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Over-Ear item created by nickvalluri, Feb 1, 2012
Pros - Light, nice looking
Cons - Distorted sound
At the San Francisco Bay Area Head-Fi meet this afternoon I met one of the guys behind the Woo Audio tables, who encouraged me to try my old AKG K-340 on the Woo WA7 amp at the table. He said he owns several AKG models himself including the K-340 and assured me it would perform very well. He tuned the source to a piece from Prokofiev's ballet Romeo & Juliet that has BIG powerful deep bass passages. I have seen and heard this ballet live in San Francisco several times so I know the effect of the particular scene in the opera house. The whole orchestra from top to bottom sounded terrific on the K-340, even the high strings which are usually the weak link (they typically sound scratchy.on my home system, which apart from the phones is not very good (old Yamaha receiver instead of a proper amp).
Then out of casual curiosity I plugged in a set of other phones that was lying next to the amp, which turned out to be the Sennheiser HD 700. I was taken aback. The sound was completely different. The orchestral instruments did not sound faithful at all. Lots of distortion high and low, some instruments unrecognizable. I wondered why the Woo staff would lay out such a cheap headphone to test their sophisticated equipment. Then later I looked up the price -- MSP $1000 and street price around $500.
This was not a rigorous test, just a side by side comparison impression of two very dissimilar headphones on the same music and amp. But the proof is in the hearing. Anybody considering a purchase of this phone (or any other serious one, for that matter), should do his own careful research first-hand.
Pros - Super comfortable, sounds great
Cons - Boss is a bit strange, maybe not well burn-in yet
I have just brought the HD700 last week as my very fist HiFi headphone. Since it just have been burned-in like 50 hours, I can't really tell now.
It sounds amazing out of box, but when play some certain type of music like "Sovngarde" in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Original Game Soundtrack)", it sounds very "unstable".
I will keep posting to see after couple hundred hours, will it be any difference
Pros - wide soundstage, clarity, good separation of instruments, eye-candy design
Cons - somewhat genre specific, performs best with classical/opera musics. (isn't this a pro??), build quality
I picked these beautiful-looking babies on amazon few days ago when price dropped on amazon (used ones from amazon warehouse for $400), which was a bargain; compared to $300 price tag on HD650's. overall, the bass was less overwhelming than the HD650 but more forward than the HD598 (almost non-existent bass). HD700 has rather bright tone with wide soundstage, resulting in good separation of instruments (with E18 amp+dac), while giving immersed feeling.
build quality: for a original MSRP ($1000), HD700 has a lot of plastic parts; the outer chassis, headband, slider (although the slider is thick and gives sturdy feeling). I wouldn't drop these if I were someone else.
Design: I won't say much because we have different views on design. for me, the HD700 looks better than the beats studio (new/old).
Comfort: right out of the box, HD700 was VERY comfortable. though for some people, it may require some adjustment since their ear could touch back/side of the headphones.
(this possibly may be due to the headphones being used already)
Accessory: one 10ft cable with 6.5mm jack, there is no 3.5mm converter jack in the box (unlike HD598, which I believe, came with a 6.5mm to 3.5mm audio jack converter) though cable itself gives very durable feeling, possibly Kevlar. the cable has two 2.5mm jack for detachable purpose for HD700. I upgraded to other cable from amazon because of portability; having 10ft cable tied up looks pretty funny on public.
Sound: with the Fiio E18 amp+dac, hd700 gives bright sound with wide soundstage. I primarily listen to classics (Mozart's Piano Sonata, Requiem, Beethoven's symphony, violin sonata) and some soundtracks from movies to games. Mozart's requiem gave me very detailed and wide soundstage with clear vocals, compared to HD650, whereby HD650 giving me a narrow soundstage compared to HD700. Sound becomes more balanced with Schiit magni 2 amp; giving a more balanced overall tone (and less brighter).
Beethoven's Symphony (nos 9, choral, aka ode to joy) sounds calm and balanced (neutral) throughout the performance with magni 2 amp with e18 dac+amp, while without using the magni 2 amp, the HD700 gives more of it's characteristic (bright and spacious, wide) while providing larger separations between instrument. I was able to hear pretty much every texts from vocals while being separated from other instruments on background.
Overall, soundstage was wide, while giving bright sound (people say that HD700 is HD800 mixed with HD650).
In the HD650, vocals were forward than the instruments, however, the soundstage was not wide as HD700.
