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Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Rating:
4.54444/5,
  1. Malfunkt
    An immersive, warm, auditory experience. Transfers emotion directly into your cortex. Want to relax and unwind? The 650 is medicine.
    Written by Malfunkt
    Published Feb 8, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Very high-quality dynamic drivers that produce a natural, organic presentation of sound. Laid-back with just enough detail. Lightweight and comfy.
    Cons - A bit of sub-bass roll-off, lower-end transients could be a bit better. If you want real low-end visceral impact this isn't it. Plasticky build.
    This is my second-time owning the HD650, and I've taken a bit of this review from a post I made in the HD650 impressions thread.
     
    I have some detailed analysis of findings my first time around of the HD650 in comparison with an LCD2 that can be read here:
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/audeze-lcd2-planar-magnetic-headphones/reviews/13729
     
    I'm going to keep it brief as by now you've probably read gushing reviews, and for the most part they are true. This is a great headphone. Perhaps all one ever may need.

    Save yourself and your wallet, get the HD650, a decent amp / DAC and run far away from head-fi and never speak of it again. 

    But if you are still here, you may need a bit more convincing. So I have a set of excellent classic LCD2s that measure and perform very well. In my second time owning the HD650, I've pitted them up against these high-end headphones for this review.  
     
    The HD650 in my possession, a silver driver variant, is very very close in signature to my LCD2 classic, just a bit more mid forward, and lacking that extreme low-end extension. 
     
    My LCD2 have more clarity, and you can really tell with bell tones.  There is a more separation between sounds, the HD650 takes on a slightly bit more of blurred sound in contrast.

    But really, I'm splitting hairs. These are exceptional headphones, and damn they are much more comfy and lightweight. 
     
    One test I was excited to put them through again was listening to binaural nature recordings, particularly rain, canyons, and deep thunder. Many people talk about sound stage with headphones, but its a mute point to me as the majority of music will have a proper stereo field only with 2-channel speaker setups. Both the HD650 and the LCD2 are capable of rendering 'holographic' spatial reproductions of binaural recordings - with the LCD2 taking the prize in reproducing the low ranges, but the HD650 just edges it out in naturalness on the upper registers, it just seems smoother on the high-end while still retaining detail. LCD2 has more depth though, you can hear 'further' into the soundfield. I've mentioned this in my comparison on these two headphones before, but the 650 has the edge here (it may have a bit to do with the distance of the drivers to the ear, with the 650 being a bit closer than the LCD2). It says a lot for their presentation. Yes, the 650 may lose in some technicalities, but for the most part its presentation is incredibly life-like and natural. Switching, back and forth between the 650 and the LCD2, the 650 just has a bit more 'air' on the top-end that when listening to sounds of wind rushing through a valley, leaves rustling around you, it just creates spine chilling realism. Listening to a recording of  the pitter patter of rain hitting the roof of a tent, something we've all heard at one point, the 650 has the right treble tilt to make this recording a bit more lifelike and 'above your head' than the LCD. Combined with its better ergonomics and light weight, and I'd have to say that the binaural experience on the 650 - the headphones just disappear. 
     
    I would love to get a chance to listen to Stax SR007 again or even 009 and run them through some of the above tests. I'm sure I'd be impressed. But one has to marvel at high-quality, especially at the bargain price you can get these headphones for used. If you can afford new, they are still worthy as its hard to find this quality and comfort in its class-range. If you want to spend less, the HD598 is not bad, but lacks the resolution, doesn't quite display audio as natural as the HD650. There are many great and excellent headphones, but myself and many head-fiers, the 650 just fits. I find myself just sinking into these. 

    Getting these back again is a real ear opener. They are everything I remembered and even more so. Absolutely (still) world-class. 
  2. SimonPac
    Superb Phones but Easy to Misunderstand on a Quick Demo
    Written by SimonPac
    Published Jan 24, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Mellow, Smooth, Musical, Very Even if Warm Balance, but actually very revealing in a low key way
    Cons - Not particularly immediate and impressive in sound, or appearance, and need volts
    I bought these to enjoy and to assist development of a headphone amp, having owned Sennheiser phones in the past, the last being HD518s. First impressions on unpacking are of fairly ordinary appearance and materials although actual comfort is first rate. First impressions of sound are that they sound a little thick and subdued. I can understand why people could be disappointed; there are plenty of cheaper phones which impress more for the first minute or two.
     
