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Sennheiser HD 650 review

A Review On: Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Rated # 1 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $360.00
Posted · 600 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: smooth and laid-back sound; good bass, mids and treble; comfort

Cons: bad instrument separation; lacks detail in treble; paint chips

Sennheiser HD650 review

My HD650 was my first hi-fi headphone, and also one of my most priced possessions for well over a year. I regret nothing in buying these, but I plan on selling them since they do not get enough head time since I acquired my SR-202's. I only got these back yesterday, after sending them off to get the left driver repaired since it produced ringing in the sub-bass. This pair has the new drivers, in case you're interested.

I already wrote a detailed comparison between this headphone and the SR-202, but I felt that it was simply not a good review. As a result, I have decided to rewrite my review in a different fashion only focusing on one headphone at a time. Like my HD 25-1 II review, I meant to keep it concise and clear without leaving anything out. If you want extreme detail in the sound description, give my other review a read and tell me what you think.

Listening setup
I have used these headphones with many an amplifier, including but not limited to the AMB Mini3, Audio-GD NFB-12 and Little Dot MK IV. For this review I used my HD650 out of the headphone output of the NFB-12.

I personally have not heard any significant difference between different amps, but I do believe that differences may exist.


Build quality
The paint on the headband has the tendency to chip off. This is visible in the 6th image above. It's not really noticeable under normal use, but still unacceptable for this kind of equipment imo. I have not heard of a good method of preventing the paint from chipping, since it happened to even those who were extremely careful with it.

Other than this small issue, I would say these are incredibly well built and feel like they could easily withstand 20 years of regular use. They also look absolutely stunning, in my opinion.

Cable & accessories
The cable is really well built, and is detachable too. It feels smooth, strong, and will not curl up in any way. I see no reason to get aftermarket cables with this headphone, despite the large popularity of such cables.

The headphone comes with a 6.3mm -> 3.5mm adapter cable of similar high quality.
It also comes with a travel box, which although not of super high build quality, does its job quite well. On one of the corners the cardboard started tearing (see picture 7), and I have no idea how this happened.

Comfort & isolation
These headphones are amazing in terms of comfort. It's the most comfortable headphone I have tried to date, which is no easy feat. In my case, the clamping force is of medium strength, although people have reported it to be too high and found that slightly bending the black metal ribbon fixed the issue.
The cups can be adjusted in height, and the entire construction can be twisted. This ensures that it will fit pretty much all heads comfortably.
The pads are made out of velour, and are very soft. They do wear after some time, and people have reported that washing or replacing them for new ones has increased comfort and sound quality.

These headphones are of open design, but still have a decent amount of isolation. Not enough to serve for portable use by a long shot, but more than enough to make you want to put them off when having a conversation. The sound leakage is also reduced because of this isolation, and as long as you don't listen to your music loudly the sound leakage is too soft to bother a person sitting next to you in a normal office environment.

Sound quality
I find the HD650's very good sounding, and definitely worth their price in this regard. Even with the price increases of about a year ago. I got these sound impressions completely based of my other review of the HD650, as well as my own memory.

Frequency response This can is not flat. It has a considerable mid-bass boost and an overall warm sound. They sound very laid-back and smooth with most music. The treble is fairly flat, although a bit attenuated. They are relatively neutral, and can become next to completely flat with slight EQ. Personally I like their natural sound signature since it's fun.

Bass The bass extension is nice and deep. They have a good amount of bass thump and is excellent for electronic genres in my opinion. They are good with rumbling bass guitars and convey a strong sense of energy.

Mids The mids are sometimes drowned out a bit by the bass, but overall it feels pretty flat. The mids especially feel nice and smooth and present a good natural timbre. Instruments like acoustic guitars sound very good on the HD650 because of its smooth nature.

Treble Treble feels fairly flat, but attenuated compared to mids and bass. Cymbals sound good, and there is no sibilance. There is no harshness and they do not sound fatiguing. The treble does lack a bit of detail, but is otherwise of excellent quality.

Soundstage Every headphone has a weakest link, and for the HD650 it's its soundstage. It conveys a good sense of width and distance, though it's smaller than my electrostatic SR-202. The soundstage is smoothened out a lot, and has relatively bad instrument separation. In cases where many instruments are present, it feels like the can loses control and puts it in one big blob of sound. Overall it's not bad, but it leaves me wanting for more.

Apart from their relatively weak soundstage, these are very good sounding headphones. Taking into consideration their excellent build quality and comfort, I can see why these are so popular. While my experience with other mid-fi cans is limited, this one definitely has my glowing recommendation at its price point. Especially when comparing it to it's price before they raised it.


Well, I guess that I'll play out the amp card. THAT B22 WONT BUILD ITSELF!

Once I've sold my HD650 I'll have money for more components! After that I SHOULD be done.
Spot on review to what my ears hear from these headphones, and I even have the old black driver HD650s.
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