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Sennheiser HD560S Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 0.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 25 5.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 172 39.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 238 54.2%

  • Total voters
    439
Another question, how do folk find these compared to HD660S?
I have both. 660S sounds very nice with Harman target EQ. Getting bass EQ to my taste takes effort though, haven't gotten it perfect yet. It can't go as loud as 560S with big bass boost. At least I don't dare to push them further when I start to hear clicking on 660S. Different driver angle also makes them sound more like closed backs. Haven't had comfort issues with 560S ever, but 660S sometimes feels uncomfortable. I've had scratching sound on 560S, I suspect it's from hair getting inside cups and touching driver. Goes away after shaking the headphones. 660S has thicker foam protecting driver and no such issue so far. 660S feels like it has more premium build and will last longer.

560S is more physical. Probably because it can go louder and drivers are closer so you can feel vibration. I can play this on max vol, high gain on Atom AMP (older version, not plus), it's insane:
With this EqualizerAPO EQ applied:
Preamp: -12 dB Filter: ON PK Fc 60 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.3 Filter: ON LS Fc 130 Hz Gain 10 dB Filter: ON PK Fc 150 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 0.8 Filter: ON PK Fc 1320 Hz Gain -2.8 dB Q 1.6 Filter: ON PK Fc 1850 Hz Gain 2.2 dB Q 1.3 Filter: ON PK Fc 3230 Hz Gain -3.1 dB Q 4 Filter: ON PK Fc 4450 Hz Gain -3.2 dB Q 5.713 Filter: ON PK Fc 5490 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 3.1685 Filter: ON PK Fc 7000 Hz Gain 2.5 dB Q 1.2 Filter: ON PK Fc 8400 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 4 Filter: ON PK Fc 11000 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 8
 
I have both. 660S sounds very nice with Harman target EQ. Getting bass EQ to my taste takes effort though, haven't gotten it perfect yet. It can't go as loud as 560S with big bass boost. At least I don't dare to push them further when I start to hear clicking on 660S. Different driver angle also makes them sound more like closed backs. Haven't had comfort issues with 560S ever, but 660S sometimes feels uncomfortable. I've had scratching sound on 560S, I suspect it's from hair getting inside cups and touching driver. Goes away after shaking the headphones. 660S has thicker foam protecting driver and no such issue so far. 660S feels like it has more premium build and will last longer.

560S is more physical. Probably because it can go louder and drivers are closer so you can feel vibration. I can play this on max vol, high gain on Atom AMP (older version, not plus), it's insane:
With this EqualizerAPO EQ applied:
Preamp: -12 dB Filter: ON PK Fc 60 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.3 Filter: ON LS Fc 130 Hz Gain 10 dB Filter: ON PK Fc 150 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 0.8 Filter: ON PK Fc 1320 Hz Gain -2.8 dB Q 1.6 Filter: ON PK Fc 1850 Hz Gain 2.2 dB Q 1.3 Filter: ON PK Fc 3230 Hz Gain -3.1 dB Q 4 Filter: ON PK Fc 4450 Hz Gain -3.2 dB Q 5.713 Filter: ON PK Fc 5490 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 3.1685 Filter: ON PK Fc 7000 Hz Gain 2.5 dB Q 1.2 Filter: ON PK Fc 8400 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 4 Filter: ON PK Fc 11000 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 8
If you think you've got a hair in there touching the driver it's very easy to remove the pads, they just pull on & off, then you could get rid of the hair or see is one is even in there in the first place.
 
If you think you've got a hair in there touching the driver it's very easy to remove the pads, they just pull on & off, then you could get rid of the hair or see is one is even in there in the first place.
Sennheiser has caught the Grado "Grattle".
 
Sennheiser has caught the Grado "Grattle".
Ha, are they known for hairs getting caught in there, or rattling for other reasons?
 
So I'm satisfied enough with the EQ'd HD560S, and have subbed to Roon, so EQ'd all of my transducers. I've been thinking about adding a pair of (I hate this cliche but..) endgame phones, but without being able to go and AB lots of pairs, I'm not even clear where to start looking. Despite being a Grado fan, I've excluded the RS1x from my wishlist, as I suspect the jump from Hemp isn't worth the £600 cost. I've researched planar phones, primarily Hifiman but I get stuck when reviewers mention lack of punch and dynamics, which is a potential barrier for me. So given I enjoy the 560S, what about other Sennheiser (or similar punchy profile) around £500 mark?
 
