Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone

General Information

The quest for definitive stereo music reproduction finds a new acoustic chamber with the Sennheiser HD-700. Using Sennheiser's mastership of acoustic properties, the HD 700 delivers an advanced acoustic DNA never before heard in headphones. Sennheiser engineers pulled out all the obstacles to create transcending headphones that recreate and restore your music excitement. Beginning with an angled transducer, the 700 angles sound to mimic the positioning of a set of reference monitors. This, in tandem with the DuoFol diaphragm, provides a wide sound stage with ultra-fast response and rest times: close your eyes and you are in the front row. A great headphone transducer is only half of the equation. Sennheiser's acoustic team used the HD 700 project as motivation to obtain a cleaner, purer sound in unconventional ways and thus the patent-pending ventilated magnet system was born. By venting the magnet laying behind the diaphragm, airflow was properly managed and overall turbulence was minimized. This advancement did not add to the sound- but subtracted an artifact from it. The results? Purity. The outer transducer chassis was also considered as a component of shared acoustic duty. By utilizing a specialty steel mesh molded to the natural shape of the acoustic sum, the open-aire system remained pure while properly directing airflow. These techniques combine to support the impeccable capabilities of the transducer with world-class, practical acoustic management. Borrowing a design cue from the flagship HD 800, the HD 700 also utilizes a vibration damping frame-- strategic layering of materials to aide in eliminating unwanted resonances from entering the acoustic chamber. The culmination of these technologies lends to the warm, detailed, balanced and utterly revealing sonic signature that is luxurious and practical for the audiophile

Latest reviews

Pros: - High-end build quality, comfort and design
- Soundstage
Cons: - Bass performance on lower frequencies
- Peaky treble
Sennheiser HD700: Mini Review

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Build quality and comfort:


Just by the looks and holding one at your hand, one can guess that this is not a headphone designed for the price range it is now. HD700 has this same futuristic design as it's big brother HD800. It's just smaller in size but the family resemblance is there. Can't argue with the design. Ear cups are shaped like an ear, not round, triangle or oval.

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I actually find hd 700 to be more comfortable than hd 800. HD800 is quite a bulky beast. It engulfes most of my head and feels quite intrusive even. Suede on HD 700 might not match luxury of alcantara on hd800 but it is very high quality and extremely pleasent against skin.

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On some aspects I even find hd700 to be superior to hd800. HD800 has exotic lemo connectors where as hd700 uses more traditional 2.5mm X 2 to 6.3mm connection. HD700 cable is more common, so spares don't cost as much. And when you actually take a look, HD700 cable looks better. Plug has some design effort going on and the Y-splitter has some details too. Quite funny how they neglected this aspect with HD800. However I find HD800 cable to be more convenient, it just somehow rolls better into a circle and is easier to store.

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For design and comfort HD700 is best in it's class. I can't find anything bad about it. It is light, it is comfortable and about equal to it's a lot more expensive big brother.

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Sound Quality:

Let's take a listen. First thing that I pay attention with hd700 is the soundstage. Surely it can't match hd800 somewhat legendary soundstage. However among it's similarly priced peers hd700 soundstage is very good. Imaging is accurate but not to the level of Brainwavz alara or Hifiman Sundara in my opinion. HD700 does easily beat both when talking about the soundstage size though.



Bass on HD700 is tight and precise but it does roll of too early. I't starts rolling of after 100hz which is unaccebtable performance if compared to planars or better dynamics in this prize range. What bass is there, is tight and punchy but it just lacks presence.



With the midrange hd700 has some issues too. Gradyally downwards sloping response gives the mids some body but it does that to an extent it becomes a bit too dark.



Highs are notorius for their peakyness. And it is true. Treble peak around 7khz region makes these allmost unbearable with some recordings.

Here is hd700 frequency response measured with hd650 for comparison. That peak on hd650 measurement is not there in reality. It's a measurement glitch.

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Conclusions:


I won't go into further detail because at this point it is clear, that Sennheiser dropped ball on this one. HD700 does not have the bass to please the bass crowd. Mids are quite laid back and have nice smoot tone to them which is killed by the treble peak. Someone said that HD700 is a combination of what is wrong with HD650 and HD800 and I have to agree. I't takes some effort to make a headphone that is bass light, dark and exceedingly bright. With it's original msrp of about $900 HD700 is a bad joke. Now that they cost about 1/3 of the original price, I still can't recommend them. Even if one wants a headphone with treble peak HD700 would not be my first choice. Beyerdynamic DT1990 has that traditional peaky beyer treble but it also is a better headphone than HD700. Only if build quality and comfort is an utmost priority only then HD700 is something to consider.

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Roderick
Roderick
You are quite correct that it is a more user friendly (easier to driver,cheaper) version of hd800. However when the clarity of hd800 is removed and similar soundsignature remains you end up with a bad headphone. Lack of bass and peaky treble is something modders and sennheiser themselves (hd800s) have been trying to fix for 10 years. No one tried fixing hd700 because it does not have the redeeming qualities of hd800.
Strat1117
Strat1117
Thank you for the additional info. I’m not saying I don’t hear what you hear - I just don’t know that I agree that it’s fatal, but that could certainly be musical genre related. I certainly would not recommend the 700 for anything but jazz and classical. Not sure why Sennheiser went off the path with these and, IMO, the 650. I would have preferred if they would have just made a bigger, better hd600 - which is still my favorite senn.
C
Craylock
Love these cans. I need no boom down there, they are tight, and they are a refreshing alternative to my Quad Era 1s. Somehow the facts that teh sound does centre around certain frequencies make them stand out. These "flaws" are most likely planned from Senn Engineering, just like their other cans spike to a lesser degree. Would wager that is around were we hear babies cry, and other biologically wired frequencies that we hear better than others. The human ear does not have a flat and even perception/respons to sound. Never researched that last one, but it is obvious isnt it?
Pros: Great soundstage
Great clarity
Extremely comfortable
Good for any situation may be it music, movies or games
Cons: Not really
I upgraded from HD650 and it took me weeks and weeks of reading reviews if i would hear any difference going from HD650. The price of HD700 is pretty high but after seeing Sennheiser claiming these were a major upgrade from the HD650 i went and bought a pair. I am in a different world right now, they are so much better sounding. I am using EqualizerAPO with custom presets from Head-Fi which transforms these sets from very good to simply musical nirvana.

