Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Average User Rating:
  1. FlyinPigFetus
    "Great Christmas Present"
    Pros - Comfort, Build Quality, Detail
    Cons - Open back lets in noise, after hearing them with an amp. you'll have to drop another $300+
    Just got a pair of these for Christmas and have to say that I was very impressed with the box they came in, very solid packaging, and neatly organized cord. There is a 3.5mm adapter included in the box, something I was not used to coming from a pair of Grado SR225i cans.
    The build quality is very good, I don't feel like I will scratch or dent them without a decently high tumble. The cord is detachable and feels like it will not likely give out anytime soon.
    As for comfort, I never really found my old Grados that uncomfortable (I know you guys/gals on Head-fi and reviews on Amazon always talk about Grados being uncomfortable) but now I can hardly wear them after having used the HD 650s. It is a very comfortable fit once you get them adjusted nicely to your head.
    As for sound quality, I play everything in FLAC or MP3 @ 320kps using Foobar2000 with the kernel streaming plugin.
    Due to the fact I don't have my Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus Edition in yet, I have been trying to use the 3.5mm jack from my laptop to listen to music. The HD 650s don't sound very special through that source at all, they are very boring when plugged up to my android phone as well. I almost picked up my Grados again just until my amp came in, but I just like the feel of the HD 650s so much more.
    I eventually used HDMI out from my laptop to my harman/kardon AV receiver along with Foobar2000 w/ WASAPI (manually selecting the receiver in the output list) and plugging my headphones into it as a source. This made the headphones sound much more worth their money and really blew me away.
    Music I tested included Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Daft Punk, OutKast, The Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, and Fleetwood Mac. I heard details in Time by Pink Floyd I have never noticed before.
    I am very excited to get my Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus Edition in. My library is waiting for me to listen to everything over again.
    If anyone wishes me to report in how the D1 sounds as a source for these cans let me know in the comments.
  2. tdockweiler
    "Magic Headphone"
    Pros - see review
    Cons - see review
    I'll try to be brief here, which is nearly impossible for me to do.
    I bought this headphone last month and previously had two pairs. Those pairs had really anemic upper mids and had bloated mid-bass. This pair does not. I even used my old reference tracks I tried previously and this pair has a quite balanced sound signature. Not dead neutral or completely uncolored, but I would say it's just smooth sounding. Possibly one of the most musical headphones i've owned.
    This headphone for me makes a lot of my crappy recordings that are harsh and fatiguing a bit easier on the ears. I don't ever get bombarded by treble or anything else. No shouty vocals or whatever else. It also doesn't make any very warm recordings worse by making them sound congested or less clear. I've found that they also seem to have better bass extension than my HD-600. Punch me if you want, but the bass on THIS HD-650 seems more controlled than that of my HD-600. It's closer to the bass quantity of my HD-580 (same driver I know).
    Despite being very forgiving for bad recordings (only the garbage with the mids/treble cranked to max in the studio) it still need higher bitrate files. You can still tell the difference between high quality recordings and bad ones despite being both in FLAC.
    These are very detailed. Nothing is missing, but all that detail is not shoved in my face. As hard as it is to believe, my DJ100 and HD-650 benefited more from my ODAC than the Q701. No idea why. The HD-650 seemed to become more revealing and detailed. The Q701..not as much.
    This is a good headphone for when I just want to listen to my music and not be bothered by recording flaws. I can listen to these all day without fatigue.
    The soundstage is better than that of the HD-600/598 IMO, but it's not larger. Better imaging etc. I think the ODAC is playing a role here too. Never thought such an improvement was possible unless my ears are playing tricks.
    The sound is nice and full sounding, but not excessively warm. I thought I hated warm sounding headphones, but now I guess not.
    This pair also doesn't seem to have sucked out upper mids, but at times there seems to be a very slight peak. Maybe a tiny one. I know this goes against what nearly everyone says. This pair also doesn't seem dark. The treble is very good and not lacking. It has slightly less than my DJ100.
    Despite making my bad music sound a bit better than it should be, it still is quite accurate to how the recording is..sometimes. You often don't realize how bad the recordings are until you switch to a different headphones such as the KRKs, DJ100 or Q701.
