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Sennheiser HD560S Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 25 6.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 155 41.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 192 51.3%

  • Total voters
    374

mysiak

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Has anybody attempted to replace the stock pads with aftermarket ones on these headphones?
Yes, I am using Dekoni elite velour pads + 3D printed adapter rings so I can mount them. Dekoni pads greatly increased comfort and greatly reduced piercing upper mids/lower treble. Probably not the most "accurate" headphones now, but I can wear and listen to them for hours, so for me it's a good tradeoff. With stock pads I got ear fatigue (low listening volume) or ear pain ("normal" volume) almost instantly, stock (dis)comfort was unacceptable for me as well.
 

Robbo99999

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Has anybody attempted to replace the stock pads with aftermarket ones on these headphones?
Yes, I am using Dekoni elite velour pads + 3D printed adapter rings so I can mount them. Dekoni pads greatly increased comfort and greatly reduced piercing upper mids/lower treble. Probably not the most "accurate" headphones now, but I can wear and listen to them for hours, so for me it's a good tradeoff. With stock pads I got ear fatigue (low listening volume) or ear pain ("normal" volume) almost instantly, stock (dis)comfort was unacceptable for me as well.
I'd be tempted to use the ones that don't alter frequency response much, like the ones @solderdude measured here:
If you use those then you will know how to change the frequency response to accomodate, if you need to bother because they're a close match to the originals anyway in terms of frequency response. But my philosophy is it's always best to use aftermarket pads that have been measured to show the difference, that way you can use EQ to counter the differences.......and besides, I'd never buy pads to change the frequency response in a particular way, I'd use EQ for that. The main battle is making sure you know what your replacement pads are doing to the frequency response through measurements, and then you EQ accordingly.

(for these headphones I'd use stock pads if you can get them for reasonable price - as I would with any headphone).
 

mysiak

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I'd be tempted to use the ones that don't alter frequency response much, like the ones @solderdude measured here:
If you use those then you will know how to change the frequency response to accomodate, if you need to bother because they're a close match to the originals anyway in terms of frequency response. But my philosophy is it's always best to use aftermarket pads that have been measured to show the difference, that way you can use EQ to counter the differences.......and besides, I'd never buy pads to change the frequency response in a particular way, I'd use EQ for that. The main battle is making sure you know what your replacement pads are doing to the frequency response through measurements, and then you EQ accordingly.

(for these headphones I'd use stock pads if you can get them for reasonable price - as I would with any headphone).
My primary target was to increase the comfort as I truly can't keep stock pads on my head for more than an hour, so memory foam with better velour material was a must. Sound alteration is a bonus, as I am using these headphones around my TV (movies, music, console gaming, ..) and Creative GC7 offers only graphical EQ which isn't precise enough to tame just those frequencies which bother me anyway. I had troubles removing resonant peaks even with parametric EQ (-12dB wasn't enough if I remember correctly). Dekoni pads take care of both jobs (for me), so I can't complain..

I generally started to prefer comfort over "100%" sound accuracy, the past few months I'm using Koss porta pro headphones while working and find them absolutely fine once equalized. My "big sized" headphones certainly sound better, but with Porta's I often forget that I am even wearing them.
 

Robbo99999

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My primary target was to increase the comfort as I truly can't keep stock pads on my head for more than an hour, so memory foam with better velour material was a must. Sound alteration is a bonus, as I am using these headphones around my TV (movies, music, console gaming, ..) and Creative GC7 offers only graphical EQ which isn't precise enough to tame just those frequencies which bother me anyway. I had troubles removing resonant peaks even with parametric EQ (-12dB wasn't enough if I remember correctly). Dekoni pads take care of both jobs (for me), so I can't complain..

I generally started to prefer comfort over "100%" sound accuracy, the past few months I'm using Koss porta pro headphones while working and find them absolutely fine once equalized. My "big sized" headphones certainly sound better, but with Porta's I often forget that I am even wearing them.
I agree that comfort is important, but I'd probably try to find some comfortable pads that have been measured, that way you can retain sound accuracy whilst gaining your comfort. It's possible that the softer pads that solderdude measured would be more comfortable for people who are looking to swap pads due to comfort reasons, but I'm just surmising.

