Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Sennheiser HD560S Review: A Closer Look At Audio Excellence

Sennheiser HD560S Review: A Closer Look At Audio Excellence

by Stuart Charles Black
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Shoutout to Patron “Hawk” for the loaner unit!

Greetings mate, 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…

We’ll start with a general review/overview of the 560S, and then I’ll give some rankings for Gaming and overall sound comparisons with a bunch of other headphones I have here.

This will be super helpful for those who are having trouble deciding between headphones and really want a deep dive into everything.

If you’re interested in all that, it will be at the very bottom since it’s pretty long-winded and gets mega in-depth.

By the end, you’re going to know exactly how the 560S sounds, how it compares with other headphones, and if it’s worth a purchase or not.

With that, let’s get rolling!

At A Glance

Preview
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 560 S Over-The-Ear Audiophile Headphones - Neutral Frequency Response, E.A.R. Technology for Wide Sound Field, Open-Back Earcups, Detachable Cable, (Black) (HD 560S)
Title
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 560 S Over-The-Ear Audiophile Headphones - Neutral Frequency Response, E.A.R. Technology for Wide Sound Field, Open-Back Earcups, Detachable Cable, (Black) (HD 560S)
Color
Black
Weight
8.5 oz / 240 g (Without Cable)
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Velour
Connector
Detachable 2.5mm into earcup, 3.5mm termination
Headband Style
Traditional
Impedance
120 Ohms
Sensitivity
110 dB
Frequency Response
6 Hz to 38 kHz
Primary Use
Everything, but especially gaming & film
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$149.00
Details
Preview
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 560 S Over-The-Ear Audiophile Headphones - Neutral Frequency Response, E.A.R. Technology for Wide Sound Field, Open-Back Earcups, Detachable Cable, (Black) (HD 560S)
Title
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 560 S Over-The-Ear Audiophile Headphones - Neutral Frequency Response, E.A.R. Technology for Wide Sound Field, Open-Back Earcups, Detachable Cable, (Black) (HD 560S)
Color
Black
Weight
8.5 oz / 240 g (Without Cable)
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Velour
Connector
Detachable 2.5mm into earcup, 3.5mm termination
Headband Style
Traditional
Impedance
120 Ohms
Sensitivity
110 dB
Frequency Response
6 Hz to 38 kHz
Primary Use
Everything, but especially gaming & film
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$149.00
Details

Sennheiser HD560S

Price: Check Amazon! | Check B&H!

In The Box

Sennheiser HD 560S High-Performance Headphones

9.8′ Cable

1/4″ to 3.5mm Adapter (not pictured)

Limited 2-Year Warranty

Sennheiser HD560S Review

Build & Comfort

The Sennheiser HD560S, as with most 500 series headphones, is mostly constructed from plastic, but the build quality doesn’t give off a cheap impression.

They are equipped with a 1/4″ termination and come with a lengthy 9.8-foot cable, along with a 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter for versatile connectivity.

The cable is detachable and easily snaps into place with a 3.5mm connection on one end and a 2.5mm connection on the other, which attaches to the earcup.

In terms of construction, these headphones follow the typical 500 series design – they are lightweight and provide a nimble feel.

Inside, you’ll find R and L indicators, a common feature in all 500 model headphones.

The central crater pad is reminiscent of the HD650, and the ear cups, made of a luscious velour padding, conform to the shape of your ears quite nicely.

While your ears may make slight contact, the headphones offer a near-perfect fit with minimal clamping pressure, allowing for extended and comfortable listening sessions.

Sound Quality

Sennheiser HD560S Review

The overall sound of the 560S is characterized by its neutrality, clarity, and a well-balanced audio profile.

In general, it manages to maintain a level of sonic fidelity that is impressive for its price point.

Now, let’s delve into the specific aspects of its sound performance.

Bass

In terms of bass, there is more sub-bass extension than in previous 500-series headphones, though it may lack the resolution and hi-fi quality one might expect.

Bass notes, at times, retain a somewhat wooly and boomy quality. The bass, while striving for impact and weight, still falls slightly short, especially when compared to headphones like the Ananda.

It represents a valiant effort considering its $200 price point, but it doesn’t quite reach the level of more premium options.

That said, I think the added bass shelf from 20Hz – 100 is a welcome change from some of the other 500-series models, and the sound is certainly better refined overall.

Mid-Range

Sennheiser HD560S Review

In a surprise to probably no one, the mid-range, in particular, shines with the 560S.

It excels in delivering both vocals and instruments with a remarkable level of clarity and precision; offering a well-balanced presentation that enhances the listening experience.

Notably, it brings out the richness of vocals and the intricate details of instruments without becoming overly forward or shouty.

That said, it’s worth noting that the mids can lean slightly in the forward direction on occasion, and this effect can be subtle and variable from track to track.

More on that later.

Treble

Moving on to the treble, the 560S maintains a delicate balance, ensuring that it is present and clear without becoming overwhelming, harsh, or sibilant.

In other words, there’s just the right amount of sparkle here and the headphones do a good job of providing air and clarity while simultaneously not going overboard with it.

Instrument Separation

Sennheiser HD560S Review

Instrument separation and imaging are also strong suits, especially when rendering female voices, which sound lush, realistic, and intimate, with a near-perfect tonality.

The 560S creates a well-defined and immersive soundscape, allowing for clear and distinct separation of various instruments within the music.

This quality complements the strengths of the well-balanced mid-range.

Nonetheless, at times, the mids can feel a bit too forward, occasionally making voices seem a little in-your-face, as exemplified by Rhye’s “Open” or Common’s “The Light,” where hiss voice feels a tad aggressive, and the song itself may come across as overly assertive.

Do keep in mind this is rather subtle.

 

Genre

Genre-wise, the right music can truly work wonders.

Lane 8’s “The Rope” and Dayglow’s “Close to You” stand out as two examples that deliver an absolutely sublime listening experience.

When it comes to Jazz, especially when it’s the likes of Stan Getz, the 560S showcases a remarkable ability to present the music in a natural and effortless manner, making it incredibly accurate and nearly perfect in its rendition, though some might still find it a touch on the conservative side.

Soundstage

Sennheiser HD560S Review

The soundstage is another standout feature, creating the illusion that things are happening outside the headphones more often than not.

It provides ample width without feeling unnatural, often prompting you to wonder if subtle background sounds are part of the music or originate from your surroundings.

Overall,

The 560S remains a solid 500 series headphone, known for its neutrality and a mid-range that excels in delivering both vocals and instruments with clarity and precision. While it has some limitations, particularly in the bass region, these are understandable given its affordable price point.

Amplification

JDS ATOM HEVI Review

The 560S isn’t very hard to drive, but interestingly enough does have a higher impedance than most other 500-series headphones.

Nearly all of them have a 50 Ohm impedance and anywhere from 106dB – 112dB Sensitivity.

The 560S doubles that plus 20 at 120 Ohm but still has a Sensitivity of 110dB.

