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Comparison: Sennheiser HD600 vs Sony MDR-V6

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
THE SETUP

Headphones: HD600 /w stock cables, Sony MDR-V6
Source: Technics SL-PD627 5-CD changer
Amp: Corda HA-1
Interconnects: Radio Shack cheapies

Note: The new Corda and the Sennheisers have both been burnt in for 36 hours. My only point of reference is the Sony MDR-V6, the only other good cans I've ever owned.


CONSTRUCTION AND COMFORT

The build quality is very good. Everything seems to be very solidly built, and isn’t going to break anytime soon. The headband is quite tight; it puts quite a bit of pressure on your head, and it takes time to get used to it. Hopefully the headband will loosen up a little with time. Moving on to what really matters: sound quality!

THE SOUND

I used the following musical excerpts to make my observations. I used mainly classical music, because that is what I’ll be listening to mainly.

--Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10, 2nd and 3rd movements, (Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovak, conductor)

--Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, 1st movement (Isaac Stern, violin; Jaime Laredo, viola; Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Emanuel Ax, piano)

--Beethoven: Sonata for Piano and Violin, Opus 12 No. 1., 1st movement (Isaac Stern, violin; Eugene Istomin, piano)

And some solo violin, of course…
--Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin, No. 3. (Leila Josefowicz, violin)

And some jazz..
--Miles Davis: “Blue in Green”, from Kind of Blue (Miles Davis, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor sax; Bill Evans, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums)

Here are some observations I made while listening to these excerpts on both headphones:

When listening to the Sennheisers, I was immediately struck by the “realness” of percussion instruments. Snare drums had just the right amount of snap and triangles sounded just as they do in real life. In comparison, snare drums just sounded downright awful on the Sony. It was flat and hollow sounding, NOT the way snare drums are supposed to sound. The HD600 really gives the listener a sense of depth- you can easily hear where the instruments are located in the orchestra; winds sound like they’re at the back, strings sound like they’re at the front. The V6s sound much flatter, with no perception of depth to speak of. There’s no separation between instruments, making everything sound compressed. The “air” the Sennheisers put between each note is truly remarkable. I didn’t hear the any airiness with the Sony. When I listen to the Sony, I feel like I’m in a studio as opposed to the “concert hall” feeling I get when I listen to the Sennheisers.

Both headphones have very tight, deep bass, but I felt like the Sennheisers gave more heft to lower-pitched instruments. One of the biggest advantages the Sennheisers have over the Sonys is midrange. The Sennheisers have much more midrange presence than the Sonys. While Coltrane’s tenor sax is luscious on the Sennheisers, it sounds rather dull on the Sonys. Solo violin music has so much more warmth and weight on the Sennheisers, particularly in the lower range, and the highs are smooth—never harsh or overly bright. The Sonys on the other hand makes Josefowicz's violin lack warmth and plain sounding in comparison, and it can get too bright in the uppermost ranges. While I’ve never found the Sonys to be unlistenably harsh as some people say they are, they are definitely bright, and consequently some recordings sound very unnatural. When listening to ensembles, the emphasis is always on the upper-register instruments. Overall, the Sennheisers have a much more natural tonal balance than the Sonys.

However, when people say that the HD600s are too “dark”, I can see what they’re getting at. In fact, on some recordings, I agree with them. For example, on the Beethoven Sonata I listened to, the violin sometimes sounded woolly and muted, particularly when playing on the G and D strings. This, however, could be because of the recording quality, seeing as it was recorded in 1969. The wooliness was gone when I listened to Josefowicz’s rendition of the Ysaye solo sonata. On most recordings, I do not find the Sennheisers to be too dark.

CONCLUSION

This was definitely not a fair comparison, seeing as the Sennheisers cost $220 while the Sonys cost $60. The Sennheisers are in a totally different class; they are better than the Sonys in every aspect sonically. They allow you to see far deeper into recordings. I’ve already noticed a lot of little details that I totally overlooked when listening through the Sonys. In the end, Sennheisers are just downright more enjoyable to listen to. I will keep the Sonys, however. Their closed design makes them handy for use in noisy environments. For all my “serious” listening at home, however, the Sennheisers will be my only choice. So far, I am very satisfied with my purchase.
post #2 of 72
I agree, Sennheiser HD600 are IMO the best sounding headphones in the world.

If you're up for it, it gets even better! Improve the connections (interconnect & cable) and you will get even more out of them. Sonically, it shouldn't change much, but it should just make what you hear sound even better. (sharper notes, smoother bass, tighter midrange, basically more of the sound that's being outputted, like saturation, more impact...)
post #3 of 72
Quote:
Sennheiser HD600 are IMO the best sounding headphones in the world.
"Harry and I (and Harry's girlfriend Barbara) had the impression that it would be very difficult to tell the differences between HD600 and HP890 if we wouldn't have had the opportunity of a direct A-B comparison."

