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Sennheiser HD600-- Audiophile Grade Headphones reviewed!!! (1 Viewer)

Steven Simon

Senior HTF Member
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Sep 14, 1998
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3,313
Real Name
Steven Simon
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I have had a need to get a decent quality pair of headphones for some time now, and have been doing some extensive research on all the brands, and price ranges…..
I have had several different models and brands of headphones throughout my audio listening life, and was just sick of spending money on inferior crap…. It was time for me to get the pair that would last a while and sound way above average… With high resolution audio formats coming to the forefront such as SACD (Which I have dived extensively into :) ) and DVD audio, the time was right…
Most of you guys had pointed me in the direction of Sennheiser…… I wasn’t sure which model to go with… There were a few models that were pretty close in quality and construction….. I demo’d the 580’s, 590’s and the prestiged 600 model…..
My local audio dealer was kind enough to let me do some extensive listening with all three models….
The SENNHEISER 600 was the winner by a semi narrow margin….. Suggested retail on these headphones is 450. I picked them up for $300.
Getting right into it, these are by far the best headphones I have ever owned!!!!
Audio reproduction on these phones is top notch, and border recording studio sound…
Audio is Dynamic and crystal clear …. The highs instead of sounding ear piercing and harsh, sound more natural and pronounced!!! AKA Miles Davis SACD; Jacinthia SACD… In 2 Channel Stereo mode, (Denon 3801/ Paradigm Studio 40’s BiWired) my setup really did these SACD’s justice…. Very natural sounding and warm…. These headphones took the audio reproduction on those 2 SACD’s to a new level!!! Instrumentals (Piano, Trumpet, Drums) are extremely lifelike…. The true test is to sit in a darkened room and close your eyes…..
Bass response is also exceptional with this pair… Well defined, and detailed…
If anyone on the HTF is looking for an Audiophile grade Headphone, at a bargain price of around 300 bucks IMHO, this is it!!!!
If you’re doing some critical, or even casual 2 channel stereo listening, these headphones will really stimulate your ears….
On the other hand, if you can’t determine the difference between MP3 and PCM CD quality sound, don’t bother…. These are not for you….
A+ Audio Nirvana and Bliss
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Thanks,
Steven R. Simon
HTF Administrator
Theater Pics Updated 6-11-2001
Send Email: [email protected]
 

Darrel McBane

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 8, 1999
Messages
363
Great comments. I've had these on my list of "Things to get....but haven't gotten around to it yet" for months now. Of course I also want the Pronto2 and a pair of Revel F30 speakers. The HD-600 are cheaper of course.
I had a pair of Sennheiser headphones some years back and a friend of my son decided he needed them more than me. So the thought of the HD-600 headphones seem like the best for the money bar none. I also have SACD players and would definitely stand to benefit from a pair.
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Andy W

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
May 13, 2001
Messages
63
Nice review, Steven. I wholeheartedly concur with your comments.
My wife bought me Sennheiser HD-600 headphones for Christmas, 1999. She threw in a Musical Fidelity X-Cans tube headphone amplifier, and later bought me a Musical Fidelity X-PSU power supply to go with the X-Cans. (I am very lucky to have a wife who enjoys music and movies as much as I do, and she is very supportive of our audio/home theater hobby :)).
The X-Cans and X-PSU made quite an improvement over the headphone jack in my Yamaha DSP-A1. The HD-600 sounded more dynamic, liquid, and full bodied with the X-Cans/X-PSU combination than through the DSP-A1 headphone jack.
I’ve owned Stax electrostatic headphone for years (SR-Sigma with SRD-7 adapter), and I can say without hesitation that the HD-600 is very competitive with the more expensive Stax.
In my opinion, the Sennheiser HD-600 is an excellent choice to experience quality sound (for private listening) at a competitive price.
Good listening.
Andy
 

Dustin B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2001
Messages
3,126
I whole heartedly agree as well. The HD600s are unbelievable phones. Even with only an Onkyo 575 driving them I notice significantly more detail than other speakers I've heard or own. Whether this is solely to do with the phones or also has something to do with the fact that rarely are speakers in an ideal room, while headphones always are, I don't know. I was lucky enough to get in on a limited offer over on the headwise forum. Had a set delivered to Canada for $205 USD including shipping from Germany. The only other cost was taxes.
The only gripe I have with Sennhheiser is the mark up on the phones in North America. In Europe they list for around $250 USD while in North America they list for $450 USD. This removes these phones from the reach of a lot of people.
Now all I need is to get a nice amp for them. I'm thinking about the Corda from Meier Audio. But it's still a ways off before I'll have the money to waste on that.
 

