Sennheiser HD 600

  1. rigodeni
    Masterfully engineered fusion of sound, comfort, durability and style. Truly legendary!
    Written by rigodeni
    Published Aug 2, 2013
    Pros - Exquisite detail and separation across the entire spectrum, resulting in a neutral yet very natural sound. Comfortable, and modular.
    Cons - Requires more power than most mobiles or on-board sound cards can provide. Open, so you can't use them in public.

    I have used these directly connected to my Creative X-FI Fatality Pro sound card, then through my Fiio E11 and Bravo Audio V2 amplifiers (separately). I have also tried them with my Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed) and my Galaxy Nexus phone, both paired with the Fiio E11. I have owned them for a little over 2 months now, with over 100 hours of run-time on them.
    I tested these with various media formats (OGG, MP3, FLACC) at various bit rates (128kbps – 320kbps). My operating system is Xubuntu 13.04, and I am using the default ALSA driver. I use Audacious as my media player with EQ off. I enjoy all genres of music from many different era's, so I prefer a neutral sound signature with adequate but not overpowering bass. Below are some of the other headphones I currently own.
    1. Sennheiser HD 558, HD 25-1 II, CX-200 Street II
    2. Grado SR60i
    3. AKG K142, K403, K350
    4. Sony MDR-V700, MDR-V300, XB700, XB500
    Am I a true Audiophile? I am proud to say yes, yes I am. I am not really sure why people are hesitant to call themselves an audiophile. Maybe they think it's some elite cult you have to be voted into or something. In any event, the definition of audiophile is "a person who has a great interest in high-fidelity sound reproduction." I would venture to say most people who invest in these headphones fall into that category, whether they know it or not.
    However, because I have a wife and two kids to feed, I can't afford the $$ or time to get the setup some people have. Yes, that means I can't afford a $300 cable, or a $3,000 amp. That means I am your average Joe audiophile who has to think long and hard, to squeeze the best sound out of every dollar spent. Because of this, I think my setup is likely very close to what most people might have who are considering a headphone like the HD 600. And let me tell you now, you do not need a $1,000 budget to get high-fidelity sound.
    Design/Comfort (10/10)
    From the satisfying "click" you get adjusting the headband, to the sexy looking speakers behind the steel mesh, you get a sense of quality and style that justifies the price. The padding (velour) is soft and plush, the clamping force is just right. The paint job is akin to a granite counter top. When visually comparing these to the HD 558, you can tell it's in another class entirely. In addition, Sennheiser has managed to make them even more comfortable. I wear glasses, and I have worn these for 6+hrs straight with no discomfort whatsoever. This is quite a feat considering the heavier and larger construction.
    The replaceable cable is slightly thinner and allot lighter than the 558. The isolating material on it is soft and slick to the touch, vs the rubbery, sticky feeling of the 558 cable. It is terminated to a standard straight 3.5mm, but includes a really nice 6.5mm adaptor. When the adaptor is on, you would think it's actually terminated to 6.5mm. I was actually fooled into looking for a 6.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor in the box. I had issues connecting my 558 to some mobiles with the bulky adaptor, not an issue with the 600.
    This is a completely open headphone. In comparison to my other open headphones, it seems to "leak" sound out the most. I am not sure if it's because they have larger drivers, but people in the room will definitely hear your music, even at low levels. At times the wife watching TV in the same room (15 ft away) will ask me to turn them down, albeit only when I crank them. But this design is part of the reason it sounds so wonderful. Just be aware this is not something you want to be using in public.
    In terms of durability, this has stood the test of time, and even if you were to have an accident, nearly every single part can be removed and replaced on this headphone, including the speakers themselves. In this regard, it is just like the legendary HD 25-1 II. Best of all, Sennheiser does not charge you a premium for replacement parts. This gives you piece of mind and a sense of belonging. Once your in, your taken care of for life.
