Comparison between Drop Sennheiser HD 6XX, Sennheiser HD 600, 650, and 660S? Or should I consider something else?
Oct 31, 2022 at 6:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

Chris Kelly

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I am forty-three years old. I am sight impared. Blind enough to read Braille. Sighted enought to enjoy the difference between OLED TVs and LED TVs. While this may make socially fitting into the blind world and sighted world difficult, video is half of the picture--no pun intended--😊. Whether you like studio recordings, concerts, TV shows, or movies, I believe audio is a more important part of the equasion than today's society (who would spend thousands on their TVs) believes it to be. But our dedication to audio could be our common ground.

Currently, I have a Yamaha YH-E700A closed-back Bluetooth headset, and Sennheiser openback HD 559 and HD 599 headphones. I prefer openback headphones so I can be aware of my surroundings. I prefer the more natural middle and upper registers of the HD 559. However, sometimes the high-bass and low-mmid registers of the HD 559 and HD 599 sound overemphasized. Last year, I returned the Sennheiser HD 400 PRO because I thought their midrange and possibly treble are overemphasized, and their bass is weak. I am considering selling my Yamaha YH-E700A on Amazon so I could get either the Drop Sennheiser HD 6XX or the Sennheiser HD 600, 650, or 660S. Being that I don't listen at high, deafening volumes which block out my surroundings, will connecting 300-Ohm or 150-Ohm headphones directly to a laptop or home theatre audio/video receiver block potential in my case? Also, at more comfortable listening levels, between the 600, 650, 6XX, and 660S, which headphones have (1) a more natural bass register that's not overemphasized like on the HD 559 and HD 599, nor weak like on the HD 400 PRO, and (2) don't have (a) heavy mid and treble registers like on the HD 400 PRO, nor (b) slightly boosted treble like on the HD 599?
 
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Oct 31, 2022 at 7:07 AM Post #3 of 19

Slade01

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Being that I don't listen at high, deafening volumes which block out my surroundings, will connecting 300-Ohm or 150-Ohm headphones directly to a laptop or home theatre audio/video receiver block potential in my case?

Even if you don't listen to high volumes, plugging in a 300 ohm headphone straight to your laptop or phone will really sound anemic - it won't sound right. It's a difference for the source being able to "drive" a headphone vs. sheer volume. The only laptop I know that could handle a 300ohm headphone outright are the Macbook Pro (2021+), whose headphone jacks have an adaptive voltage feature that can support high impedance cans. I think the HD660s is the 150 Ohm which would be better suited then for at least the AV receivers, and probably laptops might run it. Out of the options, based on source, the 660s will probably sound close to how it was intended. Running the 600/650/6xx on anything less than some kind of headphone amp may sound really anemic and/or veiled. I've never heard anyone trying the 600/650 straight from a phone or laptop and not be disappointed and having to return the headphones.

Most people will here will probably recommend some kind of amp of any sort.

If you have to run it from a laptop or AV receiver, look at the 660s (which still continues to capture the same magic as the 600/650) family. Or also take a look at the Jubilee HD 58x which is (in my opinion) a budget version of the 660s, but cheaper. Their sound profiles are also similar, and both at 150ohms, easier to drive.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 8:21 AM Post #4 of 19

Chris Kelly

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Once I sell my Yamaha Bluetooth headset, I'm hoping my local Best Buy has the 600, 650, and 660S in stock, as well as demo units of all three, so I could bring my laptop and spend between thirty minutes and an hour comparing them. I am a musician at work, and a Horror/SciFi movie lover at leisure. So I am looking for openback headphones which if you were to perform a Sinewave chirp, there would be as few and subtle peaks and dips as possible for a more natural, neutral effect, or ... no effect.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 8:36 AM Post #5 of 19

wantan

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It's still important know what do you plug your headphones into because the HD599/559 you use are sensible to the output impedance of the amplifier. They will have lots of additional bass on a AVR compared to a low impedance headphone amp.

In my opinion films need more bass than music does. I'm using a HD579 (similar to HD599) for films and it sounds pretty perfect and is very comfortable. It needs a low impedance headamp though if you don't want fat and muddy bass.

I'd also recommend the Sennheiser Drop HD58x which is a very very good allround headphone.

As for HD6xy they are all very good and what's best depends on whom you ask.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 8:51 AM Post #6 of 19

Chris Kelly

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It's still important know what do you plug your headphones into because the HD599/559 you use are sensible to the output impedance of the amplifier. They will have lots of additional bass on a AVR compared to a low impedance headphone amp.

