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Sennheiser HD 600

  1. glassmonkey
    Sennheiser HD600: Great all rounder headphones. Top deal in HeadFi. Scale well, especially with balanced cable. Could use more bass quantity.
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Oct 25, 2015
    Pros - Neutral sound signature, all parts user replaceable, scale very well, balanced cable makes them thrive
    Cons - Limited bass that doesn't extend terribly low, require keeping earpads firm
    I bought these headphones because I thought that closed cans were getting a bit fatiguing (pressure on the ear-drum from closed environment), because I wanted a can that could adapt to a balanced cable well, and because I wanted a neutral sound signature. I got all of those things.
    These are great all around performers and one of the best bargains that you can get in Head-Fi if you are willing to buy them used. I live in the UK and searched around for these in the UK and Germany used (always good to look at prices in several countries). I ended up picking these up for £135 off of a seller in Germany. I saw others go for more, and later others go for less, but I still feel they are one the most spectacular non-free bargains I have gotten in Head-Fi.
    The pair that I got has older drivers in it, and newer ones are reported to sound better--they have different materials in their voice-coils. Mine had worn down pads that made the bass sound muffled and limpid. It was like someone had strangled a snake and bathed it in chip oil. It was terrible sounding bass. Luckily, that was easy to fix, as soon as I got my replacement ear-pads they sounded like a completely different headphone. The veil was lifted, the bass was released from it's greasy dungeon, and the headphone became much more enjoyable. It still lacks on the bass, though.
    I listen to all kinds of music, from Miles Davis to Megadeth with stop-overs in weird Indie land, twee town, and the punk pits. These play what I like very well. I compared these to the stock HD800, and found that I thought the HD800 bass sounded loose and unsatisfying. The HD800 does space and bright lights well, like the Hubble telescope pointed to far away galaxies, but it's bass image was like if you turned that Hubble telescope at earth and didn't adjust the focus enough. I don't feel that way with the HD600, yay for my wallet!
    In the not too distant past, I finally got to try these beauties with a balanced cable, thanks, @pedalhead. I hooked up some Cable Pro Panorama balanced cables, plugged them into the balanced headphone out on a LH Labs Pulse Infinity + LPS stack and pressed play. The sound stage expanded dramatically, note impact and fullness shot up, and I found these inexpensive used purported to be mid-fi headphones performing on par with MrSpeakers Ether playing out of a single ended amp. I didn't do a direct head-to-head with both having balanced cables, and both playing out of the same amp (the MrSpeakers Ether was playing out of a special Cary Xciter Moon Audio upgraded valve amp), but damn those HD600s scale beautifully. At the Cambridge Head-Fi meet in April I had a similarly surprising experience with the Icon Audio HP8 MkII valve amp (there is one in a used shop down the street from me, very tempted). The soundstage exploded at me like a pile of black cat fireworks on the 4th of July with insufficient length faulty fuses. Luckily, no one was injured.
    I think everyone should own the HD600. If nothing else, it is a way to keep more expensive headphones honest. I know that I won't be buying a MrSpeakers Ether after hearing the HD600 with a middle of the road balanced cable, the MrSpeakers just isn't worth $1200 dollars more to me. I've also had the privilege of hearing this with the iFi iCan, and can say that the bass boost on the iCan made it sound like the headphone I've been wanting. The iCan and Micro iDSD are stellar choices, by the way, and drive the HD600 beautifully. One big advantage of the HD600 is it's neutral signature. If I listen with these, I know that any colour I'm hearing is from the source or the amp, so they are very good headphones for critical listening.
    There is one caveat I should apply: my HD600s have been modded. I removed the neutral acoustic foam and replaced it with what is referred to as tights in Britain (panty hose in the USA). This mod opened up the soundstage a little and made the HD600 a little brighter and crisper. Not everyone prefers it this way, and when listening to my suddenly bright Feliks Audio Elise tube amp (it's the C3G tubes) it can be a little fatiguing. The HD600s have a similar signature either way, so I'd advise people to try both ways. You can put the foam back in and tights cost next to nothing. I'm curious to try with a bit thicker acoustically neutral material to tame some of the overbright pairings. Speaking of pairings, for 300 ohm headphones, these are actually pretty easy to drive. They are listenable out of my Dell Vostro's headphone jack, and my DX50 sounds good with them. More power is better, especially for bass performance, but is not required for an enjoyable listen.
    If you don't have these headphones. You should remedy that, unless you are a basshead. End of review.
      pedalhead, Light - Man and trellus like this.
    1. pedalhead
      Excellent, succinct review mate.  I agree with everything you say about the HD600. #1 audiophile headphone bargain on the market today. 
      pedalhead, Oct 26, 2015
  2. alexdi
    HD600 vs. Many Other Headphones
    Written by alexdi
    Published Sep 26, 2015
    Pros - The benchmark for everything else
    Cons - Intrinsic design elements (i.e., they're open), underrated because they've been around forever
    If this is your first foray into high-end audio, you're listening at home, and you can afford a decent amplifier, buy these cans before you splurge for any others.

