Let’s start with a quick chart!
Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!
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 (NOT gear) all over again, so…
Before we get into the Sennheiser HD650 Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Build Quality
- Video Comparison to the HD 650
- Genre Pairing
- Final Grade
- Final Word
Now, without further ado let’s get into it…
Sennheiser HD 650
- Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!
- Type: Open back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Fit: Circumaural.
- Impedance: 300 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Sensitivity: 103dB/mW. What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
- Frequency response: 12 – 39000 Hz.
- Material: OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic.
- Color: Grey and Black metal flake finish.
The build quality of the Sennheiser HD650 is roughly the same as the build of the HD600.
In other words, very good.
There aren’t any glaring deficiencies in either headphone.
The 650 is lightweight but doesn’t feel cheap.
It simply feels economical.
Its weight is perfect for long listening sessions;
it doesn’t tire you out at all, and the clamping force, once broken in, is perfect.
The padding is a soft and plush velour for the ear pads and a foamy type of material for the headband.
Like the HD600, almost every part on the 650 is replaceable.
The headband adjustment is somewhat flimsy, but it doesn’t feel cheap.
The material is simply thin and unique.
It’s not a mechanism I’ve ever seen before.
The earcups move a little bit, but they don’t rotate inwards and outwards outside of a couple of inches. Just enough to get a good fit which is fine.
These will primarily be your studio headphones, and really shouldn’t meander outside very often (if at all).
It comes out of both ear cups like the HD600, and it’s the same type of connector.
The difference is the connectors on the 650s are slightly larger and much easier to insert in and pull out.
Unlike the 600’s connectors, they aren’t color-coded.
The 650 terminates in a 1/4″ jack while requiring a 3.5mm adapter.
All in all,
the cable feels much more solid than the 600’s cable. It’s thicker and has more girth to it.
But, the trade-off is that it’s a 1/4″ connection with a 3.5mm adapter.
I personally would rather it be the other way around, but your mileage may vary.
All in all, it’s a well-built set of headphones that should stand the test of time without question.
Build Quality SCORE: A+
What about Comfort?
Comfort is phenomenal.
As mentioned above, these play really well for long listening sessions, and will not fatigue you in any way.
They fit securely on your melon, and the cups themselves leave ample room for your large, Ross Perot-sized ears. 😛
They are oval-shaped and contour nicely to the natural shape of the ear.
The driver is also just far enough away from your ear not to obstruct or otherwise hinder your listening experience.
Do keep in mind the clamping force at first – an almost unanimous nitpick amongst audiophiles and enthusiasts alike.
The HD600/650/6XX series of headphones will hug rather snugly on your melon at first, but they do open up over time.
Still, you’ll likely come to really love the way they feel.
I’ve likened it to receiving a warm hug from an old friend, and I still feel that way to this day.
In fact, the 600 series ranks rather highly on my Most Comfortable Headphones Of All Time list, and you’ll likely agree – there are simply not many other headphones on the planet that feel quite as good.
COMFORT Score: A+
How do they sound?
This is Pleasantville all the way, man.
The sound isn’t dull, it’s just very laid back.
This pretty much confirms all of my research prior to this updated review.
The sound is warm.
It’s fairly thick like that girl from the gym you have a crush on.
The best way I can describe the HD650 is that the sounds emerge distinctly, forming cohesively according to a strict process.
It’s much like how a plant grows or a person develops over time.
Sound does not randomly appear as with lesser headphones but instead is given ample room and space to articulate itself fully, with an impeccable sense of timing and decay.
Instruments and vocals are given free rein to dwell and express themselves thoroughly and completely.
The bass doesn’t roll off quite as much as an HD600, which is kind of cool.
It’s still in no way muddy, overbearing, or out of line.
This is an articulate, textured affair and simply knows its place.
If the song calls for more, the HD650 will reveal it in a tasteful manner.
For the most part,
the bass sits down in the mix where it should, and adds to the mix rather than hinder it.
It is a well-known fact that the 650’s mid-bass is a tad more forward than the 600’s, and this is certainly true.
You’ll notice a bit of extra weight/bump/thump, but it’s fairly subtle at the end of the day.
Of course, the mid-range on a Sennheiser is going to be fantastic, and this headphone is no exception.
Detail retrieval is phenomenal as well.
There’s so much clarity that you miss out on with other lesser headphones.
Echoes especially give the song that added depth and intimacy that we all love.
One of the most notable aspects of the mid-range is the 650’s ability to render vocal passages with stunning accuracy and realism.
In listening to Rage Against the Machine’s “Bullet in the Head” I was taken aback at how different Zack De La Roca’s voice sounded.
It was almost nasally as if he had a cold.
It was revealing and strange all at once, with almost uncomfortable clarity.
instruments and seemingly extraneous sounds really came to life as well and took on a personality all their own.
Rage has this uncanny ability to make a guitar sound like a torture device at times.
With the 650 those traits are exemplified in a way that demands your attention.
It’s like the sound is so crystal clear that it takes center stage for a second.
The treble is a nice change of pace from the usual, overly bright, metallic, sizzling treble that you’re going to get with 95% of headphones.
This treble is darker, and some call it veiled. What is the Sennheiser Veil?
I will admit, these sound a lot livelier with the gain switch on high out of my Oppo HA-2.
What I love most about a headphone like this is that it just never annoys me. I can sit down and listen to it for long periods of time without taking it off.
Every sound is intricately placed and I think that is what sets it apart from other cans.
You really begin to hear music rather than just feel it.
There’s something about both the HD600 and 650 that make you just want to sit there and listen to music for as long as possible.