In other words, it doesn’t need much power at all from an amp to reach peak loudness. It will resist power a bit more than the others, but by and large, you won’t even notice this.

By now you may be wondering what you should go with.

My top recommendations for those starting out are the ATOM and K5 Pro; 2 can’t go wrong options that I own and still use daily.

If you do plan to run these (or any future headphones) balanced, go with the K7.

Gaming

Sennheiser HD560S Review

One of the most compelling reasons to buy an HD560S is that it’s nearly perfect for gaming and watching film.

The experience is incredibly immersive, and the soundstage, once again, shines with its exemplary performance; allowing you to pinpoint footsteps and recognize subtle directional cues with ease.

It’s a headphone that’s perfectly suited for FPS shooters, and the best part is you can wear it for hours without any discomfort.

For a great setup, I recommend the Boom Pro + Creative SoundBlasterX G6; a combo I personally use when I’m on PS4. 

Closing Thoughts

Sennheiser HD560S Review

The Sennheiser HD560S is a solid choice for both gamers and music enthusiasts.

Its neutrality, clarity, and well-balanced sound profile make it a versatile headphone for various genres and applications.

However, it’s worth noting that some users might find it a bit dull over time due to its conservative sound signature.

For those seeking a more dynamic and well-rounded alternative, the AKG K702 is a compelling option to consider.

It offers a different listening experience and might be more engaging for some users.

Nonetheless, the choice between the HD560S and the K702 is a tough one, as both headphones have their unique strengths.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your personal preferences and intended use, as both headphones bring their own charm to the table.

Click Here to jump to the rankings and sound comparisons!

Video Discussion

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Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD560S Review/Shootout and came away with some valuable insight.

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

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.

Would you invest in a 560S? I would love to hear your thoughts and/or experience with any of these. 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!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Gallery

Rankings…

*Rankings*

Gaming

Sennheiser HD560S Review

Does the 560S replace the K702 for full-time duty?

This is a question that I was forced to ask myself the more and more I listened to the headphones in terms of Soundstage, gaming, film, and genre versatility.

Both are pretty similar in these regards, but we’ll get to that later.

I played some Fallout 4 this morning and found it super convenient that it was raining in-game.

I decided to analyze the 5 headphones in terms of voicing/dialogue/intimacy, Soundstage, clarity, immersion, comfort, as well as spacing of the sound as a whole.

Here are my conclusions:

#5

HD600

Official Review: Here!

Sennheiser HD560S Review

  • Intimacy: Above Average.
  • Soundstage: Poor.
  • Clarity: Average.
  • Comfort: Above Average.
  • Overall Spacing: Average.
  • Immersion: Below Average.

This is clearly the worst out of the lot for gaming.

It’s too relaxed sounding and the Soundstage is pretty bad. 

Everything is much too boxed in sounding and lacks the spaciousness needed for serious duties.

Most people already know this about the 20+-year-old headphones, but it’s absolutely not the ideal choice for FPS shooters or even casual single-player gaming.

The treble will also likely bother you as it’s much too dark for picking out sounds and making you aware of what’s going on in the immediate vicinity; as well as farther off.

It’s not that the HD600 sounds bad, it’s just that it was absolutely not made for gaming, and that becomes apparent almost immediately.

#4

AKG K612

Official Review: Here!

Sennheiser HD560S Review

  • Intimacy: Average.
  • Soundstage: Above Average.
  • Clarity: Average.
  • Comfort: Above Average to excellent.
  • Overall Spacing: Above Average.
  • Immersion: Average to slightly below average.

As much as I trash the K612 for music, it’s always been a pretty good performer in terms of watching films or playing games.

Obviously, the Soundstage here is going to be much wider than an HD600, but the overall sound is still a bit too dull and warmed-over for my tastes.

Things are spread out nicely, but there’s not much life to the dialogue or sounds.

Voices and the like still sound too distant without having the clarity of a K702.

In other words, it’s more of a relaxing experience rather than an immersive one.

It’s a headphone that can definitely work in a pinch, but there are better options.

#3

HD58X

Sennheiser HD560S Review

  • Intimacy: Above Average.
  • Soundstage: Average to slightly above average.
  • Clarity: Above Average.
  • Comfort: Above Average.
  • Overall Spacing: Average.
  • Immersion: Above Average.

The 58X brings up an interesting conundrum.

On one hand, the sound has plenty of life to it – probably the most out of this bunch.

On the other hand, it’s bordering on too much.

As with music, the sound here has a sometimes overly lush and metallic character, as if it’s trying a bit too hard to impress you.

Soundstage is definitely a bit wider than that of an HD600, but this still isn’t a 560S or K702.

Newbies will likely love this sound for gaming initially as stuff is spaced out decently enough and the sound doesn’t feel nearly as claustrophobic in terms of Soundstage as an HD600.

#2

HD560S

Sennheiser HD560S Review

  • Intimacy: Above Average to excellent.
  • Soundstage: Above Average to excellent.
  • Clarity: Above Average to excellent.
  • Comfort: Excellent to exemplary.
  • Overall Spacing: Above Average to excellent.
  • Immersion: Excellent.

It was so hard for me to decide between the 560S and 702, but I think I prefer the 702 more.

Some may prefer this one and that’s completely fine.

If the 58X is opening things up a bit more, the 560S is in its final stages of flowering.

Sounds have much more room to breathe now, and the Soundstage is nice and expansive without feeling too far off.

The sound itself also feels a lot more natural and organic vs. the somewhat forced nature of the 58X.

As with music, everything sounds just about 100% correct which makes for a distraction-free experience.

#1

K702

Official Review: Here!

Sennheiser HD560S Review

  • Intimacy: Average.
  • Soundstage: Excellent to exemplary.
  • Clarity: Excellent to Exemplary.
  • Comfort: Excellent to exemplary.
  • Overall Spacing: Excellent to exemplary.
  • Immersion: Excellent.

As much as I love the 560S, I personally believe the K702 is just a hair better (at least for my needs).

If the 560S is just about flowered, think of the 702 as a peacock.

Things are spread out pretty wide, and while some may call it unnatural, I find it perfect for quickly surveying a situation and figuring out who, or what is where at all times.

In other words, your head is always going to be on a swivel when listening to these headphones; an ideal scenario when gaming competitively.

Unlike the K612, the 702 has a much snappier character so you’ll almost always feel like sounds have a distinct definition to them.

It’s all there.

Intimacy isn’t as good as some would like, I get that.

For me, it’s not a big issue because the clarity of the sounds is on point and I can hear and experience everything going on without a problem.

With the K702 I know exactly where/how close the enemy is and oftentimes am ready for him before he has a chance to ADS (aim down sight).

The 560S’ sound is also going to feel a bit closer to you, but it may not always be a good thing when you’re trying to hear what’s farther off in the distance.

For that, I still love the 702 for gaming a bit more.

Sound Comparisons

Here I was comparing it with music.