    Sound (10/10)
    I have heard many headphones, but none gave me the feeling this one does. The closest would be the Grado SR60i, the one that got me started in all of this to begin with. I purchased many headphones since, but none sounded significantly better, until the HD 600. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be "mouthwatering". The detail is so raw and natural, and the separation of each note across the entire spectrum (even bass) is exquisite. Particularly impressive to me was the depth/texture you hear from instruments (and vocals), from drums to violin, and everything in between. Everything the SR60i does well, the HD 600 does better, and everything it lacks (bass/comfort/design), the 600 does masterfully.
    The experience is best on acoustic or live recordings. More complex compositions like you find in classical or rock, or anything with great vocals, are fantastic too. Honestly, nothing sounds "bad" with this headphone, those are just the area's where you can easily tell the difference when comparing it. Those who primarily listen to electronic, with allot of bass, might not appreciate everything the HD 600 is capable of.
    Do you need an Amp?
    Probably the most commonly asked question about this headphone, so I give it a section of it's own. The short answer is, try it out with what you have first. You will be surprised at how easy these are to drive, despite the high impedance. When connected direct to my X-FI Fatality Pro, volume was sufficient for me at 45%, on quieter tracks I would go to 60%. As reference, the HD 558 and SR60i would require no more than 30% on the quietest tracks. I could still experience the headphone in all it's glory connected this way.
    In my experience, the HD 600 needs about double the power of your average headphone. So if you set volume past 50% with your current setup using an average headphone (32-70Ohm), you will need an amp. Contrary to what people say, most modern aftermarket sound cards (like mine) in the $90-$150 range can drive these to adequate levels. Specially new ones with built in headphone amps. So I suggest you get a sound card before considering an amp, this would give you a better DAC (most are 110dB SNR or more). That way if/when you get an amp, you wont need one with a DAC. This increases your options and will usually save you money.
    If your going to be using a laptop/mobile device or all-in one PC, you will probably want an amp. I suggest to start with something portable, affordable and powerful, like the Fiio E07K (Andes). This amp has a DAC, but if you must use your devices DAC, simply leave volume under 70% on the device to avoid introducing more noise. Let the amp do the work, and you will be fine. That is what I do on my Fiio E11 with my Galaxy Nexus/Sansa Clip, and it sounds fine, with plenty of power to spare. I suggest the newer E07K model because it's more powerful and can be used as a desktop amp too (works while charging).
    When comparing my X-FI to either the E11 or Bravo, sound seems to stay more neutral and clear (less noise) at higher volumes with the amps. But the volumes I need to push it to hear that difference is beyond what I consider safe for longer periods. Listening at safe levels, differences are negligible, even more so when comparing one amp to the other. If I was to get very analytical at higher volumes, I would say the X-FI has slightly heavy highs, the Bravo more mid heavy and warm, with the Fiio being the most flat. However, I hear a much larger improvement when going from my Galaxy Nexus+E11 to my X-FI alone, than going from the X-FI to X-FI + E11/Bravo. The main improvement is in sound stage and separation. This probably holds true for most cases going from a mobile to a desktop setup. I still consider the sub $100 amps worthwhile if you actually "need" more power, just don't expect it to improve the sound significantly, beyond adding volume. In my case, to make a worthwhile upgrade from my X-FI, I would need to spend $400+ on an amp.
    For those who are into it, I hear great things about how receptive the HD 600 is to all forms of amplification. Some claim to hear big differences between amps or cables, even within the same price range. However, be careful not to fall victim to buying based on reviews at this stage. I say this because improvements at this point are largely dependent on ones tastes and/or analytic listening ability. People and their ears are not all created equal. In addition, reviews are based on the individuals unique setup, which could be drastically different than yours. Just like buying a new set of clothes, consider it a process to determine what fits you, at a price your comfortable with. You may have friends/family that own some good amps or hi-fi stereos, the older the better. Give those a try next time your there. If you actually hear a big improvement then you know it might be worth it for you to start shopping around. Go to a local store with your own source and headphones to test, or at least buy with a flexible return policy. Don't rush it, the more time you take, the happier you will be with the outcome.
