HD650 open back professional headphones from Sennheiser have been their pride for over 10 years now. It’s hard to imagine that these cans may have many pitfalls if they have managed to placate a bunch of unrelenting audiophiles for 10+ years. Turns out Sennheiser did hit a lot of homes runs with the HD 650 that succeeded the ultraclean HD600 and created a masterpiece by the standards of the era of their debut. Audiophiles have graduated the mean-and-superior college since so they might be above all the hype of these headphones. But for people who are starting school in ‘good vs. bad audio-audiophile level’, these are good cans.
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones were the vogue of the past decade for no small reason. They have such a pleasant and textured sound. The mids are plush with small details that you would have missed in other headphones. They are not as dynamic as Audeze LCD2 which is the king of details and balance. But they have their moments. The highs perk up in gobs before hitting any sibilance. The entire 10-41,000Hz frequency spectrum of HD 650 headphones is colored warm, without any doubt. That’s why the music is lovely, no matter what format it comes from. HD650 is one of the more forgiving high-end headphones.
Bass forms an important part of any headphone’s audio profile. The verdict on HD 650’s bass is left to personal preference. The reason being everybody has a different perception of the way bass must be done. On a subjective route the HD650 headphones have quite an extensive range bassthat does have the punch, maybe little more than what we could call neutral. It’s not an exact reproduction and plays into the trend of kicking up bass to bring life to music. The increase has been subtly managed to Sennheiser’s credit but they found themselves at the receiving end of a hissy fit from the audio authorities. Sub-bass region is not as extended as Sony MDR1R which can thump at 4Hz or even the 5Hz of V-Moda Crossfade M100s. So sub-bass region might not send visceral shocks down your spine. Treble detail on Sennheiser HD 650 is a much debated topic. Is it veiled, is it crystal clear, what? They are no Sony MDR V6 but they have a soothing aura that takes the edge off of the enhanced bass.
HD650 headphones need to be coupled with the right amp and DAC to play their price. They sport a high impedance of 300 ohms which will not allow high enough volumes to be driven by a portable playback device. You can pick up a Violectric or a Woo WA6 to ramp up the sound from the audio player.
Let’s remember that Sennheiser HD 650 headphones came out a good 10 years ago when we didn’t have the same concept of cosmetic standards on headphones as we have now. On top of that they are labeled ‘professional headphones’ which is a license to look huge and outdated. HD650 does have the titanium/silver finish and the quiet grace an open-back headphone can muster. But they are otherwise made completely of plastic. This does curb the weight and make them comfortable to wear over long recording sessions or just a re-run of Wall Street.
Comfort-wise we cannot find flaw with these headphones. They are lined with Velour oval earpads and cranial cushions, so they pretty much rock.Both the earcups of Sennheiser HD 650 headphones have a 3.5mm headphones jack which allows you to unplug its cable and even replace it. As you are not likely to wear them outside much, their looks will do. There’s only the slight apprehension whether the plastic construction will fall apart too easily on the slightest impact.
Cable: The standard detachable cable that comes with HD 650s is a Kevlar-reinforced OFC cable than ends in a ¼ inch jack. A 6.3mm-to-3.5mm adapter is also included in the pack to connect to smaller devices.
Sennheiser HD 650 headphones have something of a cult following for their warm sound that goes easy on MP3 format. Audiophiles may roll their eyes all they want but we all tend to gravitate towards good sound, accurate or not. While HD650 are not entirely natural for professional use, they can be paired up with the home theatre and bigger audio systems that can drive them successfully. Fragile as they are and chunky as they look, they are definitely not the best options to carry around with your MP3 device. But put them on your wishlist if only for their delectable audio.