Sennheiser has always been at the cutting edge of headphone technology, and their expertise has led to an array of fantastic products which are highly recommended. This review looks at their latest offering, the HD 560S. Billed as an affordable pair of audiophile headphones.
Sennheiser HD 560S
The Sennhesier HD 560S has a lot to offer. The approachable price will make it an appealing option for those that don’t want to spend excessive amounts on their cans. But does it live up to its self-proclaimed lofty expectations? Read on for the full low down.
There is a lot to unpack with this new release from Sennheiser, and its price point places it firmly between some interesting alternatives. Below we take a closer look at how these distinguish themselves from the competition.
Sennheiser has an excellent reputation for delivering headphones with diverse sonic profiles. The new HD560S is another addition to the range that will appeal to certain people due to its unique take.
Let’s begin with the low-end, which is the most disappointing element of an otherwise near-perfect sound profile. First, it’s worth highlighting that these are an open-backed pair of cans. Like many open-back options, they will inevitably have difficulty competing with the thump and wallop that closed-back headphones offer.
While the low-end is disappointing, it isn’t horrible. It provides stunning accuracy for much of the lower frequencies and only falls short once treading into sub-bass regions. This makes it feel slightly anemic when faced with bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and electronic dance music. It’s accurate but lacks some depth that more refined (and more expensive) open-back headphones offer.
The HD 560S offers a neutral and inviting sound profile.
Despite the somewhat underwhelming low-end, the rest of the range is sublime. The mids offer exceptional delivery and give definition and life to vocals and lead instruments without a hint of over-emphasis or color.
The highs are equally satisfying, though there are fragments of a little boost in the lower treble region. Thankfully it is overly bright or distracting. Detailed and crisp, it is effortless to pick up subtle details within tracks that would quickly be buried under the weight of the sound profile of other cans on the market.
The soundstage and imaging are also expertly crafted. Pinpoint accuracy is present, and you can easily pick out placement within a mix. It is open and airy while not feeling hollow and lifeless. A complex combination to pull off.
Peaks and dips are minimal, and the frequency response of 6Hz-38kHz isn’t overstated. These headphones hug the line and provide a high level of accuracy, making them an ideal choice for mixing and mastering work.
Casual listeners of some genres might walk away a little underwhelmed. For anyone else, these headphones are an enticing option with a delicately crafted sound profile that is highly capable.
The comfort level of the HD 560S is another fantastic highlight of these new cans. Multiple forces at work help ensure you can comfortably wear these for long periods.
The stand out is the execution of the earcups. The most noticeable is how large and spacious they are. These are over-ear cans that can comfortably fit even the largest ears with ease.
Ample plush padding ensures a comfortable fit.
Supporting this is fantastic padding that is plush and highly forgiving. The padding is breathable and doesn’t accumulate heat, ensuring long sessions don’t become uncomfortable. Pressure points are near nonexistent, making these an excellent choice for people that wear glasses. The earcups also offer just enough swivel to ensure you attain a good seal around your ears.
The headband also offers a generous helping of padding to ease the contact point at the tip of your scalp. It adjusts with satisfying clicks and rests comfortably. But there is a little noticeable pressure after extended periods. It will likely loosen over time, but it is worth mentioning.
This pressure is primarily due to the relatively firm clamping force. These hug your ears and head and offer a high level of stability but might be a little too tight for some. Everyone has their preference. As someone who tends to bob his head a lot when listening to music, I appreciate the added security that the tighter fit provides.
From an appearance perspective, the Sennheiser HD 560S doesn’t stray far from other options in the Sennheiser line-up. You’ll be presented with an all-black frame that features minimal accents.
The restrained use of the Sennheiser logo and name lend a sophisticated and understated look. It’s a great-looking set of cans that won’t feel out of place in a studio setting. The sweeping connection from the earcups to the headband adds a dynamic form that lends to its aesthetic appeal.
The HD 650S offers a sleek and refined appearance.
But there is a lot to uncover when looking beyond eye appeal. The new specialized polymer blend transducer provides accuracy, while the efficient driver magnet features dampening to ensure distortion is kept at bay. In tandem, they are a perfect match resulting in effortless sound.
Cable execution is also on point. The long 9.8 ft. (3m) straight cable features a locking mechanism for security, and the cable is replaceable. The included adapter also ensures you can connect these headphones to various devices. Speaking of connecting, the relatively modest 120 ohms make these a viable option for lower-powered devices like smartphones.
