Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones
Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones
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Product Description
If you know audio gear, you know the Sennheiser HD 650. The company’s flagship from 2003 to 2009, this open-back headphone has shown serious staying power Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
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pivery
33
Jul 9, 2019
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A Top-Notch Experience From Beginning To End!
From the painless ordering process to making sure that the product arrived on time professionally packaged, along with an invoice to the actual product itself - the HD 6XX - Wow! I have been listening to music for over 40 years and have never heard my music like this before. Little nuances that were never heard before come out here. Not like hearing it for the first time, but like hearing a different mix of the same song. Very impressive Drop, please give yourselves a big hand for making these beautiful headphones even more available for all to enjoy!
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Kendawg2000
6
Jul 23, 2019
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Really great headphones!
Had these headphones for a few weeks now and must say, I absolutely love them. Compared to my ath-50xs, these are much better all around and personally, I have come to actually like the open back headphone idea. As many others say, they do not excel necessarily in any specific area but rather are good all around. I am able to max out the volume now with no limitation from my amp. If you have the money to dish out on a nice pair of headphones, I would strongly recommend giving these ones a chance!
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Would recommend to a friend.
DLNSounds
25
Aug 3, 2019
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Amazing for the price.
I run a mix and master business. And these are a dream for the price. I use these as my final pass on all mix and masters. I pair it with Sonarworks Reference 4 to get them flat. These are perfect and amazing price.
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Would recommend to a friend.
WilliamxAdams
12
Aug 8, 2019
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Get every dollars worth
These are exactly as described. High end is incredible and when plugged into an amp the bass is also pretty fun! Lots of great times I’ve had wearing these for hours. It thrives in live music and jazz but hip hop also is very fun to listen to on these cranked up. Hearing sounds like they’re in my room as well, scared the heck out of me the other day hearing a door knock I thought someone was in my house! Great qualty. Exactly as advertised.
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Would recommend to a friend.
TheFieryHaze
70
Apr 6, 2018
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[I'll keep this part short because the rest of the review's pretty long. If you're thinking of getting or holding back on buying the 6XX, I'd recommend getting them. They're pretty amazing. 👍]
I'll start this review by saying that I'm not at all an expert at audio with dozens of headphones and dacs and amps lying around to test with. I'm just a dude with two headphones, a Magni 3 amp, and a Topping D30 dac. Actually, I've been running the 6XX off just the headphone jack for about 5 months now. But I can tell when something sounds good and these, of course, sound good. However, I can't say that you'll agree with me or any other review out there, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt and keep in mind what you want in a pair of headphones.
Now I'll be honest, I expected a spectacular, night-to-day difference between these $200 headphones and my other broken $20 bluetooth headphones. When I first listened through these, I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped. But that doesn't mean they're bad at all, I was just still adapted to my older, closed-back cans. What I do remember was thinking how much clearer everything sounded. Everything just sounded clearer and better, with all the little details standing out.
As I listened through these more and more, I started to get a feel for the nicer sound and clarity of the 6XX. All the frequencies sounded nice when listening, but I particularly liked how these had a more controlled bass than my old headphones. I almost always listen to electronic music, but I've found that I prefer cleaner bass over really powerful bass (I'm not all into kicks that make your head feel like exploding all the time, but I still enjoy a hard kick when appropriate). I think that these can deliver bass with just the right amount of power while remaining clear and sharp. And when listening to or making music, being able to hear the sub bass and other minor details in songs is a blessing.
As I write this, I realize that the review is probably getting long and boring. So I'll just list out some other things I've noticed: -Comfortable. They're light with soft pads. Your ears won't burn up while listening for long times due to the open grills and big pads that your ears go inside instead of being on the pads. -Open-back. You may like this or not, but I like the music being wide and spacious. I also like being able to hear outside noises while listening to music. -Packaging. Comes in a really high quality box with soft foam. I use the box to store my headphones a lot. -Shipping. These came almost two months before the expected delivery and they came safely. Nice. -Everything else. Cable length is great for me. Included adapter is also very nice. I also like how the cables are detachable and the headphones can be taken apart easily.