    Let me first attempt to burnish my credibility. I've had my HD600s for a few weeks. I'm not Steve Guttenberg and I haven't heard every system on earth. I have installed a number of 4-figure 7.1 systems, designed and installed my own room correction, and annoyed the Magnolia people at Best Buy by spending way too long running my own demo material through 5-figure Martin Logan electrostats. Also, I didn't spend my youth at KISS concerts, so at least for now, I'm not deaf.

    Some cans I've owned or still own:

    Grado SR80 (open, dynamic, $100)
    Sony MDR-7506 (closed, dynamic, $100)
    Oppo PM3 (closed, orthodynamic, $400)
    Hifiman 400i (open, orthodynamic, $500)

    I compared all of them back to back with these HD600s for many hours through a huge variety of well-recorded material, in all cases with an O2/ODAC. This latter component has ruler-flat response and zero audible distortion; I'm not messing with the output with anything that might favor one can at the expense of another.

    My short take is this: start with these HD600s. Mixing, pleasure listening, whatever; if your environment allows for open cans, start here. Nothing cheaper is a more complete product in aggregate. You can spend more and get improvements in some areas, but almost always with commensurate disadvantages elsewhere. Plenty of folks with $1500 HD800s keep their HD600s anyway for when they get tired of the pointed treble of that otherwise stellar can. Orthodynamics and electrostats will top them in the midrange and highs, but often lose on bass impact.

    Start with the HD600 so you can find out what you like. Because it's been around for 20 years as an audiophile benchmark that everyone's heard, you can find endless measurements and comparisons. A sentence that starts with, "I like my HD600 except for ..." is likely to bear more fruit than any other reference.

    That in mind, let's talk about how they're designed and how they compare with the others above.

    Headphones are just small speakers. With any speaker, you only want to hear one side. The other side makes the same noise at the same volume, but reversed in phase. If you could magically direct both sides at each other, they'd cancel out. (This is incidentally why it's important not to wire a channel backwards in your home stereo. Weird frequency nulls ensue.) We therefore need to do something with the reversed signal so it won't pollute the primary.

    Closed cans (and conventional box speakers) cover the back of the driver with baffling material to absorb the sound energy. While this approach doesn't want for accuracy or frequency response, it does tend to make the listening space sound smaller. Open headphones (and "infinite baffle" speakers) solve the baffling problem by not solving it; they just vent the back of the speaker into a huge space. Great for acoustics (no need to account for backpressure and the like), but at the cost of treating the missionary one seat over to your collection of Eazy-E.

    Sennheiser assumes you're listening at home with this can, so they've opted for an open design.


    Comfort is excellent. I have a big head and big ears. There's a lot of compression and I had to stretch the band a bit. After that, the light weight and plush cups that actually fit around my ears were easy to forget. The SR-80 are on-ear and uncomfortable, the PM3 are on-ear (for me) and very uncomfortable, the 7506 are on-ear and equally comfortable (because they have no clamping pressure), and the 400i are over-ear and equally comfortable.

    Treble is very good. Clean, not strident, and neutral or very slightly forward. On par or better than the 400i for most material. The PM3 is noticeably recessed, but otherwise excellent. The 7506 has a somewhat forward mix with at least one frequency peak that can make it sound thin. The SR80 is quite sharp and tiring with trumpets, violins, and so on. This same treble overemphasis can add life to otherwise dull recordings.

    Midrange is excellent. The 7506 sounds fairly good, but a bit "fake" and radio-ish back-to-back with the others. The SR80 has a large emphasis here suited to solo vocals, but becomes fatiguing quickly on any recording with more than a few things going on, particularly modern rock or pop. The 400i is stellar. The PM3 is almost as stellar, though ever-so-slightly colored. The HD600 has a very subtle, pleasing coloration I didn't catch until I equalized it. Detail resolution is slightly behind the orthos.

    Bass is excellent. Both orthos play a little deeper and with better definition, but lack the HD600's "punch." The 7506 is decent here. The SR-80 might as well not have bass at all. There's a definite argument for the PM3; I might even prefer that one because, like all good orthos and unlike conventional dynamics, there's less distortion at low frequencies. Very pure, distinct tones.

