or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone

Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone


Pros: big soundstage, precise imaging, immersive sound, clear lines from individual instruments in, e.g. chamber music or jazz quartets

Cons: rare sibilance

my experience with headphones is very limited, as is this review, but i thought someone might benefit from these observations, someone who wants to listen to classical and jazz.


i started with the hd700 by listening to the melos quartet playing schubert's "death and the maiden," and then checked my impressions by playing segments on my fidelio x1.


wow!  the hd700 had what felt like a 220-240o soundstage- i was sitting in the center of the quartet. the tone was wonderful and i was surrounded by the music- the first violin to my left, the cello on the right and a bit behind me, the viola front left and the 2nd violin front right.  the last 2 were a little hard to separate, especially because they were often playing in unison, but then i could hear snatches of their playing that i had never noticed before, and which placed each of them clearly.


the x1 in comparison had about a 120o soundstage, with the instruments much less clearly demarcated. the x1 placed the instruments at a bit of a distance, in front of me, perhaps 10 feet in front of me, not around me.  also i had thought the x1 was incredibly comfortable; the hd700 is significantly more comfortable.


i tried some orchestral music with mendelssohn's midsummer night's dream [previn and the lso] and the contrast between the 2 headphones was the same.  i did think i caught a little bit of sibilance in the hd700 on some very high, bright, moments in the overture- cymbals? i'm not sure, but it was just a moment or two, and worth the price for the rest of what i heard.  then some chopin, some bach.  with solo instruments the contrast was less soundstage than air- the spaciousness of the hd700 and the richer tone it produced.


the x1 is a bit warmer, and i'd expected it would provide the better bass, but i was wrong.  it was warmer, but the bass on the hd700 was richer and clearer.


time for jazz:  i started with antonio carlos jobim and elis regina- i suddenly got confused about what set i was wearing- the fidelios felt a LOT more open than they had with the classical pieces.  i think that the recording had a lot more channel separation, which the x1 used to good effect.  nonetheless, the hd700 were in another class- richer, more immersive sound.


of course they SHOULD be in another class: they cost 3 times as much.


i stopped bothering to switch back and forth. i didn't need any more convincing.  art farmer; bud powell; branford marsalis; charlie hayden and pat metheny; chet baker and paul bley.; the clayton brothers [and that only got me to "c"]...   my head was bobbing and my feet tapping in a way they haven't for a long time.  


my "normal" sound system uses flac files streamed from a vortexbox to a squeezebox touch, then optical to a gungnir dac, then cable to a nad c375bee amp, then to kef iq9 floorstanding speakers.   i think i've got a pretty good system, not ultra-audiophile, but good. i was listening to the headphones from the phones outlet of the nad amp.


the hd700 is better than my "normal" sound system.  it was a bit of a shock to realize that, but my "normal"system can't hold a candle to listening with the hd700.  i can't imagine what i'd have to spend to get a speaker system that sounded as good, as rich, as immersive, as these headphones.  [not counting putting an addition on my house for the listening room.]


so i'm impressed and enormously pleased by the hd700.  for what i listen to - classical music and acoustic jazz- they are wonderful.  



edit: the hd700 is also relatively easy to drive.  it was louder than the x1 with volume set the same on my amp.  i just got a fiio x5 that i'm hoping will be able to drive the hd700.  i'll post the results here when i get around to actually checking.


Pros: Comfort, looks, non fatiguing

Cons: Value, overall audio quality,

Let me begin by saying there is nothing special about these headphones.  My first impression of them made me smile because I fell in love with the oral shaped ear cups (I'm a sucker for "small" full ear headphones). Comfort is a highlight that sennheiser did not lose when they made these headphones. But when your paying $1000 dollars on headphones comfort shouldn't sway you from giving up large gapes of audio quality.  Which leads me to audio quality, if the only headphone drivers that existed were still dynamic drivers then this would have a great success for sennheiser. (Note I burned them in 6 hrs a day until roughly 250hrs) The best way to describe these headphones would be to call them average(neutral a good thing for studio) with plenty of warmth and a bit of harsh treble (not good for studio).  A big con is the pain it can create in your ears if you listen to songs with lots of T's and S's. Some characterizes of headphones in the 300-500 dollar beat these headphones.  And stiff competition such as the Audeze Lcd 2 and even hifiman he500 (that are hundreds less) make these headphones a rip off to some extent if your in the market of hifi headphones that are in the warm side.