HD560S vs. K612

Sennheiser HD560S Review

On paper, these headphones are almost identical and both are pretty much dead neutral/flat.

However, the K612 sounds noticeably more muffled and wonky in comparison to the perfectly tuned 560S.

The K612’s bass is a bit less elevated, but there’s still not much roll-off in the sub-bass regions.

Even so, the K612 seems more distant as if you’re listening to music in a smaller, less expansive tube or congested space.

It doesn’t sound good at all when placed side by side.

The 560S easily outperforms the K612 in pretty much every way.

Imaging is much better, the impact is better, and the 560S generally sounds livelier and more engaging.

With the 612, everything is mostly pushed back and sounds farther away from you, while the 560S is right there, present, and accounted for.

If I was close to tossing the 612 out the window and never listening to it again, the 560S actually makes me do exactly that.

It exposes the K612 for what it is; a really God-awful headphone in all regards the more I listen.

Listening to the K612 actually seems like you’re hearing music through a wet cardboard box in contrast to just how good the 560S sounds.

The difference is truly night and day.

You can hear the subtle treble spike on the 560S when comparing it to the 612, and that’s part of the difference.

Crinacle talked about this and I think he’s right on.

By itself, you don’t really notice it, but when listening to another headphone (in my case the 612) and then swapping, it was definitely apparent.

Still, the treble isn’t going to annoy most people and for the most part, you’ll never feel like it’s overbearing.

In other words,

unless you have a bunch of headphones to go back and forth with, you’re not going to know or even care.

For me, it strikes a perfect balance. There’s a good amount of life here without bordering on essy or sibilant.

It’s got a wonderfully wispy quality that hits just right.

HD560S vs. HD58X

Sennheiser HD560S Review

You can immediately tell the mid-bass is more pronounced and less neutral than the 560S’, even though technically there is more sub-bass roll-off in the 58X.

After going back and forth for quite a while, I think I prefer the 560S.

It’s cleaner and more accurate sounding than the 58X to my ears.

This has a little to do with the mid-bass, but to me, the 560S is a tonally more accurate headphone with slightly better resolution.

There’s something about the 58X that sounds strangely artificial, but it’s not completely obvious when you’re not going back and forth between headphones.

It’s only when you put the 560S up to the 58X that it becomes apparent.

Maddie Jay’s “CR78” is a prime example of a song that almost sounds overly sheeny and in your face on the 58X.

Vocals feel more present, but in a way that feels slightly forced and unnatural.

The bass thumps on both, but on the 560S it feels a little more controlled.

The 58X is fun, but it’s starting to veer towards sloppy.

“I MADE ‘EM EXTRA SLOPPY FOR YA!!”

With the 560S, everything is just about 100% correct; a running theme in this article with regard to its almost immaculate tuning.

HD560S vs. HD600

Sennheiser HD560S Review

The difference here is rather obvious. The 560S’ treble is noticeably brighter than the HD600’s.

This again goes back to the fact that on its own, the treble on the 560S only seems bright when you put it up against another, darker headphone like the HD600.

On the surface, this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at just how much it comes out when swapping back and forth.

This is in large part why I’ve always liked comparing headphones even when doing single reviews.

It really helps to clarify sound signatures and sort out what’s what.

In The 1975’s “Be My Mistake” the distinction is apparent.

The 560S is more intimate and livelier sounding than the darker homie HD600.

Do keep in mind that my HD600’s pads are fairly worn, but you’ll still notice the mid-range is very similar on both.

There’s plenty of vocal presence and forwardness in each.

In fact,

even the snobbiest of audiophiles would be hard-pressed to find huge differences in the mids here.

These are Senny mids through and through.

The other difference you’ll notice is a sense of air missing in the HD600 that’s there in spades with the 560S.

The more I listen to the 560S and compare it to other headphones, the more I realize just how good it actually is.

Worn pads or not, the HD600 doesn’t sound nearly as good to me, which is fairly surprising.

Bass

One of my favorite test tracks for bass of late is No Rome & 1975’s “The Narcissist” because it rolls and thumps incredibly well.

In other words, it’s mixed properly.

The 560S renders The Narcissist with a bit more punch, but it’s not overdone like your mom’s meatloaf.

The bass is still there and sounds great with the HD600, but it’s a bit more subdued.

What I like about the 600’s rendition is that it’s just a hair more resolving. While you feel it more with the 560S, you hear individual notes better with the HD600.

This is something that I’ve talked about before with the 9500’s bass, and something that doesn’t make much sense to our natural intellect.

“But Stu,” you ask. “If there’s more sub-bass on the HD560S, wouldn’t that mean I can hear those notes better?”

I’d say no, not necessarily. I’d argue that keeping the sub-bass a bit more rolled off allows it to breathe and express itself a little better, and this is certainly apparent when swapping back and forth between these 2.

The question is,

Will you enjoy that rise and subtle bass shelf that the 560S provides?

That entirely depends on taste.

HD560S vs. K702

Sennheiser HD560S Review

This is the moment of truth because the 702 has been my daily driver for quite a while now.

There are no other headphones I’d rather listen to in my ever-growing but completely unnecessary collection.

The reason for this is that the 702 does well for anything and everything:

Gaming, film, mixing/mastering, any genre, etc.

It has all bases covered with a great Soundstage, great imaging, and out-of-your-head moments aplenty.

It’s tuned perfectly and has a bump around 2kHz for extra spice and lively flavor.

The 560S is similar; you can use it for all of the above.

Both are open, both are lightweight and incredibly comfortable, and both come in at similar price points as well.

The question then becomes, which headphone is tuned better? Which is more resolving?

We’ll get to that in a second.

Imaging & Soundstage

Right away you’ll notice the 702 is spread out a bit more than the 560S.

It’s not that the 560S is “in your head”, but it’s certainly more closed-in sounding than a K702.

Because of this, the 702’s sounds are imaged a bit better.

The other thing that will probably jump out at you is that the 560S, like the contrast with the K612, feels closer to you and more immediate/intimate than it does with the 702.

The same happened above when we discussed the merits of each for gaming.

I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing at the moment, but I’m still leaning toward the 702 as preference.

Tuning

As much as I hate to say it, I think the 560S is tuned a bit better and I think it comes down to the 2kHz bump that I mentioned earlier, in addition to the treble.

You can tell both are emphasized a bit more than a 560S.

In that sense, the K702 is exposed a bit for being somewhat less neutral and flat than a 560S.

It’s a subtle distinction, but still apparent.

So 3 things that immediately make themselves known are the following:

  1. The mid-range is more forward on a K702.
  2. The treble is brighter on a 702, but still not essy even though it’s getting there more than a 560S is.
  3. The Soundstage is wider on a 702.

Sennheiser HD560S Review

Bass

The K702’s bass is almost completely neutral.

It doesn’t roll off (if it does, it’s not by much), there are no weird mid-bass bumps, and it sounds really good. Nice and clean.

