Here at MajorHifi, we review new and old headphones alike – whatever we can get our mits on, really. And sometimes we forget to review certain headphones because they are already established as sonic staples in the audiophile landscape. The $399 Sennheiser HD600 is one such headphone – widely regarded as a prime example of an open-back headphone that sounds about as neutral as possible. But what can we recommend about this headphone to you?
Sennheiser HD600 Review
The Sennheiser HD600 features a solid plastic build with aluminum extenders. The velour padding on the earcups and headband offer a decent level of comfort, even while the clamp from the headphones feels just a little tight.
The HD600 also utilizes a removable 10 ft (3 m) cable and a 1/4” stereo adapter for amping. You will want to use an amplifier for these headphones.
Wearing style: Headband
Color: steel blue
Frequency response: 12 – 40500 Hz
Contact pressure: ca. 2,5 N
Jack plug: 3,5/6,3 mm stereo
Cable length: 3 m
Nominal impedance: 300 Ω
As these specs show, there’s a whopping big frequency range in these headphones, as well as a large nominal impedance. As mentioned above, you’ll want to amplify these headphones to get the best sound possible. (For this review, I paired it with the Hifiman EF100 amp.)
The HD600 has a low end that is strong and resonant. Low-frequency notes are deep, but not too deep. The bass, while having little impact, still sports great control, so there is little bleeding or distortion.
In the midrange, the HD600 really distinguishes itself as an accurate headphone. The fidelity here is immaculate, pristine, with no distortion or compression. When listening to tracks that rely heavily on this part of the frequency range, it’s plain to see why the HD600 is widely regarded as a benchmark headphone.
While a little bright, the high end offers ample detail while avoiding the piercing and screeching high highs that some other headphones will display. Overall, the high end shines on strings and vocals alike.
If I have one misgiving about the HD600, it’s that the sense of soundstage isn’t what I hoped it would be. While there is an “okay” sense of placement and depth to instruments and lyrics, it just seems a little less open and almost similar to a closed back headphone in terms of its soundstage.
There’s a reason the HD600 is considered a gold standard for mid-fi sound on a budget. While the detail is stunning, and the sound well-tempered, the soundstage may be result in some more die-hard audiophiles opting for another model.
A perfectly neutral sound recommends itself to serious, critical listeners. But what if you’re tastes center around a specific genre of music? If you’ve been eyeing the HD600, and you prefer rock, hip hop, or EDM, you may also want to consider the more “fun” sounding HD650, or the hi-res HD700. If classical or instrumental music is your bag, maybe the Shure SRH1840 or the Grado RS2e would be a better option. However, if you really want to hear things “as intended,” give the HD600 a shot.
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