    However these are dark horse headphones. Although their overall presentation is mellow, and some would say veiled, they are incredibly revealing in reality after prolonged listening. Get the source and amplification right and they even do rock really well. They are not really suited to mediocre source equipment since they add little drama or coloration to things. The midband is remarkably even and subjectively lacking in obvious resonances. You will readily hear the affect of altering items in your source chain, and indeed in changing parameters and topologies in your amplifier. Although the balance is warm, they are not that forgiving of poor source material. Instrumental timbre is rich and detailed, although, again, it tends to take time to appreciate this, as it is not presented in a way that grabs your attention immediately.
     
    Voices are cohesive and have natural body. Here IMO it is easy to spend more and get less. Power handling and linearity at high levels are excellent, although at 300 Ohms you will need volts to get them going; portable devices are unlikely to satisfy here. On rock, they actually tend to come alive at higher levels; there are probably better choices if you prefer to listen quietly. Leakage is predictably high. 
     
    A 'mature' design but definitely still one with a lot of appeal.
  3. ExtremeBoky
    Great dynamic headphones
    Written by ExtremeBoky
    Published Jan 12, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Low distortions at all frequencies, comfortable, very detailed, easy to drive
    Cons - Can be suffocating if compared to very revealing competition, however, a very pleasant enjoyable and comfortable listen on a long run
    To clarify the price amount - that's AU$428.

     

    I had HD545 reference for a long while, 15 or so years. They've been excellent headphones. Had to replace cable two times, which is really outstanding given the 15 years use almost every day.

     

    I compared the HD650 with HD600, HD545 reference, Momentum 2.0 over-the-ears, Momentum 2.0 on-ears and AKG702. The HD650 had the greatest amount of detail and by far the lowest distortions of them all. 

     

    HD600 sounded coarse and bass limited. The high frequencies sounded particularly harsh. The sound stage was also compressed compared to HD650. I compared both headphones with the same cable, i.e. I was using the HD600 cable on both set of headphones to exclude the cable difference / influence between two models. I was removing the cable from one set of headphones, and inserting it into another set as I was doing comparison.

     

    HD545 reference sounded similar to HD600, but more open and with more space. I liked the HD545 bass better – it was very well defined. HD545 is a complete opposite to HD650 and I intend to keep them and enjoy them both.

     

    AKG702 had an excellent sound, great monitor headphones. My worry was that after 30min or so, the AKG would cause the fatigue. Dynamic range was better represented on HD650. I was also able to hear greater amount of details from HD650 as well. Ultimately, it was the comfort of HD650 that tipped the scale. I can see how AKG would be a great set of headphones for studio monitoring / recording.

     

    What truly surprised me was the amount of difference I was able to hear between HD600 and HD650, straight away. Reviews cite less of a difference between two models; however, to me, the biggest HD650 benefit was the greater amount of details, lower distortions at all frequencies, wider soundstage, and... great bass - outstanding for a set of dynamic headphones.

     

    Momentum 2.0 over-the-ears and Momentum 2.0 on-ears? Absolutely horrifying sound, like an empty metal can.... terrible! Sennheiser must be laughing all the way to the bank by asking for more dollars than for HD650

     

     

    Nick

  4. Draulius
    #1 for a good reason.
    Written by Draulius
    Published Jan 4, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - High-quality warm sound signature. Good imaging. Comfortable. Replaceable parts.
    Cons - Not the best build. Clamp is too tight at first. Not for trebleheads or bassheads.
    I was like a lot of audiophiles starting out. I had a below $100 pair of headphones and thought it couldn't get much better than that. I looked at headphones like the HD650 and thought their pricetag, which is a hefty sum to most, couldn't be justified. For a few headphones that might remain true, but after a long journey through thousands of dollars of headphones I realized the HD650 is worth the money if you start to really care about your audio like I have.
     
    A while ago I felt like it was time to upgrade my audio setup to something more high quality. I got myself a JDS LABS O2+ODAC Combo RevB and tried 10 of the best open-back headphones $400 and under from many big name brands. But don't get me wrong, all of those headphones are good. Great even, but they usually had one flaw holding them back that struck at the perfectionist in me. Be it a lack of low-end, recessed mids, grainy highs, or just not being comfortable enough. While many people could ignore that and just focus on what those headphones did good, I was on a hunt for the best all-rounder headphone there is so I wouldn't need to purchase multiple headphones for different purposes. And while there's nothing wrong with doing that if you've got the cash to spare, not everyone does.
     