The 560S’ bass also doesn’t roll off, but it’s more emphasized around 40-60Hz which is rather tastefully done, all things considered.

By contrast, the 702’s bass, while slightly rolled off, sounds a bit more natural to me.

It’s not trying too hard and understands its mid-fi bass without attempting to be something else.

You’ll notice the 560S’ bass thumps a bit harder, but it may not necessarily be a good thing with regard to every track.

I think whether or not you enjoy it will depend largely on the song in question and how it was recorded, mixed, and mastered.

This is something I harp on quite a bit on the blog and channel and it’s no different here.

Dayglow’s – “Close to You” sounds fantastic on both.

You’ll notice the 702’s bass is a smidgen leaner but still retains some nice thump, all things considered.

The slight issue I have with the 560S is that it sometimes feels almost too present; as if everything is sort of in your face and lively, but not necessarily in a good way.

The problem I have with the K702 is that it sometimes feels like sounds are spaced almost too far apart.

With certain tracks, the 702 may feel a little bit too thin-ish and overly bright.

Overly bright in this context doesn’t actually mean “Oh my God I can’t listen to this” thoughthe distinction is rather subtle.

These are minor nitpicks in both headphones, but should be noted.

Resolution

I think the K702 is slightly more resolving because of the 560S’ bass.

You can immediately hear the difference when going back and forth, and dare I say the 560S’ kind of gets in the way of the mid-range here, at least in comparison to the 702.

I think because the 702 is more neutral (outside of 2kHz), it sounds clearer and comes across as slightly more detailed.

Keep in mind this distinction is incredibly subtle to me.

I sat here for quite a while listening to music before coming to this conclusion as the headphones are very similar in a lot of ways.

Media

More to come!

The Foreign Exchange – Connected (2004)

Bonobo – Days to Come (2006)

Bibio – Sleep on the wing (2020)

Seabiscuit (2003)

Field of Dreams (1989)

Fallout 4 (2015)

Sennheiser HD560S

4.6

Build

4.9/5

Sound

4.5/5

Comfort

5.0/5

Soundstage

4.9/5

Value

3.8/5

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable.
  • Built well despite its weight.
  • Soundstage is exemplary. Perfect for gamer nerds.
  • Balanced sound.
  • Perfectly tuned.

Cons

  • Sound can be dull and/or boring. Lacks excitement even despite bass shelf.
  • Value suffers because of the HD6XX

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50 comments

Prabin Paudel August 8, 2021 - 3:08 am

i counted there were only 4999 words.. lol

Reply
Electrolite August 8, 2021 - 3:31 am

Hey Stu thank you for your reviews! I read you were trying the HD 58X. It’s a nice headphone but for me it had a small issue with tonality due to a peak in the 5k region which also caused some fatigue.

If possible, I’d like to ask if you could try it using the EQ made by Oratory1990, I’m curious about your opinion on it and if it helps to bring the 58X more in level with the HD 6 family. The EQ fixes the 5k issue, gives some bite in the treble (like cymbals splash) and elevates the sub-bass a bit. It’s a nice improvement from the stock 58X.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lr0t5bm0g9h167t/Sennheiser%20HD58X.pdf?dl=0

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 8, 2021 - 7:23 pm

Yeah man my pleasure! the 58X is good but a bit aggressive and slightly overly holographic to me but what’s interesting is that the 560S exposed those flaws. I kind of think it makes them sound more exciting and lively which is kind of what I prefer out of headphones. I think the 500 line makes me annoyed that the signature is so perfect you know? It’s just kind of Debbie Downerish lol. 58X is coming next I think so I will def try that out once I get going on the article!! Probably this week I will be writing it.

Reply
Minghao Chen August 8, 2021 - 12:35 pm

I like really want to try a koss with one of those huge grado pads, I keep hearing good things about them.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 8, 2021 - 7:24 pm

Same man! The G-Cushions, right? Those definitely are fantastic pads.

Reply
Adrian December 6, 2021 - 7:34 pm

This was a great review I read it twice two weeks apart. I recently bought the HD560s. My first entry into Hifi headphones. For years I have been using some $20 JVC over the ear headphones or what ever came with my cell phone. You don’t know what you missing until you go looking. These are great phones especially for the Black Friday price. I have them connected to a Hidizs S3 Pro dongle and the sound is pleasing, full and fun. It’s like you said I find myself looking around for those weird sounds in the night while listening. I won’t go looking around anymore because I’ll end up finding something new. Thanks for you in depth review it is a great read and testament to your craft!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 7, 2021 - 7:28 pm

Hey man, thank you so much! You don’t know what those words of encouragement mean. So glad you’re enjoying the headphones! I did enjoy the 560S’ slightly more fun sound but still without getting out of line.

Reply
Tangerine Dreaming March 8, 2022 - 12:40 am

A humble recommendation/note.

I understand that you are mostly aiming these reviews for the American audience. But just something to think about: Sometimes the value (and cons) part might be a little bit skewed for people who live outside US as due to taxes, shipping and custom fees, most if not all of those Drop headphones and amps get really expensive for us. (naturally varies where one lives and the local laws and taxes)

I eventually ended up getting the HD560s over the HD6XX as the 6XX would have ended up costing over $120 more after the shipping and taxes.

By no means am I trying to tell how you should run your channel or site, just giving some food for thought 🙂

Once again, thank you for all the reviews and great content!

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Stuart Charles Black March 14, 2022 - 3:21 pm

Hey Tangerine!

Thank you for the constructive feedback and kind words. I will certainly keep that in mind moving forward as you make a great point! I’ve thought about that quite a bit over the last year or so actually. Prices for gear vary wildly and it’s sometimes frustrating when giving recommendations as things change quite often. The problem with guesstimating prices inside an article is that later on down the road those numbers may not be accurate.

What would you suggest as a way to clarify those things inside of a post without using too many concrete #s?

-Stu

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Tangerine Dreaming March 15, 2022 - 12:49 am

I guess it depends a bit if it’s a list type of thing like “top 10 headphones under xxx usd” or A vs B kinda comparison or purely “best bang4buck”.

I don’t know if this is the easiest way to do it as I don’t do reviews just read them lol, but I guess you could just give a mention or suggestion for a non-Drop equivalent or nearest match? Although now when I think of it, it does get a lil bit more complex as usually the thing that makes drop stuff so good is partly due to the price.

Like is it good to recommend a HD650 as HD6XX alternative if it costs hundred(s) more?

But I still think, if possible and you can think of one, just try to add a recommendation for similar or nearest equivalent non-Drop headphone. Like “If you can’t get the Hifiman X4, get the HE400se” etc.

Thanks again!

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Stuart Charles Black March 15, 2022 - 4:38 pm

Yeah! I think the “if you can’t get X, try Y instead” will be something I can utilize more moving forward, paying close attention to prices as well. Thank you again for the suggestions!