(stock pads are super comfortable for me though with this headphone).
 

Divzed

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Did anyone tried them with Sound BlasterX G6 DAC? According to this amazon review they sound muffled with G6 (Direct Mode) for some reason? Is it true? Also there is a bunch of reviews about their channel imbalance.
111.png
 

Robbo99999

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Did anyone tried them with Sound BlasterX G6 DAC? According to this amazon review they sound muffled with G6 (Direct Mode) for some reason? Is it true? Also there is a bunch of reviews about their channel imbalance.
View attachment 245574
Yes, in no way is the sound muffled. I hook up JDS Labs Atom headphone amp to the G6 and it's as far from muffled as you could hope to imagine. I can't remember if I've tried with my HD560s hooked up directly to the G6, but I have done so with my K702 and the G6 can run them perfectly fine. The HD560s has a high enough ohm rating (120 ohm) combined with the low output ohm of the G6 which will mean there won't be any strange changes to frequency response. The G6 would drive the HD560s just fine. I actually think the guy that is doing that Amazon review is talking b*******s because in one sentence he says the treble is piercing and then in the next he says that they sound muffled which is a contradiction - he either has no idea what he's talking about or he's talking b******s for the hell of it or for other strange motivations. I wouldn't lend the slightest credence to that Amazon review. As for channel imbalance I'm not gonna keep talking about that beyond that most good information is showing very low unit to unit variation and good channel matching - just look at my & solderdude's posts on the previous page & elsewhere in the thread.
 

Divzed

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Yes, in no way is the sound muffled. I hook up JDS Labs Atom headphone amp to the G6 and it's as far from muffled as you could hope to imagine. I can't remember if I've tried with my HD560s hooked up directly to the G6, but I have done so with my K702 and the G6 can run them perfectly fine. The HD560s has a high enough ohm rating (120 ohm) combined with the low output ohm of the G6 which will mean there won't be any strange changes to frequency response. The G6 would drive the HD560s just fine. I actually think the guy that is doing that Amazon review is talking b*******s because in one sentence he says the treble is piercing and then in the next he says that they sound muffled which is a contradiction - he either has no idea what he's talking about or he's talking b******s for the hell of it or for other strange motivations. I wouldn't lend the slightest credence to that Amazon review. As for channel imbalance I'm not gonna keep talking about that beyond that most good information is showing very low unit to unit variation and good channel matching - just look at my & solderdude's posts on the previous page & elsewhere in the thread.
Exactly, how cans with treble peak and flat bass, mid can even be muffled? I could understand headphones that are closed back or V shaped, High-Bass to Low-Mid boosted, but not HD 560S according to FR. Maybe he was running G6 from broken USB port that had lower voltage causing insufficient power output or stock broken cable + adapter 3.5mm. Idk, but I also saw some reddit posts saying that HD 560S sound is muffled, strange.

Yeah, I saw all your previous posts about their channel imbalance unit variation, but it is concerning because so many people are experiencing this issue and we are talking about Sennheiser. One of the most reputable headphones company in the world. It seems the Chinese workers don't care about quality control and Sennheiser instead of sending the broken batch back to their factory, just sends it to retailers. It's been 2 years since release and people are still reporting channel imbalance problem to this day, not cool.

Thanks for response.
 

Robbo99999

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Exactly, how cans with treble peak and flat bass, mid can even be muffled? I could understand headphones that are closed back or V shaped, High-Bass to Low-Mid boosted, but not HD 560S according to FR. Maybe he was running G6 from broken USB port that had lower voltage causing insufficient power output or stock broken cable + adapter 3.5mm. Idk, but I also saw some reddit posts saying that HD 560S sound is muffled, strange.