Pros: wide soundstage, clarity, good separation of instruments, eye-candy design

Cons: somewhat genre specific, performs best with classical/opera musics. (isn't this a pro??), build quality

I picked these beautiful-looking babies on amazon few days ago when price dropped on amazon (used ones from amazon warehouse for $400), which was a bargain; compared to $300 price tag on HD650's. overall, the bass was less overwhelming than the HD650 but more forward than the HD598 (almost non-existent bass). HD700 has rather bright tone with wide soundstage, resulting in good separation of instruments (with E18 amp+dac), while giving immersed feeling.


build quality: for a original MSRP ($1000), HD700 has a lot of plastic parts; the outer chassis, headband, slider (although the slider is thick and gives sturdy feeling). I wouldn't drop these if I were someone else.


Design: I won't say much because we have different views on design. for me, the HD700 looks better than the beats studio (new/old).


Comfort: right out of the box, HD700 was VERY comfortable. though for some people, it may require some adjustment since their ear could touch back/side of the headphones.

(this possibly may be due to the headphones being used already)


Accessory: one 10ft cable with 6.5mm jack, there is no 3.5mm converter jack in the box (unlike HD598, which I believe, came with a 6.5mm to 3.5mm audio jack converter) though cable itself gives very durable feeling, possibly Kevlar. the cable has two 2.5mm jack for detachable purpose for HD700. I upgraded to other cable from amazon because of portability; having 10ft cable tied up looks pretty funny on public.


Sound: with the Fiio E18 amp+dac, hd700 gives bright sound with wide soundstage. I primarily listen to classics (Mozart's Piano Sonata, Requiem, Beethoven's symphony, violin sonata) and some soundtracks from movies to games. Mozart's requiem gave me very detailed and wide soundstage with clear vocals, compared to HD650, whereby HD650 giving me a narrow soundstage compared to HD700. Sound becomes more balanced with Schiit magni 2 amp; giving a more balanced overall tone (and less brighter).


Beethoven's Symphony (nos 9, choral, aka ode to joy) sounds calm and balanced (neutral) throughout the performance with magni 2 amp with e18 dac+amp, while without using the magni 2 amp, the HD700 gives more of it's characteristic (bright and spacious, wide) while providing larger separations between instrument. I was able to hear pretty much every texts from vocals while being separated from other instruments on background.

Overall, soundstage was wide, while giving bright sound (people say that HD700 is HD800 mixed with HD650).

In the HD650, vocals were forward than the instruments, however, the soundstage was not wide as HD700.


I would recommend these to classics listener if they had to choose between HD650 and 700. furthermore, I was convinced that HD700 is worth the upgrade from HD650.


Pros: Sound, build quality, price-to-performance ratio

Cons: Could be lighter


This is my 1st 5-Star Review.

I am a very picky reviewer and I am a true believer in 'every little bit counts' and honestly I have little to nothing to complaint about aside from the headphone being a little bit heavy.


Build quality:

The construction of the HD700 is very similar to the HD800. Just by looking at the headphone, you might mistake one from the other.


Sound quality:

The biggest difference in my opinion lies in the smaller earcup that houses a smaller 40mm driver, compared to the massive 56mm driver on the HD800. I think this affected the sound quite a bit. With the smaller driver, I found that it was less spacious and the soundstage was not as realistic as the HD800. However, what you do get is a very wide stereo effect. On to the sound signature of the HD700, I would say it is very similar to the HD800; especially the mid-range. I think the biggest difference for me about the HD700 compared to the HD800 is in the bass region. For me, I loved the HD800 and the low-end is beautiful. However, I could never feel the bass. With the HD700, you can both feel the bass and appreciate the beautiful qualities of the bass region. Another region I focused on was the treble region. I thought the HD700 did not have the 6khz spike that plagued a lot of the HD800. Instead, you are presented with a less detailed presentation, which could or could not be a bad thing, depending on what you are listening to.



