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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. Thesonofkrypton
    Does anyone have the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro and DT 1990 Pro and can offer comparisons to the HD660s?
  2. Rob80b
    Thanks for the heads up....I've been debating if I'll pick up a pair of the newer version... here in Canada they're $679.95 + HST = $768.34....and from Amazon UK minus the VAT only £318.54 ( $506.76 Canadian) all in with shipping and duties paid.
    ...and because Amazon is an authorized dealer full global warranty.:thumbsup:
    Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 3.31.07 PM.png
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Mike F likes this.
  3. Mike F
    Well, as I’ve said, I’m reading through some old posts. I enjoyed the level of discussion that I had with many members on this thread, and I’m grateful to them for their informed responses and (for the most part) patience with my rather slow way of doing things! Now, after finally buying the HD660S and spending more time with them, I am happy to deal with what I said in post #2543..........

    ‘I think that's the crux of the issue, Rob. As I've said a few times now, the loss of low level detail would be very dissapointing for me, no matter what other gains may have been made. And when at the same time I don't find the HD 650 too laid back or find myself wanting a more exciting presentation, then I think I'm justified in thinking that the HD 660 S is not for me. If I get to hear them and find that I'm wrong I will come back here and publicly eat my imaginary hat!’

    Well, I was wrong, and I’m here to publicly eat my imaginary hat!

    After quite a bit of careful listening I have to say that in comparison to the HD660S that I have (see my next post!) I still find that the (my) HD650 has a greater level of fine micro detail, at least in the upper mids and treble, BUT, what the HD660S has is a degree of clarity throughout the entire frequency range that most of the time more than compensates. Gone is any sense of softness or muddiness to the sound that masks what is going on, to be replaced by a precision which enhances important aspects of the presentation such as imaging and sound stage.

    So whilst a bit of fine micro detail may have been lost, there is a much greater sense of resolution. This results in a sound which is at the same time both more accurate and more engaging. And engaging in a good way. Not in a constant, and ultimately tiring, ear grabbing way, but in a way which is just more involving and draws you into the music, making you want to keep listening.

    I’ve been away from home a lot recently so my listening has been done on my old 160GB iPod (with lossless files) via a Fostex HP-P1. I can’t say anymore about how my present HD660S’s (I didn't keep the ones I originally had, marginally preferring a later pair) will compare to my HD650 on my system at home, so for now I will have to stand by what I said in my earlier review. However, I will listen again. It’s possible that now I have become used to the sound signature of the HD660S that I will hear things in a different way and have different impressions. More to follow........
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  4. kman1211
    That sense of softness is what I'd say is my main complaint about the HD 650, I feel that is the HD 650's biggest weakness and something I find the HD 660 S does address. The HD 650 doesn't always have enough snap, bite, slam, etc. when called for, something that is obvious when I come from my other headphones.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Deftone and Mike F like this.
  5. Mike F
    So, I have now had four pairs of HD660S’s in my possession. Yes, I know...... having waited so long and all that.......

    I previously stated that, apart from minor differences due to inevitable sample variation, they were all the same. However, although I believe that is true, I also think that on the level which people like us listen they are different enough to affect relative perceptions. Let me explain.

    I think it’s generally well accepted that there have been at least two versions of the HD650. The early ones were darker and slower and almost certainly were the reason for the ‘veil’ criticism. The later ones, from about the same time that the silver screen was introduced, are brighter and somewhat faster. I’ve read occasionally here, and certainly on a certain other forum, that there may have been as many as 4-5 subtle changes to the HD650 over time. I’ve also read that the HD600 has undergone similar subtle changes. One theory suggests that the HD650 has gradually become more like the HD600 and vice versa. That may or may not be true, but certainly I’ve never been able to agree with the description of the HD650 as being dark and veiled. Mine most certainly are not.

    Having had four HD660S’s now and having compared them to my HD650’s I still cannot really understand why most people seem to think that the HD660S is brighter than the HD650. Although there were subtle differences between them they all had less treble energy than my HD650’s. All of the HD660S’s that I’ve tried were made between January 2019 and the present (I checked the drivers). However, when I went and compared the HD660S and HD650 in the store in Tampere there was no doubt that the HD660S sounded brighter than the HD650 that they had. All of the headphones were well used, and I strongly suspect that the display HD660S was an early sample. FWIW the HD650 was a recent (but not the most recent) model with the hologram sticker on the right hand driver. So, maybe the earlier HD660S was brighter than the current production, or I have an exceptionally bright HD650. Who knows?

