Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

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Time to put zee ear goggles on

Jun 26, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great sound, easily worn for long periods, modular design means they're easily repaired

Cons:Price may scare you; optimal sound requires a headphone amp

The Bottom Line: If you love music and can afford these, they're worth it. Be willing to consider a headphone amplifier purchase as well.


There's no way to easily convey how something /sounds/ with objective words. So what I will say is that these sound excellent and I don't regret buying them. It's almost fun to just hear well-recorded sound for the sake of enjoying the quality. That said, I'm not an "audiophile". I'd rather have more lower-quality music than less higher-quality music.

I've owned these for two years, and I listen to them through a headphone amplifier bought from a boutique shop in Germany. Source is my MacBook. Music I listen to on these spans classical, jazz, progressive rock, classic rock, pop, and modern alternative.


Key upsides:
- Excellent sound with only a very slight mids/bass emphasis
- Very good "soundstage", which means the instruments sound really well spaced around you. With these, it's easier to pick out the various instruments and focus on them individually. The open design is part of the reason for this.
- Circumaural, velvet ear cups rest around your ear, without pressing down on your ear uncomfortably and getting it all hot. Your ears will warm up a little, but not much more.
- Modular design allows the earpads to be replaced "cheaply" once you've built up years of grime. Cable is also easily replaceable or upgradeable since it connects directly and separately to the rigth and left ear cups.

Some things folks may not like, that I do not view as faults:
- Wires go to each separate earcup (instead of to the left earcup and through the headband to the right).
- Open design leaks some sound out, as well as in.
- Requires a separate headphone amplifier for optimal sound. In my experience, this makes the lower frequencies sound a bit crisper and less muddy. (This is not to imply that these sound "muddy" in any significant way.)
- These are pretty big "ear goggles" that aren't going for big style points, but they aren't ugly either. The functionalist appearance is its own style anyway. (But not quite like the brutally basic and fairly uncomfortable "Grado" brand headphones though.)


I think I may be hard pressed to find differences between these and the one-rung-lower HD600 (which are generally $120 cheaper and a smidge uglier). Never heard the HD600, myself.

It's all diminishing marginal returns, so I kind of went knowingly overboard just to get some great headphones and be done with it. If you can manage the expense, I think you'll be pleased with these for a long time.


Recommend this product? Yes


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