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Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones
$179
$219

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones

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$179
$219
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Review Highlights:
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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.
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!
See all 6.9K reviews
Q&A Highlights:
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What are "open back headphones"?
Open backs project sound both towards your ears and out the sides of the earpieces. This makes the sound feel as if they are coming from further away. Good for replicating the directions of where each vocals and instruments are coming from; like at a concert. Close backs sound as if the music is coming from the centre of your head; you get less "directional" experience but they feel more intimate. Open backs leak sound so if you are riding on public transport, the people sitting next to you might look at you sideways wonder why you are playing music for everyone around you. Most high end headphones are open back so don't worry about losing any sound quality from the leakage!
What is the best amp (or amp/dac) to pair with the HD6XX?
They go well with my Modi/Magni Schiit stack
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Customer Reviews

4.8
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97% would recommend to a friend
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4.5(309)
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4.8(308)
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4.5(309)
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pivery
41
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!
(Edited)
Kendawg2000
12
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!
Recommends this product? Yes
DLNSounds
34
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.
Recommends this product? Yes
WilliamxAdams
21
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.
Recommends this product? Yes
raansire7
1508
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. The better the DAC and amp, the better they sound. It's not a fairy tale. They do have a somewhat compressed dynamic range, so they don't hit very hard or heavy. 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. I'm a bit if a puritan, so I enjoy them as is but know that a smidge of EQ is enough to "fix" them. I've tried foibar2000's stock EQ and Equalizer APO. 2 or 3 dB of adjustment up top is enough to make them sound more correct. In the lows, the sub bass is not very apparent, but they do have bass. Some tracks slam while others pound, but this area also benefits from a sprinkle of EQ. Again, I enjoy them as is and only add EQ if that day my brain is acting weird and I need more excitement. They do not sound open, but the sound stage works with the tonality, and they have accurate imaging even if it's not ultra defined. If you like open-sounding headphones, know these sound very, VERY close to the eyes and ears. While my 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, but still, intimate. 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. It's such a drastic difference. They turn into a better, more refined version of themselves. For $199, in my entire lifetime, this has to be the highest value to price ratio I've ever experienced on audio equipment. Remember the HD 650 used to be $500, and the highest end at one point. These are literally the HD 650 with a different color. The box even says HD 650. 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 classify 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 I wish you peace! The future edits compliment the main review, but are not necessary, so you can stop reading here unless you want to keep going into deep rambles. 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! EDIT: [July 11, 2021] Last week I finally received my Schiit Magnius that I ordered back in February, and after not liking the SE output, I decided to solder a Neutrik NC4MXX-B male XLR connector to the stock HD 6XX cable with Cardas Audio Quad Eutectic Solder and try the balanced output. BINGO! The boring sound was gone. Keep in mind balanced and SE outputs should not be compared between different amps. It's apples to oranges, and a good SE amp will sound better than a bad balanced amp. I left both RCA and XLR cables connected from the Modius to the Magnius, so all I had to do was press a button to switch from SE to balanced output without disconnecting the headphones from the XLR output connector. Because the Magnius' balanced output has over 3X the power of the SE output at 300 ohm on high gain, I had to level-match by ear. Interestingly, when setting higher the SE output's volume to try to give it an advantage (louder=better psychology), the balanced output always sounded better and more pleasing to me from song to song. I couldn't avoid noticing how the highs were less dull, and imaging sounded less flat than on the SE output. It was a true audiophilic difference. This was anti-expectation bias, because I wasn't expecting any differences other than power, ha-ha. What surprised me is how the Magnius' balanced output has enough power on low gain to not need to go past 12 on the volume. It's too much on high gain for the high impedance but signal-sensitive HD 6XX. By the way, I still don't love the Magnius presentation even if the sound quality is great. The stereo image is just not wide, deep and separated like on the Schiit Asgard 1 and 2. It's accurate, but very close to the head, so now they sound very, very intimate, more than what I'm used to. It's not holographic like with my other amps, but with the extra power and imaging improvement from the Magnius' balanced output, the HD 6XX just tighten