    I gave it a 1/5 for value. It's worth $400, but $500 is nuts! My $80 DJ100 with the same setup isn't that much worse and often even better in some areas. Both have some similarities. The DJ100 just has slightly more forward mids and more treble. DJ100 has better low bass. Sounds a little clearer too sometimes. Both are now my top 2 favorite headphones.
    This review might be off the general consensus, but I don't care. This one is much more balanced than the others i've heard.
    Setup was Headroom Micro Amp (not a portable amp an drives it with ease) from ODAC. I always use FLAC files. I previously used the Asgard with the HD-650, but found the Micro amp way better.
    BTW this is as close to my DJ100's sound as I could find. My DJ100 sounds like a weird mix of an HD-650 and maybe a Sextett. Maybe the 650 and another AKG. The DJ100 is definitely a little more forward sounding, but still smooth sounding (with my setup, which I think is very neutral). I only mention this because I always wanted an open headphone that had some similarities to my DJ100.
    NOTE: if this was priced at $350 retail it'd definitely get a 5/5 for value.
    If you're curious I'd rank my Sennheisers as:
    HD-650 > HD-580 | HD-598 > HD-600
    Weird, I know..not a ton of difference between the 580 and 600. 580 just sounds better than the 600 to me. Clearer and with slightly more forward upper mids and maybe less bass.
    Strange as it sounds, I tend to prefer the AKG type sound, but the HD-650 is just addicting.
    EDIT: The only change after use I've noticed is that the lower mids smoothed out a bit. Out of the box they were a bit "shouty". Kind of like the PX100-II (for me) without an amp.
    I also think it's a mistake to do many A/B comparisons of these headphones with something that's dramatically different (like a flat studio monitor). With crappy recordings the HD-650 will always sound better and it's easy to be fooled.
    Oh yeah.. I also use these for gaming! 40 hours into Dark Souls and even use them for movies. The HD-650 can't match the soundstage of the Q701 though. HD-650 is obviously much warmer and a tiny bit bassier.
  3. harney
    "HD 650 A steal at $227 and still with 1years warranty left on them"
    Pros - Comfort is super and the sound is well music rolls in
    Cons - Need an amp to drive them to their fullest
    Very happy with them for the price and the sound is great i highly recommend the purchase if its your 1st set of quality head phones the music just doesn't come in it rolls in...
    I will write a more detailed review once i get an amp to match them i have narrowed it down to the schiit lyr ,valhalla or maybe the bottlehead crack..who knows one things for sure its driving me mad trying to choose....
    Peace :=)
  4. amudhen
    "HD 650 Improved with Upgraded Cables"
    Pros - Hard to beat the performance for the money, upgradeable
    Cons - Stock cable
    I felt compelled to write about the performance of the HD 650 when used with upgraded cables. I purchased my HD 650s used from a Head-fier in Canada. They came with a nice burned-in Stefan Audio Arts (SAA) Equinox cable which I compared with the stock cable, and there was a very big improvement in performance. After using the Equinox cable for a long period, I recently upgraded to a  used SAA Endorphin cable which added increased performance I did not believe possible, especially in the area of bass authority, timbre naturalness, and soundstage renderings.
    I also have tried and use the Cardas cable on my HD 600s which also adds noticeable improvements, although not as great as those generated by the SAA cables on the HD 650s.
    I listen to vinyl on a VPI Aries with a Clearaudio MC, Nordost Tyr cables to a  phono stage in my Spectral preamp, then out to a WOO WA6 SE fed with Nordost Freys. I also use upgraded power cords and power conditioners as well as BDR carbon fiber isolation devices.
    After listening to a bunch of cans at last weeks' CanJam at the RMAF in Denver, I am still impressed with the HD 650s and their performance vs price. I did listen to the new HD700s but not long enough to form a strong opinion, but they sounded better to me than the HD800s. THE AUDEZE LCD-2S WERE AMAZING with ALO cables into a Ray Samuels Dark Star!
    In conclusion, if you really want to get the most out of the HD 650s (or the HD 600s), try some of the aftermarket cables available, if you can, on a demo basis.
  5. Rawdawg3234
    "Great detail"
    Pros - Good soundstage and mids
    Cons - Lack of bass and veil
    This was my favorite headphone for some time. Mainly because its the first decent pair I owned.
    However as I listened to other cans these became less and less important. Now all I see when I look at them is a plain headphone with dull sound.
  6. Tilpo
    "Sennheiser HD 650 review"
    Pros - smooth and laid-back sound; good bass, mids and treble; comfort
    Cons - bad instrument separation; lacks detail in treble; paint chips
    Sennheiser HD650 review