Instrument Timbre is absolutely astonishing with certain tracks.
For instance, Touch Sensitive’s “No Other High” sounds pristine like Claire from the Breakfast Club.
SOUND SCORE: A/A-
Why? Because I said so! Just kidding. Because they may sound a bit dull to some people.
In other words,
at times they lack a certain energy.
Let’s take a look at some photos…
Click to see the HD 650!
How about a comparison to the HD 600…
Video Comparison to the HD 600
Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel. Any support is much appreciated!
The imaging is absolutely lovely, and may just be the 650’s best overall quality.
It’s funny, you tend to get really spoiled with these and the HD600s.
Whenever I go back to them after a long time without listening, I’m completely amazed all over again at how well they do, well everything.
Imaging, as well as Instrument Timbre, is particularly noteworthy.
Instruments and voices just come alive in a way that’s both genuine and exciting.
Whereas some headphones have that disappointing, thin layer of mud and clamminess covering the song, the 650 renders music in a way that’s wet and dense.
The word I’m looking for is succulent, like a juicy, tender steak from your favorite restaurant.
There’s no rivaling that sensation once you experience it firsthand.
There’s a certain tenderness that the 650 has and it’s unmistakable.
It’s almost like that girl we talked about before; you just know she’s the one when you see her.
You may have pushed aside hundreds (if not thousands) of other girls before you met her. The answer was always “No” for some reason or another.
But this time it’s different.
You don’t look for excuses or reasons to write this girl off.
You don’t look at her as an object, but rather as a real person with feelings and emotions.
You respect her in a way that can’t be measured, quantified, or even understood.
It’s simply felt on a level that’s somewhat foreign to you.
You may not even know her that well.
You feel something different when she’s around.
She’s not perfect, but her imperfections are what make her so.
She’s like a beautiful painting – you may not like every single color the artist used, but you really don’t have to.
When you stand back and consider her as a whole, she’s breathtaking.
All of the colors come together to form a cohesive, stunning image.
Her personality, spirit, mind, body, physical features, drive and ambition, sense of sophistication, professionalism, and the list goes on.
The 650 is similar in that regard.
Taken as a whole, it’s a nearly perfect headphone.
It doesn’t do everything 100% right, but it comes darned near close my friend.
- Extremely accurate and transparent, with a forward and engaging mid-range + a tight and authoritative bass response. The bass, rather than being bloated and loud, is accurate and precise. You will be able to hear the tone of a kick drum as well as different textures in frequency.
- Not too picky about which amp you choose to pair with it. Sounds pretty fantastic with most amps.
- Very versatile in terms of genre, handling a wide range of musical styles. Rock music is its strongest suit.
- Comfort. The velour ear pads make it so you can wear these for hours and not get fatigued.
- Replaceable parts that ensure longevity out of your purchase.
- Too smooth. Like Fonzie except not, these headphones are so chill that they may make you fall asleep!
- Treble is lacking a bit. This is the “veiled” sound that people talk about in regard to Sennheiser headphones. Somewhat lacking in air and harmonic content.
Will they need an amp?
The great thing about the HD 650 is that it isn’t too picky about which amp you choose. How to choose a headphone amp!
At 300 Ohms Impedance, it does need one to reach its full potential.
That said, it’s also fairly efficient at 103dB Sensitivity and thus not that hard to drive. This is one reason why many pairings theoretically work well!
Don’t forget to leave me some love! <3
If you need help deciding on something, just let me know down below in the comments!
As for my top recommendations, I mostly lean towards the ATOM, K5 Pro, or Zen for the bulk of my recommendations to people just starting out.
Its bread and butter are most definitely Rock music.
This is in part due to the mid-range as well as the bass not drowning out other frequencies.
The treble also has a lot to do with it.
There simply aren’t many genres that I don’t like with these headphones.
The only real exception is Jazz.
It’s not that it sounds bad as just maybe it’s not open-sounding enough.
This was an issue with the HD600 and unfortunately, the trend continued here.
Since 2003, It’s been one of the most beautiful-sounding headphones around.
It’s extremely accurate, has a really great mid-range, accurate bass, and is very comfortable over a long period of time.
The treble is lacking a bit in the upper registers, and it has been criticized for being a bit too smooth, almost lulling you to sleep.
However, what you are getting with these is a brand-new music collection.
Because they revolutionize everything you own, plus the music you haven’t heard.
It’s like hearing all of your old favorites for the first time again.
You will start to notice things in music that you never knew were there.
This is one of the best things about the jump from entry-level to mid-fi.
A headphone like the HD650 makes you realize what you were missing!
Hearing the 650 is like kicking back with a glass of fine wine and taking a relaxing bubble bath.
It just feels so good man.
While the HD650s are phenomenal headphones, I think the original HD600s outclassed them just a smidgen.
They are snappier and livelier, and their bass doesn’t slam as hard but remains more textured and in its place.
You actually enjoy the bass more because of its quality over quantity.
The 650s aren’t muddy in the slightest, but: side by side you will notice a difference in bass quantity. The 650s have more of it, and it’s a bit thicker and syrupy.
Now, you may actually prefer that!
The important thing to remember about these guys is that they aren’t all that different. There are some differences there, but they are rather subtle.
If you’re into saving money, I would probably just recommend the 6XX, as it’s a fraction of the price and in my eyes, sounds like a perfect cross between the somewhat overly syrupy 650 and colder, more clinical HD600.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD650 Review.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know down below or Contact me!
So what do you think about these? What about the HD600s? Which do you prefer? I would love to hear from you.
All the best and God bless,
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!!