up and sound even more clear and defined, reminding me a bit of my Audeze LCD-X in terms of realness and texture. Even the bass got a weighty similarity to the planar lows, and they never sounded weighty or big to me before. I'd have to get another balanced amp to see if it's the extra power of the balanced output or the Magnius topology itself that improved the HD 6XX so much to me. It's a different kind of amp for Schiit, an uncharted territory, so possibly it pairs great with these headphones. I think so, and why should it not when the evidence is all over my ears? I also converted my HIFIMAN HE-5XX's cable to balanced, since the two Neutrik XLR connectors were lower in price by piece than buying only one, and they didn't scale up as high as the HD 6XX. They pretty much sound the same SE or balanced on the Magnius. It's a good sound, but not significant difference at all, so that was disappointing to me. OTOH, the HD 6XX really improved on what matters to me, which is definition, clarity, resolution and smoothness. I'm not an audio snob at all, but like you and many others in this hobby...or way of life, I can truly enjoy the benefits package that audio snobbery provides. It might not be necessary for overall music listening, but to me the additional refinement makes the listening experience more enjoyable when in analytical mode. It's easier to tell apart microphones, compressors, reverbs, rooms, distance, etc. in a recording. It's just more aural info I receive, the level of musical enjoyment that I like to be in, he-he. Remember I said up there in the November 9, 2020 edit of this review that the HE-5XX dethroned the HD 6XX in musical enjoyment factor for me? Well, the HD 6XX got their throne back. Everything good about them improved. Everything less good about them like the not-so-tight bass, muddiness in the lower mids, and slight darkness up top also improved. They now sound more correct to me compared to my less quirkier headphones. Even the reverb and delay tails that used to sound darker on the HD 6XX are way more apparent even when listening at lower volumes. With the Magnius' extra balanced output power and improvement in sound presentation, they now sound more pleasing than the HE-5XX. Even better, the Magnius is a super-quiet amp and has very little distortion, so I can listen to music much louder than what I'm used to. The Modius/Magnius combo is very freeing to my ears. I don't get that cerebral warning of discomfort I'm used to with my other amps regardless of volume level. So, if you seem to dislike the HD 6XX with what you currently have, maybe try getting a clean and powerful balanced DAC/amp combo. I always say it here to people, that adequate power and loud listening levels is not enough to yield the best sound quality out of the HD 6XX. Enough power is not good enough for them. In my experience, an Asgard 2 on high gain is the minimum I'd suggest to get them to sound better than impressive, even if low gain has enough power to get them deafeningly loud. EDIT: [October 5, 2021] I finally received the Sennheiser HD 8XX in late September after long months of wait and have been enjoying them a lot. To my personal likes, Drop really kicked it out of the park with the "last minute" tuning changes.
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There they are in the background. I was a bit worried that they'd ruin the HD 6XX for me, but thank God they didn't. Although they do sound like Sennheisers to me, they don't have the textured HD 650/6XX mids and their intimate, close-mic sound that presents music with that unique fullness and completion. Whatever the HD 8XX do better than the HD 6XX, which I admit is quite noticeable and significant, is not necessary in my opinion to reach that impressive, happy place of utter enjoyment. I can take them off, put on the HD 6XX and once my brain and ears adjust in 30 to 60 seconds, still experience that same musical bliss they provided when I first heard them after unboxing them the day I received them. I know I write WAY TOO MUCH. I apologize for that! My review turned into a journey, since I've kept the HD 6XX while I've gifted away "better" headphones I've bought after them.
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
The reason some people keep the HD 6xx but pick up other headphones is… to explore. Fresh wow moments! But the HD 650/6xx is definitely a reliable staple, I still have mine and I’ll never get rid of it, it was a gift from Axel Grell himself!
AMC4x4
60
Dec 11, 2022
EvshrugSure. I love to try other headphones, but nothing could get me to keep a pair that I'm not really jazzed about, which is why I asked. Guess everyone is different. :)
TheFieryHaze
73
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!
bristone
1
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?
bratchikovivan
0
Jan 18, 2023
bristoneI also find 6XX a bit bright -- try Meze 99 Classics -- very enjoyable headphones, my favourite ones!
shenan24
224
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
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
Metroid
130
Apr 6, 2019
shenan24Since 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.
(Edited)
MeowMeow40hours
0
Apr 12, 2019
watbot a Violist?
alitomr
49
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
562
Mar 9, 2019
alitomrGreat 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
23
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.
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
Machinshin
25
Dec 25, 2019
tengu212I 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
40
Dec 25, 2019
MachinshinOh, 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
320
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
21
Oct 29, 2020
toniidesu"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
320
Oct 29, 2020
LerxstDirkPrattI'll give that a listen! :)
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