Reference sound quality that can’t be beat for the price. Sennheiser’s reference headphones have been surpassed by the new HD650s, but the HD600 remain a real bargain. Exceptional build quality.
Have been surpassed by the new HD650s. Slightly uncomfortable. Somewhat forward sounding.
A reference pair of headphones that offer a true taste of high-end audio at a very affordable price and can be improved with a third party cable.
Sennheiser HD600 headphones
The former reference is still better than what 95% of the planet is listening to and that's the truth, Ruth.
The Sennheiser HD600 headphones came onto the market about 10 years ago and set off a revolution, or at least fed one.
In a world of competing sounds, CDs, digitization of just about everything, except our analogue ears; in a world where speaker manufacturers continued to produce smaller and tinnier or larger and expensiver units; in a world where personal listening had been growing ever since the Sony Walkman arrived – in this world, people were primed, were sitting ducks, were ready for private listening to music that sounded better than it could on some $25000 speaker systems.
The Sennheiser HD600s came into the world to throw reviewers into paroxysms of joyful approval. The price, about $550 in Canada, seemed high at first. Until you clamped a pair on your head for a little demonstration.
Even as the price decreased with time and dealer specials, you could count on the sound. Its quality stayed constant.
Before the 600s, no one except those who could afford hugely expensive headsets had any idea of what good sound could come through ear cans.
My first experience listening to music with the HD600s stunned me. Music could sound this good?
Let me summarize without naming a lot of recordings that you may or may not recognize. Clear, detailed, musical, translucent, transparent, vibrant, in phase. And that was just through my Nakamichi RE-1 receiver’s headphone jack.
When I tried it with several different headphone amps the experience was even more intense. I also had a local hifi manufacturer construct an impedance matching box so that I could use the ‘phones with my Audiomat. Once again, stunning was an understatement.
There is one major difference between using the HD600s and a pair of good speakers. With the 600s, you hear bass notes down to a very low frequency – say, 20 Hz. Sennheiser says that these ‘phones reproduce frequencies from 12 to 39,000 Hz, both beyond my audibility range. But, you do not feel the sounds as you do when listening to music through speakers. With a good pair of speakers, you feel the sound at all frequencies, but most especially below 90 or so Hz. With the headphones, the experience is, pardon the expression, uncanny.
You hear with greater musical clarity than ever before the Liszt organ music that shook the window panes, the hip hop that vibrated your tie rack two floors away. But this sound does not hit you in the gut. You cannot watch the speaker cone moving. There are no peculiar buzzing noises emanating from the cutlery drawer. Your coffee remains waveless.
But you hear as you never have before. To hear organ music or bass drums or bass viols as the music actually is, not as your room interprets it, is an amazing experience. That in and of itself is sufficient reason to buy these headphones.
I have not yet used the new HD650 headset from Sennheiser, but, if it actually improves on the 600s, it can only add to excellent. Sennheiser lists the new set at $599.95 USD and the HD600 for $449.95. Both are a good buy, because you know that, the moment you plug them into a headphone jack, you are going to experience a revelation.
Impedance @ 1kHz: 300 ohms
Cord Length: 10 Feet
Detachable Cable: Yes
Cord Type: Straight Y
Coupler Size: Large
Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
Driver Type: Dynamic
Acoustic Seal: Open
Connector Type: 1/8” with ¼” adaptor
Weight: 9.2 oz