    My best description of the HD600 is "euphonic." There's nothing wrong with the sound. It doesn't sparkle or pound, or whatever wine-review description accompanies cans that try too hard. It's the kind of sound that makes you wonder where the last three hours went.


    You can't talk about an output device without a parallel discussion about the signal chain. That includes your audio file, a DAC, and an amp.

    The importance of file format is overrated. No one's ever been able to reliably tell the difference between 44 KHz / 16-bit CD "Redbook" audio and any ostensibly better (e.g., SACD, DVD-A) digital format. Surround sound and the limited dynamic range of analog records might be pleasing to some folks, but for pure 2-channel listening, there's no point chasing anything better than a CD .

    In fact, even lossy compression may suffice. Much of the vitriol directed at lossy file formats stems from bad encoders. If you converted your CDs to MP3 at low bitrates with whatever terrible encoder we had fifteen years ago, you'll probably catch some noises you won't like in some material (e.g., a subtle warble in the ring of a cymbal). But modern 256 Kb/s AAC (Apple's preferred format) or 320 Kb/s MP3 encoded in the last five years? The confluence of factors necessary to be able to distinguish it from the original source (trained listener, good hearing, great gear, isolated sound, repeated listening, looking for that specific flaw) is so rare as to be irrelevant.

    DACs (digital to analog converters) take your MP3, FLAC, MP4, or whatever digital signal and convert it to an analog signal that can be amplified. They're not that complicated; this conversion is very much a solved problem. Or would be if not for the lack of a line-out to skip the amplifier stage in most audio devices, or the tendency to bury the poor DAC among other noisy components that pollute the sound (read: every motherboard ever). If you decide you want a separate one, anything actually labeled as a DAC (ODAC, Modi, whatever) is fine. I spent a lot on an ODAC because it measures well enough never to need upgrading, but honestly, you could replace it with a $30 Fiio DAC and I might not notice.

    Amps have one primary purpose: make the cans play loud enough. Your laptop, phone, iPod, and sound card all have amps already. Whether any particular amp/headphone combination plays loud depends on the sensitivity (dB/mW) of the headphones, their "ohm" rating (their input impedance; the electric equivalent of backpressure), and how much power the amp can output at that ohm rating. Cans with low impedance (e.g., 20-30 ohms) and high sensitivity (100+ dB/mW) are easy to drive. You could run them to deafening volumes off an iPod. Higher impedance cans, not so much. These HD600s have high impedance (300+ ohms) and middling sensitivity. They need more power. They need an external amp, whether portable and battery-powered or a metal box at home.

    Just for kicks, let's do some math to prove the point. Loudness is all about decibels. Deafening is 120 dB, loud is 90 dB, and libraries are 40 dB. On this scale, things sound twice as loud every +10 dB, but every +3 dB needs double the power. You probably want to be able to hit at least 110 dB for transients. Maybe 115 dB if you don't like your spouse and want to never hear them again.

    The iPhone 6 has pretty typical power output for a portable:

    Driving 15 ohms: 45 mW
    Driving 30 ohms: 25 mW
    Driving 300 ohms: 3 mW

    The scale is linear: double the ohm load and you (in physics land with spherical cows and amps that don't run out of current or voltage) cut the output wattage in half. These HD600s are 300ish ohms with sensitivity around 97 dB/mW. The iPhone manages 3 mW for a load like this, so we're looking at maybe 101 dB max. Weak sauce, particularly since that's the loudest possible volume and the average volume for most recordings (that aren't Metallica) will be quite a lot lower. (If you raise the average levels with a maxed-out amp, the peaks won't get any louder, but they will clip and distort.) Compare the PM3: that one does 101 dB/mW with impedance around 30 ohms. With 25 mW from the iPhone, we end up at 115 dB; much more potent. You'd need 60 mW at 300 ohms (about 25 times as much power) to get the same volume out of the HD600.

    After power, the next challenge for the amp is to not ruin frequency response. That's hard for one big reason: the impedance of dynamic headphones (all of them unless labeled orthodynamic or electrostatic) changes with frequency. It might be 200 ohms at this frequency and 400 ohms at another. If the amp's output impedance is zero, that doesn't matter. If it's more than zero, the voltage sent to the cans (and by implication how loud they are at that frequency) will change over the frequency range. Whatever response curve Sennheiser had in mind ("Ve shall haf 14% less zeebilance"), high output impedance can result in something very different. This is why it's hard to take subjective opinions seriously if you don't know how the headphones were driven.

