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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. Brooko Contributor
    @ Rob
    Thanks for your impressions.  I'd love to hear your set-up on the Bryston - and also get the chance to hear your 580s and compare them to my 600s.  I have heard a lot of people say that the HD580 and HD600 are essentially the same - but after reading your comments I really do wonder.
    As stated in my comparison (and the graphs/measurements actually show it also), the HD700 is definitely warmer and darker (than the HD600 at least).  Where the big difference is (besides the bass) is in speed, and also the slightly recessed lower midrange on the HD700 and the elevated upper mids.  They definitely can show more sparkle and excitement with some music - especially acoustic, or brass instruments - but the upper mids are so forward sometimes that it does bring female vocals ovely forward, and unfortunately sometimes can sound congested for my tatses (I have a lot of female vocal music).
    Comparatively the HD600 does have more sense of space in my set-up - probably because the vocals are more balanced across the spectrum - and don't tend to sit as forward.
    I've never heard the infamous "Sennheiser veil" - so it could be our sonic preferences at play [​IMG]
    Nice to hear your impressions though - and I agree that for the right set-up and genre choices, the HD700 really is a very special headphone.  Definitely has a sense of excitement and enhanced reality about it.
  2. Brooko Contributor
    Thanks Kman - I'll put the K812 on my future list of headphones to try.
  3. Greggo
    Brooko, thanks for such an awesome write up on these two phones.  I also hear the comparison a bit differently, but I sure do appreciate the time, effort, and supporting data that you have presented here.  One of the best organized and articulate comparisons I have seen in a while.
    I have had both for a while now, and will never part with either until they are heavily worn and degraded.  Both are fantastic headphones that have brought big smiles to my face on many occasions.  Though much less sensitive than the HD800, I do think the HD700 can come across a bit differently depending on recordings and signal playback chain.  I find the HD600 to be one of the most honest and pleasant sounding headphones on the planet.  If I am ever lost in my pursuit of the best sonics and a desire to be in the studio with the musicians, the HD600 has become home base.  When I want take some chances, dive into inner details and push the faders up if you will, the HD700 is able to raise the bar in every way, almost, but not quite every time.  They are less truthful, but they are more dynamic, more detailed, more extended, image better and are overall more exciting.  The HD600 is what I want to take over to my parents house for dinner... The HD700 is what I want to spend my weekends with : ) 
    trellus likes this.
  4. Brooko Contributor
    Greggo - nice post, and completely understand.
    Have you tried the Beyer T1s?  They might be another can which tick your boxes for the 'weekend listening'.  The difference with them is that you get all the detail without the sometimes strident upper mid-range.  Definitely brighter than the HD700 overall - but a very nice listen (and for now - around the same price).
    Thanks for posting your thoughts.
  5. Greggo
    I haven't tried any Beyers in a while now.  The DT770 Pro is actually what got me into headphones about 5 years ago.  I have been in home HiFi and home studios for about 35 years now (we are close in age), so headphones are a relatively new discovery for me.  At the new prices, the T1 is certainly tempting and I will keep my eyes open for any opportunity to give them a demo.  After so much time on my Senns, my wife started complaining about the sound bleeding so I grabbed some closed phones, a few hit and misses, then the BeoPlay H6, which I love, and now the Focal Spirit Pro which is a gigantic surprise for me as I didn't think I would like it.  But for 20-40 minute listening sessions they are my new favorites.  I am trying to stop the madness for a bit because when I go back to open phones, the T1, HE-560 and PM-1 are all calling my name.  My wallet just looks at me and shakes its' head, amazed that I am still such a poor money manager after all these years.  My wife is a saint.
  6. Brooko Contributor
    I have a lovely lady (22 years married) who is very similar.  She says it keeps me off the streets - so she's pretty understanding.  She does want me to thin a couple though - hence the reason for the current comparisons.  I'm trying to decide which ones to say goodbye to.
    HE560 interesting to me also.  If you get a chance to demo a pair - please either post back or drop me a PM telling me what you think.
  7. Rob80b
    After dotting down my own impressions here I thought I should better do another direct comparison between the two as it has been a few months since I actually did a direct side by side and the HD580 have been garnered with new ear pads and head cushion.
    Well, cannot really say my HD580/600s hybrid really come up short on anything except a slight decrease in bass extension and after a tune or two a lighter or darker presentation more or less becomes a none issue between the two phones as ones ears adjust.
    Extended loud listening through the HD700s could be a concern for aural fatigue as they do have more higher frequency energy but at moderate levels the crisper higher frequencies shouldn’t be a concern and IMHO both phones are even handed in their over all frequency presentation, the HD700 due to newer improved drivers just happen to have more extension at both ends.The newly developed angled baffled cups for the HD700s do attribute to the majority of the defined differences in stage perception but I could happily live with either phone.
    Now to mix things up…… since doing the bass port mod on my AKG K701s  my appreciation of this headphone has greatly improved, the added bass has evened out the overall tonal quality so that it’s presentation is no longer leaning toward the top end and such..... staging has also improved, so much so that I’m debating if I should hold on to them or the HD700s as the contrasting flavor in the roster. The 700s are still the closest alternative to my speakers when private listening is required but some of my phones will be going… mind you I’ll hold onto my old friends…. the HD580/600 hybrids. [​IMG]
  8. Greggo
    Will do.  Interested in your ongoing adventures as well.
  9. Brooko Contributor
    Thanks Rob & Greggo - really enjoying the discussion, and interesting to hear different viewpoints on the comparison. [​IMG]
  10. Rob80b
    No problem, like to join in when I can.
    As a long time audiophile I always find direct comparisons a mixed bag……. where at some point everything starts to sound the same, for better or for worse.
    Quick comparisons although interesting cannot hold a candle IMHO to long term listening as to which phone will be your go-to or reference, each time I get a new one it becomes the new king only to be dethroned either with something new or quite often than not by one by one of the older models, having gone AKG, AKG, Grado, Sennheiser, AKG..Grado….Sennheiser, you get the picture.
    I’m still on the fence with the HD700s, break-in is a questionable aspect but it may indeed apply to the HD700s as I did find their overall presentation change out of the box over the course of a week and also when Sennheiser swapped in new drivers due to a channel imbalance.
  11. 62ohm
    Funny when I auditioned K812 alongside HD800, T1 and LCD-2.2 I preferred the HD800. I thought the K812's treble sounded a bit harsh (which I suspect is its infamous distortion figure) and that's in December 2013, way before any measurements of the K812 was released.
  12. kman1211

    What amp did you listen to the K812 on? Because I had problems with HD 800s treble but the K812s treble was silky smooth.
  13. 62ohm
    When I auditioned them both were driven by Soloist and WA7. To me the HD800's treble sounded smoother, less distorted.
  14. kman1211

    It's could be amp synergy not working well for the K812. I haven't heard either of those amps. The K812 is amp finicky despite being easy to drive. I heard both on the WA22 and the Balancing Act. I wouldn't say one headphone was better than the other, but the K812 suited my ears(less harsh to me) and tastes better of the two. It could be I'm simply sensitive to aspects of the HD 800s treble.
  15. cb3723

    I was going to suggest (in humour) that you keep your cans and get rid of your ball and chain - lol :D, but she must be a very special lady to you, with 22 yrs married that's true soul mate material and hearing such likes always restores my faith in humanity, and just think that you and your better half are only 3 yrs away from Silver wedding anniversary - just don't buy her headphones as a gift as you might not make your pearl anniversary (30yrs married) :D

    Cool reviews, I was going to suggest that you may enjoy auditioning the AKG K812, but somebody beat me to it :)
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