Home Headphone Comparisons Sennheiser HD650/600 vs. AKG K712

Sennheiser HD650/600 vs. AKG K712

by Stuart Charles Black
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How do the 650 and 600 differ from AKG’s K712? Who are these headphones for exactly?

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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…

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AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

At A Glance

Preview
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Black
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Title
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Black
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Color
Speckled Blue/Black
Grey/Black Metal Flake
Black/Orange
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Open Back
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Circumaural (Around Ear)
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Material
Velour, Plastic, Metal Grilles, Carbon Fiber
OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic
Plastic, Velour
Impedance
300 Ohms
300 Ohms
62 Ohms
Sensitivity
97dB/mW
103dB/mW
84-88dB/mW
Primary Use
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Casual, Easy Listening
Mixing, Mastering, Reference, Gaming, Film, Lighter Genres
Needs Amplification?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$294.07
$349.90
$272.00
Preview
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Black
Title
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Black
Color
Speckled Blue/Black
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Material
Velour, Plastic, Metal Grilles, Carbon Fiber
Impedance
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
97dB/mW
Primary Use
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Needs Amplification?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$294.07
Details
Preview
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Title
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 650 - Audiophile Hi-Res Open Back Dynamic Headphone, Titan
Color
Grey/Black Metal Flake
Type
Open Back
Fit
Circumaural (Around Ear)
Material
OFC copper (Kevlar Reinforced), Velour, Plastic
Impedance
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
103dB/mW
Primary Use
Casual, Easy Listening
Needs Amplification?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$349.90
Details
Preview
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Title
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Color
Black/Orange
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Material
Plastic, Velour
Impedance
62 Ohms
Sensitivity
84-88dB/mW
Primary Use
Mixing, Mastering, Reference, Gaming, Film, Lighter Genres
Needs Amplification?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$272.00
Details

Sennheiser HD600

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

In The Box

Sennheiser HD600 Headphones

1/4″ Adapter

Limited 2-Year Warranty (not pictured)

Specs/Graph

Shoutout to Crinacle for the graph.

Specifications

  • Type: Open back.
  • Fit: Circumaural (over-ear).
  • Impedance: 300 ohms.
  • Sensitivity: 97 dB/mW.
  • Frequency response: 12Hz – 39000 kHz.
  • Material: Metal grilles, carbon fiber, velour earpads, plastic
  • Color: Speckled blue finish, black.

Sennheiser HD650

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

Sennheiser HD 650 Stereo Reference Headphones

Detachable Cable

Stereo 1/4″ to 3.5mm Adapter

Limited 2-Year Warranty

Specs/Graph

Shout out to Crinacle for the graph!

Specifications


AKG K712

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!

AKG K712 Pro Reference Studio Headphones

Mini XLR Connector Cable

Mini XLR Coiled Cable

Carrying Bag

Limited 2-Year Warranty

Do note: This is a loaner unit lent to me by a good friend Marko from Finland. He wasn’t able to/didn’t have everything to send which is completely fine! The cable and case pictured are aftermarkets as well. 🙂

Specs/Graph

Shoutout to Crinacle for the graph. This is Crinacle’s graph. There are many like it, but this one is his.

Specifications

  • Type: Open back.
  • Color: Black & Orange.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 39,800 kHz.
  • Impedance: 62 Ohms.
  • Sensitivity: 84-88dB/mW
  • Material: Leather headband, plastic, memory foam.
  • Audio Connector to Source: 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS
  • Adapter Included: Yes, 1/4″
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-XLR
  • Cable Length: 9.8′
  • Weight: 8.3 Oz. / 235g

Build

 

The HD600/650s are a tad heavier at 260g vs. 235 for the K712, but by and large, you’ll notice that they feel roughly the same in your hand.

The 712 is a bit bulkier, while the Sennheiser’s look and feel more compact both visually and on your head.

