Sennheiser HD 600 over-ear open-back Headphone - Official Thread

@generic Thanks for responding. Just to be clear, I’m asking whether the hd600 came brand new with the stock cable already plugged in. I’m pretty confident it’s a genuine 2019 hd600, just not sure whether it’s returned/open box or new.
My left cup does indeed have the 3 braille dots at the top.

I bought my HD600 a long time ago and am almost positive the cables were pre-installed. I recall that they were so stiff coming out the first time that I thought I might break the connectors. However, mine is from the former Ireland factory so they could have changed the packaging with the move.

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Yes, the entire packaging is much worse now (although it’s not a big deal to me as long as I still got a brand new headphone). However, even in the new 2019version packaging the hd650 at least seems to come with the cable pre-installed. I have yet to find any information on the state of the 2019 hd600’s packaging, however the fact that the cable was installed in the older version and the fact that the new 650 comes with it installed do not bode well. However, the 650 and 600 cables are different, which perhaps could have something to do with it.

Did you get the Romanian version? Weird. I was looking at my pictures and the HD600 was one that I haven’t taken any pictures. :weary:

The HD660S came with the cable attached:

This video should answer your question though:


I did get the Romanian version. And yeah, that video does answer my question, although it was not the answer I was hoping for…

Thanks for the help.


This does indeed seem like a Return/Open Box to me. If it were me I would send them back.

Just to answer your question though. Yes my cable was plugged in already. Good luck. Oh and welcome.


Impressions and Comparison: HD-600 vs. HD-6XX vs. HD-58X

I’ve owned the Sennheiser HD-600 for many years, and it was my first set of serious headphones. I’ve used the HD-600 with all sorts of amplifiers and signal chains, ranging from phones and PCs on up to nice equipment. In 2021 I bought Drop’s HD-58X and HD-6XX when each was on sale. This post summarizes my impressions of all three headphones. While I’ve moved on to the technically superior Focal Clear and other headphones, I continue to use the HD-600 for smooth and relaxing background music.

All three products use the same chassis, connectors, and basic design. One has to look at the name and color to determine which model is in use. I swapped my aftermarket balanced cable when testing on my balanced sources.

Experience Summaries

  • HD-58X: This is definitely a technical step below the 6 series, and it does not scale much or at all. Sounds tend to be distinct when present, but details I know from the HD-600 routinely disappear (i.e., binary, digital, mechanical). It works well on low end, low power devices. As such, if I keep the 58X I’ll use it for ultralight travel, practice sessions with my guitar amplifier, and other scenarios with inherent quality limitations.

  • HD-600: I’ve owned this for many years, and heard it generate both terrible and quality output. It’s the most amplifier dependent of all three, and can either perform worse or better than the other two. On a weak or noisy DAC/amp it becomes hissy, harsh, bright, and screechy. On a “well matched” DAC and balanced or single-ended amp (E.g., Rebel Audio RebelAmp), it sounds great. Bass performance becomes reasonable (never excessive, nor satisfactory for a bass-head), and the tone neutralizes. It remains the most natural sounding and my favorite of all three, hands down.

  • HD-6XX: This sometimes sounds identical to the HD-600 (e.g, when the source has little or no bass), and sometimes pretty different (e.g., substantial bass content with vocals). The HD-6XX boosts lower mids, whereby male vocals become husky, and also bass guitars and some drums tend to dominate upper vocals. The mid bass is dominant, throbbing, and insistent (i.e., focus of attention). Simultaneously, the upper mid range is degraded, resulting in roughness, grain, and a binary character similar to the HD-58X.

I’ll certainly keep my HD-600, but am undecided about the other two. So far I don’t see where I’d use the HD-6XX much at all, as I own solid supporting hardware and prefer the naturalness of the HD-600. However, if one did not own a dedicated headphone amp, its bass boost may be needed and welcome.

More testing to come.


I’ve never had chance to try the HD600, as I have never come across it at a reasonable (to me) price. I have a love/hate relationship with the HD6XX (as I mentioned in my review of it) but still hold on to it because there are certain days that it is great.

I have always wondered (being a fan of neutral bass) if I would prefer the HD600.


I used to own both 600 & 650 some years ago. I found the 600 clearly more lively sounding, basically lacking that overt warmth in the lower mids of 650. It wasn’t hard to decide which to keep. The 650 might have had a wee bit of pad wear, but nothing really noticeable.

My HD600 now sports the 650 cable, headband padding and a pair of fresh pads. It still gets some use, but does get shadowed by my Clear. The Focal has much better reach in the extremes, better resolution and a more punchy, fun & less middy overall tonality. Clear is the closest thing to a “better HD600” I’ve found yet.


