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HD600 compared to HD595,
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This review is from: Sennheiser HD 600 - Open Monitoring Headphones (Electronics)
Sennheiser HD 600 - Open Monitoring Headphones
The HD600 was originally introduced about 15 years ago as a development of the very successful HD580. It was then rated as one of the best headphones around and I can say it is still very, very good.
Comparing it to the HD595 and HD555 models that many will have heard you are immediately aware of the added clarity and dynamics to the music. The HD595 are "polite" headphones with a slightly rolled off bass and extreme treble and the HD600 still have this Sennheiser house sound. The HD600 is more punchy and detailed with a better bass, but not the treble emphasis that some headphones have that makes them aggressive. If you look on the internet you will see some claim Sennheiser have subtly changed the HD600 and HD650 from about 2007 to give them slightly more treble energy and take away what was known as the "Sennheiser veil". However, if you like a lot of treble these headphones are not for you. They excel at giving a balanced detailed sound without any emphasis on a particular frequency range. The only slight criticism is that the soundstage is a little narrow. By this I mean the music is more "in the middle of your head" than some more expensive headphones. This is one area that the HD595 and the newer HD598 are slightly better than the HD600.
They clamp your head more tightly than the HD595 but they are still very comfortable once you get used to this. Resist any temptation to bend the headband! A few weeks of use and you will not notice the extra pressure.
In comparison to the HD595 they appear to be much better made. The headband is partly metal and the overall finish is luxurious. Nice to have a box provided but in all honesty I would prefer a cheaper price. However, these are not the kind of headphones to abuse. The metal grilles will dent easily so treat them with some care.
One of the biggest differences between the HD600 and HD595 is the impedance. 300 ohms as opposed to 50 ohms. This means anything portable that is battery powered like an ipod will probably struggle to drive them to a high enough volume. If you need a portable headphone amp do your research and make sure it will have enough voltage to drive these. Having said that,they are actually not that inefficient and most mains powered equipment will probably have enough power.
The second consideration is the quality of the source and amp you use with it. These headphones will either reveal poor quality or just not perform as well as expected if you partner them with mediocre equipment. The headphone out of the on-board audio of computers is a case in point. If you listen to audio via a computer get a good sound card - again do your research or get a headphone amp or amp/DAC combined.
I can agree with the earlier review about "burning-in" headphones. Mechanical devices like speakers and headphones are "tight" when new - a bit like a new car - and need a bit of use to make them free up. They will benefit from being played for maybe up to 50 hours or more before they give of their best. However, the difference is small - but that could be significant if you are a critical listener.
Lastly the cable. Yes it is a bit thin, but it does have a very nifty adapter built in to convert to a 3.5mm socket if that is important to you. The HD650 cable fits as well and is a bit more substantial if you value a sturdier construction.
In summary, the HD600 are superbly detailed and neutral sounding. Everything is perfectly balanced with no exaggerated bass or treble. They are not aggressive and you will be able to listen for hours with no fatigue. Time your purchase when their price drops a little, as it seems to fluctuate quite a lot. If you have good quality equipment get them in preference to the HD595 as you will probably never need to buy another pair of headphones.