    My HD650 was my first hi-fi headphone, and also one of my most priced possessions for well over a year. I regret nothing in buying these, but I plan on selling them since they do not get enough head time since I acquired my SR-202's. I only got these back yesterday, after sending them off to get the left driver repaired since it produced ringing in the sub-bass. This pair has the new drivers, in case you're interested.

    I already wrote a detailed comparison between this headphone and the SR-202, but I felt that it was simply not a good review. As a result, I have decided to rewrite my review in a different fashion only focusing on one headphone at a time. Like my HD 25-1 II review, I meant to keep it concise and clear without leaving anything out. If you want extreme detail in the sound description, give my other review a read and tell me what you think.

    Listening setup
    I have used these headphones with many an amplifier, including but not limited to the AMB Mini3, Audio-GD NFB-12 and Little Dot MK IV. For this review I used my HD650 out of the headphone output of the NFB-12.

    I personally have not heard any significant difference between different amps, but I do believe that differences may exist.

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    Build quality
    The paint on the headband has the tendency to chip off. This is visible in the 6th image above. It's not really noticeable under normal use, but still unacceptable for this kind of equipment imo. I have not heard of a good method of preventing the paint from chipping, since it happened to even those who were extremely careful with it.

    Other than this small issue, I would say these are incredibly well built and feel like they could easily withstand 20 years of regular use. They also look absolutely stunning, in my opinion.

    Cable & accessories
    The cable is really well built, and is detachable too. It feels smooth, strong, and will not curl up in any way. I see no reason to get aftermarket cables with this headphone, despite the large popularity of such cables.

    The headphone comes with a 6.3mm -> 3.5mm adapter cable of similar high quality.
    It also comes with a travel box, which although not of super high build quality, does its job quite well. On one of the corners the cardboard started tearing (see picture 7), and I have no idea how this happened.

    Comfort & isolation
    These headphones are amazing in terms of comfort. It's the most comfortable headphone I have tried to date, which is no easy feat. In my case, the clamping force is of medium strength, although people have reported it to be too high and found that slightly bending the black metal ribbon fixed the issue.
    The cups can be adjusted in height, and the entire construction can be twisted. This ensures that it will fit pretty much all heads comfortably.
    The pads are made out of velour, and are very soft. They do wear after some time, and people have reported that washing or replacing them for new ones has increased comfort and sound quality.

    These headphones are of open design, but still have a decent amount of isolation. Not enough to serve for portable use by a long shot, but more than enough to make you want to put them off when having a conversation. The sound leakage is also reduced because of this isolation, and as long as you don't listen to your music loudly the sound leakage is too soft to bother a person sitting next to you in a normal office environment.

    Sound quality
    I find the HD650's very good sounding, and definitely worth their price in this regard. Even with the price increases of about a year ago. I got these sound impressions completely based of my other review of the HD650, as well as my own memory.

    Frequency response This can is not flat. It has a considerable mid-bass boost and an overall warm sound. They sound very laid-back and smooth with most music. The treble is fairly flat, although a bit attenuated. They are relatively neutral, and can become next to completely flat with slight EQ. Personally I like their natural sound signature since it's fun.

    Bass The bass extension is nice and deep. They have a good amount of bass thump and is excellent for electronic genres in my opinion. They are good with rumbling bass guitars and convey a strong sense of energy.

    Mids The mids are sometimes drowned out a bit by the bass, but overall it feels pretty flat. The mids especially feel nice and smooth and present a good natural timbre. Instruments like acoustic guitars sound very good on the HD650 because of its smooth nature.

    Treble Treble feels fairly flat, but attenuated compared to mids and bass. Cymbals sound good, and there is no sibilance. There is no harshness and they do not sound fatiguing. The treble does lack a bit of detail, but is otherwise of excellent quality.

