Sennheiser HD 600 Headband Headphones - Blue Steel Reviews

Sennheiser HD 600 Headband Headphones - Blue Steel

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Astonishing clarity and a truly beautiful music-listening experience

Oct 29, 2004 (Updated May 16, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Wide, flat frequency response, replaceable parts, very comfortable, open-air construction, excellent presentation, beautiful

Cons:Other headphones pale in comparison, cord seems flimsy and needs frequent replacing

The Bottom Line: Music which is synthesized will not sound any better with these headphones--best used for acoustic, live, and classical recordings. That said, these are the best headphones I've ever owned.

After two years using my Sennheiser HD-600s, I've decided to finally write a review. Now that Sennheiser has released their new HD-650s, this may seem antiquated, but I still feel like commenting on them. I first purchased the HD-600s after reading the disdainful opinions of the Sony V600s which I had currently been using up until then. I was rather surprised, considering I felt the sound quality was excellent. If this does one thing, it proves that ignorance is bliss.

It took a while to finally agree to purchase the HD-600s and only after finding a superb deal online. $450 was too rich for my blood--but $230 was far more acceptable. I ordered them and they arrived a few days later. The anticipation was nauseating. The opinions I had read from HeadRoom were glowing in praise. I could not contain my excitement. And then, they finally arrived...

The Sennheiser HD-600s are packaged in a very elegant black box. Inside is another black box, but made of a much sturdier material. This box is quite protective--use it if you ever need to pack the HD600s away for moving purposes. My initial reaction upon opening the box was admiration. The cans themselves are extremely well designed, with a marble-colored coating on the headband and soft velvet pads. When I first put them on, I was surprised at how much pressure they exerted on my head. This was temporary and quickly went away. The 10-foot long cord is dual-connected but nicely disconnects from the cans for easy replacement (more on that later too). The 1/8" gold-plated miniplug is excellent for most purposes, but Sennheiser also includes an excellent 1/4" converter (due to the design, this converter will not work with other headphones).

I plugged them into my mini-stereo system and was blown away. My entire family took turns listening, amazed at the sound coming from them. I should state that my choice of music is generally limited to classical and acoustic performances, which is apparently these cans' strong point. I listened to a recording of my orchestra's performance and was almost embarrassed--these cans reveal every subtlety of a performance, including any flaws or intonation problems. Unfortunately, I can no longer listen to the CD as the mediocre playing ability of our orchestra became clearly apparent. I don't know if that's a positive or a negative.

I can not say how these sound hooked up to high-end equipment, since I have not done so. I have no high-end equipment to do this with. As such, my reaction comes primarily from this setup: an Archos Multimedia MP3 player hooked up to a Total Airhead portable amp. Many have denounced MP3 as incapable of reproducing quality music, but I must disagree. Sampled at 320bps, MP3 can sound quite good, though obviously lacking the frequency response of the CD original (and because the Sennheiser's have such a wide frequency response, this can become noticeable).

The Sennheiser HD-600s have an impedance of 300 Ohms, so a dedicated amp is generally recommended. I certainly advise purchasing one, since it increases the depth of a performance dramatically. The HD-600s are the only headphones I have listened to where turning up the volume has not resulted in an decibel increase. Perhaps I should clarify--the volume does increase but because of the open-air style, a lot of the sound exits through the back. Instead of becoming unbearably loud as the volume increases, the music becomes fuller, richer, and deeper. I have yet to experience this phenomenon with any other headphone I've tried.

There is, unfortunately, one flaw with the Sennheiser HD-600s. Since the initial purchase two years ago, I've had to replace the cord twice. A short in the left side occurred twice. I'm now on my third cord. Sennheiser offers a replacement cord for approximately $25. Thankfully, this is not problematic enough to lower my opinion.

One problem which could present itself is the open-air design (this isn't a flaw but a simple reality with all open headphones). Because this allows me to hear outside sounds, the music is often interrupted by peripheral noise. To gain the most enjoyment from these headphones, a quiet place is almost necessary.

Finally, it has been over two years since I purchased my Sennheiser HD-600s and they are still performing spectacularly well. Since Sennheiser has released an upgraded version of these cans, you can now find these for a reasonable price from any major headphone supplier. I'm amazed at how well the headphones have held up. The construction is durable and should last quite a few more years and, barring some unforseen future incident, it is more likely I'll still be listening to them.

Recommend this product? Yes

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