Senneheiser HD660S Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Ray, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. taisserroots

    taisserroots Friend

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    I have a Xiaomi redmi note 3 pro.
    It's a 5.5inch smartphone. I now rotate it in between my eyes so that the 8.7mm side is right between my eyes and up close.

    This is the best I can do to describe the hd660s staging.

    It is a line almost that thick in between your eyes in the middle of your head with a decent amount of depth. It is rounded at the edges more than any other hd6x0.

    While it is probably was the most dynamic and has the greatest sense of clarity and texture amongst them while retaining the mid timbre. It was the most forward and shouty.
    The staging and short decay made it very hard to listen to and very nauseating. My impressions are short because it did not jive with me at all.

    While I love my hd580 and this keeps most of that mid timbre with greater technicality. It's other aspects make it a far more polarising headphone which isn't as safe to recommend to newcomers who don't know their preferences.
     
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  2. Quart Bernstein

    Quart Bernstein Rando

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    I have read twice over the past year of either the HD600/HD650 being discontinued. Tyll even mentioned it in his InnerFidelity review of this. Is it true?
    I can see why Sennheiser is incentivized to cut the HD650 out of the line, in favor of the 660s with the fact that now, they can afford to sell the HD650 (HD6XX) at a price of $200. If they wanted to fix the HD700, then they should limit the driver in that series; then experiment upon it, until something works (Edit: Or, crowdsource for a year or so with people that are not Judes.) Sennheiser "renovating" the HD600 series is like entering an Indian Burial Ground.

    I recall someone making a post stating that most headphone drivers cost less than $10.
    I appreciate that Focal has introduced their Elear/Clear headphones, and wish them the best success. Sennheiser could use a kick in the competition. Modifying the same headphone, in the past, using aluminium backing versus plastic, I have noticed a slight difference that the rigidity of the material creates. Albeit, adding weight inside the cups helped fix it. While these were closed-back headphones, I do not see any advantages of using the fancy metal weights beyond that.
    Hopefully Focal could try and recreate this recent line of headphones, and instead use plastic (instead of metals) for cheap parts and much less weight (Edit: something, I believe, Oppo tried a few years back with the PM-3). On that note of cheap, plastic parts, having a system of replaceable parts online, like how Sennheiser has, could, in theory, make a competitor to the HD600 series.

    Tyll even mentioned Sennheiser having a great plastic division in his review of the Sennheiser HD471 review on YouTube (if not the 569). It's all about the plastics.
    In the cheap bastard, headphone enthusiast crowd, where people are fine with cheap cables, plastic parts, a left/right ear cup insert (instead of one sided), no wireless functions, open back, and potentially 600 marble ugly, that Focal has the highest hopes of taking it to the big leagues with Sennheiser, and could certainly sell a high volume, while the rest of the audio industry hypes on the $1000+ train. Vive la France.

    Edit: Response from Senns on HD600 series discontinuations, received today,
    "Good Day [deleted]


    The HD 600 is not being discontinued, but the HD 650 is being phased out and will be discontinued. Replaced by the HD 660 S. I hope this information helped. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Regards,

    Brian Morrell

    Sennheiser Customer Support Team "
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  3. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    I sketched a graph on my own this morning, based on sinus sweeps. It matches the graph up to 3 kHz, but not anymore after that.

    From my notes: The bass sound fullest 120 Hz and higher. It is has good pressure at 100 Hz and okay-ish at 80 Hz. But it quickly declines below that and it's completely gone at 35 Hz.
    I absolutely heard a 2 kHz dip compared to 1k and 3k, which is weird because it doesn't show anywhere in Tyll's measurements. But now come my impressions that differ from most that I've found. I find the area from 3-3.5 kHz mildly boosted which can create some shouty vocals - probably Sennheiser's attempt to fight the 650 veil. The vocal presence peak is followed by a moderate-dip at 4.6 kHz and another one from 8-8.5 kHz. But other than those, the treble pressure is on point, IMO; not boosted like in the graph, no sibilance. Either way, not as transparent as I was hoping.

