Sennheiser has a rich history of developing exceptional headphones. With a focus on quality and practicality, they are often the most recommended brand. In this review, we check out one of the most decorated options in their line of headphones.
Sennheiser HD 600
The Sennheiser HD 600 is an icon among audiophiles. It’s a set of headphones that have stood the test of time with a range of excellent features. But even an icon isn’t without some flaws.
With so many glowing reviews you would imagine it’s a no-brainer to pick up a pair of HD 600’s. Let’s take a deep dive to see if the HD 600’s live up to the hype.
Let’s kick this review off with the most important part. Do the Sennhesier HD 600’s sound good? The answer is a resounding yes. There is so much to love about this set of headphones. Years of experience shine through in what is arguably one of the best headphones Sennheiser has ever produced. Even after so many years of new options from competitors the HD 600’s still rank as among the very best.
The Sennheiser HD 600 offers exceptional sound quality.
Firstly the response is exceptionally neutral. A perfect choice for critical and analytical listening. This makes them an ideal candidate for professionals that need a reliable and accurate set of studio headphones. There is no colorization present and the clarity is perfect. The open-back design allows the sound to breathe and eliminates unwanted build-up.
The highs are precise and defined. Bright and clean, they never stray into tinny or grating territory. The mids are equally pleasant. There is not an ounce of muddiness present. Clear and rich in tonality these headphones bring out the subtle details of the source material. Whether you are listening to Jazz, Rock, or classical music these are up to the task.
The lows are perhaps the weakest of the frequencies. There is no doubt that they sound a little flatter and offer less warmth than you might want. But this is also a slight illusion. The HD 600’s represent the source material with impeccable detail. Some tracks lack quality low-end representation in the mix. If that is the case these headphones will expose those flaws. For purists this is ideal but for casual listening, it can lead to disappointment.
These are among the very best open-backed headphones available at this price point. And despite two decades passing they still leave many competitors in the dust.
The Sennheiser HD 600’s have a strange duality when it comes to comfort level. They are both very comfortable but also not perfect.
The ear padding is fantastic. The memory foam is soft and plush and offers an excellent level of breathability. When you combine this with the open-back design you’ll experience no discomfort from excessive heat build-up. These pads are also replaceable. The over-ear design is also spacious and large enough to comfortably envelop your ear.
The Sennheiser HD 600 features thick memory foam ear pads.
The headband however is on the tighter side. The thick padding is comfortable but the pressure is noticeable. If you have a large head you may find these uncomfortable at first. But this is where there is some good news.
The headband will progressively adapt to your head. Both the padding and the give of the band will loosen over time. If you are willing to break these in you’ll have no comfort issues in the long term.
The grippy clamping force also ensures a secure fit. You can easily move around without fear that these will fall off your head. As someone that spends plenty of time bopping their head along to the music, I appreciate the security the HD 600’s offer.
While not a perfect set of headphones in the comfort department they are still miles ahead of other options.
The Sennheiser HD 600’s have been around for over two decades. And when it comes to design it shows. They certainly look dated compared to some contemporary options. Having said that Sennheiser did update the headband from the original design. The faux marble look gave way to a matte black finish. This was a massive improvement. I’ll always take function over aesthetics but even I would struggle to love a pair of marble-looking headphones.
The Sennheiser HD 600 features high-quality components.
Beyond appearance the HD 600’s offer an open-backed design that does leak sound. It’s by design but is something to be mindful of if you don’t want to disturb people around you. There are no exposed wires which gets another tick of approval from me.
But they are not collapsible making these not the most ergonomic or transportable set of headphones. The long straight cable connects to both sides of the headphones. These cables are detachable and replaceable.
The Sennheiser HD 600’s are not the most attractive set of headphones out there. But they make up for it with great sound and solid features.
The fact that these came out over twenty years ago shows Sennheiser’s commitment to their products. Full access to replaceable components allows you to just fix the individual components as needed. A great money-saver in the long term.
