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Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone

Posted

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.

Posted

Pros: Comfort, sound quality, non-fatiguing, Scalability

Cons: Cable (come on Sennheiser...), pad material, fells a bit reaching

I put off this review for a while for a few reasons. First, I wanted to try these out with more than one amp before making a call on these. Second, The HD700 have some things that just generally confuse, or/and seem a bit odd/hard to describe.

 

The HD700 is my first venture into the >$300 price range, and I now see the potential high-end headphones really have. The scenario that has occurred while using these is confusing to say the least.

 

Looks:

Well, the Sennheiser HD700 are one odd, strangely cool, somewhat mysterious looking headphones. The way I describe it is the title: "The Smirking Guy in the Back of the Room. 😏"

They clearly know what's up, but also have no intention of sharing any insight. They also don't care for what anyone thinks of them, while still being cool.

 

Build:

 

The headband has the same adjustment system, and many equal parts to the G4ME/GAME series, and the HD380 Pro. The part that gets weird is the headband pad, and layered, rubber-like top portion. The weirdness of this build is in part due to the headband pad. The cloth has a feel that reminds me of those tan self-adhesive sports injury wraps. It is like Sennheiser wanted to make velour bleed sound less, and at the same time be a microfiber/Velour combo. The result is kinda odd, and I don't think I like it very much. The same fabric is used on the earcups as well. The headband pad itself is thick for no reason. The cushion does not compress too easily, and the headphones do not weigh very much. As a result, it looks a bit odd, and feels as such. Actual contact space with the head is kinda low, and for me can get a tad annoying after a while. I think Sennheiser could have done a better job on the headband, specifically the cushion.

 

The actual earcups are something other manufacturers should have learned about a looooong time ago. Guess what! They are shaped like ears! What a novel idea! Something designed for an ear, shaped like an ear! Who would have thought! In all seriousness, this is fantastic that they are shaped like this. It makes them more comfortable for sure. The HD700 has a unique earcup design that borrows largely from the HD800. The lighter colored panels are actually a fine mesh. Light passes through these, as does some sound. The inside of the earcup is spacious compared to most other headphones, and the first to only touch one of my ears on the inside! space that would normally be covered over in most headphones is contoured by the inside mesh/dust cover thing that keeps you from touching the actual driver build. This allows much more room for your ear, and I think it looks kinda cool as well.

 

Sennheiser has this bad habit of making the worst cables ever. They all tend to be too long for most, defaulting to 1/4 inch, and have an unnecessary springyness.

The HD700 is no exception whatsoever. The cord is like a quality-scaled version of the cord on old Oreck vacuums. The cable loops for to easily, is isn't malleable enough to sort itself out either. It is heavy too. As someone who rearranges his setup all the time, this cord just gets in the way, and is a real pain. On top of that, these cables are super expensive to replace, if you want the official one (not that anyone would want another one of these...). At least it is braided from the split to the 1/4 inch.

 

I'm bored of talking about the build, just look at the thing...... Let's move on.

 

Features:

Adjustable headband, which pivots slightly, and rotates vertically further than anyone would need them to.

D-shaped earcups, or ear-shaped if you prefer. (Which is sad that this is a notable feature.)

removable cable (thank goodness)

Light Weight

 

Comfort:

Are they comfortable? yes. Are they all you ever wanted? no.

As stated before, the headband leaves something to be desired. The pad does not make enough contact with the head, and is covered in that microfiber/velour weird fabric that I don't like. I much prefer the Headband of the Philips Fidelio X2, or the Philips SHP9500. I think the SHP9500 has one of the best headband designs of all time btw. 

The clamp force is low as the default width is quite high, but it is not super flexible, and can bother me a tad.

The headphones are quite lightweight, which add to the comfort too.

The pad material bothers me a bit too, which is a shame.

Only one earcup touches my ear inside at all, which I cannot say about any other headphone I have tried. The G4ME Zero comes close, and I think are overall more comfortable than the HD700.

 

I think most people will find the HD700 to be super comfortable, but for me there are just enough things that bother me to not hit the mark. Quite comfortable overall, but not perfect by any means.

 

Sound:

 

The HD700 is once again that smirking kid in the back of the room. 

