headphone somewhere in the future. For me they are still new although pads aren't new as I bought used unit and that may affect the sound.

I don't know why but many headphones including HD560s I perceive as more sterile, cold and stiff out of the box when I listen to them for the first time. Maybe placebo or temperature? I don't know. But with this effect hd560s matched descriptions I read about them. But after some time they started to sound warm. Almost as HD650. The treble peak don't bother me at all. Maybe I feel a little spice when I crank up the volume but not much. The sound is smooth, full, and warm. I expected something colder and more analytical and most of all cleaner and clearer than HD650 /HD58x but this may not be the case (I don't know exactly as I didn't compare them directly yet). They sound to me almost like Tygr 300r without V signature. They also remind me K712 (without peaks).

I will keep them becouse of the comfort and nice sound. But I don't know if they suppose to sound this way. Becouse they have much more fun character than "analytical" for me. ;)
 

Coin3

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Yeah, I agree with you that the spatial qualities of the HD560s are better than the HD600 line (HD600 / HD650 / HD6XX) - the HD600 is the worst of my headphones for that quality in fact.

I notice you've essentially corrected your hearing imbalances between your left & right ear - I'm not of the opinion that hearing imbalances (not the same as driver balances) should be corrected. Afterall, you live your life everyday with these same hearing imbalances and your mind adjusts for that in terms of what it perceives as natural from a spatial point of view - if you correct for those deficiencies in your hearing in your headphones then you are in fact throwing off the natural "spatial awareness system" your brain has devised, so you're potentially making your headphones worse from a spatial awareness point of view. For instance, if your right ear hears naturally 2dB less than left, then you shouldn't boost your right earcup of your headphone by 2dB to make up for it - your brain is already used to the hearing imbalance and if you correct for that in the headphone then you're disrupting that learned balance. Now if you wear hearing aids in order to hear properly then I agree you should correct for that in your headphones so you don't have to wear your hearing aids when you have your headphones on, but otherwise I think it's counterproductive and unnatural in relation to how your brain has adapted to your hearing quirks if you attempt to correct for those slight hearing deficiencies by means of headphone EQ's. I believe driver imbalance in headphones should be corrected, but not your own hearing.
I argue that while our minds do adjust for hearing imbalances in a normal environment, it does not apply while wearing headphones. I am not able to detect any hearing imbalance using my speakers, but can with headphones. I have found that each of my headphones produce hearing imbalances at different frequencies and amplitudes, meaning different resonances are being created based on the interaction between the headphone's shape and my ears. Similarly, the hearing imbalances that our minds have learned to account for are those caused by sounds interacting with our ears in normal environments. When I EQ to correct the hearing imbalance detected with a pair of headphones, it is to correct the hearing imbalance caused by that specific headphone-ear system.

The biggest difference I've found from correcting for hearing imbalances is the elimination of harshness from sounds within the spectral range of the imbalance, and of course more firm centering of the sound field. I believe it's something you won't really notice is a problem until you try it for yourself. If your ears are already pretty equal, then of course there's no need for correction, as long as your headphones have decent driver matching.

I don't want to go too far off the topic of the HD560S, but out of my own curiosity, if anyone knows of any research that has been done on the effects of frequency response imbalance on sound perception (not necessarily due to ear imbalances), please share with me. Likewise, if there is research showing that hearing imbalances with headphones should not be corrected, please share with me.
 

Robbo99999

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I argue that while our minds do adjust for hearing imbalances in a normal environment, it does not apply while wearing headphones. I am not able to detect any hearing imbalance using my speakers, but can with headphones. I have found that each of my headphones produce hearing imbalances at different frequencies and amplitudes, meaning different resonances are being created based on the interaction between the headphone's shape and my ears. Similarly, the hearing imbalances that our minds have learned to account for are those caused by sounds interacting with our ears in normal environments. When I EQ to correct the hearing imbalance detected with a pair of headphones, it is to correct the hearing imbalance caused by that specific headphone-ear system.

The biggest difference I've found from correcting for hearing imbalances is the elimination of harshness from sounds within the spectral range of the imbalance, and of course more firm centering of the sound field. I believe it's something you won't really notice is a problem until you try it for yourself. If your ears are already pretty equal, then of course there's no need for correction, as long as your headphones have decent driver matching.