So I'm satisfied enough with the EQ'd HD560S, and have subbed to Roon, so EQ'd all of my transducers. I've been thinking about adding a pair of (I hate this cliche but..) endgame phones, but without being able to go and AB lots of pairs, I'm not even clear where to start looking. Despite being a Grado fan, I've excluded the RS1x from my wishlist, as I suspect the jump from Hemp isn't worth the £600 cost. I've researched planar phones, primarily Hifiman but I get stuck when reviewers mention lack of punch and dynamics, which is a potential barrier for me. So given I enjoy the 560S, what about other Sennheiser (or similar punchy profile) around £500 mark?
The new HiFiMan Edition XS has pretty damn good punch and dynamics for $500. Love mine.

I always read about the fun punch and slam of the Focal Elex, too. I've never heard them, and there have been reports of higher-than-normal driver failure, so caveat emptor on a $700 purchase.
 
The new HiFiMan Edition XS has pretty damn good punch and dynamics for $500. Love mine.

I always read about the fun punch and slam of the Focal Elex, too. I've never heard them, and there have been reports of higher-than-normal driver failure, so caveat emptor on a $700 purchase.
I don't want to hear this, I've just bought some Sundaras (and some HD650) so I will have a good range now to compare and decide what flavours I like.
 
Sent mine back. Now, this will bring up a possible idea for an additional measurement.
Know that sound you hear when you put a sea shell to your ear? A reflection of your background noise, largely your blood flow I believe. It may increase with age. Anyway, neither my Grado 80's nor my Yamaha YH-1 on-ear reflect this noise back to me, but the HD 560's were intolerable. Not as "open back" as I had expected. Is there a way to measure this reflection?

Even though it was suggested as being pretty good sans EQ, I fount that not to be true at all. The EQ as Amir suggested brought them into very nice balance, just the noise reflection. So, keeping my 45 year old Yamaha's and they don't need eq.
 
I don't want to hear this, I've just bought some Sundaras (and some HD650) so I will have a good range now to compare and decide what flavours I like.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the Sundara. I've never tried a pair of planar magnetic headphones and I was curious about those; they seem to be well regarded.
 
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the Sundara. I've never tried a pair of planar magnetic headphones and I was curious about those; they seem to be well regarded.
Happy to share my completely unscientific ramblings for sure. Bear in mind the first thing I'll do is add a ton of DSP to them. I also bought a pair of HD650 at the same time, so I should have 3 distinct different approaches to compare. I've got 3 fun fun fun Grados, 2 yamaha monitors, two senns and the planars. I'm not a collector, so some I will cull. No point in keeping inferior stuff that I just won't use.
 
Sent mine back. Now, this will bring up a possible idea for an additional measurement.
Know that sound you hear when you put a sea shell to your ear? A reflection of your background noise, largely your blood flow I believe. It may increase with age. Anyway, neither my Grado 80's nor my Yamaha YH-1 on-ear reflect this noise back to me, but the HD 560's were intolerable. Not as "open back" as I had expected. Is there a way to measure this reflection?

Even though it was suggested as being pretty good sans EQ, I fount that not to be true at all. The EQ as Amir suggested brought them into very nice balance, just the noise reflection. So, keeping my 45 year old Yamaha's and they don't need eq.
RTings do some Noise Isolation measurements:
I've not experienced the phenomenon you mention, even with my closed back NAD HP50, I'm assuming for you that your phenomenon would be worse with closed back.
 
Sent mine back. Now, this will bring up a possible idea for an additional measurement.
Know that sound you hear when you put a sea shell to your ear? A reflection of your background noise, largely your blood flow I believe. It may increase with age. Anyway, neither my Grado 80's nor my Yamaha YH-1 on-ear reflect this noise back to me, but the HD 560's were intolerable. Not as "open back" as I had expected. Is there a way to measure this reflection?