    I tried the HD600 before the HD650. They beat these in neutrality and I think all headphones should be judged against them, but if you want to enjoy your music to the fullest then the HD650 has that extra oomph you need. The HD650 has a very similar sound signature to the HD600, but with more low-end and mid-bass, giving it a warmer sound which I personally enjoy more. The build is also slightly better than the HD600, but nothing significant enough to sway your decision. The boost in the low-end doesn't take away from the rest of the sound either. And while this isn't among the brightest headphones out there, the highs still extend far enough that almost nothing feels like it's missing. I've heard the HD650 described as dark or veiled, but I don't think that applies anymore in the latest versions. I wouldn't even call it darker than the HD600 like many people claim, and I believe that Sennheiser has made the two headphones very similar over the years. However, I'd grab something like the AD2000X over these if I wanted maximum detail retrieval, but that doesn't always make music more enjoyable and can actually reveal flaws in the recording which hinder your listening experience.
     
    I was surprised by the imaging and soundstage on the HD600 and HD650. I had low hopes that these headphones would do soundstage well, but it's actually pretty good! Every instrument or sound is right where it should be, be it far or near in the recording, without sounding too diffused or losing imaging like some headphones with much larger soundstages do. This even makes the headphones usable for gaming and movies, but especially the HD650 thanks to it's extra bass. Just don't expect sounds to feel like they're coming at you from the other side of the room.
     
    The build on these headphones is pretty good, but not the best, especially if you don't like a plastic feel. These are still more durable than most other plastic headphones I've tried and they're fully modular which makes repairs much easier. The comfort is also great, and the oval shape of the earcups helps with fit a lot. I'd be surprised if anyone isn't able to get a comfortable seal with these. The nice comfort matched with the relaxing sound signature makes it easy to listen to these headphones for hours on end.
     
    My only cons about these headphones are that they can make a bit of a creaking sound if you move your jaw, audible only to the wearer, but other pairs or users might not have this problem. The headphones also come with too tight of a clamp new which you will need to loosen up over time. And if you're a basshead or treblehead, these headphones might be too laid-back for you. I for one have listened to bright headphones for years and feel like these headphones can be a vacation from that kind of sound signature. So there's not really any serious cons here, and these are all-around great headphones for all types of genres, but if you want the best headphone possible for a genre you will need more specialized headphones which I can't say is worth the money as much.
      ElMarcado and Bloos like this.
  5. masterfuu
    Sennheiser HD650 how good of value is it?
    Written by masterfuu
    Published Dec 12, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Affordable, comfortable, neutral sound with touch of bass boost, detailed and refined, detachable cable, made in Ireland
    Cons - build quality could be better, could be little cheaper, need amp to shine

    Audiophile world can be your salvation or your hell. It depends how deep you will be sucked in and how confused you are what you’re looking for. For me it has been both. It all started two years ago when my old headphone broke on me and I had the wild idea to press the “buy” button on $1000 headphone called Grado GS1000.
     
    I remember holding them in my hands with watery eyes upon the sight. The texture of the mahogany the smell of the wood it was something retro and to behold. Everything about that headphone was unique and I was excited to try them out. Then the disappointment when I found out that it was lacking in comfort and bass. How can a $1000 headphone be lacking in anything? Is the audiophile world about just sound or is there more to it? Just when you get a Porsche 911 do you expect it to perform great in every category considering its price tag?    
     
    The answer is no. The audiophile world is more than sound its world of senses such as visual, emotion and imagination. The GS1000 was beginning of the end as I took on a journey to find my headphone that will take me on a journey each and every time. I bought few other headphones such as HD800. T1(Gen2) and few others until I discovered the HD650. Or maybe we can say HD650 found me.
     
    I got the HD650 on a sale for $299 which is ¼ price tag of other flagships I previously owned. Yet this baby makes me happy. The mid-range is possibly the best I’ve yet heard. To my ears not recessed one bit with extremely balanced and textured imaging. Also the bass is very satisfying it does not bleed into mids.  Possibly the greatest quality of this headphone is the slightly tamed high frequencies which makes it very forgiving main headphone (Spotify Premium, YouTube, Netflix). This is everyday audiophile headphone that can be your last audiophile headphone considering its audio reproduction qualities.
     
    HD650 received many positive reviews from both professional and amateur audio enthusiasts and I believe it is well deserved. This is a subjective review of a guy who is so impressed with the quality for $ that I had the urge to write this review this Saturday morning over cup of warm coffee.
    The only weakness I can think of is that in stock form clamping force can be little on tight side but is easily corrected. Just expand the headphone all the way and unbend the metal slightly. Do not unbend the plastic because it will break. After this comfort is nearly perfect.  Pads also could be memory foam but they are not uncomfortable overall.
    HD650 deserves to be heard.
     