    There's another benefit to low output impedance: better bass control. Speakers tend to get sloppy and distort with frequencies near their resonance peaks. That manifests as a muddy, definition-smothering bass hump. The best way to prevent this distortion is with electrical damping, the ability of the amp to electrically prevent unwanted movement (in the same way that it's hard to spin a motor if you've shorted the power terminals). To keep the bass tight and changes in frequency response inaudible, the amp impedance needs to be, if not zero, at least 8 times less than the headphone impedance. A few inexpensive devices pull this off with just about every can (e.g., the original Sansa Clip+ that measures 1 ohm), though not many (the various iPhones tend to be 5-10 ohms).

    Everything else about amps starts to get subjective. To me, the perfect amp has zero distortion. To the folks buying tube amps, distortion is the whole point. Same thing with deviations to the frequency response curve; best-case, it's flat over the entire range, but if the "house curve" of your headphones is the typical V-shape with an emphasis on bass and treble, an amp that rolls both ends will make the cans an easier listen over the long term. Tube amps usually attenuate the high end; since the classic "audiophile" curve has strong treble to emphasize detail, softening that treble peak quite often sounds better.

    Anyway, long story short, if the open design of these HD600s didn't already to consign them to home use, their high impedance almost certainly will unless you want to supplement your traveling kit with something like a Fiio E07K.

    HD600 vs. HD650:

    The HD600 is one of the most neutral headphones available. Everyone says that about speakers they're used to that don't have glaring response anomalies (and sometimes even if they do), but it's true here: the correction to flatten the HD600's frequency curve is minimal. Music tends to be mastered with a neutral output device in mind; if your hearing isn't unusual, neutral cans are likely to sound good over the broadest cross-section of material.

    The HD650 is the same experience less some treble. It's constructed almost identically to the HD600; the $100 price difference is a marketing maneuver that has nothing to do with sound quality. Rolling the treble lends a "warmer" and slightly less detailed sound that'll flatter music mastered "hot" or with excessive treble or bass equalization. ("Warm" in audiophile parlance is akin to warm and fuzzy; "hot" mastering implies that the sound engineer compressed the dynamic range to make everything loud.) The HD650 also won't draw quite as much attention to themselves. Whether that's better is personal preference. The HD700 and HD800 take the opposite approach: you're getting detail whether you want it or not.
    Incidentally, not all "detail" is the same. Detail comes from boosted treble or better drivers. Lesser cans favor treble. Bumping the high range sounds clear and vivid on first listen, but quickly becomes fatiguing. (Bose speaker demos are notorious for this.) Better cans opt for more powerful, higher-impedance, lower-distortion drivers (or different technologies entirely as with electrostats) so intrinsically revealing that the manufacturer can use a more relaxed tone curve. The most detailed dynamic cans (i.e., the HD800) have only a mild treble bump. Less, even, than the HD700, which makes do with a less sophisticated driver. It's unsurprising, then, that reviewers tend to find the HD700 a little harsh on direct comparison.

    You could achieve the HD650's sound by plugging the HD600 into tubes, but if that's really what you want, there's a better way.


    Here we enter controversy. Audiophile purists believe in maintaining the integrity of the signal from recording to output. 24-bit audio, SAC-D, fancy cables, and giant Class A furnace amps are not out of place in this crowd. I respect the motivations for that view, but I've abandoned it with the HD600 for the better. We've had enormous advances in signal processing over the last twenty years. The HD600 is a mechanical device. It doesn't, and can't, have an perfectly flat frequency response. The cups and driver enclosure impact the sound too much, even if the driver itself could be made perfect, which it can't.

    But if we measure the curve, we can recreate any frequency response we want by digitally modifying the input. This is DSP: digital signal processing. The software equalizer in iTunes is a basic DSP, as is Autotune and every "enhance" button you've ever seen in a music player. The processing is almost never "free" (in the sense that it'll only have positive effects), but the benefits can vastly outweigh the downsides.

    To jump straight to the point, a company called Sonarworks has measured and corrected the HD600. The plugin is about $70 from them, and in addition to making the HD600 a legitimate tool for mastering, it also improves ordinary listening sessions quite a lot. Bass impact in particular, always a weak point with headphones, sounds speaker-like through it. The Sonarworks VST plugin works through a VST-supporting player like J-River Media Jukebox or any of a dozen VST hosts (e.g, Audio Hijack on Mac). If you don't like the result, you can emulate a variety of other headphones. Grado GS1000? Sure. HD650? Yep. I hate spending money on things that aren't hardware, but in this case, I'm sold.

