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Comparison / Review : A tale of two Sennheisers – HD600 vs HD700

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by brooko, Jun 30, 2014.
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  1. Rob80b
    Although we all have our preferences on what is neutral, and Brooko does have a clear and defined argument and I totally respect his point of view and enjoy his reviews…I‘d would need to disagree.
    As I did here.
    So to reiterate.
    I can only speak with the phones I’ve had on hand to directly compare to the HD700s, but compared to my previous HD580/600, AKG K701s, K501s, K240DFs, Garado SR325is and my current K712s, the HD700s offer a clearer window into the recording, with distinct layering and placement of imaging and IMHO very neutral tonal character.

    Now that may be system dependent and I’m running my HD700s off an all Bryston system known for its neutrality, a BCD-1 as source and the BHA-1 head-amp, balanced throughout.
    Also not too forget the HD700s long-term comfort.
    Now ..having said that… and I haven’t been in the studio for a number of years but my preferred mixing cans were always AKGs, today I’d probably use my K712s which I consider second best overall to my HD700s and would probably hold up better physically, the HD700s I’d reserve for critical listening at home… as for me they are more of an audiophile offering.
  2. Brooko Contributor
    I appreciate your POV Rob - and we'll agree to disagree on this one :beerchug:
  3. Head1
    From David Mahler's perspective the HD700 is more transparent than average but:
    HD800 > HD600/650 > HD700 > SRH1840
    which surprises me somewhat. The 1840 is supposedly on par with the 600 and closer to neutral.
  4. Rob80b
    Although David has an extensive list and comparison of many phones, still it’s based on his ears, preferences, music and equipment.. no review….professional or other..is definitive and not to be taken at face value…as in all things in life ones opinion…even my own…. is relative.
    TREBLE: The treble presentation here is awkward. In the opinion of many, the HD700 is warmer than the HD800 (the HD800 has been criticized by some for being too bright). Well, to my ears, the HD700 is even brighter and sharper. With the HD700, cymbals tend to sound a bit strident and untamed. However, as I greatly enjoy several other aspects of the HD700's sound, the treble response doesn't ruin the headphone for me. That said, I am convinced that the HD600's and HD650's treble presentation is more natural.
    SIBILANT: Harsh treble is typically accompanied by sibilance, so this particular commentary is kind of redundant. The HD700's sound signature happens to be noticeably sibilant.
    NOISY EARPADS: I have found that odd click-like noises emanate from the HD700's earpads from time to time. While it's not terribly distracting, I do find it rather peculiar.”
    “The HD600, HD650 and HD800 are all of a higher degree transparency to my ears than the HD700. However, due to what I see as a superior decay, the HD700 is more transparent than average. For instance, despite its more problematic treble..”
    My long term listening between my HD580/600s and the HD700s continually revealed a higher level of transparency with the 700s and its better detail retrieval is IMHO responsible for the much better layering of instruments and staging,… recordings that I’m very familiar with took on new life, so much so that at times I felt I had a direct feed off the mixing console..more so than any other phone..except for the HD800..but found their presentation a bit too clinical for my long term musical listening enjoyment.
    To conclude ....For those of us..and there are many that have not experienced his list of weaknesses ... and if we agree on David’s positive observations. …one would then have to conclude that the HD700s are quite an accomplishment…and an excellent headphone.
    NEUTRAL: Since the HD700's tonal balance manages to get very close to neutral, I would surmise that Sennheiser was attempting to produce a neutral sounding headphone when it created the HD700. Short of a few peakish qualities in the top end, the HD700 is a neutral headphone.
    MIDS: I really enjoy the core of the midrange presentation here; it seems relatively flat to my ears. Where the upper-mids transition into the treble region, I begin to take issue with its forwardness, but overall, the mids here are classic Sennheiser exquisiteness.
    BASS: The HD700's bass presentation is just a bit heftier than the HD800's. However it is not quite as tight or extended. Ultimately, I prefer the HD800's bass presentation, but the HD700's bass presentation has its merits.
    ACOUSTIC MASTER: The HD700 is extraordinary in its rendering of acoustic guitar. The sound is crisp and clean; the upper harmonics of the strings are brought forward. With regard to acoustic guitar, the treble response is rarely problematic. However, in some rare instances where the fingers slide up and down the fret-board aggressively, the slide of the fingers may be sharper than optimal.
    DECAY: The HD700 offers a very fast decay. To my ears, the decay sounds even quicker than the HD800. However, the HD800's decay sounds more natural.
    IMAGING: One thing the HD700 does exceptionally well is imaging. It far surpasses the HD650's ability in this regard."
  5. NZheadcase
    It's been a while since I visited Head-fi. Went dark for a while to just enjoy my gear. Came back just a few days ago and came across your review. Many thanks. This has helped me immensely. 
    The review is the best I have come across. Clear, informative, and despite the length, concise. And I think most importantly, it is an honest and sincere portrayal of your experience and feelings for the headphone. Read your other reviews as well. Keep it up, sir. 
  6. Brooko Contributor
    Thanks mate.  I really enjoy writing them.  It's not until I combine objectivity and subjectivity that I really get a true 'handle' on what I'm hearing.  It's been amazing how many times I've been surprised (especially over the last few years), that what I thought was the case is often not in reality - when I remove a lot of the external things that bias my "normal listening".
    Volume matching, getting my (very understanding) wife to help me with blind tests, and making sure I compare like with like has helped both my understanding of how audio works, and also the limits of my own personal perception (and the extent of my own bias).
    I just wish NZ wasn't so limited in the ability to get gear for testing.  I'd really like to test some of my gear up against the planars, and also see if there is a lot of difference in scaling source and amps.  I'll get to it one of these days - but for now I'm too busy enjoying the music, and too poor to pursue at this particular moment in time [​IMG] 
    That may not be a bad thing though
  7. NZheadcase
    Yeah getting gear here in our country is a pain. Thank goodness for Billy and computerlounge, there's at least one place to audition some gear, though I rarely have time to visit the display shop. 
    As for being too poor to pursue the hobby, amen to that. I can relate. 
  8. Brooko Contributor
    Billy's moved on too - he's over at A2A in Australia now (Melbourne)
  9. NZheadcase
    Serious? I am so behind. Have to PM him. Thanks for the info Brooko.
    BTW, is that why I saw the massive sale on Hifiman products the other week? Are they stepping away from the audio biz? We should really move this to PM. lol!
  10. 62ohm
    Wow, really? I guess I am so behind as well.. And I hope they won't step away from the audio biz as CL is my top go-to place for audio stuff (bought the vast majority of my gear from there).
  11. Brooko Contributor
    Hope not (the Hifiman sale).  I guess we'll find out over coming months.
  12. Tim941
    Nice review, I just listened to my HD600 and HD700, it was pretty close to your thought... 
  13. Gfresh404
    Thanks for the comparison, very helpful :)
  14. Butter123
    The HD700 is said to be forgiving for a high end headphone, how about the HD600 or the HD650? I won't always be listening to FLAC files. And would a USB/DAC amp such as the Dragonfly or Creative E5 be enough for portable usage with a surface pro? Thanks. I am more interested in the HD700. 
  15. Brooko Contributor
    Depends on the music - but of the three, the HD700 may be the least forgiving of bad recordings.  It is the easiest to drive though. 
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