Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Sennheiser HD600 Review: The Gift That Keeps On Giving?

Sennheiser HD600 Review: The Gift That Keeps On Giving?

Many headphones have come and gone over the years, but does the HD600 still reign supreme?

by Stuart Charles Black

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Part of the “Before You Buy” Series

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…

Today we’ll review the HD600 and determine whether or not it’s still worth a purchase in 2023 and beyond.

We’ll go over things like its build, comfort, sound, amplification needs, and more.

By the end of this article, you should know if it’s still worth a purchase in today’s overcrowded headphone landscape.

If not, we’ll discuss which headphones are a better value. Deal?

Great! Let’s dive in.


At A Glance

Preview
For Reference
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
Fit
Circumaural (Around Ear)
Material
Velour, Plastic, Metal Grilles, Carbon Fiber
Impedance
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
97dB/mW
Primary Use
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Amplification Needed?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$299.95
Details
For Reference
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
Fit
Circumaural (Around Ear)
Material
Velour, Plastic, Metal Grilles, Carbon Fiber
Impedance
300 Ohms
Sensitivity
97dB/mW
Primary Use
Mixing, Mastering, Reference
Amplification Needed?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$299.95
Details

Lineage

The HD600 is the third iteration in a line that includes:

  1. 1993 – The HD580
  2. 1995 – The HD580 Jubilee Edition (Sennheiser’s 50th-anniversary celebration)
  3. 1997 The HD600
  4. 2003 – The HD650
  5. 2016 – The HD6XX Drop x Sennheiser collaboration (I can’t find an official year of when these first came out, but someone can correct me in the comments if this is wrong).
  6. 2017 – The HD660S
  7. 2018 – The HD58X Drop x Sennheiser collaboration

Sennheiser HD600

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

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
  • Cable: Detachable 2-pin proprietary, 9.8 ft.
  • Color: Speckled blue finish, black.

Build & Comfort


Sennheiser HD600 Review

Since I originally purchased it in 2016, the HD600 has held up remarkably well for me despite quite a bit of abuse, drops, mishandling, and general wear and tear.

In other words, you won’t have to worry much about breaking it because it functions a lot like Mick Foley and keeps coming back for more.

The headphone is light and nimble, but deceptively robust, containing metal for the headband, metal mesh for the grilles, as well as carbon fiber, plastic, and velour to round out its compact profile.

One thing to keep in mind right away is that it clamps rather hard at first, but does open up over time.

You can stretch them out, but be very careful as they’ve been known to snap under pressure like Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

Other than that small caveat, I haven’t had a single issue, and despite complaining quite a bit about the thin, drugstore-looking cable, it’s been a real trooper over the years.

I’ve probably run over it with my computer chair hundreds (if not thousands of times) and it still hasn’t batted so much as an eyelash.

As it turns out, looks can be incredibly deceiving.

The overall build is very solid and these should last you a lifetime given proper care.

All of the parts here are easily replaceable as well!

You can pretty much take the headphones completely apart and replace elements as needed – the grille, the pads, the cable, etc.

I would highly recommend going ahead and just purchasing a set of replacement pads up front, that way you won’t have to worry about it later when the pads wear down and you’re short on cash money.

Some people don’t like the speckled blue finish, but I find it personally adds a bit of a unique touch to the headphones.

Is it a bit retro-looking? Maybe. You may prefer the gray metal flake finish of 650 more.

It just depends.

Sennheiser HD600 vs. HD6XX

HD600.

I did have to make a slight adjustment because the headband was digging into my dome piece, but for the most part, these are extremely comfortable.

I pretty much never have to take them off or adjust them for any reason.

In fact,

you will likely keep them on your head without realizing it, even after the music has stopped.

I find myself wearing them when nothing is playing – a sign of very comfortable headphones indeed.

BUILD SCORE: A+

COMFORT SCORE: A+


Sound


Sennheiser HD600 Review

One thing about open-back headphones that sets them apart from closed-backs is their propensity to deliver a clearer, airier sound, almost causing you to feel as if the music takes on somewhat of a live flavor.

The HD600, while not possessing that great of a Soundstage, does do an incredible job of separating instruments and providing an almost perfectly tuned headphone with a fantastic overall tonality.

The instruments and vocals sound correct, and though Timbre may not be quite as good as a planar magnetic headphone like the HIFIMAN DEVA, 400i, or Sundara, it comes pretty close.

Bass

The bass, while not thumping quite as hard as an Ananda or Audeze LCD offering, sits in the mix rather well and sounds clean, articulate, and accounted for.

It won’t jump out at you but will sound enjoyable and revealing.

It rolls off below 100Hz, but still doesn’t sound anemic or bass light – an issue with a headphone like the AKG K240.

There are no mid-bass bumps here either, which is an area in the sound signature that can be problematic and one that many companies, unfortunately, don’t do quite right.

Sennheiser knows better.

Mid-Range

The mid-range is a hare forward, so instruments and vocals really come through well.

