Hi friend and Welcome!!
Before we dive right into the Sennheiser HD 650 vs. HD 700, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
of each headphone
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad (HD 700 only)
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
Sennheiser HD 650
- Type: Open back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Fit: Circumaural.
- Impedance: 300 Ohm.
- Frequency response: 10 – 39.5 kHz.
- Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW. What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
- Replaceable cable: Yes.
- Cable length: 9.8′
- Plug size: 1/4″ (1/8″ Adapter Included).
- Weight: .57 lbs.
- Material: OFC copper (kevlar reinforced), velour ear pads.
- Color: grey and black metal flake finish.
These are some of the most accurate and well-respected headphones on the planet. They are a little warmer, lusher, and thicker than their younger brother, the HD 600. They are also a bit more refined.
They are also a little less neutral and more enjoyable to listen to. As an open-back model, these will leak sound so be wary of that and know that they perform best in an isolated studio environment, absent any extraneous noise and distraction.
Another thing to note is the impedance level. At 300 Ohms, these will need an adequate amplifier to reach their full potential. What is Headphone Impedance?
More on amps a bit later!!
They take a bit of burn-in time to really get acclimated, so prepare to really be impressed after around the 50-hour mark. Things start to open up considerably and everything kind of settles in. The sound becomes focused and tightly in place, which results in a very clean overall signature.
- Extremely accurate and transparent
- Great body, warmth, and smoothness
- Nice sound-stage and imaging. You are able to place where the musicians are on stage, and being an open-backed can, the sound won’t get trapped in your head and leave you fatigued.
- A forward and engaging mid-range. helps with the presentation of the male voice.
- Tight and authoritative bass response. less neutral than the HD 600. 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. An important thing to remember is to make sure your sound source is of good quality. These will reveal flaws in haphazard mixdowns and masters.
- 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. those velour ear pads make it so you can wear these for hours and not get fatigued.
- Replaceable parts, which ensures 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 regards to Sennheiser headphones. Somewhat lacking in air and harmonic content. What is the Sennheiser veil?
- HD 600. Many people prefer the more neutral HD 600 over the laid-back sound signature of the HD 650. Others like the fact that the 650’s bass has a little more impact and weight behind it.
The great thing about the HD 650 is that it isn’t too picky about which amp you choose. At 300 Ohms, it does need one to reach its full potential, and a few good options would be:
- The JDS labs 02
- Magni/Modi combo (very common and a great option)
- E09k paired with the E17
- Bottle-head crack
Pricier options include:
- Valhalla 2 + Modi (many are saying this is the best overall combo)
- Asgard 2 + Modi
Who this headphone benefits?
As alluded to in the open, this is a very versatile headphone that handles a wide variety of genres including:
Its bread and butter are most definitely for 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.
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. Its 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. Regardless, what you are getting with these is a brand new music collection. Why? 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 higher-end headphones. They make you realize what you were missing!
Sennheiser HD 700
- Type: Open back.
- Fit: Circumaural.
- Impedance: 150 Ohm.
- Frequency response: 10 – 42000 Hz.
- Sensitivity: 105 dB.
- Driver size: 40mm.
- Replaceable cable: Yes.
- Cable length: 9.8′.
- Plug size: 1/4″.
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Material: Plastic, microfiber ear cushions, specialty steel mesh.
- Color: Grey and black.
Ah, the HD 700’s. Many people refer to these so lovingly as the HD 800’s evil twin brother. Or sister. Lol.
They are an exceptionally warm set of cans, but at the same time neutral and honest. They have a really good sound-stage as well, with a more relaxed treble reproduction. Whereas the 800’s have been accused of an overly bright representation in the high end, the 700’s are much darker.
- Warm character. These are very transparent, and elegant, with a musical warmth.
- Spatial imaging good.
- More relaxed in treble reproduction. Not harsh or Sibilant. What does sibilant mean?
- Excellent accuracy. Same spatial accuracy and imaging capability
as the HD 800.
- True to life acoustic presence.
- Bass reproduction is crisp and punchy.
- Mid-range vibrant and clear.
- Treble is crystalline and sharp without fatigue.
- Superbly musical.
- Nonaggressive clarity.
- Natural approach.
- Broad dynamic range.
- Light clamping force; extremely comfortable. Like you’re not wearing them. They are very comfortable over long sessions. The ear cups are also very large and deep.
- Angled transducers, good Soundstage. What is Soundstage?
- Not amp picky like the HD 800.
- Good case.
- They don’t overemphasize any particular frequency range. Neutral but warm. They allow for nuances in sound to be heard in each instrument and voice.
- Clean and transparent sound.
- The chord is somewhat iffy. It’s a solid chord overall but may break near the 1/4″ phone plug. Alternatively, you could purchase the cable that sells with the HD 477 and 497, each of which fits the HD 700.
- The Silver mesh material on the cups is very easily damaged.
- While they are pretty solidly built, I saw quite a few complaints regarding some of the materials used. Specifically, people were saying they were disappointed over how much plastic was used in such a high-end model.
- Headband cushioning could have been better.
