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

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

by Stuart Charles Black

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1,619-word post, approx. 4-5 min. read

Updates:

  • 8/3/20. Article Posted.
  • 2/4/21. Article/link cleanup.

Greetings mate! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience, that will make you fall in love with music.. all over again, so.. don’t want to read?!

Video Shootout

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At A Glance

Title
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (Black)
Sennheiser HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone
Sennheiser HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone
Preview
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (Black)
Sennheiser HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone
Sennheiser HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic 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
$324.96
$317.48
Title
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (Black)
Preview
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (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 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone
Preview
Sennheiser HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic 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
$324.96
Learn More
Title
Sennheiser HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone
Preview
Sennheiser HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic 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
$317.48
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!

If you do purchase through one of my Drop or Amazon links, I will get a small kickback depending on where you live. Your continued support of the blog and channel means everything to me, so thank you!

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 the 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 looks 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.

Pricing:

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 shortlist 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 than both the 650 and Sundara.

On its 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 overdone like your mom’s meatloaf. 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, 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 Sanskrit 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, 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

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600Sennheiser HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600Sennheiser HD600Sennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewHIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600Sennheiser HD650 ReviewHIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600Sennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewSennheiser HD650 ReviewHIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HD650 vs. HD600Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650

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 setup 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]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

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4 comments

Andres January 9, 2021 - 3:05 pm

Me again Stu jaja, I’m very glad to find this page.
With the dragonfly red I’d like to drive a HD 650 or Sundara, but I’ve checked un some pages like the reviews on Amazon there are saying about the Bad construction in the Sundara un case of 2 or 3 months the left driver just doesnt exist, from a few volume to get 0 volume in some driver, but there are other opinions about the 2020 version is better.
And the ear pads looks like an On Ear and it looks like you can touch the drivers with your ears. ¿Is it real, or is just my looking??

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 11, 2021 - 4:03 am

Hey man, thank you! Yeah, I talked about that stuff at length in this article/video. It’s def a gamble to buy a Sundara. The 2020 version is much better build wise, but the sound is a bit different. More treble emphasis for sure. The DEVA is also a great option with the same updated build and a brighter treble. It can get essy at times but I kind of got used to it, lol. My ears don’t touch the drivers on the DEVA at all, but on the Sundara I think they do ever so slightly. I can’t remember haha. They are definitely not On-ear though. They go around your ears just fine.

I just checked the amazon score again and it’s gone up quite a bit from where it was. I think HIFIMAN fixed a lot of the issues with the stealth revision so I’d def be more comfortable buying it now than I was maybe a year or so ago.

Reply
Tamer April 12, 2022 - 11:04 am

I have the HD600 and the Sundara (latest version) and I would say the Sennheiser is a touch warmer if anything. But I concur the Sundara is slightly more laid-back, the HD600 is a little more transient-rich.
Don’t be put off by people saying that planar headphones are harder to drive, I drive both from the same headphone amp and the Sundara is only the merest touch quieter, so even though the impedance is about a tenth of the HD600 with only marginally less sensitivity, they’re virtually identical to drive, so there’s nothing to be concerned about there at all.

I’ve had the HD600 since 2006, at the time I compared it to the HD650 and could not reliably hear a difference so I decided to save £50 and go for the 600. I’ve not heard the 650 since but I like to think that after a further 15 years of experience, I would hear it now! It’s crazy how cheap they were then, I picked up the 600 for under £150…even the 650 was under £200.
I recently bought the Sundara as I wanted a second reference headphone to cross-reference mixes with, I bought them on recommendation from someone I trust implicitly without hearing them first, but actually they are tonally very similar, the biggest difference I notice is in the transient response (and I don’t even make dance music, I mostly record soul, funk, jazz, hiphop, world music, some rock with classical elements etc)
I think the main reason the Sundara is often quoted as being great for classical, jazz etc is because of its slightly smoother bass and its more forgiving nature on transients. If you make any form of EDM, the HD600 will sound a little punchier on drums and slightly fuller on bass but the Sundara will make you work a little harder to get a slamming bassline and drums that bounce. The HD600 may make you think you’re already there 🙂

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 12, 2022 - 1:40 pm

Hey Tamer!

I’m so glad you pointed that out. Your first paragraph is a microcosm of what I believe is horribly wrong in this hobby – that is, the propensity for people to blow almost EVERYTHING out of proportion and make things seem way more complicated than they actually are. What’s funny about it is that it’s always the people who actually experience these things firsthand rather than the silly reviewers who tend to sensationalize everything.

Because here’s the thing, most people don’t give a crap that you’re an audiophile and think you can hear the grass growing. The average person is light years more realistic and pragmatic than those people will ever be – i.e. they look at things from a more practical standpoint and aren’t caught in the web of industry lies.

Heck, I’d argue 99% of headphones aren’t that hard to drive. The problem is that one person with a little influence says something stupid and then all the parrots follow suit which exacerbates the lie and ends up confusing a whole lot more people who are brand new and don’t have a clue. That’s what’s always been my issue. It’s a quadruple whammy of bullsh**, and the fact that you put it so succinctly and matter of fact just makes me laugh out loud.

“Don’t make a big thing out of it, Spyder.”

Anyway, aside from my totally asshole-ish rant, I definitely agree with you about these 2 headphones. I personally feel the Sundara has more in common with the 650 than it does with the 600 and ends up being a touch too warm/laid-back for me although I do still love it because of its excellent Timbre and bass as you point out.

As far as my HD600, every time I go back to it after a long time away I remember why it’s still around and why I keep it. I’ve had one since 2016 and don’t plan on ever parting with it because it’s also an original Made in Ireland model.

Reply

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