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Over-Ear item created by , May 5, 2010
The Sennheiser HD650 is a great pair of headphones. Makes a great complement to airier headphones.
Pros - Richly detailed, supremely textured, natural sound that is smooth, effortless and relaxing to listen to. A forgiving allrounder with superb comfort.
Cons - Open headphone that requires good source and amplification to perform its best
I've listenend to all the top offerings from Denon, Beyer, Audeze, AKG, Hifiman, Ultrasone & Sennheiser and this is one of my personal favourites. It is a true reference headphone that is very natural sounding, albeit leaning ever so slightly towards a darker tone. The sound is detailed, smooth and richly textured, especially drums and vocals come alive amazingly well. It has no problem spanning all the way from the deepest bass to the highest highs with supreme control and plenty of muscles to spare.
For the money I think this is a real audiophile bargain; the HD650 exists on that plane of ultimate performance where musical enjoyment no longer becomes a factor of sound quality, but rather personal taste. It really doesn't get much better than this no matter what you pay. The HD800 has better resolution, speed and spacial presentation - but can be a bit cold, analytical and unforgiving. The LCD-3 is arguably a higher-performing heaphone, with amazing resolution, extension and control, but in my humble opinion it can sound a little dry and laid-back compared to something like a HD650, Grado, Hifiman or D7000 which are more "fun" and energetic and with a more "forward" sound.
So in short - the HD650 I think is truly great, not unbeatable in specific genres but an amazing allrounder. It should however be said that it only truly begins to show what it can do with top notch source and amplification - I wouldn't recommend driving this beauty with anything like a phone or Mp3 player due to its rather high impedance and revealing nature.
Although "revaling" is also a relative term since they are infinitely more forgiving towards bad recodings than a HD800 or LCD-2/LCD-3. It should also be said that I do think they exhibit a slight veil (this eternal debate) but ONLY at low listening levels - so that those who find themselves always listening at very low volumes might want to also consider something along the lines of a grado reference headphone which are known for their "intimacy".
All in all the HD650 is a superb headphone that comfortably matches, or beats, competitors at more than three times its price (not joking). A superb allrounder with a fun and energetic play-style, detailed but not too unforgiving - not to be overlooked! Seriously.
Edit Sep 2016: I've increased these back to 5 stars again. After changing DAC and some other system tweaks I managed to elevate my HD650's to a yet another plane of performance. They just scale like crazy and completely unlike any other headphone in this price range with the exception of the HD600. Sorry for the confusion.
If you are looking for a great audio experience and are willing to pay a little bit more than typical price. These headphones are open back, so if you are listening in noisy areas they loose alot of their ability, but in the same light the sound quality is excellent in quite areas. If you plan to buy these headphones then consider using them for home use where you can get to a quite area that you are willing to listen to pretty much just listen to music. Also these headphones are not for everyone, I say this for one simple reason : YOU HEAR EVERYTHING! Literally I was entranced when I first these headphones for a simple guitar riff. Since I play guitar I heard every little imperfection in the note played. But overall these are one of the best headphones that money can buy.
Pros - Perfect sound, perfect fit..
Cons - Any
I love them, perfect sound.
Pros - GREAT ALL AROUND CAN
Cons - NOT AS DETAILED AS OTHER
Great headphones , not too far behing the best cans out there for much less. Sound better when balanced and with aftermarket cable.
Pros - Detail, Dynamic Range, Cleaness, Spatiality, transient
Cons - Need a good amp
I like my HD650. I have always liked the Sennheiser sonic signature and I was immediately impressed after using the HD555 for a couple of years
But then after awhile; after some A/B comparisons I heard the famous HD650 veil. There seemed to be less treble response than the HD555. Yes there was definitely more detail and Bass, but after A/Bing with the HD555, I became a bit annoyed. My parents have a cheap triple port headphone amp connected to the TV for $40. When I connected the HD650 to it, there was no treble response. This is where impedance matching is really important and something, that most people who dis the Sonic Veil of the HD650 don't understand.
So i decided to buy a Class A amp from Firestone (as we don't have much choice in Australia) , the Libby, and the veil disappeared. In fact now they sound bright.
So now I really enjoy them. I do connect them to my Fubar III (Class A/B) occasionally and can hear the dullness returning, even with the high impedance setting. I dont think I need to replace the stock cable as they are bright enough as it is. I would rather use that money to purchase the HD800 or an AKG.
I really personally believe that the veil became an urban legend because people were or are hooking up to either poor amps or no headphone amp at all. I read quite regularly on these forums that people say that headphone amps are useless, but if you really want decent sound and spend a fair but on headphones you really need to get an amp.
I like the sound of open headphones because I live in a quiet area and don't need to isolate the sound. The headphones are extremely transient.
I dont regret buying them at all
Pros - Very comfortable with a mellow, involving sound that harmonises brilliantly with live recordings.