    Looking at the Sonarworks-Target and comparing it with my own, I can see why it shows the 8-10 kHz boost. It is not audible for me and it wouldn't show when compensated by some other targets. Not saying it's wrong, just saying my ears are different. I am curious about the 5-6 kHz peak. Also something I couldn't confirm. Overall I think the treble is slightly recessed because of the two dips, but if they weren't there, the tonality would shift into brightness because of the boosted vocal presence.

    The HD 660 is not all bad. I wish they'd remove the Pentaconn-cable and reduce the price to 379 € or even lower. However, I remember the HD 600 as nearly perfect from 700 Hz to 4 kHz. I am thinking about returning the 660 S and jumping on the 58X Jubilee drop...
     
  4. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    (finally!) Got to demo HD660S with HD600 available for direct comparison. I also have the HD650 (stock) at home on super-extended loan for reference, which are my current primary cans until I get my TH-X00s repaired.

    Source was an iFi Micro iDSD Black Label connected via USB to an AK70. I had a silver iDSD that was my primary driver for somewhat over2 years before I decided to sell. The AK70 belonged to a fellow enthusiast, never had one of my own but I'm of the opinion that the source doesn't matter much as the iFi's character would overwrite it. Store conditions, but it was around closing time and it was about as quiet as could be reasonably expected given the situation. Also had the Audio Zenith PMX2, Senn HD800, and HD800S to try on a lark out of the same source, but mostly focused on the HD600.

    Yes I know the BL isn't exactly the same as the silver Micro iDSD, but I'm banking on reviews claiming that tonality is largely similar between the two, and considering this is a store demo and my own critical listening skills need refinement, I hesitate to try for more in-depth commentary lest I let words slip from my bum.


    *********

    First thought was that I definitely preferred the tonality of the HD660S to that of the HD600, possibly even more than the stock HD650. I do like a warm, comfy, snuggle-in-a-blanket-with-a-cuppa-tea-while-it's-really-cold-outside sound, but molasses-level lushness/sweetness* turns me off. Greater sense of speed and immediacy is apparent on stuff out of the HD tracks sampler (Pierrick Pedron's Change Partners is a favourite of mine) and John Frusciante's guitar on Californication. Drums also sounded tighter on the newer cans, so complex passages in stuff like Amon Amarth's Twilight of the Thunder God** didn't sound mushy at all; the latter was determined from running the new cans straight out of my mobile— they're definitely efficient enough that a mid-tier Android phone (Moto Z Play) has no problems driving them. They still benefit from a proper source, but not as much as the classic 6-series cans.

    Sub-bass heavy music (e.g. Mitski, Puberty 2)was more enjoyable on the HD660S than on the HD600, but still lacking in volume relative to the midrange. There was improved texture in the lower end, but I forgot to test-play Daft Punk's Doin' It Right during demoing to make sure— dammit! Still, I don't listen at high SPLs normally, and probably only got to ~85dB during demoing, so I wasn't exactly pushing the drivers too hard. On that note, the 660S was far more enjoyable at lower volumes.

    A friend*** I had along said she definitely preferred them to the HD600, which she found painful to listen to. Asked her how she felt about the HD660S in relation to the HD650 (which she'd heard several times before)— there was a bit of hesitation but it seemed to me her impressions of the HD660S were more favourable. For reference, she (and I) both found the stock HD800 out of the iDSD BL perfectly acceptable, to my surprise. She liked the HD800S more from a tonality perspective as well, and felt they were even more open-sounding than the original HD800, which had me scratching my head a bit.

    Staging was about the same as on the HD600, but imaging seemed quite superior to me. More crisp edges around pictures in my head, if that makes any sense. It felt like individual images and voices "shrank" a bit, leaving more defined spaces in between? Definitely not small or tinny sounding, though.

    Due to conditions and my noobishness, won't say much about detail and resolution other than gross detail/macrodetail is more pronounced on the 660S, and is consequently more immediately impressive upon casual listening than either the HD600 or the HD650.

