Over the past years, headphone enthusiasts maintained their fondness with a couple of oldies but goodies—the Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650. Sennheiser headphones have constantly been on top lists of the best studio headphones used by professionals because each product is engineered for clarity.
But if you’re looking for wireless headphones you can use for mixing, or you can bring on the go for daily music listening and other social activities, these might not be for you. For the active and outdoorsy headphone users, have a look at these instead:
Meanwhile, let’s go back to the wired Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650 headphones for the meticulous user. Audiophiles were excited when the Sennheiser HD 600 was introduced around 1997. It was considered one of the best performing and comfortable studio headphones on the market.
However, after several years and dozens of new products later, enthusiasts lost touch with the Sennheiser HD 600. It was not until the appearance of the Sennheiser HD 650 around 2003 when the interest in these models once again resurfaced. But users are confused.
The Sennheiser HD 600 was still available in the market, and it had many similarities with the new Sennheiser HD 650. So similar that many of their parts are interchangeable. So if you were the buyer, which one would you choose to buy?
To give you a more precise overview of the differences in features, here’s the breakdown.
Design and build
Audiophiles are always excited to experience revolutionary features whenever a new headphone comes out. Still, they always go back to classic and conservative features like the Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650 as their reliable choice for any studio activity.
The overall design of the two headphones is very similar. That is why many of their spare parts, like the earpads and headband pads, remain interchangeable. For instance, they both have metal grills and some carbon fiber components.
The Sennheiser HD 600 is a headband style in steel blue speckled color. It has thinner metal grills than the Sennheiser HD 650, making it more prone to breaking if not handled carefully. The driver measures an exclusive 42 mm with a 38 mm diaphragm. One of its most unique features is the acoustically transparent open-back earcup.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is also a headband style but in glossy titan color. The thin metal grills on the Sennheiser HD 600 seem to be resolved in this model because this one has a more sturdy grill. Similarly, it also has the open-back ear cup design from the Sennheiser HD 600, but it has a unique damping element from the fine metal mesh. Likewise, its driver also measures 42 mm, and its diaphragm measures 38 mm.
The built and structure of these headphones are exceptional because, with their excellent performance, you would be amazed at how easy it is to clean, repair, and disassemble. The parts are readily available worldwide. Parts are easy to find, replace, and compatible with other components if anything goes wrong. This flexibility makes it a very versatile unit that can last for years without replacement.
For a quick reference, here’s an overview of the features of the Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650:
- 42 mm driver and 38 mm diaphragm
- Detachable OFC copper cable
- Headband style
- Open-back ear cups
- Impedance 300 ohms
- Velour covered earpads
- Same weight 260 g
- Same cable length 3 m
- 3.5 mm stereo jack plug into 6.35 mm jack plug
Total harmonic distortion
- Sennheiser HD 600 - 0.01%
- Sennheiser HD 650 - <0.05%
- Sennheiser HD 600 - 12-40,500 Hz
- Sennheiser HD 650 - 12-41,000 Hz
- Sennheiser HD 600 - steel blue
- Sennheiser HD 650 - titan
Sound pressure level
- Sennheiser HD 600 - 97dB
- Sennheiser HD 650 - 103dB
Here is the Instruction Manual for Sennheiser HD 600.
The Sennheiser HD 600 is baseline engineering for sound perfection. It will give you the crispiest sound with its computer-based transducer optimization. It minimizes sound distortion coming from intermodulation noise, with a total harmonic distortion of 0.1%. This headset specializes in acoustic silk controls airflow. Its ultralight aluminum voice coils deliver a clear spectrum of sound for the best listening experience.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is an upgraded version of the Sennheiser HD 600. It is lightweight with a comfortable velour pad. Compared to the Sennheiser HD 600, this has a lower total harmonic distortion of <0.05%. It has a detachable OFC copper cable. It has a tight, +/- 1dB production tolerance, and components are carefully handpicked.
One particular feature that has enthusiasts keep coming back to these models is that both have maintained a high impedance of 300 ohms, making for better sound quality. Higher impedance is also significant for those using tube amps. While other headphone manufacturers aim for lower impedance to make it more compatible with mobile gadgets, the HD models remained the same.
Both headphones are highly comfortable, but the band might feel a bit tight for those with larger head circumference. The headband will eventually loosen with usage, but attempting to stretch it might not be a good idea. Headband covers might help to make it more comfortable.
The oval-shaped ear cups are very comfortable and are airy enough to be used even during warmer and humid climates. The earpads are very sturdy and can compress after a few years of use, but parts are still available for replacement if needed.
You may also check the Instruction Manual of Sennheiser HD 650.
These two Sennheiser models are among the best performing studio headphones at a reasonable price. The Sennheiser HD 600 is worth $399.95, and the cost of the Sennheiser HD 650 is a bit steeper at $499.95.
The Sennheiser HD 600 itself is an excellent choice and will do the job, but if you’re willing to shell out a bit more for upgrades in performance, then the Sennheiser HD 650 can be a perfect choice.
Are these headphones worth the price? It is pricey, but these are very reasonable for high-quality studio headphones and will last for years. And of course, it’s a Sennheiser, which has built quite a reputation for making high-quality sound equipment. You’ll never go wrong with a Sennheiser.
There is very little difference between the Sennheiser HD 600 and the Sennheiser HD 650 when it comes to design and build. The difference in the Sennheiser HD 650 is evident in performance features noted in total harmonic distortion, frequency response, and sound pressure levels. Check out our verdict below:
- Design and build - It’s a tie!
- Overall comfort - It’s a tie!
- Sturdiness and versatility - Sennheiser HD 650
- Value for money - Sennheiser HD 600
- Sound clarity - Sennheiser HD 650 (winner by a small margin)