Sennheiser HD650 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Sennheiser Model HD650
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 260 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Carbon Fibre Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 300 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 10 - 39500  
Connector 6.5mm Street Price US$330
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 7.6 Bass Impact 7.4
Bass Quality 7.6 Mids Quality 7.8
Highs Quality 7.7 Soundstage 7.3
Detail 7.5 Portability 2.8
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 7.2
Durability 7.5 Improvement With Amplification 8.9
Value for Money 7.9    
Overall Score 7.4 Total Reviews 20

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member NA Blur on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value6

Source:
Lite-On DVD Combo Drive
Audio CD's
Headroom Ultra Desktop Amp with Max DAC
USB from computer into mini USB on Amp / DAC

Music:

Cake ( Motorcade of Generosity )
Great vocals and right to left motion within the sound field

Cake ( Pressure Chief ) Especially \"Wheels\"
Awesome bass lines, awesome highs, great vocals

Red Hot Chili Peppers ( What hits? ) especially \"Higher Ground\"
Full sound field and some bass

Yoshida Brothers ( Prism )
Great bass including impact, good mids to highs

Billy Joel ( Greatest Hits Vol 3 )
Great variety of sounds from when he snaps his fingers to when you can feel his breath on the mic

A Gothic Tribute to The Doors ( Darken My Fire )
Awesome bass, awesome highs, good vocals

First let me recite the primary rule of great headphonia: \"Thou must test good equipment with good equipment.\"

The second rule is \"burn in ye ol' headphones for at least 40 hours.\"

These rules are designed to make sure you have done what it takes to get the absolute maximum out of your headphones. Without doing so would greatly introduce myriad variables that confuse, obscure, diminish, and otherwise destroy the listening experience.

This was especially appreciated when I purchased Headroom's Ultra Desktop Amp with Max Dac and smeared a discman into its analog inputs. Was I disappointed in what soon happened? Indeed. After a day of playing around with cables, music files, gain settings, and different amps I had laying around at the time I found that the biggest source of quality in headphonia is the CD player ( source ). If you do not like HD-650's for a particular reason please try a different CD player at the very least.

Trusty CD player in hand fed into a DAC / Amp of your choosing let the cans and amp burn in for 40 hours prior to using unless of course you have already done so at an earlier date. What \"burn in\" implies is that at medium volume the headphones and amp run continuously with music flowing for 40 hours. This will loosen up the drivers / transducers and give the headphones the fighting chance they so greatly deserve.

Now that you have that settled pick a CD known for audiophile grade audio. I have listed a few in this review for this purpose. Begin listening at medium or just above medium loudness levels knowing to work your way to lower volumes to protect your ears for long listening sessions. What do you hear?

This is what you should hear:

BASS:
Nicely extended and moderately punchy. Delivered with ease.

MIDS:
Always a plus with most Sennheiser products the 650 not being an exception. The mids should feel immediate and well represented.

HIGHS:
The high frequency spectrum will be full, but slightly rolled off, and anti-bright. High Hat and other cymbals will be clear and not ear piercing.

SOUNDSTAGE:
The 650 presents a circular field that presents itself from within the center of your head. The field will not be immediately at your ears and thus the feel of stage presence will be found. This is my favorite aspect of the 650.

BUILD:
The phones are made from carbon fiber and hand-picked drivers. The cable is detachable / replaceable / up-gradable giving you a choice to upgrade at a lter date. They are light, sleek, and will be comfortable for hours. What's that you say? Clamp your head a bit? The trick here with any clamping headphone is to simply place them over a standard size tissue box for 3 days or more. This will stretch the headband and relieve your clamped noggin.

PROS:
Great headphone for the price, excellent soundstage and build. Detachable cable ready for upgrading.

CONS:
Takes hours upon hours to fully burn in, bass not as punchy as AH-D2000 and the like, highs are not as smooth as MDR-SA5000's.

These headphones are one of my favorite upgrade recommendations. I keep my EH-250's, ATH-M50's and 650's near by for a complete listening session.

