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Sennheiser HD600 vs HD650
Old 10th June 2007
  #1
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Talking Sennheiser HD600 vs HD650

I am interested in peoples opinions of these 2 sets of cans specifically for remote work.

My priority is to be able to hear what small changes in mic position / angle are actually doing. (I have found some posts on gearslutz but the context is more often mixing or, in remote forums case, closed cans).

Whichever pair I choose will be used in combination with my lovely new Lavry DA10

The HD650's are newer and, originally, more expensive. I can get either pair now for identical prices. I am wondering though if the original higher price of the HD650 translates into better quality?

I cannot try either pair and have also heard that might be pointless anyway as a result of the wear in periods required.

All opinions welcome,

Cheers,
Rob.
Old 10th June 2007
  #2
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I'd be curious too

I hear the 650's are built more robustly, and have less cable noise....

I have seen the 600's for $239, and occasionally NEW 650's (not refurb'd) for $299, free shipping....

anyone else seen better prices?

Old 10th June 2007 | Show parent
  #3
Aren't these open cans? That would make it hard to really hear what's going on while in the same room the source.

Edwin
PS I have heard that some prefer the 600s over the 650s.
Old 10th June 2007 | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Aren't these open cans? That would make it hard to really hear what's going on while in the same room the source.
They sure are. I would use them during the balance (making use of the better accuracy of an open can) and then switch to closed for the recording / performance.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 

The HD600 is a slightly upgraded version of the HD580,the same drivers but better cable and metal grills on the outside of the earpieces. The HD650 have different drivers and are sonically slightly better, especially if run balanced. All 3 share the same overall sound signature and all 3 need a robust amp to drive them to their full potential. They are, as mentioned open headphones and I couldn't see using them for any kind of monitoring, unless in a sound proof control room. I use 580's and 600's for playback things and have occasionally tried them for tracking very quiet sources or quiet field recording and they just don't work at all. I use Sennheiser HD25's which are closed for recording.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Dear Mosrite,

I know this is off topic, strictly speaking, but if you're set on open phones, you might like to consider the AKG K701, which are in a similar ballpark pricewise. I'm biased of course, because I have a pair (and love them) but you can read an interesting review here. It contains a short comparison with the Senn 600 and 650s.

Stereophile: AKG Acoustics K 701 headphones

Cheers,

David
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #7
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I haven't tried the Senns myself in a long time but I'm happy with the Ultrasone 750s which are closed. They are quite flat in frequency response and very fast titanium drivers...they need >48hrs break-in and you will need to adjust your expectations of headphone sound to them as they are quite clinical and bright. But once you do all that I think you'll get a better picture of what you're recording than on most 'phones, and won't have to change them out. Also quite comfy.

The Beyer 770s and Senn HD280s pale in comparison, although most people would find those cans more to their expectation of what a headphone should sound like.

I have been meaning to give the HD600/650 a good testing to see if I'm missing anything but I have a feeling the Ultrasone Proline 750 is everything I need it to be for recording work. The bass response is remarkably even and uncolored way down (they claim 8Hz!) which is great as a check if your room has bass problems.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
I haven't tried the Senns myself in a long time but I'm happy with the Ultrasone 750s which are closed. They are quite flat in frequency response and very fast titanium drivers...they need >48hrs break-in and you will need to adjust your expectations of headphone sound to them as they are quite clinical and bright. But once you do all that I think you'll get a better picture of what you're recording than on most 'phones, and won't have to change them out. Also quite comfy.

The Beyer 770s and Senn HD280s pale in comparison, although most people would find those cans more to their expectation of what a headphone should sound like.

I have been meaning to give the HD600/650 a good testing to see if I'm missing anything but I have a feeling the Ultrasone Proline 750 is everything I need it to be for recording work. The bass response is remarkably even and uncolored way down (they claim 8Hz!) which is great as a check if your room has bass problems.
Hey peeder i have the 750's as well. They do sound great, but do u notice they don't translate well?
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #9
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I have used HD580's for 10 years and find little need to spend more on the 600 or 650. The sound is basically the same. Since I always remove myself from the performance room, I have had no problem with hearing them.