Be aware that bad recordings can make the 600s sound a bit shouty and in your face.

This is an issue that many people squabble over, and I personally believe that it can be a problem at times though it’s kind of a minor nitpick at the end of the day.

Sennheiser HD600 Review

For instance,

the HD600’s mid-range does sound more forward than both the 650 and 6XX’s mids.

This is why if I had to do it all over again, I may opt for one of those over the 600, for that reason as well as a few others.

More on that in the final word.

Even despite my whining, every time I put the HD600 away for an extended period of time and then come back to it, I’m amazed all over again at how good they sound as a whole.

ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME!!

In short, the HD600 may make you a… BELIEBER.

*Ahem.*

Audiophiles really do get spoiled by the sound of these headphones, regardless of what some snobs have to say about it.

Headphonesty wrote a great article echoing this sentiment as well. Check out his Review of the HD600!

Sennheiser HD600 Review

Treble

This is another point of contention among snobby audiophiles and as it turns out, makes for a very interesting discussion.

Is it veiled?

That’s a great question.

I would say yes and no, as the answer, in my opinion, lies somewhere in the middle.

People have been arguing about this for what seems like an eternity, but I can see both sides.

On one hand,

the treble absolutely never becomes fatiguing which is something that makes the headphones super valuable.

This, combined with its excellent comfort levels makes for a truly amazing experience as you can quite literally listen to music for hours and hours without feeling like you need to rip the headphones off.

The problem for some is that the high-end can sometimes lack detail and sparkle – certainly, a fair gripe if we’re being objective about it.

I used to think the veil accusation was a bit overdone like your mom’s meatloaf, but I kind of understand where those people are coming from now.

In the past, I found the treble on the darker side, but it never sounded weird to me.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that I’ve demoed over 130+ headphones at the time of this article, but I’ve also been listening to brighter, more open, and/or crisper-sounding cans.

In short, I heard the veil, but really only once since I’ve owned it.

Here is the video where I discuss the experience:

Video Discussion

Don’t forget to leave me some love and subscribe!! <3

I’ve also embedded the general discussion containing some more personal experiences with these headphones:

Aside from that, let’s connect.

Connecting with the music

There is really something about these that kind of reveals the music’s true colors.

Think of them like that best friend you have; you know more about them: the intricate details, their personality, perhaps their heart and soul.

You’re intimate with them.

This is what you will likely feel when listening to the HD600.

It’s as if you’re getting a glimpse into the spirit of the artist or band.

The naked truth.

It’s hard to explain, but it’s almost as if someone took a huge blanket off of the sound.

You are now able to hear almost everything that went into the recording, good or bad.

All of the subtle details are present, and you can hear the music in its most raw state. It really is a treat to behold with great recordings in particular.

For instance, in Pink Floyd’s “One of My Turns”, Waters sings “Would you like to watch TV? Or get between the sheets?”

Right after this line, you can actually hear pants unzipping.

Sennheiser HD600 Review

In all my time listening to the Wall, I’ve never heard that before.

It’s the little things that make the 600s really stand out.

On the opening track “In the Flesh?” I’m able to clearly hear Richard Wright on the keyboard.

If you’re familiar with the band’s history, Wright became less and less prominent in recordings as time went on.

In Floyd’s early days, you could hear his influence throughout and it helped cement their legacy as a band.

By the time The Wall came out, he was kind of an afterthought, which is quite a shame considering how great he was on the keyboard.

The fact that, with the HD600, I can hear every note he plays as if he were in front of me put a huge smile on my face and made me appreciate his contributions all the more.

A while back I came across an audiophile guru on Head-Fi named David Mahler, out of Brooklyn, NY.

Out of 58 headphones he reviewed, only 4 got an A+ rating. The HD600 was one of them.

The DT880 was also one.

This is, in part why it became so hard to finally decide between them.

Crybaby Count

In this new section, I document how many times and with what song the HD600s broke me down because of how beautiful they sounded. Stay tuned for more!

  1. Pink Floyd – Great Gig in the Sky. Just an amazing vocal performance by Clare Torry. The 600 really brings her voice to life. It’s like I got a sense of who she was at the core. Her personality and spirit shone through magnificently.
  2. Grateful Dead – Terrapin Station. I really identify with the beginning of this song, and the 600s just magnified that feeling. Crybaby supreme.
  3. Fleetwood MacLandslide. Honestly, who doesn’t cry when they listen to this song? Lol. It was something about being able to hear the intricacies of Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar. There’s something about the whole piece that really makes you just break down man. I don’t know. 🙂

The Gold Standard.

SOUND SCORE: A-

I gave it an A- because of the sometimes irritating mid-range around 3k.

You’ll definitely start to notice it after a while. It’s a bit shouty but can be EQ’d.