Interesting. I'd really love to hear what fiddler would have to say about the Philips headphones.
post #4 of 72
You know, I'd really like to give those Philips a try. They look like they'd be great for bed time (while reading sitting on chair or lying down). I'll definately go buy a pair if they sound decent and warm but don't emit a lot of noise to surroundings.
post #5 of 72
Thanks for the great review Fiddler! I own the Sony 7506s and although I don't really listen to much classical music, your review has made me want to get out there and reconsider the HD600s. I assume both headphones were run through the Corda for this review? Did you notice any improvement in the V6s when driven with the headamp compared to your previous configuration?

Thanks again

I agree guys...those Philips HP890s look very tempting for the price, especially in light of Jan's comments.
post #6 of 72
Cool review, thanks for that! Now it's time to tweak and upgrade your system
post #7 of 72

Re: Comparison: Sennheiser HD600 vs Sony MDR-V6

Quote:
Originally posted by fiddler
THE SETUP There’s no separation between instruments, making everything sound compressed...
Well, first off that's a little hyperbolic imo. The instruments are separated on the V6s, just not as naturally as on the HD-600s. The V6s were designed as studio phones, and were never designed with the goal of naturally depicting space. These are completely different phones with different uses in mind.

And as far as bass is concerned, the V6s go lower with more sensitivity than the HD600s and just about any headphone for that matter. The QUALITY of tone of the V6's bass is another matter and more subjective, as I find the bass to be smoothed over a bit and lacking in fine detail like the complicated resonance of cellos or stand-up basses. But to say the 600s "are better than the Sonys in every aspect sonically" is false as the bass extension of the 600s is inferior to the V6s.
post #8 of 72
Try a pair of clous and see if you think the 600's are still dark.
You will be very surprised!
post #9 of 72
Plus, your comparing Open cans to Closed cans...two different animals.

George
post #10 of 72
I think denon 950's are better than V6's. I personally think that V6's might even be claimed to 'suck'. I think the KSC 35's are better in fact. I think even the E888's are better and they might be called overpriced. What the hell are you talking about "they weren't designed to naturally depict space"??? Man, are you trying to say they were designed to suck? The HD 600's are BETTER in every respect. The V6's sound like ****ing trash damnit, and the people with halfway decent taste on these boards know that. Okay, for $60 you get closed phones that sound *alright*, yay, congratulations, beyond that they trully are inferior. Better bass extension??? Yeah, if you can make it out under all that boominess. I for one am with everyone who ever said they disliked the V6's.
post #11 of 72
I'm of the opposite camp - one who dislikes the Denon 950's somewhat, dismissing them as being peaky in response. I actually heard too many peaks in the response of the Denons; they're neither neutral nor flat. They sounded too dark to my ears - and I heard a peak in the high treble (at about 16kHz). In that respect they sounded too close to the crappy Sennheiser HD 500's (at least from a receiver's headphone jack). They did, however, sound much better than the horrid Sony MDR-V600's (they're NOT the same headphone as the MDR-V6's), which are colored, inaccurate, peaky and sucky all at once.
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally posted by ai0tron
I for one am with everyone who ever said they disliked the V6's.
Sounds like you have a personal hatred of the V6's, so of course your gonna go with the 600's.

I personally love my 7506's, they sound sweet, the AKG501's sound better and hopefully i'll have a pair of 580's soon to round out my collection and see what all the fuss is. Personally, the V6's are the best Closed cans for $60, simply can't be beat. Why is it than the nearest competitor for closed cans seems to be the Beyer 250's which are way more $$$ than the V6's?

"I think" means opinion. Koss are a different animal.

Inferior to what? Open cans that cost $300? Sure they will sound like trash....

Plus, the Denons you mentioned run for what? $200? Quite overpriced if you ask me, Denon cans are known to fall apart, the V6's are built like tanks. They just kick butt for the price. There's not a whole lotta folks here who dislike the V6's i might add.

George----IMHO
post #13 of 72
Actually, im with you, I think the Denons friggin suck also. Thats why I ripped em apart and stuck the drivers in completely different housings. But i prefer the Denons to the Sonys. Okay maybe I was a bit harsh with the whole they sound like trash comment. But seriously, after hearing them and realizing HOW OFTEN they are recommended i think there need to be a few more contrary opinions to this movement towards loving the V6's.
post #14 of 72
....And I thought people in Georgia were nice!
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally posted by ai0tron
Actually, im with you, I think the Denons friggin suck also. Thats why I ripped em apart and stuck the drivers in completely different housings. But i prefer the Denons to the Sonys. Okay maybe I was a bit harsh with the whole they sound like trash comment. But seriously, after hearing them and realizing HOW OFTEN they are recommended i think there need to be a few more contrary opinions to this movement towards loving the V6's.
You prefer Denons over Sony's?! Ok, maybe i should mail you my Denon 350's..if you think they sound nice you can keep the wretched things! Like i said, the V6's are simply the best deal you can get for quality closed cans. The denons are not closed, fall apart, and the lower models actually sound like trash. I've used the 210's and 350's...mind you, several pairs of each model since they kept breaking on me. Maybe your ears are just different? Dont want to sound mean or anything, how are your ears? To my ears, my 7506's sound great with the 25S, the denons sound like crap no matter what.

George
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