The reason I like the Sennheiser phones is that they imitate a speaker very well. After a period of getting acquainted, one can transfer the sound heard in the Sennheisers to how it would sound on good monitors.

I have also been editing a good number of binaural programs and for these the more open and subtley detailed AKG K701 are highly recommended. The AKG phones take an extra long time (several weeks) to break in and sound their best. AKG K701 is the most detailed headphone I have ever heard. However, for everyday usage, I will not change from the Sennnheiser HD580 (perhaps discontinued now, but abundantly available on Ebay.)
Old 11th June 2007
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Both are excellent ...

Hi Mosrite,

Both are really good headphones which I use almost on a daily basis - with Benchmark's DAC1 and Grace's 902. My impressions of the two in a head-to-head comparision (driven by the same headphone amp simultaneously) are :

1. 600 is a bit more musical than the 650. The 650 is a bit more laid back sound. It is almost like the difference between the Grace and Benchmark converters. When I really want to enjoy music it is the Grace HD600 combo; same when I am looking at extended listening sessions (the 600 is a tad more comfortable). When I am looking for flaws in the recordings - especially the bass - the 650 DAC1 combo has served me better than the Grace 600 combo.

2. 600 is a bit more comfortable on my head than the 650 though the 600 feels a bit more flimsy. The stock chord is easy to destroy on the 600 although it is easy enough to replace as well.

3. This is not perhaps an exact analogy but: The 600 remind of very fast single driver speakers - fast, musical, enjoyable but not the most accurate whereas the 650s seem like a great two or three-way conventional speaker system.

I know you are going to ask like a million followups to this :-) so I will stop.

Baithak
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #11
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peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIGHENDONLY View Post
Hey peeder i have the 750's as well. They do sound great, but do u notice they don't translate well?
I wouldn't know, as I use cans only to track and S3A's to mix. I think the 750's would point out problems that your room might miss and that's a good check on a mix.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #12
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
I hear the 650's are built more robustly, and have less cable noise....
Yes, it has fallen down from my table about 500 times, I step on the cable quite often and it is still quite alive ...

HD 650 sounds nice, but maybe TOO nice ... When I switch back to B&W speakers , it does not soudn that nice any more (sounds more naked)
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #13
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Quote:
They are, as mentioned open headphones and I couldn't see using them for any kind of monitoring, unless in a sound proof control room.
I'm interested in peoples take on this. Ambo, would your issue be the spill of sound coming into the cans from the environment? Bearing in mind that I would be listening back when the musicians are not playing. I would then switch to my closed AT's during recording where accuracy of tone etc would not be as critical (as I would already have achieved that tone during the balance with the open phones).

If anyone can see an obvious flaw in this methodology then please chime in (up until now I've only ever taken closed cans on location).

Quote:
I have also been editing a good number of binaural programs and for these the more open and subtley detailed AKG K701 are highly recommended. The AKG phones take an extra long time (several weeks) to break in and sound their best. AKG K701 is the most detailed headphone I have ever heard. However, for everyday usage, I will not change from the Sennnheiser HD580 (perhaps discontinued now, but abundantly available on Ebay.)
Plush, is there any reason that you choose the Sennheisers over the AKG for everyday usage? Is it simply a case of being more familiar with the Senns?

Quote:
3. This is not perhaps an exact analogy but: The 600 remind of very fast single driver speakers - fast, musical, enjoyable but not the most accurate whereas the 650s seem like a great two or three-way conventional speaker system.
Baithak, so if the this is the case then the 650's might be a better bet for balancing on location in your opinion?
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 

I've been using 580s when doing quick location work (don't have any closed headphones in that league) and I love them, but you definitely need a very quiet environment. Should work for what you're suggesting though. On a similar note, I had a band that kept making comments on how it sounded when they were just hearing the (rather loud) spill from the headphones
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
I've been using 580s when doing quick location work (don't have any closed headphones in that league) and I love them, but you definitely need a very quiet environment. Should work for what you're suggesting though. On a similar note, I had a band that kept making comments on how it sounded when they were just hearing the (rather loud) spill from the headphones
Hmmm, beginning to wonder if closed might be better after all. My only concern with that is hearing the accuracy of things.