The open-back design invariably will leak sound and not offer any isolation from your surroundings. These are not the right headphones for your daily commute or when you don’t want to distract the people around you. Leading on from this is the fact that these do not collapse. Not an ideal choice as a travel companion.
At first glance, the predominant use of plastic might lead you to believe that these are not robust. But you would be mistaken. Sennheiser has maintained its reputation for well-constructed headphones with the HD 560S.
The plastic does offer some flex, but I wouldn’t be too eager to place too much pressure on them. Some care is required, but the odd knock or bump won’t see these shatter into a million pieces.
The HD 560S is both durable and lightweight.
The quality of the internal components is very high, so no complaints there. The padding is equally superb, and you can replace the ear cup padding to suit your personal needs or when they will inevitably deteriorate over time. But even with frequent use, these won’t show signs of wear for a substantial amount of time.
The cable quality is also up to the standards I would expect from Sennheiser headphones. The locking mechanism on the left ear cup is also robust and secure.
At 0.62 lbs. (280 grams), they are lightweight without sacrificing durability. Sennheiser has delivered a remarkably reliable set of cans for an all-plastic build.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Sennheiser HD 560S is the approachable price point. Audiophile-grade headphones can be expensive, especially if you explore exotic driver types like planar cans.
The HD 560S stays true to its goal of providing high-quality sound at a price point that won’t break the bank. Moving slightly up or down in either direction of this price point will yield different results with some intriguing alternatives. But these offer a good bang for your buck on a pure dollar-for-dollar comparison.
The included adapter is the only accessory.
It is worth mentioning that there are no accessories on offer in the box. No extra cables or alternate ear pads. There also is no pouch present. I’ll admit I would have liked to see a little more here. But I can see the reasoning of trying to put as much into the headphones themselves without inflating the price tag with extra bells and whistles.
It’s All In The Details
Suppose you are looking at buying audiophile headphones. In that case, you’ll most likely be a music lover, and irrespective of what type of music you enjoy, high-quality headphones are an excellent investment.
But for some, this will be their first time exploring high-quality headphones, and they may ask what makes audiophile headphones great and whether they are worth it. The resounding answer to that question is a firm yes they are worth it!
Great music deserves great headphones.
Audiophile headphones will help present the music you love in a way you’ve never experienced. The highly neutral nature of these headphones ensures that what you are listening to is as close to what the artist or producer intended.
Regular headphones often feature an exaggerated low and high end. This is a satisfying sound profile, but it is not accurate. With neutral audiophile headphones, you’ll hear every nuance and detail within the song.
Vocals can become transcendent, and subtle twangs and variations within musical instruments will present themselves. Spatial compositions will highlight new depths and intricacies of the artist’s vision.
If you are on the fence, don’t hesitate. Your ears deserve to hear your favorite music as it was intended.
The headphone market offers many potential alternatives to the HD 560S. Below we highlight some other open-back headphones worth considering.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X Review
The DT 900 Pro X is a fantastic choice if you can stretch your budget further. It is well suited for serious studio work with a distinct and neutral sound profile.
- Rich and detailed sound profile with superb imaging and soundstage.
- The DT 900 Pro X features one of the most comfortable fits you’ll find on the market.
- The exposed wires connecting the earcups to the headband are not ideal.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X
Mackie MC-450 Review
Stepping up further in price, the MC-450 is an accomplished pair of cans. The combination of attractive styling and super tough construction makes it an appealing choice.
- High level of neutrality with outstanding balance. Richer lows will appeal to bass lovers.
- Full suite of premium quality accessories, including a hard carrying case.
- Substantially more expensive than the HD 560S.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro Review
Within the Sennheiser family of products, the HD 400 Pro stands out. Professional reference headphones that deliver excellent sound and feature similar styling to the HD 560S.
- Neutral sound profile that offers the same detail level as the HD 560S.
- Loud headphones that can reach 110 dB with no distortion.
- Much like the HD 560S, these don’t come with a pouch.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro
Should You Buy?
The expressed intent of the Sennheiser HD 560S is to deliver an affordable audiophile-grade pair of headphones. In that regard, they deliver.
The sound quality here is better than its more modest price tag suggests. Neutral, spacious, defined, and importantly not fatiguing or boring to listen to. Accurate enough for studio work but equally engaging for casual listening. With high-quality components and a surprisingly durable frame, these are worth picking up.
Sennheiser HD 560S