All have detachable cables, but the Sennheiser’s is of the proprietary variety while the K712’s is Mini-XLR.

AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650 AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

I haven’t had a single issue with any AKG or Sennheiser model that I’ve ever tried or owned.

Both have very soft velour padding that does tend to flatten out over time, but each is shaped differently.

The K712’s is a perfect circle vs. the oval shape of the HD600/650. The cups are both easy to remove as well.

The HD600’s kind of snaps into place after a gentle push, while the K712’s rotates and clicks in with about a 1/4 turn.

I would plan on investing in replacement pads for all 3 down the road, depending on how often you use them.

AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

None fold up and are mostly meant for studio use.

Materials

The K712 is mostly plastic with velour pads, while the HD600/650 contains a mix of Velour, Plastic, Metal Grilles, and Carbon Fiber.

I will say that the HD600/650 are perhaps the most durable pieces of equipment I’ve ever used.

I’ve dropped my HD600 countless times dating back to 2016, and it comes out on top every time.

What’s more, the cable, while it looks and feels rather cheap, is anything but.

I’ve run over this thing hundreds of times with my computer chair and it hasn’t a single scratch, blemish, or dent.

It’s simply unbelievable how much abuse the headphone can take.

I can’t say much about the 712’s cable as I don’t own it, but I do own a 702.

I found that its cable is a lot less durable and rugged. I’ve only owned it since December 2019 and there are already some dents and dings.

Thankfully this doesn’t affect the sound, but it’s something to be noted if you’re a bit rough and tough with your gear as I am.

Comfort

Sennheiser HD600 vs. 650

 

Comfort on all is phenomenal.

The HD600/650’s clamping force is known to be pretty tight, but does open up the more you use them.

I’ve owned an HD600 since 2016 and I still find it hugs my head rather snugly (do keep in mind I don’t use it every single day).

The catch is that I really enjoy that sense of intimacy.

Putting a 600 on your head to me feels like a warm hug from an old friend. It’s a security blanket of sorts.

It’s like hugging your boo and knowing she’s looking over your shoulder – but only because she’s got your back. 🙂

A K712 is incredibly comfy as well, but it does sit looser on your noggin.

Some people will inevitably prefer this type of fit, and I can’t argue with them.

My SHP9500 is similar in that don’t really feel it at all. It’s almost like wearing air.

The 712 isn’t quite as free, but it’s getting there.

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

I’d say clamping force in order from tightest to loosest would go something like,

  1. HD600/650
  2. AKG K712
  3. SHP9500

By and large,

you’ll find both of these rather comfy, with a good clamp and almost no fatigue.

I’m rarely adjusting either which makes for an easy time listening for hours.

The K712 doesn’t have any padding, but you won’t miss it.

The HD600 and 650 both have padding – the 600’s contain the 4 nugget pads vs. the single pad with a crater in the middle on the 650.

Comfort is about the same on both of those; i.e. very good.

The other difference between these headphones is the way they fit; the K712 utilizes the self-adjusting hammock style while the 600 and 650 opt for the traditional click adjustment.

The 712’s hammock is certainly more convenient when you’re in a hurry, but if you keep the 600/650 the same on either side it really isn’t a big deal.

AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

With that, let’s discuss sound.

Sound

 

One of the first things you’ll notice with the K712 is that female vocals seemed to be pushed back/recessed a bit more than the HD600s.

This is a quality of the 600s that can be bothersome at times, and I’ve said as much since I began reviewing and talking about the headphone on the blog and channel.

The 650 is a bit more like the 712 in this regard. Its mid-range isn’t quite as forward as the HD600’s and tends to sound a bit warmer and laid back overall.

The K712 is also going to be more open, with a better Soundstage, but it comes at the expense of a somewhat drier overall sound than of a 600 or 650.

AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

The HD600 and 650’s sound is more intimate and closer to you.

It feels more immediate and lush, while the K712 goes for the grand, open approach.