As a closed alternative, anyone used the Sony MDR7509?
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #16
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite View Post
Hmmm, beginning to wonder if closed might be better after all. My only concern with that is hearing the accuracy of things.
I have Beyerdynamic DT 770 (together with HD 650). While Beyer is not that detailed sounding as HD 650, it is very well closed ... I use it for all the playback recordings (where HD 650 is unuseable)
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #17
0VU
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I agree with Plush - the K701s are outstanding. You have to spend a lot of money to beat them. They get closer to the detail and soundstage presentation of my electrostatic cans than any other headphones I've heard, which is remarkable given that if you shop around they available for about the same money as the HD650s.

I posted about them elsewhere:

"From using mostly Sennheiser open back cans for mixing duties for almost 20 years (starting with HD580s, then 600s and 650s), I've been gradually moving more and more away from my HD650/600 and 580s over the last year or so - since I started using the K701s - and now haven't used the Sennheisers at all in a few months. Yesterday I had to all but fight a classical producer (and long term HD650 and previously HD600 user) with whom I was working to get them to give the K701s back after they tried them! Luckily I had spare pairs with me so they were able to keep them for the recording but they didn't want to give them back at the end of the day.

I thought they were just mucking about and it was just the novelty value but I got home last night to find an email going on about how much they liked the K701s and asking me to get them two pairs and "just add them to the invoice for the recording", so maybe they're serious. (Then I just have to wait for the disappointment when they hear a brand new pair before they've been properly run in! ) "

(Since posting that, the producer I mentioned now has their pairs of K701s and, as expected, was seriously disappointed with them straight out of the box - thought they were faulty. However, they've now been properly run in and have replaced the HD650s in their affections.)

I'm not sure I follow what you want to use them for Mosrite, but if you want to monitor in the same room as the musicians, for balance checks/concerts/whatever, imo you really need cans with more separation than you'll get from any of the HD580/600/650/ K701 options. You'll have to live with a less accurate/compromised sound from a pair of closed back cans but with the right set it can be a big improvement on trying to hear a balance on a pair of open/semi-open cans with the live sound penetration colouring and phasing with what the cans are giving you. It's one of the reasons that I really go out of my way not to set up or listen to balances in the same room as the performance (there are other reasons too but the difficulty of monitoring is the main one). Very occasionally, logistics conspire against a separate 'control room' and I get stuck in the same room as the musicians - for those days (and days when my 'control room' is plagued by external noise!) I have some Sony MDR7509 closed cans. They're not as neutral as the other cans mentioned but they're not bad and once you're used to them they make life a lot easier than trying to guess what's going on with open cans.

Bear in mind that whilst you'll frequently come across recommendations for 'the usual suspects' be they Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, whatever, choice of headphones is very personal and even more variable than monitor speakers. It's not just the usual stuff like sound, reliability/servicablity; comfort plays a big part too. When on location you could be working on them for many hours at a time and squashed/sweaty ears are really not conducive to comfort and good work! Even more than loudspeakers you need to try them.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #18
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now the thing is would the sen 650 be better for mainstream hiphop and pop kinda music and the akg 701 for the classical type? I never used either them, but i'm guessing with mainstream you kinda want the xtra low end, but with classical you def do not want it.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
I'm not sure I follow what you want to use them for Mosrite, but if you want to monitor in the same room as the musicians, for balance checks/concerts/whatever, imo you really need cans with more separation than you'll get from any of the HD580/600/650/ K701 options. You'll have to live with a less accurate/compromised sound from a pair of closed back cans but with the right set it can be a big improvement on trying to hear a balance on a pair of open/semi-open cans with the live sound penetration colouring and phasing with what the cans are giving you.
I think it depends on the application. If I'm doing a live recording of a large group then it's usually on the day of the performance and they are using the time as a rehearsal. For this I've been using closed cans as the musicians will be continually playing and I will shift mic position and be checking things as this is going on. I understand that open cans wouldn't work well in this scenario at all.

I've been using the Audio Technica MTH40fs up until this point and, while they are not totally inaccurate, I find the tonal detail lacking.

So I suppose if I could find a set of closed cans that give me more of an accurate tonal impression than what I currently have then that would be fine.