Yeah, I saw all your previous posts about their channel imbalance unit variation, but it is concerning because so many people are experiencing this issue and we are talking about Sennheiser. One of the most reputable headphones company in the world. It seems the Chinese workers don't care about quality control and Sennheiser instead of sending the broken batch back to their factory, just sends it to retailers. It's been 2 years since release and people are still reporting channel imbalance problem to this day, not cool.

Thanks for response.
You're welcome! Yes, it was a strange Amazon review with contradictions. About your 2nd paragraph, I'm less convinced there are channel imbalance problems with this headphone, simply because I've never measured 3 units of the same headphone that measured so close (almost identically) bought over a period of more than a year from different retailers - which also marries up with low unit to unit variation seen by solderdude when he measured 3 units, and further supported that measurements between Oratory/Crinacle/Resolve don't vary much either. I know there have been a few reports of channel imbalance problems in this thread, one of the units which was reported to have been measured by Oratory, but the other reports contain less evidence and is mostly those people's reported experience rather than actual measurements. It's possible there are a few dud units making it out of the factory, but I'm super impressed with how low the unit to unit variation is on those combined 6 units that me & solderdude measured. So, I think it's limited to a few rogue units, if that.
 

Divzed

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I asked directly one guy who owns and uses the HD 560S, HD 600 with G6 DAC. I'll leave it here, maybe someone will find it useful.
2.png
 

GalZohar

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With the G6 set to low gain I normally have windows volume at the 30/100 area, but when watching a movie/show I crank it to 85-95 (with 95 probably being more appropriate for streaming-based content which can use some extra boost) and it still sounds great, although I usually just watch on the home theater anyway. While SBX surround isn't the same experience as a home theater, and the bass isn't anywhere near the same, the 560s with the G6 are still definitely quite impressive (using SBX surround for surround source, and turning it off for mono/stereo source).
 

Robbo99999

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With the G6 set to low gain I normally have windows volume at the 30/100 area, but when watching a movie/show I crank it to 85-95 (with 95 probably being more appropriate for streaming-based content which can use some extra boost) and it still sounds great, although I usually just watch on the home theater anyway. While SBX surround isn't the same experience as a home theater, and the bass isn't anywhere near the same, the 560s with the G6 are still definitely quite impressive (using SBX surround for surround source, and turning it off for mono/stereo source).
Regarding the bass, you could use the Graphic Equaliser in the SBX settings to input the following to get Harman Level Bass:
Harman Bass GEQ HD560s.jpg

The 250Hz filter probably isn't that necessary but might help reduce muddiness a little, but it's the first two that you'd be sure to use:
31Hz: +4.5dB
62Hz: +1.8dB
You'd put the Negative Preamp to -5dB to cover the EQ boosts, the Negative Preamp is on the left side of the Graphic Equaliser window in the SBX software. Yes, so that should definitely help your bass in movie watching. You might need to flip the G6 into High Gain if you're using that -5dB Negative Preamp because you'd said that you run up to 95% Windows Volume when movie watching in Low Gain, and of course that -5dB Negative Preamp is going to be lowering overall volume levels by 5dB.
 
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GalZohar

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I use Oratory eq which already boosts the bass a bit, but it is still nowhere near being a match for 6.5" woofers, not to mention a ported 12" sub that gives good SPL all the way down to 20Hz.

As far as I understand, as long as I don't reach 98 or so in windows, low gain is the better option, and I use between 85 to 95 (with 95 being for Disney+ Marvel shows, which I think are mixed lower, like most streaming content, compared to bluray movies).
 

Robbo99999

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I use Oratory eq which already boosts the bass a bit, but it is still nowhere near being a match for 6.5" woofers, not to mention a ported 12" sub that gives good SPL all the way down to 20Hz.