 

I first noticed that the HD700 are quite similar to the K7XX in sound. The HD700 being more spacious, more exciting, and cleaner than the K7XX, but the K7XX seemed more neutral to me. I think the strongest link between them is that I can hear a treble spike in roughly the same place, but found it to be less of a problem on the HD700.

 

The HD700 is quite odd in that it has some of the best mids I have ever heard, yet the mids are a tad recessed. This trait is the opposite of most headphones. the best frequencies are usually a little forward to display their strengths well. I did not feel like I was missing the mids though. Another odd thing is that as clear as the audio is, most of the time if does not sound totally natural. This is not so in the mids, but apparent elsewhere.

Some things, especially in the mids simply sound real. For example: while listening to Tusk - Fleetwood Mac a tuba appears at one point that made my jaw momentarily drop a little. 

I find the highs to be about half-way between the K7XX and the Fidelio X2, but far cleaner. The revealing factor is very, very good, but I feel it is possible to be even better. 

 

I usually give headphones a trial with a few people who do not know very much about the subject to get their impressions without any kind of brand, or price bias. The results were overwhelmingly good for all but one person. I had to almost pry these out of the hands of a couple of people. (Odd correlation, they were both well toward the older half of the population.) They could not get over how clean, and spacious they sounded. The odd person out did not like how they felt on his head, but thought they sounded very good.

 

I decided I had to try HD700 with more than one amp to truly determine their worth. I found that they are surprisingly efficient, taking a bit more power than the Fidelio X2. I do note that they are much better with a better source than a mobile phone, or onboard computer audio. They do seem to scale quite well. unlike most Sennheisers, I found I liked them more with a solid-state amp than a tube amp. I think these would really shine with a high end amp/dac. 

 

The bass is not particularly lacking, but the HD700 is easily recognizable as a bright headphone. The treble peak is noticeable, but the particular air of headphones I got specifically because they had less spike in the peak. If there is one thing sound-wise I would prefer different would be to smooth that peak even more.One good thing about the treble peak is that some vocals are quite intimate when they sit in the range of the peak.

 

For gaming, these are Fantastic. For CS:GO, these are a no-brainer. They are spacious, and have great imaging, especially with the right dac/amp. I went from "I hear a couple lower tuns" to "I hear two at lower tuns box, and one on the stairs."  Also, they are not very fatiguing (only a little, to me at least) so that helps in the long sessions.

 

With the HD700, I finally understand the mp3 vs flac mess. It is possible to distinguish between 320 & flac, but the difference was so insanely small that I see no point in spending more in both storage and dollars for the "higher quality" tracks. Only in tracks which I knew well was the file format even distinguishable at all.

 

sound conclusion: These are seriously good headphones, they just seem a tad confused about their identity. They want to be relaxed and fun, but also wanna be super clean and accurate. The result is not doing either particularly super. Their best traits are recessed, while others are emphasized. Luckily they sound so good, that it does not matter much. These are technically the most capable headphones I have bought, but definitely not the most neutral or analytical. I will keep using them until I find something I like more, and comparable or better in comfort. The advantages they offer in sound over the K7XX is clear, but I don't think they are worth double the price for what is gained in personal taste. The people I had try them thought otherwise, as most of them found the K7XX to be very boring in comparison.

 

Another thing I should mention is that I got the HD598 a couple of days before the HD700, and the result was a slaughter. The HD700 makes the HD598 sound like you are listening to the song through a thick cotton-filled sock. I generally think headphones are just different rather than better or worse, but I have to say that the HD700 makes some lesser headphones sound awful, regardless of sound signature.

 

Recommended song:

Suna No Oshiro - Kanon Wakeshima

 

Overall, I think that the HD700 is a headphone that points to what is possible in other headphones by exhibiting its own unique qualities which you cannot simply take at face value. I feel as if the HD700 is reaching toward what could be. The feeling is almost mysterious, but not in a good or bad way. They feel like that that guy who sits in the back of the room and just smirks at everyone like he is hiding something. They are a unique pair of headphones with something to prove. I will keep loving these until I find something I like even more, or realize how much money I have put into audio.

 

Edit: After allowing even more time for my ears to adjust, I have discovered that the HD700 is FAR better than the Fidelio X2 in bass quality, and better in extension. Again, they are not as inherently bassy as the X2, but the bass is significantly smoother, well defined, and just better.