Pros

  • Instrument separation. The HD600s have a laser-like precision quality about them. The instrument separation is nothing short of exemplary.
  • Exceptional comfort. After the break-in period, they clamp just right and feel excellent for extended listening sessions.
  • Genre master. The HD600 sounds great with almost anything! More on that a bit later.
  • Lean, neutral bass response. It is much more present overall than the 701. It has a nice extension and digs deep, but does have some roll-off.
  • Mid-range. Some call it the most uncolored headphone, being that it’s extremely flat. However, the mids are a little forward, which gives it some nice added energy. Think fast and detailed here.
  • Natural. Metal 571 called it the most natural, honest, and neutral headphones he’s ever heard. It kind of gives you a blank stare, which is what you want if you’re mixing down a track.
  • Great tonal balance. All the frequencies are integrated beautifully. No one sound overpowers another.
  • Removable parts. As discussed in the open, the cable is removable, and almost all of the important components can be replaced.

Cons

  • Clamping force is a bit tight on your dome at first, but does open up over time.
  • Mid-range at roughly 3kHz may become shouty at times.

Neutral/On The Fence

Treble

While about as natural and smooth as it gets, it’s been accused of having a “veiled” sound.

This simply means that the high-end is lacking in air and harmonic content.

Some energy/sparkle is lost, as well as detail. The upside of this is that the 600s aren’t grainy or harsh at all.

One of the main gripes with the DT880 is sort of the opposite: it is very bright and can be fatiguing, but may suffer from a sense of almost “artificial” detail depending on who you ask.

I suppose it all depends on your taste.

A lot of people prefer that sparkling quality.

While I do enjoy that as well, I prefer not to have my ears blown out in any capacity.


Amplification


Sennheiser HD600 Review

Fortunately for you and me, this headphone is not picky in the slightest but does require some sort of amp + dac (separate or combo).

It will do well with just about anything and only needs around 20mW from an amp.

My main recommendations nowadays for newcomers can be found here: The Best Headphone Amps for the HD600 and 650.

Video Discussion

This video also included the Zen which I’m no longer recommending (overpriced now), but it’s still a very helpful comparison.

YouTube video player


Genre Pairing


Sennheiser HD600 Review

Called the genre master, it does well with pretty much anything you throw at it.

I’ve seen it endorsed with everything and personally have not been disappointed with any genre pairings that I’ve tried, but do keep in mind that you absolutely shouldn’t purchase these for gaming as the Soundstage is rather poor.

Here are some examples of genres that work well:

  • Pop
  • Classical
  • Rock
  • Hip hop
  • R&B
  • Jazz
  • Funk
  • Blues
  • Country
  • Electronic
  • Dance
  • World

They also benefit:

  • Producers and beatmakers who need the most honest sound for their mixes. I love mixing beats on these because they are very close to neutral and remain super comfortable over long listening sessions.
  • Casual listeners who want to re-discover all of their old favorites.
  • Listeners in a quiet and isolated environment.

Not for:

  • Listeners on the go.
  • Hardcore Bass-heads.
  • Gamers.

Final Verdict


Many headphones have come and gone from my studio over the years, but the HD600 remains.

The fact that it has somehow stayed relevant for over 20 years, despite an influx of newer headphones saturating the market should tell you all you need to know.

Update

As good as the HD600 is, Drop (Formerly Massdrop) did a fantastic collaboration with Sennheiser and birthed an absolutely stunning audiophile-grade headphone.

If you’re new to the hobby, you may actually consider a 6XX instead.

If I had to do it again, I would choose the 6XX over the HD600 based on price alone.

In 2016 I paid $330 for an original, made in Ireland HD600.

Nowadays, spending all that money simply isn’t necessary anymore – not when you can get the 6XX at a much better overall value.

Learn More:

 

With that, check out the next video in the Before YOU Buy Series, I know it will help you out immensely on your journey.

 


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve gotten some valuable information out of my Sennheiser HD 600 Review!

Is the 6XX a better value nowadays? Be sure to let me know!!

If you have any other questions or feel I’ve missed the mark on something, leave a comment 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.

I very much look forward to speaking with you…

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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Sennheiser HD 600

4.7

Build

5.0/5

Overall Sound

4.6/5

Comfort

4.9/5

Soundstage

4.3/5

Pros

  • Extremely Comfortable (after break in)
  • Mostly neutral, with great resolution
  • Fantastic Imaging and Instrument Separation
  • All Parts Replaceable, Great Build
  • Genre Master

Cons

  • Clamp force is tight at first but does open up
  • 3k Area Shouty and too forward at times

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48 comments

Brennan February 7, 2016 - 5:53 am

Hi!

Very nice review here! Thanks for being so specific and even detailing which genres of music you think they are most suitable for! Right now I’m using some KRK mixing headphones but might come back to this website to try these ones… Been kind of wanting a new solid pair. Anyways, great info here, keep it up and thank you!

Reply
Stu February 7, 2016 - 5:04 pm

No problem Brennan!