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Yamato April 21, 2022 - 1:55 pm

Hello, Stu. I want to thank you for comprehensively reviewing and also comparing all of these headphones. You’re helping to clear up an area which needs to be cleared up. Somebody who doesn’t have the money or the time to pick up all of these headphones looks for pieces like yours in order to understand. I see a lot of people (even the bigger reviewers) who’ll just drop thing like “it’s got good clarity” or “impressive soundstage” almost randomly and expect you to understand for whatever reason, even though you have next to no context for what that really means.

Anyway, I’ve been reading your site here end-to-end for the last week and also after doing my own research, I bought a pair of HE-400se’s for the sake of curiosity on planars (they’re a steal on Amazon rn). What I’d like to do soon afterwards is get some sort o dac+amp without breaking the bank, and I set my sights on the Fiio K3. Now, the Fiio K3’s power output is on the modest side, and I’m wondering if it’ll drive Planars well. Have you ever had any problems with bass or clarity on the K3 with planars – especially relative to the K5? Also, what’s the tonality of the K3 like? Is it more warm and smooth, like the K5? Or sharper, more detail-oriented, like the Ifi Zen?

A few months back, I bought a SHP 9500. I really wanted to compare them to my 9-year old HD 598’s, another feat of my curiosity about what seemed to be a quality pair at a surprising price. They’re a solid 8/10 set imo. Nothing to really criticise about them (besides maybe their metallic timbre, although I prefer it greatly over the HD 598’s thick, muddy timbre), but nothing to really praise for, either. What I could do is sell them for a bit less than what I paid for them and that’d get me halfway to a K702. Do you think it’s worth it? How do they compare to a K702 in terms of timbre, imaging and clarity? As and aside, have you ever tried the K702 with K612 pads? Some say the K612 have better imaging and a better tonality. Maybe that combo would be like a best of both worlds.

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Stuart Charles Black April 23, 2022 - 2:15 pm

Yamato,

You’re welcome!

As for your questions/concerns:

1. Yeah, they’re probably lazy and/or don’t care.

2. I have not had problems with clarity on the K3 with planars.

3. The K3 is snappier and more refined than an E10K, and definitely cooler and more neutral vs. the warmth of the K5 Pro. It’s a fine dac.

4. I do think the K702 is worth it!

5. Timbre and imaging are going to be a bit better on the K702, clarity is about equal as I’ve always loved the 9500 for that and why I recommend it a lot.

6. I have not tried the K702 with K612 pads.

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Yamato April 25, 2022 - 7:50 am

Thank you for answering my questions. I’m definitely gonna look towards the K702 as something for when I want ‘air’, like for classical or for certain games. The HE-400se for more relaxed listening. The K3 just seems like a good deal for it’s price range, and If I so want, it could be used as a dac for more powerful amps.

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Stuart Charles Black April 28, 2022 - 2:33 pm

Yamato,

It’s funny because I always go back to my K702. I just love how it sounds and it’s one of those things that’s really hard to explain sometimes. The punch, the air, the atmosphere. It just sounds right. Perfect 1-2 punch there as both are in my top 5 under $500.

K3 is good, and yes, that’s true! Check out my review though.

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Godspeedfilthypeasantblackemperor June 25, 2022 - 2:12 pm

Hey stu , Hope you are well and kind enough to listen to my little rant here.back in 2020 I was shopping for a cheap decent headphone that would be an upgrade from using crappy earphones bundled with my phone. I watched your Sr850 Vs k240 review.ended up saving up until I bought the sr850 in black Friday. fell in love with them instantly huge upgrade(thank you btw).But now 2 years down the road .I can barely stand them with some songs .the treble can be so sharp that it feels like needles piercing through my ear., they have alot of bass too,most of the time I enjoy it coz I listen to a wide range of artist from Death Grips,black Sabbath to Frank Zappa. Now they are on their Death bed.Have cut and replaced the jack with auxes like 8 times .I need new headphones. I’m saving up for black Friday again ?, Im caught between the hd559 ,hd599 ,hd560s,M50x and various other akgs around that price (200$budget). Im curious to what you’d recommend me to get, I just want a clean smooth balanced headphone that can handle most genre’s. I don’t have an amp though. Cheers man truly appreciate what you do .From South Africa

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Stuart Charles Black June 30, 2022 - 3:44 pm

Hey man, thank you for the comment and love! If you want clean, smooth, and balanced, that’s definitely the HD560S all the way. If you’re okay with a bit of a boring, dull sound, I’d go for it! It’s truly great, but for me, it can get kind of bland after a while. I personally prefer the K702 as it has a bit of extra zest without going over the top. So yeah, I’d either get a 560S or 702.

Keep me posted!!

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J August 19, 2022 - 8:42 am

I genuinely like that you’re one of the few (if only) headphone reviewer who has the sense to mention the music you’re listening to rather than just depend on throwing meaningless buzzwords around. I wanted to ask what you think the main differences are between the he400se and the 560s currently. I have to work with audio sometimes, so I’d like something with the most natural sound (I guess the closest to a great set of speakers). I’ve had bad experience with budget sennheisers in the past. I found them to really take a lot of the body out of music, and make it sound very distant. Not so much highs and lows, but like flattening everything even if it’s supposed to be pronounced. I now wonder if that’s what people actually mean when they say things like ‘analytical’ and ‘clear’. Those were cheaper ones though, so I might be wrong.

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Stuart Charles Black August 21, 2022 - 3:58 pm

Hey man thank you so much! I put a lot into my reviews (and this one specifically), so your comment is much appreciated.

That’s a great question. You know, I’ve been considering putting the 560S in my best Under $500 list because it’s tuned almost perfectly and has excellent driver matching.

I would say that the 560S does sound more natural than a 400se, but it’s pretty close. I think this has to do in large part with the 400se’s gradual roll-off after 1kHz, which manifests in most HIFIMAN products actually. There are times when it just doesn’t sound quite right, and it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for quite a while now. In other words, I may consider dropping the 400se out of the top spot and replacing it with either the K702 or 6XX. The reason it’s hard is that the 400se’s Timbre does slightly outperform a K702 and 6XX though again, it is very close.

This is in large part why I still tell people all the time in these comment threads, through email, and elsewhere that I absolutely wouldn’t be mad at someone if they preferred one over the other and didn’t quite agree with my ranking. Because in all honesty, you can shuffle them any which way and still be fine. That is to say that I still believe the K702, 6XX, and 400se are the top 3 options to consider in Mid-Fi. The 400se is also dirt cheap which is another reason why it’s hard to dethrone from the top spot.

Regarding the 560S, as you probably gathered from this review, as good as it is tuning-wise I’ve always had an issue with it (and the 500 series in general) sounding a bit too.. and I can never find the right word for it. Boring? Dull? Too perfect? I don’t know. It has this really drab quality and lacks the excitement that I get in spades with a K702. It’s almost too flat or something, similar to my issue with the K612 although I think the 560S is a much better headphone across the board.