Sold mine and kept the AH-D2000's which pair superbly with an m903.

2013 Update
The HD-650 is one of those headphones that have an issue at low volumes. I notice this at my desktop setup in a nearly silent room. At low listening levels the HD-650 will sound a little too laid-back making the \"veil\" quite obvious. This problem goes away at higher listening levels, but part of me wonders how much damage can be done to ones hearing at these levels.

I had the chance to audition a STAX 009 headphone paired with the Blue Hawaii SE amplifier. I then tested the HD-650 through a Woo Audio WA6 amp. I was surprised at how well the HD-650 held up against the STAX. I give the HD-650 a big thumbs up.

Review by Senior Member sennheiserdude on 13 Sep 07  16:24
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort6
Durability7
Value6

The Sennheiser HD650 are premium quality headphones with fantastic detail.
The lows are within reason with a headphone having 12hz and below low end. The detail is like having the ultimate soundstage in front of you. These cans high tight bass and the overall sound is equall to the price paid.
I suggest you buy a seperate headphone amp to truely get the most from any MP3 player (Ipod, etc), The HD650's are true audiophile headphones that will give you many long hours of musical enjoyment. I have also bought Monster
Prolinks cable and it seems to help give these headphones a very live sound
when connected to a decent amp.

Review by Senior Member DavidMahler on 11 Aug 07  05:30
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact10
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality10
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value10

My favorite headphones besides the UE10s

Review by Senior Member 909 on 11 Jul 07  05:07
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort7
Durability7
Value8

The HD650s are without question one of the “best” production headphones available. Given the fact they can be found for around $350 new and dip to the sub $300 used represents a tremendous value to performance ratio. Yet to even touch the HD650s’ potential proper amplification is absolutely essential. I’ve owned the A900, SR225s, RS1s, and GS1000, but none ruled the roost like the HD650s. Overall I greatly preferred the HD650s. In fact, each headphone mentioned I sold since the HD650s dominated my listening time.

The HD650s strongest attribute is balance throughout the sonic spectrum. Though the lower register has some prominence, but still the HD650s strikes an incredible balance in nearly every other area. It just does everything well to very well without much sacrifice, offense or fault. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the HD650 has serious “potential” to climb the audio ladder with a quality amp, source, cables, and even going balanced all of which offers gains. Yet even in a good to great single-ended rig the HD650s can shine so “going balanced” isn’t necessary.

Probably the main shortcoming repeatedly leveled against the HD650s is they sound veiled or put another way you don’t feel close to the music. Proper amplification greatly helps to reduce this impression. Also, ones’ reference point either can intensify or diminish this veiled-ness. In my system I never actually felt the HD650s where veiled, but after spending substantial time with the L3000s going back to the HD650s it became apparent. Another notable is the HD650s have a somewhat relaxed or laidback presentation and when the music requires dynamics and slam the rig again can help or hurt its presentation.

E5/Apollo/Saturn/CDP-77 -> EC2A3

Back to the HD650s positive attributes at the forefront are its expansive scale, dimensionality and natural musicality. The drivers design and positioning a little away from the ear provides a vast soundstage with good imaging, separation, and 3-D like audible images. And the music just flows effortlessly—it’s never forced or rushed, which has a very natural presentation. The HD650s excel with large venues, orchestras and big bands and jazz stuff—though they still do exceedingly well with pop and rock. With the right system heavy metal can sound good too.

The HD650s bass is deep, full, and textured, but also a tidbit bloomy; it does have a very nice impact.

The mids reveal a lot of information deeply engaging the listener. Even low-level details are clearly presented and easy to hear.

The highs are smooth and organic even though rolled off a bit, but nothing horrible.

In a nutshell, the HD650s are a very good to excellent organic sounding headphone with a slightly dark presentation that sounds best on a good to excellent rig. If your ears aren’t corrupted and/or overtly prejudiced by Grado or something like the L3000s then you might find that the HD650s are an awesome headphone in the right system; and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked without some serious listening time.