The HD 600’s are far and away the best buy in the world of audiophiles.. especially when starting out. What model KRK’s do you have? I’d be interested to do some research on ’em.

Thanks for stopping by man!

-Stu

Reply
marcelg February 24, 2016 - 4:28 pm

It was just last month that I finally had to replace my very old and shorting out AKG headphones.

I really fell in love with the Sennheiser options that are out there. The HD 600 is so awesome, and certainly on my list for the future but I settled for the HD 360. I am so happy with them and they are a great step up from the old ones.

Reply
Stu February 26, 2016 - 2:21 am

Hey Marcel!

I had no idea the HD 360 existed. I haven’t heard one thing about them since I got into the world of headphones. I will definitely have to do some research on that. Agreed on all fronts. My next pair of headphones will definitely be the HD 600, seeing as how I need the best mixing/reference can.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your headphones!

-Stu

Reply
Dori April 3, 2016 - 5:29 pm

Hello Stu,

First of all I must tell you that as a guy who read so many sites about headphones, your site is one that I love the most. I also noticed you are huge fan of The Sennheiser HD 600. I am the proud owner of these headphones since 2001. I am curious to know what is your opinion about the high quality cables ( like cardas ). Do you think they’re worth the money?

Reply
Stu April 3, 2016 - 8:49 pm

Hey Dori!

Thank you so much for the support and friendly comment! I work really hard on this site and it’s good to know that people appreciate what I do. As for the Cardas cables? I have heard countless times from different sources that the quality of cables doesn’t really make much of a difference at all. Though I don’t have direct experience in buying separate ones, a lot of people like to err on the side of caution before spending huge amounts of money on cables that most likely won’t benefit the sound in any way. In contrast, Tyll Herstens at Inner Fidelity says that they do make a difference, but it’s not a big one. Headphone cable measurements For beginner enthusiasts reading this, I wouldn’t really worry about it that much. It is something to take into consideration in the future, but your money and time will be better served elsewhere for now.

Hope that helps! Any other questions just ask! I appreciate you stopping by..

Blessings,

-Stu

Reply
Linku September 3, 2016 - 7:37 am

I already own an HD600, and all I can say is that they’re the best headphones I’ve ever had. I was looking for a good amp/DAC for them, and I ended here, and everything on the review matches exactly with the experience I’ve had with them. I really recommend them to anyone, from people who just love music and want to sit on their homes and listen to their favorite artists (like me), to producers and sound makers that want a really accurate sound to mix, equalize and compress their songs to make them sound as good as possible (again, like me). The only bad thing I could say about them is that, since I love bass, they feel a bit weak on that side, however that’s just something about personal preferences, and it shouldn’t hold anyone back from buying them, since you can easily solve that with other ways.

Reply
Stu September 3, 2016 - 3:50 pm

Love to hear testimonials like this! The bass is accurate and tight, but without that impact that you’d find in other headphones. What do you think about the treble and the supposed veil?

Reply
George September 23, 2016 - 3:46 pm

Can you Describe the how these headphone handle bass? I love bass that’s strong, accurate, deep and clean, but not over kill/used. Just curious if these can handle most anything thrown at them. It’s not the number #1 thing I’m looking for in the headphones, want to ensure they are capable of doing so when needed.

Reply
Stu September 25, 2016 - 10:27 pm

George,

Yes one of the best qualities of the 600 is that it can handle pretty much any genre. The bass is accurate and tight, but definitely not over done. I would say there is more bass on the 600 as opposed to something like the K701. If you’re not looking for overkill, I would say the 600’s are perfect. The only thing is that the treble has been accused of being a bit too laid back, but some say it’s a myth and I would tend to agree. What is the Sennheiser veil? What exactly are you looking for in a headphone and what will you be using them for?

Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
Gian92 December 14, 2016 - 7:46 pm

Hy ! Good review ! I have the hd 600, i want to try a new set of cans, i saw the Shure 1840 , what do you think ?? Thanks

Reply
Stu December 18, 2016 - 11:35 pm

Hey Gian!

The 1840 is definitely a solid headphone. I’ve also heard great things about the Audio Technica ATH AD900x. I have read a lot about it and many are saying they actually prefer it over the HD600! A pretty bold statement, but it wasn’t only one person. While they loved the 600, they liked the 900x even more. Something to think about! Glad you stopped by. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
Tom January 2, 2017 - 7:16 pm

Hi Stu!
Many thanks for your huge help in choosing the right headphones for my Yamaha Z9 and for your very fast reply. Your help was priceless!
Tom

Reply
Stu January 2, 2017 - 8:20 pm

No problem Tom!

If you need anything else don’t hesitate to reach out. You know the email address now. 🙂

Blessings and a prosperous new year,
-Stu

Reply
canman1971 March 5, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Great review 🙂 I am still in love with my HD600s, the romance is never ending. Great upgrade possibilities on the horizon for the HD600s with balanced DAC / AMP combos becoming available at reasonable prices.