So your concern with Sennehiesers is a completely valid one and I wouldn’t fault you for bypassing the 560S if that’s what you experienced; because frankly, that’s a lot of what you’re going to get in the 560S unfortunately.

I think you’d be better off with a K702 or 6XX because as mentioned, the 400se also sometimes suffers from this distant issue in the mid-range specifically and that’s what’s been bothering me lately as I’ve been listening to it almost non-stop while demoing new dacs and stuff.

Hope that helps! Keep me posted with any questions 🙂

-Stu

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Jesse November 25, 2022 - 11:21 pm

Hey Stu!
I finally had the chance to look through the 560s article plus the video which accompanies the article. Though I can’t say for sure until I hear both headphones based on their own merits; the 560s and 58x are for the moment on equal footing (until i listen to them both). I do currently have a HD 599 SE which if I had to speculate the 560s are a step forward comparatively speaking. Though, I can’t imagine it being a massive upgrade or one which makes the 599 SE or the standard 599 obsolete. If on sale etc, one can find a good deal on both the 599 and 599SE.
Plus, if memory serves me right I did mention previously how the 599s are (compared to the 650s and 6xx) more colored/flavored comparatively speaking. As an entry point in “mid-fi”, it’s more than serviceable though probably not as good as the 560s or 58x. Anyway, I wanted to give my feedback as per usual Stu. By the way, the video review was both (as usual) insightful and amusing.
Best Regards,
Jesse

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Stuart Charles Black November 26, 2022 - 4:52 pm

Hey man!

I think you’ll find the 58X is trying a bit too hard while the 560S is smoother and more fluid. It’s almost like the 58X is overly sheeny and glare-y or something, but it’s something that only becomes super obvious when compared to the perfectly tuned 560S.

If you have a 599 the 560S is a bit better refined (faster transients, less bloomy and grainy) and also has the really well-done bass shelf. All in all though, it still mostly mimics a 500 series headphone and may or may not feel like an upgrade to you.

I think you’re right in that it’s not a massive upgrade by any metric and is still more than serviceable while not being quite on the level of a 560S. Does it matter? Meh. Probably not that much lol.

Thanks for the love, Jesse! Always great to hear from you. Keep me posted on everything.

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Byron Johnson December 8, 2022 - 11:26 pm

Great review, Just been researching open back headphones and was wondering about Sennheiser. Heard good things about the 560s’. Was looking at 400se and Phillips x2. Still wondering if higher impedance matters more than vs. over all design,driver size, “planar magnets”, I’ve got an older lg v50 phone with a quad dac and a good number of options. It definitely works? I’ll check out your other reviews.

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Stuart Charles Black December 13, 2022 - 3:49 pm

Hey man thank you for the kind words! 560S is a perfectly tuned headphone that still sounds a bit dull to me. This isn’t exactly breaking news though as you’ll find it kind of mimics the overall sound of most 500-series headphones. That said, it’s still basically a perfect sound signature and the bass shelf is wonderfully handled. You can check out my 400se article here if you haven’t already.

Yeah, I’d say if you have a phone with a good dac you may not even need anything unless your headphones do have a very high impedance/low sensitivity.

With the options you’re considering, the 560S probably won’t need anything separate while I may consider something for the 400se (it’s very inefficient).

Keep me posted!!

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Scott January 5, 2023 - 1:28 am

Stu, thanks for your comprehensive and still relevant article. I appreciate your insights. Just a quick question. Would your view change at all based upon today’s prices? The HD 560s can be purchased for $149 and the HD 6xx is $279. That seems like great value for both, but definitely for the HD 560s. Does this change things for you?

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Stuart Charles Black January 5, 2023 - 2:10 am

Hey man my pleasure! Thank you for stopping by. It is kind of a tough call now that you lay those prices out, but I still prefer the 6XX and would pay that price though admittedly it’s veering towards borderline (The 6XX used to be around $200 and oftentimes even less).

My problem with the 500 series has always been that they end up sounding dull and boring after a while, even though the 560S is tuned perfectly and sounds correct in all aspects.

It’s really hard to explain this but I think most people end up experiencing the same sort of thing with 500 headphones. They just lack that certain something that’s a bit hard to put into words.

To sum up, I paid $330 in 2016 for my made-in-Ireland HD600 so I still think the 6XX at $279 is an excellent value. Hope that helps! Let me know what you think and keep me posted.

-Stu

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RockStar2005 February 12, 2023 - 3:31 pm

Another great, insightful, and really interesting review article by Stu! 👌👏🎧😎

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Stuart Charles Black February 15, 2023 - 2:26 am

Aw thanks man! Much appreciated. How’s everything going?

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Bobby February 22, 2023 - 12:02 pm

Hey Stu!
I’m a bit of a newbie in this, and after using cheap earbuds for years, I decided to invest in some good headphones. After watching a lot of reviews, I decided to buy the 560S due to its performance and price ( and availability, sadly :/ ). They’re great! I’m able to actually hear music as it’s intended, and it allows me to play games on a different level than before.
Now I’m only using the DAC on my motherboard, and (while it still sounds pretty good) I saw that a lot of people recommend using an AMP and DAC to use the full potential of the headphones. I have been considering the Fiio K5 Pro and the iFi ZEN DAC v2 which you have used in your review, and wanted to know what you would recommend, as they are the same price in stores near me.
I use the 560S for both gaming and listening to music, and was wondering which AMP would suit them best for this use. I don’t mind a warmer sound as long as it doesn’t ruin the sound stage and clarity that the 560S has. Is the ZEN DAC too warm to be used for gaming? I have also considered the Fiio K7 as it also has a balanced output and can be used with the 560S (with a new cable of course), and I can connect my speakers to it as well to control everything from one spot for a cleaner setup. Do you think using a balanced cable would be beneficial? Would the K7 be a good investment for any potential new gear? Sorry for the long rant, hope I can get your opinion on this!

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Stuart Charles Black February 22, 2023 - 7:12 pm

NO worries, Bobby! I’m here for you!

I use the K5 Pro for gaming and love it. You may also consider something like a G6. I’d say my top 2 recs for gaming are those (K5/G6), and the Zen V2 is also good but its lack of K5 Pro versatility makes it overpriced in today’s market in my opinion.

The K5 Pro is fantastic. I will tell you that its output impedance is slightly higher than what some may consider “dead neutral” but the difference is very marginal. We’re talking about 1.2 vs. 0.7 for something like an ATOM.

That said, it’s not going to ruin anything, so don’t worry. The Zen, to me, sounds very similar though I’m not recommending it nearly as much anymore because it’s a bit overpriced in comparison to the more versatile K5 Pro. As for your question there, the Zen isn’t too warm and is great for gaming, so again, no worries!! 🙂

The Zen V2 is also much easier to plug and play with your console. I simply plug the USB end in and I’m ready to go. The K5 Pro will need an optical connection and power brick, but again, I like it more because of its flexibility/connection options/gain options at a more affordable price. Plus, you mention you’d like a do-all and there’s no better DAC at this price for that.