    It gets better. After you've installed that, download Wave Arts Panorama5. It's a very powerful binaural emulator that'll take recordings out of your head and put the singer in front of you. Real binaural recordings use a dummy head with physical ears to create positioning cues that can sound wildly more realistic. Panorama (and free, albeit much inferior alternatives like 4Front and Psypan) use HRTFs (head-related transfer functions) to modify a conventional signal with math to recreate the dummy head effect. Done well and matched to your ears, it can leave you agog. ("Why is my neighbor pounding on the ceiling? Oh. Wait.") Likewise a program called "Out of Your Head," which is expensive because the author measured a bunch of high-dollar audio setups. Want your HD600s to sound (exactly) like a movie theater? That's now a thing.

    IN SUM:

    To wrap this novel: definitely try the HD600s. They're frequently on sale in the low $200s. There isn't anything as good anywhere near that price. To give perspective, after demoing them against the 400i for a month, an ortho at twice the price that everyone raves about, I returned the 400i. But I'm a home listener. If you're on the go, have small ears, and don't want to annoy everyone, try the Oppo PM3 instead. Truly, you can't go wrong with either.
      PinkyPowers, trellus and cpauya like this.
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    2. Music Alchemist
      Brilliant review! But where is it on sale (brand new) in the low $200s?
      Music Alchemist, Dec 26, 2015
    3. alexdi
      Thank you. To catch them on sale, make an alert on one of the various deal sites. It's usually, but not always, packaged with some high-dollar item that you can resell without much trouble. 
      alexdi, Dec 26, 2015
    4. samf
      Great review! Great, simplified, explanation of impedance. The next time someone askes that question, I can copy and paste. I, also, agree with the theory of diminishing returns. I own, the HD 600, DT880, and Q701. I believe, that three 300 dollar headphones give me more versatility than one 900 dollar pair of cans. Nothing, that I have heard, has been perfect for all genres. The "big 3", may be considered mid-fi, now a days, but you will spend a lot more to do a little better. IMO
      samf, Mar 18, 2016
  3. GLXLR
    Wonderful headphones that every audiophile should own
    Written by GLXLR
    Published Aug 6, 2015
    Pros - Soundstage is unparalleled, comfortable, smooth mids and treble, punchy bass,build quality, replaceable parts, tons of custom parts,
    Cons - Possibly too smooth for some, pattern on headphone can sometimes come off
    I hope every person looking into audio gear picks up an HD600. I really understand why it is a classic headphone and how even decades after its launch, it is still considered one of the best headphones you can get. In my opinion the best part of the headphone is its sound stage and positioning. While not super wide, it is super easy to determine where instruments and where they are relative to each other. Also the headphone is not extremely hard to drive and because of its popularity there are hundreds of amps that were designed with this headphone in mind. 

    Here is a link to my video review on youtube that goes a little more in depth: 
    1. Matthew-Spaltro
      Great headphone that outperforms some phones costing 3 times as much and thats no joke with the right amplification.
      Matthew-Spaltro, Aug 6, 2015
  4. xevman
    It doesn't get much better than this
    Written by xevman
    Published May 27, 2015
    Pros - Sound signature smoth fatigue free sound while still remaining fairly detailed, Fully modular design
    Cons - Not overly flashy the build doesn't really match the price, Bass doesn't extend overly low, Standard cable should be better
    In my humble opinion the Sennheiser HD600 is by far one of the best sounding dynamic headphones on the market period hopefully you'll agree with me at the end of this review.

    12 - 39000 Hz
    97 dB at 1 mW
    0,1 %
    ca. 2,5 N
    3,5/6,3 mm stereo
    3 m
    open, dynamic
    300 Ω
    260 g

    Nothing really much to see here other then the fact this is a very high impedance headphone with a moderate sensitivity which means this headphone clearly NEEDS good amplification. Self powered small USB dac/headphone amplifiers can drive this headphone fine however for the best experience I recommend at least a Schiit Magni or O2 as both these amplifiers swing plenty of current into a high impedance load. These headphones will play well out of a receiver (as long as its a resistor based headphone out not opamp), integrated amplifier and preamp aswell (I've used it on my vintage mid 70s era Sansui integrated amp and it drives the headphone very well to extremely loud levels too). If tubes are your thing these match perfectly with all OTL Tube Amplifiers due to their high impedance.