Would any of you feel confident acheiving your tonal balance using a set of closed cans?
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #20
0VU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite View Post
I think it depends on the application. If I'm doing a live recording of a large group then it's usually on the day of the performance and they are using the time as a rehearsal. For this I've been using closed cans as the musicians will be continually playing and I will shift mic position and be checking things as this is going on. I understand that open cans wouldn't work well in this scenario at all.
Same for me - I rig before the rehearsal and balance check/adjust things whilst the musos do their thing. However, I don't listen whilst adjusting (unless I'm working with an assistant and I can stay in the control room and listen whilst he moves things to my instructions). Instead, I listen, work out what I need to change, go and make the changes, then come back and check that I got it right. It takes a while to get the hang of but I now average more right moves than wrong ones and it doesn't usually take more than a few trips back and forth before I'm more or less where I want to be. I can't imagine trying to listen whilst moving mics - I'd get the headphone cable tangled round myself and/or the musicians
Besides, the extra walking around is good for me and I need the exercise

Quote:
Would any of you feel confident acheiving your tonal balance using a set of closed cans?
I wouldn't say I like doing it and I'd avoid it if at all possible but I'm fairly confident that I can get a workable balance on closed or open cans - but I've had a lot of practice, spent a long time getting used to/learning the various pairs of cans I use and it still isn't easy. But it can be done.
Old 11th June 2007
  #21
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FWIW, there are reviews and comparisons of high-end headphones in the French magazine "Diapason" of this month. Don't know if it is known outside of the French speaking countries. Anyway, magazine reviews are what they are, so take this with a grain of salt.


I'm not going to translate the whole thing, but here's the summary:

- the headphones with the highest score were the Beyer DT880, the Grado SR325i and the Senn HD650 (all received 6/6)
- the AT ATH-900, AKG K701, Senn HD600 received 5/6
- the AKG K601, Koss MV1, Beyer DT770, Sony MRD-D777LW were graded 4/6.

When comparing the HD600 to the HD650, the former is a little more "shiny" (hign-end lift) and "dry", while the later is supposed to be more "mellow" and "classy" sounding.

Again, FWIW. Like for speakers choice, it's a very personal and subjective decision.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #22
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Quote:
Same for me - I rig before the rehearsal and balance check/adjust things whilst the musos do their thing. However, I don't listen whilst adjusting (unless I'm working with an assistant and I can stay in the control room and listen whilst he moves things to my instructions). Instead, I listen, work out what I need to change, go and make the changes, then come back and check that I got it right. It takes a while to get the hang of but I now average more right moves than wrong ones and it doesn't usually take more than a few trips back and forth before I'm more or less where I want to be. I can't imagine trying to listen whilst moving mics - I'd get the headphone cable tangled round myself and/or the musicians
Sorry Ovu, this is exactly what I do too. My post must not have been clear. Like you, the thought of moving the mics around with a set of cans on my head is not a pleasant one!!

I guess my choice is either:

1. Assume that the Audio Technica cans I own are actually fairly decent for closed cans and buy a set of open cans to supplement them when possible.

2. Forget the open thing and get the best possible pair of closed cans to effectively replace the AT's.

The issue I have with the second option is still whether I would hear enough tonally to make critical decisions. But it's not like I've gone drastically wrong with the ATs so far so perhaps I'm fretting about nothing...
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
When comparing the HD600 to the HD650, the former is a little more "shiny" (hign-end lift) and "dry", while the later is supposed to be more "mellow" and "classy" sounding.
This seems to be in line with what I have read elsewhere.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 

[QUOTE=mosrite;1320224]I'm interested in peoples take on this. Ambo, would your issue be the spill of sound coming into the cans from the environment? Bearing in mind that I would be listening back when the musicians are not playing. I would then switch to my closed AT's during recording where accuracy of tone etc would not be as critical (as I would already have achieved that tone during the balance with the open phones).