Posted

Pros: detail and resolution, dynamics, imaging and huge soundstage

Cons: system dependent, cable a bit kinky

I wanted to discuss a bit about HD700 today. I wouldnt include graphs or too much technical information. Simply the way I hear them and how I made a system around them as that is very important with HD700. So, lets get started with little details.

 

BUILD AND FINISH

 

HD700 is built very well. All sliding and rotating mechanisms work with a precision that give away its stature as second only to HD800 in Sennheiser food chain. Head band is silicone treated and gives a rubbery texture on touch. Headband padding and earpads are covered in velour that feels a little differently textured from other pads I have tried of same material. Its a bit stiff at first but after a bit of time, it breaks in and becomes soft and comfortable. Ear cups are made by a mixture of plastic and metal parts. Plastic is of nicer variety and feels more dense and stronger on tapping. Overall it looks intriguing and people who see it are left in no doubt its a rather expensive headphone.

 

COMFORT AND ACCESSORIES

 

 Its comfort is very good. When I put it on, all of its weight is distributed on top of my head. As I mentioned, headband padding is a little stiff that allows it to suspend a bit on top rather than put weight on my and ears completely. They have very subtle clamping force that keeps them on head if I lay down on bed, but not not too much to be uncomfortable. Overall all it remains firmly in place no matter how listen to them without uncomfortable clamp or anything. Weight distribution is quiet good. All contact points are covered with velour like material which is very comfortable for long listening sessions. Earpads are sufficiently deep and I can feel AC aor on my ears while wearing them. Perhaps a sign of how open they are.

 

Accessories are rather sparse. It comes in a cardboard box that is pretty big with generous foam cut outs to keep it protected in transit. Apart from that there is only a manual. The cable is removable with 2.5 mm mono plugs on one end and 6.3 mm jack on other. It does'nt come with 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapter so you will have to use your own if you want to plug it into source with 3.5 mm jack. Cable though is nicely made and covered in cloth below y splitter, kinks a lot and still has memory of how it was wrapped when you opened it. Its a bit intrusive in day to day use, and I have to sort the kinks everytime I start using it.

 

SOUND

 

Ok so the important part. I will divide this section into subsections for easy reading.

 

Initial impressions

 

When I originally recieved them, I was using Audinst HUD Mini. Its an entry level dac\amp unit and sounds good for the price. After few hours of burning in, I plugged in HD700 and was not convinced. Treble on HUD mini is not very refined and in just 30 min listeing session, I had to put down hp. It was too fatiguing. For me, simply unlistenable. Now I had two options, either to return HP or build a better setup for it. I obviously decided to do latter, to see if HD700 can sound convincing and enjoyable. Its treble had a bit of ringing to it, so I decided to go for a warm dac. After reading a bit on different threads, I decided to buy Fiio X5 classic and use it as transport and source. Some people were using it with HD800 and it seemed to solve treble issues. Also Sennheisers are known to work well with tube amps. After asking a bit on HD700 thread I decided to go for one of garage 1217 amps. So I am using following system at time of writing this:

 

Fiio X5 classic > Garage 1217 Project Solstice with 6H6N tube > HD700.

 

After Burn in

 

As I learnt from my first tube amp, tubes take a lot of time to settle down and sound their best. I can still detect sound changing from clausterphobic to wide open, mid focussed bass light to bass heavy. But its bigger issues, mainly treble ringing is completely cured with this setup and I can easily listen for hours at a time.

 

Bass

 

HD 700 is very system dependent and dependent on your preferences you can make it sound bass light or bass heavy. Its major characteristics remain same, you can change how much spotlight and space in soundstage it gives to bass frequencies. Bass is round and snappy. Its dynamic and fast. Does not go very deep like my closed back cans but has a bit of mid bass punch. It has good detail. Bassline almost always occupy lower half of soundstage, giving vocals and other instruments space above it. Maybe cause of great imaging I am able to pin point it. It holds nothing back if track allows for it and you use a bass heavy system.