    Now let’s get back to drinking the coffee and bagels.  
     
    hd650front.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Please sub to my youtube channel it would mean world to me:
     
    https://www.youtube.com/user/masterfuu
      HamyAntti likes this.
    1. drhoooon
      Very nice review!
      drhoooon, Dec 15, 2015
  6. Army-Firedawg
    The real king of price/quality
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Nov 30, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sound is absolutely unbeatable for the price. Scales better than most any headphone.
    Cons - Built quality & comfort have room for improvement
      
                                                                             20151130_141141.jpg
     
     
     The Sennheiser HD650. The #1 overall rated headphone on the most prestigious and well known personal audio website Head-Fi.org. So when I had the chance to trade my most expensive headphone I’ve ever purchased (at the time), the Beyerdynamic T70p, I was definitely interested to see just what everyone was talking about. So I’ve had these headphones for about 6 months now and have put a respectable amount of hours on them considering all the gear I’ve also reviewed during the time frame. So do I think these deserve such recognition? Let’s find out.
     
                                                                                         20151130_141518.jpg         
     
    The Opening Experience
     
        For those who’ve been following me rather on here or on my YouTube channel know that I brag on Sennheiser and their “handshake” they provide their customers with their products, and the HD650 is absolutely no exception. Upon opening the very well built box you’re greeted with a cut out foam plate that surround the outline of the headphones and presents them in a way that just screams ‘listen to me’.  The cord even has its own cut out that isn’t just twisted and placed but instead elegantly laid preventing any kinks or binds. Like all other premium Sennheiser products I’m experienced with, they provide the customer a firm and gratifying “handshake” that gives confidence in their products.
     
                                            20151130_141631.jpg
     
    20151130_141812.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Construction
     
        At the time of this review the Sennheiser HD650 retails for $499.95 on the moon-audio website. So for $500 what do I think of the built quality in respects to other headphones in this relative price range? Well, acceptable is the answer to that. I firmly believe they could’ve been built a little more sturdy but I still have confidence that they’ll last for many years to come. The primary material used is plastic that I’d put as mid grade with aluminum consisting of the grills and the headband inners. A major fault to these I can foresee is that if these get pinched on something, something will snap. Rather it be the headband or driver cups, if one gets careless with these I feel these may break.
        And then there’s the cord, I really don’t have a positive stance on the cord. I don’t believe it’s the cheapest of cables they could’ve made but they seriously could have done a better job at making this feel like a premium cable to a premium product. Now it doesn’t tangle up I will give it that, I’ve never had to worry about knots, but I would still recommend opting in for a 3rd party upgrade cable.  
     
     
                                                                                    20151130_142012.jpg
     
        
     
    Comfort
     
        Similar to the construction, I rate the comfort of these as acceptable. They provide a nice amount of clamping force that for me is just fine but I can see it being a little much for some. The sizing options are abundant and stay firm. The issue I have is the padding, for my taste, is a bit stiff. They do conform to my head well but it’s not like a warm marshmallow conforming to a stick but rather sand conforming to your hand as you push on it. Both are soft and pleasant but one is notably stiffer and grainier than the other.
     
     
                                                                                        20151130_141650.jpg
     
     
    Sound
     
        Finally here we are, arguably the most important aspect to an audio piece, the quality of its audio reproduction. Thus far the physical aspects of this headphone are merely acceptable, so, will it’s sound make up for its other faults?
        With an overwhelming as resounding, oh my goodness yes. The positional sound cues are BY FAR the best I’ve ever heard at not just this price range but multiples more. The soundstage is amazingly vast and the layering is breathtaking. While writing this I’m of course listening and I find myself very often drifting of with my eyes being forced closed to enjoy the enveloping sound sweeping over me like a raging wildfire. But for those who’re like myself who find beauty in the flame know that along with its power lies a pure, wild and unearthly beauty that can’t explained. It’s power, like that of the HD650, to draw one in is something that MUST be experienced. Finally before I break it down to the individual aspects there’s one last aspect to discuss and that’s the imaging, When these are paired with good equipment, and if you let them, they can transport you to the performance you choose. The imaging on these are wonderful, now I have heard better at this price point, but it’s nowhere near as riveting as the HD650’s other strengths.
     
