HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600 | You’ll Be Able To Decide After This!

1,579 word post, approx. 4-5 min. read

Updates:

8/3/20. Article Posted.

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Video Shootout

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At A Glance

Title
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones with High Fidelity Design Easy to Drive by iPhone /Android Comfortable Headband Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping Black
Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
Preview
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones with High Fidelity Design Easy to Drive by iPhone /Android Comfortable Headband Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping Black
Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
Type
Open Back, Planar Magnetic
Open Back, Dynamic
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural
Circumaural
Circumaural
Frequency Response
6Hz - 75kHz
12Hz - 39kHz
12Hz - 39kHz
Impedance
37 Ohms
300 Ohm
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
94dB/mW
97db/mW
103dB/mW
Amplification Required?
Primary Use(s)
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Secondary Use(s)
Jazz, Classical, Gaming, Film
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Gaming, Film
Materials
Spring Steel, Synthetic Leather, Anodized Aluminum, and OFC Copper
Plastic, Velour, Metal Mesh
Plastic, Velour, Metal Mesh
Weight
379g
262g (without cable)
259g (without cable)
Color
Matte Black, Silver
Speckled Blue, Black
Black Metal Flake, Grey
Prime
Price
$349.00
$302.66
$399.99
Title
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones with High Fidelity Design Easy to Drive by iPhone /Android Comfortable Headband Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping Black
Preview
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones with High Fidelity Design Easy to Drive by iPhone /Android Comfortable Headband Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping Black
Type
Open Back, Planar Magnetic
Fit
Circumaural
Frequency Response
6Hz - 75kHz
Impedance
37 Ohms
Sensitivity
94dB/mW
Amplification Required?
Primary Use(s)
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Secondary Use(s)
Jazz, Classical, Gaming, Film
Materials
Spring Steel, Synthetic Leather, Anodized Aluminum, and OFC Copper
Weight
379g
Color
Matte Black, Silver
Prime
Price
$349.00
Learn More
Title
Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
Preview
Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural
Frequency Response
12Hz - 39kHz
Impedance
300 Ohm
Sensitivity
97db/mW
Amplification Required?
Primary Use(s)
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Secondary Use(s)
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Materials
Plastic, Velour, Metal Mesh
Weight
262g (without cable)
Color
Speckled Blue, Black
Prime
Price
$302.66
Learn More
Title
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
Preview
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural
Frequency Response
12Hz - 39kHz
Impedance
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
103dB/mW
Amplification Required?
Primary Use(s)
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Secondary Use(s)
Gaming, Film
Materials
Plastic, Velour, Metal Mesh
Weight
259g (without cable)
Color
Black Metal Flake, Grey
Prime
Price
$399.99
Learn More

Before we get started, all links to these products, as well as any articles related will be here in this post. Check out my Gear Recommendations below as well for most of my top picks, all in one place!

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Quick Links:

Helpful Articles:


Table of Contents

Build Quality
Comfort
Sound
Photo Gallery
Final Word

For those who prefer the written word..

Let’s discuss the HIFIMAN Sundara and compare it with the venerable HD600 & 650 shall we?!

We’ll start with build..

Build


which is somewhat of a dicey proposition. When the Sundara first came out in 2018, it seemed like all prior build issues with the original 400S and 400i were rectified. Related: HiFiMan HE4XX vs. 400i vs. 400S vs. Sundara (Final Shootout)

It wasn’t until a year or 2 later that some problems started creeping up, from cable connection issues, to glue issues on the pads and so forth.

The good news is that the redesign did prove fruitful in terms of the more streamlined and robust nature of the frame and bales, but the cups cannot rotate fully this time around which may or may not bother you.

Still, the Sundara is a mostly rock solid headphone.

Design wise, we’ve got the updated lattice grilles, the click adjustments for the headband, and a rounded off piece connecting the 2 ear cups with a thin, flimsy pad underneath.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Headband & Thin Pad Underneath.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Click Adjustment.

Overall, the combination of Spring Steel, Synthetic Leather, Anodized Aluminum, and OFC Copper are all welcome upgrades, but purchasing a Sundara is still a roll of the dice in some ways.

By contrast, the HD600 and 650 are both built to last like Duralast for certain, even despite feeling somewhat cheap on your person.

I CAN RHYME!

The utilitarian design of both headphones look a little more retro than the Sundara, with more plastic present as well.

All 3 headphones have cables connecting into each ear cup, but the Sundara’s is a 3.5mm vs. the 2 pin connectors on the HD 600 and 650.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
2 pin connectors for HD600 and 650.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
3.5mm (or 2.5mm, can’t remember) on the Sundara.

Both also sport velour for the ear cups, but the Sundara’s contain memory foam encased with a bit of protein leather, while the 600/650 does not.

