Sennheiser HD 600 Review – A Budget Audiophile Headphone

Sam-SoundGear | Last Updated On August 31st, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

The Sennheiser HD 600 is considered a one of the best neutral headphone. This headphone, after over 20 years still delivers true audiophile sound quality. The HD 600 is perfect for critical listening and at a very affordable price. In this Sennheiser HD 600 review, we will cover the specs, build quality, comfort and fit, sound quality and a quick comparison to different headphones. You can also check out how the HD 600 stacks up in our lists of the best open back headphones or our best budget audiophile headphones.

So, with that, let’s begin.

Driver type: Dynamic driver
Driver size: 40mm
Headphone type: Open-Back
Ear coupling: Circumaural
Impedance: 300 ohms
Sensitivity: 97dB
Frequency response: 12 – 39000Hz
Pads: Replaceable/ Velour pads
Headphone Connector: Sennheiser 2 pin on the headphone side and a 6.3mm jack on the other end
Cable length: 3m
Color options: Black
Headphone weight: 260g or 9.1 ounces (without cable)

Looks and build quality

The Sennheiser HD 600 has an outstanding build quality. The HD600 features mostly a hard plastic in its build. The plastic, which is quite unique, and has a speckled stone/ marble design with the colors black and blue. The plastic surrounds the earcups and is used for the headband. Though the majority of this headphone is made from plastic, it does not make the headphone any cheaper. The quality of the plastic and the build quality are quite good in my opinion.

The earcups of the HD 600 are open and feature a black steel mesh that protects the headphone driver from damage. The pads are memory foam padded and are covered with velour, which gives them a soft and comfortable feel. The pads are replaceable, and if they are worn out over time, the replacements are available to buy online. The headband is also memory foam padded but has ridges that make it very comfortable to sit on the head.

The good and biggest advantage of the HD600’s design and build is every part of this headphone can be replaced by the owner if it breaks. This, however, excludes the headphone driver. Though I have not heard the experience of replacing a part of the headphone due to a fault, I have read about other user reviews where replacement is easy. This makes me feel much better because I can fix the headphone myself especially when the warranty is out of date.

The HD 600 open back design

The Sennheiser HD 600 Open-Back Design | Val D’Aquila

Weight

Different things make a headphone comfortable. The weight of the Sennheiser HD600 makes this headphone very comfortable. The HD 600 weighs 9.1 ounces. The HD 600 weighs relatively the same as the HD 650. At the current weight, the testing team could not help but notice how the weight of this headphone contributed to the overall comfort of the headphone.

Earcups and Headband

The HD 600 can be worn for long listening sessions without getting fatigued. This is all thanks to the soft and plush earpads and headband of this headphone. The memory foam in the earpads makes the headphone sit comfortably, and the earcups have enough space and deep enough to accommodate the ears. The velour material cover over the earpads gives the headphone a soft and breathable layer, which does not get or feel hot after extended use.

Sennheiser HD 600 earpads

The Velour pads make the Headphone very comfortable | Val D’Aquila

The headband padding and material cover are also actually soft and very comfortable. The ridges in the headband come handy, as they are very good in distributing the pressure of the headphone and making them feel secure on the head. While wearing the headphone, you can bend down, walk around or getting something down while still wearing the headphone. The headphone’s headband also offers enough adjustability to fit a wide variety of head shapes and sizes.

HD 600

The HD 600 headband with a speckled stone/ marble design | Val D’Aquila

Clamping Pressure

The clamping force of the Sennheiser HD 600 at first is very high. Though most people in forums point this out, you can wear this headphone for long sessions without feeling discomfort. However, though the clamping force is high at first, with time and regular use of the headphone, the clamping force reduced to be very comfortable.

Audio Quality

The Sennheiser HD 600 is known for a transparent and balanced sound signature. For me, the HD 600 is a neutral sounding headphone. In short, the Sennheiser HD 600 gives out what you feed it without adding or changing much in your music. Therefore, if you play crappy records, it will reproduce crappy sound. On the hand, if you play a good record, it will give out good sound.