    Verdict (10/10)
    I highly recommend this headphone for anyone who is considering spending this much, you will be hard pressed to find anything with a better blend of sound quality, comfort, style, and durability. The only other real contender is the Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm. The 880 has better bass but requires allot more power and is not as modular, durable, or stylish (in my opinion). If you plan to ever use them away from your rig (but not in public), the HD 600 is a no brainer. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to drive. Worst case scenario you just need a sound card or a sub $100 amp like the Fiio E07k. If you are looking to get into amplification, this headphone is a great one to experiment with. 10/10 across the board for this puppy.
    1. mikebirm49
      I own a wide spectrum of high-end headphones: Audeze LCD-3, Sennheiser HD800, HD700, HD650, HiFiMan HE-500s, Beyerdynamic DT880 600 OHM, Shure 1840, Audio Technica ATH-AD900X etc but my HD-600s occupy a special place. They are the finest headphones for the price with a magical combination of looks, comfort and sound. They are legendary. Great review. I use mine amped with stock cables and they have never let me down.
      mikebirm49, Aug 2, 2013
    2. rigodeni
      Good to know you still appreciate the HD 600, despite it being much less expensive than the rest you own. I feel similarly about my Grado SR60i, it will always hold a special place for me.
      rigodeni, Aug 8, 2013
  2. Lycosa777
    Jack of all trades, Master of almost all
    Written by Lycosa777
    Published Jul 23, 2013
    Pros - Amazing Sound Quality, Non-Sibilant, Balanced Natural Sound, Great Instrument Separation, Very Comfortable
    Cons - Bass doesn't sound right with demanding hip-hop tracks

    Im a relatively new "audiophile" although I, like many others, have been a long time music listener. Like the teenage stereotype, details weren't important to me, but as I started to listen to music from the likes of Kenny G, I felt the thirst for detail as the earphones I owned (UE400s) just didn't deliver the sound I was after. Bass and treble were the focus, as it is with many of the current head/earphones today.
    A while later, I received a pair of UE Super Fi 5's which were great but I felt myself struggling to enjoy the sound right out of the box. It wasn't long until I discovered my drive for high fidelity audio. The bass was punchy, the highs were very detailed and the mids were the focus, making them an intimate IEM which I enjoyed for 2 years. One day, I found myself with a wad of cash which I initially intended to spend on an Amp and DAC.. until I stumbled upon a pair of HD 600s for sale... which funnily enough, belonged to Brooko!


    These to me, have been the headphones ive been yearning for! They're perfect. My ears are sensitive to high frequencies and get fatigued very easily, but due to the highs being slightly laid back, I find myself listening for hours and hours a day without hearing a hint of sibilance!
    The Bass is punchy and detailed without being boomy. The mids.. are absolutely stunning. The realism and intimacy is nothing short of overwhelming. Vocals and many instruments, sounded incredibly natural with timbre. The soundstage could be better at times, although I really do enjoy the intimacy it offers with most of the songs I listen to.
    Highs (10/10)   Mids (10/10)  Bass (9.5/10)  Soundstage (9/10)
    If I was ever to get another pair of heaphones, the only two id ever consider are the LCD 2s or the HD 800s. As for the HD 600s... I dont think id ever replace them. If they ever break, ill always buy myself another pair, regardless of what headphones I have. They deliver the exact sound ive been searching for! Worth every cent IMHO.

    *My apologies for the link! Its a link to the image I wanted to upload here, but hosted on facebook. Its no virus afaik. The last thing I want to do is get banned after my first post! Ive tried countless times to upload a pic but when i click on the "insert image" button, it says "please wait" and nothing happens. Id be grateful of any help as I am a newbie to Head-fi, although ive read a lot over the past few years. I also dont know how to respond to the comments below, but I do appreciate the feedback! Thank you!*
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Good review
      btw that site you listed
      according to WOT:
      This is a malware site, listed at HpHosts Blacklist.
      This site may contain rootkits, trojans, viruses, malware, spyware, rogues, adware or redirect to sites containing rootkits, trojans, viruses, malware, spyware, rogues, adware.

      XxDobermanxX, Jul 23, 2013
    2. lin0003
      Nice review. Lucky I did not click on that link...
      lin0003, Jul 24, 2013
  3. JustinBieber
    Does everything well!