I use them heavily for music and games and they are truly astonishing. Huge soundstage, amazing bass and a lot of details. I guess my next step is now HD800S but i honestly cant understand what set can beat these....
Pros: Exceptional sound stage; Incredible detail; Punchy bass; Unmatched comfort
Cons: Overly analytical sound at times; Vocals can seem distant; Treble peaks can bother some
The HD700 has been on the market for some time now, so most of its strengths and weaknesses have long since been covered. To my ears, this is one of the strangest headphones out there, and so I’ll try to explain why this product is so polarizing.


First off, Sennheiser is a giant in the world of HiFi headphones. There one of the older manufacturers, and they produce some of the most coveted headphones on the planet. Seriously, they make the benchmarks that all other headphones are measured by. Many of their products have been on the market for decades, and they’re still at the top of most people recommendation list. So why are the HD700s regarded so poorly?


The answer to that question is the subjective nature of our perception of sound. Our ear are all unique, and so are our taste. Some folks like cherry jelly beans, and others like those foul black ones. Some folks like Taylor Swift, and others Beethoven. While a few of us like one thing or the other, most of us are somewhere in between. Our tastes are broad. In my opinion the HD700 was not made for broad tastes. It serves a very limited slice of preference. If your likes fit into what it’s serving, you’re in for a treat, otherwise your going to despise the 700s.


After trying every type of genre, I feel fairly confident saying that the HD700 works best with instrumental music. Music made with real instruments that are not enhanced or synthetic. Genres like Classical and Jazz are a dream on these things. Genres where the vocals are the focus fall short.


All this comes from the sound signature Sennheiser has built into the 700s. The one thing that has confused me with 700s is they seem to shift in quality based on what genre or even song within a genre I’m listening to. One minute I’ll think these things are terrible, and then when the next song comes up, I think I’m hearing sonic greatness. It’s strange.



Before we dive into sound though, let’s talk about build and comfort. In this category the HD700 is in a league all by itself. Especially for the sub $500 price. All the material are high-quality. Much nicer than what’s found in the HD6xx line. The construction is primarily plastic, but it still feels premium. The weight is blissfully light, and it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them. The clamping pressure feel is almost non-existent. The ear pads are soft and plush, and the ear cups are enormous. Just about about any ear shape or size should be accommodated. About the only complaint I have is with the cord, which is well made and braided, but too stiff and thick. It feels very durable, but it often gets in the way, and I would probably replace it if I was going to own a pair of these.


Lows:

The low end is punchy, but it doesn’t dig deep into the sub bass frequencies. It rolls off like most dynamics. With the bass, the graphs all show a slight bass extension, but with the way the treble is presented, I hardly notice. I found it adequate to render instruments accurately, but nothing beyond that. It’s quick, and detailed, but it’s not full and rich.


Highs:

The treble on HD700 is superb! That is if you enjoy sharp treble, which I do. I want to hear all the detail of my music, and in this area HD700 does not disappoint. It’s a very capable headphone, and the driver provide holographic imagine. Seriously, it’s an experience. These things are very positional, and even though the sound stage is not enormous like the HD800, it’s still much larger then the HD6xx models. They’re so detailed that it actually works against them on some recordings. If a live recording as a little noise in the microphone you hear it. It’s not subtle, and sometimes it becomes so distracting it’s hard to appreciate the music you’re listening to. Still, it’s impressive how resolving these things are. They may lack all the attributes required for a complete HiFi package, but when it comes to detail they are very competitive at any price point. If unrelenting detail is what you’re after, you will be pleased with HD700.


So what’s wrong with it? The problem stems from dip( more like a hole) in the response from 1k to 4k. This makes vocals seem distant and thin. All the smooth vocal presence that the HD600 is famous for, is completely missing here. I suspect, when most people try to raise the volume in order to hear the vocals, they end up pushing the treble to uncomfortable levels. Like I said before though, if you’re listening to instrumental music, you’ll never notice what’s missing.




Can you fix them with EQ? I couldn’t. Nothing I did seemed to bring the sounds of HD700 back into balance. These things are an acquired taste




Comparisons


HD 600

Vocals on the 600 are much better than the 700. This is not because of a lack of clarity. It’s because the position of the vocals. They’re upfront with the 600s, and recessed with the 700s. From the graphs you might think that the 700s have more bass, and perhaps they do. I hear more with the 600s though, this is probably due to the excellent mid-bass of the 600s.


Audeze LCD2.2

There’s really no comparison between these two. LCD2 is a far superior headphone. The bass of the 700 is not even in the same league of the LCD2. The highs are much more pronounced on the 700s, but they’re sweeter and easier to listen to on the Audeze set. The two areas where you might prefer the 700s are in sound stage and comfort. In these areas the 700s are the winner.


Hifiman HE560


I would say that the HE560 is much more musical, and it definitely has deeper bass response. That said, I may prefer the 700, as its detail is so much better.

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