    In conclusion? I rather like them, perhaps even moreso than the stock HD650. Granted, I don't have an uber-rig that can eke out every last bit of scaling ability on the older Senns, and I don't doubt I'd probably prefer the HD600/650 had I such, not to mention my HD650s are totally stock and thus have that mid-bass emphasis, but for the everyday mid-fi consumer I can see how the HD660S could very easily outperform the classic lineup. The fact that you can run them out of weaker devices to less detriment also adds to their appeal— yes I'm one of those weirdos who'd happily use an open-backed pair of circumaural cans as transportables :p

    That aside, the fact that I and my budding audio enthusiast friend liked them so much is alarming, as I feel Sennheiser may well shaft proper enthusiasts who own higher-end gear knowing mass-market consumers (which I classify myself as, in contrast to audio connoisseurs) may flock to "inferior" cans such as these en masse. Not sure if my feelings about these cans will hold up if I ever get a pair for myself and do an extensive home demo, but that's money I'm not willing to spend since I could be putting it towards a nicer amp and DAC some time down the line. Also, the classic Senns are probably only going to get cheaper in the future, so there's that to look forward to, maybe.

    ... Dear Lord I need to work on writing more concisely. Sorry.



    *sweetness as per my definition= lower-mids emphasis, highlighted vocal presence, somewhat less sparkle in higher registers.

    ** I swear I don't listen to metal with Psalm-level frequency.

    *** Friend is a classically trained, but lapsed, pianist. She has better much ears than I, and happened to read these impressions before I hit send— she laughed when I said I don't listen to metal often :|

    **** The pads on the 660S were still very firm, whereas the HD600 and the HD650 at home both had pads that were more plush, and thus formed a better seal. Didn't want to be a pain in the ass so I didn't ask if I could swap pads around. This probably helped level out the lower end more to my liking.

    **** Yes, I read the impressions earlier in this thread before I got to demo them so I'm obviously biased and don't know WTH I'm talking about despite being determined to not like them but ending up enjoying them far more anyway.
     
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  5. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Warning: This is a totally useless impression.

    After 20hrs in SF following an 11hr flight across 8 time zones, I popped into the Senn store to have a listen. Decided not to bring my portable rig this trip and the very friendly but not so capable woman on duty couldn't get their notebook working with the HDVD 800 so I could play my test tracks off a thumb drive, so she gave me an iPod to use with it.

    Only track I knew was Get Lucky. Stock HD650, which I haven't heard in a long time, sounded very bloated and boomy down low, rather veiled up top. HD660S had less and tighter bass, was a bit clearer and less dark, but upper mids and treble were a bit grainy.

    Saw HD800S on the next rig over with an XLR terminated cable and was gonna do a quick comparo for the hell of it. The woman stopped me and said, "We don't do balancing (sic) and 1/4" at the same time." She admitted she didn't really know why but that's what she was told, and she thought it might have to do with the different output levels of "1/4 and balancing" resulting in one or the other headphone being blasted to loudly.

    I was too jet lagged to bother swapping the iPod to the other HDVD 800 and went back to the hotel to crash. Take the above with a huge salt mine's worth of NaCl.
     
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  6. iDesign

    iDesign Facebook Friend

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    Hilarious. From page 12 of the HDVD 800 instructions.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Ardacer

    Ardacer Almost "Made"

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    The 6?? line sounds all pretty much the same to me. The only significant and worthwhile difference I found is that 660s get a bit louder on cellphones and looks cool in black. No big surprises there. They put well behaved drivers in the same enclosure, I don't know what I expected. I mean I expected them to be similar but not so similar. Sound is the same good 600 line tonally, clear and everything. If the difference in tonality/clarity isn't really obvious on the first swap, I no longer trust myself to make a good judgement as I tend to imagine stuff. The difference between hd800 (stock, nonEq'ed) and hd 660 is very obvious. Between hd 600, 650, 660 - very not obvious. This is as much as I can contribute.
     