    The Sennheiser HD600 is a unique headphone in the way that every part can easily be removed and replaced and spares are readily available and when I mean every part I literally mean everything, you don't even need any special tools to disassemble it everything just snaps together. Fit and finish are really nothing to write home about, it seems durable enough never had issue with my headband cracking/snapping (which is supposedly an issue) I've had the headphones for a while and im not precious with them either. The overall build quality is fine and it does the job, it isnt spectacular by any means especially at this price point. The standard cable is pretty lame I destroyed mine in just a few months (the part that connects to the earpiece). Replace this with a HD650 cable which is much more solid and better made cable and no before you ask it does nothing for the sound don't try to tell me otherwise I don't believe headphone cables make any tangible difference, although don't let it stop you spending 5 or 10 bills on a custom cable though if that helps you sleep at night.

    If you can get over the initial clamping force that goes away slowly with time these are a very comfortable headphone the pads are soft and plush and feel good on the head. You can hardly feel the headband on your head there is no pressure points there other then the clamping around the ear. People stretch the headband to help loosen clamping force but I do not recommend this as its not needed and you can potentially break it. It will go away with time.

    The Sennheiser's sound signature can be described as neutral with a slight warm tilt although not overly rolled off at all. Its a smooth sounding and forgiving headphone not fatiguing to listen to in the slightest but still remains detailed enough to be somewhat analytical (Which the 650s don't do IMO).The bass is good just don't expect it to extend super low, Its right were it should be not overly abundant but enough for the headphone to not sound anemic in the slightest. This is why to me the HD600 to strike the perfect tonal balance for a headphone.The 'veiled' term used by some to describe these headphones a load or rubbish and anyone that believes in this probably listens to obscenely bright headphones. Soundstage is good but not amazing for open headphones if you want a headphone with a superior soundstage have a look at the K7xx line of headphones or step up to the HD800 which especially the latter offer a massive sound stage. 

    Ill give you my listening experience with my 3 amplifiers source is music files from my PC -> Optical in to my DacMagic 100

    Woo Audio WA6
    If I blindfolded you you probably wouldn't be able to tell this is a tube amplifier. The HD600s sounded great for this amp however the low end wasnt as present or as tight as it was with my other solid state amplifiers. Highs where crisp and clean nothing rolled off and mids were present with great punch and clarity. There really isnt that much more say about this amplifier. If I had a bottlehead crack or Woo Audio WA3 there would have been much more to say and made for a more interesting comparison as these are both OTL which greatly alters the sound signature.

    The wire with gain as people call it again nothing really much to say here either the HD600s paired wonderfully plenty of power to drive these cans with ear shattering levels. Bass was more prevalent on this amplifier then on the Woo (probably due to the higher dampening factor). Mids and highs seemed very similar, so similar infact the only difference I could pick was that the highs seemed to be more prevalent on this amp but thats not to say that the Woo rolls off the higher frequencies that would be an exaggeration, best way to describe it would be slightly smoother sounding.

    Gustard H10 (modified v200 clone)
    Pairs excellently with this amplifier. Bass was very controlled and tight and more prevalent then on the O2 (which would make sense as people describe the V200 as a warm sounding solid state amplifier) other then that it was very very similar to the O2 across the rest of the frequency spectrum. Keep in mind this amp is complete overkill for these headphones.

