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Sennheiser HD660S... Finally a successor for the HD650?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Levanter, Oct 8, 2017.
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  1. donlin
    Yes! I bought the clear a month before getting the HD660S. I ended up selling the clear and keeping the 660S. The main problem I had with the clear was a shouty, fatiguing midrange. Also even though the bass was more extended with the clear, it was not as present as with the 660S. The 660S has way better imaging as well and a very slightly wider soundstage. In the end, the 660S is fun to listen to and the clear was not.
  2. phthora
    Odd... that's not been my experience at all.

    I found the Clear to be brighter, with much more treble presence and extension, while the 660S was more focused on the mids (though less n-shaped than the 650). I didn't find either especially shouty. The 660S has very broad emphasis on the mids, while the Clear, comparatively, sounds a bit withdrawn in the vocals. The Clear has deeper reaching, more precise bass, but they have about the same level and impact. I found the soundstage roughly the same in width, with the Clear significantly better in imaging and instrument separation. Personally, I enjoyed both quite a bit, but the Clear has become one of my absolute favorites.
    trellus, Deftone and Ichos like this.
  3. donlin
    I agree with a lot of what you say. The 660S is definitely more mid focused which I really enjoy and the clear treble is much brighter (too much for me). It all comes down to personal taste. I should add that I have been a lover of the Sennheiser HD 598/600/650/660s since the mid 1990's, so it's just a basic signature that totally works for my taste.
    Lee Van De Mark, Deftone and phthora like this.
  4. Ichos
    You guys have managed to confuse me a lot.
    I have heard both headphones at my home but due limited sound memory now i can't compare them.
    When i was auditioning the Clears i was A/B them with HD800S and i ended at buying them.
    The thing that i remember is that the Clears after raising the volume exhibited some kind of ringing at certain frequencies.
    Now i have sold my HD800S in order to downgrade but i am having a great discount for the Clears.
    Of course they are still almost three times more expensive and i don't know if it is worth it.
    Regarding overall dynamic impact which fares better?
    I listen exclusive to Classical and now that i have ''matured'' i am willing to sacrifice technical ability for better tonality.
    So which one sounds more correct pithead especially at the higher registers?
  5. phthora
    Yep. Personal taste is right. I normally don't go out of my way to nay-say people, but I thought it interesting that we hold different opinions despite both using Benchmark gear. It might be helpful for the OP to hear both sides, and--


    Uh, my bad.

    On the other stuff, I think the Clear and 660s are pretty similar in dynamic impact. If you want a more direct replacement of the HD800s, the Clear is closer with its brighter treble. The Clear is my go-to for orchestral music and sounds wonderful with it. If you want even more impact, at the expense of a bit of balance in the FR, the Elex is tremendously impactful. @donlin may be better to ask about the merits of the 660s and orchestral, but I tend to like the 600 series best with vocal-focused music.
    Ichos likes this.
  6. Ichos
    The HD660S is supposed to be the less vocal focused of the series.
    Anyway i had them at home for three days and i loved them so that is why i decided to sell the HD800S.
    But now the devil is inside me....but sincerely i don't care for something close to HD800
    i am looking for the most natural tonality.
    Like the B&K target curve of my speaker set up.

    As for Elex i don't know if they ship at Greece and i have read here and there that the Clears
    driver is of a much better quality regarding distortion etc.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  7. Lee Van De Mark
    I had to return the clear simply because I found it to be too bright and lean, although I agree instrument separation was really good on those. But for 3 times the price of the 660’s I’m not sure if the focal clear is 3 times better.
  8. donlin
    Lean is exactly the right word to describe the sound of the clear.
    Deftone likes this.
  9. donlin
    Again, completely my own opinion, but if you are looking for natural tonality, the clear is not the way to go. I have both the 660S and the 800S and to my ears they both sound quite a bit more natural than the clear. By that I mean each time I listened to the Clear, I had to remind myself that it's a great headphone because everyone says it is, even though it didn't sound quite right. With the 660S and 800S, I don't need to convince myself that they sound good.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  10. Wes S
    The most natural tonality, I have experienced is with the ZMF Aeolus. Coming from the HD650, the Aeolus, is the ultimate upgrade, while staying similar in sound signature, with better extension at both ends.
    Ichos likes this.
  11. G0rt
    I first encountered Senns over 40 years ago, and bought a bunch of them for the FM station I engineered back then, then used them off and on over the years myself.

    Nothing's perfect, but they're fine, and consistent, and as natural as you can find, within a spectrum of differences that meet or exceed expectations, depending on your expectations.

    The last few days, I've been flipping between the 3 sisters, 600/650/660s, and depending upon genre, they all work just fine. (All Irish.)

    ATM, King's X, Tape Head, Mr. Evil, on a recent HD650, fed balanced from higher end Schiit, and it just works.:D
    trellus, Sennheiser, Evshrug and 3 others like this.
  12. Ichos
    I guess for classical is HD660S your preference?
    Of course i used to own HD650 for many years and i sold them after i got the OG HD800.
    Now it seems that the journey is returning me back to the 6 series!

    @Wes S - I am very curious to hear at least one ZMF open back but it's very difficult as there is only one retailer in UK.
    Two years a friend of mine send me a closed ZMF to evaluate it and tell him my opinion.
    I don't remember the exact model but it was one of the worst headphones i ever heard.
  13. Wes S
    Interesting, how we like different things, because I have heard all the ZMF's close backs, except for the new Verite C and there is not a bad one in the lineup. However, you could not pay me to listen, with the HD800, so there is that.
    Ichos likes this.
  14. G0rt
    From where I sit, everything that goes into my HD650 comes out beautiful, and for classical, or new age, or most jazz, I can't really ask much more. For what it does, it does best, IMHO.

    For particularly difficult pieces, some fusion, most metal, I like the HD660s over all, because it can keep up with the most energetic performances without losing anything. Technical.

    I punked my HD600 a while ago, using Dekoni sheep to bring up the bottom some, and it's the most posh, having enough detail and superior comfort. If I had to live with just one, this is it.

    But I can live Very happily with all 3.:)
    1TrickPony, Ichos, Sennheiser and 2 others like this.
  15. Evshrug
    Hey Ichos,
    Something I’ve learned recently, the shape of our ears can actually cause certain frequencies to resonate and be amplified, and I’ve found out that short/narrow ear canals like mine (I always use the smallest or second smallest tips with IEMs) will amplify the higher midrange/treble frequencies around 7 kHz and harmonic frequencies.

    I think this can account for many of the varying impressions, and explain personal preference to some extent.

    Hey G0rt,
    I agree with your observation about the HD 660S, it clearly has the quickest transient response (a short beginning and ending to each note without blurring over into the next) in the series, which is the part I identify as some HD 800 DNA. A different tuning and smaller driver though, of course.

    It looks like the HD 600 got the same update treatment as the HD 660S. A part of me will miss the blue speckles, but I have to admit the new design looks slick. Lets see if I can find any Official photos.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    trellus, Ichos and Sennheiser like this.
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