I don't want to go too far off the topic of the HD560S, but out of my own curiosity, if anyone knows of any research that has been done on the effects of frequency response imbalance on sound perception (not necessarily due to ear imbalances), please share with me. Likewise, if there is research showing that hearing imbalances with headphones should not be corrected, please share with me.
Nice response, I can see the point of differentiation you bring up re left & right speakers vs left & right headphones in terms of those deficiencies not being noticeable - it's probably because left / right speakers mix in sound and crossover to your opposite ear too, as in you hear the right speaker with both your right & left ear whereas that wouldn't be the case with headphone listening unless you're using crossfeed. So headphone listening could highlight these hearing imbalances more than speaker listening, which is an interesting point. You've influenced me a little bit towards your line of thinking, but I know your approach likely isn't going to be particularly applicable to virtual 7.1 surround sound gaming because there is undoubtedly some element of crossfeed happening there, so I think it would be important not to correct for hearing imbalance in those situations......it's perhaps a bit less clear cut whether you should correct for those imbalances in normal stereo music listening, you've swayed me a bit more towards that aspect, but I don't fully agree with it, perhaps because I don't suffer from noticeable hearing imbalance whether or not I have it or not. But yes, you're right that we shouldn't stray too far off topic, because as you rightly say this an HD560s thread, so shouldn't become dominated by other conversation. (I did have this conversation with Oratory a few months ago re correcting for hearing imbalances in headphones, and he agreed with me that for the reasons mentioned it shouldn't be done unless you have severe hearing loss in areas - I think he mentioned 20dB differences.)
 

Robbo99999

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I will add my full view on this headphone somewhere in the future. For me they are still new although pads aren't new as I bought used unit and that may affect the sound.

I don't know why but many headphones including HD560s I perceive as more sterile, cold and stiff out of the box when I listen to them for the first time. Maybe placebo or temperature? I don't know. But with this effect hd560s matched descriptions I read about them. But after some time they started to sound warm. Almost as HD650. The treble peak don't bother me at all. Maybe I feel a little spice when I crank up the volume but not much. The sound is smooth, full, and warm. I expected something colder and more analytical and most of all cleaner and clearer than HD650 /HD58x but this may not be the case (I don't know exactly as I didn't compare them directly yet). They sound to me almost like Tygr 300r without V signature. They also remind me K712 (without peaks).

I will keep them becouse of the comfort and nice sound. But I don't know if they suppose to sound this way. Becouse they have much more fun character than "analytical" for me. ;)
I've experienced a similar phenomenon with all my headphones after I've been wearing them a while - they all sound a bit better if they've been worn for a while in a sitting. For instance, if I put my headphones on for the first time that session & quickly listen to music I'll build an impression of how good it sounds......then I might have a gaming session using my headphones for an hour or two, then I'll listen to music afterwards and normally it will sound better in that last music listening session. The changes were large enough for some headphones (particularly the planar HE4XX) that I wondered if it was an effect of the drivers being warmed up by my head/body temperature, or the pads gradually creating a better seal over the session.....so much so I once sent Amir a PM saying it would be interesting if he could do some testing to see if headphone drivers performed differently in frequency response or distortion when warmed up to close to body temperature vs say when they're 18 degC.....after all he has found that some speakers deliver bass poorly when they are in cold conditions, so why not the same for headphones. The other explanation is that it's just brain burn-in as your mind becomes gradually more & more used to the sound signature of your headphone over the listening session. Either way your experience is relatively normal re your headphones sounding better once you've worn them for a while. You can always use EQ to take the edge off part of the treble in the HD560s and to also increase the bass.....I always use EQ.
 
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solderdude

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How on earth do you graph a frequency response of "how you perceive them",? What's your process for determining that, and what even is "how you perceive them"?
Using references, ears, parametric EQ and many years experience.
I am sure you will have tons of objections, if so just ignore me.
 

Robbo99999

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Using references, ears, parametric EQ and many years experience.
I am sure you will have tons of objections, if so just ignore me.
Ha, ok, you know me!
 
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