Hi Mosrite, yes, even quiet room tone can be heard in the open senns. For closed phones you might consider IEM's, which are made by many companies these days. Etymotic, Ultimate Ears etc... For audiophile closed headphones, the holy grail seems to be the discontinued Sony R1 ( i think it's called R1). These have wooden earcups, leather earpads and some compare them to high end electrostats. I've never heard them but there are lots of threads on headphile.com about these. There are also a few high end Audio Technica models which are closed.

As far as open headphones go, the AKG 701, Senn 580/600/650 are highly regarded. and then of course, there is Grado which might have too much detail for your purposes.
Old 11th June 2007 | Show parent
  #25
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peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
I have Beyerdynamic DT 770 (together with HD 650). While Beyer is not that detailed sounding as HD 650, it is very well closed ... I use it for all the playback recordings (where HD 650 is unuseable)
Yep...the 770s I will also use for vocal cue mixes because they are slightly better isolating than the Ultrasone 750s. However they are a bit muddy and have a somewhat sibilance-exagerrating high end...they sound to me like the headphone equivalent of the Event ASP8. This can work well with a vocal cue though as it can help the vocalist position themselves. For all other mic placement work, it's the 750's for me.

To break in headphones, just leave them on, hooked up to a decent DAC, inside a drawer or something where you're not going to be distracted by the noise coming out of them as you listen to your monitors. After a few days they'll be broken in.
Old 12th June 2007 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Breaking in

The importance of properly breaking in a new set of headphones cannot be overstated. I went from HD600 to HD650 and thought the new ones sounded terrible! My first thought was that something had to be wrong with them, as they sounded worse in every way. I can't say for sure how long they needed before sounding like they should, but we're probably talking 20 hours or so, level cranked so high you wouldn't want to put them on your ears for more than a short while. And by the way, they do take abuse very well. Mine's ended up on the floor more times than I'd like to admit but still holds together perfectly.
Old 12th June 2007 | Show parent
  #27
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This thread has made me rethink my headphone situation - all Beyers so far. Closed 801 and 831s while recording, and old 880s and 990s (not the "Pro" version) for mixing. They are quite different, I need something really neutral. WIth what I've read here and in other GS threads, I'm now considering to get an AKG 701...
Old 12th June 2007 | Show parent
  #28
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Quote:
This thread has made me rethink my headphone situation - all Beyers so far. Closed 801 and 831s while recording, and old 880s and 990s (not the "Pro" version) for mixing. They are quite different, I need something really neutral. WIth what I've read here and in other GS threads, I'm now considering to get an AKG 701...
Daniel, are you ever able to reference off your open cans whilst on location or is it closed all the way?

I'm beginning to think that the opens might be underused on location if I got them. I do the vast majority of my recording work within the same room as the performers. However I did read this somewhere:
Quote:
It doesn't take much volume in opens at all to take you away
from moderate external noise
Don't know how much truth there is in that as I've only ever used open cans in a quiet acoustic.

I'm also interested in the notion that some closed cans are more open and some open cans are more closed (talk about confusing matters)

Read this:

Quote:
HD 580s aren't that much more closed or open than say MDR
7506s, which I also use.
Old 12th June 2007 | Show parent
  #29
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I only use closed phones on location - the Beyer 801 or 831. I much prefer them to the 770s. Still not ideal, don't know if there's a really good linear closed model. Might try the AKG 271 along with the 701...
Didn't like the Ulrasones I tried. Most closed headphones have something boxy to them that I can't stand... 831s are quite good. Haven't tried current Beyers.

If you're in the same room (or even next door with the door half-open), I think you will need closed ones. Unless you can be in a really quiet separate place, stick with closed phones.

If you're familiar with the sound of what you're using, you will be able to detect changes, e.g. as you move microphones, in a relative way at least.
Old 12th June 2007 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
If you're in the same room (or even next door with the door half-open), I think you will need closed ones. Unless you can be in a really quiet separate place, stick with closed phones.

If you're familiar with the sound of what you're using, you will be able to detect changes, e.g. as you move microphones, in a relative way at least.
Yeah I'm beginning to think that this is the right direction.

If I am at a venue where a seperate quiet room is available then I can always bring my monitors (a far better indication of things than any open cans I would suspect).

I reckon the Sony MDR7509's sound like a good bet for closed. I am hoping they will be a substantial improvement over my current AT's...
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