The All-time classic Headphone that is still relevant today

HD 600.jpeg The Sennheiser HD 600 remains a benchmark in the world of high-fidelity headphones, renowned for its natural sound reproduction and exceptional build quality. This model has been a favorite among audiophiles and professionals for years, thanks to its balanced sound and durable design.

This is my favourite headphone for tonality with perfect midrange and treble but is the overall package still a benchmark and are there a few things that I would like to see changed. Read on to find out …

What’s in the box:

The HD 600 comes in a typically Sennheiser box: box.jpg

Once open it you get an immediate glimpse at the HD 600:

OpenBox.jpeg

Design and Comfort

The HD 600 sports a classic design with its distinctive marble-like finish on the ear cups, giving it a timeless look. The build is predominantly plastic, but don’t let that fool you – the quality is robust, and it contributes to the lightweight feel of the headphones, making them comfortable for long listening sessions. sideview.jpeg

Comfort is one of the HD 600’s strong suits. The padding on the headband and the velour ear pads are soft and conform well to the head and ears. The clamping force is just enough to ensure a secure fit without being too tight, making them suitable for extended use without discomfort.

Here is a short video to hopefully give you an appreciation of the HD 600:

Sound Quality

The overall sound signature of the HD 600 is legendary, a beautiful balanced sound with emphasis on midrange and treble detail. This headphone reveals every detail and is one of the best headphones for appreciating the subtle details of well produced audio.

But let’s drill down into the details:

Bass:

The HD 600 delivers a balanced and accurate bass response. It’s not overly emphasized but rather tight and controlled, offering enough presence without overshadowing midrange frequencies. The bass is more about accuracy than power, making these headphones ideal for genres that thrive on a natural sound. So one possible weakness (depending on your musical preferences) is in the HD 600 is the default sub-bass, so some genres of music I feel the need to EQ up the sub-bass a little. That said it is not really required and I mostly listen to them with EQ and enjoy the accurate bass response.

Midrange:

This is where the HD 600 truly shines. The midrange is beautifully natural and transparent, offering an exceptional level of detail. Vocals and acoustic instruments are reproduced with an organic and lifelike quality that few headphones can match.

Treble:

The treble of the HD 600 is clear and detailed without being overly bright or harsh. It strikes a balance that brings out the details in music, from the subtle breaths in vocal tracks to the crispness of high-hats in a jazz ensemble.

Soundstage and Imaging:

The HD 600 provides amazing imaging but the soundstage at least compared to my Hifiman Edition XS is narrower. I believe this is mainly because the Hifiman large egg cup driver design rather than the tuner. But the superior tuning on the HD 600 more than makes up for the lack of a super wide soundstage. I personally like to have many headphones for different occasions and having the HD 600 with optionally a second headphone for soundstage gives you everything you need for the perfect headphone listening experiences.

Durability and Build Quality

The HD 600 is built to last I have had mine in constant use for 5 years, but I know friends who have had their 10 years or more. Despite its plastic construction, the materials are of high quality, and the headphones feel sturdy.

The modular design means that almost every part – from the cable to the ear pads – can be replaced, which extends the longevity of the headphones significantly.

2 minor complaints about the cable

One minor complaint or at least advise would be to buy a second cable. While I completely understand that having a 3-meter cable is perfect for a studio environment and even some causal home listening - I found that I could appreciate the HD 600 when walking out in the forest (even though its open it was nice to walk around a quiet forest trail with these headphones) so I would buy a second 1.2 Meter cable. Ideally the HD 600 when appealing to regular consumer could come with a second cable.

One other minor complaint about the cable would be the custom 2-pin connector. I have many headphone cables of varying lengths but the majority of these now use 3.5mm connectors into each ear. Having a more standard connector would be a nice switch for a future HD 600.

Compatibility and Use Cases

With an impedance of 300 ohms, the HD 600 benefits from being driven by a dedicated headphone amplifier to reach its full potential.

They are ideal for critical listening and are widely used in professional settings for mixing and mastering. However, for casual listening, they may require a bit more power than what typical smartphone outputs can deliver.

I have used many headphone amplifiers over the years with the HD 600, but currently I am enjoying it with the FiiO K7 and recently with the Schiit Midgard.

Specification and Measurements

Specification
Frequency response 12 Hz - 40,500 Hz
SPL 97 dB (1 V)
Impedance 300 Ω
THD < 0,1 % (1 kHz, 1 V)
Cable length 3 m
Adapter 3.5 mm stereo jack plug
Transducer dynamic, open
Weight 260 g
Measurements

These measurements were taken with my ‘clone’ KB5060 Soft Pinna: HD 600-measurement.jpg

It has impressive distortion levels which means it can easily take some EQ to ‘flatten’ out the sub-bass response.

Rating

This gets a very pragmatic 5 stars. Obviously at $300-$400 it’s not cheap but when you can buy a headphone that last for 10+ years and that is still relevant today it becomes the most pragmatic of headphones purchases.

Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD 600 remains a top choice for those seeking a natural, balanced sound signature. Its strengths lie in its midrange clarity, comfortable design, and durable build. While it might not cater to bass-heads or those looking for a more colored sound signature, its faithful audio reproduction makes it a beloved choice among audiophiles and professionals alike. The HD 600 stands as a testament to Sennheiser’s commitment to high-quality audio and enduring design.