Sennheiser HD 600

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Sennheiser HD 600 Headphones ( ear-cup ) - gray, black

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1000+ Head-Fier
The Grandad HD 600 Is Showing Its Age
Pros: Price
Decent build quality
Non-microphonic cable
Soft ear pads
More bass than the FR suggests
Good with piano
Cons: Cable Length and connectors
Sharp high-mids/low-highs
Pretty bad/non-existent highs
Not a lot of bass quantity
Instrument separation
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The Sennheiser HD 600 (600). It literally needs no introduction – unless you’ve never heard of it before, then you might be new to the high-end audio world and you’re reading this review because you’re looking to move from the stuff that comes with your phone over to something…good. If that’s the case, you can grab these and you’ll be quite happy for a long time. The HD 600 has been around for over 20 years! It is a lightweight over-ear open-back headphone with aluminum voice coils and neodymium ferrous magnets with a 2-layer diaphragm. So, uh…it has stuff that makes it sound good – no need to get a degree in Electrical Engineering to understand that these are just higher quality than your “normal” headphones. These retail for $400 normally, but can be found for less quite often.

Accessories/Earpads/Eartips (7/10):

The 600 doesn’t come with a lot of accessories, which makes sense at this price, but what it does come with is high quality and really all you need. It has a really nice hard clamshell-style case like a DCA set comes with. I’ve seen headphones 3x as expensive that don’t come with a case, so a case of this quality is super nice. The inside is filled with soft neoprene, so it’ll keep your headphones from getting scratched, but if you hit the case hard enough against something, they could break – it’s not super padded. The 600s also come with a 6.35mm adapter that attaches to the 3.5mm jack – meaning you can use these on almost anything – a phone, a laptop, a computer, a home stereo system, etc. as long as it has one of those two jacks.

The ear pads are a soft velour that breathes well and should last quite a while, but if you want more bass, a leather/pleather aftermarket set would be the only way to get that. Sadly, these don’t come with those ear pads – multiple ear pads are more the trademark of expensive sets of headphones. Overall, these receive a decent accessory/earpad score, not the best, but better than some.
HD 600 Case.jpg

Cable (8/10):

Interesting. That’s the first word that comes to mind. For starters, it’s long AF at around 10 feet – great if you want to listen from far away. It will not work for portable use unless you want to wrap it up and carry around 8 feet of cable in your pocket. Aftermarket cables do exist for this if you want to use it portably, so add that to your cost if that’s your plan. Next, the ear cup connectors feel like a weird take on the 2-pin design you’d see on IEMs. You’re not going to find very many aftermarket cables terminated in this style as it’s not the industry standard (3.5mm is.) So, if you have literally any other cable already, it won’t work with these. The plugs do come in black and Red so you can tell which goes where (Red is Right, Black/white is Left.)

Lastly, and this is a big one, the cable is as non-microphonic as I’ve ever heard on just about ANY headphones. That’s a little crazy because I’ve heard headphones that cost 10x as much as this that still have more microphonic cables than this. Yeah, it doesn’t perfectly pass that tap test or the head-move test while there’s no music playing, but with music playing it’s nearly silent – impressive. The amp-end termination has already been mentioned, but you get two common options and I’d be surprised to see a balanced 4-pin XLR on a headphone at this price.

Build Quality/Comfort (7/10):

Sure, it’s a little clampy and there’s a lot of plastic, which can scratch easily, and the mesh grills can dent if you’re not nice to your stuff, but the overall quality on these is high for the price. You’re not going to see wooden ear cups or leather or all-metal construction, but you will pay a lot more to get those things – so if you want those, stop reading this review and go get those – message me and I’ll give you some ideas of what to get.

Comfort is good – I could wear these for a long time, but as mentioned before, the clamping pressure is high. They definitely won’t slip off your head and your ears are unlikely to overheat, but you might get a headache after a while.

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Yeah, the Frequency Response chart below from Crinacle pretty much covers the HD 600 in a nutshell. There is almost no bass. You can hear the bass, and it’s good quality bass, but it’s definitely not to blow your mind – there’s basically no thump or reverberation. The rest of the tuning here is VERY neutral, almost to a fault, though the highs actually drop off quite a lot, which can be good in some ways and bad in others. I am powering these with the 6.35mm jack on low gain from my Cocktail Audio HA500H at around 48/100 volume with the tube amp off through Tidal HiFi.