    Written by JustinBieber
    Published Jun 16, 2013
    Pros - Good mid-bass, relaxing sound, removable cables, comfortable.
    Cons - Lacks sub-bass impact, lacks excitement to some.
    Here's my thoughts on the HD 600. During the review, I'll be throwing in the similarly priced HE-400 and the lower end HD 598 for comparison. Be warned, these are not direct comparisons. I have sold my HE-400 and HD 598, but still remember how they sounded on certain songs and if I don't feel comfortable about any statements towards them I simply won't post them.  
    Build Quality/Design/Comfort (3.75/5): These are really comfortable, they have a bit of clamping force but you will easily get used to them. They weighed a lot less then I expected and the pads are made up of very soft material. I would say the HD 598 is more comfortable because it has less clamping force and softer pads, but the HD 600 is still excellent in this category. The cables are removable but they aren't as thick and don't feel as sturdy as the HD 598's cable. These are plastic with some metal in them, the plastic doesn't feel very cheap, but to me they don't look or feel like a $400 headphone in your hands.
    Lows (4/5): The bass has good power at the mid-bass area, but under 40hz is lacking a bit in impact. The bass is not the fastest, I noticed the HE-400 had quicker bass when I listened to upbeat Techno, like the song "E" by Drunkenmunky. I would say the HD 600's bass is adequate, it never wowed me with power and speed, but it didn't sound anemic or very slow either. It did well with Trap, rap, and dubstep showing good extension and moderate power but it doesn't exaggerate the bass which makes those genres enjoyable to some. Comparing the HE-400 I actually think the HD 600 has more perceivable bass in most songs, because of it's stronger mid-bass which you hear more in music, but at the same time the HE-400 will seem to have more bass if you play a song that relies heavily on sub-bass. Comparing the HD 598, I simply felt the HD 600 had just a touch more quantity wise.
    Mids (5/5): The mid-range is less forward than the HD 598 making the 600 a bit easier to listen to without fatigue. The mid-range is smooth, vocals almost never seemed to be harsh or sound fake in any way. The HD 600's mid-range felt a bit more full than the HE-400, mainly in the upper mids. I felt the HE-400 was a bit recessed in that area, even with new velour pads.
    Highs (4/5): The treble in this headphone lacks some detail and excitement. The treble is not veiled, but I couldn't say it is bright. The HD 600 has close to neutral treble that makes it very easy to listen to. Cymbals still have some sparkle and energy but it isn't overdone in any way, sibilance rarely occurs on well recorded tracks and when it comes it isn't heavily exaggerated. If you like a relaxed signature, this will probably be a 5/5 for you. If you want a more dynamic sound with excitement, you should probably look elsewhere. I think the treble was less bright and fatiguing versus the HD 598 and HE-400.
    Soundstage (3.75/5): The soundstage has a good size to it but it doesn't always give you that out of your head sound with some headphones. This is kind of a good thing, because the intimacy the HD 600 gives you can be more exciting. Sometimes when I listened to my previously owned HD 598 and the Q701 I auditioned these headphones seemed to make some songs sound too far away, which made me lose excitment. The HD 598 has a larger sound-stage, not only in width but also in height. I listened to "Kitchen Sink , Boxcutters remix" by Amon Tobin and I could tell the song sounded smaller on the HD 600 than the 598.I can not comment on the HE-400 because I don't feel comfortable with my memory regarding soundstage on them.
    Amping & Synergy: The HD 600 is a bit harder to drive than your average headphone but it scales incredibly well. It sounded good out of my phone, even better out of my Vintage Fisher 400 & JA-S55 stereo, and excellent out of my mediocre headphone amp (RA53b). Comparing the sound from out of my cellphone to the 30+ year old receivers or my headphone amp wasn't a night and day difference, but I noticed the treble was more relaxed and less sharp, plus the bass had increased power.
    Final thoughts: The HD 600 is a great headphone that can handle almost all genres. It has a smooth and relaxing signature that I personally love. You will need to look elsewhere if you want a fun and more dynamic experience, but if you're looking for a easy to listen to headphone that won't make you too bored the HD 600 should be near the top of your list.