Review by Senior Member humanflyz on 12 Feb 07  08:20
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality6
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability8
Value8

This is my HD650 setup:

Lavry DA10 -> Dynahi -> HD650

1) Bass extension: The HD650s have good extension, but it is nowhere near the deepest like the PS-1s or the L3000. Sure, there is a mid-bass hump which can contribute to the perception of deep bass extension, but in reality, the bass extension is nothing to write home about.

2) Bass Impact: This depends on the amplification. When under-driven, the bass can easily become muddy and one-noted with a lot of quantity but not enough punch to make music that needs some punch in the bass enjoyable. But when properly amplified, the bass impact increases tremendously, but still not as impactful as the best.

3) Bass Quality: Again, depends on amplification. Driven by a good amp, the bass takes on more texture, clarity, and musicality, so the bass notes can actually be followed. When under-driven, it just sounds like a blob of bass with no clarity. Again, even when driven by some of the best amplifiers, I find the HD650's bass to be less textured and nuanced than say than the top-tier headphones.

4) Mids: This is probably the strongest area of the HD650 in my opinion. The midrange is smooth, rich, and seductive. It is just a shade darker than neutral, but I don't consider this necessarily a fault, since it caters to a lot of people's personal preference. The midrange is not fatiguing, but at the cost of total transparency.

5) Highs: Despite the common accusation of having a "veil", I actually find the HD650's treble extension to be quite good. The only problem is that it is rolled off too early for my tastes. I would like a headphone to roll-off at a higher frequency than what I'm hearing with the HD650s. For example, on some female vocal-heavy songs, the last bit of extension when the female singer goes into full-blown mode is missing, or not as easy to hear. Similarly, the last bit of extension on a well-recorded violin solo piece is also missing.

6) Soundstage: It is decently-sized, but it suffers from a two-blob effect, i.e., the sounds are coming from the left/right channels with a weak center image. This can be improved through better amplification and source matching, but it never takes on the life-like soundstaging and imaging of say, the K1000s or the Omega IIs. It certainly has a bigger size than most Grados, but the imaging is not as precise.

7) Detail: This is sufficiently-detailed for me, although this is not immediately noticeable upon first listen, since unlike most "detailed" headphones, the HD650s don't shout out "I'm detailed". I know that other headphones can extract more detail in a more natural manner, the HD650s extract enough so that you are not missing the fundamental essence of the music.

8) Portability: Not very portable due to their open-backed nature and high power requirement.

9) Isolation: None, since it is open

10) Comfort: Pretty comfortable, except for the clamping effect, but with time and use, it loosens, but never to the point that I don't notice that I'm wearing something on my head.

11) Durability: Very good durability given the price-point.

12) Improvement with amplification: These things can scale really well with better amplification. However, I do have one caveat: if you couldn't stand them on first listen, then even the most expensive amp won't likely change your mind. However, if you like the HD650s to begin with, then the sky is the limit.

13) Value for money: Very good, considering how far it can scale. It's a pretty good long-term investment if you happen to like the sound, since they can really stay with you and reward you for every upgrade you make.

Overall, I feel that the HD650s don't do anything fundamentally wrong, but neither do they do anything exceptionally well. In terms of PRaT, bass, midrange, highs, soundstage, imaging, detail, etc., there are headphones that handily best it. In this regard it is average, in the sense that it doesn't really compete in the same level as the best of the best. But as an all-arounder, it is fine, since it will not likely offend anyone. And given how scalable they are, you could have a rewarding relationship with them if you happen to like how they sound. But to me, I would rather listen to a headphone that does something exceptionally well rather than get a jack of all trades.