        Also, the equipment I use is the following. Normally I do not post what I test them on but the HD650’s scale better than ANY headphone I have EVER tested regardless of the price.                          
    1. Garage1217- Project Horizon 3                                                           
      11251626_1059099424118217_8690557244490421746_n.jpg
      1. This amp. definitely gave the HD650 the best sound quality for what I personally enjoy. The warmth of the tube amp., as almost every forum you’ll search, definitely fits the HD650 best. BUT in attaining the warm and relaxing sound quality of the tube, I found that I did lose a little bit of accuracy more so than with my other headphones.
    2. Aune- X1s
      1. My current setup, this amp./dac combo is just stunning. It’s sonically accurate and really brings out the highlights of the HD650. I really have no complaints professionally but on a personal note, after I traded my PH3 I learned I do rather miss the warm sound the tube gave when I want to relax after a long work day.
      2. 20151023_231002_HDR.jpg
    3. LG- V10 (mobile phone w/ ESS Sabre DAC & amp. installed)
      1. I have only had this device for about a week so I will refrain from giving a professional review of its input to the HD650 other than it drove it very competently and sounded similar to the X1s but without the transparency. I still got the strengths mentioned above, just not to the same degree.
     
    Treble
     
        The highs, the energy of the headphone. The ability of a headphone to produce the highest of notes without losing its energy and fading out or sounding weak, all while maintaining the accuracy of the original sound is quite difficult for many to attain. But the HD650 not only rises to that challenge, it meets it with a confident smile and a bring it on gesture. The HD650 produced every super peaking treble testing song I could think to throw at it and never so much as flinched. It took the sometimes ear piercing diva dance and gave her the accuracy and clarity that I’ve yet to hear on a headphone this price. To my ears the treble didn’t roll off but stayed consistent throughout the range.
     
    Mids
     
        Another thing that those who follow me will know I pay particular attention to, for to me the mids are the most important thing for they represent the body and soul of the audio piece. The mids are the artists voice, feelings and emotions; and without good competency to reproduce this range a headphone is left sounding hollow and soulless which in turn leaves the listener feeling empty and without a fulfilling experience.
        In the case of the Sennheiser HD650 I find absolutely no faults in the mids. They give me a wonderful sense of warmth and liveliness to them that really makes way for a very soothing experience (especially with a tube amp.). I don’t think they’re forward that much, if at all, but they definitely stand out.
     
    Bass
     
        The ‘umph’ or heartbeat of an audio piece. This is what is by far what’s in fashion today. Who can produce the deepest and hardest hitting, well my issue with this trend is it completely takes away from the rest of the recording. Often times overly bassy cans give me the image of pacman eating the rest of the audio notes, and that my friend is a no go. So do the HD650’s follow this trend, they are the #1 headphone remember?
        The answer is NO. Though these do have a bass emphasis it is very slight. The bass is fun and gives a nice touch of ‘the feels’ but I don’t have that bad of a note to the bass. And it’s only that the decay is a little drawn out when compared to the overall flawless presentation of the rest of its frequency spectrum.
     
     
                                                                    20151130_142628.jpg
     
     
    Conclusion
     
        So in summary, do I believe these live up to being the #1 overall headphone ever made? Hmmmmm, price/quality ratio yes, absolutely by far. But I’m a firm believer that there honestly is no such thing as “best”.  However, Sennheiser absolutely knows what they are doing in the audio world and have proven they can compete with what the world calls the best with a headphone that is honestly, respectably affordable.
        Despite having some areas that do need some attention, I will whole heartedly put my name behind this product and recommend it to just about anyone to have one in their collection. I listen to these with everything under the moon from hard rock to bluegrass gospel and the HD650 consistently gives me a heartwarming, full and satisfied filling. Goes to show what can be produced when a company spends the majority of the product budget on sound quality over other unnecessary features.
     
     
    Till next time my friends. Until then check out my video Unboxing & Review!
      Wildcatsare1, Hal X, Flamess and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Uzuzu
      hd650 is pretty darn uncomfortable especially out of box. Once they loosen up or you bend them a bit they are very light and decent (like an 8/10 but still not the absolute best in comfort). Sound wise they destroy anything under 500.
      Uzuzu, Jun 19, 2016
    3. PedroVazquez53
      PedroVazquez53, Apr 6, 2017
    4. PedroVazquez53
      I don't know how to believe in comments when I see totally contradicted arguments from various people. Some in complete awe and rapture and others sayin this is "turd " (hey, I learned a new word here!). Honestly, do you people agree? My skepticism grows as I read and read the comments. For this and these reasons I try to add a little of reasoning for my purchases. It is best to make a survey of comments and then to decide. I have been about 10 years hearing and purchasing earbuds, big and small cans and this has left me only a few mis-puchases. But one thing is true, Sennheisers are not a holy grail. I own the HD800 but the HD599 sounds better to my ears. Grado PS1000e is a superb of a great h-phone. The Grado 325 that I purchased before was not so nice to my taste. Many good headphones lack bass, and I don't mean they have a low quantity, I mean NONE! I am a leftover from the hippie times and we loved that our equipments have a strong bass. I get a rapture every time I hear Hendrix' s concert in Sweden, there is surely a boomy, explosive, foot-rattling bass that makes me crazy. And so, equipments that lowers the bass are a no-go for me. Do you see why I am skeptical of many reports? Some people here criticize a h-phone here that many others dislike. We shold be careful in making our decisions. 
      And, no, I don' t sell my error purchases.
      PedroVazquez53, Apr 6, 2017
  7. soundstige
    Someone has to stop the cycle of abuse
    Written by soundstige
    Published Nov 23, 2015
    2.0/5,
    Pros - Comfy; Good-looking; Nice big sound stage
    Cons - The greatest overall disappointment I've ever experienced in audio devices
    I was so excited to finally get my hands on the holy grail of mid-range headphones, the Sennheiser HD650... or so I was lead to believe. 
     