Cons - Paint chips off headband with regular use
There's plenty of debate around here as to what makes a headphone "high end". Putting price aside for a moment, I have no doubt that the HD650 marks the beginning of the high-end range. I've auditioned many headphones over the past few years and while many sound different only the electrostats such as the HE60 truly sound superior in every way to the 650s.
In terms of sound the HD650 is what I would call a "natural" headphone. Very rarely do I get the feeling that any part of the spectrum is being over-emphasised and the result is an intimate presentation with good (if not exceptional) soundstage - perfect for live performances. Some would criticise the 650s for their rolled-off treble and I believe this is valid but mainly when the headphones are poorly amplified or paired with a poor DAC unit; I would certainly avoid running these directly from a computer's sound card, for example. My pair are used with a DAC1 which does a good job of brightening the 650s' sound signature without making the treble sound sterile.
The low-end and midrange of these cans is what stands out for me. Bass is almost perfect with good extension and decent impact. Though dark-sounding I never get the impression that the bass is being emphasised to the detriment of other frequencies. I also find that bass quality improves dramatically with higher volumes, this is likely because I listen at quite low volume most of the time and the extra juice is just what these cans need to shine. Moving on to midrange, these cans are excellent for female vocals as well as string / brass instruments with the original tonality being replicated solidly.
I paid almost exactly £200GBP for my pair in 2007 and I find that to be excellent value for money. Build quality is sturdy and the sound that you get for the price is ridiculously good - others have spoken highly of the ability of these cans to scale with the rest of your system and I can only echo this. My one gripe (the reason I docked a star for design) is that the paint tends to flake off slightly around the midpoint of the headband over time; continual flexing of this point as you stretch the headphones over your head contributes to the wear.
Pros - good frequency response
Cons - muddy bass, soundstage not very wide, slight veil
I recently used a borrowed HD650 in a balanced system for about a month.
After I gave it back and returned to my balanced Grado HF2's, I was shocked how much better the Grado's were.
I must thank Sennheiser for making me appreciate my current headphone. That's about the only good thing I have to say about the HD650. I'm kidding, it's good but if you value an open and fast sound this is not the headphone to get.
Pros - Comfortable, well made, the sound! semi-affordable, attractive, great packaging
Cons - None
I was lucky to find my pair for sale at the price I paid (so my saying this is a bargain is based upon the relatively low amount I had to part with.) Firstly, i'm not, by any means - an audiophile (yet.) Although I love music, love to put my headphones on my head and relax, I am still coming to terms with all of the lingo and what not.
To the headphones. I've never owned an audiophile paid of full-sized headphones before. The closest I came was the 515s then the 595s. Both were okay, but lacked any real character. When I stumbled upon this site, I couldn't hold back any longer. I sold my other cans and invested in a pair of 650s and a Little Dot MK III Amp.
I quickly had a silver cable w/Eichmann interconnects and a pro looking LOD connector made, and I bought a nice new iPhone dock. This combination really is magical. I have converted all of my audio to Apple lossless and this sounds just magical.
The sound from the cans themselves is impressive. The bass is fair, clean and full of conviction, though not overly 'bassy.' The treble is smoothe and definitely not shrill, so far I have experienced, and enjoyed the following genres, on these headphones: Rock, classic rock, classical, jazz, blues and some easy listening. Great headphones, really have me hooked on sound - can't put them down.
What 'Sennheiser Veil?'
Pros - Varm, detailed and intimate sound
Cons - Pads could be softer / headband should be less thight
1) My setup at home: Naim DAC - Naim Headline - HD650. I love it. It's like being in a dark room sitting in the midst of the band playing - or rather inside each and every instrument simultaneously. My only complaint is that sometimes on some specific recordings I get the feeling I might prefer a slightly colder, more distant soundstage. The HD650 seems to have a slight bass "hump", which usually is very enjoyable, but sometimes can get a bit too much. Can't win 'em all
I also want to add that I experienced that the 650's needed 50 hours + burn-in. I was actually quite dissapointed at first.
2) Did a comparison for an hour or so in a dealers listening-room on these three great headsets on a Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear Amp using a rather expensive firewire-dac as a source.
1) Grado GS1000i
2) Sennheiser HD800
3) Sennheiser HD650
The 650s had a presence in the mids (vocals, sax, piano etc) the others simply couldn't match. Grado's are good - but I feel they are too bright for me. HD800 felt more bright, polite and subtle than the 650's and are terribly comfy. They all deliver plenty of detail, but the 650's make you listen more to the music...
The Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear struck me as a very, very good amp with the HD650's. (EDIT They are also great wtih the Grace m902, which I presently own.
(EDIT): I have now owned the HD800 and sold them. They sounded at worst anemic and bright, but detail and soundstage to die for. Now I have the T1 and HD650 - they are a good complementary pair. I alter between them after mood and recordings. T1's advantage is in the soundstage and its more "airy" sound signature. But if I had to keep only one (ignoring financial value), it would be the HD650.