 

Mids

 

On solid state system, generally instuments sound in second layer behind bass and vocals. Not distant but just one step behind. On tubes , everything expands and mids show bloom and are lot more prominant. In both cases mids are detailed, resolved and thick. If you love mids, I doubt you will remain dissatisfies, especially with tube amps. To show detail, it does naturally and does not sound forced. It seems like a higher quality driver with effortless resolution. Midrange is neutral sounding with little warm tilt.

 

Vocals are very lifelike and natural and it takes listener closer to their favourite artist one step. Does not polish them or give extra bite. Vocals are not overly forward and are well integrated with rest of instruments.

 

Treble

 

Treble has substantial presence, but it aids in giving an organic and natural presentation. It is not used as a tool to give perception of a lot of detail, or bite to vocals and guitars. It has sennheiser house sound and treble is not etched. I must warn you though, with a lot of systems, it can be ringing and fatiguing. But this hp only if you are ready to build a setup around it, if needed.

 

Treble is not rolled off and is detailed. Though I must say, tube I am using has little prominance in treble. Also my dac is warmer, so judging treble is a bit harder. But I can say as it is, its neither offensive nor rolled off or vieled. It aides presentation very well.

 

Soundstage and imaging

 

If I were to choose one aspect where a lesser hp can't touch it at all, it would be imaging. Its so pin point and gives cues of where sound is coming from extremely well. Soundstage width is very good. With my system, it gives a feel of 2nd row auditorium. All instruments are very big in size and not distant at all. Also soundstage depth is very good. Some instruments are in your face, while others are a bit distant, resulting in a very convincing presentation. Overall soundstage performance is its strong point, it can sometimes, depending on recording, can sound out of the head as well, as if sound is coming from in front of me.

 

Dynamics and timber

 

Dynamically very alive and give feel of ebb and flow of music really well. Very refined dynamics with lot of steps between loudest and quietest passages.

 

Timber on my system is rich, a little bright. It conveys inherent properties of instruments and vocals very well. 

 

Conclusion

 

It was initially priced at $1000 and I think it performs like a higher end can. Its a definite step up over mid range cans I own or tried. The price I paid for it, I think its a very good value. For some people it can be a bit uninvolving as it tries to mimic the way music sounds in real life, without adding too much colouration. It does an excellent job at that and if you are looking for a hp that sounds natural, neutral, true to recording and music, you should check out Sennheiser HD700.

 

Thanks for reading. 

Posted

Pros: almost perfect all-rounder, very realistic and wide sound stage, impressively detailed and very live-like sound presentation, extremely comfy

Cons: ocassional sibilance, for some electronica it lacks just a bit more subbass energy

I would like to share my experience with Sennheiser HD700 and compare them directly with AKG K701.

I bought HD700 as upgrade to my K701.

 

INTRO

=====

 

At first please note that I wrote these impressions immediately after I finished the listening of mentioned track/album.

 

Secondly please note that I'm comparing two headphones where one today costs two times more!

 

My equipment:

HTPC-> Foobar2000 with ASIO plugin-> FLACs -> moded Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 Hi-Fi

(I know that it is the weakest point of my audio chain, but still quite capable to sound good) -> 

-> CustomWorks Hypa300SE (top class solid state DIY headphone amp)

 

My music range is quite wide - metal, rock, neurofunk, elctronica, industrial, minimal, classical/piano, indie etc.

 

Sennheiser HD700 (I paid 430EUR for new) vs AKG K701 (Price in year 2016 - 200EUR for new)

======================================================================

 

Metallica - Load (album)
Whole album seems to be mastered with preferred mid bass and more recessed trebles, which make these songs absolutely beautiful through HD700.Following of the bass guitar, which is perfectly separated, is simply a joy.Drum kick reproduction is nearly perfect but some sub bass energy below 50Hz is just slightly missing. But PRAT is very strong.Texture of distorted guitars is excellent. It is the main reason why I think that HD700 is a secret treasure headphone for metal, see below.Vocal is well placed just right in the middle horizontally and vertically- slightly distant. I noticed no harshness or shhh through the whole album, mainly due to mentioned mastering preferences.I have to say that K701 did not failed on this album and reproduced it very well. 

