Pros: Strong natural Mid bass, Loads of mid range texture and graceful balance tone balance. Very natural sounding
Cons: bass can be a little muddy, thick and slow.
First off let me say this is my first foray into "audiophile" headphones. I have tried a few of the in the ear style buds over the years (apples and Sony's) but I find them unpleasant to wear for more than a few minutes, along with the sound lacking. So I few years ago before an overseas flight I picked a pair of Sony MDR-V150 on a whim. They worked great and I thought I be happy. But then I started to see all these cool little headphone amp and such. So I started just innocently enough reading sites such as these just a few short months ago. Well on thing led to another and well I now am the proud owner of a pair of the Sennheiser HD600's, along with an amp/DAC combo.
When I received my brown box in the mail I could not wait to get it home and open it. I carefully open the shipping box and inside was a beautiful black corrugated box with gold shaded picture of the ocean with words "Sennheiser HD 600 for digital Natural Sound" I open up then corrugated box and slide out what feels to be a fabric type coated dark charcoal box. It's completely plain other than the small company logo and name in the company’s trademark blue. The whole packaging is high class, clean, and simple. To my surprise the box has metal hinges on the back edge and opens up much like a fine watch/jewelry box. As the aroma of pent up closed cell foam and plastics hits my nostrils I am fully intoxicated with my purchase. Quickly I grab the phones from the box and hold them up to admire them. Everyone is right the marbling looks a thousand times better than the photos show. The next though these are much lighter than I thought they would be. I quickly dash to my Pioneer VSX92-THX AV receiver and fire it up. I attaché my iPhone bypassing it's DAC in favor of the Pioneers. Quickly I launch Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" (*all tracks are Loss-less encoded) the sound that flows from the headphones instantly sound like an old friend. The separation of his voice, guitar, and harmonica floor me. The sound-stage is unlike any headphone I have every listen to. It's very close to my home speaker setup.
I turn the volume nob up bit to see what the headphones and my receiver can do. My impression is that the pioneer has a very decent headphone stage. It can easily push the cans well in to the deep pain range with utmost clarity. I don’t see me needing an amp for the front room, which saves some cash for more music. I reach for my Sony’s to compare the two but realize that the included adapter plug with the HD600 will not accommodate the Sony plug. No biggie I pick up my new toy and head to my office. This is where I will be using them most of the time anyway. I have an old Mini JVC bookshelf system that I use as my near field stereo setup with my computer and it has the appropriate size connection to test both. To my surprise the JVC push both head phones very well. And also to my surprise both headphones have a similar sound at mild volumes. But when pushed the Sony’s quickly start to sound smeared and strained. Not so with the Sennheiser. They sound so incredible that you can easily slip in to the danger zone as to the volume level.
At this point I start to listen to some of my favorite tracks to better take in the sound of my new phones.
I fire up another Bob Dylan song “Most Likely you go your way (and I’ll go mine)” The detail of each instrument is very impressive and they are spread very nicely apart without feeling like they all come from the same space. Next was Clark Terry’s “Chat Qui Peche (A Cat that Fishes)” the horns sound so natural and I can hear each strand plucked on the upright bass. Each band member sound like they are in the appropriate spot. “Six Blade Knife” by Dire Straits has a very strong bass line that runs from the start to the end of the song. For a set of headphones that are said to be a bit soft on the bottom end they hit it with authority and without strain. The ability to hear every little sting touch on the lead guitar brought new elements to life. Song after song the amount of texture these headphones present is unreal. Everything is presented just as it was recorded. Every little breath the singer makes, every finger drag over an amplified string instrument, and every hacked mastering jobs.
These headphones are great and are everything I hoped they would be. Balanced and uncolored with exceptional midrange control. Can’t see me needing another set for a long time. Well maybe….