Review by Senior Member gunnar on 28 Dec 06  15:43
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort7
Durability5
Value6

Out of the box, I actually think the 595 is a superior headphone but things change with proper amplification. The 650s respond better than almost any headphone I've tried to good amplification. The Creek OBH-21SE is a great match. In general, these phones are very well balanced but need a bit of a wakeup from a powerful amplifier. The bass responds and gets much tighter and the treble which is somewhat rolled off really livens up. Don't bother trying to drive these with an iPod or built-in headphone jack, but spend an equal amount on an amp and they are one of the best values out there.

Review by Senior Member KrooLism on 11 Nov 06  13:15
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort10
Durability8
Value9

***
THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON THE HEADPHONE BEING DRIVEN MY THE GRACE M902 DAC/AMP AND MINE HAS A CABLE UPGRADE.

I looked at the scores I have and I gave 8's for all musical aspects. Well... there isn't much else to say about them. This headphone is probabaly the best all rounder there is. Everything sounds good on them. A good and powerful amp is essential and without those Cardas upgrades, it would probably lose one point for all musical aspects which would make it in line with the current average.

Durability - Tougher than the 600's but not as tough as the 25's.

I find these the most comfortable headphones to wear.
#NB: you must stretch the headband at first.

I have Headroom's Total Headcase so portability isn't an issue for me. 5 rating.

It lost a point for value for money because there are similar models out there for quite a lot less. HD 600, K701 DT 880 are just some examples.

Review by Senior Member Iron_Dreamer on 03 Nov 06  13:58
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort7
Durability7
Value8

The Sennheiser's HD650, once touted by some as "the world's best dynamic headphone," is a certain competitor in the class of sub-$1000 headphones, and perhaps a best choice for some, though certainly not a world-beater in and of itself.

What first strikes you about the HD650, other than the powerful bass, is the utter lack of distracting flaws. This makes the HD650 very easy to listen to for seemingly infinite periods without fatigue, and also allows one to be ensconced in and absorbed by the sound, if one knows not of anything more revealing. In a sense, this is the HD650's greatest strength, yet also its' Achilles Heel.

When compared with other top headphones, the HD650 suffers from a lack of clarity and detail. This is partially due to their darker-than-neutral presentation, which can be remedied with aftermarket cables. However, even with the best aftermarket cables I've heard (RnB Grace Five-Two, Zu Mobius, Moon Silver Dragon), the HD650 still cannot reproduce details with the clarity of some competitors.

Of course the upside of this is that the HD650 is not as brutally demanding of you recordings and gear as say the Sony SA5000 is. However the HD650 does require an amplifier with strong voltage output to sound its' best, and supposedly sounds its' best with tube amps costing $10k and above. Though I am skeptical of such claims, perhaps someday I will have a chance to confirm or dispel them.

The HD650 is generally a very good headphone; its most prominent features are a power bass and seductive midrange. The midrange is quite lifelike with excellent timbre, and really helps draw the listener in. The bass is reasonably, though not amazingly deep, and packs a very substantial punch, just toeing the line of being overblown and distracting. The bass isn't quite as tight as some competitors, though aftermarket cables, balanced drive, and better amplification can make it tighter.

The treble is somewhat attenuated compared to the rest of the spectrum, and is also very smooth and clean sounding with no apparent distortions. Treble extension is good, but hardly the best. The HD650 produces a fairly open soundstage, however it lacks the huge acoustic space of the best performers, and the pinpoint 3-d imaging of others.

The 650's are quite comfortable, once you get past the initial vice-grip phase, however you're never going to forget you're wearing them, as I have done with some other cans. They are built very solidly as one would expect, however the paint leaves much to be desired. My pair, and several others I've used, have been prone to have paint peeling off the headband, even under great care in treatment. Sennheiser addressed the issue under warranty at no charge, however I would expect better from a top of the line product.

If a smooth sound is what you are looking, for then the HD650 might be the world's best for you. Otherwise, if ultimate detail, impact, or intimacy are your goals, then don't stop for the HD650.

