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Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones Reviews

Mr Vicarious

Will Appeal To Many, But Distictive Sound Will Not Please Everyone


Pros: Refined, articulate and excellent detail retrieval.

Cons: Too coloured, too relaxed.

My time with the HD650 was short: bought on Amazon and returned 6 days later.   Prior to serious listening, I 'burned-in' the headphone for 48 hours with constant pink and white noise. This did improve the sound, firming up the bass and eliminating some perceived hollowness.   The thing that struck me first about the sound of the HD650 was its sumptuous smoothness. Vocals especially had this syrupy sweetness which many enthusiasts will like about the HD650, but for me just masked the natural characteristics of the human voice. I find it difficult to understand why recording studios would use this headphone, as Sennheiser claims in its advertisements, when vocal presentation...
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A true classic!


Pros: Very smooth sound, Impactful and extended bass, not sibilant, Good build quality, very comfortable.

Cons: Soundstage not as wide as other headphones in the same price range, not ultra detailed.

These headphones are a true classic!  Even if they are bettered today by some in technicalities, their sound signature and non-fatiguing nature remain a must hear in today's very crowded mid-fi range.  However, you'll need a good source (they're quite forgiving on the quality of the recording though) and an amp that can drive them to their full potential since they scale very well with high end amplification (in my case the ALO PanAm dac/headphone amp).
Willy 2 Streams

The 'tube amp' of the headphone world....


Pros: Smooth, lush articulate mids. Deep, tuneful, powerful bass. An organic, 'all of one piece' sound.

Cons: Air...give me AIR!

  Wow...these cans seem to generate a lot of passion! Mr. Tech Agent's review below is a pretty tough act to follow, but I will try. 1st a quote from the literature that comes with the HD 650's: "With the HD 650, Sennheiser has followed the changes in the listening habits of music lovers and the way in which they experience sound. In spite of all purism and the highest demands on precise sound reproduction, a slight change in listening behavior is detectable. Today many music lovers want to feel the sound more instead of plainly analysing it. The HD 650 now captivates your senses where you used to be a mere observer. It allows total submersion into an ocean of music and lets you...
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Reference Quality


Pros: Warm sound signature, detailed, non-fatiguing

Cons: 3-blob soundstage, clamping a little strong at first

The HD650's don't do anything really wrong. They have a natural sound signature and slightly elevated midbass that is easy on the ear (non-fatiguing). Most people will find that they appreciate their sound. They are not the final word in transparency and speed, but they are advanced enough technically to allow them to be true to the source material, offering an excellent sonic window into the music. This neutrality allows them to be used for reference purposes; as a studio headphone mixes done on them translate well to monitors. Similarly, they sound great with all genres, and don't dominate any particular one.   For a beginner head-fi'er, HD650's paired with a <$500...
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Reliable, High-End Stalwart


Pros: Very comfortable with a mellow, involving sound that harmonises brilliantly with live recordings.

Cons: Paint chips off headband with regular use

There's plenty of debate around here as to what makes a headphone "high end". Putting price aside for a moment, I have no doubt that the HD650 marks the beginning of the high-end range. I've auditioned many headphones over the past few years and while many sound different only the electrostats such as the HE60 truly sound superior in every way to the 650s.   In terms of sound the HD650 is what I would call a "natural" headphone. Very rarely do I get the feeling that any part of the spectrum is being over-emphasised and the result is an intimate presentation with good (if not exceptional) soundstage - perfect for live performances. Some would criticise the 650s for their rolled-off...
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Natural Sounding And Laid Back Great All Rounders


Pros: Work well with pretty much every genre; extremely relaxing; superb bass; look great

Cons: A little bit of a tight clamp

I've owned these headphones for around a year now, when I first bought them they were a quantum leap forward in my headphone listening life. It felt like a big spend as I had to buy a desktop amp and a dac at the same time and it took a pay rise at the point where I was questioning the wisdom of it all to finally pull the trigger. I never looked back.   It is funny that the cost seemed so extreme to me now; once you delve into the audio enthusiasts world and see the prices some other headphones go for you realise that the HD650 is in fact a serious bargain, especially since many people (myself included) think it is a far better phone than many of those higher priced...
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The Monkey

Still Among the Best


Pros: Great bass, scales well

Cons: 3-blob soundstage

A pair of headphones I wish I kept.  Great bass, excellent highs with the right equipment.  Scales with the best of equipment.  Everyone should own a pair at least once.  

A Review For Classical Music Listeners


Pros: Tonality, Easier to match with other equipments, smooth sounding, beautiful mids

Cons: For some recordings and with some equipment it can sound bass heavy or too dark, narrow soundstage, colored treble

My reference for reviewing the HD 650 is the AKG K701. I've used the HD650 with various amps and sources including the Nuforce HDP, Headroom Ultra Micro Amp (now discontinued), the Beta 22 (2 channels), Musical Fidelity M1 and the ALO Rex MKII. Sources included Marantz CD5003, Ultra Micro DAC (discontinued), Ultra Desktop DAC (discontinued) Nuforce HDP and Centrance DACPort LX.   I think many reviewers have already talked a great deal about the characteristics of the HD650. Most of them have better experience and probably are more capable of discerning the pros and  cons. I only wanted to add a few points regarding classical music listening.   Some listeners shy away...
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Pros: Like having a pair of tiny Albert Halls for each side of your head

Cons: You will spend a fortune trying to get a small improvement

These are simply the de facto best headphones at this price. They have a dark, slow sound that's suited to strings, guitar and vocals, and their matched drivers mean that centre-stage vocals will actually come from between your ears.   These don't so much break in, rather you get used to their reproduction. I can't recommend these enough, and everybody should spend some time with these, whether they take to them immediately or not.

Great sound at a great value


Pros: Mids, Sennheiser sound signature, comfort

Cons: Design, hard to drive

I bought these headphones on December 2011 and have since been thoroughly using them. I am absolutely happy with my purchase and here is why: Pros: - Great sound, albeit a bit on the darker side (amazingly natural mids, and poignant lows with controlled highs) - Requires at least a 100 hours of burn-in (200 hours recommended if you want to hear the true sound); so it keeps getting better - Amazing bargain at $300, as the sound quality is truly unbelievable - Extremely comfortable to wear for long hours - Fares excellent in general use Cons: - Requires a powerful amp to reach its full potential - Build quality and design are average
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