The Sennheiser HD650 sits in many a headphile’s collection for good reason. Although it is hard to drive (300 ohm) and not among the least expensive headphones ($500), the HD650 is a good reference, against which, other headphones can be judged. So long as you are willing to deal with using a headphone only at home with a decent amp and quiet room, the HD650 may be the only home reference headphone you would need. This is, however, a gateway headphone and will open the doors for you into a world of high-end audio you’ll find hard not to get sucked into.
As I said before the HD650 is a reference class headphone that is very balanced; but what does that mean? First off that the headphone is very detailed and an even emphasis is given to the highs, lows, and mids. This headphone is punchy for an open back with a good tight bass response. Being open backed also gives this headphone a great soundstage and sense of space. The mids are a bit recessed but only slightly and overall this headphone has a relaxed sound. I like the sound of this headphone its hard to find anything wrong with it, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone but it is a bit to relaxed for me and seems to lack the excitement that other headphones sound provides.
One of the greatest parts of this headphone is the fit, and comfort. Heavily padded and fully around the ear you can forget that you are wearing these very quickly. They also manage to stay cool over long periods of listening. The one consideration you may have is that if you have a large head they may seem a bit tight to start out with as was the case for me. Over time they have loosened some and I no longer have any issue with this.
These headphones are very versatile musically and will sound great with anything from rock, indie, r&b and some music with heavy lows such as rap and dubstep although they aren’t ideal for either of these. When it come to how versatile they are otherwise, they just aren’t. They need to be tied down to a home amp and need a quiet room, there is no taking these with you into public and there isn’t meant to be.
As far as value is concerned on these headphones it is hard to say that anything with this good of sound for $500 isn’t a good value but you also have to take into account the amp to drive them. This could be as little as $100-$200 for a FiiO desktop amp or could well surpass the cost of the headphones. If you’re already a headphile with this sort of equipment then the HD650 is a no brainer but it may be hard to swallow as a first audiophile purchase.
Overall this is a fantastic headphone, for what its meant for which is home listening. Sennheiser really put everything into making this headphone sound great and be comfortable without exception. At its price point its the best sounding headphone on the market in my opinion, though I do find it a bit too relaxed. You do have to make a few concessions to these headphones but if you’re willing to you’ll get something you will appreciate for a long time to come. As far as what to drive this with I believe as relaxed as it is you’re best going with a solid state amp. Outside of that and a comfy chair there isn’t much more you need with these.
- Sound – Phenomenal
- Comfort – Epic
- Value – Amazing
- Versatility – Good
- Overall – Phenomenal
How does it compare to Sennheiser HD25 mk2, Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7, ATH-M40X, BeyerDynamic DT150, Sony MDR-7510, I work in audio production using Izotope, Ableton, Reaper, (Previously a Pro-Tools user), plus I play fretless bass and monitors from JBL (previously Genelec) – Thank you.