Overall, I loved the HD700 and it is one of my highest recommended headphones. For how much it does well, I would even recommend it over the HD800 in some instances. 


For a more in-depth review, please take a look at my video review =)



Pros: Comfort, large soundstage, clear audio, design

Cons: Pricing, bright trebles, large redundant box

Let me start off by say that i am not a perfectionist nor am i a totally audiophile, but rather an enthusiast (because my rig is mostly mid-fi) that never really found any need to post a headphone review, but since the HD700 has been getting mixed impressions i'd like to give my opinion, also i've only listened to the HD800 for around 30minutes therefore i will not compare them (c'mon guys its Sennheiser's flagship headphone for a reason).


With that out of the way i can now get to the actual headphone, which i believe has i very unique design which to me looks like a face-lifted version of the hd800 albeit made with slight less premium materials. It also comes in this extremely large useless box and no accessories.

For the first 10 minutes of listening i found the soundstage to be incredibly wide and the low end surprisingly punchy (guessing its them trying to get some of the HD650 sound signature), the mids were there and was very flat, what i was most impressed was the fact that it would always keep up with the music even when there was a lot of instruments going off in the background it would still bring out every detail, the HD700 is very comfortable though made from plastics (at least it seems durable).

After 4 days of burning in and listening, i believe that the hot treble has smoothened (though i also highly predict that my ears have simply gotten used to the sound signature) and it retained its super detailed and clean approach towards projecting my music.


In comparison towards the HD650:
Though i never owned one, I've listened to a HD650 for around 3 hours recently and always found to be very warm, detailed and punchy. This i believe, is a stark contrast towards the HD700 because the HD700 has a more clinical sound albeit with a slightly punchy low end and hot treble therefore leaning towards the HD800.


In comparison towards my other headphones:
HD700 blows the others out of the water.

In conclusion, i am really impressed with the clinical yet slight "fun" sound approach taken from the HD650 which was exactly was i was expecting when purchasing these headphones therefore i have no problem paying full price, i understand why some cannot  justify its asking price because i believe its not a direct upgrade from a HD650 but rather a sidestep with newer technologies implemented inside the headphone.


Pros: Exceedingly comfortable, easy to drive, many of the strengths of the HD800 at a lower price

Cons: The price will be an issue if it doesn't get discounted, highs can be bothersome, plastic construction may not feel like $1K headphones






Just adding a quick summary based on my time with the prototype version of the HD700. In my opinion this is a very good headphone, yet I know it won't be perfect for everybody. But no headphone ever is!


It basically takes the HD800 sound, reduces the treble energy to some degree, and possibly bumps up the bass impact a tad. Either that or it just seems that way due to the treble balance. Since mine was a prototype version, there is a chance that the final sound will change. Therefore I'll be speaking in generalities. I know for sure that there will be updates to the headband to offer more padding. Despite that, I already found the HD700 to be supremely comfortable. Maybe it is just my head being the perfect size for them, but I think these are the most comfy headphones I've ever worn. Revised padding shouldn't change that, and if anything will make it even better.




As mentioned above, these have a similar overall tone to the HD800. If you despised the HD800 then the HD700 probably won't win you back. But for some people this might be perfect. Maybe you loved the HD800 but couldn't afford it. Or maybe you could afford the HD800 alone but not the quality amplification it requires. Or maybe you loved the HD800 clarity and soundstage but couldn't quite get over the lightness of the bass in relation to the treble. The HD700 addresses all of those issues to some degree:


  • At $999, it isn't cheap, but still quite a bit less than the $1500 HD800
  • It seems significantly easier to drive. Not only that, but it seems less "picky" about amplification, pairing fairly well with almost anything I threw at it. This might be partially due to the less tipped-up sound signature in general. 
  • It has a somewhat more "mainstream" ratio of bass to treble. By that I mean the treble is shelved down by a noticeable amount (though still prominent - this is no HD650). So while the best sound still comes by way of Diana Krall style "audiophile" tracks, you can comfortably play some Steve Miller Band and not feel like the bass is too shy. I know that many people find the HD800 perfect in this regard - but we have to recognize that many others do not. 