Reply
Stu March 8, 2017 - 4:02 am

Yeah they are quite amazing. Get a good FLAC or WAV file and Wow. The clarity and instrument separation is unreal sometimes. Have you ever considered the Bottlehead Crack DIY project? I really want to try it at some point.

Reply
Evan May 4, 2017 - 1:22 am

Great review! After owning several entry level headphones Bose Ae2, UE Triple Fi, Senn 598C’s among many other far lower quality headphones I decided to step up to the HD600’s in Dec and have loved them ever since. They just really are amazing, I can listen to music for hours and have to ear fatigue or head fatigue since these are designed so well. You really do forget you are wearing them sometimes. I pair them with the O2 dac and amp, which is a solid combo as you also mentioned and which i recommend.

You were right on the money pointing out imperfections, lacking sub-bass which it sometimes obvious depending on the track. The lack of treble, or “veil” as some say is fine with me. I believe that is the HD600 is not taxing on your ears. As a drummer myself I listen for the cymbals and highhats and can always easily hear what is going on, I would say that nothing is lost in the higher frequencies but some would perceive the sound as dark or dull.

On contrast I just picked up a set of ATH-M50X, I just had to see what all the hype was about. After about 2 hours of listening for far, I think I can honestly say that I will be taking these back for my $223 (CDN) refund. My initial impressions were great, very initial….. like 2 songs. Tons of bass and treble in your face. They take nothing to drive either my O2 is blasting them a level 2 or 3 on low gain setting. Anyway after a few listening sessions I feel I have had enough, they are less comfortable to wear that the HD600’s but the biggest problem is the intense treble that makes you have to take a break after about 20minutes. Also after listening to tracks I am extremely familiar with I find the mid bass (toms, some lower guitar) I find it very muddy, as a drummer i notice everything sounds lower that is should.

In short I highly recommend these headphones for anyone and paired with a good amp (which you do need to get any punch) could be your last headphone purchase. EVER!

Reply
Stu May 6, 2017 - 2:18 pm

Yeah man, I totally agree on all accounts. The M50 is a great entry level can for the casual budding audiophile and the sound will definitely excite you and make you want to get into better sound. It’s really just the tip of the iceberg. I would say that for anyone reading this, an all around better option than the M50x would be the Sennheiser HD25 if you’re into that intense sound that doesn’t compromise the mid-range. I truly believe that the HD25 is what the M50x should be, but isn’t. The detail and articulation is unreal sometimes, and the bass slams hard without getting in the way. They are also supremely lightweight and can take a beating. Indestructible really. Comfort wise, yeah you will have to take a break, but the sound will keep you coming back for more.

As for the HD600’s, yeah they are about as close to perfection as it gets. You’re right about the amp too; if anyone reading this plans to purchase the HD600’s, an amp is downright mandatory. Some people will tell you otherwise but it’s just asinine not to invest in one. The sound will be much too quiet out of a portable device and it’s just not recommended at all. Top 2 choices are the 02 as you’ve said, and the Schiit Magni Modi combo.

Cheers!

Reply
PETER JASZ December 21, 2017 - 2:56 am

Hi: A passionate review. A couple things:

1) Since 1997 -a 20-year old design; It would be instructive to inform readers of the genesis/lineage of the HD-600.
2) Personal SQ impressions; I suspect your SQ assertions are accurate. However, when discussing in such detail, it would be educational to introduce its measured ‘frequency response’ for correlation.
3) Remaining with personal impressions (i.e. slightly forward mid-band, small ‘dip’ in lower HF region -followed by excellent extension), readers should understand that
the source (cabling) and driving amplifier contributes significantly to what we hear from the headphone.
4) Comfort/Fit: No mention of range of head-band adjustment -to accommodate varying head sizes. With that said, I was pleased to see/hear the’clicking’ sound of the headband as you went through its range of positions; it immediately informed me that (if a precise fit could be achieved -i.e. head size), then a solid fit will be securely maintained.
( You did mention (understandably -lol) the German “feel/sound” as the headband was adjusted, but did not stress -or even mention- that such a precision fit is possible and/or will be maintained. Greater personal experience would have alerted you to the importance of this simple (but amazingly overlooked -by manufacturer) element of headphone/band design.

In the past (for many years/decades, Sennheiser made consistently (Made in Germany) excellent product. I suspect, sometime in the 19990’s, (2000’s?) that the company was either sold, or a new management team initiated. Today (including the past 5-10 years), the sheer range of (unnecessary) models, questionable build quality and a desire for “modern” styling (appearance/looks) ahead of proven performance criteria (headband design for example) makes today’s Sennhesier more of a hit/miss proposition. Consider, for example, the current 500-600-series offerings; how many are there, 3-6 different models (within a rather narrow price range). Why ?

Looking beyond Sennheiser (and within this ‘mid-range’ price point) the exemplary performance (sound), comfort/fit of the sensational Hifiman 400i should be considered. It too, is a remarkably accurate, transparent/detailed performer that competes with the best.