    Facing facts, we're looking at a relic here. Whether that relic should be viewed through the lens of history as a valuable antique, or as a laughable remnant of a more primitive society, is the question that's up for debate. I vote for the latter. This headphone is soon to celebrate its thirteenth birthday, and in the meantime, the rest of the world has progressed unrelentingly. At one time, the HD650 may have had the chops to compete in the mid-range arena. It was probably viewed as a spacious, warm, bassy "upgrade" to its sterile cousin, the HD600. The fact that it could take a lot of energy from an amp and increase in overall speed and technical precision with the added energy was probably fuel for the fire for gear-collectors and upgrade-addicts.
     
    The problem is, when you try to polish a turd, you just get a shiny turd.
     
    Alright, I'll be as neutral as I can be starting now. This headphone is a good technical performer with speed, detail, sound stage spaciousness, instrument imaging, and overall can make anyone go "wow" once or twice in a listening session. For $499 MSRP, it had damn well better. Unfortunately, like a fireworks display, you just spent a ridiculous amount of money on something that made you go "ooooooOOOhhhh!" once and then ceased to impact your life in any way for the rest of eternity -- aside from the lightening of your wallet. The exaggerated warmth in the bass and completely lifeless, sucked-out mid range is as quick to take the wind out of your sails as a punch in the gut. I couldn't believe what I was hearing -- side by side, the HD650's little brother, the HD600, had so much more vibrancy and actually made you pay attention to the music. The HD600 had no problem effecting an extremely tight, natural-sounding bass note. The HD650, on the other hand, bloomed the same note to a point where it was impossible to believe they were built on the same stock. The voice (especially male voices) ability of the HD650 was a total downgrade. It literally put a frown on my face to hear my favorite music rendered in such a dull and distant manner, when retribution was only inches away in the form of the HD600. I played both through an excellent $250 amplifier and I refuse to be lead astray that, if only I put another $1000 into the amp chain, it would have started to sound good.
     
    Why do people like this headphone? Because it used to be the bassy/warm version of the best headphone going -- the HD600 -- and people like bass? I have no idea how this phone was Sennheiser's  flagship for so long. They completely turned the HD600 on its head and ended up with a monster. It took a pinch of the original technical prowess of the HD600, added a metric buttload of warmth, bloom, lack of intimacy, and sadness; and completely took away the charming and realistic voicing of the HD600.
     
    The biggest disappointment is the price and the previous flagship status of this headphone. If the HD650's MSRP was $199, it could get a hearty recommendation for people who crave warmth and don't really look for realistic sound. If they called it the HD500 it might have made sense. As it stands, it is a stain on the history of a solid company. Compared to literally every other mid-range headphone that I've tried that is more modern (Fidelio X2, HE400 to name two), the HD650 is an afterthought.
      Khazak, WriterHead, Hal X and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dino2000
      I don't think there is anything wrong with @soundstige giving his reaction to the HD650. It is about 180 degrees from my feelings about this headphone, but that is how things go sometimes. 
       
      I think emphasizing the $499 MSRP could be misleading. The price of the HD650 (and HD600) fluctuate greatly. I don't think I have seen this headphone offered for $499 unless it is in a bundle/package deal or someone on ebay trying their luck at selling one at that price.
       
      Right now, on this page, the Amazon price displayed is $339.00 which is about what I paid for my first pair. Recently,I got a new pair (with a damaged box) from Amazon Warehouse Deals for $250.00.
       