If you actually read through the whole review, that's pretty cool (you deserve something but I don't have anything to give so sorry lol). I'll just end it here by recommending the 6XX for how great they are. For the price, I do feel like I'm getting very high quality sound and premium build quality. Thanks Massdrop and Sennheiser for this product!
harry501
3
Apr 19, 2019
Hi, I personally think burn in is a myth, but i don't disrespect anyone who feels it helps. My problem though is if it IS real... are the manufacturers selling the sound out of the box or the sound that may change over time? Your review sites which some retailers rely on to sell their products are giving feedback on the out of box experience remember, not the experience after 100 hours. So should we ignore the big tech sites giving their reviews on new gear? If burn in is real, it won't be selective... it would be across the board. Also, I've many pairs out the box that are far too bright with terrible sibilance. Over time i think to myself it's either gone or become a lot less fatiguing... but if i leave them for a while and go back to them it's the same terrible sibilance. i truly believe it's brain burn in and getting used to them. I have over 120 IEMs/HPs... I've never yet been convinced on burn in. Three times I've been able to blind test and got no proof (while others swore the sound changed). In each case i gave the older set 50-100 hrs before blind testing with a new set. I heard not even a slight change.
bristone
0
May 13, 2020
i've not really experienced proof of 'burn in' either, but to each his own. Curious @harry501 of all the headphones you own, which are you favorite(s)? I own these Senn. HD6XX, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO, and some old Grado SR60's, as well as some other smaller/cheaper Senn's and Koss varieties. Of the two nicer sets - the HD6XX and DT990's - i find the high end/treble to be a bit too bright & fatiguing on both. But i find the DT990s to be more comfortable & enjoyable in general, perhaps due to my large head ;) Not sure if it's just my ears' sensitivity to the trebles, but could you recommend other headphones in this price range that may not be so fatiguing?
raansire7
846
Oct 17, 2018
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Coming from bright headphones for so many years, I honestly and without hyperbole say that, to my ears and brain, NOTHING is lacking on the HD 6XX's sound, and NOTHING needs to be fixed or improved. They don't leave me wanting to reach for my brighter headphones, and they even reveal a lot of nuances that my pricier headphones obscure due to their high frequency sizzle. They do have a somewhat compressed dynamic range, so they don't hit very hard. I agree with others that they sound relaxed. They also also seem to be missing something up top in the high mids, making them sound somewhat congested, but my ears quickly get used to it. The sub bass is not very apparent, but they do have bass. They do not sound open, but the sound stage works with the tonality. While the Denon DA-300USB doesn't have much power or current, surprisingly, it drives them enjoyably at -25 dB, and makes the aural image sound deeper and more separated. It shouldn't work based on numbers alone, but it does and it's the most enjoyable pairing to my ears. The H2 Designs MIYO makes them sound more holographic and outside the head. They also sound great with the CEntrance DACport HD on high gain. Here they sound more forward and bassy with less image separation depth-wise, which is weird to me, because the DACport HD has a beastly amp and DAC section, and makes my other headphones (DT 880 600 ohm included) sing. With the Schiit Asgard 1 and 2 amps and Modius DAC, they open up more and sound wider. In my experience the HD 6XX are as scalable as people say. For $199, in my entire lifetime, this has to be the highest value to price ratio I've ever experienced on audio equipment. What headphones would I buy next regardless of price? I have no clue. I mean...why keep going? If I wouldn't have bought the HD 6XX last, I think I still would've reached the conclusion that regardless of price, they're on a category of their own. My ears and brain just classifies them as superior headphones in terms of musical enjoyment. Do I own better headphones than the HD 6XX? Yes. Do they better the HD 6XX? No. So what is better then and why does it matter? Thanks for reading and God bless you! EDIT: [November 18, 2019] A year later, I still agree with every word in this review...AND I haven't purchased any more headphones! EDIT: [January 9, 2020] I got curious about the beyerdynamic Amiron Home and decided to order them. I received them yesterday. They sound amazing, technically better than the HD 6XX, but guess what I'm wearing RIGHT NOW? I know...it's crazy! EDIT: [October 19, 2020] I received a new pair of Focal Elegia headphones a week ago. After carefully listening to the Elegia almost every day for a couple hours, I've concluded that while sounding to me literally twice as clear and revealing as the HD 6XX...it is that big of a difference, they are just too shouty and disturbing for my liking. While the HD 6XX have this pleasant, textured sound quality that has a bit of "stuffiness" and "smeariness" while still remaining revealing (in my opinion as much as needed to not really need any more), the Elegia are just too clear and loud to the point of being annoying in their delivery. I can't enjoy them as much as I've tried. They have good sub-bass but not enough slam and mid-bass, so I have to raise the volume more, and the mids and highs end up being louder than mentally comfortable for me...even if my ears are not bothered. The Elegia remind me of the shoutyness of my Sennheiser HD 630VB, which while sounding very clear, I ended up gifting away to my mailman basically brand new. Simply, the Elegia inject all of the sound into the ears without any finesse, like a really blinding light is too excessive for comfortable reading...like a sloppy tongue kiss is just too slobbery to feel right. I will keep them, but man...good sound quality doesn't matter when the sound presentation is bad. The Elegia are the clearest, airiest, most revealing headphones I've owned so far, but also of the least enjoyable...right there with the Sennheiser HD 630VB and Denon AH-D340. It has been my pleasure to own the Sennheiser HD 6XX and I wholeheartedly recommend them, as much as before. The HD 6XX/650 are in a category of their own!

EDIT: [November 9, 2020] After receiving my HIFIMAN HE 5XX last week, I noticed for the first time how dynamically-compressed, tonally-congested and flat depth-wise the HD 6XX sound in comparison. It's not a ding against the HD 6XX. By themselves, I still stand by everything I've written about them, but they do sound like two levels below the HE 5XX (whatever that means), which sound to me so effortlessly dynamic and open. For me, they have dethroned the HD 6XX in musical enjoyment factor. However, I can wear them back to back and still have a great time! My ears and brain adjust quickly!
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
raansire7
846
Oct 18, 2018
Yup. Totally agree with you. Happens to me too. I don't flinch in those parts with the 6XX even though ALL the detail is there. You're so welcome, friend!
How are the TR-X00? Do they sound closed-in? How do you like them?
Megazine
491
Oct 20, 2018
Thank you for your contributions. I‘ve read that the SRH1840 are reference headphones and why it may sound boring to many people. From my experience, I put the Jubilee superior to the 6XX. I feel the bass tightness just brings all the other sounds together in harmony.
shenan24
213
Apr 5, 2018
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Probably the best headphones you can buy at $200
if you are looking for an enjoyable headphone. One that is pleasant and pleasing to listen to after a long day at work, just get a pair of these. I have had mine since the end of 2016. I was able to jump into the original drop of the HD6xx. I have bought several other headphones throughout this time and I always ended up with these. the 6xx lacks quantity in bass, but it does not lack quality. it has enough for genres like Jazz, not enough for other genres though. I am currently powering my 6xx through the Massdrop Liquid Carbon and it just such a beautiful pairing. There is zero fatigue. the liquid carbon adds a bit of umph on the bass too. these are great headphones for vocals. Male & female After almost 3 years of buying and selling headphones, these are still sitting on my desk, because I have not found a better value than these anywhere
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Metroid
130
Apr 6, 2019
Since I'm not a verified owner here because I don't live in the USA, so I had to use a freight forwarder to buy for me, having said that, my first impression coming from the Denon AH-D2000 and AH-D5000 is, the hd6xx is very loud if an amplifier is used, as the Denons are 25ohm, I myself got used to an amazing clear and yet not loud sound on the Denons I mentioned. Regarding impedance, note that the hd6xx is 300ohm, so, on my tests, at 0ohm to 64ohm the hd6xx lacks detail and everything else that the Denons have to spare as the hd6xx was not meant to be driven around this level, at 64 ohm to 300ohm is what the hd6xx really starts being detailed but as far as I can tell, it is unbearable to listen to on volume 100, you will get deaf if you do, to able to listen to this without getting deaf I had to reduce 30db on foobar 2000, at 300ohm to 600ohm is a just a tad higher but the loudness is not as unbearable as from 64ohm to 300ohm, I would recommend to listen to the hd6xx at 300ohm to 600ohm because that is where is very detailed with a rich sound all around and do not forget to reduce the volume, at 0ohm to 64ohm it does not need to reduce the volume, from 64ohm to 300ohm the volume needs at least 30db to be reduced, from 300ohm to 600ohm 35db. The first 30 minutes listening to it gave me a terrible headache, they are too loud on volume at 100, and even if you listen to it for few seconds, it makes your ears to bleed. I used it always on equalizer off, hi-fi mode, so nothing to contradict my ears. For now lets say that the Denon AH-D5000 is better than the Sennheiser HD6xx by how much will depend on how it will sound on my ears, lets see if the burn-in time makes any difference, it did on my Denons. This review will be updated as it goes.
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MeowMeow40hours
1
Apr 12, 2019
watbot a Violist?
alitomr
48
Apr 6, 2018
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One word for these headphones: WONDERFUL.
I owned a pair of HD650 back in 2008, in a period where I tried a lot of audiophile grade headphones. The HD650 were by far, my favorite.
In my search for audio nirvana (not really, I was just trying a lot of stuff), even loving my HD650 so much as I did (to the point that I was anxious to get home, to relax and listen to music through them), I sold them in order to keep buying and trying more stuff. I missed them since day one. I should not have sold them.
At that moment the budget did not allow for a solid headphone amp to pair with the HD650, but I had a portable headphone amp that I think is not manufactured anymore, the Headphonia Lyrix DAC-AMP. It was great. I always wanted to try these incredible headphones with something up to the task of properly driving them, making them shine, because most experienced users told me that I was missing out. A couple years ago I decided to buy the HD600 and I paired it with th Schiit Stack. It was terrific, truly great, andthen I upgraded to the Valhalla 2 and it was even better. Even like that, I felt by memory that I enjoyed the HD650 more, and was determined to get one. I had a very clear idea of what I would consider better sound in the HD600: the voices sometimes were overwhelming and the soundstage was very tight. ThenFound out about massdrop HD6XX and decided it was THE time to get it.
WOW. I have a gaming setup with lots of cables and in the center there is the HD600 with the modmic 4.0. Even as great as it is, to listen to music and relax I always grab the HD6XX. It is the HD600 with all the detail and even more, but voices are more laid back, and the sound stage is amazing. Amazing doesnt mean artificially big. You close your eyes and usually can feel you are in the middle of a great bad playing live in your living room.
200 for these HD6XX, 389 for the Valhalla and 150 for the modi 2 uber and you in for a treat and one that would require a lot more money to improve just a bit. An answer for a question that keeps being asked: The extra money for the Valhalla 2, is worth it? It is three times the magni 3 and it is not three times the sound, but it is worth it IMHO.
One important thing about another question that keeps being asked: any of the HD600s sound very nice out of a headphone jack. Sometimes I sit down and plug the hd600 directly to the mixamp pro (which has the output of many portable devices), and the sound is very good. To get greatness from the headphone you need an amp, and believe me, it has almost nothing to do with sound levels. An amp provides a lot more than that.
Grab one and be delighted.
Anthonyedc
3
Jan 7, 2019
I use a McIntosh amp , 2 elac f6 towers a emotiva dac/amp and also my turntables forget the name . But I still love the ermissiveness my cans give.
LuckyLuke575
565
Mar 9, 2019
Great story and review. After listening to my HD6XXs for the first time, I just thought that if I was to only own one pair of headphones in my whole life, these are the pair. Definitely agree on the point about the amp, these headphones really improve a lot with a decent amp/dac.
tengu212
17
Dec 22, 2019
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For accuracy and convenience, 6XX are the best value in headphones
So for my first audiophile-grade headphones I bought the HE4XX, which was really impressive. There was a manufacturing defect, however, and I had to return them. Instead of getting another pair, the recent 6XX sale caught my attention and indecision got the best of me. Out of the box, the 6XX sounds much more accurate than the HE4XX without an amp or EQ. Contrary to what just about everyone will tell you, a high-power amp makes absolutely no difference in sound quality for these headphones (yes, even tubes), and will yield only marginal differences that can be reproduced with different pads, EQ, etc. The optional Drop 6XX pads (I chose perforated leather) are more convenient than the stock velour if you have cats or don't like picking off lint. It'll change the sound pretty dramatically, however. The change in mids is negligible, so if you crave a sub bass/mid bass boost, you can use the pads and boost the treble with EQ so it doesn't sound so dark (you cannot EQ bass too much or it will cause distortion). You will lose a very small amount of detail by doing this, and the legendary HD 650 timbre these headphones are known for. That said, you can get pretty close. Leather pads won't collect sweat like velour, but be warned that the foam on the headband always will. Also, you should know that the cable included is durable, but if you don't use it at a desk, it could be a little unwieldy and annoying due to its length. The 58X, based off the HD 580 and also offered here on Drop, are slightly more dynamic and have more sub bass than the 6XX, except they lose a small amount of treble detail and soundstage in exchange. The less small soundstage on 6XX means instrument separation is better, however imaging overall is going to be slightly less accurate (for most this shouldn't matter). Although they sound arguably too similar to justify spending more on the 6XX, I'm really glad I settled on them over 58X since the claim that 58X are the better choice when you don't have an amp is really nonsense nowadays considering the amps available in post-2016 phones and computers. Near max volume, anyone who wants to damage their hearing should be able to do it freely and without issue. To me, 6XX sounds more natural than the 58X, looks better, and are more comfortable with less clamp out of the box. The consensus should be that instead of buying a 58X when you don't have an amp, buy the 6XX for just a little more. If you do have an amp, and don't mind using EQ, then HE4XX are simply the best value in headphones today. While they can be too bright at times, this is easily remedied with foam inserts or EQ. At its full potential, HE4XX have better soundstage, better comfort, and being a planar magnetic that responds well to equalizing, are more versatile than the 6XX. Like oluv says, something like the Earstudio ES100 is enough to power them, which thankfully has an equalizer built in. I highly recommend his settings for a flat response that rivals the 6XX and much more expensive headphones (search oluv's gadgets and HE4XX for EQ settings in the video description of his youtube review). After my experience with them, I'll probably buy another HE4XX down the road. But if you live in 2020 and just want the most accurate, no-fuss headphones you can plug directly into your devices, this is going to be your bag. At the time of writing this, you'd have to spend $600 to 700+ on the Focal Elex if you're looking to surpass it in that regard (HD 600 aside). Everyone who uses headphones should own one if only to experience how your favorite music and digital content were meant to be heard, and at the best value around.
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Machinshin
22
Dec 25, 2019
I cant really agree with you that they dont benefit from a good dac/amp. I used to only use my galaxy s8+ or my yamaha reciever to drive mine. When I finally ordered my nx4, even without the bass boost, the sound got much "fuller" maybe abit smoother aswell. And I can really punish the headphones with super high volume and bass boost without any kind of distortion at all. Cant say I got nearly the same result soundwise from the 2 other dac/amps Ive used, be them of inferior quality.
Brutus64
34
Dec 25, 2019
Oh, they do benefit. I have the JDS LABS Atom and El Dac combo. My buying days are over. The combo powers the 6xx, 4xx, and dt 770s. My needs have been met. Although, I've been wanting a DarkVoice in for ever. It'll have to be a slamming deal before I pull the trigger on that. Happy listening.