I do like the balanced option for the K7, yes. I just think the sound difference isn’t quite enough to blow people away and may end up being somewhat underwhelming if that’s all you bought it for. You can do all that stuff with the K5 Pro, but if you do plan on dabbling a lot with balanced, yes, I recommend it. Balanced is fun! Just still think of it as an all-in-one and don’t get it because you believe balanced is going to be some sort of savior.

Here’s my review btw.

I hope that helped!!

Please keep me posted with questions as I’m always around.

-Stu

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Bobby February 23, 2023 - 11:04 am

Thanks for the quick reply!
The DAC would be connected to my PC mainly, and I don’t have a console, so I don’t think I would need to worry about that (I don’t mind tinkering either).
As you have mentioned, the practicality of the K5 Pro is great, and is something I’m looking for as well, but I was a little bit torn due to the lack of the balanced headphone output which the Zen DAC v2 has. I think the K7 would be a sort of good mix between them (maybe not including the sound).
I unfortunately don’t have such a wide variety as people in the US do, and everything is a bit more overpriced, so these options seem the best for now. DACs/AMPs such as Soundblaster, Topping and JDS Labs are all not available in stores here. Ordering them online would double or triple the price when we include the shipping and import taxes.
Considering that the price increase from the K5 Pro / Zen v2 to the K7 would only be around $20, and at around $250 in total for the K7, it looks like the best choice for me.
I’ll be picking it up in a few days, and will put my thoughts here.
Thanks again for your input, Stu!

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Stuart Charles Black February 23, 2023 - 5:21 pm

My pleasure!

Oh sweet! Looking forward to your impressions. I think you’re going to be thrilled with the investment and versatility the K7 provides.

Talk soon,

-Stu

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Richard April 5, 2023 - 5:20 pm

Thank you for this review, especially for the comparisons to other headphones. Too many reviews lack detailed comparisons. The 560’s are currently $143 on Amazon. In your opinion, is the greater resolution of the 6xx worth the extra $76 (currently $219 on drop.com)?

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Stuart Charles Black April 10, 2023 - 3:54 pm

Richard,

Thank you so much and you’re welcome! That’s actually quite a tough question.

But I’m leaning towards yes and I say that because while you ultimately may enjoy the 560S, I can almost guarantee at some point the sound signature will start to bore you. Outside of the HD558 I purchased on eBay for cheap (and I sold it) I have actually never felt any desire to purchase a headphone from the 500-series line. By contrast, I’ve had my HD600 since 2016 and don’t plan on ever letting them go.

So if that’s any indication about how I feel regarding the 2, then yeah I’d say you’re way more likely to buy an HD6XX and keep it for the long haul vs. being fairly underwhelmed by the 560S as time goes on. At first, it sounds perfect and the tonality is spot on. But the “perfectness” starts to get dull and drab and you’ll be wondering if you should make the upgrade.

I will say Soundstage on the 560S is better, but the resolution in my opinion is superior on the 6XX. Over the long term? To me, 6XX is hands down the better value.

And, I think $219 is actually pretty fair, especially in the current inflated market.

Hope that helps!

Let me know.

-Stu

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Sneglus April 29, 2023 - 1:56 pm

Was looking for informations about HD560s ane came here. Really like how you reviewed and compared it! I never had a open back set myself yet, and I’m looking for one mostly for movies / casual music listening / youtube/ bit of xbox gaming. I’d like in priority the widest soundstage for immersion in movies, a bit of bass impact for action, explosions and stuffs and also electronic music, mids with presence and body for voices, details also for sure, and confort.
Can get the HD560s refurbed at 100€ and K702 arround 130 new, wich would you advice more here for the intended purposes? Wich do you think sound best for piano music also?
Sennheiser H6xx doesn’t seems available where I live. Maybe you know some shops who carries it in EU? Thanks!

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Stuart Charles Black May 6, 2023 - 3:58 pm

Thanks man! My pleasure and glad to help.

Gosh, that’s a tough one! The 560S does have that subtle bass shelf, but I think the 702 has a more immersive Soundstage. At the end of the day, I still take the 702 for my own personal needs. I also think the 702 spaces out instruments and sounds a bit better, and I like it for piano because it provides ample room for it to breathe and tends to have more air which in my opinion makes it sound more natural. Classical music and piano specifically can be a bit tough for headphones to emulate properly, but I think the 702 does the best in its price range for open backs.

As for the 6XX, I don’t know of any shops in EU. Sorry I can’t be of more help there.

Keep me posted for sure on what you think/what you’re going to do.

-Stu

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Taylor June 6, 2023 - 7:59 pm

Loved this review, thank you so much! Based on your recommendations, I bought some K702s and love them and currently have some 6XXs coming in the mail.

In the future, I’m thinking about getting something slightly more bass heavy to complement my K702 and 6XX. Because of this article, it probably won’t be the 560s. I’m considering a Beyerdynamic (especially the 990s), but do you have any other recommendations?

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Stuart Charles Black June 7, 2023 - 11:58 am

Hey there! Thank you so much for the kind words. I try to keep it light here lol. So yeah, 990 is fantastic – especially for the price. I wouldn’t really go digging beyond that as it would be perfect for your need. I like the fact that there is a bass shelf, but it’s not obnoxious or out of control. They’re also priced really well so I wouldn’t hesitate. Definitely keep me posted on your decision and if you have questions. Also let me know how you like the 6XX after you’ve gotten some time with it!

-Stu

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Taylor June 19, 2023 - 5:27 am

Well your reviews are amazing and honestly they’ve made my intro into the audiophile journey so much more fun and intuitive, so thank you!

Now that I’ve had my 6XXs for a couple weeks, thought I’d let you know…HOLY HECK I love them. I was surprised by how warm they are and I think I prefer them for a good portion of my music. I still love the K702s for classical music and certain albums, but yeah those two headphones are a great pairing. As a matter of fact, I had my very non-technical dad try on my 6XXs and he instantly fell in love and decided to get a pair.

Still have the DT 990s high on the wishlist, but now I’m considering whether to get them or just get a desktop amp like the K5 pro (currently I’m using the BTR5).

Overall, it’s been a blast and I look forward to getting even more out of my music. So thanks for all the great reviews and advice!

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Stuart Charles Black June 28, 2023 - 2:00 pm

Taylor,

My pleasure and so glad to hear you’re enjoying them! And yeah, that’s generally the response from people. They just have to have them. I remember a girl I let borrow my HD600 told me she never wanted to leave her room lol.

Please keep me posted with everything. Just don’t go too far down that rabbit hole XD 😉

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Joey July 29, 2023 - 1:32 pm

I’ve been doing research for a bit now as I’m looking to get a pair of open-back cans as a first foray into the audiophile world after using closed-back and gaming headphones for as long as I’ve been gaming. I was looking for a pair that would do music and gaming well and narrowed the choices down to the HD560S and the K702. Where I live the 6XX would cost way more and as you said not as good for gaming as the former. As a first pair of audiophile headphones pulling the trigger on the K702 is a little more difficult because I would need an amp. But the soundstage would be perfect as I play a lot of first-person shooters. And the brighter treble response on the K702s seems like it would be perfect for the genres I listen to. The 560s on the other hand is really good value and for less sound stage and a bit of a darker sound signature I would not have to purchase an amp as they are quite sensitive. What do you think I should do?

