Sennheiser in Germany has always taken its own sweet time developing its audiophile reference headphone line. In fact, they're renown for blissfully ignoring the apparent audio industry demand to come out with 'brand new' high-end products every single season.
We think their patience and persistence researching and developing excellent headphones has paid off handsomely over the years. With the well-priced Sennheiser HD650 model, the music is beautifully smooth and relaxed when it's supposed to be, gracefully punchy on demand and yet so effortless that you just fall worry-free into its lovely sonic embrace.
It's a true top-flight audio experience hearing the Sennheiser HD650 properly amplified. Once correctly powered, the 650 has a sweetly refined, non-fatiguing and fully seamless musical delivery that - coupled with its good wearing comfort - has kept this model in the top echelon for years as one of our most favored open headphones for music lovers of all stripes.
Liveried in a luxuriant grey color scheme, these cans are a take-off on the HD600 model but with several noteworthy improvements. First and foremost, Sennheiser engineers improved the baffling damper for a tighter acoustic response, and boy did that work! The audio lab measurements of the HD650 appear remarkably even, direct and free of strident peaks, and the presentation is probably as close to 'down-the-middle smooth' as can be expected. The famous Sennheiser tonal warmth has been coupled to a clarity of detail that's hard to beat by most other headphones at this price.
Design-wise, the outer earcup grilles on the HD650 have been made sturdier; undoubtedly, those who've suffered a dented grill on their old HD600 will be appreciative. A soft velour headband pad cushion adds to the nice wearing comfort and a slightly more even tension on the size adjusters makes for a more secure fit. The 9.5 ft HD-650 cord has also been improved with a better OFC braid terminated to a full-sized 1/4" stereo plug. An adapter for 1/8" (3.5mm) 'mini' jacks is included in the package. Although it's a decent adapter, we recommend the Cardas Audio 1/4" to 1/8" adapter if plugging into a source with 3.5mm jacks.
NOTE: Although the Sennheiser HD650 cord is mildly improved versus the HD600 cable, we continue to suggest getting either a Corpse Cable or a Cardas Audio Upgrade Cable for improved detail resolution, dynamics and soundstage imaging. Of course, the audio benefits of a headphone cable upgrade is most evident with high-resolution, uncompressed music and audio sources.
What's In The Box:
Sennheiser HD 650 Frequency Response
View our full featured 'Build a Graph Tool' for headphone comparisons and in-depth measurements.