Sennheiser HD 560s Open-Back Headphones - Official Thread

Official thread to discuss the Sennheiser HD 560s

From Sennheiser:

“With linear acoustics tailored to extended listening sessions and smooth, gratifying bass performance, the HD 560S was crafted for the analytical audio enthusiast.”

Key Features

  • Reference-grade headphones for analytical listening sessions
  • Natural and accurate reference sound
  • Angled transducers recreate the optimal listening position every time, without the need for acoustic room treatment
  • Open earcups facilitate natural expansion of sound waves
  • Superior detail retrieval with fast, clear bass response
  • Extended low-end reach with gratifying presence
  • Ultra-low distortion even at high SPL
  • Lightweight design and velour earpads for all-day wearing comfort
  • Detachable 3m cable with 6.3mm jack plug and 3.5mm adapter with flexible, 15cm lead

Technical Specifications

Tech Specs

  • Impedance: 120 Ω
  • Frequency response: 6 Hz to 38 kHz (-10 dB)
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): 110 dB (1 kHz / 1 V RMS)
  • THD, total harmonic distortion: < 0.05 % (1 kHz / 90 dB SPL)
  • Jack plug: 6.35 mm with 3.5 mm adapter
  • Transducer principle: dynamic, open
  • Weight: w/o cable 240 g
  • Ear pad: material Velour

In The Box

Box Contents

  • HD 560S headphones
  • 3 m cable with 6.3 mm plug
  • 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapter
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Joshua Valour released his review (Oct 20):

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If I recall, Josh really liked the Beyer DT series treble, so I’m extremely skeptical about his “extremely enjoyable” treble claims here. I also haven’t agree with many points he’s made in the majority of his videos, so I’ll reserve judgement until I can hear them myself.

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Seems to be mixed opinions on these depending on source. Josh seems like a sincere guy but I agree with you in not trusting his ears/ preferences.

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Agreed.

There are many you-tubers that have access to a lot of gear but don’t really know about audio. Mostly they are concerned with monetizing the videos.

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What stuck from this review was a lot of his hemming and hawing about the quality of all products at the $200 price point. He’s always been a fan of a large sound stage, and feels the 600 family is “inside the head.” My ears don’t agree, as headphones that force in spatialization prevent music from ever being intimate. However, he’s pretty influential today.

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I tend to agree with his and Metal571’s description of the intimate presentation of the HD6XX. It’s how I hear it and why I like it for a lot of my music collection.

Somewhat troubling is his attempt at EQing the bass led to nothing of value. Of course, if he was trying to convert these cans into Campfire Audio Cascades that was never gonna happen. Still, some EQing success would have been interesting.

Just got pair in the office about 20 minutes ago! Shoutout to DMS for sending us his pair to evaluate.

3 songs in and I’m surprisingly liking the 560s. Running it with a Mytek Liberty DAC into a iFi Audio Pro iCAN. I wasn’t actually a huge fan of the 600 series as I found it a little too intimate and “boring”. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to those headphones though and I haven’t listened to the 58x so context is important.

These do have a spacious sound to them. Looking at what Sennheiser wrote about them and from early impressions I was worried they’d be a little to limp in the low-end for me as I tend to like my headphones with emphasized low-end but as of now they are doing the job. Definitely a little bass light but not as egregious as I thought they would be.

On the soundstage front, they’re definitely spacious. Not HD 800S levels like early thoughts were putting it towards but probably one of the more spacious pair of headphones I’ve heard in the under $300 bracket.

From a build & comfort perspective, I feel like they’re what you would expect from Sennheiser. Lightweight, comfortable, light clamp (@chrono’s head may find them a little more clampy). All plastic. Should last anybody who treats them with a modicum of care years from a headphone frame perspective. Generally driver failure isn’t too common among Sennheiser’s headphones so I’m sure there’s longevity there.

The rest of the FR is pleasant. Not noticing any sibilance with my more treble heavy tracks and vocals come through nicely.

Compared to what I remember from the 599, 569 etc… these feel like they’ll quickly become a favourite in Sennheiser’s line-up. You pretty much go with these or the 6XX depending on what you’re looking for.

I can hear @Resolve drooling from a couple KM away already waiting to snatch these away from me so he’ll have measurements, impressions and a review up soon!

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Okay so, I just stole them from Taron. Here are my initial thoughts:

Technical performance

  • Much improved soundstage over the HD6XX. Not like an HD800 though by any means. It’s less about lateral space and more about forward space.
  • Detail is ehhh… okay it’s fine but not as good as the HD6XX, flat out. And that may just mean it doesn’t scale as well, which I’m kind of not surprised by, since I’ve now listened to both from the SPL Phonitor X. At the price point, yes the HD560s is still really good in that department though.
  • Speed & Dynamics - it does have a similar kind of tension and snappiness to the initial leading edge for a very clean and well defined sound. I still think image distinction and separation is better on the HD6XX but, on the HD560s the whole presentation is farther away from me and not as claustrophobic.

Tonal balance:
Here’s my initial measurements on the GRAS43AG. I still need to do more testing because it looks like there’s some noticeable positional variance going on for the treble. While the average is a decent representation, it’ll be interesting to see which of these positions is most common.

EDIT - Round 2 measurement with the most consistent result (explanation here) :

Channel matching:

It’s pretty good for the most part, with maybe a few gremlins in the lower treble depending on positioning. I think if anything I’m most impressed by the bass response. This is definitely better than the HD6XX there.

For anyone wanting a comparison with the HD6XX:

Of course the question is… does purple sound better? to which the answer is yes, yes it does - but only for certain things like treble smoothness, detail and scaling.

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Good stuff. So all the “it’s too harsh” impressions out there so far are related to 4-5 kHz frequency range peak and less bass in general w.r.t. HD6XX? :thinking:

Better extended than the HD6XX, but less lower mid bloom. And regarding 4.5khz, I don’t think so. I think it’s more likely the bigger issue lies at 8khz. If you look at the positional variance, you see there are some positions that show a notable peak around there. That’s kind of how I’m hearing it at the moment. The 4.5khz bump could be better, but it’s not terribly out of balance with everything else.

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Still, it’s just +2dB tops. Anyway, everyone perceives it differently. :man_shrugging:

Another one I have heard/read recently is some folks saying this is a mini HD660S.

I see the hype :steam_locomotive: is still accelerating for this can. It’s cool having evidence from multiple sources.

Thanks!

Still, it’s just +2dB tops.

I’m not so sure about that.

Here’s the positional variance isolated:

Keep in mind, the target is just there for reference, so it’s not about individual deviations from the target, but rather the distance between the peak and the ranges on either side of it. It is definitely noticeable.

I think those who hear it as harsh may also be getting this position.

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I see now. My judgement was also based on the smoothed plots (560S vs 6XX). Clearly a simplification.

Thanks!

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Were these made to follow the harmon curve? Like specifically to do so?

Here’s an updated measurement with a more consistent position that I think more accurately reflects how it’s heard on the head.

I had originally thought the slight harshness was from a peak at 8khz, and maybe that’s still part of it, but the more notable issue for this position is the 4-5khz peak that shows up a bit more strongly. So far, this is the most consistent result I get from the GRAS, and I’ll be using some in-ear mics to to compare and see if there are any notable differences for my own pinna.

You can see this result in the variations on the previous measurement, but because that one was averaged with a number of other positions with different clamp pressure it doesn’t look as intense. The bottom line is that, this is likely how some people will hear it, but there’s also the possibility that, depending on the coupling (clamp pressure, pad wear, etc.), you could end up hearing it closer to what the previous measurement shows.

Channel matching is pretty good on this unit

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Which in-ear mics will you be using?

Custom ones from Mad Economist haha.

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Oh wow. That’s pretty darn cool!

4 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Objective, Subjective & Dejected Thread