Question of the day: Does anyone know the technical name for the 600/650
cable?

Leave me a comment down below if you know, because I couldn’t find it anywhere online yo!

Moving on..

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
HD600’s pad.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
HD650’s pad.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
This is a 400S, but the pads look the same from model to model.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Pictured right is the pad on most 400 series models. Left is Dekoni’s pad (much better designed).
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Here’s a look at the 400i’s pads.
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
The Sundara’s pad.

While the HD600/650’s pad mimics the shape of your ear, the Sundara’s are
round like the a** on a steer. Worst joke ever.

Headband padding on both the 600 and 650 is more plentiful, and while the 600 boasts the 4 nugget pads, the 650 opts for the single pad with a
crater in the middle.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Nugget pads (HD600).
HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Single pad with crater (HD650).

While we’re at it, let’s get into comfort and find out how these feel on your apple a** head.

Comfort


Clamp force on the HD600 and 650 is known to be rather snug like a bug in a rug, but it does open up over time. Feel free to stretch the headphones gently, but be extra cautious clay because the headband has been known to snap under pressure like Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.

The Sundara’s clamp is a bit more loosey goosey, but still conforms to the shape of your big a** head (and mine) rather nicely.

I don’t find any of the headphones here to dig much at all, and I would place all 3 near the top of any short list for the absolute best in terms of overall comfort.

But how do they sound in relation to one another?

Glad you asked homie…

Sound


Interestingly enough, both the HD650 and Sundara bear some of the same warmer sentiments, while the HD600 is rather crisp and cool by comparison, with a more forward mid-range around 3kHz and a livelier overall character thanboth the 650 and Sundara.

On it’s own, or compared to another brighter can, the 600 will sound slightly “veiled”, but by and large it’s still a term that’s a bit over done like your mom’s meat loaf. What is the Sennheiser Veil?

Both imaging and Soundstage do receive slight upgrades when going from a dynamic driver HD600/650, to a planar magnetic Sundara.

This is in large part due to the fact that a planar just performs better across the board for a couple of important reasons:

  1. There are more magnets present in a Planar.
  2. They are placed more evenly around the diaphragm.

This results in a more realistic and natural sound presentation to your ears, with improved Imaging and Soundstage, lower distortion, a more buttery smooth bass, a better reproduction of micro detail, and better overall resolution than what you’ll get from an HD600 or 650. Related: What is a Planar Magnetic Driver?

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600
Sundara is a sanksrit word meaning “beautiful.”

Both those headphones have a tendency to feel a bit boxed in sounding, but instrument separation and imaging are still exemplary, and the headphones themselves continue to remain relevant after more than 2 decades on the market.

Bass, mid-range, and treble are all incredibly natural sounding, and accurately portray a wide range of musical genres with ease and care.

From Rock, to Hip-Hop, Pop, to Indie, EDM, to Metal, and most anything else abound, you can rest assured knowing your purchase is sound!

No pun intended. XD

The Sundara works for many of the same genres, but I’d argue it does a bit better for Classical, Jazz, Acoustic, Gaming, and Film, because of the reasons mentioned above regarding Imaging and Soundstage, as well as instrument Timbre in the case of delicate guitars and voices specifically.

As far as amplification is concerned, the Sundara is woefully inefficient at around 94dB/mW, but doesn’t resist power much at 37 Ohms. Still, you will need an Amp/DAC for this bad boy.

Helpful articles:

The HD600/650 are a bit more efficient at 97 and 103dB respectively, but do have a much higher impedance at 300 Ohm.

Still, they’re all fairly easy to drive and you shouldn’t have much of an issue finding a great Amp/DAC to pair.

Don’t overthink it!

Photos..

Photo Gallery

So what’s the final word?

Final Word


If you’re more of a kick back and relax type homie, go with the HIFMAN Sundara. It’s laid back and coolin’ out like Ice Cube, but can sound a bit too warm at times due to the gradual roll off after 1kHz. Even so, this is an amazing product and ticks all the boxes admirably. The treble is nice and subdued but still with plenty of detail, there’s lots of bass impact, and the headphone is extremely versatile.

 

The HD600/650 has been a devastating one two punch for many years now, and just so happens to be my #1 recommendation to folks just starting out. I do like the Sennheiser HD6XX for a couple of marked reasons:

  1. It’s way more affordable than the others nowadays.
  2. It strikes a nice balance between the 2 sound signatures. The HD600’s mid-range has some issues around 3kHz and can come across a bit “shouty” and too forward, and the 650 can be a bit too laid back and creamy at times, almost lulling you to sleep. I believe the 6XX represents a nice middle ground.

 

Also check my Gear recommendations. I have a great set up for both the 600/650/6XX, as well as the Sundara if you’re just getting started.

Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600 shootout and now understand the main differences between them!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which of these headphones sounds like YOU? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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