I think Sennheiser took standard-size plastic driver technology to its limit with the 600. They are very temperamental and require both an appropriate non-bright DAC and a non-noisy amp, but become a junior Clear when you get it right. They will always have less extended highs and lows and limited dynamics, but are solid.

I think I’m hearing a thicker, heavier, and less precise driver in the 58X. It’s loud when it makes any sound at all. I think I’m hearing a mixed sensitive-plus-thicker driver in the 6XX. In contrast, the 600 is delicate and maximally responsive to input across the board.


The hd 600 is still the gold standard for natural timbre for me. The Focals (Elex, Clear) are very similar, but not quite as natural IMO.

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Had the 600 for six years now. Its quite good on my Rag 1, but has these traits:

  1. A few hot spots above above 3k. EQ cuts that, but not entirely.
  2. bass starts to fall at 85 hz, big drop under 50 hz - EQ can help solidify down to 35-40 Hz, but its with authority.
  3. below average soundstage.

But a friend insisted I listen on his unmodified BHCs, and it was remarkable. I now have my own BHCs+.

  1. Gone, instead a warm romantic euphonic edged sound that is still accurate.
  2. Bass solid into 30’s, with EQ square it off at 30 Hz. A bit thick vs SS, not annoying.
  3. Soundstage now has huge center fill, decent hard left and right, and these mid left and rights that are slightly buckled front to back - like a hinge. This is the amp not the cans. Better than SS even so.

Moving the HD 600 discussion over here to avoid going too far off-topic on Resolve’s headphone ranking thread…

Tube amps can look intimidating but they don’t have to be. It can be tricky seating the tubes in their sockets, and the tubes get hot. But besides this and making sure you use only the tubes recommended by the manufacturer, there’s little to worry about. Tube rolling is entirely optional. The stock ones will have been selected by the designer/manufacturer to work nicely, possibly ideally for the amp (while keeping the cost of the amp reasonable).

You’ll need to burn in the new tubes, typically for 20 or 40 hours. But you don’t need to do anything special here - just play music and listen to it as you ordinarily would while the tubes burn in. The tubes may make some odd sounds at first, as they warm up and settle down - the occasional hiss or pop - but once burned in and up to temperature, they’ll come to sound great. Each time you use it, you’ll need to give the amp 15-20 minutes to warm up before the sound becomes ideal. I avoid using tube amps if I’m only going to be listening briefly. I understand that turning them on and off again repeatedly stresses the heaters and will shorten the tubes’ lives. I usually turn the amp on and leave it on when I know I’m going to have a good listening session for a couple of hours or more.

I’m not sure what your budget would be, but for the HD 600, some good amps might include the following:

The ZDT Jr.
This amp is out of production now. It usually comes up for sale second hand. Don’t pay more than $350 for it, and beware of units that suffer from a hum. Ask the seller about this. The ZDT Jr was sold by Drop. Drop offered to fix those amps that suffered from a hum, and the ones that were fixed have a white dot on the back. The ZDT Jr. has a nice, slightly warm sound to it. It has some of that tubey gooey goodness. It does help with improving the staging of the HD 600. It’s not the best amp for the bass response; it’s a bit flabby and loose, but this shouldn’t be a big problem if you like the HD 600. It’s not an issue for me.

This amp is also hard to come by. It was made by a guy in Russia as an exclusive for members of the SBAF forum. He may still be taking orders, I’m not sure. He makes them in periodic batches, and each batch can take several months to be produced and shipped. Used, the SW51+ sells for $350; new it’s just over $400. It’s a more neutral amp than the ZDT Jr., and doesn’t project as large or spacious a soundstage, but it has a lovely tuning and makes for a wonderfullly engaging, immersive listen, one that’s full of detail and timbral richness. I also like it’s staging with the HD 600; it makes for excellent imaging and separation and layering, and it has a nice effect of spreading the stage a bit wider. It has a gentle sweetness with the HD 600 that’s tremendously appealing. It’s also an amp that delivers a rich midrange presentation, which makes it a pleasure to listen at lower volumes.

