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Sennheiser HD600 Review (Headphone)

Skinner001

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Gustard X16?I’ve heard of it but I don’t know anyone who has it..Is it a Good Dac?Would you please tell me your experience with that?You use it paired with HD600?
You can find a full review and measurements on this forum so take a look there for more details.
I've done some blind testing in the past - I can't tell the difference between transparent dacs, and can't tell the difference between filters on the Gustard. It does the job it's supposed to do well, it has a good feature set (balanced, BT) - and I got it fairly cheap, new, from a friend so happy on that count as well :D

The only nit pick I'd have is the screen being a bit small - but in reality I never actually look at the screen during normal use so that's of no consequence at all, in fact my setup is to the side of my desk anyway so while listening or doing anything it's not in my field of vision anyway.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Is the HD600 a headphone that gives a lot of detail when listening to a song?
I mostly listen to 70’s blues/rock and most of those recordings are of low quality.
Masters from the '60's and '70's used analog tape, and it' common to hear (CD transfer and Vinyl) "amount of hiss" and over saturation in the higher frequency range.
I would like to understand if HD600 will put even more in evidence all these imperfections to the point of making the whole
completely unplayable, or not.
I'd suggest a pair of Koss Porta Pro's for enjoying your lower quality recordings. They are fun and an enjoyable listen for just about anything from that era. Plus, you'll look the part while you're listening. :)

 

Bob-23

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Is the HD600 a headphone that gives a lot of detail when listening to a song?
I mostly listen to 70’s blues/rock and most of those recordings are of low quality.
Masters from the '60's and '70's used analog tape, and it' common to hear (CD transfer and Vinyl) "amount of hiss" and over saturation in the higher frequency range.
I would like to understand if HD600 will put even more in evidence all these imperfections to the point of making the whole
completely unplayable, or not.
The HD600 are relatively 'forgiving', compared e.g. to the K702s, which are an absolute no-go for low quality recordings.

But, as Jimbob recommended, you must try it out for yourself - it's your ears, and we hear differently, and our tastes differ.

Consider the relatively narrow soundstage of the HD600s, as Robbo rightly points out - but that also depends on your personal preferences. Some people like that 'intimate' sound. And some people don't even perceive soundstage as such. And some people find 'soundstage kings' like the HD800 or the K702 'overly wide'.

The Fidelio X2HR are fun headphones with a nice and open soundstage and a lot more bass than the HD600 and they are very forgiving: they accept low recording quality. But their bass can be boomy, depending on the recording. Some EQ helps. Huge, angled 50mm (!) drivers. Great built quality, and thus relatively heavy. (Genuin replacement pads are no more available.)

Smartphone or laptop, as dsnyder says, are indeed too weak for the Hd600s, but they don't need a particularly strong amp. NwAvGuy's Objective 2 is completely sufficient.

You'll definitely need a crossfeed filter for your old recordings.

Last not least: the best sounding headphones are worthless, if your head is aching after 10 min listening time!

You adapt quite easily to the respective sound of headphones, but not to untolerable pressure or too narrow earcups.

Sometimes the clamping force can be reduced by (carefully) bending the headband (if it's made of metal only!), so the Hd600s, or X2HR, or K702s.

Additionally, I zip-tied the leather headbands both of the X2HR and the K702 to the metal strings above them cause I don't like any pressure on top of my head...

Try some of them out, make sure you can return them.

Good luck!
 

Pepper81

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Hi Guys,I've a question: Using HD600 in "balanced" mode, will give you listening experience?Any real benefit in terms of sound?
 

Jimbob54

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Hi Guys,I've a question: Using HD600 in "balanced" mode, will give you listening experience?Any real benefit in terms of sound?
Not if there is enough voltage from your amp single ended.
 

solderdude

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There is only a real benefit when you are driving the HD600 balanced from a portable device.
In that case you 'win' more headroom
 

Jimbob54

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@solderdude

Sorry,what is "headroom"? It means soundstage?The benefit of using Balanced cable is a wider soundstage?
No. Ability to go louder. That is the only sonic property you gain from balanced. Which is of no importance if you can get loud enough in single ended configuration.
 

solderdude

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Exactly what Jimbob said.

When you have a portable device that has 4.4mm Pentaconn or 2.5mm TRRS then I would highly recommend to use this.
When you connect a HD600 to a phone or small cheap MP3 player there simply isn't enough power available resulting in bass-shy sound and reduced sound quality.
 

Pepper81

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Jimbob54

if there is no other benefit ,I could also consider purchasing a DAC without unbalanced outputs
if I have SE Headphone Ampli (with adeguate voltage and Output power), I don’t need a DAC with balanced outputs
Also,No need to spend money for a XLR cable for HD600
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Jimbob54

if there is no other benefit ,I could also consider purchasing a DAC without unbalanced outputs
if I have SE Headphone Ampli (with adeguate voltage and Output power), I don’t need a DAC with balanced outputs
Also,No need to spend money for a XLR cable for HD600
Yup. Although I think I've convinced myself that the balanced cables I'm using with my HD600 and HD650 have opened the sound up a bit vs. the stock cables. I admit that this could just be placebo-effect, but the effect has lasted for six months or so, which, for me, is well worth the modest price I paid. LOL. The cables that I selected are a more sensible length too.

