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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. ToroFiestaSol
    So, are those the headphones that god listens to while sitting in his Herman Aeron chair? Or poo poo bass like HD600/650 and HD700 mids and treble?
    Time will tell!
  2. elucidate
    More like the Herman Miller embody :)

    Curious to see some first impressions. What's the ETA?

    I own the Aeron (2016 version) btw, best investment I've ever made.
  3. endgame
    You’ll get impressions from me, because as soon as they launch, I’m getting them.
    Solrighal and elucidate like this.
  4. elucidate
    Looking forward to it. If anything, I'm hoping these will have a similar sound signature to the HD600's but with a much larger soundstage. One can dream....
  5. endgame
    Not me. I’m hoping they sound like an HD700 tuned properly. If they can tame the treble and preserve the soundstage, these will be awesome. And if they boost the bass a little, fine with me
    Evshrug and Malfunkt like this.
  6. ubs28
    Yep, I managed to get the HD 650 brand new for $320. Probably the same will happen to the HD 660 S most likely if you wait a bit.
  7. Jodet
    If by 'a bit' you mean one or more years, yeah, maybe. It will be a long time before the new thing has the same kind of discount the 13 year old thing does.

    If I decide to try a pair (Jude, Ty... you're on) I'd be happy to find a pair for $450.
  8. Alcophone
    Good thing you get a 10% discount when signing up for the SF store opening: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/sf
    That amounts to $450... plus sales tax. Well.
    Evshrug likes this.
  9. ubs28
    Pretty much all headphones with a certain listing price you can get much cheaper if you try hard enough. Has nothing to do with age.
  10. phthora
    If it is actually an improved HD650, then $500 for an HD660s is a very reasonable price. I doubt we will see a drop much below that price before Black Friday 2018.
    Evshrug and Chapp like this.
  11. Chapp
    Agreed. If it's a headphone worth having (actually good) then it probably won't drop in price for a good while. I think I'm in for one though! Want to compare to my 600/650.
  12. jude Administrator
    (Click on the image above to see a larger version.)

    A few days ago, I received notice that the Sennheiser HD 660 S arrived, but I had a flight to catch. Priorities, priorities... A bit pressed for time, the (reasonable) plan was to go straight to the airport. Against my better judgment, Brian (@AxelCloris) and I stopped by our shipping address to pick up the HD660S, then I asked him to stop at the office because I wanted to pick up an HD 650 (so that I could have both for my trip). While at the office, I decided to rush a frequency response measurement -- which is why I'm calling the measurement attached to this post a PRELIMINARY measurement. (I don't like doing measurements first, but I wanted to grab one to post, as I wasn't going to be back at the office during the weekend.)

    Somehow I still made my flight.

    I've been listening to the Sennheiser HD660S all weekend, and here are my impressions / comments in bullet point form:
    • Years ago, one of the great Head-Fi debates involved the "Sennheiser veil." Some felt the HD600/650 were veiled; others (myself included) did not. We used to debate this so often that it was (as the saying goes) like beating a dead horse. It was such a common argument that one of the Head-Fi'ers (I can't remember who) came up with an emoticon that represented the beating of the Sennheiser veil horse.
      • Again, I was not among those who felt the HD600/650 veiled.

    • I mention this because the new Sennheiser HD 660 S, in direct comparison, is clearly more resolving than the Sennheiser HD 650. While I still wouldn't come close to calling the HD650 veiled, the HD660S is definitely a clearer window into the recording, and this is particularly evident when listening to denser, busier music. There's more detail across the audio band. If you like the level of resolution of the HD650, you'll like the HD660 more. Even if you think you don't want more resolution from your HD650, trust me, you want more resolution from your HD650.

    • The driver is based on the Sennheiser HD 700's driver, but it does not sound like an HD700 -- it sounds like an HD600-series headphone, through and through. Only improved. If I hadn't been told so, and if I didn't see the obvious HD700 driver resemblance, I wouldn't have guessed this simply from listening. What would I have guessed? I'd have guessed that they had come up with an HD800-like ring driver for the HD600-type chassis to get the improved performance. No, it doesn't sound like an HD 800 either, but the improved detail retrieval now puts it more in league with the HD800 (though the HD800 (and especially the HD800S which I prefer to the HD800) is still the more resolving headphone).

      • I'd call imaging / soundstage width similar to the HD650, but there's an immediacy with up-close sonic image objects that gives it a greater sense of depth for me. I'm digging this.

      • Tonal balance is quite similar to the Sennheiser HD650, but to my ears there's more flesh, more meat, more impact across the audio band. Also, the treble sounds more extended, faster, with more shimmer, but still smooth and very refined.

    • If you definitely prefer the HD800 (or HD800S) to the HD650, you'll probably still prefer it to the HD660S.

    • If you couldn't stand the HD650 for whatever reason, I don't think the HD660S will necessarily change your mind. If your main reason was a desire for more resolution, it'll come closer. If your main reason was tonal balance, keep looking.

    • I think overwhelmingly most will prefer the HD660S to the HD650. To my ears so far, I'm not sensing any disadvantages versus the HD650. None.
    Following is a PRELIMINARY frequency response comparison between the HD660S and the HD650. These measurements were made several months apart. I want to do a single measurement session with the Sennheiser HD 660 S and the HD 650 which we'll try to do this week. We've been increasingly employing the use of real-time FFT monitoring of both channels playing noise during positionings (in addition to low-frequency square waves and sine waves), so I'd like to use the same methods for a better, more consistent comparison of both. That said, this frequency response comparison (despite being months apart (and rushed with the HD660S)) still turned out well.


    The audio measurements in this post were made using:

    I should also mention that the earpads on the HD660S feel more roomy to me. It seems to me they scooped out the inside surface of the earpads. While I do think this may contribute to the HD660S feeling less clampy, its headband may also actually be less clampy.

    My feeling so far is that Sennheiser played this update to this family of headphones perfectly, by putting a high priority on maintaining the familial sound signature while improving its sound quality across the board. So, yes, my early impressions of the new Sennheiser HD 660 S are strong. Very strong.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
    Aryadeva, JoePR31, Wilashort and 31 others like this.
  13. Charente
    Excellent impressions description @jude ... sounds like a no-brainer for the majority of HD650 owners.
    Deftone likes this.
  14. mtoc
    impossible! what driver based on HD700?!

    it is totally new driver, folks allsay brand new driver, 0% relation to hd700, official website won't lie
  15. Charente
    One further question remains for me ... will the HD660S still match as well to the Mjolnir 2 as the HD650 does. This amp raises the performance of the HD650 significantly and any so-called veil largely if not completely gone ... overall a wonderful pairing in my setup. Now, if the HD660S pairs equally well and produces the kind of results that Jude mentions on the MJ2 then that would be perfect.
    Eldair likes this.
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