Back to Sennheiser; it was brought to my attention that Massdrop is offering a (equivalent Sennheiser HD-600) headphone for $149. US$ ! (as of December 20, 2017). I’ve put in my order.

if/when Sennheiser returns to some sensible (and consistent) model offerings including proven/desirable headband design and accurate/neutral frequency balance/response (for their higher-priced models), it would be easy to recommend virtually any Sennhesier -as was previously possible.

Other than that, a nice review .
Cheers,

peter jasz

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 29, 2017 - 5:19 pm

Hi Peter!

Thanks much for your insight.

1) Yeah that would be cool. I will definitely implement that into the article about lineage. I have it on some of my other pages but didn’t even think to add it here!
2) Measured frequency response would also be helpful. Thanks a lot!
3) Yes, the HD 600’s need an amp, but are not particularly picky about which you choose. Also, depending on who you ask, the type of cables used do not make a difference. This is up for debate.
4) Seems like a bit of nit picking on that first point, but I will add it regardless. 🙂 Not sure I understand what your other point is here. Please further clarify.

With regard to the various models:

I see your point and agree to an extent, but seeing as how all companies do this, it sort of just comes with the territory and is something we have to accept as long as people are still willing to buy outrageously priced cans for the sake of a small incremental increase in sound. One positive aspect to it is that at least some of these companies are willing to fix/change things according to feedback from us, based on what worked and what didn’t. While this works well for things like comfort and durability, the sound can simply be EQ’d to your liking. So I can understand where you’re coming from. For instance, The entire Grado e line is almost unnecessary and excessive. I’ve A/B tested nearly all of them, and they sound pretty identical. Discerning differences comes down to basically sitting there and listening for extended periods, and even then it may be your mind playing tricks on you, or you trying to make a distinction when there isn’t one.

Regarding the 400i:

Yes, the HD600 and 400i head to head is quite a battle. I love both headphones. I feel as though the 400i is slightly warmer overall in tone, while the 600’s are more clinical and surgical in their response. That said, the 400i’s are incredibly detailed, and especially come to life with an Amp like the Bryston BHA-1 and good source material.

“if/when Sennheiser returns to some sensible (and consistent) model offerings including proven/desirable headband design and accurate/neutral frequency balance/response (for their higher-priced models), it would be easy to recommend virtually any Sennhesier -as was previously possible.”

Not sure I understand this. Which higher end models don’t fit this criteria? Also, the head band design is fairly utilitarian. There’s not really much else to say about it.

All that said, thanks for stopping by and starting a dialogue. 🙂

-Stu

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Jessica Lauren Vine September 11, 2018 - 2:39 pm

Wow. Thanks for the in-depth information and definitely for the shorter version at the top. My goal is to get some good sound, but I’m not too technical so the simple parts of your review were most helpful to me. I appreciate it.

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Stuart Charles Black September 11, 2018 - 4:48 pm

Hi Jessica!

Thanks for the nice comment. Are you thinking about the HD600?

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Kit September 18, 2018 - 9:17 pm

These headphones look like can be my next purchase. I had one by Sony , sounds great but they give me sweaty ears. Not much air flow to my ears. Will the HD 600 do this to me? I am really interested but I don’t want to get another one like the Sony.

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Stuart Charles Black September 19, 2018 - 12:38 am

Hey Kit!

No actually. The HD600’s sport velour padding and are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. Clamp force is a bit tight at first but will open up over time so no worries. You can always stretch them a bit as well but be careful. There is ample room for your ears and I can wear mine for hours with minimal adjustments. Check out the almost perfect rating.

Let me know what you decide. If you do decide to get them, I can recommend an Amp/DAC for you as well. You’ll need one to power these.

-Stu

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Matt's Mom January 18, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Wow, what a great review on the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones. I have a hearing impairment and finding a good set of headphones is essential for me. These sound like the ones I need for sure. And really, you get what you pay for.  I think the price is great for the quality. I have a set of Sony’s that I paid about $125 for and they are good, but not great.  I think I will be looking into these. Great review, thanks!

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Stuart Charles Black January 18, 2019 - 7:41 pm

Thanks Matt’s Mom!

Yes for sure, if you have hearing issues the HD600 is a great option due to it’s very relaxed treble. Still, the mid-range around 3k may be problematic for you. I’d wager you’re probably wanting a more relaxed sound for easy listening. Might I suggest the HD650? It’s sound signature is a bit more laid back but still incredibly detailed and articulate. You can wear them for hours as well (like the 600) but you won’t find yourself irritated with parts of the mid-range. I would highly suggest checking out my post on the Sennheiser HD 650 and do keep me posted on your decision!

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Lok Which January 18, 2019 - 7:51 pm

I love this headphone. The features are really great and convincing. This really came at the right time because I have been searching for a headphone to buy, but those I have been seeing are not matching my needs. I think this is the right choice for me. Thanks for writing this article. I will share this post to my friends so they can purchase too. My question is what about durability? I will be looking forward to your reply.

