My son bought me a pair of Sennheiser HD560s for my coming 50th birthday.
My opinion on these headphones is highly conditioned by the fact that my 13 years old son did everything he could in order to gift them to me.
I’ve listened to my favourite music with them in the last weeks and these are my initial impressions.
Despite being made on the budget side and entirely of plastic they don’t feel particularly cheap nor give me the sensation they’re about to break in a while.
Out of the box the clamping force is good to me but this may vary according to how much you have to extend the headband to fit your head. The more extension the more clamping they become.
Having a medium head I don’t have to extend the head band too much so the clamp force is not a issue to me.
Ear and head pads are softer than the ones on my HD660s and are definitely comfortable when wearing the headphone.
Even if I prefer the 600 series design the design of 500 series isn’t bad. Doesn’t feel as durable as the 600 series but aesthetically is pleasant.
I hate Sennheiser’s 3 meters cables. It’s my problem, not a Sennheiser’s one. I can’t stand having a cable running on the floor. It’s not a issue as for 10/20 euros you can get a shorter and better cable.
Regarding sound after some listening I can say that even if these headphones aren’t the best resolving in Sennheiser’s line the tuning helps a little by fooling the perceptions you have and make you feel like they resolve much more than they actually do: that little extra treble that makes your brain perceive resolution higher than it really is.
Bass is present but doesn’t have the quality of 600 series. By this I mean that despite the bass is good and vivid to my ears it doesn’t have the necessary control to bring it out the best from it.
Mids are good and treble isn’t pricing or disturbing to my ears.
Soundstage is wider than on 600 series.
It isn’t the soundstage of an Hifiman Arya or of a Sennheiser HD800s but is well defined laterally and all around the head. I really like it.
The response you get from these headphones highly depend on your source and on the quality of the recordings you listen to.
Listening to well recorded and mastered music is a pleasure as the headphones seem to bring out all the best from the music.
If there’s a flaw in the recording or in the mastering process you’re gonna hear it and it will be present with no exception.
So what about in conclusion?
For the actual street price of 160 euros in Europe they are great sounding headphones and a good complement if you have a 600 series headphone in your arsenal.
You get the extra sound stage that you don’t have from 600 series and a less intimate sound that can be preferable with certain recordings.
Good starting point for beginners? Meh. They depend too much on the source and recording quality and can be frustrating if your music and sources aren’t good.
They can be a great tool for mixing and recording.
I use them in office feeded with a Windows Desktop PC plus Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt or with an A&K SR25.
No problem driving them properly from both sources and no great problem with long listening sessions.
Occasionally they can be quite hot on the ears but nothing that a pause of few minutes can’t stop them being a problem.
I have the impression that sound quality highly depends on very precise orientations of the drivers on your ears. Worth spending few minutes finding the spot that better suits you since once you find it the sound quality is highly improved.
The HD560s have been hyped a lot when they came out and my impressions confirm my general “don’t believe the hype” approach.
They are good headphones that you can buy to a great price and with a proper setup can be very enjoyable.
From that to be “giant killers” it passes a lot anyway.
I like them a lot and coming from my beloved son they are even more precious to me.