This review is written from the perspective of an owner with a fairly high end DAC/amp combo ($1000+), and the experience of listening to these cans on far more expensive rigs. So if you are thinking of using the Senns with a lower end rig, it might be a better value to buy the HD580 instead, unless you intend to keep the highest upgrade path possible open. The differences of the 580/600 and 650 with be only modestly noticeable on a lower end system, and will come off as basically a bass boost.

Also consider that these cans do not absolutely REQUIRE an amplifier (they sound good straight from an Archos Jukebox for instance) but unless your source has a high voltage output, it may not be able to make the cans loud enough. Also these cans do scale greatly with the amplifier, allowing new layers of detail to come forward as you upgrade, assuming your source is up to it. However, no matter how good the amplifier (even a balanced amp), they still retain the same basic sound signature.

My ratings:
Bass Extension: 8
Bass Impact: 8
Bass Quality: 7
Mids Quality: 8
Highs Quality: 7
Soundstage: 7
Detail: 7
Portability: 2
Isolation: 0
Comfort: 7
Durability: 7
Improvement with Amplification: 10
Value for the Money: 8

Review by Senior Member Ayakano on 21 Oct 05  06:23
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail4
Comfort8
Durability8
Value2

They are not bad headphones but ...
They don't have great bass extension, not deep enough.
They have very nice trebles but a little bit too soft.
Mids are very good but voices are not so good ... Why ? Because they have no transparency !
Details lack and they are rather cold and inexpressive ...
Soundstage is average without real impact.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (that i own too) are better headphones because they have more details, more precision with voices and a great soundstage.
Voices on HD 650 are not strong enough and seem far and inexpressive compared to DT 770.
I feel no emotions listening to HD 650 ... It's boring even on Jazz or Classical music.
With DT 770 voices are exciting, rich and strong ... not on HD 650.

These headphones have neutral dryness sound, without distorsions but are consequently too "cold" and so don't bring real emotions.

They are over-estimated and cost too much considering what they sound like.

Review by Senior Member chrisfromalbany on 25 Aug 05  07:52
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality8
Detail7
Comfort9
Durability7
Value10

I want to do my evaluation of these headphones comparing them to other elite models that are currently out there. I found them to be very smooth and dark headphone. There comfort was great and I did find the Zu Mobius to increase the performance of the HD650. Brought alittle more life into the headphone. I think for the right person these the HD650s are great headphones. They are needed when having a good collection of headphones. Below is how I rate them in comparison to other headphones I currently own.

Bass extension
SA5000s
HD650s
UE-10s
Rs-1s

Amount of Bass
HD650s
UE-10s
Rs-1s
SA5000s

Detail
SA5000s
UE-10s
HD650s
Rs-1s

Mids
Rs-1s
SA5000s
UE-10s
HD650s

Neutrality
UE-10s
HD650s
SA5000s
Rs-1s

Fun
Rs-1s
SA5000s
UE-10s
HD650s

Review by Senior Member blumenco on 20 Jan 05  00:10
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort6
Durability9
Value9

After spending an extended time with the orpheus this summer and really digesting the experience, I really found in some ways was more impressive than the sound out of the orpheus was how close the 650s come with how much of a price difference. it just boggles my mind when I think of the price/performance ratio of the headphones. it is certainly the place to start for the true music maniacs, and it might just be the place you end up being happy with. The 600s and have also maintained a towering advantage above most headphones since their release 7 years ago. the 650s are an upgrade to the 600s. admittably not much, but noticable for the true freaks.


OK. so I think these headphones get a suprisingly bad rap for what they are. they are also used in weird ways by alot of weird people.



the replacement cables frequently hurt the sound in my opinion. there are some glary ones out there. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. The zu mobius and cardas are probably my current favorites, but the damn market changes quickly so I might already be out of date with everyone else. I think people should put the effort into their upstream components frequently in order to get they money doing anything productive sonically. few replacement cables are even tuned to the headphones, and I even got george cardas to admit to me that all his cable is is just better copper. Which it is good copper, and that cable, among others are an improvement above the stock, however, to get one's personal presentation right, it is necessary to make one's own, or something similar to that process. for 95% of users I would imagine keep the original cables because few studios are that frivilous, and this is a headphone that can be conidered to be almost the ultimate for mastering.



this headphone is in many ways a standard in the hobby, and the recording industry.
It is very neutral, very importantly non fatiguing, after I perceive the 600 to be better for classical mastering (because of graphic equalizer inversion) and the 650 better for classical playback because it is more forward in the mid and treble. from the looks of sennheiser at 2005 CES, these will probably be the best thing they currently make for a while.