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Stuart Charles Black January 19, 2019 - 4:58 pm

Hey man great question.

Durability is very good. When you put them in your hands they admittedly feel a bit light for a headphone in this price range. However, the build is excellent. Since all the parts are replaceable, the 600 should last you a lifetime given proper care. It’s a headphone that will mostly stay in studio, so that helps to keep it in good condition. I’ve had zero issues with mine since 2016 so going on three years now later this year.

Hope that helps! Let me know your thoughts.

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cjciganotto January 18, 2019 - 8:05 pm

Hello Stu, A great review covering all the features of the HD 600 headphone, the master of the genre as you call it. 

After so many years of validity in the market, it is surprising that it continues to be very well positioned. 

I listen to a lot of music and videos on my computer, and I think it would be ideal for me.

 What is your opinion about the price? Do you have a guarantee? 

Thanks for your help. 

Greetings! Claudio

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Stuart Charles Black January 20, 2019 - 2:50 am

Hey Claudio!

I think the price is perfect for a budding audiophile. Funny you mention that. I was talking with a guy at Audio Advice today and we were discussing The Law of Diminishing Returns.

We both agreed that up to around $1000, you’re getting a substantial increase in sound quality vs. something priced less. For instance the $300 range. After $1000 it becomes the opposite: You get a much smaller increase in sound quality vs. astronomically higher prices. This applies to Amplifiers and DACS as well as a lot of other stuff (some not even related to audio).

Now as for the HD600, it’s priced in that beginning audiophile sweet spot. It’s not so much money that the majority of people will shy away. For instance before I first bought a pair, I thought the price was more than fair.

Why is that? Because I had already heard primer headphones like the Audio Technica ATH M50 and Sony MDR 7506. These 2 are perfect examples of headsets that really make you realize there’s way more to audio than you initially thought. They make you look at music in a completely different way. It’s almost like a gateway drug or something. You know it can get better if you spend more.

Fortunately, the 600’s are just that; they will satisfy 99% of people. Just beware of the rabbit hole and your pocket. Once you hear an HD600, you’re going to be amazed sure. But you’ll also likely want more. Lol.

I hope that helps! If you’re just going to be listening casually you may opt for the more relaxed Sennheiser HD 650. Highly highly recommended. 600’s are a bit colder and more analytical.

Blessings,

-Stu

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Chrissie Spurgeon January 18, 2019 - 8:18 pm

This is a really comprehensive and honest review. You have covered just about every aspect of the Sennheiser HD 600, and also all the questions that anyone might wish to ask, and your detail is great.

If I were looking for a top of the range headphone, I think that I would definitely take your advice and go with the Sennheiser HD 600. It has so much going for it. I think that I could live with the less than perfect cable, as it sounds as though it is still sufficiently robust.

Very many thanks for doing all the hard work so that we don’t have to!

Chrissie 🙂

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Stuart Charles Black January 23, 2019 - 12:49 am

Thanks Chrissie! Let me know how you like the HD600’s 

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Tim January 19, 2019 - 12:17 am

I noticed in your review you said the HD 600’s will not suffice while listening to EDM or Hip-hop music because of the low end frequencies and bass that gets rolled off. What is a great pair of headphones that you know of that will get the job done as far as using them for mixing and mastering Hip-hop music?

I’m an artist and mixing/mastering engineer looking for the perfect set of headphones to produce Hip-hop music. I’d love your opinion on what genres work the best with the HD 600’s also.

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Stuart Charles Black January 19, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Great question Tim!

I should edit that to say that the 600’s will work for Hip-Hop – in fact I really do enjoy them for that but perhaps it isn’t the best pairing ever for just listening to Hip-Hop. The thing about it is that some people just want more bass and the 600 won’t provide that. For me as an audiophile, my eyes have been opened. I used to actually be a bass head but ever since I first heard this headphone it’s like my tastes have completely changed. I personally (and many others) can enjoy the 600’s for Hip-Hop immensely, but some people just won’t.

As for mixing with them, they are still second to none if you can swing the price + an amp.

If you just want something quick and affordable:

I would take a look at the Sony MDR V6 Review first and foremost for that since it sounds amazing and is very very close to being neutral. The treble is a bit hot at times but otherwise this is probably my most recommended headphone for people.

As far as what genres work best for the 600’s? Definitely Rock. 

Hope that helps! Let me know..

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Daniel McMillan January 24, 2019 - 7:09 pm

Hi Stuart!
Love the review. Between this and a lot of other reviews I have read across the web the HD 600 really do seem to be a special pair of headphones! I picked up a pair myself to see what all the craze was about and love them so far. This was my entry into what I like to call real audio and honestly, I wish I got them a lot sooner.

A couple of questions I have though and I’m not sure if you have covered it but what are your thoughts on MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and if I was looking at an MQA supported DAC what could you recommend? I plan to make the most out of my Tidal HiFi subscription.