    The HD 600 is a forgiving headphone but at the same time is still detailed enough to give you an accurate portrayal of whatever it is you are listening to. As you can clearly see it does everything rather right and that's a big call to make as its very hard to find a headphone you can actually say this about. No headphone is perfect even top of the line flagships which cost many times more then this. The HD 600 isn't perfect either but for the price point this headphone is available for its as close to perfect as you can get.
      Hal X, PedroVazquez53 and Pokemonn like this.
    1. Sefelt103
      Great review xevman. The HD600 is a milestone in headphone design. It has a simple robustness and modularity that enables its life to be extended. Its sound is natural and fairly neutral, lacking a bit in bass extension and micro details compared to modern much more expensive headphones. It scales beautifully and even with its high impedance can be driven by many portable devices. I have often wondered about the 'veil' and like yourself have come to the conclusion that this is untrue. If you listen to headphones with an unbalanced frequency response, that emphasise the attack of the signal, are harsh or overly bright with forward mid-range or treble you might well come to the conclusion that these headphones have something blocking the sound. People label these headphones as 'boring' preferring lower quality more distorted headphones. I wonder how much the 'veil' has cost Sennheiser in sales.
      Sefelt103, May 27, 2015
    2. xevman
      To be perfectly honest the whole veil thing is dead in the water. My impressions are based on the later iterations of the HD600, where the baffle material around the driver has been changed to a white material. I have a hunch that the previous iterations before 2007 which both had black material (completely different material not just colour change) around the driver may have effected the headphones sonic qualities. I don't know as I've never tried the older iterations before but I think that the may have rolled off the higher frequencies considerably more then the new iterations therefore this is the reason why people labelled it veiled. As for boring i can only see people who like their v shaped sound signatures saying that because a the Hd 600 is vastly different from what they're used to.
      xevman, May 27, 2015
  5. Asavage
    Sennheiser HD 600 (For lack of a more creative title)
    Written by Asavage
    Published May 18, 2015
    Pros - Very Comfortable both sonically and physically
    Cons - Outdated aesthetics (personal preference), Long burn in time.
    Dear Head-Fi community,
    By the time you get to my short review I am sure you have read many other reviews for this popular set of cans. So without elaborating on the wonderful mids, the neutral sound, or great soundstage I would like to share my favorite attribute of these wonderful cans. These of all my cans I keep coming back to even though I have superior headphones. I find they are the most sonically comfortable for extended listening of any of my headphones and I find myself shelving my Beyerdynamic t1s and Audeze in favor of my HD 600s during a long project for quiet background noise. I recognize that in nearly every aspect the other cans sound better and I do prefer them for serious listening and movies. But something about my HD 600s makes the very comfortable to listen softly for hours at a time. In order to try and quantify this preference I have tried several different cables and light modding. Following this I discovered that the only thing that seemed to affect this attribute was the simple foam mod (removing 4 pieces of foam around the driver. At first I noticed that the Sennheiser veil that many people complain about was lifted and I seemed to get a better bass and treble response, however after a long session I discovered that I could no longer wear them for extended periods like I could before. With most things headphones things become very subjective, however if you are considering these awesome headphones don't be afraid to give these a shot because they will never leave you tired or strained.
  6. Delayeed
    The Amazingly Natural HD 600
    Written by Delayeed
    Published Apr 3, 2015
    Pros - Price, Comfort, Neutral, Accurate, Depth, Realistic.
    Cons - Lack of bass extension, Narrow stereoimage, Weak headband, Wear tight at first
    DAC: CA Dac Magic Plus.
    Player: Foobar2000.
    Source: PC lossless files through USB to DAC.

    I've had these headphones since Christmas now and coming from HD 598's the improvement was noticeable (less grain,more bass impact, NEUTRAL and more realistic) but the treble sounded hot, and the stereo-image too narrow... 

    After listening for them and comparing them for few days, my brain started to adjust to the sound of the headphones and it started to sound AMAZING.
    The headphones stereo-image started to widen a bit (or a placebo).