      This is my second pair of HD650. I wanted to keep one pair stock and mod the second pair. The mod turned out very well. But it sounds like a different headphone. I guess that is the point of the mod. So now I have three favorite headphones: Sennheiser HD650, HD650 mod, and Fostex TH-X00 (Mahogany).
      Dino2000, Oct 19, 2016
    3. ObjectVoice
      Having just scored an old and thoroughly burned-in pair of HD650's which I've been listening with over the last week - and that after a straight year of pretty much continuous HD600 use - I feel as though I could make a comment here. I guess the comment is that HD650's certainly do seem to fare rather badly when you A&B them with 600's, yes - but also that that's not the whole story. When I got my pair I did this A&B-ing straight away and my initial reaction was not a million miles away from soundstige's final written review: I though, 'dear god, these are murky, what the hell's going on?'. I resolved to simply sell them and keep using the 600's. Then, instead, I sort of accidentally sat down and listened to some music through them, not comparing them to anything. I haven't really taken them off since then and, needless to say, I'm keeping them. At the moment, in fact, I'm not sure I can see myself picking up the 600's with much enthusiasm any time in the near future. It seems as though, to me at least, if you compare them, they come off worse - in comparison to 600's they sound muddy, veiled and dull - but if you just listen with them, if you don't A/B them - they just quietly take off and start to absolutely soar in ways which aren't terribly easy to quantify or indeed explain but which boil down to things like 'musicality', and 'enjoyability'. They make me, let me, help me simply enjoy the music like nothing else I've ever come across in headphones or IEM's or speakers - and that's with HD600's very much included (although they are a great headphone!). So yes: 'compare them only to themselves' seems to be my motto as regards HD650's.
      ObjectVoice, Oct 19, 2016
    4. sarang-i
      I thought just your preference is not afford to using hd650
      sarang-i, Nov 21, 2016
  8. aCodemonkey
    Really Great Start!
    Written by aCodemonkey
    Published Nov 21, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Huge Sound Stage! Everything is very clean and clear!
    Cons - Not a bass head at all but i struggle to hear any bass in these.
    I listen to alot of heavier music dubstep through metal. I also enjoy listening to the beatles and Classical music! These Headphones shine for lighter more care free music, but when i try to give it a true load and demand heavy notes from the bass it doesnt show up. I have a oppo ha-2 amp to go with these and i have to use the bass boost for anything heavy and then they sound fine. Without the bass boost i really struggle to hear it at all. Im not a bass head by any means. I thought the Audio technica mx-50 was way to over powered in the lower end. I love my HD 650's and they are a great start for any audiophile! They are classic!
  9. Tostitostelli
    Your first and last set of headphones.
    Written by Tostitostelli
    Published Aug 8, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Crystal clear sound, no distortion, and good highs, mids, and present bass.
    Cons - Plastic design.
    So it has been quite a while since i've had these headphones(about 7 months or so), so I figured it was time to write a proper review, to the best of my knowledge.
    Allot has already been said about these awesome set of headphones, so i'll focus on my personal experiences.
    Please note, I am not a seasoned audiophile, i've only owned quality audio gear for about 2 years.
     
    First off, the package:
    It comes in a cardboard box, as most products, which I frowned uppon a little, considering the price. But once the cardboard is removed, a quality ''hinged'' box is revealed, which really adds to the unboxing experience. It is like opening your 18th birthday present, something really special. 
    As for the contents of the box: it doesnt feel extra premium, but it does feel like you have bought a quality product. The foam packs the headphones in nicely, and is not bad on the eye. 
     
    ''Alright, enough about the package.. what does it sound like?''
    First off, I should list my DAC, which is a https://www.mayflowerelectronics.com/shop/mayflower-custom-products/desktop-objective2-with-odac/ . Which is one of the most, if not the most neutral DAC's out there. Meaning that it doesn't alter highs/mids/lows(bass).
    Second, the headphones that I own, and can compare it to, are: Sennheisser HD280(more then 12 years old), and the Sony MDR-1RBT(recent purchase, after HD650). I also own two 5.1 sound systems, one being a basic pc speaker system from Logitech, and the second being a fairly decent system for the TV, called Sony BDV-N590. And a JBL Extreme(bluetooth speaker)
    Considering all these audio systems, I will now give my impressions of the HD650 Finally:).
     