This can make it sound a tad looser and flabby by contrast, but you’ll get more out-of-your-head moments with a K712 than you will with an HD600/650.

Of course, much of this is dependent on the track in question, as I’ve felt those moments on certain tracks regardless of the headphone I was wearing.

I’ve said over and over in articles and videos that the way a track sounds is largely the result of how it was recorded, mixed, and mastered, and that’s really no different here.

I will say that a headphone like the 712 does tend to kind of exaggerate those effects to where you’re experiencing them much more frequently, so keep that in mind as well.

Bass

AKG K712 Review

You’ll find the bass on the HD600/650 is tighter and more focused than that of a 712. It also seems to have a bit more thump, and again, feels closer to your ears while the 712’s comes across as a bit more distant.

What’s great about both bass responses is that they never really get in the way of the mid-range, and if the song was mixed with a heavier emphasis on the low end, you’ll certainly hear it.

9th Wonder in particular tends to mix his bass lines pretty heavily, and that will come through on both regardless.

Because the bass wasn’t boosted, to begin with, in many cases, it results in some really nice slam and impact; though not all songs are going to sound perfect.

For instance, BobbiSoul!! off of Zion II sounds just “okay” through a 712, and a bit better through a 600/650.

 

On the 712, you can tell he mixed the bass a bit too heavily and some of the other frequencies struggle to stand out or receive recognition.

Again, pay attention to how the track was recorded, mixed, and mastered – it will tell you much more about how a piece sounds than anything else.

For example, some tracks can be mixed louder and others quieter.

The same volume on your Amp with different songs can vary quite a bit which is important to remember as well.

AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

Treble

One thing pretty similar in both is the treble.

None of the 3 will ever get essy or sibilant – something you’ll come to appreciate over long listening sessions.

I think overall, the 600/650’s treble quality is a bit better, more refined, and clearer to the ear.

Again, it’s closer to you and more immediate – a running overall theme in this write-up.

John The Blind’s Paranoid is a fine example of a song with heavy treble emphasis and crispy hits after about 1:04.

Sort of like when you’re smoking a J and getting high as a kite while freestyling with your homies.

 

Not that I ever did that.

Paranoid is also an example of a track that was mixed and mastered almost perfectly.

I actually can’t decide which to me sounds better.

The HD600/650 again, makes it sound closer and more intimate, while the K712 does a fantastic job of opening things up and making it sound grand and spacious.

Treble hits on both are fantastic.

I’m not feeling like one headphone is doing a better job of portraying them if I’m being honest.

The main takeaway with the treble is that neither headphone is fatiguing in the slightest and comes across naturally and effortlessly.

Will you need amplification?

Amplification

 

FiiO K7 ReviewI would say yes to all 3.

  • HD600: 300 Ohm, 97dB/mW Sensitivity
  • HD650: 300 Ohm, 103dB/mW Sensitivity
  • AKG K712: 62 Ohm, 84-88dB/mW Sensitivity

Neither the HD600 nor 650 are too hard to drive, but the K712 is incredibly inefficient and does need some power from the amp to reach an acceptable listening level.

Some good pairings for each:

I wouldn’t get too crazy about it as most pairings will sound really good.

I’m personally not a proponent of synergy, scaling, and all that nonsense most of the time.

In some cases, yes, it can help.

For instance, a hip-dac helps to tame the bright nature of the 9500.

And yes, you’ll mostly want to pair warmer headphones with more neutral amps and vice versa.

2 of the same thing usually ends up sounding kind of weird.

But don’t go into it thinking “Oh my God I have to have the exact right pair or else I will never be satisfied.”

Because it’s really not like that at all.

Final Verdict

AKG K712 Review

I like all three of these headphones for different reasons.

I think both tend to excel with most genres, but the K712 definitely has an edge in my mind when it comes to gaming and film. The Best Headphones for Gaming [In Depth Guide]

I also like it better for lighter genres like Jazz and Classical.