  4. thecansmancan
    A Masterpiece of Neutrality
    Written by thecansmancan
    Published Apr 3, 2013
    Pros - Air, Dynamics, Sound stage, Price, Comfort, Build
    Cons - Straight cord, Box does not close, Lacks definition in middle of sound stage
    After over two decades of service, the HD 600 is still going strong. Since the early days of its introduction, the HD 600 has grown to become something of reference point within the audiophile community. Furthermore, its neutral, airy sound has made it a favorite among audio engineers. As such, you will struggle to find better at this price point. Now, please enjoy the video, it offers my full opinion on the HD 600 as well as a touch of comparison between it and its sister, the HD 650. If you have any questions please, feel free to ask. Thanks for watching.
      gevorg, donunus, dalb and 1 other person like this.
    1. kuhchuk
      Great review. My only major critique is that the mic on your camera picks up TONS of background noise/static.
      kuhchuk, Apr 3, 2013
    2. WhiskeyJacks
      Well, I am receiving these on this upcoming Friday from a friend, and I am hoping I like them as much as you do because seriously I thought you were talking about your kid or good review though and cannot wait to hear the difference from the DT880
      WhiskeyJacks, Jul 23, 2014
  5. bedlam inside
    Great sound, subpar build and wearing comfort
    Written by bedlam inside
    Published Mar 17, 2013
    Pros - Great sound quality, shades of the HD800 at a quarter of the price
    Cons - Poor ergonomics and distinctly below par build quality spoil an otherwise good Headphone
    The HD-600s are very good sounding Headphones with average build and to me below average ergonomics. With the HD-800, Sennheiser have shown they know better. Being open back you are not isolated from noise around you and equally you leak a lot of your own music into the environment, which can cause trouble. While sonically well above average, the lacklustre build and ergonomics of the HD-600 let them down big time. Or maybe the shape of my head is not Teutonic enough? At the price they command I’d expect better, maybe more in line with the Audio Technica ATH-W1000. 
    Sonically they offer enough of the HD-800’s magic to make them worthwhile trying on, to see if they fit your head better than mine. To me they are a Curates Egg, their excellent sound balanced by poor ergonomics and build, at too high a price, to others they may very well be THE headphone to take home.

    Read the whole review here:

    1. Sweden
      The thing with the HD600/650 is that they need a little time to loosen its grip, and if you have an above average sized head you need to stretch them out carefully in the beginning if you want' them to be more comfortable.
      Sweden, Mar 17, 2013
    2. NA Blur
      First off the build quality on the HD600 is superb. The detachable cord is Kevlar reinforced, the headband padded, and the plastic blended with carbon fiber. Sure they are not indestructible, but they are built very well.
      NA Blur, Aug 26, 2013
  6. BK201
    The best headphone Sennheiser will ever create
    Written by BK201
    Published Mar 1, 2013
    Pros - nice mid-treble ratio
    Cons - bass rolls off
    VERY flat. Now this is a headphone I enjoy.

    Except for that bass roll off. Forget the HD800, forget the HD700, find some way to get deep sub bass out of these and you have a winner.

    It sounds quite clean and is never veiled (HD650, HD598) nor is ever harsh (HD700, HD800). That is all.
      Kon Peki likes this.
    1. Jmstrmbn
      Give it a listen with the Bottlehead Crack, the bass goes all the way down on the tracks that call for it :wink:
      Jmstrmbn, Mar 1, 2013
    2. Headzone
      I doubt amp would change the situation. They just can't produce bass loud enough below 50hz.
      Headzone, Mar 1, 2013
    3. xeizo
      My Philips SHP8900 definetely can(I have tested with a tone generator) but I never miss that aspect when I use the HD600 as everything else is SO much better. And Philips SHP8900 are really good in their own respect, just not anywhere near the same class as the HD600 :)
      xeizo, Mar 8, 2013
  7. Oeufdepoire
    Work in progress
    Written by Oeufdepoire
    Published Jan 30, 2013
    Pros - Very light and flexible detachable cable, 3,5 mm jack with adapter, makes you attend a private representation, very comfortable
    Cons - Needs an amp, clamp hard
    I will compare them to the Grado SR80i with both S and L cushes, and to the Shure SE215.