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Stuart Charles Black August 2, 2023 - 9:21 pm

Joey,

Thank you for the comment!

I personally prefer the K702 and I’ll explain why. I got a chance to demo the 560S and did enjoy the headphone. The problem with it, as with all 500-series headphones, is that it’s dull and boring. You’ll appreciate it, but over time you’ll get bored and likely want something else. It is tuned very well, but I could never envision myself owning one for any length of time. I previously owned the HD558 and ended up selling it.

Put another way, hearing the 560S didn’t make me want to replace my K702 with it. If I didn’t already have a K702, I may opt for a 560S for gaming and the like, but I probably wouldn’t because I wouldn’t want to hang onto it for a long time. The K702 has better Soundstage, a snappier sound signature, and it doesn’t put you to sleep. And, as you mention, the 702’s treble is just bright enough to where you get the sparkle but not the sibilance.

Furthermore, I personally use one for gaming over the other headphones I have due to its superb directional cues and propensity to reveal everything going on around you. It doesn’t win out by a landslide as I still enjoy the DEVA and SHP9500 for gaming, but the 702 is my primary headphone for pretty much everything I do in or out of the studio: Gaming, Mixing beats, General Music Listening, and so forth.

In addition to that, it works for all genres and sounds excellent doing so due to its fantastic resolution, instrument separation, general tuning, bass response, timbre, and more. The mid-range provides a perfect amount of elevation around 2kHz to keep things lively, and the overall frequency response doesn’t have any weird and/or unnatural peaks or dips.

Yes, you will have to purchase an Amp and DAC with it, but you don’t have to spend more than $200. Plus, most snobs will tell you to get an amp with the 560S anyways. I would go with an ATOM Hevi + ATOM DAC or a FiiO K5 Pro. Those are my top 2 recommendations for most people.

I’ve had my K702 since 2019 and it’s here to stay. I hope that’s enough to convince you!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

-Stu

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Joey August 9, 2023 - 5:00 pm

Hey Stu,
Thank you for your suggestion, I ended up purchasing the K702 and chose to pair it with a Topping DX1 Amp/DAC combo unit because the headphones fit my criteria and having an amp/DAC combo gives me some expandability in the future. I went with a more budget amp/DAC as I couldn’t justify the large jump in price to a K5/K7 also as they would be the same price as the headphones themselves. I’m writing this comment wearing the K702s; they sound great and they feel light and comfortable on my head. In the future if I do get another pair of headphones to complement the K702s would something like a HD6XX be a good pickup? What are some other headphones you would recommend to complement the K702s?

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Stuart Charles Black August 15, 2023 - 6:53 pm

Hey Joey!

Thank you much for the comment and so glad you’re enjoying the 702. Definitely my go-to for most things. And yeah, 6XX is actually a great complement. Its going to be a bit more laid back with a narrower image. So the Soundstage isn’t as good but it’s a great headphone for most genres. I generally use the 702 for mixing, gaming, and music while my HD600 is mostly just music.

That said, I don’t listen to it nearly as much as I used to. In thinking it over a bit, I really like the HD25 as something that’s pretty much the polar opposite of the K702 and an even better complement. It slams, it’s exciting, and it’s perfect for those times you want to rock out with some Metal, Rap/Hip-Hop, and generally anything really hard. The K702, while a jack of all trades, does best with lighter genres even though I personally use it for most anything.

Keep me posted with questions!

-Stu

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Martin Mens September 8, 2023 - 4:09 pm

It’s still my fav headphone that is cheap. (for the hobby) comfort wise it just is way better than any of hifimans offerings. I’m still considering picking up a hd660s2 sometime for a diff sound without having to turn on my tube amp which get insanely hot and a lot of power I imagine. tubes are fun sometimes but solid state amps are where it’s at for long term. And when driven properly I like the hd560s a lot. same goes for the sundara. but my main issue is the comfort probably. I wish Hifiman would fix this, or that sennheiser would fix their lineup by releasing a new headphone that isn’t yet another tuned hd660 or whatever, but since the take over I’m not sure if it’s ever going to happen. maybe they’ll only make soundbars from now on lmao

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Stuart Charles Black September 14, 2023 - 1:39 pm

Yeah comfort is out of this world, though I still think HIFIMAN headphones are supremely comfy. I would probably agree that 560S probably a bit comfier, but not light years comfier. It is very comfy though. xD

I was actually going to buy a 660S as well. There was a great deal on eBay some months back but I couldn’t pull the trigger for whatever reason. $195 or thereabouts. Should have bought it.

I really agree about solid state. Probably an unpopular opinion, but I’m actually not a huge fan of tubes at all. The hype surrounding them is way overblown imo. I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.

I actually just wish HIFIMAN would fix their pad glue issue thing which I’ve talked about ad nausea on this blog and on my channel. They also still have some QC issues that haven’t been ironed out. That is coming in the EF600 review so stay tuned for sure.

I’m probably always going to be interested in whatever HIFIMAN and Senny puts out. Comes with the territory I suppose. HIFIMAN could be the best company that ever existed if they would fix their QC.

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Andrew November 21, 2023 - 11:16 pm

Best in its price range.

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Stuart Charles Black November 22, 2023 - 10:14 am

Great cans for sure! Do you have them?

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Nikollo November 22, 2023 - 10:40 am

Hd 560s became my favourite budget-class headphones for classical music, dethroning both AKG 702 and DT 880. While DT 880 are to sibilant for me, AKG (while having wider soundstage) lacks intimacy in sound, their musical presentation is rather distant ant noticeably hollow. 702 also lacks bass, which is very important for powerful orchestral pieces. Hd 560s are like upgraded version of AKG 702 for me, with a bit soundstage compromise. My next step will be either hd 800s, or magnetic planars like he1000se or Kennerton Theck.

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Stuart Charles Black November 24, 2023 - 1:09 pm

Nikollo,

Glad you’re enjoying them! Yeah, I do agree that the 560S is a better headphone for Classical than the 702. It’s close, but I’d probably utilize it more given what you said about bass. Classical music really beneifts from a subtle bass shelf and the 560S provides that in spades.

My problem with 500 series headphones is they just end up sounding rather dull and boring over time. I still use a 702 daily but I will say it was pretty close in terms of deciding if I should purchase a 560S or just keep my 702. I decided to keep the 702 because I really love the neutral signature and I think, as you’ve pointed out, it edges out the 560S in terms of Soundstage and overall instrument separation. I think resolution is a tad better as well, but this is rather close.

Definitely keep me posted on your journey!

-Stu

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