Those genres typically sound better when the sound has room to breathe and express itself.

The HD600/650 are both definitely more intimate sounding and somewhat tighter as a whole.

I think the main differences come down to a few things:

  1. The mid-range on the K712 is slightly more pushed back or recessed, especially with female vocals.
  2. The K712 sounds more open and grand, with a better Soundstage and more out-of-your-head moments.
  3. The HD600/650’s bass is tighter and more immediate. It has a bit more thump whereas the K712’s is looser by contrast and not quite as present.
  4. The HD600/650’s treble is ever so slightly more resolving, but it’s close.

Outside of that, these headphones complement each other nicely.

All have a fantastic treble response (aside from the subtle difference), all 3 are incredibly comfortable, and they’re all built very well.

It’s interesting to note that out of the new crop of headphones I currently have, I plan to keep the HD600 and K702 because they each work so well together.

I can listen to somewhat harder genres with either while using the K702 for mostly Jazz, Classical, Gaming, and Film.

I would say the K712 is mostly for people who listen to lighter genres and do a lot of gaming, while the HD600 excels a bit more for people who will mostly be listening to music; specifically genres like Rock, etc.

Even so, it should also be mentioned that the K702 is now my daily driver.

I tend to listen to it more than I do an HD600 FWIW.

If you’re interested in where exactly I place the K702 among the 600/700 series, read this: AKG K612 vs. K712 vs. K702 vs. K701 vs. Q701

As for my recommendation today?

I would bypass the K712 and go for a K702 as I think it’s a better overall representation of the 700 lineup.

Learn More:

 

If you’re after the sound of the HD600/650, I’d go with a 6XX nowadays.

Learn More:

 


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD650/600 vs. AKG K712 comparison/shootout and came away with some valuable insight.

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

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

Which one of these are you going to purchase? I would love to hear from you. 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!


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AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650AKG K712 vs. Sennheiser HD600/650

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6 comments

Shadymouse January 20, 2023 - 6:07 pm

Nice write up man! Just picked up the K712 Pro / HD660S / HD650. I think I’m sticking with the K712 Pro. After some testing I agree with what your thoughts. However, you’ve made me interested in the K702. The HD660S were the worst out of the bunch by far. I will pick up the Sundara on Sunday as well as the Philips X3 to find an complimentary headset the the K712.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 29, 2023 - 2:07 am

Thanks man! That’s interesting about the HD660S. I haven’t heard it yet. What were your thoughts?

Reply
Nick Stommel May 29, 2023 - 1:00 am

I have the HD660S2, the HD6XX, the HD58X, and the K712 Pro. Personally, I’m finding myself more and more preferring the sound of the K712 Pro. With a bit of EQ in the bass they really slam on electronic and pop music. The soundstage and more “distant” representation of the K712 with the larger and very fast Varimotion drivers really go a long way into making it a more desirable headphone for everyday listening with a proper DAC/Amp. I’m using the Topping DX5 and these things sound sublime out of them. I’ve found the HD660S2 is a bit more resolving in comparison to the HD6XX and K712 but this can come across as a kind of unpleasant artificial edge/bite on certain tracks. With the K712, vocals and overall treble presentation sound more appealing out of the box to me on certain tracks. I know the FR graphs indicate the Senns are the winners here but I actually prefer the presentation of the K712s on certain tracks, particularly when the bass is EQd up a bit but midrange and treble are left unmodified. Oratory’s EQ presets for the Harman curve ruin the K712s completely imho, they destroy what makes the sound signature out of the box so appealing and kind of turn them into a totally different headphones, bass almost disappears. Both the AKG K712s and the Sennheiser HD660S2s sound great out of the box, but I’m coming to prefer the AKGs. May AKGs Austrian roots live on in one of its final headphone designs before acquisition by Harman and Samsung. I own the Chinese-made Massdrop AKG K7XXs too but the quality of the plastic mold and manufacturing tolerances is notably inferior to the AKG 712 Pros made in Slovakia. Get the K712s while you still can for ~$300 on Amazon, folks. Thomann has stopped offering them in Europe at all (they used to be about $250), I fear they are going out of production and Samsung has jacked the price up to $600 for profit-grabbing reasons.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black May 30, 2023 - 1:38 pm

Nice! The K702 is my daily driver when I’m not demoing other stuff. Here are my ramblings on the 600/700 series if you were interested.