Lows (10/20):

You can definitely hear the bass drums on David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue)”, though they have some rattle and almost no body. The same goes for the sub-bass – you can hear it, but it’s muted and to the rear, without that breathtaking quality you can get from bassier headphones. It’s better than some I’ve heard, but it’s nowhere near the bass response of the JM Audio XTC-O I’m comparing it to (not a fair comparison, these retail for $850 and are some of my favorite headphones ever – it’s all I have to compare.) It’s certainly not the worst bass I’ve heard, but it’s just not competitive with headphones designed to have more bass.

Well, as you may imagine, on the next song, Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” the bass doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the song here. The bass is still surprisingly present, and that may be my amp pushing more low-end than a lot of other amps, but I’d expect the typical DAC/amp/computer soundcard/phone most people will use to power these to have almost no bass on this song.

Mids (10/20):

Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” sounds decent here, but I keep having to adjust the volume because if I go loud enough to enjoy the song I also end up with harshness in the mids, which is uncommon. Everything can sound pretty grating to me here and it makes me not want to listen to one of my favorite songs.

Staind’s “Something to Remind You” is my vocals forward test song and the clean guitar sounds really good in the intro. Aaron Lewis’s voice comes in very clearly and cleanly with none of the issues “The Fall” had. The bass can be heard clearly without overwhelming the song and the overall presentation here is very good at this price.

To test classical music performance, I use The Piano Guys' “Code Name Vivaldi.” The intro bass sounds good but has a little extra reverb in spots that don’t belong there. The pianos sound good but very muted and distant. The mid-strings come in cleanly, but get lost with other instruments. The overall presentation here is very 2D and the instruments blur together more than I would like. If you’ve never listened to a headphone over $500, this might still sound really good to you, so don’t let my comments put you off from this set – I’m supposed to nitpick and the HD 600 is still an excellent performer for this price.

Now, at this price, the performance here is pretty good – I’m really not sure of anything at this price that sounds better, certainly not the Hifiman HE400, but maybe the Deva or Sundara, or XS.

Highs (7/20):

As usual, the horns sound good in the intro of Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes,” but I use this song to test for sibilance and sharpness. Oddly, the 600 is more sibilant than I’d expect with the rolled-off highs, but if you look at the corrected bottom chart from Crinacle, you can see that 3-4k is actually boosted, which is where the sharp “S” sound lives. So, not a great presentation from the 600 here, which hopefully means the next song does well.

Nope. There’s almost no instrument separation here – I can’t even tell there’s high-hats or cymbals in the background most of the time – that’s terrible. They elevated the highs, but that sharp drop after 3k is hurting the highs performance heavily now. Rough tuning Sennheiser – I’ve heard multiple IEMs in this price range that sound way better.

Then maybe Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across the Burren” will sound better. Yes, finally a song that benefits from the 600’s tuning. It avoids almost all of the sharpness that this song can portray. SO, if you listen to a lot of classical piano, but hate the sharpness that some other headphones present here, the 600 may be for you!

Soundstage/ Instrument Separation (5/10):

It’s OK. The soundstage is better than you would expect for this price, but it’s not mind-blowing like the HD820s are. The instrument separation is pretty bad, once again, in this price range it’s fine, but compared to more expensive headphones (or the cheaper Final A5000 IEM) it’s not great.


OK, this is not a fair fight, but the XTC-Open are the only other full-size Open-back I have. Even the $275 Final A5000 IEM is better than these, but they’re brand new, not 20 years old. The XTC-Open has a more microphonic stock cable. That’s about the only thing it’s worse at. It has better bass, better mids, and better highs – no point in spending more time on that. I don’t have a Sundara here to compare to these, but I hear really good things about the Sundara, and my memory of the Deva was really good as well. Honestly? Unless you really need the long cable, I’d just get the Final A5000 IEM as I really enjoy the sound from those. If you want a full-size, check out the Sundara, Deva, or XS for under $500. If you can grab a pair of these for $200 used, it may be a good deal.

HD 600 Left.jpg


More bass than I was expecting, sharper mids and highs than I was expecting, better piano than I was expecting, and worse highs detail than I was expecting. A legend like the HD 600 has to compete with its own reputation, and also its younger siblings, the HD 650, 6XX, 660, 660S2, or whatever the heck it is now. Sennheiser just needs to stop remaking the same headphone over and over and over while giving them slightly different names – it’s getting old. It’s time for something new Senn. Get one of the newer versions, they’re supposedly better. The 600 is really starting to show its age, but that said, it’s still a solid choice under $300, just not under $500, and definitely not under $1k.