As far as I understand, as long as I don't reach 98 or so in windows, low gain is the better option, and I use between 85 to 95 (with 95 being for Disney+ Marvel shows, which I think are mixed lower, like most streaming content, compared to bluray movies).
Well, with headphones you always lose the tactile bass aspect, but it's easy enough to get the HD560s to play down to 30Hz and even 20Hz - so what you're describing is mainly a headphone limitation rather than anything to do with a specific type of headphone. However, some people say and experience that closed back headphones and some open backed headphones with a closed front volume have increased perception of bass slam for any given measured frequency response. I have speakers & sub that play down to 20Hz, I feel I can get comparable bass performance in my Harman EQ'd HD560s, and it surpasses the speakers & sub in terms of detail within that bass - no room modes & lower distortion in the headphone.
 

Yearofthegoat

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Just ordered a pair of HD560S (£149 from Scan (UK)). I'll post back how I find them.

And, thanks to all those who posted - the information on this site definitely helps narrow down options. Other sites I shan't mention just seem to make things more confusing.
 

xavx

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Hmm, sounds like mine have channel imbalance. Off to the left cf. all my other 'phones. :(
You wouldn't be the first to get imbalance with them. However, some songs have bad centers with voices slightly left or right. If you want to be sure, use the Peace EQ app with Effects - Crossfeed channels set fully to Mono. If still hearing things louder on one side than the other, then imbalance confirmed.
 

solderdude

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Hmm, sounds like mine have channel imbalance. Off to the left cf. all my other 'phones. :(

Listen to them in mono and make sure the volume control of the amp is not the issue.
When it is noticeable to one side (and not on other headphones) return it and get another one.
I have measured 3 of them and had no imbalance.
 

Yearofthegoat

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Thanks guys.

Yeah, I've been listening with the audio in mono (it's an option in RME's TotalMix), and I checked with music, films and radio news channels.

Good point re. the volume control. I've experienced that low-volume imbalance thing on a Denon amp (now in the garage), which was solved with some attenuators on the input side. That one isn't what I've used with these 'phones but I'm going to check on the other newer amps around the house, just to be sure (another Denon, and two Yamaha receivers. Yes, too much gear!).

At the DAW PC, which is where I mainly use headphones, there isn't a physical control on my Digiface USB audio interface, but there is on my Zoom U-44 so I'll check again.

If I swap the 'phones around left-right the imbalance oddly seems a bit less, but still towards the left-side earcup.

I was hoping the imbalance thing was an early-run manufacturing problem but it seems not. And it isn't massive - it's like someone talking to you with their head turned. Oh well, not a really big deal as I'll return them. Just disappointed with Sennheiser; I expected better from them.

On the plus side, they do sound much clearer than my others, which are both closed-back sets (ATH-M20X, bought just for recording as they don't bleed much at all, and some really old Rotel RH-700s), so it's just a question of getting a good pair.
 
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Fregly

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I think mine have had a slight imbalance toward the left side but I half ignored it, and have had an unconscious habit of shifting the phones position on my head to "fix it". Going back to Etys got the center back, I discovered. Great headphones otherwise, so a disappointment. I will probably grab a used Drop 6xx.
 

Robbo99999

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Listen to them in mono and make sure the volume control of the amp is not the issue.
When it is noticeable to one side (and not on other headphones) return it and get another one.
I have measured 3 of them and had no imbalance.
Ditto on all your points, even the last one, I too measured 3 units on my miniDSP EARS and no channel imbalance! To all you folks reading this if you're worried about channel balance, invest in a fairly cheap headphone measuring gear, that's why I bought my miniDSP EARS - it's the cost of a midrange headphone and it will give you piece of mind that your headphones have good channel balance - and if they don't match, then you've got the exact information on which you can create an EQ for the two channels so that each channel matches perfectly - so you can turn your headphone with channel imbalance to a headphone that is perfectly channel balanced. I've always found it quite difficult to detect channel imbalance in headphones, on a conscious level at least, but I think I do enjoy my headphones more now that they can be set up with perfect channel balance, some of that is placebo but some of it is real - I think I notice it most in panning effects, they're a lot more smoother and predictable (as they move about on the soundstage) on a headphone that's perfectly channel matched throughout the frequency range.
 
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