In my opinion films need more bass than music does. I'm using a HD579 (similar to HD599) for films and it sounds pretty perfect and is very comfortable. It needs a low impedance headamp though if you don't want fat and muddy bass.

I'd also recommend the Sennheiser Drop HD58x which is a very very good allround headphone.

As for HD6xy they are all very good and what's best depends on whom you ask.
My audio/video receiver is a Pioneer Elite SC-81 which I use at home whether with headphones or a 5.1 speaker system. My laptop is an HP SPECTRE X360 15DF0000 2018 model with 2019 15.6" Samsung OLED panel, which I use on the go, whether with its internal speakers or with headphones. I notice my HD 599 has a slightly boosted treble and heavy high-bass. My HD 559 has more neutral mids and trebles, but heavy high-bass. I'm looking for something which doesn't have harsh mids and trebles nor heavy high-bass.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 9:14 AM Post #7 of 19

wantan

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The Pioneer will boost the bass of the HD5xy Senns quite a lot.

You should probably look for a HD650 first and I'd also recommend an headphone amp like a Schiit Magni or JDS Atom as pur analog options.
The laptop will most likely not have enough power for the HD650 or HD600 so you'll eventually need a DAC, too. DAC/Amp combos are Fiio k5pro or a Schiit Fulla.
DACs and amps are difficult because there is so much choice. Schiit Fulla works well and it can't hurt to own one.

HD660s and HD58x have a slighly more irregular treble than HD650/600 but not as much as HD599/559 which sound a bit colored as you have noticed. HD58x is still very nice though and worth a listen.

The Sennheiser Drop HD6xx sounds identical to the HD650 (see Drop.com) and saves some money. HD650 looks much more premium with it's nice silver finish though. HD650 also has a 3m cable with 6,35mm connector.

The HD650 is a bit warm and the HD600 is a bit bright. The difference is very small though.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 9:36 AM Post #8 of 19

megabigeye

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I've never heard anyone trying the 600/650 straight from a phone or laptop and not be disappointed and having to return the headphones.
I don't want to belabor the point or turn it into a discussion, but... Me. I've used my HD 650 (and DT 1990) directly out of my 2020 MacBook Pro, my iPhone 12 mini (with dongle, obviously), my 2014 MacBook Air, a 2010 Mac Mini, and (if I recall) a 2005 Mac Mini briefly before that. They all sound great-- as good as any more powerful solid state amp.

I also recall a Head-Fi'er that attended a meet where an iPad was blind tested against much a higher end amp/DAC (Chord, maybe? Can't remember.) using the HD 650, and nobody could hear any difference.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 10:37 AM Post #9 of 19

Slade01

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I don't want to belabor the point or turn it into a discussion, but... Me. I've used my HD 650 (and DT 1990) directly out of my 2020 MacBook Pro, my iPhone 12 mini (with dongle, obviously), my 2014 MacBook Air, a 2010 Mac Mini, and (if I recall) a 2005 Mac Mini briefly before that. They all sound great-- as good as any more powerful solid state amp.

I also recall a Head-Fi'er that attended a meet where an iPad was blind tested against much a higher end amp/DAC (Chord, maybe? Can't remember.) using the HD 650, and nobody could hear any difference.

That's a good point. I think in general, most of the Apple products have tended to focus on audio more and generally sound better, and I would place my bets on Apple when it does come to that. Apple has done a great job supporting the audio aspects in its tech in years past due to protecting its ipod/itunes/music eco system legacy. Perhaps they are the exception to the rule. I myself have only tried the 650 on the latest MacBook Pro, and also feel its up to par.

Without knowing what the OP's actual sources are, i'm painting with broad brush strokes for recommendations. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable based on my own experiences to recommend to someone to use a HD650 out of most laptops or phone. Laptops I've had, which are regular hp/lenovo/dell, etc. - windows/pc based ones or android based phones in past years, have sounded like crap to me with the 650, but is absolute magic with a tube amp like the darkvoice or bottlehead crack. Differences were night and day.

Best is to hear it for themselves and make a decision based on what they actually hear. I suppose the YMMV purely applies here, and at least the OP can make an informed decision.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 10:54 AM Post #10 of 19

megabigeye

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Talking about tube amps is a whole 'nother beast, with different designs, different tubes, distortions, output impedance, and probably a whole slew of factors that'll effect how headphones sound.
I've also tried my HD 650 and DT 1990 with a Samsung S9, though I didn't mention it because I thought at the time that it didn't sound as good as the Apple products. I was never able to test them side by side, but I suspect that the S9 and iPhone (and all my other Apples, for that matter) probably actually sounded much more similar than I was willing to recognize at the time.