    You don't need super-quality equipment to turn the HD600 into an instrument of bliss. My setup is composed of a GrubDAC and a Millet « Starving student » hybrid amp (12AU7 version), built with good components (Wima & Panasonic FM caps on the signal path, stock Philips ones for the power supply, JAN Philips 12AU7 tubes) but not the best (Mundorf caps, expensive Mullard tubes or silver wiring), and powered by a LM317-based power supply build by my father with stock components (it's not an excellent PSU like a σ11).
    I just want you not to think what I thought before : « Aw with my sub-standard equipment I won't be able to enjoy such a good pair of headphones. » That's not true. Maybe you never thought that, it's only me who's a little paranoid, but here. I wanted you to know.
    I used to enjoy music in a somewhat « mystic » way : sounds comes from nothing, they are just sound, pure sound. For example, knowing anything « extra-sonic », like the names of a band's members, the year, &c, ALTERAIT my enjoyment of the music, because it made me constantly aware that it was only a recording of sounds produced by humans. That was with the Grado and Shure.
    With the HD600, I can't listen to music in this « nothing-but-pure-sound » way. For the best.
    The HD600 gives too much substance, reality and texture to the instruments' sound to allow me not to visualize the instruments being played. I can't hear a cello without feeling the bow rubbing on the strings. Everything sounds more real through them. This illlusion is perfected by all the details the headphones bring out the player's breathing, the fingers' touch on the cello, the unexact attack of the ARCHET on the string... And they do present soundstage, contrary to the SR80i and the SE215 – I thought these presented soundstage, but compared to the HD600, it can not be called « soundstage ». The illusion of reality is without comparison with the Grado SR80i or the Shure SE215 (I know, it's not the same price range and all, but still... for those who would like to compare). Listening to music with HD600 is attending a private representation whereas with the two other headphones, it's like of a projection on a screen, still with details, but it sounds flatter.
    It seems there is an optimal volume to find, a precise point at which the voices or the sounds are just loud enough to bring out all their details, but no too much so that the sources doesn't seem too close from the listener. (The recording must SE PRETER A this though.) The illusion of presence is so strong it pulls tears from my eyes... Listening to Yo-Yo Ma's interpretation of Bach's Suites for unaccompanied cello in these "circumstances" is an amazing experience.
    So far, I find the HD600 more excellent for classical trios or smaller formations more than for anything else.
    Pics of the unboxing :
    Unboxing09_1024x683.jpg Unboxing10_1024x683.jpg Unboxing11_1024x683.jpg
    Unboxing12_1024x683.jpg Unboxing13_1024x683.jpg Unboxing14_1024x683.jpg
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  8. MikeP1985
    Great Neutral Headphones
    Written by MikeP1985
    Published Jan 28, 2013
    Pros - Accurate sound, wonderful soundstage, perfect mids
    Cons - Could use more bass, can bring out the worst in recordings, not very "fun"
    Perfect headphones for most instruments and vocals, could be better for hard rock and metal. I've never been so immersed in music in my life than while listening to these. My Bottlehead Crack Amplifier definitely improved their energy and sound quality. I do find myself using treble boost on my ipod, however, and I feel like there could be more "fun" headphones out there. I will be searching for a more bass heavy headphone with a full bodied sound for my hard rock and bass-necessary tracks.
    1. Jmstrmbn
      Before giving up on these and moving to other phones I would suggest getting a dedicated source to go with the Crack. An iPod is ok for certain situations but the 600s really deserve more than it can dish out. I would give a hard look toward something like the schiit bifrost before investing in new phones.
      I also listen to hard rock and metal often (Dream Theater, Kamelot, etc.) and the 600s are my most enjoyable phones for these genres.
