Sennheiser HD650 Reference Headphones Review – Is Sennheiser’s Prize Gem still Gleaming?

Sennheiser has been developing some of the best headphones available for over 60 years. The German brand has a legacy for audio engineering excellence that makes certain other celebrity endorsed headphones brands seem life adolescents in comparison. The crown jewel of the Sennheiser range are the HD650s reference headphones.

Appearance

The Sennheiser HD650 headphones might not have the ‘cool’ lines and aesthetics of Beats by Dr Dre headphones. The outer grills on the headphones might not be to be to everyone’s tastes and they’re certainly heavy.

But on the other hand, these aren’t designed for the commute to work. These are audiophile headphones for enjoying music as artists intended it to be heard in the peaceful surroundings of home.

They are certainly comfortable to wear, with a solid plastic and metallic construction and padded headband that grips your head without feeling as thought it’s in a vice. The cushioned ear pads are also shaped to cup the ear rather than be placed on top of it, enabling you to wear these for hours comfortably.

Performance

Many people buy Sennheiser headphones based on the brand name alone, taking confidence in the reputation that a 60 year history and the HD650s have earned it. These headphones feature lightweight aluminium voice coils and high power neodymium magnets, but I’m sure what you really want to know is how they sound.

If these are your first hi-end headphones then you will be amazed at how you hear things in music you never knew were there. The mids are clear and well presented, while the treble is tight, precise and clear as crystal. You will undoubtably notice a leap in depth and detail when listening to even the best mid-range headphones. In particular, the Sennheiser HD650 headphones score top marks for their range of powerful and highly textured bass, which doesn’t intrude on other frequencies while making its presence known (which has been a complaint of Dr Dre Beats’ bass heavy headphones).

What people say

As with any high end headphones, to get the best headphones performance you will need to burn these in first by leaving them plugged into the radio. You will also need the right setup to get the most out of these headphones. Plugging the Sennheiser HD650 headphones simply wont do. If you don’t have a high quality amplifier then the best alternative is buy a USB audio amplifier (e.g. TonePort or FiiO E17) to drive the sound.

The Sennheiser HD650 headphones offer amazing treble and mid range sounds, but where they really score highly with reviewers is the awesome bass and accurate soundstage that surpasses most headphones in the high end market.

On the downside, being open backed these leak sound like a sieve. So it’s not advisable to take these on the train or bus, unless you want to get looks for all the wrong reasons. But that’s not what they’re for. The Sennheiser HD650 headphones are for enjoying music as though you are there in the studio, to be savoured and submerged in without background noise to disturb you.

Music you’ll turn up

These are simply perfect for classic rock thanks to their magical bass, which will provide a lush texture to string and woodwind instruments. These are also among the best headphones for dub, reggae, classical and progressive rock.

Music you’ll switch off

The Sennheiser HD650 headphones may struggle to keep up the pace with fast rock or high tempo dance tracks. While their bass performance is exceptional, it might not be heavy enough for those looking for something to rattle their eyeballs.

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