toniidesu
234
Oct 28, 2020
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(If you're wondering how these compare to the HD 600, please see the bonus section at the end of this review.) All things considered, these are still the best headphones I've heard. For perspective, I have or have had: Audio-Technica M40X and M50; Sennheiser HD598 and 600, Philips Fidelio L2, Fostex T50RP Mk3, Oppo PM-3, Sony WH-1000XM3, NAD Viso HP50, HiFiMan HE4XX, Audioquest NightOwl Carbon, E-MU Teak, and Audeze LCD-X. If you're considering the HD598 as a lower-priced alternative, it's a great headphone in its own right (especially if you don't want to go down the rabbit hole of choosing a suitable amp), but there isn't as much family resemblance in the sound as you might think. Still, it was through buying the 598 that I decided to take the plunge on the 6XX—Sennheiser's 5xx series is clearly a gateway drug to the 6xx series, which fortunately is so good there's little reason for most people to step up to the 700 and 800 besides bragging rights. There's a lot of weird machismo in the world of audiophilia, and to the greatest extent possible I'd like to avoid that in this review. Simply put, the 6XX is the best all-around headphone you can buy for its current Drop price of $220. I’d go even farther and say that these are the single best deal in personal audio. If you already have an amp and/or a dedicated listening setup and you've never heard these, you owe it to yourself to try them. Worst-case scenario, you don't like them and can return them for free. Best-case scenario, you find out just how good (and yes, also how bad) recorded music can sound. These are very much the BMW 5-series of the headphone world: there are bigger, more powerful, more comfortable, and more expensive options, but these remain the perennial gold standard. Maybe they're not your style, but there's no denying their refinement and artistry. I think they sound absolutely perfect. Some complain they're too "laid back," even "veiled." I suspect those people just don't hear very well, because if you have sensitive hearing, "exciting" headphones are a euphemism for "death by treble." I have dog-like hearing, and most of the time it's more curse than blessing. Even with the 6XX, the treble can be brain-piercing with the wrong amp. As for amp recommendations, this is a contentious and fiercely debated topic. As a general rule, I think you should spend the most on the final device in your playback chain (speakers/headphones), and progressively less on the "upstream" components: amp, DAC, media player. To put this another way, a $1000 amp will not make $5 headphones sound like $1000 headphones, and vice versa. Of course, if you want to pair the 6XX with "endgame" gear, by all means do! The 6XX has a reputation for "scalability," meaning its sound will (allegedly) continue to improve with better amps, DACs, recordings, etc. My own gear is fairly modest, so I can't speak to how this sounds plugged into a $5,000 amp or rewired with $700 cables. I will say that it REALLY comes to life with a tube amp (I used to have a Darkvoice 336SE), but I completely understand if that's a can of worms you'd rather not open. All I know is that the 6XX sounds good enough to be the end of the headphone rainbow for a lot of people. The audio hobby is usually a desperate, futile struggle against diminishing returns, and as far as I'm concerned, the 6XX IS that threshold in the headphone world. In other words, you can spend ten times more, but it won't sound ten times better. Given that, you might be wondering whether you even need an amp with these. "Need" is a strong word, and in the context of expensive headphones it's pretty hard to maintain a sense of perspective. I've done the unthinkable and plugged these directly into my phone’s headphone jack, and you know what? They STILL sound phenomenal, but only for easy music. What's easy music? Pop, rock, basically anything recorded to be uniformly loud. Without an amp, the 6XX can fall apart on classical and jazz recordings with a wide range between loud and quiet sections—there simply isn't enough power on tap to move the diaphragm as nimbly as this sort of music demands. If you never listen to instrumental music, you might be able to get away with not using an amp, but I can't recommend it. Buying such marvelous headphones and not amping them properly would be like buying a beautiful painting and not framing it. You can do it, but for a little more money you might as well get the full effect. Let me end with some totally subjective words that describe the sound of the 6XX: rich, natural, musical, effortless, clean. Now some words that could just as well be applied to a fine wine (the combination of status anxiety, groupthink, and reckless cognitive bias unites both hobbies): broad-shouldered, velvety, well-mannered, savory, harmonious. In either case, a smooth finish. :)

Bonus section: HD6XX vs HD600 Obviously if you've read this far, you're deep enough into the audio hobby to have realized an important psychological truth about yourself: you can't leave well enough alone. Neither can I. That's why, even after falling in love with the sound of the HD6XX, I ordered the HD600. I just had to know. The verdict? It's almost too close to call, but for my preferences the 6XX is the better headphone. The two have been compared to death online, but if you have the capacity to think for yourself, audio review sites and forums are usually an unsavory if fascinating combination of shilling, self-justification, and "follow the leader" parroting of received opinions. Many self-proclaimed "audiophiles" have strong opinions about equipment they've never actually heard, which I can't accept for obvious reasons. Given that, I decided the only way to compare the two headphones honestly was to listen to both myself for hours, going back and forth on a wide variety of recordings. The difference between a good recording and a bad recording dwarfs the difference between lossy and lossless, and the HD600 (more so than the HD6XX) may end up changing your taste in music because it makes good recordings sound SO GOOD and bad recordings sound SO BAD. In other words, it reveals the "truth" of the recording, and sometimes the truth hurts—it's really hard to enjoy The Killers now. The 600 and 6XX are ultimately more alike than different, and the popular insistence that they sound completely different has more to do with what Freud called "the narcissism of small differences" than the headphones themselves. If you Google some variation on "HD6XX vs HD600," you'll hear over and over that the 6XX is "bassier" or "darker." Not really. There's actually very little difference across this parameter. Piano music is an exception, but that’s not what most people would call a basshead genre. Neither model has much bass impact, and both have remarkable treble extension without harshness.  There are two significant differences that I can hear. The first is soundstage. The HD6XX's soundstage is wider, but that doesn't mean it can make a cramped recording sound airy. The HD600's soundstage is more intimate; there's less space between left and right channels, but it's not a huge difference, and I could see people preferring (or at least not minding) the HD600's tighter spacing. The most striking difference between the two headphones is in what I'd call "smoothness." The best analogy I can think of comes from digital photography. As an image sensor increases its sensitivity, it also increases its noise because you can't amplify a signal without also amplifying noise. There are two rival philosophies for dealing with noise: leave it as "grain" or smooth it out. Grain has its devotees, and the advantage of grain is that it preserves fine detail. The disadvantage is that past a certain point it becomes a distraction. The advantage of smoothness, meanwhile, is that it looks superficially nicer. The disadvantage is that when you look closely you won't see all the fine details. Like all things, it's a continuum of compromise. The 600 is the headphone to get if you value detail at the cost of an occasionally unpleasant grainy and even metallic quality to the sound. The 6XX is the one to get if you care more about music than sound and don't care if your headphones sand down the sharp edges of your music a bit. Going back and forth between the two, it quickly becomes clear that the 6XX is the stronger all-around performer: it sounds nicer on more recordings and across more genres. The 600, meanwhile, is the champion of a particular niche: good recordings with lots of micro detail. Want to be able to count how many times the skin of a drum reverberates after it's struck? Want to hear such fine vocal gradations you'll know how a singer felt during recording? The 600 is for you. Make no mistake: at its best, the 600 produces the most astonishingly detailed sound I've ever heard. Unfortunately, at its worst it sounds grainy, jumbled, and not particularly musical. I'm sorry to report that piano music sounds particularly off on the 600: low frequencies disappear and take the fullness of the keys with them. Vocals can sound oddly recessed, even far away. In general, the 600 seems to fare better with female vocals than male ones, and with strings over pianos. It's absolutely glorious for acoustic guitar, but then, so is the 6XX. The 6XX's great advantage lies in its ability to bring out vocals like a spotlight. They stand out so clearly and powerfully from the instrumentation that you'll feel like you're hearing your favorite songs for the first time. The effect is really quite incredible: it's like there's a special sonic column reserved for vocals and unpolluted by other sounds. Based on Sennheiser's own specs, the 6XX has lower distortion than the 600 and it's clearly a more refined driver unit. Whatever the technical reason, the 6XX's background is pitch black: sounds rise from and fall back into a sea of silence. Be forewarned: a well-recorded vocal track through the 6XX may bring tears to your eyes, and that's why I kept the 6XX and returned the 600.
(Edited)
LerxstDirkPratt
2
Oct 29, 2020
"Be forewarned: a well-recorded vocal track through the 6XX may bring tears to your eyes" British-Georgian singer Katie Melua comes to mind, especially her cover of "Fields of Gold".
toniidesu
234
Oct 29, 2020
I'll give that a listen! :)
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