 

Metallica - ...and Justice for All (album)
What a suprise! After my experience with K701 I expected something lifeless and unlistenable. But HD700 brings new life to this album. At first impressed me the amazing texture of distorted guitar and outstanding dynamics of midrange! Second impression was the clarity of cymbals - impressive body and steel feeling to them. And finally I can feel and follow bass - very well defined and fast. PRAT was also very strong. Dynamics of drum is first class even on this old album.I would like to pinpoint the song "One". For long time it was the only song on this album which I was able to listen through K701 - mostly due to presence of acoustic guitars and it's perfect rendering b K701. Always I was enjoying the first half (mostly acoustic part) of this song with K701 due to wide soundstage and detailed midrange repoduction of guitars. When distorted guitars staredt to play I immediately stopped reproduction every time in the past. HD700 gave me even better quality in the fist acoustic part and gave me excstasy when distorted guitars starts!Amazing experience to me.K701 had no chance to compete on this album without bass impact, more treble extension and too much forward midrange. Also with K701 I found that the midrange is sounding something like unreal on this album. Also too much wide and horizontally stretched soundstage of K701 did not help to reach reality of sound.All in all HD700 pretty amazed me on this album.

 

Metallica - Black album (album)
I never heard better bass guitar reproduction than here on this album through the HD700 - on "Enter Sandman" I was easily able to follow it through whole song. Lead guitars are extremely alive and perfectly placed on soundstage. Drum kick has energy but maybe just a bit of lowest subbass is missing here to really feel it right.Cymbals are very clear, steely, crisp and have trully live-like feeling. Hitting of cymbals is extremely dynamic. It balanced between revealing and sibilant through the whole album but luckily to me it never falls to the sibilant side. But I can imagine that sensitive persons would like to attenuate a trebles a little on this album.All in all the repoduction of this album was outstanding and very dynamic to my ears...K701 was suprisingly not so far away in sound quality. Of course bass had less weight, but midrange quality was very good on this album. Biggest surprise were the cymbals. K701 had same livelike feeling to them but slightly less prominent. Good steely splashing was also there but to my ears the lack of crispiness and treble dynamic leaves the K701's trebles just a level behind the HD700. Also something was not right with soundstage. What is it to me I will explain later...    

 

Fear Factory - Genexus (album)
My main intention with this album was to check the speed of bass. Double kick reproduction is pretty fast with the right "sticky" sound with good amount of weight - not slow or lean at all! Lead guitar has again very seductive and organic texture which drag me to listen the whole album again with HD700.Trebles are naturally recessed/compressed and sacrificed for the rest frequencies on this master.HD700 tried to bring some life to them with their slight treble emphasis - no complaints here but also no amazement.K701 has bass which is same way fast but it lacks again the impact and weight. Also guitar is reproduced worst but more prominent. 

 

Black Sabbath - 13 (album)
Studio master is made toward the midbass and midrange, trebles and lower bass are less prominent in the mix. Also a lot of compression was used.

Somewhere I read that some fans were not happy with mastering of drums on this album. I have to say that I agree with them.

For the most time on album the drums are sounding thin to me, especially the snare. HD700 gave a some more body to them compared to K701 but simply you can not squeeze out of song something what is not there. Maybe HD650 can help here I don't know yet :) On the other hand the Geezer's bass is incredibly detailed and it is crushing my ears with perfect dynamic. But HD700 shines especially in reproducing of Iommi's guitar - organic and liquid texture with impressive placement on soundstage. The each detail is so beautifully reporduced that I have feeling that he is standing right here in front of me. Again I have to say that the midrange quality of HD700 is top class to my ears and this album proved it to me again.K701 lacks especially in midrange quality - there was simply something not right.I read that some people described it like plasticky sound and now I know what they ment. There is much more midrange quantity than quality from K701.

Here I would like to pinpoint song "Zeitgeist". K701 was able to reproduce this acoustic trip to the outer space very good so I had big expectations from HD700. And HD700 outclassed K701 again in every spectre especially in realism and detail of reproduction. Especially the percussions were more crisp and alive with HD700.Also in "Damaged Soul" I felt like I'm sitting in front of the band inside the club and they are jamming only for me. Beautiful experience of precise soundstage imaging of HD700. K 701 had no chance on this album based on my ears.