    It occurs to me that if these changes have taken place (which I believe is the case) that when small sample variations, not to mention differences in hearing etc, are factored in, then it becomes very difficult to draw anything but the most general conclusions about how a headphone sounds, and comparing the HD660S to the HD650 will be affected by which version of each (plus sample variation) is being listened to.

    @Rob80b I’d be very interested in your impressions of the new one when you get it!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    CaptainFantastic likes this.
  6. herrbbiiee
    Hi all

    I'm an occasional reader of this forum (which is awesome by the way). 10 years ago I purchased some Denon D2000's and (due to this forum) went on to do the markl mod, and added my own cable. I've been very happy with them, but do find them to be too bright, and slightly recessed mids.

    A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to buy some B-stock HD660's and decided to treat myself. After having let them settle down for around 20 hours I've been listening to them for around 10 hours before writing this. To be honest I'm not sure what to make of them. Yes, they are a completely different headphone to the D2000's, the mids are much smoother, better highs, but the lack of any base (below 100hz or so) and poor imaging (compared to my D2000's) has left me underwhelmed.

    My question is, how much does a bespoke headphone cable improve the sound over stock, and how does this headphone perform on, say a audolab m-dac plus? I'm considering whether to keep them longer and upgrade my amp/dac/cables (which will happen anyway), or just sell them and move onto others (eg 1990Pro's).

    Any input appreciated.

  7. donlin
    Because the Denon has exaggerated bass and the HD660S is way more neutral, I can imagine it would take quite a bit of time to adjust. I had the Denon AH-D7000 for a while just before the HD800 was first released and the difference in bass was shocking and very difficult to adjust to. Over time though, the accuracy of the Sennheiser sound won me back over.
    I'm surprised you hear the imaging as poor. For me, the 660S soundstage is narrow but the imaging is excellent and very pinpoint.
    IMO a cable change won't begin to overcome the huge differences between the two headphones. A good DAC always helps, but again your two headphones are so completely different sounding that your ears would need to adjust first before changing other parts of the system.
    herrbbiiee likes this.
  8. Ichos
    Very well said.
    If you find bass lacking there is no way to overcome this with different cables or dac / amps.
    Going fully balanced though can help width and imaging which for my ears is already amongst the best.
    herrbbiiee likes this.
  9. Rob80b
    Hey Mike....like I said I'm debating if I'll get/need another pair....price is great but will they get much use with my HD800Ss around...speaking of I managed to finally audition a pair Focal Utopias ($4999 Can) yesterday on a similar rig as my own, Bryston BHA-1...not a super long session but enough to more fully appreciate my HD800S which I preferred overall and I may even go so as to say I'd even choose the HD660S over the Focals.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  10. Mike F
    Oh go on! At that price you can’t loose. :wink: Interesting to know your thoughts on the Focals. Thay make the HD660S look like an absolute bargain!
  11. herrbbiiee
    Thanks for the response.
    To clarify, I'm not looking to replace the D2000's (which still work fine); I'm looking for the next level up and was prepared for a different sound. I'll spend a little more time with the 660's before deciding whether to keep.
  12. 1TrickPony
    I recently bought the Elears for 620 CAD, but the hd660s holds its own in terms of timbre. Bass quantity seems less in the Senns, but they still alright (/natural) to me.

    Only if there were a good close-back alternative...
    equalspeace likes this.
  13. Mike F
    Off topic, but just for fun......... A6A76B40-561D-4925-973A-ADC0A13D1A4D.jpeg
    trellus, DavidA, donlin and 1 other person like this.
  14. Mike F
    Sitting here listening to Quincy Jones, Back On The Block, an album which you’d expect to sound better on the HD660S than the HD650 if ever there was one! And, it does!

    Im using my iPod / Fostex HP-P1 set up. The differences could be less obvious on a better amp, but there’s no doubt that on that gear it’s all the Hd660S’s way! I previously described the HD650 as ‘soft and muddy’ sounding by comparison. I would actually want to retract the ‘muddy’ adjective. To be honest I’ve never found the (my) HD650 to be muddy, but I think ‘soft’ sounding is a good description and I might go so far as to say a bit ‘mushy’ at times by comparison. Initially the HD650 always sounds more pleasing in some ways, but I consistently find that the sound becomes a bit boring fairly quickly whereas the HD660S, whilst sounding somewhat dryer, and yes, I would say more neutral, sounds more interesting and involving the more one listens.

    This is nothing new, I know, having been reported in a similar way by many people here, but I thought I’d add my two cents!
    Really enjoying rediscovering a lot of music that I’ve had no insensitive to listen to for a long time! :)
    trellus, kman1211 and Ichos like this.
  15. Ichos

    Very accurate description of what is happening pretty much my own observations.
    Mike F likes this.
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