I would recommend these to classics listener if they had to choose between HD650 and 700. furthermore, I was convinced that HD700 is worth the upgrade from HD650.
Pros - Dynamics, clean sound, great bass, midrange transparent, extremely comfy,
Cons - Plasticky, mesh vulnerable,
Tries so many headphones,but just coming back to my 700. Decided to stay with them and my HiFi M8 simply because I love the portability and the sound is great to me.
Pros - Looks great, Comfy, Wide Soundstage, Great Imaging
Cons - 6k Treble Spike, Plastic Design, No Bass Impact
I have owned this headphone for about a year now and so far so good! I have found that the HD700 is a very revealing headphone that drastically changes its sound signature from each amp//source you listen to it with.
Type of Music I listen to:
Indy, Classic Rock, Rap, R&B, Soul, House
My Current Set Up:
What I have heard with the HD700:
I found that with this solid state the treble peaks are ever present. Really fatiguing to listen to.
Woo Audio WA2
The warmth from the tubes adds a bit of coloration to the sound of the HD700 which reduces the treble spikes while the Arcam rDac is very transparent and doesn't get in the way of the WA2.
I would not spend over $1k (CAD/USD) on the HD700. I am finding myself most of the time resorting to a EQ to make them sound more like a HD800. If you can get these bad boys on sale go for it! However, if you find yourself spending full price. You are probably better off with another headphone like the LCD-2 or the T1.
Pros - big soundstage, precise imaging, immersive sound, clear lines from individual instruments in, e.g. chamber music or jazz quartets
Cons - rare sibilance
my experience with headphones is very limited, as is this review, but i thought someone might benefit from these observations, someone who wants to listen to classical and jazz.
i started with the hd700 by listening to the melos quartet playing schubert's "death and the maiden," and then checked my impressions by playing segments on my fidelio x1.
wow! the hd700 had what felt like a 220-240o soundstage- i was sitting in the center of the quartet. the tone was wonderful and i was surrounded by the music- the first violin to my left, the cello on the right and a bit behind me, the viola front left and the 2nd violin front right. the last 2 were a little hard to separate, especially because they were often playing in unison, but then i could hear snatches of their playing that i had never noticed before, and which placed each of them clearly.
the x1 in comparison had about a 120o soundstage, with the instruments much less clearly demarcated. the x1 placed the instruments at a bit of a distance, in front of me, perhaps 10 feet in front of me, not around me. also i had thought the x1 was incredibly comfortable; the hd700 is significantly more comfortable.
i tried some orchestral music with mendelssohn's midsummer night's dream [previn and the lso] and the contrast between the 2 headphones was the same. i did think i caught a little bit of sibilance in the hd700 on some very high, bright, moments in the overture- cymbals? i'm not sure, but it was just a moment or two, and worth the price for the rest of what i heard. then some chopin, some bach. with solo instruments the contrast was less soundstage than air- the spaciousness of the hd700 and the richer tone it produced.
the x1 is a bit warmer, and i'd expected it would provide the better bass, but i was wrong. it was warmer, but the bass on the hd700 was richer and clearer.
time for jazz: i started with antonio carlos jobim and elis regina- i suddenly got confused about what set i was wearing- the fidelios felt a LOT more open than they had with the classical pieces. i think that the recording had a lot more channel separation, which the x1 used to good effect. nonetheless, the hd700 were in another class- richer, more immersive sound.
of course they SHOULD be in another class: they cost 3 times as much.
i stopped bothering to switch back and forth. i didn't need any more convincing. art farmer; bud powell; branford marsalis; charlie hayden and pat metheny; chet baker and paul bley.; the clayton brothers [and that only got me to "c"]... my head was bobbing and my feet tapping in a way they haven't for a long time.
my "normal" sound system uses flac files streamed from a vortexbox to a squeezebox touch, then optical to a gungnir dac, then cable to a nad c375bee amp, then to kef iq9 floorstanding speakers. i think i've got a pretty good system, not ultra-audiophile, but good. i was listening to the headphones from the phones outlet of the nad amp.
the hd700 is better than my "normal" sound system. it was a bit of a shock to realize that, but my "normal"system can't hold a candle to listening with the hd700. i can't imagine what i'd have to spend to get a speaker system that sounded as good, as rich, as immersive, as these headphones. [not counting putting an addition on my house for the listening room.]
so i'm impressed and enormously pleased by the hd700. for what i listen to - classical music and acoustic jazz- they are wonderful.
edit: the hd700 is also relatively easy to drive. it was louder than the x1 with volume set the same on my amp. i just got a fiio x5 that i'm hoping will be able to drive the hd700. i'll post the results here when i get around to actually checking.