Even though it was suggested as being pretty good sans EQ, I fount that not to be true at all. The EQ as Amir suggested brought them into very nice balance, just the noise reflection. So, keeping my 45 year old Yamaha's and they don't need eq.
I find my hemp more seashell like than the 560S tbh, as in cupping the sound in when just placed on my head with no signal, but in normal listening I haven't noticed this phenomena.
 
I've ordered a set of HD650 and Sundara, to evaluate what might be next, as an alternative to the Grado "high end" tree. The 650's arrived earlier, and immediately notice two things. without EQ, I prefer the less shouty presentation of the 650, with EQ, that so far after a few tracks (from my standard headphone test playlist) is the same. Also, and more noticeable, that channel imbalance that I notice with the 560 (which is not completely cured with 2dB of channel correction) is entirely absent with the 650. I'd also be happy to use the 650 without EQ, the 560 for me needs it.
So, the Sundaras should be in my hands later this afternoon, so will have another completely different flavour of ice cream to taste.
Listening the Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet, and I can begin to understand the love for the 650s, and maybe why the 560 is a bit marmite.
 
RTings do some Noise Isolation measurements:
I've not experienced the phenomenon you mention, even with my closed back NAD HP50, I'm assuming for you that your phenomenon would be worse with closed back.
Isolation test is valuable, but kind of the opposite. Yes, I would assume it is worse with closed back, but when I put on ear muffs for working in my woodshop, I don't hear the sound. I guess as they are foam lined. In the quiet of the morning at my desk, and my house is very quiet, I clearly hear it without headphones. Right to the beat of my pulse. Shush, shush, shush. By now, with birds chirping , HVAC running etc, I can barely detect it. Just a thought and I am sure it varies individual to individual. The end result is my 45 year old jobbers will remain on the hook by my PC. Headphones seem to be one more "upgrade" that did not work out.

I did not notice any channel imbalance as Bernard mentions. Center imaging was spot on. Does that suggest a manufacturing tolerance question?
 
Isolation test is valuable, but kind of the opposite. Yes, I would assume it is worse with closed back, but when I put on ear muffs for working in my woodshop, I don't hear the sound. I guess as they are foam lined. In the quiet of the morning at my desk, and my house is very quiet, I clearly hear it without headphones. Right to the beat of my pulse. Shush, shush, shush. By now, with birds chirping , HVAC running etc, I can barely detect it. Just a thought and I am sure it varies individual to individual. The end result is my 45 year old jobbers will remain on the hook by my PC. Headphones seem to be one more "upgrade" that did not work out.

I did not notice any channel imbalance as Bernard mentions. Center imaging was spot on. Does that suggest a manufacturing tolerance question?
Yeah, there's always some unit to unit variation within headphone models, some more than others. I'd probably expect HD600/650 unit to unit variation to be less than HD560s as it's a more expensive headphone from the same company, so you'd think they might tighten up the manufacturing spec - we don't have data to support that though, but it's an idea. I've seen one or two people that have received some bad HD560s, but in general they seem quite reliable from the published measurements out there. I really do think unit to unit variation spec is an important part of a headphone model, and it would be super cool if manufacturers could provide data on this on what their tolerances are, as poor unit to unit variation will kill your chances of using publicly available EQ's with success.
 
I'm currently A-B ing 560, 650, Sundara and hemp. I'm not keeping them all, and at the moment the 560 are on the drop list, both without and with EQ. No imbalance issues with the Sundara. It's mightily close between 650 and Sundara; hemp is out on its won as a special case. It's not as correct, but boy do they excite with the right tracks. They might not get as much use as the others, but they will a lot more than the 560, I'm afraid I have already put them back in their box. The imbalance issue is a big part of that tbh, I might just give them to one of my sons.
 
I'm currently A-B ing 560, 650, Sundara and hemp. I'm not keeping them all, and at the moment the 560 are on the drop list, both without and with EQ. No imbalance issues with the Sundara. It's mightily close between 650 and Sundara; hemp is out on its won as a special case. It's not as correct, but boy do they excite with the right tracks. They might not get as much use as the others, but they will a lot more than the 560, I'm afraid I have already put them back in their box. The imbalance issue is a big part of that tbh, I might just give them to one of my sons.
A-B-C-D ing, surely. :p
 
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