Headphone Scoring (v3):
Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10/10):
Cable (8/10):
Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (8/10):
Lows (19/20):
Mids (17/20):
Highs (15/20):
Soundstage / Instrument Separation (9/10):


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Try installing realphones software to correct the frequency response of these headphones, you will be surprised but your headphones will play damn cool, this is a huge difference.
would these be considered a good benchmark headphone to compare everything else?
@Yamil Pretty late response, but I'd say so, yeah. The HD600's sound the most "normal" to my ears, if that makes sense. Other than bass extension, it (mostly) just sounds right.
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New Head-Fier
Sennheiser HD 600: Three Years Later
Pros: TOTL midrange performance
Smooth, inoffensive treble with good amount of air
Cons: Not for bassheads
Sennheiser pad tax
The Sennheiser HD 600 needs no introduction. These legendary headphones have been reviewed by many, so what do I have to add? First, I would like to talk about why I decided to purchase these many years ago.

Some Random Backstory​

In December 2019, I got into the audio world with the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee. Coming from a Razer Kraken Pro v2, it took me some time to appreciate its sound signature. After all, I switched from a bassy gaming headset to a warm neutral headphone. It wasn’t until I switched back to the Razers that I finally heard how muddy and boomy it was. So, I stuck with my 58X satisfied—for a few months.

Around this time, I was getting interested in getting another headphone, deciding between the HD 600 or the HD 650. Yep, I caught the upgrade bug. Eventually, in August 2020, I chose the HD 600, because I wanted to hear what a neutral reference sounded like.

Nearly three years later, I am still using these headphones almost daily, despite trying other headphones like the RODE NTH-100 and the AKG K701s. So already, you know I like these a lot. Still, I would like to share my thoughts on it. 😊

Non-Sound Stuff​

The build quality is solid. It is made mostly of plastic—with the grills made of metal—but it is very good plastic. I have dropped these a few times on wooden floor, and they still look good as new. I have not seen any wear or cracks, so I am confident these will last a long time.

I also love the modularity of these headphones. It feels great knowing if something happens to any part, that I can easily order them and replace without any tools. Beyerdynamic is the only other company I’m aware of that has accessible replaceable parts.

The comfort is pretty good, though out of the box and with new velour pads, it can feel clampy. Once the headband is stretched and the pads wear in, they are one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn. My ears never feel hot wearing these. And I find the four-nugget headband to be far more comfortable than what the HD 58X has. I think Sennheiser made a big mistake changing them with the newest revision.

Sound Parameters​

For listening, I use JDS Labs Atom amp and DAC, connected to my Windows 10 PC. I listen to music through Spotify and foobar2000. My tastes have gravitated towards progressive and post rock and other genres recently. Here’s a playlist to give you an idea of what I usually listen to nowadays.


I am always surprised when people say the HD 600’s have no bass. Sure, they lack in sub-bass, and I wish it digs lower at times, but they definitely have mid-bass presence, especially in comparison to something like the AKG K701. At lower volumes, I can see it being a problem, but since I mostly listen at moderate to high volumes, they have more than enough for my liking.


Ah, those mids. They are truly something special. Its timbre are still something I haven't found in any headphone to date. When I listen to other headphones, the midrange sounds artificial and makes me aware I am listening to headphones, if that makes sense. However, with the HD 600's, they sound so natural and organic that I forget I am wearing headphones at times. I imagine myself in the studio in front of the musicians. It is that good. With that being said, I would not call the mids completely neutral. They have peaks around 1.2kHz and 3.5kHz. They do not bother me personally, but I can see why some would call the mids forward or shouty.


What really helps the midrange make it the way it sounds is that treble. It is present, yet smooth and inoffensive. There aren't any sharp peaks or anything overly off-putting about it, nor would I call it "veiled". Some have reported peaks at 5kHz and 10kHz, but I am not sensitive to them and have never bothered me. I will say though that there is quite a bit of air above 13kHz, which is the complete opposite of it being rolled off. On a rare occasion, it can be a bit much, but this is more to do with how I am feeling and also how the music is recorded.

Pad Tax​

I can't talk about the HD 600 without mentioning the pad tax. Before the new revision, the velour pads wore out really quick, thus changing the sound. The treble especially took a big hit. Paying $50-60 USD for fresh pads is already crazy, but to keep the sound "fresh" at least yearly is ridiculous, although there is worse (and I won't name names). With the new pad revision, the pads are noticeably stiffer, and last much longer. Thankfully, the sound is very similar to what I had when I first got them a year ago.


The Sennheiser HD 600 is a headphone that everyone should hear at least once. Their well-balanced tonality, exquisite midrange timbre, reliability, modularity, and durability. All that together makes a headphone, even 25 years later, that is timeless and won't ever be forgotten. And I am not sure there will be another one like it again.
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Well said and thank you for that review!
incredible review!


