Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Sennheiser HD 600 open-back studio headphones.
These headphones have remained relevant nearly twenty years after their initial release. Let’s see if their technical performance can justify their reputation, as well as their price point.
Our verdict on the Sennheiser HD 600
In terms of their technical performance, in many ways the HD 600 falls short. While their midrange is incredibly clear, the lack of low end and a narrow soundstage can pose something of an issue here.
However, there is something to be said of the HD 600’s unique sound signature that has proven its viability throughout the years. These headphones have their own quality to them, unlike most any other headphone you can find.
This comes as a double edged sword, of course, and not everybody will appreciate the heavy mid range – regardless of how many veterans swear by it.
When all is said and done, the HD 600s are a classic in the audio world whether or not you decide to buy a pair for yourself.Check availability and current price: SweetwaterAmazon
Power and frequency response
The Sennheiser HD 600 has a 300 ohm nominal impedance, so you may want to consider buying a separate amp in order to get the best performance out of them. They also have a reported frequency response of 12 Hz – 39 kHz.
While this is unquestionably excellent on paper, it may be misleading. The reason being is that the HD 600s are incredibly midrange focused, with far less presence in the low end and higher registers.
In fact, low bass under 80 Hz suffers from a 6 dB drop-off from what would otherwise be considered a neutral performance. This drop off gradually becomes less severe as we make our way to the upper bass and low midrange register (160 Hz – 300 Hz) where there is an overemphasis of 2 dB. From this point onward, the midrange remains flat until it peaks again around 3 kHz.
By now, it should be evident to you how midrange forward these headphones truly are. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, and there are many situations where this effect can be useful – especially when recording vocal heavy music. Just don’t be surprised when the low end isn’t as powerful as you may have hoped for.
The build quality of the HD 600s is adequate. The ear cups are robust enough to withstand most mishandlings.
However, we find that the headband feels a bit flimsy, as well as the metal joints connecting the ear cups to the headband.
With some gentle love and care, these headphones should last you more than your money’s worth.
The Sennheiser HD 600s are comfortable, but may be a tight fit for some. The ear cups are well-padded and soft to the touch, while also being big enough to fit over most ears.
The headband has a tendency to clamp down on the head, which is unfavorable for longer running sessions when fatigue may be an issue.
While we wouldn’t recommend these to be your new pair of running headphones, the tight fit offers enough support to allow you to be a bit more active in the studio.
The detachable cord will disconnect if it gets caught on anything, leaving the headphones in their place.
Noise cancellation and isolation
Considering the fact that these are open-back headphones, it should come as no surprise that they have little to no capacity for isolation.
The design of open-back headphones is in total opposition to what is required of a more isolating set of cans, as you are meant to hear more of the room.
The headphones come equipped with a detachable audio cable, a 1/8″-1/4″ adapter, and a manual.
Perhaps the inclusion of a carrying pouch would have been a nice touch, but we’ll try not to nitpick too much.
Compared to other headphones
Here are some alternatives to consider before deciding to purchase a pair of HD 600s.
Sennheiser HD 600 vs. HD 650
In our opinion, the HD 650s are more precise, and smoother throughout their response. The staging is also more open sounding. However, you can’t really go wrong with either.
Sennheiser HD 600 vs. HD 660S
The HD 600s are definitely the way to go here. Feel free to give the 660S a try for yourself to see how you like it, but in our experience, the 600 is the better option.
Sennheiser HD 600 vs. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
The DT 990 Pros are more accurate in our opinion, as well as have better bass response. On the other hand, however, the HD 600s have a marginally better performance in the midrange.
They are both good headphones, but we would probably choose the DT 990s.
Sennheiser HD 600 vs. Shure SRH1440
The HD 600 is hands down the choice to go here. They are far more accurate, and flat in their response. For us, it’s a no brainer.
For those of you on a budget, check our recommendations for the best cheap studio headphones to buy under $100 and $50.Check availability, prices, and deals: SweetwaterAmazon