Would you be willing to send the 660 for a demo? It’s the only one I haven’t heard. If not, no big deal.

Reply
Nick Stommel June 19, 2023 - 11:32 pm

Oh sorry, I didn’t see your comment there, thanks for replying! I’ve changed my mind about the K712s. I have recently acquired a pair of mint (new) condition Austrian K702s in sealed manufacturer’s packaging from 2012 in the eBay find of a lifetime. Originally I thought they sounded thin. I then fit the gel K712 pads from Thomann on them and these are now my daily driver. Much improved bass response without the ugly midrange mud of the K712s. 🙂
https://www.thomannmusic.com/akg_k_712_ear_pad.htm These are worth every penny if you have a K702. Muuuch better comfort and bass response than the stock pads. All the benefits of the K702s with the bass of the K712s basically.
The K712 Pros sound bloated in comparison imho. I am deeply lucky to own one of the last new condition Austrian K702s in existence. These are literally my endgame headphone and I’ve tried many including planars. The K702s even put the Sennheieser HD660S2s to shame with their airy, pinpoint soundstage. I feel like I own a piece of audio history now (AKG stopped making the K702s with high quality assembly/manufacturing processes in Austria circa 2013.) I hope they will last me years to come. I might consider sending in the HD660S2s for measurement but fear that insuring a $600 headphone during shipment will cost me a prohibitive amount of money.
I am very happy with my Austrian K702s though. I drive them through my Topping DX5 DAC/Amp using optical in from the Asus soundcard in my mini workstation PC and they really shine. I really can’t help but marvel at the incredible soundstage, speed, and clarity/definition of the K702s. Forget the K712s, the Austrian K702s with Thomann’s pads (they are different than the actual K712 stock pads, don’t be fooled) are my endgame headphone (yes, I know they are ‘mid-fi’ but I’ve yet to hear anything better out of the box with the new gel pads affixed on the K702.) It seems all the ‘endgame’ headphones come with unbalanced, harsh sound out of the box (HD800, K812 for example) or simply require EQ (looking at you, Audeze) to be listenable. The K702s with the Thomann pads are simply pleasant as they are without modification of EQ parameters.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black June 28, 2023 - 2:10 pm

Love the K702! I use mine for everything but just gamed with them yesterday 🙂 Kind of jealous you got an original Austrian model lol. My Chinese model is holding up incredibly well. I’ve had it since 2019. I personally love the stock sound as it’s super neutral across the board with a great bass response and has just the right amount of presence at 2kHz.

That said, I may consider trying the pads you linked since mine may need a replacement. If you can believe it, they haven’t really flattened out at all! And yeah I wasn’t a huge fan of the 712 although it wasn’t horrible. Just a bit anemic and wooly sounding for my tastes. I felt like it was a bit bloaty and dull.

What you describe is the magic of “old” and “outdated” headphones (according to the masses). Oftentimes they are the ones we should be targeting!!

Your thoughts are almost verbatim my impressions. It never fails to amaze me how much better the 702 is than pretty much 99% of headphones out there. This is kind of what led me to believe that a lot of the stuff nowadays is simply marketing and flavor-of-the-week BS that is never going to end.

I firmly believe there’s a reason headphones like the 7506, HD600, K702 etc. are still sought after today. It’s because they’re great products. I actually have an original made in Ireland HD600 and plan on keeping it forever!

Reply

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