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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. Jon Sonne
    I went down to KT radio today to try the 660S again. Unfortunately, they did not have the Sennheiser HD 600 nor the 650 in stock. Instead, the seller suggested me to try and compare it with the Focal Elear, so that’s what I did.

    A5D0A5F5-2DE2-4DEA-8D4D-DF9CBF5C5AAB.jpeg

    Sorry for the poor picture quality.

    660S vs. Elear

    To start with, I think these two are very close in overall performance. They also sound quite alike, except for two main differences, the midrange and the soundstage/instrument separation. The latter is where they diverge the most. The Elear is very good at separating instruments, and has a wide but less deep soundstage than the 660S. The more depth on the 660S gives it a more layered soundstage, but instruments tend to blend a bit more. Moving on to the second major difference, the midrange, the most apparent difference is that the Elear is a bit more nasal than the 660S, but other than that they are very close in performance.
    I only noticed minor differences in bass and treble, but I need more listening time before I can confidently tell the difference. The Elear might have a bit more details in the bass and the 660S may have slightly more energy in the treble.

    Also worth noting is the huge difference in build quaility. The Elear is build like a tank and also looks the part. The 660S feels “cheap” in comparison, but is also much lighter, and thus may be better suited for long listening sessions. The Elear, nevertheless, felt more comfortable in the short term, with larger and softer pads.

    I also tried the Hifiman HE-1000 again, and I found that the angle and fitting of the headphone does alter the sound quite a lot. Therefore, please disregard my previous post about the 660S vs. the HEK.

    660S vs. HEK

    There is definitely much bigger audible differences between the 660S and the HEK than the 660S and the Elear. The HEK presents the music in a very “open” way. There is more space for instruments to take up compared to the 660S more intimate soundstage. In a way, if it were not for the minor flaws of the frequency response of the HEK, I would propably quickly forget I was wearing headphones, as the sound is so airy. This is a very special quality, and I can understand why so many find the HEK worth the hefty price tag. Other than the presentation, the largest difference again lies with the midrange. Although the midrange of the HEK is very clear, and well-balanced with the rest of the audio spectrum, there is a coloration in the sound that makes vocals sound less natural in comparison to the 660S. The HEK also has a slight coloration in the mid to upper-treble, making some metallic instruments sound a little tissy. The 660S on the other hand has a very smooth treble while still having some sparkle. Dynamics, on the other hand, is better on the HEK than the 660S. Horns a more powerful, so are snares and sub-bass. Talking about the bass, although the 660S has very good bass control, it lacks sub-bass in comparison to the HEK.

    Final notes for people considering upgrading from HD 650:

    I have owned the 650 for +10 years, and I think Sennheiser has done a very good job at updating the HD 6** line with the new 660S. The new 660S retains what was good about the 650 and improves upon it, especially in bass and treble. The bass has much better control, and the treble has more energy and is also more well defined. The 660S may also be clearer in the midrange, but I think I would need a direct comparison to be sure.

    I hope you will find my notes helpful.

    Sincerely,

    Jon
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  2. amartignano
    Jon, given the price difference, your Hd660s vs Elear is a sort of "bomb".
     
    pietcux likes this.
  3. LaCuffia
    The Elear doesn’t have the superb balance of the 660s. The 660s is also much better in the midrange. Then again I find both the Elear and Utopia overrated.

    I also prefer the lightness and build of the 660s. The Elear creaks and is a bit clunky. Only thing better with the Elear are the ear pads.
     
    Jon Sonne, god-bluff and YtseJamer like this.
  4. jamestux
    Balanaced and standard cable and 6.5 to 3.5 adapter plus the standard 6 series box (big and not practical outside of home! It was like in boxing the HD600 all those years ago :)
     
  5. Pedro Oliveira
    What if amped with a portable AMP like the e12 or a c5?

    Ever tried the 650 or 660? Those are bassier and slam harder? I not a bass head but usually i like a bit of fullness to the sound like on the momentums.

    Só this raises a question as well.... Right now the 660 and 700 cost about the same.... The 700 despite their odd sound SIG still remains a class above the 660? If yes wich type of personagem should go for the 700 and wich for the 660?
     
  6. amartignano
    Difficult answer. Yesterday I compared my Hd700 and 600. Despite the peculiar response of the 700 in the mids, the 700 is clearly on another and better class for detail retrieval, extension, finesse, soundstage, comfort and build quality. I'm curious about the "class improvement" of the Hd660s.
     
  7. Jodet
    In my experience the person who should go for the 700 is one with a really, really good amp. I compared a 650 to my 700 on a good (QP1R) portable player and preferred the 650. When I put the 700 on a good tube amp it was a whole 'nother headphone and won easily over the 650. If you've got the upstream gear for it the 700 is really good.
     
    DavidA likes this.
  8. Sigmaaa
    Yes, the tubes dull the fun peaks of the HD700, maybe that's why. I had the HD700 and got rid of it eventually. While the details were more on the HD700, especially in the treble, because of the peaks, the HD650 sounded more balanced to me. Also, the bass on the HD700 sounded somewhat like an empty barrel to me, maybe because of the enclosure.
     