Is this headphone actually better than the HD800? Not exactly. The HD800 still has superior imaging and soundstage, though the HD700 comes rather close. The HD800 still has better details. And on the proper rig, I think the HD800 is just a more transparent window into the music. But the HD700 comes close in many ways, and doesn't take as much to get there in terms of source and amplification. I think it could be a better match for more people and more systems.


It isn't the perfect headphone. There is an issue with sibilance in some tracks. In other cases the highs can be peaky and sharp. The plastic construction, while extremely light weight and comfortable, will be fundamentally disappointing to some users. And in the end some folks will still find them too bass light. There is strong competition from planar models like the HE-500 and LCD-2, though in my opinion the HD700 is roughly as good as those (though obviously different). The HE-500 manages to undercut the HD700 by $300, which can't be ignored.


Take all this discussion with a huge grain of salt - these are not yet finalized, and could have some significant changes before they come to market in a few months. A big determining factor will be the manner in which Sennheiser handles their sales: if retailers are forced to strictly enforce the MSRP, I believe there will be less interest. But if the "street price" drops to around $800-something I believe they will become extremely popular. Either way I believe HeadFi will be buzzing about the HD700, for better or worse, for some time.


And now some eye candy:


















Pros: Un-coloured sound, feel solid and professional, removeable and replacable cord.

Cons: The cotton cord with a mind of its own, very open design lets a lot of sound out.

After building a very exotic valve headphone amp, with a Sophia Mesh Plate Rec. tube, I wanted to match this thermionic marvel with REAL quality phones. I have a pair of AT ATH700 Airs which I love and think excellent value for $160. I also have my "train" pair of Phiaton 400s with their closed back. The Phiatons are good but the ATs much better. I Googled for the "best headphones" the the answer came back "Sennheiser HD700s". Too many good reviews to ignore them and at around the $1K mark I must have a pair. RRP for these pro. phones is $1,100. Even on eBay they were going for $1,050. But shopping about I picked up an authentic new pair for $750. At $750 these are a steel. I'd pay $750 just for the foam padded box they came in. The HD700s are made in Germany and feel solid and very profession. And that's just how they sound. Rated 150ohms and 105db efficient these are easy to drive phones.


But lets talk about the sound. Firstly the bass is very extended but far from overblown like so many cheaper phones can be. Bass is very articulated and no problems following a slap bass (doubled bass) being played with gusto. You can hear inside the bass and the air around it. Mids are linear, clean and harmonically rich particularly through the valve HP amp. I could understand if some think them a little dry because they really add nothing to the mids where some might want extra weight here. Treble is balanced and not over bright and sibilance is controlled but not overly so. They may be a tough too much "sshhh" and not so much "S". Again a different amp may offer a different balance.


I would thoroughly recommend the Sennheiser HD700 even if you pay full price. These phones are keepers for the at home serious listener. To achieve the very best from them match them a high quality amp\driver and play REAL music through them not compressed mp3 sound files. These phones are why we listen to music the way we do.


Pros: Very good imaging, staging is very speaker like, seamless tone from top to bottom, excellent clarity, midrange and tight tuneful bass.

Cons: Unruly cable

January 1st  2014



Initial impressions



First off "Happy New Year"

Took awhile but my HD700s finally showed up yesterday, a cursory listen (5-6 hrs) mirrored more or less yours and Mike’s impressions.

As mentioned above I’m using a Bryston BCD-1 as source balanced to a BHA-1 for amplification, so no hiss, hum, you name it just a jet black back-round allowing every little nuance to come through unscathed.

What was great was that instead of jumping through numerous tidbits of audio nirvana and being swept into audiophile neurosis I actually got immersed and “almost” listened to each disc in its entirety.

Started off by burning the 700's in with Underworld's "Dark and Long" and then Kraftwerk's Live "Minimum-Maximum" and kept them on repeat until I closed my shop at the end of the day.

Finally getting a chance to chill out I sat down with Brian Eno's "Another Day on Earth", George Crumb "An Idyl for the Misbegotten", Leslie Fiest's "The Reminder" and Dave Hollands “Prime Directive”.

