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A Review On: Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Rated # 1 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $500.00
Posted · Updated · 294808 Views · 13 Comments

Pros: Sensational Excursion Factor , Exquisite Bass Extension , Almost perfect Mid-Range , Classic HE-60/90 Design , Potential Upper Treble Extension

Cons: Spare Part Cost , Grainy Compared To Beyers and E-Stats, Could Be More Distant


The one who started it all, the 650s was a unexpected purchase for me, I was 16 back then when I got the 650s , the only nice headphone I had was the v6 and a cheap Supra Sony but since I was building a nice PC at the time, I decided to invest in some Audio , wanted to get the best ....Initially I was gonna get the hd800, the price wasn't a issue since I had a huge budget but I decided to invest that elsewhere and got the 650s instead, these in one word are my "Favourite" Headphone, love them.


To the sound , I always thought the 650s were a acquired taste until I got AKGs, little did I know what I had there

The 650s signature is warm, rolled of yet detailed with a amazing bass extension, as far as dynamics go the only headphone I enjoyed the bass on was the Tesla 1, no other headphone has the 650 bass , control is just exceptional , I have test tones which determine the tightness and the 650s are off the charts , no headphone has performed like them , they also have a great excursion factor ...what that means is that they will never rattle, the membrane will never be over-driven, usually a lot of people call it SPL but not all high SPL headphones have a good excursion factor, usually excursion factor affects low frequencies, Output Impedance can minimize it but not eliminate it, more the control less the rattle but the 650s are extremely robust, these will never fail ...just sensational  




Let's descend this time - 


Treble - There is no doubt they are rolled off but ...I have heard the 650s on systems where the treble was right there, with all the detail and presence, would I call them veiled or muddy ...absolutely fuc**** not , they have all the detail, but this roll off can be good for some people who like a relaxed sound, they are just luscious and full bodied , they are never thin . As much as I love the treble they aren't grain-free when compared to Ultra-high end headphones, do I care, again absolutely  fuc**** not, musicality wins. 


Mids - If you are considering buying these, I don't need to tell you about the 6XX mids, imagine a sound which encompasses you in it , that's what the 650s do when it comes to the Mid-Range , they have one of the best Mids I have heard, to this date I have to find a dynamic headphone which has the musicality in the Mid-Range like the 650s do, if you know a dynamic headphone which has what I'm looking for, let me know down in the comments. 


Bass - The bass man ...I love the bass on these, the extension, tightness and overall sense of impact is top notch, as I said earlier the only dynamic headphone which impressed in the bass was the T1, now of course I know a Planar will kill it when it comes to sub-bass, that metal never rolls off, goes to down 20Hz with a flat line, but these are not a Planar so for a dynamic they are my top headphone, nothing touches the 650's extension and refinement. 


Build and Comfort - 


I think they are well put together, Senn is the Samsung of Headphones..all plastic of course.

But as I said they are well put together and have the solidity I could expect from a decent headphone. The Headband is plastic with two spring steel rails attaching to the ends.
They can easily be bended to make them clamp less if they bother you initially, I never found the clamp bothersome..at any rate natural break-in is the best of course, my two year old 650 compared to my brand new 600 have a significant difference.
The Earpads are generously padded and are very comfortable, the 650 happens to be my top headphone for comfort, which is a goof thing of course.   


Yes of course there are some negative things - 


1) The dt880 is more refined in the treble, is much less grainy but again it doesn't have the other tonality edge and the excursion factor is not even close to the 650s. 

2) The Soundstage is not that impressive, a lot of people use the classic term "3-Blob" I still don't know what that exactly means but hey ....The dt880-990 surpass the Senn in terms of Soundstage. 

3) I wish the Spares weren't so expensive, for a earpad I could buy a entire headphone like a NVX XPT100 , not cool Senn !!!!!


Some Random Notes - 


1) Although these are 300Ohms I find them to be fairly easy to drive.

2) The Stock cable can be easily made balanced.  

3) I would recommend a nice OTL, I am using the Valhalla 2, in a perfect world I could choose SS, like a Violectric Stack or maybe a HDVD-800 but since it's not a perfect world I have to resort to Mid-Fi/HiFi amps which are fine, they still portray the emotion. 


I will add more..this is all I can think of right now :P 






So yeah, love them to death 

I don't think my opinions will change until I get a 007 from STAX, till then I will enjoy the mids on my 650s 

The comfort is excellent and so is everything else , if you want some of the best dynamics in the world get the 650s , they will surely make you smile , it doesn't matter if you have the best of the best setup, if it doesn't make you smile, it's a waste of money, take this analogy .....Upgrading a BMW 328i (F30) to make it faster than a RS5 is more fun than getting a RS5 , of course a RS5 is a RS5 but it will not make you smile as much as a upgraded F30 will, that's what the 650 is for me .....a must have headphone, take it easy folks, my Video Review will come in 2 days. 


Video Review - 




Cons: Underpriced.

Tell me more about it.
That mainly has to do with the excursion factor and people comparing them to mid-fi headphones , I think the dt880s and 650s should be in the $700-1000 range , its not exactly a con but in a way it is , since people buy it and then compare it under-performing Mid-Fi headphones like - X1s , 598s , 1840s , 1540s , 1440s etc 
if you like HD650, you should check out LCD-2 or LCD-3
I think the prices of headphones should be reduced overall. There are definitely a lot of under-perfoming mid-fi headphones out there. I haven't heard the others you listed, but I did find the HD 598 an underperfomer. I guess it's a good idea to generally stick with the mid-fi trio.
I would but the Comfort of those headphones is a deal breaker for me 
Agreed , Classic Trio FTW   
I think that the Valhalla 2 is an awesome amp for the price and for the HD650, not perfect but damn good. It has excellent trble as well as nice lean bass that is obvious but not intrusive, with good spatial imaging (not so true with bad recordings or super complex songs), Here's some photos of my setup :) http://imgur.com/a/7ISj3
I actually agree with you on the price point and grouping of this headphone with mid-fi headphones. Not too long ago this was one of the best headphones in the world, I don't think it's fair to compare it to headphones that were produced to fit their price point, I like going back in time and reading the Amazon reviews from 10 years ago. I'm not saying jack the price up to 2-3x it's current, but it should be treated as so much more than what it costs.
In what year DID the Sennheiser 650 first come out?  Should I wait awhile and hope Sennheiser brings out something new but a better sound? Thanks

I don't think they will come out with anything new soon......Senn just revised the 650 packaging , that should be a indication.
As far as I know the 650 was launched in 2003 , hope that helps !
Hello sir, thank you for the review.
I see you mentioned them as grainy, I find them to be offensive and harsh, so is that grain or something else?
Compared to the HD-700 they sound distorted and have no treble air or sound stage. I think this is what a lot of people like about this headphone. 
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