 

Rammstein - Reise, Reise (album)
First time with HD700 I experienced shhh/sibilance issue during intensive vocal sequences. Not nice! On the other hand the midrange shines again. I would say that I don't agree that mids are recessed on HD700. I just think that mids are too much prominent on K701. It is same logic when my friend told me "I think that Note 4 is too big smartphone" and I told him back that "I think that other smartphones are too small":) . On HD700 the quantity of mids is just right to my ears. Also the quality of midrange on HD700 is excellent. I would like to mention it again - quality (HD700) vs quantity (K701).

 

Black Sun Empire - Salvador (song)

Simple overall impression - with HD700 I can finally listen to the neurofunk, but with some small compromises.Bass on this track is prominent in the mix as it is expected from neurofunk. With HD700 the bass has a very good quality but slight lack of the subbass is more audible here than on metal tracks. HD700 is trying to heal it with more energy on midbass but body is still slightly missing. I expected a bit more here I have to say. But compared to the K701 it is like the night and the day to my ears. K701 was not even close to the overall bass quality/quantity. The rest of spectrum was reproduced very similar, but for neurofunk the bass is essential. It looks like I have to buy the HD650 especially for neurofunk...hmmm

 

Black Sun Empire - Tripel (song)
More-less the same as for "Salvador" is valid also here but on this track I was more satisfied with bass quantity of HD700...


Combichrist - We Love You (album)
Texture of synths are excellent, also midbass. Again I beg for just a bit more subbass here to get a perfect bass. But a little worst thing happened - on some tracks I experienced some strong shhhh in vocals so I had to go down with volume. What a shame! The overall reproduction was perfect through the whole spectrum until sibilance appeared. But overall full bodied sound through the all tracks can outshine this issue. But, you know, we always want to have everthing perfect.. K701 had no chance again with modern industrial where the strong bass needs to be reproducted.

 

Limp Bizkit - Chocolate Starfish and The Hot Dog Flavoured Water (album)
Great energy of this band is rendered very well on HD700. Drummer plays a lot with cymbals and HD700 really likes it a lot (and me too as well). The drums on this album are one of the best sounding metal drums which I heard so far (yes, sometimes too much compressed, but what we can do...). Kick is fat and strong, PRAT is great. Distorted guitar shines again. Especially in "Full Nelson" the render of distortion guitar is spectacular. Very enjoying experience overall! K701 shows the ability to similar quality of reproduction, but lack in bass region dismiss it. The trebles were very good and close to performance of HD700. K701 struggled in midrange again where the naturality of instruments (especially guitar) was lacking. But again treble of K701 was very good here!

 

London Grammar - Wasting My Young Years (song)
This nice indie-pop I played especially to test the rendering of female vocals. Out from all tested tracks, on this song the both headphones were closest in terms of performance.
K701 is very strong in female vocals reproduction. The voice was rendered perfectly and just right to my ears. But HD700 did it the same way and add on top the more coherent soundstage.

 

Depeche Mode - Welcome To My World (song)
Fat analog synths needs good bass extension and proper imaging. During this track I realised what is really wrong with K701 to my ears - IMO the Headfonia was right in their review od DT880/HD650/K701 when they tried to describe the K701's issue with soundstage. To desribe this I will use terminus-technicus from recording studio - the PAN.PAN is simply the potentiometer for setting where the recorded sound should play - on the left side(let's say that maximum is L10), on the right side (let's say that maximum is R10) or in the centre of soundstage (let's say value is 0). K701's soundstage is rendering well sounds around the centre (usually drums, bass guitar, vocals, etc.). But when I start to focus on soundstage quality between PAN=0 and PAN=L5 or R5 I found...virtually nothing! There is hollow place on soundstage which is filled only by some "air" or by stretched sound bodies from more left/right soundstage regions but not with the real body of instruments. I think that this is caused by lack of bass which is making drums and bass guitar sounding too thin and somehow separated from the left/right side of soundstage spectrum. This defect generates the hole between left/right and the centre of soundstage. Also I found that sounds which are playing very close to the maximum PAN=L10/R10 are compressed and squeezed toward the end of soundstage and there is no air around them. Something like a border is present here below the maximum PAN.

HD700 has not any soundstage issue at all. It is as wide as K701 but there is still air around the instruments if they are playing on the corners of soundstage. The soundstage of hd700 seems to me like a limitless place without any borders, which push HD700 to much higher quality league than K701 in terms of soundstage realism and imaging.

