A few of us nonetheless need great-sounding headphones, wires or not, and we’re keen to spend a good sum of money to get them. Right here’s the excellent news: You don’t have to interrupt the financial institution to get a few of the greatest headphones cash should buy.
Acclaimed audio model Sennheiser has had greater than its justifiable share of hits within the audiophile candy spot, however the firm’s HD 650, typically thought to be the most effective audiophile headphones of its variety, stands aside.
Greater than a decade after debuting, the HD 650 have gotten a refresh (type of), and also you may even say they’re higher than ever. This second coming of the HD 650 was actualized within the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX, the results of a collaboration between the storied audio model and the “audiophile” subset of Massdrop’s commerce neighborhood which have confirmed extraordinarily fashionable — so fashionable, in reality, that the corporate continues to be promoting them years later.
Nothing has modified in regards to the 650’s sound signature — the identical golden grit, silky clean bass, and ultra-detailed topside are all current and accounted for right here. However Massdrop, now recognized merely as Drop, has resculpted some key design traits for higher usability and a loopy low worth level of simply $220. Better of all of the HD 6XX are not a fire-sale choice with restricted amount – they’re now obtainable from Drop frequently.
Out of the field
When the HD 650 debuted in 2003 (and for a lot of their tenure on the entrance of Sennheiser’s fleet), the headphones value a cool $500-plus. And whereas the value has plummeted for the 6XX model (and the unique HD 650 on most websites), that doesn’t imply potential patrons gained’t get an actual style of audiophile luxurious. That have begins with a hefty black case of thick cardboard, layered with an ample mattress of exhausting foam, and boasting a black-gloss Sennheiser brand on the lid.
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Inside, the cans relaxation of their foam mattress, trying comfortably near an OG pair of HD 650s. The enormous, open-back earpieces come out like oval hula hoops, connected on an adjustable hinge and layered with dense mesh home windows that unveil spiderwebbed drivers beneath. On the inside are thick earpads cloaked in the identical fuzzy lining of “acoustic silk” that breeds luxurious consolation within the HD 650, and likewise boasts a superb acoustic seal. A Sennheiser brand atop the scarf assures you of the high-quality sound inside, and few particulars betray the brand new HD 6XX design.
A tweak or two
A better examination, nonetheless, reveals some reasonable upgrades pushed by Mass … er, Drop’s person base that set the 6XX aside. Essentially the most notable design change on the outset is the colour — the HD 6XX commerce the HD 650’s charcoal grey for nearly pitch black, with traces alongside the borders forged in a delicate shade of midnight blue (you’ll doubtless want daylight to see them). The unique “HD 650” badges above the earpieces have additionally been changed with the “HD 6XX” moniker and are matched by a Massdrop brand on the inside.
Maybe most notably, the detachable cable now terminates with a three.5mm jack quite than quarter-inch (with an included quarter-inch attachment), making these cans way more versatile to pair with all of your many units.
The cable size has additionally been shortened from a studio-friendly 10 ft to a tighter 6 ft. Complete weight is 9.2 ounces, and these infants have some critical clamping pressure. That’s alleviated by the gentle padding, making it simple to put on the 6XX for lengthy listening classes, though your hair will get appropriately raveled by these mondo earpieces.
By the numbers, the HD 6XX tout an enormous frequency response of a claimed 10Hz-41khz, which is otherworldly for headphones considerably under $500.
In case you’ve already heard the HD 650, you could simply wish to skip this part and head straight to the “the place the hell do I purchase these” hyperlinks under. In case you’ve by no means heard the HD 650 earlier than, you might be in for a buttery deal with that leads to a few of the greatest sound dynamic drivers can carry to the desk — at this worth level, and above.
You’re in for a buttery deal with that leads to a few of the greatest sound dynamic drivers can carry
Particularly, we’re speaking about heat and inflexible bass, a midrange that dips near the ruddy colours of analog tape saturation (with out sacrificing an oz of element), and a laser-tight response up high that helps illuminate vivid readability and granular instrumental texture throughout the board. So yeah, they sound fairly good.
It’s simple to treat the HD 6XX’s sound signature as simply one other dynamic-driven headphone, bringing with it traits that usually have audiophiles drawing traces within the sand between those that love a drop of pleasing heat of their sonic espresso, and those that demand near-clinical dedication to the recording because it was initially rendered. Nonetheless, what’s so pleasing in regards to the HD 6XX (and the 650 earlier than them) is that these headphones supply a pleasing combination of every, for a best-of-both-worlds situation.
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Sure, within the bass and midrange particularly, these cans revel within the dirty grunge of ‘70s electrical guitar tones and crunchy B3 organs, driving the sounds dwelling with the presence of a classic Marshall amplifier head. However they’re equally adept at revealing the subtleties of every recording because it stands, leaning into the chilly detachment of a pop tune a la Chvrches, and even Depeche Mode. The HD 6XX’s knack for element and presence contains all of the instrumental textures and timbres an audiophile longs for, that are particularly properly outlined within the bubbly puffs of a saxophone reed, or the delicate scratches of a horse-hair bow throughout a violin’s strings.
Aside from that beautiful sound signature, the HD 6XX supply an open-range soundstage match for Large Sky nation. The open-back design completely distributes the sound waves, letting the devices stretch out of these few inches from ear to ear and broaden right into a sonic cloud round your head. The result’s a sound that’s surprisingly akin to sitting in entrance of an excellent pair of studio screens — and even sitting on the heart of the recording room itself. That enables for the often-discussed advantage of listening to belongings you’ve by no means observed in earlier listens to your favourite tracks, from the rogue buzz of a guitar amp, to a quiet vocal double that’s by no means surfaced earlier than.
The HD 6XX include a two-year guarantee on components and workmanship that’s backed by Sennheiser.
The HD 6XX are a welcome and brilliantly executed second technology for certainly one of Sennheiser’s greatest values, and an opportunity to nab simply accessible audiophile sound for a critical discount.
Is there a greater different?
Truthfully, we’ve but to listen to a pair of headphones that provides this degree of readability, heat low finish, and soundstage growth on the $220 worth. Even considerably costlier fashions pale compared to the sound of the HD 6XX (and HD 650), which is why they’re nonetheless so beloved amongst audiophiles.
How lengthy will it final?
Many individuals have owned the HD 650 for a decade-plus, and on condition that they’ve replaceable cables and are very properly made, they need to final for a really very long time if handled proper.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. These are, palms down, the best-sounding headphones we’ve ever heard for $220. They simply compete with headphones that value many multiples of that worth. If you would like the very best sound in your cash, these are among the many greatest you’ll discover.