I've never tried any of my headphones with a Windows computer, though. I'd be willing to believe that some of them don't sound good at all.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 10:57 AM Post #11 of 19

Slade01

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I notice my HD 599 has a slightly boosted treble and heavy high-bass. My HD 559 has more neutral mids and trebles, but heavy high-bass. I'm looking for something which doesn't have harsh mids and trebles nor heavy high-bass.

Hi Chris - I'm going to throw something out of left field for you to consider. Not sure if you are a fan of EQ or anything. But even before you go looking for new headphones...have you ever heard of a company called sonarworks? They have their SoundID reference software that can tune your headphone automatically down to a neutral tuning, that might alleviate what you would consider problematic areas of the treble and bass for your HD599. They have a 21 day trial period that you can try for free. This software pretty much saved me from getting rid of my HD800, whose treble peaks was really fatiguing, but the sonarworks software really corrected it for me.
 
Oct 31, 2022 at 11:30 AM Post #12 of 19

Chris Kelly

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The Pioneer will boost the bass of the HD5xy Senns quite a lot.

You should probably look for a HD650 first and I'd also recommend an headphone amp like a Schiit Magni or JDS Atom as pur analog options.
The laptop will most likely not have enough power for the HD650 or HD600 so you'll eventually need a DAC, too. DAC/Amp combos are Fiio k5pro or a Schiit Fulla.
DACs and amps are difficult because there is so much choice. Schiit Fulla works well and it can't hurt to own one.

HD660s and HD58x have a slighly more irregular treble than HD650/600 but not as much as HD599/559 which sound a bit colored as you have noticed. HD58x is still very nice though and worth a listen.

The Sennheiser Drop HD6xx sounds identical to the HD650 (see Drop.com) and saves some money. HD650 looks much more premium with it's nice silver finish though. HD650 also has a 3m cable with 6,35mm connector.

The HD650 is a bit warm and the HD600 is a bit bright. The difference is very small though.
I have read every reply. Software might work on my laptop, but not on devices not connected to my laptop in any way. After I sell my Yamaha Yamaha YH-E700a closed-back Bluetooth headset, if my nearest Best Buy doesn't have demo units, or I can't get someone to drive me and navigate me around the store, I might try the 650, and if it's too week or something because of impedance, I'll return it, try the 660s, and take it from there. I guess after coming from the world of 4-Ohm vs. 8-Ohm speakers, I thought higher impedance requires higher volume levels.
 
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Oct 31, 2022 at 9:30 PM Post #13 of 19

bagwell359

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Even if you don't listen to high volumes, plugging in a 300 ohm headphone straight to your laptop or phone will really sound anemic - it won't sound right. It's a difference for the source being able to "drive" a headphone vs. sheer volume.
I agree your basic win laptop won't drive most Senns well.

My 600 is fine on my LG v40, and
my two low end DAP's. Obviously a desktop with good current delivery at 300 and 600 ohms would be well better.

The 600 is tonally the purest but needs some EQ help from 75-35 Hz.

The Jubilee 58X is liable to be the best dollar for dollar value among those named IMO.

It's true that the 600 and 800 sound more like the real thing on OTL tubes, but I really don't think that's part of the plan here.
 
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Oct 31, 2022 at 9:37 PM Post #14 of 19

gooeyrich

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It doesn't seem like one should consider the 600 or 650 if a dedicated amp or high end system with a dedicated headphone amp is not part of the equation if they don't want to miss out on the max capability by a substantial portion.

Maybe look at some of the newer models with lower impedances coming out like the Amiron Home, or something like the Audio-Technica models. DT 880 and 990 do also come in 32 ohm versions.
 
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Nov 1, 2022 at 3:53 AM Post #15 of 19

Chris Kelly

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Scientificly/Technically, from what I understand in the world of home theatre speakers, if you set your receiver to the 4-Ohm setting when running 6-Ohm or 8-Ohm speakers, you can't turn the volume up too high before the receiver goes into protection mode. Scientificly/Technically, what happens if you run 300-Ohm headphones on a laptop or smartphone? Also, would the headphone output of this Yamaha USB audio interface I own for professional use have an impedance high enough to drive the 600 and 650? Here are the links for its brochure, manual, and technical specifications.
 
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