Thanks.
Daniel McMillan

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Stuart Charles Black January 26, 2019 - 1:47 pm

Hey man! Thanks so much for the nice comment. A great example of an Amp/DAC that is MQA supported (thanks to a firmware update) would be one of my top recommendations actually: The Dragonfly Red. Also I did a recent review of another MQA partner ifi in my ifi micro iDSD Black Label Review. Check that out as well.

For an affordable DAC + MQA with the HD600, just get the Dragonfly man. It’s awesome!

As for my impressions of MQA and Tidal? Breathtaking actually. I have been using more of just straight lossless, but master files are the cats meow!

Keep me posted on your decision though..

-Stu

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Eduardo June 14, 2019 - 1:34 am

What is the best amp/dac for HD 600? Chord Mojo or O2 + MAGIC 100?

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Stuart Charles Black June 17, 2019 - 6:02 pm

Hey man! That’s a tough one. I guess it would depend on if you need something with your phone or not, and of course the price jump. I love the neutrality of the Objective 2 and DAC Magic 100, but the sound of the Mojo is a bit better. Still I’d probably go with the Objective 2 unless you absolutely need to pair something with your phone.

Keep me posted!

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Sam June 23, 2020 - 10:27 pm

Hey there! Discovered your website yesterday. Just wanted to say — it’s awesome! Love the way your articles are written. Keep up the great work!

I was looking for a neutral pair of headphones to complement my Fidelio X2’s and I ended up buying the HD600 and the Objective 2 + ODAC after reading your various articles. Can’t wait until they arrive!

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Stuart Charles Black June 29, 2020 - 4:31 pm

Hey Sam! Thank you so much for the love my friend! Please keep me posted on your impressions!! Did you happen to use one of my links? Let me know regardless.

Blessings,

-Stu

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Slobodan July 13, 2020 - 6:02 pm

Hello! I’m quite impressed by whar I have been reading about HD600. since I already own Audeze LCD2 and LCD-X, is there any reason to think about buying these legendary headphones?

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Stuart Charles Black July 20, 2020 - 4:06 pm

Hey man! If you already have those amazing planars, the 600 isn’t going to impress you all that much and that’s the honest truth. Still, it is a legendary benchmark sound. Consider this: I sold off my entire original headphone collection and the only 2 I kept were the 9500 and HD600. That should tell you something. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s still worth hearing, but being that you already have the LCD-X and LCD-2, you may just end up returning it. Personally, I’ve had one since 2016 and don’t plan on selling it. I would say even if I had a more expensive planar, I would still probably keep it around. The trouble is that we’re in opposite positions. The 600’s were my first “really good” headphone, so I tend to compare everything to it. It has that benchmark sound. If I had bought the LCD-2 or LCD-X first, I may get an HD600 and I may not. I guess it would depend how curious I was lol.

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ptclee September 24, 2021 - 12:44 am

The Senn HD6– series of cans pairs extremely well with Lakepeople and Lehmann headphone amp, they absolutely come alive although if your heard the HD800s they are bested in everyway

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Stuart Charles Black September 28, 2021 - 1:18 pm

Nice! Will have to keep that one in mind for the future.

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DR. SHIVAM April 1, 2022 - 7:53 am

Hi stu!

Great review i came here after watching almost all your youtube videos.

I’m just getting into this hi fi and lossless music things just bought an iphone coz i’m from india and there is no tidal or Spotify premium or any other site that offers us hifi music.

now i’m thinking of buying a pair of headphones.

Personally never have heard great sounding headphones as i’m from india and there is no way i can get 6xx here in india in fact they have also disconnected 650s here and we have been offered 560s and 660s and the 600.

The 660 and 600 are quite the same price.

I like classic rock a lot like LED Zeppelin pink floyd beatles animals and so on can you help me with this and also which amp/dac i can get as a beginner?

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Stuart Charles Black April 2, 2022 - 7:18 pm

Hey man, thank you!

My top two potions right now are the HE400se and 6XX. Being that you can’t get a 6XX, I’d go for the HD600. What are the prices? And can you get a 400se for around $129?

As for an amp/dac solution, do you think you’d prefer a more neutral/honest presentation or one with a bit of added warmth/color. Let me know!

Let me know. 🙂

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BT December 8, 2022 - 7:26 pm

Hi there, thank you so much for the comprehensive review! I recently purchased the HD 600 and am using an audio interface(Audient ID 4 mk ii) to drive it. Just wondering if I should purchase a dedicated DAC/AMP instead? Would there be a a big change/improvement to the sound?

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Stuart Charles Black December 13, 2022 - 3:45 pm

You’re welcome man! I’m probably not the guy to ask that as my personal opinion tends to be no, it won’t. The differences between Amps and DACS to me are very marginal and subtle. If you enjoy how it sounds now, I’d just hold tight – unless you’re into blowing lots of money and never being satisfied lol.

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