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  8. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Facebook Friend

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  9. Chris F

    Chris F Boyz 4 Now Fanatic - Friend

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    I got to listen to a pair for about 10 minutes at the Montreal Audio show over the weekend. I thought they were pretty good. Overall signature reminded me of modded 650. Nothing revolutionary happening but still satisfying. Ultimately modded 650 is still king; especially in value for money.

    I think the main issue isn't really the sound... it's more that at $500 there is still no competition so Senn can get away with a lukewarm rehash.
     
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  10. iDesign

    iDesign Facebook Friend

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    I'm looking for a spare HD 660 S balanced Pentaconn cable. Does anyone have one they aren't using and want to part with or have more info about them?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  11. Jaap

    Jaap Rando

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    Sennheiser has released a new "upgraded box" version of the HD660s. We know from the past that Sennheiser introduces changes to their headphones without actually saying it. I know these headphones weren't well received in this forum. Myself I actually had a pair, sold it, and now kind of regret doing that. It had a "gritty" sound to it that I miss, but at the time thought was too much. I've since then changed my amp and dac and realized that they probably had a bigger effect to the sound than I could have imagined. I've been curious about these headphones from the start, and read all the possible reviews that I could find, and it seems to me that there was a lot of variance between different pairs originally. That would explain the contradicting opinions where some people thought it was very dull, while others found it too harsh.
    Where are the enthusiasts with money to burn, let's get some comparisons!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  12. G0rt!

    G0rt! Rando

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    Amazon is still selling the old style (black box, Ireland) and I took delivery a few days ago, curiousity having finally overcome prudence.

    The basic black rather reminds me of my old Glock 17 combat tupperware. No nonsense expressed or implied.

    I'm finding considerable clarity, speed and honesty with these, moreso even than my HD600 pair, and with a healthier bottom. Musical, but without obscuring details I know. Proper, glorious Senn mids.

    They sound best to me driven balanced, especially the top end, possibly because the bottom opens up some, removing an apparent upwards tilt. I adapted the pentaconn to xlr4 within a day, although SE sounded fine.

    Using them with gud Schiit, Gungnir Multibit A1 to Mjolnir 2 ('62 Brimar CV4033), stock cable + KK adaptor, from a Pi3b streamer over coax using HifiBerry Digi+ Pro.

    Per usual, mellowing slightly with use, now into 30-40 hours. I hear no grain, glare or any sense of dynamic compression, even fresh out of the box. Very lively, but definitely to my ears more analytical than warm, so very synergetic with my gear.

    At the moment, John McLaughlin Industrial Zen sounding quite, quite good. :D
     
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  13. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    4F1EFC0D-FFE1-41D6-94A5-4384E3A60B0C_1_201_a.jpeg
     
  14. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    My new $300 HD 660S Black Friday Specials with Norne SC-3 cable. Have been listening to Diana Krall Tidal Masters mix. They keep getting better by the hour. I now have HD 600 , 650, and 660S.
     
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  15. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    Love that Norne cable. And Ms. Krall ain't bad either.
     
  16. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    Will a HD 660S capsule fit a HD 650 frame?

    Do note, drivers are sold in the capsule. So my question is if I buy a 660S capsule, will it fit a HD 650 frame?
     
  17. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    If I use HD 660S capsules, HD 660S cable and HD 660S ear pads in a HD 650 frame, it will sound exactly like a 660S. Right?

    The grill, decorative part, headband etc will all be from my existing HD 650 2013.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No idea on fit. There is a chance it may not fit (HD660S drivers in HD650 frame). Even if it does, I've noted that the meshing is slightly different on each HD6** model. It may sound slightly messed up.
     
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  19. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    Sennheiser has confirmed the 660S capsules will work with 650 frame, grills, etc. But as per them, it might sound slightly different than a true 660S.
     
  20. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    Sennheiser doesn’t just sell the drivers. They sell the entire capsule (minus the back grill, ear pads, foam and decorative part).
     

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