But, yes, you don't need a balanced amp to enjoy the HD600's to their full potential.
 

solderdude

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The HD600 cabled all are 4 wire.
In SE cables the return wires are connected in the 6.3mm plug.
So there is no benefit other than power level for Sennheiser series.
 

Jimbob54

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Jimbob54

if there is no other benefit ,I could also consider purchasing a DAC without unbalanced outputs
if I have SE Headphone Ampli (with adeguate voltage and Output power), I don’t need a DAC with balanced outputs
Also,No need to spend money for a XLR cable for HD600

You certainly could. There is , however, a most definite potential benefit in having the connection between DAC and amp balanced. It avoids ground loops.

But if you already have the head amp in use and it doesnt suffer from ground hum, you're good to go.
 

Skinner001

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I simply don’t ‘get’ the idea if different headphones for different quality recordings.
It comes from the idea that some headphones are more "resolving" - uncovering more details and as such, make you aware of imperfections in the recording while others are more "forgiving".

Honestly, the terms "resolving" and "detailed" are used in a very loose manner and without really defining them. I don't know how a Focal Utopia is more resolving than an AKG 371 or Senn 560s -those 2 don't distort, has no audible noise, they adhere to Harman very well etc. So if there's no noise, they don't distort or they're not faulty - I have no clue what people think adding a few thousand bucks brings out that these don't.

Sometimes people relate it to "speed" and driver control - but people more knowledgeable than me can comment on those things.

I've had a bunch of headphones - in my opinion Senn 560s is a much better headphone than the Focal Clear (which I sold) in every respect - Focal gives you some expensive cables and a more premium build - but Senns are lighter, have better tonality and even if it is plastic - it's Sennheiser - we know their stuff lasts for ages so no worries about the build really.

I can hear imperfections just the same with the 560s as I can with the Arya or Ether C 1.1. or I could with the Focals.

So it's a matter of owning and enjoying your collection - while being aware that in most cases, the differences are far smaller than the hole in your wallet would imply :D
 

Robbo99999

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It comes from the idea that some headphones are more "resolving" - uncovering more details and as such, make you aware of imperfections in the recording while others are more "forgiving".

Honestly, the terms "resolving" and "detailed" are used in a very loose manner and without really defining them. I don't know how a Focal Utopia is more resolving than an AKG 371 or Senn 560s -those 2 don't distort, has no audible noise, they adhere to Harman very well etc. So if there's no noise, they don't distort or they're not faulty - I have no clue what people think adding a few thousand bucks brings out that these don't.

Sometimes people relate it to "speed" and driver control - but people more knowledgeable than me can comment on those things.

I've had a bunch of headphones - in my opinion Senn 560s is a much better headphone than the Focal Clear (which I sold) in every respect - Focal gives you some expensive cables and a more premium build - but Senns are lighter, have better tonality and even if it is plastic - it's Sennheiser - we know their stuff lasts for ages so no worries about the build really.

I can hear imperfections just the same with the 560s as I can with the Arya or Ether C 1.1. or I could with the Focals.

So it's a matter of owning and enjoying your collection - while being aware that in most cases, the differences are far smaller than the hole in your wallet would imply :D
(Ah, you've got the HD560s, it's my joint favourite headphone with my K702 once both are EQ'd to the Harman Curve. An Owners Thread has been started for the HD560s, which you might find interesting/useful, or just to contribute to, etc: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sennheiser-hd560s-owners-thread.27208/ )
 

Leiker535

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It comes from the idea that some headphones are more "resolving" - uncovering more details and as such, make you aware of imperfections in the recording while others are more "forgiving".

Honestly, the terms "resolving" and "detailed" are used in a very loose manner and without really defining them. I don't know how a Focal Utopia is more resolving than an AKG 371 or Senn 560s -those 2 don't distort, has no audible noise, they adhere to Harman very well etc. So if there's no noise, they don't distort or they're not faulty - I have no clue what people think adding a few thousand bucks brings out that these don't.

Sometimes people relate it to "speed" and driver control - but people more knowledgeable than me can comment on those things.

I've had a bunch of headphones - in my opinion Senn 560s is a much better headphone than the Focal Clear (which I sold) in every respect - Focal gives you some expensive cables and a more premium build - but Senns are lighter, have better tonality and even if it is plastic - it's Sennheiser - we know their stuff lasts for ages so no worries about the build really.

I can hear imperfections just the same with the 560s as I can with the Arya or Ether C 1.1. or I could with the Focals.