100+ Head-Fier
Is it still relevant in 2022
Pros: Tried and proved build quality and reliability
Epitome of neutral sound
Exceptional midrange
Not Fatiguing, easy to listen to for longer listening sessions
Intimate presentation (subjective)
Cons: Clampy out of the box
Somewhat narrow soundstage compared to other competitiors
Doesn’t extend very well on both ends
Not very exciting
Sennheiser HD600
Welcome to Sennheiser HD600 review of This is by no means my first review but I see it as beginning of greater things in the future so I will rant a little if you don’t mind. Still, if you are not interested you can skip this part.

Many of you have a pair Sennheiser HD6** series headphones or at least heard one at some point. So probably there is no need for another review of one of the most popular headphones of all time. After all you can read review of another, more accomplished reviewer that you feel more familiar with. However what I am trying to accomplish here is setting a stone; defining a benchmark. So in the future when I review a pair, I will probably compare them to HD600 regardless of the price along with other competitors, so that you will have a better idea of the reviewed headphones and understand where they stand in the grand scheme of things.

Another reason to review such a well known headphones is so that you get to know me better. If you like something I don’t like or vice versa, it is more likely you know it this way. I hope when you get confused about a remark you will come back here and say “Oh, so that’s what he means by that.” These are Fahrettin’s take after all.
Lastly I would love to help you in anyway I can and I hope you would help me to improve myself too. That’s what I have been doing in audiophile groups and forums, helping others and asking for help myself. I see reviewing products as a means to grow up as an audiophile more than anything and definitely saw the positive results of listening with the purpose of reviewing a product. Rant is over, now back to the review.


Without boring you too much, I don’t necessarily have a sound preference. I tend to enjoy different sound profiles as long as they do well what they intend to do. I’m not very sensitive to treble so I can enjoy the most notoriously bright headphones, however I’m somewhat sensitive to upper mids area. Please keep these in mind.

Build, Comfort and Trivia

Most of you know that Sennheiser HD6** series are very old and still going strong. Strange thing is, from the series, only HD580 is discontinued. HD600, HD650 and newest addition HD660s are still made. Apart from the newest brother HD660s, HD600 and HD650 are revised visually but the sound didn’t get changed, or if there was a change, it was not so meaningful to make note of. Also with the addition of Massdrop (Drop) collaboration HD6XX, which is an alternative skin to HD650 essentially, HD6** series headphones reached to a wider audiance.

I don’t need to go in detail about the build but have to mention anyway. The Sennheiser HD600 headphones are mostly made out of plastic and metal. One can wish to see more metal but believe me, as someone who has more premium headphones made out of mostly metal, light headphones are something you miss a lot. They may look flimsy but I assure you they are not. This build is around for more than 30 years and some people are still using their 20+ years old pairs.

They may come as clampy at first, especially if you have a big head but you can stretch the headband a little or bend the spring metal outwards to make it more comfortable. Power requirement is not too high. They don’t sound good from a headphone or laptop jack but don’t require a power plant either.




These are not bassy headphones, we all know that. But before we pass this section I would like to elaborate a little.

Before HD600, I had a pair of Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X. I liked those headphones but at some point I wanted to try a more refined sound and applied some modes and to some degree I achieved to make them more clear and refined. Then when I found a deal on a pair HD600s, I jumped on it. In my initial comparison I didn’t hear much difference tonally, however difference in refinement was definitely there. Earlier I chose HD58X over HD6XX because I thought my less educated ears would appreciate more bass and extention, also HD58X required less power. But bass of HD600 was tighter, more impactful and had more texture if that makes sense. You could hear the same amount of bass from HD58X but could not “feel” it. Long story short I sold HD58X immediately.

Still HD600 don’t extend into sub-bass very well. I did my test on several songs and can’t say Sub-bass is non existent, it is there but barely. I don’t like too emphasized subbass, but here the sub-bass is simply not enough.


This part needs no explanation. Intimacy is the name of the game and HD600 headphones are one of the best in this area. Vocals are exceptional. I didn’t find them shouty ever but I know some people do. To get irritated I need to increase the volume more than comfortable listening levels. Well, since these are kind of mid-forward headphones, if you increase the volume, mids irritate you before bass and treble so that’s fair. It’s just that the rest of the frequency range is lacking a little compared to mids.

Most of the detail is here in the midrange. You can hear tiny changes in vocalists’ voices. If the song you listen to consist of mostly midrange instruments, you will have a really good time. If not, well…


If last part might made you think treble is lacking. That’s not entirely true. Upper mids and lower treble is just right. It is a pleasure to listen to. I want to say I feel the slightest veil that some people make note of when I come from another headphone. But shortly it disappears as my ears adjust to the sound. What doesn’t dissappear is, just like the bass, treble also don’t extend very well. With metal songs I can’t feel the energy and excitement up top. The cymbals sound like they are too far or in another room. It makes to want to turn the knob but then mids become unbearable.