      Jmstrmbn, Jan 28, 2013
  9. pileman
    Incredible sound
    Written by pileman
    Published Jan 5, 2013
    Pros - Very balanced, great mids, great highs, classy looks, bass is balanced
    Cons - headband, sub-bass is a bit lacking, sound-stage could be better
    I'll make this really short (because of my poor writhing skills)
    Bass - bass is good but I find sub-bass a bit lacking. 9.5/10
    MIDS - Wow, incredible mids. But sometimes it feels that there is to much of mids. 11/10
    Highs - really smooth and detailed and not as harsh as other headphones like DT990 or DT880. 10/10
    Sound-stage - I find sound-stage to be lacking :frowning2: and probably not as quick as I expected when I first bought them. 8/10
    Comfort - really great comfort, no issues except for the adjustment part. 9.5/10
    Overall: I find these headphones to be amazing, but they are quite picky, and I find it hard to listen to mp3s.
    1. headphonatic
      Wow, you got them for 526, I hope that includes shipping.
      headphonatic, Jan 6, 2013
    2. XxDobermanxX
      Nice review
      XxDobermanxX, Jan 6, 2013
    3. Lorspeaker
      good review !
      think i got my first set for 200, but i need to sun the the drivers..wipe the moulds off the box. :p
      then add 150 for a new set of cables...and its the best can ever for enjoyment.
      it doesnt have the widest soundstage the clearestdrivers yadayadayada...doesnt matter.
      Lorspeaker, Jan 7, 2013
  10. mechgamer123
    Written by mechgamer123
    Published Nov 12, 2012
    Pros - Great mids, very natural sound
    Cons - Detail level, treble, build quality
    Wow, It's been over a year since I started my Hi-fi journey, quite hard to believe for me. Before I owned the HD600s, I had exclusively been listening to the Brainwavz B2 IEMs. I heard the HD600s for the first time in mid-July, and while I wasn't blown away at the first listen, I definitely knew I needed something other than the B2s, because the treble spike in the B2s was starting to get on my nerves. After doing a bit of research, I finally settled on the HD600s. Without further ado, here is my formal review:
    The accompanying thread can be found here:
    Main equipment used in this review:
    iPod classic 6th gen 80gb 
    Objective 2
    Fiio L3/L9 LOD cables
    Musical preferences:
    Classic Rock (Beatles, Stones, Steely Dan, ELO, CCR, ect.)
    J-Pop/Anisong (ClariS,OPs and EDs for Anime)
    Indie (Mumford & Sons, Black Keys, Awolnation, Modest Mouse)
    Classical (Just starting out)
    Jazz (Just starting out)
    Metal (Mostly soft stuff like Metallica)
    Video Game/Anime/Visual Novel OSTs
    You can also look at my profile to see exactly what artists I listen to. Ignore the play count though, for some reason I can't get iPod scrobbles to work with the desktop app and iTunes...
    Build Quality/Design:
    While I don't think the HD600s are built poorly they aren't the final word in build quality. The glossy plastic material used for most of the headband feels very sturdy and durable, but the black plastic surrounding the driver does not feel quite as good. That particular plastic looks cheaper, but still doesn't feel too bad. You won't break them with everyday use though.
    The overall design of the HD600s is very good to my eyes. Most of the pictures online make the blue marble finish seem way brighter than it actually was with my unit. While they don't scream durability or style, it shouldn't be enough for you to discount them entirely yet until you hear them yourself.
    The cable is detachable and is very good quality. I have not and will not use anything other than stock cables, as I believe they're a waste of money.
    The HD600s are the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. Although that doesn't say that much considering I haven't listened to too many cans. The clamping force is average to me, and the headband is very comfortable to me. Even though my ears and head are relatively large, I never experienced any discomfort issues. My ears also fit comfortably within the earpads. As a frame of reference, after listening to the Q701s for about an hour, the headband would start to hurt my head.
    The velour pads are also very sturdy and don't make your ears feel hot after extended use. 
    Sound Quality:
    Well, this is the big one. So far in this review you'd wonder why anyone would ever spend $400 on a pair of headphones with average build quality and good comfort! Obviously the most important part to many of you is the sound. I will try to do my best to explain the sound, but keep in mind I haven't heard any other headphones in the price range, my closest frames of reference are $150 IEMs.
