Sennheiser HD 650 Review – Best All Round Sounding Headphones ?

Sennheiser HD 650 Review

Product: Sennheiser HD 650
Type: High-end Open Circumaural Headphones
Preferred Use: Home
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Warranty: 2 Year International Warranty
Our Rating: (93%)


Sennheiser HD 650, Product Overview

The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones were first released way back in the year 2003. They are the successor of the HD 580 and HD 600. All three iterations have achieved a legendary status amongst audiophiles and music lovers. And after all these years, they are still considered as one of the best sounding headphones in the world. At the moment, only the HD 600 and HD 650 are still being produced, while the HD 580 has become a collector’s item.

The HD 650 is an open-back over-the-ear headphone that truly delivers HiFi quality. They are hand picked to ensure that both left and right channels have very narrow tolerances (± 1 dB). They use a special modulated detachable cable that’s split to both left and right earcups. This ensures that the audio has to travel the exact same distance to both cups.

IN A HURRY? READ THE CONCLUSION!
Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 650 comes in a sturdy wooden box.

Design & Feel

Aesthetics-wise, the HD 650 isn’t gonna win any beauty contests, but that’s not the point. This is not a lifestyle headphone you’re gonna show off with on the streets. Like most open headphones, they are to be used indoors.

The build quality itself is very solid. When I hold them in my hands, they don’t give the impression that they’re gonna break easily. Made out of strong plastic materials there are no cracks or rattles at all. The HD 650 has a glossy grey metal finish while the grills are made out of metal.

The 3m detachable cable is split to both audio channels and is terminated by a 6.3mm jack. There is a 6.3mm to 3.5mm converter included.

The black velour earpads are thick and comfortable. They’re also big enough to hold any size of ears. Furthermore, I experienced the clamping force to be a bit over average, but certainly no death grip as some might think.

The padding on the headband differs from the HD 600 and looks a bit more minimized, but I experienced no discomfort at all.

All in all a very comfortable & breathable headphone with superb build quality, that should fit any size of ears.

Good to know

Most parts of the HD 650 are replaceable. Just go to the official Sennheiser website and you can order new ear pads, headband, cables,…  Excellent!

Comfort tip

If you feel that the clamping force is a bit too much. When not used, put the headphones over a shoebox for a few days, until the clamping force is less.
Sennheiser HD 650 headband

The Sennheiser HD 650 headband padding looks minimalistic but feels comfortable.

Sound Quality

I’ve tested the HD 650 with the AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.2 and the JDS Labs Objective 2 Amp. I  also used the standard 3.5mm headphone jack of my laptop. Although this is not really a headphone for portable use, I also tested it with my smartphones, the One Plus One and the Nexus 4.

The Sennheiser HD 650 has a very rich and refined sound. You just know you have HiFi material on your head. It’s not really a neutral headphone like the HD 600. However when listening to music, this is not really important. The important thing is to enjoy the music. The HD 650 has a warmer sound with a bit of an elevated bass, without ever sounding boomy.

Soundstage is very good, but due to the warmer sound, I did have the impression that it sounded a tiny bit more intimate than – for example – the HD 598, which has one of the widest soundstages out there.

They are also very forgiving by nature. So even with bad quality sources or recordings, they sound very well. I still have a fair amount of 128 kbps mp3’s that sound pretty ugly on my other HiFi stuff, so I don’t use them anymore. But just for kicks, I tried a few with the HD 650 and I was surprised how good they sounded. Now, on the other hand… I’ve also played some 24-bit FLAC versions of the same songs and the HD 650 clearly lets you hear the difference!

These cans have an official impedance of 300 Ohm and they even spike over 500 Ohm at low frequencies! You think you would need an amp to drive these babies, right? Well, surprisingly they sounded pretty good with my One Plus One. However on the Nexus 4, I did notice the soundstage narrowed noticeably a bit. Also, I did experience a cleaner sound with the Dragonfly + Objective 2 combo, also over the standard 3.5mm output jack on my laptop. But just to assure you. They still sound good without a dedicated amp.

sennheiser hd 650 headphones

The Sennheiser HD 650. Considered as one of the best headphones available.

Lows

The general consensus out there suggests that the HD 650 is a dark sounding headphone. However, I did not experience this. The lows are a tiny bit elevated, but certainly not bassy. No, the bass is very clean and smooth and has a lot of details.

Mids

The transition from lows to mids is super clean.  The mids don’t sound as forward as the HD 598 but are a bit laid back. This makes the HD 650 very non-fatiguing where I can listen to for hours.

Highs

Another general opinion out there suggests that the HD 650 sounds veiled. And again I have to disagree. The treble is smooth and has a lot of resolution, without sounding piercing to the ears. Also, there is absolutely no sibilance with these cans. Again, I didn’t experience it as dark sounding, but also not as overly bright. I think it sounds pretty natural.

HD650 placed on a headphone stand

With its open back design, the driver is clearly visible.

Field Of Expertise

The HD 650 doesn’t really have one particular music genre that sticks out. In fact, this is one of the best all-rounders available. It sounds great with just about anything.

Conclusion

All in all the Sennheiser HD 650 are an amazing pair of headphones, that even after more than a decade, are still considered as one of the best sounding headphones in the world. If you truly want a neutral headphone, you should look somewhere else. The Sennheiser HD 600 for example. But if you want a headphone that truly gives you a HiFi quality sound and is a great all-rounder, you should really look into the Sennheiser HD 650.

It’s open back, so please keep in mind that sound will leak in and more important leak out, so if you’re surrounded by other people, they will hear what you’re listening to.

Although they are very comfortable, I never really managed to forget that I had them on. But there was no discomfort whatsoever.

You do not need a dedicated amp to enjoy these, BUT I strongly suggest one, if you truly want to hear what they are capable of. Especially if you have high-quality recordings!

As with most of Sennheiser’s high-end headphones, you can buy replaceable parts, which ensures you can enjoy these for many years to come.

For the price, I think the Sennheiser HD 650 is the best all-round sounding headphone in the world!

I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions about the Sennheiser HD 650 or want to leave your own personal review, leave a comment below.

Our Rating:
  • 9.5/10
    Sound Quality - 9.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Comfort & Design - 8.5/10
  • 9.5/10
    Build Quality - 9.5/10
  • 9.5/10
    Price/Value - 9.5/10
9.3/10

Summary

Having a very relaxing and pleasing sound signature, you will not easily get fatigued by listening to the Sennheiser HD 650. Add to that the buttery smooth sound with amazing texture, and you’re in for a treat! Truly audiophile stuff for a great price!

14 Comments

  1. Tyler February 6, 2016
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