The HD 600’s are tough but not without some flaws. The build is lightweight but doesn’t feel cheap. The headband is decent but is also among the weakest components. Hinge quality is also okay but doesn’t wow me. I could foresee these breaking without too much pressure. Whatever you do, don’t accidentally sit on these!
The included cables are a little flimsy but also replaceable.
Another weak point is the included cable. The connector pins are small and feel fragile. Luckily these offer compatibility with other Sennheiser cables. It’s an easy upgrade if you want something more dependable.
The metal grating covering the drivers feels solid and could likely handle a fall. The padding is durable and also easily replaceable.
I’ve nit-picked the build quality but these headphones are for the studio. Not for aggressive workout sessions or travel.
For everyday professional use, these will go the distance. When you factor in a two-year warranty you’ll be well covered for any potential issues.
When the Sennheiser HD 600 was originally released it was on the expensive side. But over the years the price has come down and they now offer exceptional value for money. It is worth mentioning that these do not come with a carry pouch or hard case. Additionally, there are no extra components included. No spare cable or spare pads.
Despite the lack of accessories the Sennheiser HD 600 is among the best-sounding headphones at its price point.
There is a recurring theme among customers that have purchased the HD 600’s. Many are both amazed and impressed with the excellent clarity and sound quality. Others mention how much detail is present and how they are rediscovering some of their favorite tracks in a new light. With dozens of 5-star reviews, the HD 600’s are very popular and well respected.
What Is Nominal Impedance?
One specification which is often overlooked is nominal impedance. But it plays a critical role in getting the most out of your headphones.
Without diving into too the technical detail, at its most basic it is a measurement of how much power the drivers need. This can directly impact the volume level you can achieve.
Some headphones perform better when paired with a headphone amp.
Generally, low impedance headphones don’t require a lot of power. These headphones work well with portable devices like smartphones.
High impedance headphones require more power to deliver maximum performance. This is where a headphone amplifier comes in.
Often studio-grade headphones will have high impedance. They tend to offer lighter coils that in turn produce less distortion and better sound quality.
You can still use high impedance headphones with modern devices. But you may experience a volume ceiling much lower than if you were running them through a headphone amp.
Despite this most high-quality headphones still put out plenty of loudness. Even when they are slightly constrained.
Selecting studio headphones can be a difficult task. There are plenty of choices out there. Here is a quick snapshot of some solid alternatives to the Sennheiser HD 600.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Review
The DT 990 is another fantastic set of open-back studio headphones. They are an affordable entry-level alternative that still offers premium sound quality.
- Super comfortable design that is perfect for long listening sessions.
- Solid low-end delivery that delivers a rich bass response.
- You cannot replace the cable since it is hard-wired.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 990 review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 990
Sennheiser HD 650 Review
If you prefer to stick to Sennheiser the HD 650 is an excellent alternative. Despite reports to the contrary, they offer a very similar sound profile to the HD 600.
- Excellent imaging and fantastic neutral response.
- Solid build quality and a more comfortable design than the HD 600.
- Much like the 600, it is a little weak in bass response.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 650 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 650
Monolith M1060 Review
The Monolith M1060 is another alternative to the Sennheiser which is better suited to casual listening. It offers spacious sound thanks to the open-back design and planar drivers.
- Large planar drivers deliver excellent performance with lower distortion and rich bass.
- Eye-catching design that makes a statement. Hard case also included.
- Due to the large drivers, these headphones are a little bulky.
Read our full Monolith M1060 review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is a term that comes to mind for the Sennheiser HD 600’s. There is a reason that these headphones are still in production after so many years. They highlight that age doesn’t matter when it comes to high-quality audio design and engineering. They perform exceptionally well in a studio environment. Precise, accurate, and rich in tonality. Clarity is fantastic and once worn in these are great for long listening sessions.
If you want a reliable and neutral set of studio headphones the Sennheiser HD 600 is one of the very best out there.
Sennheiser HD 600