As I see it, I would consider the 650 the closest thing sennheiser has made to the orpheus. the 595s probably have the closer presentation which is more similar to the orpheus in that respect, but the necessary accuraccy of the 650s put them close. NOW. there are obvious differences between the two systems, but, after hearing the 650s through a really great tube amp like the single power meastro, supra, etc. or equivalent, the differences I think can be limited to the fact that the 650 is dynamic. it just sounds dynamic with things happening in the drivers whereas the orpheus is more of a direct aural injection being that transparent. in other words, I think the MAIN but certainly not the only differece between the orpheus and 650 is simple transparency.



for instance, the sony mdr r10s and even the stax omega in most respects are further away from the orpheus than the 650 just because they have totally different sonic signatures. even though they are in most respects superior headphones to the 650s.



for most people, it is realistically as far as they should tread into the true high end of headphones unless they just plain truely love the things. There is better, but not by much. usually greater improvements can be made by spending effort on the source and amp, doing elctrical modifications tailoring them to the specific needs of the user and headphones. using a source -> ear approach rather than the common american "cool speakers get women" approach.



to not devolve into a simple expression of life philosophy, I will now turn to the comfort and tweaking I found useful. first off, I took a $1 pair of panty hose and streched and trimmed in place of the foam thingys under the ear pads. this sonic improvement was greater to me than any of the replacement cables alone. the replacement cables do help, however, I reccommend doing that last! furthermore I had huge issues with clamping and consequential blood supply cutoff to my ear drums leaving the potential for hearing damage and over all discomfort. some people have no problem with this, but I eventually extended the band all the way and bent the steel until it was looser (this is really scary looking but it works and the headband is durable enough to take this kind of pressure) (BE CAREFUL I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMABE TO HEADPHONES, YOURSELF, YOUR DOG, OR ANYONE ELSE) I also found that having a headphone stand can provide an even greater potential improvement than any of the cables alone. sizing and adjustment I found quite important for my ears. these sound great just on the ears, but if you take the time to align the drivers to your ears and get the headband adjustment just right, there exists (at least to me) a sweet spot that is specific to each individual person. therefore a headphone stand where one carefully removes the headphones and places them there without messing up the carefully adjusted alignment provides very consistent and repeatable performance.



in conclusion, again, I felt it necessary to counteract some of the attitudes like: "oh yeah, the 650s really aren't that great..." these thing perform well compared to most all headphones, and furthermore the bang for the buck is undeniable. before the qualia 010's the mdr r10 was the true next step up from these in dynamic headphones and though they are truely in a different world, they cost 10 times as much. I have not heard the 010s with adequate associated equipment yet so I have not opinion on them.

Clark

Review by Senior Member acs236 on 02 Jan 05  06:53
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail6
Comfort6
Durability7
Value8

If you can get into the very warm, smooth Sennheiser sound, then these are the headphones for you. Sennheiser improved the HD600 by smoothing out the midbass hump, balancing out the sound of these nicely.

These headphones do need amplication. I put 9 instead of 10, because you can drive these out of decently powerful non-dedicated-headphone amplifier, but my point is that you probably don't want to. In my opinion, they require a good, strong headphone amp to sound very good. I still think they sound good out of lesser, but dedicated headphone amplifiers.