Technical Performance

I want to say these headphones are detailed but I won’t. Like I said earlier, detailed information only exists in the midrange. I know drivers are capable to produce details for a fact. But tonaly this performance don’t spread out evenly throughout the entire frequency range. Most headphones known as detailed are bright because forward treble makes information up top more audible. Even mediocre drivers may come as detailed with this gimmick. Sennheiser makes the opposite so even if driver produces the sound, that sound masked by other notes and you can’t shake the feeling of missing something. Strangely I don’t get this feeling in my Clear MG and that headphone is even darker. Difference in quality I guess.

Soundstage is also somewhat narrow as you may already know. I feel like I am parroting other reviewers here but I have wider closed-back headphones, like Fostex TH610s. Still being open-back, they don’t fell claustrophobic. However I need to mention, there is a fact named Sundara. They are similarly priced, have better clarity and detail, decent intimacy unlike other mid-dipped Hifimans, wide soundstage and better extention on both sides. I haven’t tried HD600s on tubes unfortunately because the tubes I tried until now were sloppy and I don’t want to dive into that rabbit hole yet.,

Timbre is as natural as it gets, I sense nothing wrong with it and nothing to elaborate, which is a good thing.



That didn’t end on a high note, did it? Let me address to that. What I made out of HD600s is, they are neutral for the most part but not an all rounder. For vocals, classical or acoustic music, they are a delight. I also enjoyed some low-fi lists people advertise these days a lot. It was a great match. However I couldn’t enjoy Opeth or bass heavy EDM songs, no suprises there.

Let’s take a step back and think. How many headphones do you know that is made in 90s (1998 if I’m not wrong) and still crowd favorite? Maybe other brands learned how to make headphones and competiton got fiercer but people still suggest HD6** series headphones and HD600 arguably best of the iterations. In my opinion HD6XXs are bargain for 200~$ (240$ MSRP on Drop if there is no discount). And if you can find others during sale seasons less than their MSRP, I say grab them. However in 2022 400$ for HD600 (550$ for HD650 and 500$ for HD660s) is a bit stretch. If full size headphone market improved as fast as IEM market, Sennheiser would be in great danger (and they were until they released IE600). But for now, they are still going strong.
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fortunate son
fortunate son
From the Stefan AudioArt website: "By removing or replacing key parts of the assembly of the HD ... 600 ... headphones the issue of vibration control is properly addressed and the result is a headphone which performs at a higher level." Stefan did the mod for me and I started liking them for the first time since I bought them in 1996. But my opinion soon changed and I only use them now when I'm more interested in comfort than fidelity. The pads muffle the sound. I like the sound best with no pads and bass eq. Crystal clear (akin to electrostats) but lacking in dynamics. The Decware ZTM3 amp delivers the best sound I've heard to date from my HD600.
I have heard about it for the first time and now very interested. After writing this review I got a pair of hd660s and they are everything I wanted hd600 to be. I'll look into it and if it is reversible maybe I'll try to improve hd600's sound a bit but, I use it as a reference point in my reviews as I wrote above so I don't really want to change the sound.



100+ Head-Fier
garbulky: Great review ! It's the insight (from long-time listener's/owner's) that is most critical when defining a components sound quality (potential). As you've done with your review.

I too will purchase the Emotiva A-100 (basX) for my recently purchased Hifiman 400i's -a fantastic (accurate.neutral, transparent, nuanced) reproducer along with layering and finesse that competes with far more expensive makes/models. And this, from the (average?) headphone socket (that I didn't know I had -lol) of the superb Cambridge Audio 840E preamplifer.

For headphone enthusiasts, Massdrop is offering an HD-600 clone for $149. US$ ! How can one resist ?

Enjoy ...



100+ Head-Fier
serman005: Now tell us what you really think ! (lol) A passionate review. Folks interested will likely walk/run much faster should they take up Massdrop's HD-600 clone offering at $149. US$ !



100+ Head-Fier
nec3: (Not a) 'Veil'Heiser. Touche' ! Yeah, that is fair label for some of the company's models, not to name names (HD-650).

At any price point really, an open, neutral extended "sound" should be expected. At the truly 'entry-level' price, consider the superb Koss 'Porta-Pro' ($50.-$75.), or in the full-size category, the excellent Hifiman 400i - a shockingly open, articulate, nuanced and accurate headphone -and a 32 ohm load !