The Senn signature was there but different, the HD580/600 are great phones and have stood the test of time but the HD700s appear to have brought everything up to date. Clarity was one word that came to mind but what I was mostly impressed by and just to quote you, “I would even dare to say the HD700 is speaker like in a way, it’s a dangerous statement, I know, but they sound so open and clear it’s amazing. “

My biggest caveat with the Senn 600 series was that even though imaging layering was great, the central image quite often was produced larger than life and disproportionate to what I consider a proper sound stage, therefore more convex in nature, my AKG K701s do the opposite and produce a staging that is way too concave.

The HD700s IMHO nailed it, producing the best natural staging, width and depth that I’ve gotten out of a pair phones and somewhat reminiscing my Dynaudio Special 25s speakers, that also applies to tonality and voicing, therefore neutral.

But to sum up without sounding too pretentious I’d say the HD700 is very “audiophile like”, at least from what I have experienced so far, in that they do not overlay any specific sonic signature of their own to the recording unlike my AKGs, Grados and other Senns, so basically very chameleon in nature.


Follow Up


Originally Posted by Rob80b View Post

Well my initial impressions and after a few days still stand and they have actually appeared to  improve on my original observations.

Listening to Kathleen Battle’s “Grace” album was a treat and just to quote the opening liner notes ” Kathleen Battle’s voice is like a diamond—pure, clear, radiant, and beautiful….” What more can I say.

Switching back to my HD580/600s confirmed my observations with regards to staging, with the 700s Kathleen Battle was centered with excellent depth and space around the accompanying instrumentation so that I perceived more of a 3 dimensional person, where as with the 580/600s it felt like the microphone was maybe 3 feet in front of her and the orchestra pushed back, which I know is not the case; again the HD700s giving me more of that speaker presentation for which I was looking for and less of what I’m accustomed to with headphones.

Next I concentrated on bass and percussion music as I listened through Bill Laswell’s “Hear no Evil”, “Percussion Music”(“Ionisation” (Edgar Varese) and “Fantasy Variations” (Michael Colgrass) conducted by Charles Wuorinen and then Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine”. From tympani to kettle drums to synthesized bass the HD700s out performed all my other phones producing the desired pressure and extension and with direct comparison to my Dynaudio Special 25s augmented with a Velodyne SPL1500R sub/SMS-1 there was IMHO little wanting.

For those wanting more bass, all I can say is that you’ve stopped listening to the music and are looking for something else but not the truth and a real re-production (at least as far as this hobby goes) of the performance.

Should also mention that Bill Laswell’s recording “Hear no Evil” had smoothness and liquid presentation with excellent layering.

Finishing off with the Borodin String Quartet playing “Debussy-String Quartet in G Minor & Ravel-String Quartet in F Major on EMI, one’s treated with a sense of depth and uniformity with superb interplay between the musicians.

Overall I was again impressed with the congruity of tone from top to bottom and once more the speaker-like presentation, well done. :smile: 

Not to mention the HD700s appear very well made and nice form factor, too bad they didn't throw in the balanced cable.;)




Ps. Just a word about pricing, not too sure why but Sennheiser Canada has never followed suit with Senn US, those with short term memory may be surprised to know that the HD600 were priced here at $699 and the HD580s at $549.00

Working in the industry at the time I got my first HD580s ten years ago my dealer costs were still $349.00, needless to say I bought them on line from the US for a much reduced price and even still today that trend continues, the HD700 are still listed at their original offering $1000-$1199 along with most of their line up.

So the current price of $649 in the US for the HD700 in my eyes, retrospectively speaking, makes them quite the bargain.

IMHO the 700s are everything the 650’s should have been, the HD600 were/are very well balanced phones and I was expecting something special with the 650s, but in the end I felt it was really only Sennheiser’s answer to the boom of Home Theatre at the time, with the augmentation and proliferation of the use of sub-woofers.

We got bass but at a cost of losing what made the 600s special, congruity of tone.


Impressions after almost 8 months, August 24th


Well maybe it’s just me but the HD700s have proved themselves over and over again as one of the most satisfying phones I’ve owned with all types of genres.

I’ve now forfeited most of my headphone collection, Hd580/600s, Grado SR325is, AKG K701s, K501s and the 240DFs, the HD700s filling the gap. Along the way I also purchased a new pair of HD800s but after week even with all their technical superiority they failed to engage me musically so off they went back to the supplier.