  9. Pedro Oliveira
    The hd650 sounded much Fuller? Wich had a harder punch? Havê you Tried the 600 as well?
     
  10. Malfunkt
    Hey Pedro, still rocking the HD25s, don't blame you, it will be difficult to get something with their kind of slam, in large part due tot he HD25's high SPL, closed cup design, and tuning. The can is legendary, and only held back the technical department a bit by a pretty standard driver.

    As far as slam goes, I can only really talk about the HD650, which given its modest low-range frequency hump, is quite tactile with electronic music. Like the HD25, the HD650 does something with music that is hard to compete with - all the parts come together so well. It the frequency balance of the HD650 that allows you to turn it up a bit, and get a more visceral experience.

    Now the low-end never hits the depths of the LCD2,and speaking of which, if I want real tactile slam the LCD2 outclasses the HD650 (no matter what the magic amp / cables/ etc) as its planar design extends low, with clarity, and lack of distortion. But the LCD2, isn't really a bassheads can, because it doesn't have that v-shape tuning, and even with EQ, it never has that bloom that a dynamic driver can give you which can be enjoyable.

    I'd say both HD650 and LCD2 are on par though, for various reasons, even for listening to electronic music. Bass is only one aspect, and its arguable that the HD650 handles linear top-end frequency a bit smoother while being a more comfy.

    The HD660S may not be a massive improvement, and does come with a price tag, but I will say that 150ohm power rating (like the HD700) really goes a way to helping these headphones become a lot more manageable from say an iPhone or portable. After recabling the HD700, they have a perfect balance between getting enjoyment out of a desktop amp/dac or just on the go.

    HD700 - yes, technically the bass on the 700 is tighter than the 650. I feel it quite well-balanced, and in some sense it is like the HD25, as that bass actually isn't overly pronounced. I feel the HD650 and LCD2 will bring more 'weight' to electronic music, but the HD700 will soar with more experimental, acoustic-orientated electronic music, or very technical productions even psy-trance, IDM, etc. It's just another flavor really, but for the most part I'm going to reach for my LCD2 or even more so my Denon AH-D2000 / MDR-7520.

    Which brings me to closed-cans in a way that @DoctaCosmos discussed earlier (welcome back by the way!). A closed-can is going to bring a different level of engagement and 'slam' than opens do. The MDR-7520 out of all my cans is the one that can punch, not the lowest, but is intentionally designed to analyze music, including the low-end. Not too far off the design of the HD25, the 7520, also a professional headphone, is more spacious in size and sound. The dynamic driver in the 7520 is one of Sony's better designs and extends low/high. It's more of a HD25 replacement (though it is expensive) - but I'll tell you I still miss the HD25 (gave it to my brother)/

    The Denon AH-D2000, however can be the most enjoyable with electronic music out of all of them. Unlike later design revisions of the Foster bio-cellulose driver, the D2000 is tuned flat with a bit of v-shape going on. Bass is delicious without being overpowered. One thing I've found out, is that the pads make a massive difference with these cans. I now have two D2000s, one has some older pads that are supple and with less width. They are the most comfortable and somehow the sound is just a step up compared to the other one, whose pads are stiffer and thicker. I imagine the sound of the newer one will change as it breaks in, just something to be aware of. This impacts most headphones even the HD650 series. The HD25/7520 don't have to worry about this as much due to their design (as long as you get a good seal and aren't using foam pads).

    Not sure how much an improvement the 660S will be over the 650/600/580. If slams was a prime consideration it would be tough choice between this and the new LCD2C (a revision of the classic) at its $599 price point but I'd probably go with the latter.
     
    god-bluff and trellus like this.
  11. Sigmaaa
    The HD650 sounded "fuller" because of the midrange, HD700 sounded a bit thin and the treble was horrible on the songs that had a lot going on at the frequency of the peaks. It depends on the song, each particular (re)master. The HD650 sounds a bit lacking in the high-midrange and treble on some of the dark records, but a lot more easy to live with than the treble peaks and do a stellar job with the sibilant albums.
    I listened to HD600 a long time ago, cannot really compare them, the memory has faded, but they seemed in the middle, not so dark as HD650, not so treble spiked as the HD700, but the deep bass on the HD600 was less than on both HD650/700. Also, the HD600 have a 3-3.5kHz peak that some complain of, I can't really remember it tho.

    I'm confused too, since the graphs show hd650 treble on the same level as HD660s, but people still say that HD660s are brighter. Also, somebody said the hd660s are darker than hd600. Can't really figure it out, since the HD600 are very close to HD650 in terms of treble, it's a really precise job to figure out the HD660s to be right in between.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  12. Renato Fury
    Doubt me, if an amplifier and a dac with a signature on the hot side conduct an analytical headphone, soon they will color the signature of this headphone, but this heat makes the headphone even being neutral more tolerance to bad recordings or this has nothing to do ?
     
  13. PeterZhu
    I am really looking forward to it and contrast it whit HE60:joy:
     
  14. DavidA
    I'd have to agree with @amartignano and @Jodet a tube amp is what the HD700 needs, its why I was hoping the HD660S sounded closer to the HD700 than the HD650 since some said that the driver looks like the one from the HD700.
     
  15. endgame
    As an owner of the HEK V2, this is just such an awesome post. Well said.
     
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