 

Ludovico Einaudi - In a Time Lapse (album)
I expected though fight here in classical/piano music arena. K701 use to render piano very well, but compared to HD700 reproduction was somehow lifeless and not 100% natural. HD700 shows how to do it right. Especially on "Brother" the gradation was ecstasic. HD700 wins due to precise midbass and it's fluent connection with midrange. Midbass gave a perfect dynamic and body to the piano while the midrange rendered main tones more realistic than K701. In the end the real sound stage and top class layering of HD700 nailed K701 definitelly.The song "Orbits" made this "hole" between these two headphones even more evident. The HD700's trebles plays their best in this track - the sparkling bells/tringels with prominent violin made me cry. Sorry guys I shall not to write it :) Ehm...again I have to mention one of the biggest weapon of HD700 - the soundstage realism and layering ability.I think that K701 is very good in this aspects (especially layering) but HD700 clearly plays higher league."Newton's Cradle" with HD700 was experience out of this world to me. The soundstage and imaging was so real that I thought I'm right in concert hall. Reproduction had everything which it should have IMO. Trully spectacular here. In overall the HD700 gave me absoultely flawless experience with piano/classical music, much better and unforgettable than with K701! Extremely real and strong experience to me...

 

Andy Stott - Hatch The Plan (song)
...good elctronic track to test sibilance:) HD700 impressed here with much better bass than I expected. Electronic kick drum is going quite low and I have no necessity for more subbass here.  Noisy sounds and vocal effects are usually a good feed for HD700 but on this track they are very close to sibilance...a there it is , the first shhh...and second shhh! Hmmm, I'm not happy. I have to say that one should be careful if  knows that some particular track is mastered with dominant trebles and agile/loud vocals, HD700 can have problems (more correct is to say that your ears on high volume can have problem:) On the other hand also K701 was sibilant on this track but much less. The drum kick rendered by K701 was, gently said, simply unsufficient here.

 

Pink Floyd - High Hopes (song)
Not much to say - true joy with HD700. Very coherent and alive, perfect details and soundstage. K701 is able to sound close to it but midrange and bass is playing lower league evidently.

 

Pink Floyd - Coming Back To Life (song)
Very complex song, because guitar on left is often playing different notes like guitar on the right. With K701 the soundstage issue mentioned above was clearly audible - the song sounds strange and not coherent at all - like two different songs played at the same time from left to right perspective of soundstage with common drums. HD700 had again no issue and due to perfect sound stage consistency the song was rendered really like the one song...Idiotic describe I know :) 

 

OVERALL
=======
HD700 is clearly the upgrade to K701 to my ears. It is perfect all-rounder. It can play very well a lot of different genres. Even old metal and rock tracks are sounding very good again through them. Ocassional sibilance can occur if the song is mastered with lot of treble and lot of shhh in vocals. On the other hand K701 is not sibilant but due to forward mids they were even more fatiguing to me for long time listening at higher volumes. HD700 was never fatigue to me at all on. HD700 simply improves the every sound aspect of K701. Bass is better, midrange is better, treble is better, soundstage is better and comfort is better as well.

 

Also the design is very nice and the comfort is excellent.

 

All-in-all HD700 is a very good headphone in my opinion and the right upgrade for me.

Also the HD700 price dropped a lot during last months. Current price tag of 430EUR is just OK in my opinion.

 

PS: Currently I'm finishing DIY clone of MAD Ear+ HD Super II tube amp so I'm looking forward to the happy marriage with HD700 :)

 

Thanks for reading my mess...
  

Posted

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

Cons: Could be lighter

Introduction:

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.

 

Summary:

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 =)

 

Posted

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.

Posted

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.

Posted

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.

Posted

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

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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.

 

Sound:

 

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:

 

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Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone
Description:

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

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandSennheiser
ColorBLack
EAN0615104221048
FeatureOpen-back ear cups facilitate transparent sound while showcasing cutting-edge industrial design
Height10 inches
Length8 inches
Weight0.9 pounds
Width5 inches
LabelSennheiser
List Price$999.95
ManufacturerSennheiser
ModelHD 700
MPNHD 700
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherSennheiser
StudioSennheiser
TitleSennheiser HD 700 Headphone - Black
UPC615104221048
Warranty2 yrs
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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