I still needed a second set of phones so just took the plunge on the AKG K712s, hey I was AKG supporter for as long as I can remember, their sound signature has dramatically transformed compared to my original K701s, being darker, warmer, smaller sound stage and now come very close to my HD580/600s but with a lot more bass, ironically this is all due to the implementation of the thicker, deeper memory foam ear cushions, which I confirmed just by swapping out the pads on the K701s.


But again the HD700s proved themselves as a better phone, percussion having better attack and decay, superior focused imaging over the K712s allowing one to hear deeper into the mix, overall better clarity from top to bottom, both phones are very good but the HD700s just give you more. I’ve read the Annies ( again with slightly different pads) retain some of the previous AKG K7xx openess but with the bass and may be a better contender with the HD700s.

Eventually I”ll most likely get around to the Audezes and Hifimans but for me Sennheiser have indeed produced a wonderful head-set and am always at a loss to hear otherwise.

I spent a few months to find a good upgrade from the HD598. I had tried HE-500, LCD2.2, and Grado GS1000. I had never wanted to try a HD700 after having read the criticism about the sound and the bad measurements.  Between those I chose the LCD2, but because a friend's suggestion I got a HD700 from amazon. I just wanted to make sure LCD2 is the best choose on $1000 range headphones but from the first minute I tried the HD700 I found that it’s not as bad as some of the reviews. 
After burn-in the headphone for around 40 hours I spent whole a weekend to compare HD700 to LCD2, to me they had a same sound quality with different sound signature, for some genres I preferred HD700 and for some genres, LCD2.  Finally I decided to keep the HD700, since it had a same SQ but much more comfortable than LCD2.  The HD 700 feels like it weighs almost nothing on my head and the earpads don’t make my ears sweat even after hours of use.
Honestly I didn’t find any 5.5 kHz peak, but maybe a bit around 6.5 kHz. Yes, I found some hot trebles and sibilance in the beginning but after a couple months of listening what I can say according to my ears and impression, most of them have been smoothen out. 
The HD700 build quality is not bad at all; it is constructed by high quality plastic with a hint of metal. I don’t have any concern of its long-term durability base on my experience with other plastic made headphones from Sennheiser. 
In compare to my HD650, the HD700 has more trebles energy, deeper and more refined bass, wider sound stage, better instrument separation, more revealing and much faster, though the HD650 is more transparent to my ears.
Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone

The quest for definitive stereo music reproduction finds a new acoustic chamber with the Sennheiser HD-700. Using Sennheiser's mastership of acoustic properties, the HD 700 delivers an advanced acoustic DNA never before heard in headphones. Sennheiser engineers pulled out all the obstacles to create transcending headphones that recreate and restore your music excitement. Beginning with an angled transducer, the 700 angles sound to mimic the positioning of a set of reference monitors. This, in tandem with the DuoFol diaphragm, provides a wide sound stage with ultra-fast response and rest times: close your eyes and you are in the front row. A great headphone transducer is only half of the equation. Sennheiser's acoustic team used the HD 700 project as motivation to obtain a cleaner, purer sound in unconventional ways and thus the patent-pending ventilated magnet system was born. By venting the magnet laying behind the diaphragm, airflow was properly managed and overall turbulence was minimized. This advancement did not add to the sound- but subtracted an artifact from it. The results? Purity. The outer transducer chassis was also considered as a component of shared acoustic duty. By utilizing a specialty steel mesh molded to the natural shape of the acoustic sum, the open-aire system remained pure while properly directing airflow. These techniques combine to support the impeccable capabilities of the transducer with world-class, practical acoustic management. Borrowing a design cue from the flagship HD 800, the HD 700 also utilizes a vibration damping frame-- strategic layering of materials to aide in eliminating unwanted resonances from entering the acoustic chamber. The culmination of these technologies lends to the warm, detailed, balanced and utterly revealing sonic signature that is luxurious and practical for the audiophile

FeatureOpen-back ear cups facilitate transparent sound while showcasing cutting-edge industrial design
Height10 inches
Length8 inches
Weight0.9 pounds
Width5 inches
List Price$999.95
ModelHD 700
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
TitleSennheiser HD 700 Headphone - Black
Warranty2 yrs
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone