Sennheiser HD560S Review: The New Standard - NOT!

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Despite high proclamations by YouTubers, it turns out that the HD560S is much ado about nothing - at least to most of the audience here. One step forward and one step back, at least when compared to the old HD558. Compared to the established standards, the HD600/HD650, the HD560 is one step forward and two steps back.

    HD560.JPG

    I can't recall exactly, but I thought maybe the HD558 may have had very slightly angled drivers. Regardless, the HD560S takes the cake and pulls of a really impression of the HD800's headstage. Very impressive! From my limited experience so far, the headstage is closer to the HD800 end of the spectrum than the HD6xx end. Unfortunately, this is where the good news stops. The frequency response takes a hit. The HD558, the predecessor to the HD560S, had small an upper-mid peak. This wasn't particularly obtrusive and made a lot of music sound more energetic. @ultrabike owned the HD558 for years and was perfectly happy with it before finally upgrading to the HD600.

    Still, things aren't horribad like the flaming disaster of the HD700. Tonally, the HD560S sounds like a cross between the old HD558 and the HD800, but more toward the HD558. There is plenty in the highs and not so much of the upper-mid scoop of the HD800. However, keep in mind that the HD560 Sis still an HD5xx class headphone. As such, we are talking about lower-fidelity sound. Less precision, less clarity, lower resolution, somewhat weaksauce presentation. Think car speakers, at least decent car speakers in terms of fidelity. The bass is maybe more extended than the HD650, but I am not quite convinced that it sounds right.

    Here is a photo the angled driver. The cloth is pretty thin and the driver is right behind it. Sennheiser didn't go with any kind of thick Doggie Treat covering the driver. As such, perhaps there may be a possibility that a light porous foam or similar material may tame the highs.

    HD560angle.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser HD560S Frequency Response
    miniDSP EARS w/ compensation
    upload_2020-10-18_12-11-42.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  3. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Presuming bass quality isn't quite up to snuff for the HD650 and 600? The added extension is nice but when I managed to pull off similar with the HP-3 it was via pretty heavy damping and killed textures down low, not sure how a 5-series Senn-tier driver might pull it off otherwise. Do the magnets seem to be of the same quality as the old guard or a bit below?

    inb4 distortion, really rather curious how these'd stack up there. FR from 3~10kHz made me wince a bit
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser HD560S vs. Sennheiser HD650
    Frequency Response
    miniDSP EARS w/ compensation
    GRN/RED = HD560S
    GRY = HD650
    upload_2020-10-18_12-17-20.png

    Depending upon how we look at things, either the HD560D is more extended, or the HD650 has more mid/upper bass. As I mentioned before, the HD560 does sound more extended, but that the bass didn't sound quite right. We'll take a look at distortion later to gain insights if any.

    The HD650 has a similar peak at 5kHz, but it's more narrow and doesn't push out so as much. The thing which I found most annoying with the HD560S was the highs. It's definitely boosted here in the FR. An analysis of the CSD is certainly warranted here. The HD650 is known to have smooth and slightly muted mid-treble and the measurements here show this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is the L channel comparison using the flat coupler. The differences here, particularly in the highs are even more evident. This falls more in line with what I am actually hearing. The HD560S is brighty brighty.

    Sennheiser HD560S vs. Sennheiser HD650
    Frequency Response
    Flat coupler (no ear) w/ compensation
    GRN = HD560S L
    GRY = HD650 L
    upload_2020-10-18_12-58-23.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The HD650 as we know is no winner in the distortion department, especially below 200Hz. However, we know the HD650 performs spectacularly 300Hz and up.

    Sennheiser HD560S
    L Channel
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz @ 102dbSPL approximate
    HD560 HD.jpg

    For comparison, here is the HD650 distortion below. Both headphones perform similarly not so good in the bass. However, the HD650 does have less D4 below 150Hz. It may be interesting to look at the spectrum analyzer to get more insights on higher order distortions. Past 200Hz, especially from 200Hz to 1kHz, the HD650 wins handily over the HD560S.

    Sennheiser HD650
    L Channel
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz @ 102dbSPL approximate
    HD650 HD.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  7. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Title of this thread is a nice play on those stupid youtube lifestyle reviewers masquerading as headphone experts feeding the hype machine.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Afternoon nap time. Let me know if there are any requests.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Now that I actually have the headphone in my hands (and then to loaner program), @oh_okay's ban has been lifted. He can argue all he wants about the popularity and honesty of the YouTube reviewers. Little does @oh_okay know that these YouTubers get shit shipped to them for free by the manufacturer, often weeks before I get my hands on the same gear.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  10. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Aha, but look just at 40 Hz. We know what that means, right? :D
     
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  11. Ryanr1987

    Ryanr1987 Facebook Friend

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    Not really a priority for most but these seem like they'd make decent gaming headphones.

    I usually always hear soundstage as mostly just recessions like the HD800s upper mids. The Ananda and it's relatives to my ears are exceptions as they have a huge surface area and with good resolve are able to sound more spaced out more so than dynamics drivers due to the physical drivers.

    I've rarely heard dynamics to have a wide stage perception without heavier then normal recessions, not sure how you perceive it but I'm curious as to what would make the HD560 sound close to the 800 in derms of depth perception, width etc? They don't look particularly deep in the cups or carry any heavy recessions, they look fairly forward sounding in terms of FR so it's got me curious.

    I had a feeling that they wouldn't be all that great. I tend to find if Youtubers give a glowing review I.e LCD-1 then that's a bad sign, I sort of joke but it's been sort of true as well haha. Looking at the measurements it's not something I'll probably enjoy, I like some mid bass elevation to help mask peaks and as someone who doesn't use EQ makes it a deal breaker.

    I won't of out of my way to try these myself but if there's a black Friday deal I might see how they perform for gaming and I've got a feeling they'll tick the boxes. Always like the HD598 for gaming as found them comfortable but sadly they sounded a bit narrow, closed in.

    Love the title and dig Haha!
     
  12. mokobigbro

    mokobigbro Acquaintance

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    Such a linear curve! Too bad these are not in stock at where I live. Currently exploring flatness (for mixing/mastering), this looks like the least eq compensation needed.
     
  13. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    I'm going to hazard a guess and say maybe the treble hills/peaks make it sound more macrodetailed, hence the proclamations of "bettur thn HD650." Is that right @purr1n, or am I dumb?

    Doesn't actually look terrible, but definitely not geared to our audience.
     
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  14. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    thanks for testing them @purr1n. I always liked the 558/598 for what they were. Most notably, not terrible at the price point. You could often find holiday deals on the 598 for about $100, making them a great recommendation to friends looking for something basic.

    If the price on these settles into that similar spot, do you like them any more? $199 seems ridiculous based on your assessment, much like Philips doubling the price of the 9500 in their new bass-emphatic 9600.

    I assume build quality is about the same as those models? Cable removable?
     
  15. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Wasting my time watching Youtube reviews tells me there's a general preference towards THX, DACs that measure well, clear planar treble as exemplified by Hifiman gear and slammy dynamic bass as exemplified by Focal. I think those guys just like their stuff enhanced at the cost of sounding natural, though take my opinion with a grain of salt as I'm not a particular fan of how dynamics handle bass.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Full L and R set of measurements next.

    Sennheiser HD560S
    Frequency Response
    Flat coupler (no ear) w/ compensation
    upload_2020-10-19_11-27-27.png

    Sennheiser HD560S
    L Channel
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz @ 102dbSPL approximate
    [​IMG]

    Sennheiser HD560S
    R Channel
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz @ 102dbSPL approximate
    HD560 R HD.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser HD560S
    CSDs L and R
    FPC HD560 L.jpg
    FPC HD560 R.jpg

    It's not horribad like HD700. Little bit of 4-5kHz ringing which adds some edge. Overall bright, small ridge at 8kHz for enhanced sibilance. We've seen much worse. Some similarities with HD800 in respect to a rise after 4kHz and highs shelved up. HD800 measures with more last active though where HD560 peters offs.

    If one really wanted the headstage and didn't mind the lower fidelity, EQ would be easy enough to apply.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser HD560S
    Burst Attack and Decay Envelope
    B1696 HD560 burst.jpg

    Decay is actually decent. However 4.8kHz attack is super rounded and takes a lot of time to reach steady-state (in fact, it doesn't even quite within this timeframe). Could this account for my purely subjective term "weaksauce" in the first post? We're still learning from this visualization.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser HD560S
    Impedance (and electrical phase)
    YEL = Free Air Impedance
    GRN = On Head Impedance
    upload_2020-10-20_10-18-52.png
     
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  20. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Thanks for the impression and measurement. Triangulating from this and other sources, I think I can predict 90% how it sounds to me. And actually think Marv and YT reviews don't differ a lot (rather sound consistent to me) once contextual difference + preference incorporated. Note the dude who regarded 560s as a new standard likes beyer sounding (not 880 or drop-tuned ones) and indirectly said 560s was fatiguing (in his later comparative video).

    I am still not sure if I can tolerate the elevated highs though. Senn seems to purposely or not cast a little trick to make it more listenable than fr suggests, but want to figure out myself later (hopefully via a loaner tour).
     
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