Review by Senior Member Sol Rage on 28 Dec 04  22:58
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality7
Detail6
Comfort5
Durability8
Value10

I bought these several months before I discovered the R10s and they still serve me well. Simply put, the HD650s are the best "value for your money" headphones out there today. $350 for headphones that are just as good as any headphone under $1000 I've tried. That stat blows my mind everytime I think about it. As good as these are though, in a great system they just can't compete with the real big boys (R10s, Omega IIs, Qualias). But for people on a budget, wanting a great set of headphones without breaking the bank, these fit the bill perfectly.

Bass Extension - 7: The bass extension on the 650s are almost even with my R10s. But it seems there's just something missing on the lowest bottom end, even with the Sylvania 6SN7W and Ken Rad tubes in my Supra. Still the bass extension is quite good.

Bass Impact - 7: The bass impact on the 650s is hard to rate because it's very accurate, which is one of the thing i love about them. It's soft when it needs to be but i've heard it be quite impactful. I've never heard it approach Grado level, but it certainly beats my R10s.

Bass Quality - 8: Compared to my R10s the bass isn't nearly as defined and articulate. It is very tight and accurate though. In fact, they have the most accurate bass reproduction of any headphone I've ever heard (with perhaps the exception of the Qualias in the right system). It's not soft, or punchy, or too anything. It is what it is when it needs to be. But this can kind of make it sound shallow on some heavier rock and metal and kind of soulless on some classical recordings. Pure neutrality can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it.

Mids Quality - 5: I'm not a big fan of the mids on this headphone. In the 650's quest for neutrality there's no place for exaggerrated mids. The mids are, however very liquid and detailed. There's a smooth, relaxing, maybe slightly dark quality to them, that, for my tastes is a little too relaxing. They're not "bad", just not really my thing.

Highs Quality - 7: The highs save my dislike for the mids. I love a detailed top end and the 650s have that. While not as smooth and detailed as the R10s they are very full and smooth up top which compliments the accurate bass nicely. The highs are almost as accurate, but more 3D which I like.

Sound Stage - 6: Compared to some of the other high end phones the sound stage of the 650s don't really impress. They have comparatively more than the Grado. But I like the allure of the higher end Audio Technicas, R10s, Omegas, and AKG K1000s.

Detail - 6: Once again, compared to some of the other high end phones the detail on the 650s doesn't particularly impress. Perhaps the R10s have spoiled me or the Qualias have raised the bar too high, but the people that say the 650s can honestly keep up with the likes of those phones have probably never heard them with the best system.

Portability - 3: They're pretty big and clunky headphones, but light enough to carry around.

Comfort - 5: The clamp factor is a major thing for some people. It bothers me after a while but I've gotten somewhat used to it. Still, compared to the R10s, Qualias, and Omegas they're hard to love comfort wise.

Durability - 8: Sennheiser generally makes solid products.

Amplification - 8: These will grow as your system grows, which is great, once again, for people on a budget. I haven't had a problem system matching these either, which is another great thing about them. Their neutrality seems to let the amp and source shine even more. I've wanted for a long time to try them with a balanced Blockhead, which I've heard is amazing, but have yet to do so.

Value for Money - 10: I think this speaks for itself. For any "newbies" out there wondering which high end headphones to start out with, if you can afford the HD650s, they are a very safe bet. They aren't "the best" at anything, but they are "good" at just about everything. And the amazing price is the clincher.

With the R10s in my inventory the 650s rarely see the light of day. That being said I still find uses for them. Their neutrality and liquidity is a nice change of pace from the R10s super colordness sometimes that I like. I still think that perhaps these headphones are getting almost too popular. People are beginning to say that these can keep up with the likes of the R10s and Omegas and it's simply not true. Even with the cable and woody upgrades, these are still second or maybe third rate headphones. They are, however, excellent headphones for the money and great headphones period.

Review by Senior Member ayt999 on 26 Dec 04  23:00
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort6
Durability7
Value9

my comments will be regarding the stock HD650 with its stock headphone cable run unbalanced off a gilmore reference. I assume the review will change once I get a balanced cable and run it balanced off my gilmore reference, but for now the sound is less than optimal and I don't feel that it is on the same level as other high end headphones.

it is a great value at around $350 new, but requires proper amplification before the sound becomes acceptable.