Pros - Sound, build quality, price-to-performance ratio
Cons - Could be lighter
This is my 1st 5-Star Review.
I am a very picky reviewer and I am a true believer in 'every little bit counts' and honestly I have little to nothing to complaint about aside from the headphone being a little bit heavy.
The construction of the HD700 is very similar to the HD800. Just by looking at the headphone, you might mistake one from the other.
The biggest difference in my opinion lies in the smaller earcup that houses a smaller 40mm driver, compared to the massive 56mm driver on the HD800. I think this affected the sound quite a bit. With the smaller driver, I found that it was less spacious and the soundstage was not as realistic as the HD800. However, what you do get is a very wide stereo effect. On to the sound signature of the HD700, I would say it is very similar to the HD800; especially the mid-range. I think the biggest difference for me about the HD700 compared to the HD800 is in the bass region. For me, I loved the HD800 and the low-end is beautiful. However, I could never feel the bass. With the HD700, you can both feel the bass and appreciate the beautiful qualities of the bass region. Another region I focused on was the treble region. I thought the HD700 did not have the 6khz spike that plagued a lot of the HD800. Instead, you are presented with a less detailed presentation, which could or could not be a bad thing, depending on what you are listening to.
Overall, I loved the HD700 and it is one of my highest recommended headphones. For how much it does well, I would even recommend it over the HD800 in some instances.
For a more in-depth review, please take a look at my video review =)
Pros - Comfort, light weight, spectacular sound: response and imaging
Cons - Not cheap
I've used most of the old-school brands (Grado, AKG, Sennheiser, Sony, Koss, David Clark, ...) and have tried several of the Jonny-come-latelys, and the HD700s are simply the best for comfort and sound that I know.
I can wear them for hours and never get fatigued.
Most of the others that I've heard fail relative to the HD700 in terms of either wearability or audiophile sound.
I use an after-market cable that's shorter and lighter than the stock cable.
My other options are Etymotic fitted in-ear 'phones or Genelec active monitors.
I've never heard the HD800s with anything better than a computer (and a PC at that) driving them, so I can't really compare the two.
I listen mostly to computer audio (Apple Lossless or AAC@320kbps formats) through a TC Electronic Impact Twin FireWire DAC/Headphone amp, which I also highly recommend (esp. for the price of $250).
I've used lots of AKG 'phones over the years, and liked the sound, but the Q701 is noticeably heavier than the HD700 and flops around more when you move your head, the Senns are snugger and lighter, in addition to having a killer soundstage.
Pros - Un-coloured sound, feel solid and professional, removeable and replacable cord.
Cons - The cotton cord with a mind of its own, very open design lets a lot of sound out.
After building a very exotic valve headphone amp, with a Sophia Mesh Plate Rec. tube, I wanted to match this thermionic marvel with REAL quality phones. I have a pair of AT ATH700 Airs which I love and think excellent value for $160. I also have my "train" pair of Phiaton 400s with their closed back. The Phiatons are good but the ATs much better. I Googled for the "best headphones" the the answer came back "Sennheiser HD700s". Too many good reviews to ignore them and at around the $1K mark I must have a pair. RRP for these pro. phones is $1,100. Even on eBay they were going for $1,050. But shopping about I picked up an authentic new pair for $750. At $750 these are a steel. I'd pay $750 just for the foam padded box they came in. The HD700s are made in Germany and feel solid and very profession. And that's just how they sound. Rated 150ohms and 105db efficient these are easy to drive phones.
But lets talk about the sound. Firstly the bass is very extended but far from overblown like so many cheaper phones can be. Bass is very articulated and no problems following a slap bass (doubled bass) being played with gusto. You can hear inside the bass and the air around it. Mids are linear, clean and harmonically rich particularly through the valve HP amp. I could understand if some think them a little dry because they really add nothing to the mids where some might want extra weight here. Treble is balanced and not over bright and sibilance is controlled but not overly so. They may be a tough too much "sshhh" and not so much "S". Again a different amp may offer a different balance.
I would thoroughly recommend the Sennheiser HD700 even if you pay full price. These phones are keepers for the at home serious listener. To achieve the very best from them match them a high quality amp\driver and play REAL music through them not compressed mp3 sound files. These phones are why we listen to music the way we do.