I’ve read a lot about these headphones, and many say that they do need an amp to reach their full potential. However, The jack from the iPad and iPhone were both said to work phenomenally well.
What are people using?
- Grace Design M903
- FiiO E9
- Beyerdynamic A1
- JDS Labs 02
- Schiit Valhalla
- Schiit Magni/Modi (Amp & DAC)
- FiiO E12
- Schiit Asgard
- Schiit Vali
- Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 DAC/Amp.
Steer clear of:
FiiO E7. This cannot drive them correctly.
Go with the Schiit Magni/Modi combo. It’s an Amp/DAC that will work for a lot of different headphones and is a great entry-level option that won’t break the bank. Learn more in:
Who these headphones benefit?
I’ve heard them endorsed for the following:
Metallica, Genesis, Tears for Fears, Metallica, NWA, Sting, The Scorpions, Post Malone.
Gaming, Watching movies.
Not as good for:
Pop, Rock, R&B. Some did say they were good for Rock, while others disagreed.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Your listening volume should be on the conservative side. The music can get very loud very quickly.
- Music that had been previously obscured by layers of sound is suddenly audible and distinct. The HD 700’s are really a crystal clear-sounding set of cans!
- The chord should be stretched and left out for a day before use to loosen it up (removing knots and kinks), or wrapping the cord around a foam ball, and letting the outward pressure of the ball smooth out the odd bends in the fabric. You should be aware that quite a few people complained about the chord, but it was never a deal-breaker.
- These are darker sounding headphones with not as much treble presence as say the HD 800’s. With the 700’s it’s like being in the front row. With the 800’s it’s like you’re on stage.
- These are not portable. They are designed for the home audio enthusiast. They also have zero noise isolation. Don’t expect them to block out any sound. You will be able to hear things going on outside of them as well.
- You may not feel “connected” to the music or be emotionally involved. Even though you can hear every instrument in complex orchestral work, and every subtlety, there is just this sense of artificiality.
- May need to EQ these for EDM, as the sound can sometimes get a bit harsh/sharp/piercing.
- They really need good source files. Expect the sound to be crappy from poor audio sources.
- I’ve heard these are like a cross between the HD 600 and HD 800.
- These have a more analog quality as opposed to digital.
The HD 700’s are an extremely comfortable, grand listening experience, complete with a really good sound-stage and a crisp overall sound. Be aware of the lackluster cable (which can be replaced if need be), and the plastic-like feel.
Similarities & Differences
- There are really no glaring similarities to speak of here. In actuality, these are vastly different headphones. Generally speaking, both have good sound-stage, comfort, and do well with classical and jazz.
- The HD 650’s cable terminates in a 3.5mm jack, and comes with a 1/4″ adapter. The HD 700 terminates in a 1/4″ jack and does not come with a 3.5mm adapter. You would have to purchase that separately.
- The HD 700’s are easier to drive than the 650s.
- The cups are a bit roomier than the 650s.
- They are more comfortable than the 650s.
- The HD 700’s have better all-around technical prowess. They are clearer, cleaner, more articulate, and crisper.
- They have better transients and better speed.
- The overall sound is tighter and more coherent.
- The bass is a lot tighter.
- They have better resolution and are more detailed.
- They have a reasonably improved sound stage and imaging.
- They are more open and speaker-like.
- They have more detailed and believable vocals.
- The 700’s however are more fatiguing over long listening sessions.
- The additional treble makes the 700 brighter than the 650.
- The 700’s sound less natural and musical.
- Their tonality isn’t as neutral; vocals are a bit upfront.
- The 650 is more musical, lush, smoother, and sweet.
- The bass isn’t as tight but it’s more natural and with greater punch.
- The treble isn’t as sharp; it is smoother.
- The 650 is more suitable for extended listening.
- The 650 does better with rock music.
- The HD 700’s bass is super tight, with up-front vocals, and a tighter sound overall.
- The 650 is more neutral and balanced. It sounds smoother and sweeter, and more musical.
Soundstage and Imaging
- The HD 700’s sound stage is a bit better overall.
The HD 700’s vocals are more articulate and realistic. They have better resolution and are more detailed, upfront, and crisp.
- The HD 650 is more musical, rounded, and smoother.
- The HD 700’s bass is a lot tighter.
- The HD 650 is far more hollow and rounded, more natural. It’s smoother, with more punch (like Hi-C :P).
- The HD 650’s treble is better, while the HD 700’s is a bit peaky and takes time to adjust to. HD 650’s is more natural and balanced.
Transients, speed, articulation
- HD 700 wins out.
Timbre and Tonality
- HD 650 is better. What is Timbre?
- HD 650 is good, but not exemplary.
- HD 700 is more comfortable.
- The 650 sounds distorted and messy in comparison
to the 700. That’s not to say the 650 is a messy headphone. It’s just a bit outclassed here.
It’s hard not to recommend the HD 700’s. They outshine the 650’s by a considerable amount.
Looking for the best mixing solution, as well as my #1 overall choice in audiophile headphones? Learn more in my:
OFFICIAL SENNHEISER HD 600 REVIEW!!
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Sennheiser HD 650 vs. HD 700.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles your pickle? What do you think about the HD 600 for mixing? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,