So it's a matter of owning and enjoying your collection - while being aware that in most cases, the differences are far smaller than the hole in your wallet would imply :D

It's mostly due to tonality IMO. Bright leaning headphones will deliver more detail and show more imperfections in music recordings than warm tuned headphones. Resolving and resolution indeed is a loose term used in flowery audiophile language and is akin to "amp scaling", but there's a substratum of truth to them.

The 6XX although "resolving" in a sense that they're a good all-rounder, indeed does mask some flaws as they're warmly tilted. That isn't to say that they don't show detail, they absolutely do and I'm always amazed by my pair, but it doesn't detract or from the experience or call it out unless you're paying attention. However, when I EQ them using Oratory and even tweak upper-mids to highs with high shelves, I immediatly start to notice some artifacts and distortion in the tracks I listen to (most of my library is not audiophile liquid mids forgiving music*): even details like a songs floor noise becomes more apparent, as that frequency is boosted. The same applies to my unEQed DT880 with its high peaks; it loses the sennheiser "veil" (which is greatly exaggerated imho, really, if your senn is so veiled consider getting new pads), and shows more flaws in the recording.

From an objectivist perspective and in my experience, further resolution and transparency is only obtainable by increasing driver technology and acoustics. Consider the HD 800S with it's angled drivers, specific shell construction AND bright=analytic tonality, and you'll can justify the reason they're considered revealing. Same goes with eletrostats: insanely quick planar response with bass early roll-off gives us the illusion/perception of great detail.

*This is another point to make. "Low quality" music as most call it is really modern stuff that isn't inherently easy and relaxed on the ears. My experience in the hobby, ESPECIALLY in vinyl, showed me how music taste and genres aggregate more or less to "audiophilia prone" Very fast tracks with a lot of things going on is usually cramped and undetailed, while relaxed jazz and its counterparts is usually "clean and detailed". Of course production quality and care is important, but it is still very ironical that most "audiophile" releases are made from very poor recordings of 50s and 60s jazz, which were heavily condensed and distorted because of the times technology, and yet it is considered "great sounding" because of that single 3 min sax slow solo.
 
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MdeVelde

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Sennheiser HD600 Listening Tests
I only made a brief evaluation of the HD600 with and without equalization I made for HD650. I could not tell a difference between the two in the confines of slow switching time between the two headphones. As with HD650, I was yet again impressed by how good this headphone sounds. Equalization made an improvement but the headphone was very listenable without it.

Conclusions
I don't know what is supposed to be different between HD600 and HD650. Based on both objective and subjective testing, these two headphones perform the same.

To the extent the HD600 is available and costs less than HD650, it would make just as good a purchase.

I've just spent 2 days comparing the HD600 with the HD650.
Both brand new and both the new (2019) model from the Romanian factory.
And I can say with absolute certainty that my HD600 and HD650 differ quite a bit in many audible ways.
There are also many measurements online by 3rd parties of the HD600 and HD650 and most of them show a difference between the HD600 and HD650. On top of that there are countless reviews by headphone enthousiasts that state differences in the sound of the HD600 and HD650.
And I've read that Sennheiser has stated that they use a different driver for the HD600 and the HD650.

Also, the pads are slightly different. The HD650 has thicker pads than the HD600 and my ears have slightly more room while wearing the HD600 as a result which I like. This pad difference is also sure to have a small audible difference.

Also, the stock cable is different for the HD600 vs HD650.
And this is a first for me to say anything cable related. But the cable that comes with the HD600 is very thin and 3m long. Since I had both headphones here I tried the thicker HD650 cable on the HD600 and to my surprise I actually mattered / changed the sound a bit. I'm not imagining things and I'm not a cable nut in any way.
Perhaps the resistance of the very thin HD600 cable is affecting damping factor just a little bit too much. I don't know. Seems more likely than the only other alternative I can think of which is that the heavier HD650 cable somehow dampens the HD600 housing a little (unlikely). But I do know that there is a small audible improvement to me. The sound of my HD600 was a tiny bit 'grainy' / 'splashy' I don't know how to describe it. But after the cable swap this character is gone, it is more clear / transparent / 'full' even in the mids to me. (I'd have expected a too thin cable to have a small dropoff / filter efffect in the treble but this was not what I heard).
Btw, the HD650 cable goes in the HD600 very snug but it does fit / work.

edit: and to share my personal preference: The HD600 with the HD650 cable EQ-ed with AutoEQ, still testing which AutoEQ setting I like most and how to modify them further to my preference. Many can be found in the subfolders here: https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results
 
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Yorkshire Mouth

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LOL. I think a lot of head-fi folks are like guitar enthusiasts: they usually end up with quite a collection. All part of the fun of the hobby.

Aye.

For me, whatever was on the CD when it left the factory, I want that reproduced as accurately as possible, irrespective of how ‘badly’ it was recorded.

The best way to guarantee this is to use accurate kit.
 
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