Review by Senior Member amartignano on 26 Dec 04  23:00
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail7
Comfort6
Durability8
Value9

Very good mids, bass very extended, very tight and controlled, but a little "bumped", but this adds warmth to the sound, which is good! Highs are very extended and natural. Detail is excellent throughout the entire spectrum. "Headstage" very well defined, correct and extended in 3D, but a little "in-the-head". Not the most comfortable cans I've ever had. Good both for classical and rock Music, for me! Cardas Cable is a real step up, and a good dedicated amplifier too.

Review by Senior Member Snufkin on 26 Dec 04  23:00
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality9
Detail9
Comfort7
Durability7
Value4

A highly equipment dependant headphone. If you don't have the right source and the right amp you're not hearing what these headphones are capable of. Many people recommend cable upgrades costing almost as much as the headphones themselves to make them sound their best, but I'm not a fan of this theory.
With an overall very relaxed and slightly dark sound these headphones are well suited to classical and jazz, however they're one of my least favourites for rock or more energetic use. Vocals tend to sound a little 'glossed over' at times.
From a technical standpoint these are very nice headphones, however I just can't find enjoyment from the sound they produce - they never suck me into the music, never make me want to rock out and air guitar and never make me think "...just one more song".

Review by Senior Member TrevorNetwork on 16 Dec 04  15:59
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort5
Durability5
Value8

I like the HD650, in fact I like it alot. My primary issue with it, is the fact that it exhibits its sonic signature at all times. I have heard the HD650 on a large variety of amplifiers, and configurations. The HD650 seems "disconnected" when trying to convey the immediacy of rock or alternative music. This is not very noticible until one utilizes a headphone that is better able to "chameleon" itself. That's not to say the HD650 is not relatively satisfying in itself. I believe it to be a very good value given the target market.

Review by Member anonymous on 02 Jan 11  11:00
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability8
Value10

HD 650s are my favorite headphones and they are quite easy to be drive by most headphone amp after a well burn in. With the Cablepro or moonaudio upgrade cable the sound of the HD 650 are very well described. Bass are controlled and impactful, I use the 650 for most rock, jazz and soundtrack since most of the are bassy music. the 650's detail is not as good as K701's and RS1's but it gives you a big picture of the music you listen. The Mids and Highs are high quilty compare to the bass that's why I think the 650 is perfect for all genres.
The buil quilty is ok the plastic looks very good but feels cheap. the 650 are to tight and hurts my face after a long period of listening. Overall, the 650 is must have headphone for all music lovers.

Review by Member alejandro.bnet on 19 Nov 09  09:30
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality10
Highs Quality10
Detail9
Comfort9
Durability9
Value10

My favorite headphones besides the stax sr 303.
The best competitor is the AKG K701
but in the end this is better

Review by Member CraneyR on 08 Jul 09  13:01
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability7
Value7

Sennheiser HD 650 always shines with smooth texture of well balanced sound which one can listen for hours without a single trace of fatigue. I found them secure and comfortable in warm or cool, but not hot environment. They require large boost in power from serious amplifier. I would strongly suggest not to use small headphone amplifier (example: Project) for them, but the regular amplifier designed to power up big speakers(example: Sansui). Attached to the powerful device by which the bass and treble can be regulated in wide spectrum Sennheiser HD 650 can outperform almost all headphones in terms of sound reproduction including the top models of AKG and Ultimate Ears. Just use more powerful and efficient amplifier and you may never return to portable audio device ever again. That what had happened to me.
So if somebody wants to convince me that I get the most of sound from Sure and Ultimate Ears, my response: They are great for portable devices only; however, I find more beauty and glamour with bigger non-portable audio equipment. So listen to Sennheiser 650 HD attached to serious audio pieces and see how your impressions about those headphones change in really, I am telling you REALLY positive way.

Sennheiser HD650