    The bass of the HD600s has good texture as well as extension. While sub bass is lacking, mid bass is well controlled and provides a nice punch. Bass is definitely good, although it doesn't satisfy my basshead craving. Instead, it stays relatively contained and provides a nice warmth to the sound without being anywhere close to overpowering.
    The mids are the focal point of the HD600s, and they are wonderful. All of the instruments sound completely natural. The timbre on every instrument sounds awesome. While with the B2s some instruments sounded a bit weird, and some not completely natural, the HD600 absolutely dominates everything I've heard to date. This is the selling point of the headphones for me. The other thing that sold me on the HD600s was the vocals. While they aren't heavily forward per se, they are very intimate and engaging compared to the IEMs I own. I will discuss vocals more in the soundstage section.
    The treble of the HD600s embodies a love/hate relationship I have with them. The treble is somewhat recessed compared to the mids, although there are various spikes which I find add a small amount of sparkle to the sound and also make the cymbals crash with some authority. But these treble spikes are only a couple decibels, and so the HD600s will never hurt your ears with too much treble if you're sensitive to treble spikes like I am. Obviously, the advantage to having laid back treble is the reduced chance for fatigue after long listening sessions as I have noted above. However, the treble is also not as detailed as other headphones that have a more balanced treble.
    When listening to the HD600s, I often struggle to find microdetails in recordings such as when the vocalist takes a breath, but instrument detail is fairly well done. While I find this somewhat annoying, I find myself not paying too much attention to the small details nowadays, and instead listening to the bigger picture.
    The HD600s are obviously open backed, so the soundstage isn't bad. While I never got the feeling that the sound was too far away from my ears, I don't feel that the soundstage is closed in at all. The soundstage is better than any of the IEMs I have tried. I also feel that the center stage is very well done. Vocals and instruments that are supposed to be in the middle of the soundstage sound much more intimate and engaging than anything I have previously heard. Overall the soundstage is above average, but still not perfect.
    Musical Pairings:
    The HD600s sound awesome with just about any genre you throw at them, whether it be electronic or jazz. The only area the HD600s lack in is genres/songs with a lot of sub bass, which is relatively quiet.
    Closing Thoughts:
    These headphones are simply excellent any way you look at them. While the build quality might not meet military standards, they should last you a long time. Besides, you weren't planning on taking your open back HD600s into combat with you, were you?
    I would also like to leave a frequency response graph here so that you can draw your own conclusions about my review and the headphones themselves:
    Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about my review, hopefully I will be writing more reviews on gear once my wallet gets to feeling better...
    1. View previous replies...
    2. C.C.S.
      Understandable. I would like to remind other people reading this review, however, that treble on B2 is elevated a bit above neutral while the HD600 is just below. The HD600 is definitely the more neutral of the two with respect to treble and, IMO, the HD600 treble is certainly not "recessed." It's all a matter of perspective, as you and I have both illustrated.
      C.C.S., Nov 12, 2012
    3. mechgamer123
      I definitely agree, that is why I explained that I when I purchased the HD600s I was coming from listening to the B2s exclusively, and that they were treble heavy.
      mechgamer123, Nov 12, 2012
    4. dlnwntchld
      Looking strictly at freq. charts, you could say that the HD600 is still one of the most neutral out there. The bass mid and treble regions are much closer to 0 than most which gives them brighter sound and also ensures that all frequencies are represented with nothing being downed out. This is both great for detail but can be a little fatiguing depending on who you talk to. Personally i use and EQ to pull down certain treble regions, and bump up a bit in the bass/low-mid, not by much maybe 1 or 2 db at most. Some headphone can actually spike over 0 in the upper regions creating an artificially bright presentation, not so here.
      I use a Mac with Audirvana Plus and the built in 10band EQ; i prefer smaller adjustments to wider bands vs. more adjustments to smaller bands. I run into a WA7 fireflies. no special cables; mono price USB/stock headphone cable.
      I dig your review, great detail.
      dlnwntchld, Jan 10, 2014