    Soundstage Every headphone has a weakest link, and for the HD650 it's its soundstage. It conveys a good sense of width and distance, though it's smaller than my electrostatic SR-202. The soundstage is smoothened out a lot, and has relatively bad instrument separation. In cases where many instruments are present, it feels like the can loses control and puts it in one big blob of sound. Overall it's not bad, but it leaves me wanting for more.

    Apart from their relatively weak soundstage, these are very good sounding headphones. Taking into consideration their excellent build quality and comfort, I can see why these are so popular. While my experience with other mid-fi cans is limited, this one definitely has my glowing recommendation at its price point. Especially when comparing it to it's price before they raised it.
  7. Lex Tan
    "An Excellent Audiophile Headphones"
    Pros - One of the best Headphone around, Reasonable Price, Almost unbeatable with the correct setup
    Cons - I can't really tell....
    A good headphone with an affordable price. With the right AMP, LOD and headphone cables. It can be godly. Strongly recommend to those who are new to audiophile headphone. 
    The default HD650 may sounds warm, thick or even muddy but still it voice down if this is the type of style you would prefer...
    I have rewrote this article as today I'm delighted that my new setup on HD650 has reached another level, a level which I really like it so much.... 
    The sound is a lot more brighter. Soundstage became wider, and best of all not at the expense of losing the mellow and warm of HD650.
    It sounded especially good when listening to LIVE recording Jazz and with your eyes close, I bet you will feel that you are in the concert. Everything sounded so REAL...
  8. szoze
    "They are not all that really"
    Pros - pleasant sound, quite comfortable, easily exchangable parts
    Cons - lacks clarity and transparency, overblown bass, quality issues (paint flaking, one of the drivers broke after three years)
    As much as I cannot understand the overwhalming positive reviews of these headplones I admit that I actually can understand that people can get in love with their pleasant and forgiving sound. If you wish to get close to the soul of a recording however, you should go somewhere else because HD650 are neither natural or neutral sounding headphones. Compared to some other cans (AKG k70x or Beyerdynamic DT880 namely) these Senns are muddy to say the least and lack sparkle, transparency and sheer excitement. The bass is more prominent than with k701's but the definition of the same is not as good. Listening to the HD650 I really miss the sparkle and the excitement that should be there. When listening to accoustic music and classical there is no air at all. A huge amount of information, upper harmonics are simply absent.  It is important to say that I have had some issues with my pair. One of the drivers broke after three years of use. The paint on the headband started chipping after 2 years.
    However I can understand that many people get in love with their sound. They sound "relaxing" in their own way and are very forgiving on the quality of the recording. The problem is that you can get all that and more at half their price.
    Amplifiers used: Lehmann Black Cube Linear, Musical Fidelity X-Can v3, Matrix M-Stage
  9. BBBS
    Pros - Like having a pair of tiny Albert Halls for each side of your head
    Cons - You will spend a fortune trying to get a small improvement
    These are simply the de facto best headphones at this price. They have a dark, slow sound that's suited to strings, guitar and vocals, and their matched drivers mean that centre-stage vocals will actually come from between your ears.
    These don't so much break in, rather you get used to their reproduction. I can't recommend these enough, and everybody should spend some time with these, whether they take to them immediately or not.
    MrTechAgent and MarcadoStalker7 like this.
  10. devaeron
    "Great pair of cans"
    Pros - Nice bass response, smoothies high, nice mids
    Cons - Kinda feel uncomfy after 2 hour session..

    Setup for review
    1. Dacport lx
    2. Scsag m2m
    3. JD's O2


    When i put them on for the first time i could really tell that this HP has some nice comfort on it, even though the earpad kinda hard at first..

    I start to feel fatigue after 2 hour of listening session, this fatigue feeling is very hard on my left ear, but after 1 weeks of use, this feeling is gradually reduce

    As for the sound itself
    I don't feel any veiled things like many people said, the vocal is really clear and quiet laidback, allowing each instrument to produce their sound independently.
    The next great thing that i feel is the bass that have a nice "grand" feeling, it's feel very differently from my previous HP which is dt880, on dt880 the bass is punch deeply, but doenst have those grand feeling like this HP, the smoothness of it's high frequency also give a nice long session listening with no sibilance (or maybe a little)

    As for the sound stage, the dt's allow you hear more deeply, like it was more isolated, but the hd650 is also gave enough staging as you can still feel each location for every instrument