    Using only Foobar2000 music player, playing FLAC music, and Spotify Premium(for quality) for the music unavaiable on FLAC, I listen mainly to Pop, Rock, Country, Rap R&B and Worship(christian) music.
    The highs are clear and defined, especially when listening to Rock music, but it works for every type of music. 
    The mids are always present, meaning that the HD650 doesn't miss a chance to display its excellent range. It really doesnt miss a beat. 
    The bass is always viewed as ''less present'' in Sennheisser headphones. To be honest, I am not so sure... the bass sounds great even when compared to the subwoofer in my TV set. Which fills a 6*6 meter room without even breaking a sweat.
    More important is the clearness of the sound. There is NO distortion, even at high volume levels. And it feels to me as if the drivers aren't even trying.
    Another thing about sound: you'll be able to hear people talking to you, because of the open back design. I have many conversations with friends and family while wearing these headphones. While a little dimmed(as expected with headphones), I really didn't have to try hard to hear any of them.
     
    To summarize the sound quality:
    Highs/Treble: +++ Superior
    Mids: ++ Very good
    Lows/Bass: ++ Suprisingly good
    All in all these are the best headphones I have listened to myself. Even compared to an hour long session with the HD600, provided by a friend's father.
     
    Design and feel:
    This is where these headphones get a ''-'', in my opinion. The sound may be superior, but the plastic headband really doesn't reflect this sadly.
    It makes it feel cheap whenever you put it on. That is untill you turn the sound on, that is..
    Also, the double cables WILL TWIST, unless you are prepared to invest in a more expensive third party cable.
    However, these headphones are insanely comfortable. I can wear them all day long without any discomfort.(using standard vellour earpads). 
     
    Conclusion:
     
    These headphones are my go-to system for listening to music at home. I havent used any of my 5.1 sound systems seriously since purchasing this gem.
    It sounds like a dream, and that's giving it less praise than it deserves. Even the sony mdr-1rbt headphones wired up(no bluetooth at home), dont come even close.
     
    If you want only quality sound. below flagship price, these headphones are the ones to get. 
      altrunox, Pokemonn and trellus like this.
    1. Pokemonn
      Your review +++++ five stars!
      Pokemonn, Aug 8, 2015
    2. eimis
      odac is a terrible DAC.
      eimis, Dec 28, 2019
  10. snellemin
    Sounds good with EDM , but takes too much equipment to get the sound out.
    Written by snellemin
    Published Jul 29, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Light and comfortable.
    Cons - Too much money for what it is.
    This is my second round with these "holy grail" of headphones.  First time around I was just laughing at it's meager power capability.  The sound was good, but not mind blowing.  Zero sub bass control, with ok bass.impact.  I got the Hifiman 400i and couldn't be any happier.  Has everything that I'm looking for at an "affordable" price.  I got a lot of heat from my fellow headphone enthusiasts for my nonesense.
     
      I listen to all kind of music and DO NOT like to be limited to what I can listen too from my music library with an expensive headphone.  For 300+ dollars I want my subbass and bass with authority.  At the same time I want it to be super smooth with stuff like Enya, Enigma, Grace Memo, etc.  
     
    So back to the HD650.  It sounds really good when hooked up to my EQ and sound processor.  Without them it just sounds ok with EDM and such.  I don't need to repeat what others have already said about how good it sounds with their music library.  I'm just saying that with modern music, this headphone takes just more than an amp and cable upgrade to eek all the sound out that it's capable off.  For less money you can get a headphone that can do more with less hardware.  
     
    So I hooked up the HD650 to the NAD 2140 amplifier speaker output.  Resistor value of around 347 ohms in between headphone and amp.  Sound goes through my good ol' Ibasso D7, into Henry engineering Matchbox, through Behringer virtualizer, Rane EQ and then through the NAD.  That is what it took to get the best out of the HD650 to get the sound out that comes close the the Hifiman 400i that I jam on most of the days.  The subbass came out and the bass had good impact.  The mids and highs are always there ofcourse.  But Sjeesus, I can enjoy the Hifiman with a smaller amp, whereas I can't really enjoy the HD650 without all the other stuff.  
     
    695cbcae-6f12-4ed1-92d2-28513ea4aa7c.jpg
      Hawaiibadboy likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. xkonfuzed
      HD650 wasn't made for EDM.
      xkonfuzed, Jul 30, 2015
    3. Jeff Y
      Hmmm... try the HD650 out of a Eddie Current amp. You'll understand what I'm saying. HE-400i cannot scale as much imo.
      But we all perceive sound differently.
      Cheers. :D
      Jeff Y, Jul 31, 2015
    4. Music Path
      Actually i agree that it isnt perfect for EDM like plannar magnetics.
      But they improve quite a bit with tubes, so who wants the HD6*0s should get on of those too. Adviced.
      Will update my review on that, because even subass got improved.
      In the future will get on of those hifiman plannars and compare face to face, to see if its a big difference in EDM or not.
      Music Path, Jul 31, 2015