Pros - Very good imaging, staging is very speaker like, seamless tone from top to bottom, excellent clarity, midrange and tight tuneful bass.
Cons - Unruly cable
January 1st 2014
First off "Happy New Year"
Took awhile but my HD700s finally showed up yesterday, a cursory listen (5-6 hrs) mirrored more or less yours and Mike’s impressions.
As mentioned above I’m using a Bryston BCD-1 as source balanced to a BHA-1 for amplification, so no hiss, hum, you name it just a jet black back-round allowing every little nuance to come through unscathed.
What was great was that instead of jumping through numerous tidbits of audio nirvana and being swept into audiophile neurosis I actually got immersed and “almost” listened to each disc in its entirety.
Started off by burning the 700's in with Underworld's "Dark and Long" and then Kraftwerk's Live "Minimum-Maximum" and kept them on repeat until I closed my shop at the end of the day.
Finally getting a chance to chill out I sat down with Brian Eno's "Another Day on Earth", George Crumb "An Idyl for the Misbegotten", Leslie Fiest's "The Reminder" and Dave Hollands “Prime Directive”.
The Senn signature was there but different, the HD580/600 are great phones and have stood the test of time but the HD700s appear to have brought everything up to date. Clarity was one word that came to mind but what I was mostly impressed by and just to quote you, “I would even dare to say the HD700 is speaker like in a way, it’s a dangerous statement, I know, but they sound so open and clear it’s amazing. “
My biggest caveat with the Senn 600 series was that even though imaging layering was great, the central image quite often was produced larger than life and disproportionate to what I consider a proper sound stage, therefore more convex in nature, my AKG K701s do the opposite and produce a staging that is way too concave.
The HD700s IMHO nailed it, producing the best natural staging, width and depth that I’ve gotten out of a pair phones and somewhat reminiscing my Dynaudio Special 25s speakers, that also applies to tonality and voicing, therefore neutral.
But to sum up without sounding too pretentious I’d say the HD700 is very “audiophile like”, at least from what I have experienced so far, in that they do not overlay any specific sonic signature of their own to the recording unlike my AKGs, Grados and other Senns, so basically very chameleon in nature.
Not to mention the HD700s appear very well made and nice form factor, too bad they didn't throw in the balanced cable.
Ps. Just a word about pricing, not too sure why but Sennheiser Canada has never followed suit with Senn US, those with short term memory may be surprised to know that the HD600 were priced here at $699 and the HD580s at $549.00
Working in the industry at the time I got my first HD580s ten years ago my dealer costs were still $349.00, needless to say I bought them on line from the US for a much reduced price and even still today that trend continues, the HD700 are still listed at their original offering $1000-$1199 along with most of their line up.
So the current price of $649 in the US for the HD700 in my eyes, retrospectively speaking, makes them quite the bargain.
IMHO the 700s are everything the 650’s should have been, the HD600 were/are very well balanced phones and I was expecting something special with the 650s, but in the end I felt it was really only Sennheiser’s answer to the boom of Home Theatre at the time, with the augmentation and proliferation of the use of sub-woofers.
We got bass but at a cost of losing what made the 600s special, congruity of tone.
Impressions after almost 8 months, August 24th
Well maybe it’s just me but the HD700s have proved themselves over and over again as one of the most satisfying phones I’ve owned with all types of genres.
I’ve now forfeited most of my headphone collection, Hd580/600s, Grado SR325is, AKG K701s, K501s and the 240DFs, the HD700s filling the gap. Along the way I also purchased a new pair of HD800s but after week even with all their technical superiority they failed to engage me musically so off they went back to the supplier.
I still needed a second set of phones so just took the plunge on the AKG K712s, hey I was AKG supporter for as long as I can remember, their sound signature has dramatically transformed compared to my original K701s, being darker, warmer, smaller sound stage and now come very close to my HD580/600s but with a lot more bass, ironically this is all due to the implementation of the thicker, deeper memory foam ear cushions, which I confirmed just by swapping out the pads on the K701s.
But again the HD700s proved themselves as a better phone, percussion having better attack and decay, superior focused imaging over the K712s allowing one to hear deeper into the mix, overall better clarity from top to bottom, both phones are very good but the HD700s just give you more. I’ve read the Annies ( again with slightly different pads) retain some of the previous AKG K7xx openess but with the bass and may be a better contender with the HD700s.
Eventually I”ll most likely get around to the Audezes and Hifimans but for me Sennheiser have indeed produced a wonderful head-set and am always at a loss to hear otherwise.