The only other tube amp I’ve heard with the HD 600 is the Drop Cavalli Tube Hybrid but while it’s decent, it’s out of production, and you do better with other alternatives. Another tube hybrid amp (i.e. one that also has solid state components), is the

Vali 2+
This is an affordable, highly regarded amp, one that is said to pair nicely with Sennheiser headphones. It is famed for punching well above its weight and for having a lovely sound to it. For $150 it’s well worth a listen. You can always send it back minus a 15% restocking fee (and shipping expense, of course) within 15 days if you don’t like it. I’ve not heard the HD 600 with it, and I’ve only heard earlier versions, but it’s a great little amp and might be ideal as a starter one for you. You don’t have to worry about getting matching pairs of tubes, for instance. I’d recommend starting here, with this amp.

Other tube hybrids to consider are, potentially, the Schiit Audio Lyr 3 and the Monoprice Cavalli Liquid Platinum. They might work well for you but I’ve not heard them. @generic can comment on the Lyr 3 pairing, I think. (The Monoprice goes on sale for ca. $500 every once in a while; don’t fork out the list price of $800 for it, much less the current list price of $1K; Monoprice is constantly shifting the prices online).

The Schiit Valhalla 2 might be another more affordable option but it’s known for being neutral and having a dry treble that might not synergize well with the HD 600. The Bottlehead Crack DIY amp might be an option - again, @generic can help here - but you’ll either have to build it yourself of buy it from someone who has (this might entail some risk; check the seller knows what he or she is doing).

Higher-end tube amps include the Quicksilver, which has been getting positive reviews, and also the Feliks Audio amps as well as the Woo Audio ones. I’ve not heard them. There could well be plenty of others. I hope this helps!


I’m not amused that the HD600 is telling me I have an asymmetrical head. :weary:

Anyway, time to flip the headband cushion pad. :man_shrugging:

I can’t remember if I’ve posted in here or not. I am currently using a Vali 1 with my Senn 600 and it’s really something. I’ve always described the sound from this combo as if you’re in a dingy club, and you can physically walk through the crowd and see/hear the performers on stage. It’s like you’re physically there in 3D. Pretty incredible and honestly my favorite combo.

My HD600 had the Dekoni Elite Fenestrated Sheepskin installed since March this year. Last month, I decided to try the regular Elite Sheepskin version (B-stock). Initially, the plan was to install it in the HD58X or in the HD650 but the added warmth was way too much to my taste.

Also thought if I should give it a go in the (already dark) HD660S. Nahhh… The HD600 was the only obvious choice left:

To my surprise, my ears got closer to the drivers with these pads than the fenestrated version – even after 6 months break-in. Therefore, the distant sounding was not much perceived here than it was on the fenestrated set. Definitely more comfortable though.

Still have to try the ZMF option at some point but I’m very happy with the two Elite Sheepskin offerings from Dekoni so far.


I took some measurements on my EARS rig to see how much my 4 year old (lightly used) HD600 pads have degraded over time. I also took some measurements on the ZMF Suede and perforated leather pads.

Comparing old to new, it appears the upper mids and treble are around 1-3 dB lower on the old pads. The dip appears to be fairly even. So I’m thinking a treble shelf at around 2k would go a long way towards making your old pads sound new again. I’ll try experimenting with that later.

Of the two ZMFs, it looks like the Suede measures closer to stock. Although I still prefer the sound of the perf leather, which is what I settled on for the 6XX. I’ll spend some more time later trying the suede on the 600.

Measurements are unsmoothed and miniDSP’s “HEQ” (basically Harman) compensation was applied. Rather than averaging, I went with the median measurement for each pad. All measurements were done on the left side.


Great stuff! Given manufacturing variance, must be nice to know what your own pair is doing. But for those like me, without a measurement rig, here’s a second example:

This is Crinacle’s result for the right earcup of the same HD 600 with fresh and worn pads in place. Interesting that the amount of difference between his graphs for left and right earcups is not all that different than between his graphs of fresh and worn. And in both cases the variance only happens above 1 kHz, just as Marc shows.

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Here are the Sennheiser HD 600 measurements done on the B&K 5128:



Keep in mind, the target here isn’t comparable to the Harman Target, even though it uses the same preferred slope.


I’ve had the 600 since 2015. I ran it with my Ragnarok 1 - eventually on XLR. I though it was good, but a little dry and occasionally ascetic in the mid treble. Then a friend lent me his BHC - generic build. Wow. I tried his Bryston BHA-1, and later a Violetric V-281. The 281 was best, but the stock BHC, my stupidly over built BHCs, and recently a XDU00 26 - all better than the 3 SS.

Same holds true for a borrowed HD-800, Pretty sure both were designed partially or wholly on tubes. On SS, the harmonics are leached out, and the 600 goes from 3 blob soundstage to a hard left, mid left, big tall center, mid right, far right - 3-7 instruments really show it off.