The overall sound of the HD 600 is slightly warm and smooth sounding. When the HD 580 first came along it was a good sounding headphone. The HD 600 is very similar to the HD 580 but more refined and better sounding. The HD 650 though similar sounding to the HD 600 tries to be fun by adding bass to the overall sound signature.

So, with that said, let us get into a detailed review of the HD 600’s sound signature.

Low-End (Bass)

The Bass response of the Sennheiser HD 600 is overall great. The detail of the bass is very good, but overall it lacks quantity. While most people think the HD 600 lacks bass, I think it gives out what you feed it. If you play a record with good bass, the HD 600 will do a great job of trying to reproduce it. Though the HD 600 does not have a boosted bass like say the X2’s, the bass response is well extended and as earlier stated has detail.

The bass does not muddy up the other frequencies and the transition to the midrange is very is very good. Though the bass response is good, if you are looking to get this headphone for bassy related music genres, you might want to look elsewhere. Other than that, they are suitable for any different music genres.

Mids and High-End (Treble)

Vocals, acoustic instruments, bowed instruments, you name it, and The HD 600’s midrange is very organic and comes out with clarity. The midrange is what the Sennheiser HD 600 is famous for and this for a very good reason. They are very detailed and well balanced enough to be considered reference quality.

The treble of the Sennheiser series, particularly the 595s, HD 600, and HD 650 have been a point of controversy among most headphone enthusiasts. Most claim they have a “veiled treble” which is a way of describing a lack of energy in the treble making them come out as muffled or obstructed.

However, after getting some time with the Sennheiser HD 600, I honestly find the details representation of the treble to be good. With some recordings, the treble does get overemphasized and harsh to the ears but still overall; this headphone has clear, well-balanced, and precise highs.

Soundstage and Imaging

The soundstage of this headphone is decent but not big or wide. I would put it that the soundstage and details are well-balanced realist and just right.

Because the imaging goes hand in hand with the soundstage, the HD 600 does great work in reproducing the imagery with the even though the soundstage is not that wide. In our tests, picking out the position of different instruments and where the sound is coming from (in front or behind) came with ease.

You can actually see the driver through the earcup’s mesh | Val D’Aquila

Amplification

Do you need an amplifier for the Sennheiser HD 600? This might be one of the commonly asked questions about this headphone. Though the impedance of this headphone is quite a significant number, 300 ohms, you will be surprised at how the HD 600 is easy to drive.

If you are starting out, my suggestion would be to use the headphone amplifier you have at your disposal first before getting a dedicated headphone amplifier for this headphone.

Sennheiser HD 600 6.3mm jack

The HD 600 headphone jack | Val D’Aquila

Package and Accessories

The packing of the Sennheiser HD 600 is pretty standard, especially at its price. In the package, there is a box with the Sennheiser logo on top. The box is made of cardboard and comes with metal hinges to open the lid.

In the box, the Sennheiser HD 600 sits in the foam, which holds it in place. Just below the headphones, there is the cable of the headphone and its 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter. The package also includes a manual.

The cable included is like the one that comes with the Sennheiser HD 580. The cable is standard and looks cheap unlike the cable of the HD 650, which is much more solid. However, the cable length is good, and luckily, it is replaceable.

HD 600 packaging

The Sennheiser HD 600 in their original packaging | Val D’Aquila

What we like:

  • Good build quality
  • Modular parts
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Detailed and neutral sound quality
  • Affordable and budget friendly

What we don’t:

  • Needs amplification to sound best
  • The cable provided could be better
  • Tight clamp at first

HEADPHONE Sensitivity Impedance Type weight
Sennheiser HD 600 97dB 300 ohms Open-Back 260g
Sennheiser HD 650 103dB 300 ohms Open-Back 260g
Hifiman HE400S 98dB 22 ohms Open-Back 350g
Sennheiser HD 700 105dB 150 ohms Open-Back 408g
Sennheiser HD 598 112dB 50 ohms Open-Back 272g

