April 15, 2024
TEST: SENNHEISER HD-600 (OPEN BACK)

TEST: SENNHEISER HD-600 (OPEN BACK)

Sennheiser has a long line of open headphones, something that began in 1968 with the model HD-414 – a pair of legendary headphones, which, with over ten million copies sold, make them the best-selling headphones ever. Development has since given us several classics such as the HD-650 and HD-600 , which we will take a closer look at here.

The HD-600 was welcomed into the world back in 1997, but is still a current headphone for audiophiles and music producers. A facelift was done in 2019, but otherwise the HD-600 should be the same headphone. We wanted to test this alleged “magic” and see how the HD-600 stacks up against “newcomers” in the same class. What stands out? What is it that still attracts interest, 25 years after its release? Something is likely there, and we want to find out.

Sennheiser HD-600 headphones
Photo: senses.se

Overall Sennheiser HD-600

In the box, it is more sparingly scratched than usual. All you get is the headphones. Nothing more. No carrying bag or alternative cord, which we consider to be the easiest. The lack makes the first impression a bit confused. Being able to change to a shorter cord or transport the headphones protected should be standard today and could easily have been updated in connection with the design change in 2019.

The cord that comes with it has a 3.5 mm plug which, with an adapter, becomes a 6.3 mm plug, which is a shame. With the HD-650, you get the reverse, i.e. direct 6.3 and adapter to 3.5 mm, which is preferable if you prefer to use a DAC or external sound card. The HD-600 ends up with its impedance of 300 ohms a bit in the middle. The sensitivity is 102 dB, which means that your mobile phone will have to struggle while your toad might find it a little easier.

Sennheiser HD-600 earmuffs
Photo: senses.se

Comfort

Comfort is high; The HD-600 sits firmly and safely on the head. The headphone cushions are exemplary and just the right size to avoid any major temperature rise. The fit is somewhat tight, but if the underwire softens just a little there is no longer anything to complain about. The headphones weigh 253 grams without cable, which means they are barely noticeable on the head. The HD-600 are extremely comfortable and unashamedly invite you to many, long listening sessions.

Sennheiser HD-600 – The sound image

One of the hallmarks of the HD-600 is its focus on clear and smooth midrange, unlike many manufacturers’ over-enthusiasm for bass and treble. And certainly the midrange is something out of the ordinary. But there’s more to the story, so let’s take it all in a bit of a structured way:

Sennheiser HD-600 caps
Photo: senses.se

High frequencies (High-range)

The HD-600 extends up to 40.5 Khz. All trebles are heard clearly and the richness of detail is palpable, without being unpleasantly prickly to the ears. Agnes Obels – Familiar is filled with articulations and intimate details. It becomes especially clear in this song that the balance between the absolute highest frequencies and “the high-lows” is perfect. Even an “s” gains its width, but at the same time retains its sharpness. In the intro to Alan Jackson’s – Drive , the touches of the acoustic guitar are heard with such determination and clarity that it becomes a pleasure in itself. But not excessively. Just precise.

Intermediate frequencies (Mid-range)

As already indicated, the middle register is something special. The acoustic impression sometimes becomes so overwhelming that the brain suddenly demands a break from other ongoing activities. The focus is directed completely over to the music. This is combined with a softness and breadth, which makes you just want to keep listening. But here too, it does not become excessive, but the midrange merges high and low, not at the expense of the other frequencies. Rather, it becomes a soft blanket that makes everything blend together. Actually, it becomes a bit difficult to describe the feeling. It just feels natural and caressing.

Low frequencies (Low-range)

The HD-600 doesn’t extend below 12 Hz, which on paper doesn’t feel that impressive compared to many other headphones, where it’s not uncommon for the range to be 4 or 5 Hz. But does it make an audible difference? No, hardly. To really challenge the HD-600, we start William Orbits – Raphael . The bass is so low-frequency that in some earphones it is almost not heard at all, if you do not have the volume on well. But the HD-600 delivers. To test power and punch, we switch to Michael McCann’s – Watchtower . And sure, everything is heard, but we lack a touch of explosiveness. The pressure is not enough for your brain to simulate the pressure over your stomach like at a concert, but almost. It’s not slippery. When playing Alok & Alan Walker’s – Headlightsyou get a lively and clear bass, without missing anything.

The overall sound image

By analyzing each frequency range, you get more or less clear outlines of the overall sound image. It must be emphasized that it is in the overall sound image that something happens with the HD-600. No frequency range on its own really stands out, but when you take in the whole, it becomes absolutely perfect. The headphones do not favor any genre, but thrive in any musical room. You get sucked into the music and want to explore how all the little details dance with each other, how we emotionally follow along. It is colorful and inviting. Detailed and broad.

Indeed, there is something special about Sennheiser’s HD-600.

Sennheiser HD-600 headband
Photo: senses.se

Sennheiser HD-600 The content

It’s hard to go wrong with Sennheiser’s HD-600. Whether you’re looking for a reference headphone or a headphone to enjoy your pearls with, you’ve come to the right place. There is a character and charm in the sound image that makes the HD-600 special. The negative aspects are few: stingy with accessories, somewhat tight fit and some lack of power and pressure. But the HD-600 is not an extreme headphone, it is even a bit modest in parts. However, it has gathered almost everything in a powerful symbiosis that makes it special and comprehensive. So hats off to this 25-year-old, who still deserves to be noticed!

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