Jack F

Agent
Joined
Nov 12, 2000
Messages
41
I wonder if it's possible that the 600's need a good HeadPhone Amp?
I just went through the HeadPhone shopping deal. I ended up picking up a pair of Sennheiser HD-535's at Tweeter for $79.95
The funny part is, if he had offered me the 600's for the same price, I would have still taken the 535's.
They just seemed to be more sensitive, (louder) and punchier. I couldn't hear any differences other than the 600's didn't seem to be getting enough power from the output on the CD player I was using to demo them.
I guess, I should have demanded to demo the Phones with a good Stereo or maybe even a Denon 5800 as that's what I'm using them on. My mistake for thinking the salesman new what he was doing, having me demo $450.00 Headphones hooked to a 5 disc cd-player.
frown.gif

I actually had them on listening to some MP3's when I clicked on this thread. LOL
 

PomingF

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 4, 2000
Messages
343
In fact the MF X-CAN V2 & the HD600 should be quite a mate for each other.
In the current issue of Stereophile, JS compare two Stax headphone/preamp systems to his reference HD600 & Cary SET integrated preamp (CAD-300SEL), he finds the Cary/Sennheiser combo almost as good.
PF
 

Kevin_W

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 22, 2000
Messages
261
Great thread guys, and thanks Steven for that review. I am in the process of deciding on a quality pair of phones myself and I kind of had my eye on the 600's little brother the HD580's or even the Grado SR225's. I planned on hooking these directly to my Denon 3300 without the use of a headphone amp. Am I doing these ~$200 headphones injustices by just running them straight out of the receivers headphone jack? Since I hadn't planned on purchasing an external amp, should I lower my price point to ~$100 phones?
Thankyou,
Kevin
[Edited last by Kevin_W on July 10, 2001 at 09:12 AM]
 

Andy W

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
May 13, 2001
Messages
63
Steven, you can find Musical Fidelity X-Cans v2 headphone amplifiers at www.audioadvisor.com . There was a rumor a while back that MF was discontinuing the X-Cans v2, but this rumor seems to have subsided. Audio Advisor continues to list the X-Cans on their web site and in their catalogs.
I think I also saw the X-cans v2 listed in a recent Acoustic Sounds catalog, but I can’t remember for sure. Their web site is www.acousticsounds.com .
Happy listening.
Andy
 

Andy W

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
May 13, 2001
Messages
63
Kevin, I don’t think you would be doing any injustice to using the headphone jack on your Denon 3300. A headphone amp would merely be a potential upgrade in performance much like a separate power amp could be to help upgrade an A/V receiver’s performance. In many cases, the supplied headphone jack of an audio component is an afterthought using cheap op-amps in their construction. A dedicated headphone amp is designed exclusively to improve headphone performance, and they are often built with better quality parts.
Also, matching a headphone amp to a specific headphone seems to be as constructive as matching power amps to speakers to eke out the best performance from a specific headphone. Different headphone amps may mate differently with different headphones, primarily due to diverse impedances presented by the headphones themselves. For example, the Sennheiser HD-600 has a 300 ohm impedance, while the Grado SR-225 has a 32 ohm impedance. The conventional wisdom of a dedicated headphone forum at Link Removed suggests the Musical Fidelity X-Cans v2 goes very well with the HD-600, and the Creek OBH-11 goes well with the SR-225. Of course, one’s own mileage may vary.
Hope this info helps you in some way.
Andy
 

Graham Perks

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 8, 1998
Messages
328
I have the 580s - they're lovely. Very comfortable.
I tried them plugged into my Denon 3200 and there was a lot of noise. Just a constant humming, from any source. Very annoying. I don't know what could be causing it. There is no other headphone jack in my system to try.
So now the 580s are hooked up to my PC. And they sound awesome!
The Sennheisers do need a decent amount of oomph behind them. They are terrible connected to a portable CD player. I pair of Koss cans that cost about $40 sound much better. But try comparison completely changes when the cans are connected to my PC, or even the 3200. The Koss cans sound much the same as before, but the 580s sound absolutely beautiful!
I found the 580s for $130 on the net, there was a store selling them on Amazon auctions. I forget the store name now.
If it's not already been mentioned,http://www.headphone.com is a very useful site. They have lots of information and some very good products.
 

Chip E

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 25, 2000
Messages
1,165
I'm definately wayyyyyy too impulsive.... after reading your enthusiastic review STEVE! (lol..) i cruised over to J&R, called them...and bought a pair of the Senn HD600's for $290.00 including shipping BTW.. I figure plugging them into my B&K AVR-307 will work, eh? (lol..) Hey?, should i have bought an extention plug? I'm going to be sitting about 7 feet from my rack.. If yes, is there a difference in quality with these just like other audio-video cables? certain brand better than others? or, doesn't really matter.. thanks! :)
- Chip
 

PomingF

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 4, 2000
Messages
343
Dang it, Chip. Are you aware AA has the 600 for $250 refurbished & $350 brand new? They are also selling the MF X-CAN V2 for $270 & I bet if you ask them for a Stereophile subscribers' 10% discount, they will give it to you as well. Sorry. :)
PF
[Edited last by PomingF on July 10, 2001 at 09:07 PM]
 

Michael St. Clair

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 1999
Messages
6,001
Anyone buying a headphone amp should at least try Headroom's models, they have a friendly 30-day policy and are great people to boot!
 

Adam

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 3, 1998
Messages
139
IMHO you definitely need an external headphone amp with the HD600's and the HD580's. THey have 300 ohm impedence. This is very high for a headphone. The higher the impedence the less power your headphone amp can deliver.
I tried HD580's with my DVD player and they sounded terrible. Since my prepro did not have a headphone jack I needed a headphone amp.
Adam.
 

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