The Competition

1. Sennheiser HD 600 vs. Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Sennheiser HD 600 have very many things in common. Everything from the design of the two headphones down to the sound quality is very much identical. Choosing between these two headphones would be very hard, but your music preference will determine your choice. The HD 600 is very neutral, and the sound reproduction comes out in a very natural and realistic manner. The Sennheiser HD 650 on the hand is quite similar in the sound quality but a bit darker with more bass and less treble. However, the differences between these two headphones are very subtle, but the one thing that sets them apart would be the price of each headphone. If you are short on cash, The Sennheiser HD 600 is the best choice and offer about the same sound quality as the HD 650 but with a minimal difference in the bass.

2. Sennheiser HD 600 vs. HiFiMan He400S

The HiFiMan HE400S and the Sennheiser HD 600 are in about the same price range. The build quality and choice of materials of the HD 600 is, however, more superior compared to the HiFiMan He400s. Overall, the styling of the HE400S is nothing to get excited about. The comfort and fit of the HE400S is quite good but compared to the HD 600; it is obvious the Sennheiser would take it. Though the HiFiMan He400S is light for planar headphone, compared to the HD 600, they are a bit bulky. The sound quality between these two headphones is very similar, but comparing them side by side, the HE400S is a little better than the HD 600 but by a very small margin. The midrange is just as good as the HD 600, but the treble does not come with the clarity of the HD 600. The two headphones are probably not the best for bass genres, but a modification on the HiFiMan HE400S pad greatly improves the bass response.

3. Sennheiser HD 600 vs. Sennheiser HD 700

The Sennheiser HD 700 has been in the market for a while now. Both the HD 700 and the HD 600 are very well built. The greatest advantage about the Sennheiser HD 600 over the HD 700 is the modular design. The owner can replace everything in the Hd 600 without seeking professional help. As far as comfort goes, you can wear the HD 600 for long sessions without feeling fatigued. However, the HD 700 is better concerning the comfort levels. Sonically, the HD 700 is slightly warmer and darker compared to the HD 600. The Sennheiser HD 700 has a better bass response compared to the HD 600 that are little laid-back but always very natural. Vocally, the HD 600 are much better than the Hd 700, not because of the clarity but they seem more forward on the HD 600 and a little recessed with the HD 700. Also, the treble of the HD 700 does get harsh on some tracks which might come out as painful especially for people who are more sensitive. Overall, the HD 700 is more, but the HD 600 sounds more laid back.

4. Sennheiser HD 600 vs. Sennheiser HD 598

If you prefer a fun or enjoyable open-back headphone, then the Sennheiser HD 598 might work for you. The HD 598 and HD 600 are both excellent headphones, and both have their strengths. I find the build quality of the HD 600 looks more attractive to the HD 598 that also feels more plastic. The HD 600 is even more comfortable evident by the bigger housing that provides more space for the ears to sit better. The sound quality of these two headphones is comparable but overall the HD 600 nails it better. First, The bass of the HD 600 carries more impact and also sound a little powerful to the HD 598. The midrange of the HD 598 is a bit better compared to the HD 600 especially in the upper mids. The soundstage performance on the HD 598 is also spacious and has better depth than the HD 600. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 598 is more fun in many different music genres but lacks the neutral and refinement that comes with the Sennheiser HD 600.

sound gear lab editor's choiceAfter 2-decades of service, the Sennheiser HD 600 is still going strong and one of the best headphone around. The headphone is very comfortable and has a good build quality with decent construction materials. The sound quality of the HD 600 is well balanced with a very excellent midrange, good details on the instruments and vocals but also lack the great bass response which might not be ideal for everyone. However, the flaws that come with this headphone are very minimal and can be easily forgiven. For the price, the Sennheiser HD 600 remains one of the best buy and a headphone worthy of recommendation.

See the Sennheiser HD 600    See Our list of the Best Budget Audiophile Headphones