Sennheiser is a name that instantly inspires confidence. Their range of headphones is among the most well-respected and popular options available today. From DJs to producers they offer something for everyone. In this review, we check out the legendary HD 650 to see if all the hype surrounding these headphones is real.
Sennheiser HD 650
The HD 650 is as close to the producer’s dream headphones as you’ll get. It offers fantastic quality at a highly competitive price.
The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones offer a bunch of excellent features that are crucial to producers. Let’s see where they excel and what else you may need to be aware of.
This is one area where the HD 650’s shine. I had high expectations due to both the brand and all the positive reviews out there. Thankfully Sennheiser not only delivers but goes well beyond expectations.
Open-back headphones offer a rich and detailed listening experience. They avoid the issues that commonly plague closed-back headphones. The low-end build-up, a compact soundstage, and restrictive imaging. As expected none of these issues are present here.
The audio response is second to none. These headphones offer an exceptionally flat response for tight and accurate sound reproductions. The highs are very clear with no colorization. They are also not overly bright offering a pleasant listening experience even over longer sessions.
The lightweight aluminum voice coils deliver an excellent response.
Mid-tones are just as impressive. Once again the response is distinct, clear, and ultra-flat. If you want to experience the details in your mix these won’t hide anything. The mid-tones do tend to take the forefront ever so slightly. But compared to other offerings out there you’ll be hard-pressed to find headphones this flat. Especially at this price point.
The low-end is the weakest element. Sub-bass does drop off significantly. The rest of the frequency range is accurate and near perfect. It is a little disappointing that the lower end is missing that same precision. But it is subtle and only noticeable to a highly trained ear. But if you do work with bass-heavy music you’ll be able to distinctly notice the lack of rumble in the lower regions.
I’d also suggest an investment in a solid audio interface. The power behind these is a little lacking when teamed up with generic headphone ports. But, if you don’t need your headphones super loud these are still great straight out of the box.
Imaging is another strong component of the soundscape. Distinct and precise, you can pinpoint the placement of vocals and instruments. It all clicks and gels perfectly. Smooth easy listening that retains authenticity.
Despite the slightly disappointing low-end the HD 650s are superb headphones. Ultra-clear, super-flat, with no fatigue. A joy to work with. Especially if you spend long sessions in the studio.
Speaking of long sessions in the studio, the last thing you want is a pair of headphones that are not comfortable. This is another area that Sennheiser has got right. The clamping force is light yet retains decent stability on your head. The headband is looser than I anticipated. While not a huge issue when working they can slip if you do move around a lot.
The Sennheiser HD 650 offers comfortable ear pads.
The large elliptical design envelops your ears without any discomfort. The open-back design also allows for the passage of air to keep your ears from getting too hot. Another excellent feature for longer sessions. The padding is also comfortable with enough breathability to assist with keeping things cool.
If you have a larger than average head you’ll appreciate how comfortable these are. When you factor in the excellent audio quality and comfort level these are a step above the rest. A solid choice for the working professional.
There is nothing overly flashy or impressive about the HD 650s when it comes to aesthetics. These are pro headphones built for a purpose. Not to be winning any beauty awards. Despite that, they do retain a good profile that fits right into a professional studio environment.
The HD 650 offers a high level of build quality.
These are open-backed headphones so there is a lot of sound leakages. It’s expected from this style of headphones but worth noting if you were considering these for casual listening. If you don’t want the people around you to hear what you are listening to you’ll need to look elsewhere. Likewise, if you are in a noisy environment and need isolation. It’s also not ideal for capturing live audio and monitoring in your headphones.
The HD 650’s are clean, smart, and have a distinct emphasis on sound and performance over aesthetics.
At first, these don’t feel the most robust. At just 0.57 lbs. (258 grams) these are very lightweight. This weight adds to the comfort level but can sometimes point to lower quality or fragile components. Luckily that isn’t the case here. Much like their popular closed-back Sennheiser HD 25 DJ headphones, these offer good build quality. They are not built like a tank but they also won’t easily break.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is a durable set of studio headphones.
As with any headphones eventually wear and tear will present itself. Replacement parts are easy to source and affordable so these will stand the test of time.
The cable quality is also fantastic. It is Kevlar-reinforced and made from highly conductive oxygen-free copper. This offers super low noise. It is also detachable for both convenience and component integrity.
Not the most robust but certainly up to the task of frequent use. Treat them well and they will last you for years to come.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is a premium set of studio-grade headphones. With that does come a high price point. But these are not overpriced. When you compare these to similar studio-grade headphones these are very reasonable. Component quality is very high without any shortcuts. Audio quality is exceptional. Avoid consumer-grade headphones with overpriced marketing budgets and celebrity endorsements that lack quality. If you care about the quality of your headphones these will not disappoint, even with the higher price point.
What Others Have To Say
Lots of happy people out there that own a pair of the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones. These jack-of-all-trades headphones are often among the most recommended for studio work.
Let Your Ears Breathe
As a DJ I’ve often had to suffer from excessive heat build-up in my headphones. The nature of DJing necessitates the need for closed-back options. But when it comes to studio work or general listening I’ve always opted for open-backed headphones. The ability to kick back and enjoy music without comfort issues is worth it.
Closed-back headphones don’t allow your ears to breathe.
Heat build-up also leads to other issues. If your ears are warm you’ll likely begin to start sweating. This can lead to faster deterioration of the ear padding. This then leads to having to replace those earpads on a more regular basis. Plus, no one likes to feel like their ears are burning.
I put off buying a set of open-backed headphones for a long time. But it is something that I wish I had done sooner. Both for the excellent sound quality and the increased comfort level.
When it comes to open-back headphones there is a range of options. Depending on your needs some of the below may be a better choice compared to the HD 650s.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Review
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 is another popular open-backed set of headphones. With a satisfying and airy soundscape, it is an excellent option for music producers.
- Excellent sound quality with a satisfying low-end response.
- Sturdy construction with comfortable ear padding.
- Simple accessories. Plain bag and one thick plastic cable.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 990 review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 990
Grado SR325e Review
The Grado SR325e offers an on-ear alternative to the HD 650. This more streamlined and compact set of headphones is a great choice for audiophiles that travel a lot.
- A rich and clear sound that highlights intricate details.
- Works great without the need for an external amp. Powerful sound from any device.
- The cable is non-replaceable. If you damage the cable you’ll need a new set of headphones.
Monolith M1060 Review
The Monolith M1060 is a statement pair of headphones with a unique and interesting design. While not for everyone it’s a stylish alternative for general listening.
- The large 106mm drivers put out some serious sound.
- Eyecatching design with high-quality components.
- The large bulky design can be fatiguing on your head.
Read our full Monolith M1060 review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
The Sennheiser HD 650 is a fantastic set of professional studio headphones. The distinct neutral response makes it an excellent choice for analytical listening. Great for mixing, mastering, and general listening. The depth of sound is both pleasing and true to the source material. If you don’t mind a slightly more timid bass response these are perfect. The high build quality, crisp sound profile, and reasonable price point make these an easy recommendation.
Sennheiser HD 650