Before I start my review there are a couple of things I want to say. This is my first time using an audiophile headphone, even if not the best and costliest, and mostly because I couldn’t afford headphones more than $20-$30 before(which I can now). But thanks to Massdrop and Sennheiser for this epic drop and at the right time that I could afford this for $200. Also, this first experience review will probably help someone to know why having high-end headphones matter. Now to the review.
Out of the box the HD6xx is same as the HD650s but with a new paint job. Instead of the grey finish that the 650s have, the 6xx has a black to midnight blue color scheme which, to me, look much better. There’s the Sennheiser name etched on the top of the headband that can be visible only when a light shines on it. The other difference is the cable length. Instead of the 10ft cable, the cable that we’ve got was a 4.5ft instead of the 6ft which was advertised, but Massdrop has addressed that issue and will be sending out 6ft cable to all the 6xx users. The connector is also a 3.5mm with a quarter-inch adapter included. The cables are also detachable from the head-piece so you can customize and replace the cables as you wish.
Coming to the build quality, everything looks and feels premium for this entry-level high-end headphone. The cushion padding around the ear cups is soft enough to not cause any discomfort while listening for long hours. The headband is strong and a little tighter than I expected but after constant use it has loosen comfortably to sit on my head without any discomfort. In fact I can listen to songs for a long time without realizing that something’s holding my head. The padding under the headband sits comfortably on the head.
Well, that’s all about how it looks, now let’s talk about how it sounds shall we?
I’m not the biggest audiophile but even then I can tell how different and how amazing it sounds. The first thing that you notice is the clarity of every instrument that is being played. The signature sound of Sennheiser where the clarity is not compromised by the bass is so exceptionally well done, that you could just enjoy every song as they were meant to. The mids shine through these headphones and the bass is so perfect that the combination of both makes listening to songs a new experience altogether. Everything I heard through these cans felt completely different and knew that going back to my previous Sony(amazing) earphones became very difficult. One thing to keep in mind is that the HD6xx/650 is an open back headphone. So private listening is a must as anything you listen to, the person sitting next to you, or even in the same room, can hear it too. This is by design but having an open back gives it a wider sound stage where you get a more spacious feel and you can place where each instrument is played. So, do expect sound leaks but it can also help you to be aware of the surrounding as it doesn’t cancel outside noise.
I have been using the HD6xx for the past 2 months now and I have used them directly through my laptop’s headphone jack, through my Moto G Gen 1, through my new OnePlus 3T and currently through a Schiit Fulla 2 and, it blasted through every one of them. Out of the box it sounded way better than my Sony (which is obvious as my Sony earphones were bass heavy), and also better than Bose earphones which my brother had. I know these aren’t great comparisons but coming from a person who has owned a high-end headphones for the first time, this is definitely new. I’m pretty sure you can find amazing reviews online that tell in great detail why these (or HD650s) are an amazing entry-level headphones but this review is for someone who hasn’t ever owned or even heard through high-end headphones and wants to start with one.
If you have the cash, go for the HD650s which are acoustically the same compared to the HD6xx. They are amazing with Sennheiser’s amazing signature sound quality that’s tuned perfectly for the human ear. If you still have money, then buy a DAC/Amp combo, which unfortunately I have very little knowledge of but you can find plenty of resources and reviews online that can help you. They not only change the sound of the headphones but make it more lively and probably, heavenly too. I’m currently using the Schiit Fulla 2 as I couldn’t afford a costlier combo and also because the Fulla 2 is both a DAC and an Amp, and I have to say, it does make a difference.
So if you are looking to jump into the world of high-end audio, the HD650s are an amazing pair of headphones. My edition was the Massdrop edition and currently there are more than 50k people who have requested a re-drop for the HD6xx. If you want to try your luck and get hold of these then join the waiting list, and wait for Sennheiser to release them again, if they ever do. And by chance if they do, then just pray your luck to be able join the drop against more than 50k people, because there would probably only be 5000 units of these and getting a hold of something that’ll run out of stock in mere minutes, I’ll just say.. best of luck. Of course assuming that they do drop it.