    Anyway, now 4 months after owning them I have been really happy with them and I just did the foam mod (I replaced the inside foam with stocking and stretched it over the driver)
    and OH MY GOD. It's pretty much a whole different headphone. The whole sound of them just opened up and the stereo-imaging is now clearer and sharper than ever.
    Listening to Tipper's Forward Escape album, I could hear every little sound moving around in space super clearly.
    Only negative is the lack of bass impact, but I guess I can't have it all. :D
      rymd and Pokemonn like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Delayeed
      If you look inside the earcup, you can see the foam so what you do is you pull out the earcup things carefully.
      Once their off theres just the thin sheet of foam covering the driver and just take that **** off and put the earcups back.
      Totally reversible but doing that loses bass impact but the mids and higs just glow its night and day for me atleast.
      I think for anyone thinking of doing the mod should replace the foam with some really thin material like stockings and cut it and strech it over,
      so it protects the driver from all the gunk thats going to build up over time. I cant go back.
      Delayeed, Apr 5, 2015
    3. rymd
      thanks, i'll look into it.                              
      rymd, Apr 5, 2015
    4. Delayeed
      no problem
      Delayeed, Apr 5, 2015
  7. Zennheiser
    Faithful Stand By Reference Standard
    Written by Zennheiser
    Published Mar 24, 2015
    Pros - Uncolored, even balance. Beautiful mids and detailed top octave. Well defined Bottom Octave.
    Cons - Needs solid amplification to sound its best.
    I bought these as a demo from Music Direct some years ago.  And they're still on the front lines of my headphone stable.  They're non-fatiguing, and exhibit an openness no other headphone (even the 650, which I also love, but it's not the same cup of tea....) I've heard has.   I prefer these for Orchestral and Chamber music.  I have a set of Ultrasone Pro 900's that seem to integrate well with Big Band Jazz (Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin, Bob Mintzer, Buddy Rich, etc.) I have used these to master recordings of my Brass Quintet and they've performed very well for me.  A stalwart!  While they do seem to benefit from good amplification, they're not so fussy that a compact mixer like an Allen & Heath (I've even used it on a small Mackie) can't do the job.
  8. Jay0001
    My GOSH!
    Written by Jay0001
    Published Mar 11, 2015
    Pros - Underpriced in 2015, Speed, Stacking Ability, Forgiving, Mids, Detailed, Comfort, Easy to drive,
    Cons - Fit is a bit tight at first, Plastic build doesn't really scream "High End",
    This headphone is simply stunning. Especially given the new price. It never does anything wrong no matter what I throw at it. It handles all genres of music like a Bad-ass and it's easy to drive and for about 500$ (with a schiit stack or o2 Amp oDAC combos) you can get something that gets close to high - fi while saving money for school.
    I also own many other headphones (Ath-m50x, lots of Grados, HD-650, and two HD 518s ) and my sources are the Bottlehead Crack, The Odac +o2 Combo, and the Schiit Stack.  In my opinion, This headphone is the best general-purpose headphone.
      pressureworld and Pokemonn like this.
    1. tafens
      What is the Schiit Stack you refer to? The Magni+Modi or Asgard+Bifrost?
      tafens, Mar 31, 2015
  9. rjm003
    Hard-Working Reference
    Written by rjm003
    Published Feb 27, 2015
    Pros - Luxurious midrange, full and extended bass, smooth treble, comfortable.
    Cons - Maybe a bit too full-sounding? Not quite as resolving/detailed as some of its peers.
    Let me just say one thing up front: if you have any complaints about the speed or the bass extension of these headphones, you need a better headphone amp. /endofdiscussion The HD600s will take the best in source material and amplification, and give you the best sound in return. It's not coincidental that these cans are held up as the reference's reference: more than any other headphone I can think of they sound like whatever it is you are listening to. Their most notable audio characteristic is this ... amiable compatibility. That and the ability to play cleanly at very loud peak levels. Combined, the HD600s are ready for whatever you care to throw at them, never drawing unwanted attention to themselves, always sounding great.
    Perhaps part of the secret to this neutrality and high enjoyment factor is the way they dial down the resolution just a tad. A fraction de-focused, one notch less treble intensity - blending the music into a coherent experience rather than individual strands of detail. Some people might disapprove, I call it genius.
    These are comfortable, durable headphones built to a high standard. The foam pads on the earcups and headband died after a decade or so, but I easily replaced them with the new parts from Sennheiser.
    1. judomaniak
      completely agree about the speed issue, if u think this headphone is slow throw away the cheap cable it came with and hook it up to a good amp, magic
      judomaniak, Aug 12, 2016
  10. Hal X
    Neutral and natural - my personal reference
    Written by Hal X
    Published Feb 12, 2015
    Pros - Neutral, extended, detailed, natural, realism, voices, value, reference quality, build quality, looks, comfort, no peaks, smooth, balanced
    Cons - Very good soundstage but lacks ultimate tridimensionality.
    These are, imo, the best Sennheiser headphones. Among the many headphones I've tried, the only ones that feel really neutral and natural. A perfectly balanced sound, smooth yet very detailed. Bass has very good extension  and awesome overall tone and impact. Mids are magical, dead neutral and flat and you really feel this on voices and strings. Highs are very extended and smooth and there's plenty of detail. An awesome allrounder. Best value headphones out there, with X2 as a close second. Sounstage is very good but not on par in tridimensionality with that of hps such as HD800 and X2.
    Build quality is great, very sturdy but light, and they are very nice looking. Cable is good but improvable, HD650's cable is better. Comfort is really great, they disappear after a while and theyb stay perfectly fit even while moving your head. Pads are very comfortable.
    I find HD600s better than HD650s, much more natural mids and overall sound , they're more involving with better bass (hd650s' bass has too much mid-bass and less impact). HD650s are still very good though.
    X2s have a more tridimensional sound with more bass but lack some naturalness and smoothness in mids/highs, there is a notable peak up there. HD800s have better soundstage but everything else is worse because of another peak in treble and mids are a little too recessed.
    Overall HD600s are to me the best hps out there because they are very good at everything and have no big weaknesses, altogh newer hps may be better in specific fields. They are the only ones with a totally neutral, smooth and balanced sound. Very very pleasing, I consider them my reference headphones to compare others to. Definitely a MUST-HAVE.
      ElMarcado likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. abby normal
      the 580s in my experience have mediocre build quality and both of mine developed buzzes that make them unsuitable for [re]mastering applications. how is the 600 on build quality? how durable are they?
      abby normal, Feb 16, 2015
    3. Hal X
      I actually found build quality to be very good and had no issues with it, but maybe others had different experiences 
      Hal X, Feb 16, 2015
    4. abby normal
      have had 4 senns fall apart on me.
      abby normal, Feb 16, 2015