Given that you are looking for best quality headphones those are suitable for your desired circumstances.A number of brands with similar models are out there complicating your decisions. To ease your decisions after intense research we have picked up some quality headphones matching your budget and comfort.
Sennheiser HD 650 was introduced on 2003 as the successor to the legendary HD 600 and is currently the precursor to the newly released HD 660S. All these three headphones along with HD 580, share a very similar design. Other than the newly released HD 660S, all three headphones even sounds very similar. These are very pleasant headphones and can be regarded as one of the greatest reference series of headphones ever to be released. Even though HD 650 was released 15 years ago, I would still put it to be the best all round performers to date.
Design & Build:
I personally love the design of this Headphone. This design is really simple and guarantees comfort. Even though I would prefer it in black like the HD 660S rather than the gray metal design and the paint not peel off after a couple of years, I still think it still looks elegant. The oval ear cups is a design, personally I think all headphone manufacturers should adopt as the oval pads makes it more comfortable than the round design. Also the design is very open with only metal grill covering the driver and the drivers are completely visible from the outside. This means that there is no isolation from outside noises.
The build is mostly plastic and the grills covering the drivers being the few amount of metal used. But like most sennheiser products the build quality is superb. I haven’t had any issues with my particular set of headphones yet. But remember that the headband and the velour earpads will definitely show signs of wearing and might needed to be changed after 3-5 years of use, because the wear in the pads cause the sound to change.
I think the Sennheiser HD 650 along with the ones I mentioned at the beginning is the most comfortable headphones that I ever put my hands on. Without the wire this practically weighs nothing and the oval shape of the cups are deep enough so that they can house ears of any size with ease. Along with these perks you also get the soft and comfortable velour pads. This makes it extremely comfortable for long sessions of listening and to be honest if you add the open airy feeling you get with these, you may even forget that there is anything over your head.
But I do need to say this the clamp is a little tight right out of the box and little bit of stretching helps if you’re up for it, or you could let it adjust it with the shape of your head normally over time.
You don’t get a lot of accessories with these set of cans. You only get the 3m cable ending in a ¼” adapter and ¼” to 1/8” short adapter cable.
The sound signature of Sennheiser HD 650 is probably best denoted as sweet, smooth and pleasant. There are no harsh edges that may sound piercing to the ear. So it’s a headphone that‘s very relaxing and enjoyable to listen to.
Sound Stage and Imaging:
The sound stage in these set of is definitely wider than the two predecessors. But it isn’t that much of difference than the other two, which had very little soundstage.
But even though the soundstage is lacking the imaging is quite good. Even in today’s standard of high end headphones I would say that these do have quite good imaging.
Being open back dynamic headphones bass is where this series of headphones lacks a little bit. But I do have to say that these sets of cans do have a better bass extension than the HD 600 and the HD580s. Even though the bass extension isn’t as much as a closed set of cans or many other headphones, in my opinion the bass is impressively clean and incredibly smooth.
It is true that people looking for punch in the bass might be disappointed because the sub bass is definitely lacking a little bit since this is an open backed pair of headphones but the mid and the upper bass is very pronounced and clean without artificially emphasizing them.
The Sennheiser HD 650 has a fairly neutral sound signature meaning that the bass, the mids and the highs all are in a balance with none overpowering the other. And mids are where nearly all sennheiser headphones shine. And that shows in this headphone where the mids are reproduced extremely accurately and there isn’t any kind of elevation in the mid range, which makes the mid range sound very smooth and at the same time very relaxing.
Some may call the HD 650 mids a bit forwarded but my ears could not detect that issue. To my ears the mid range reproduced here should be the reference midrange to all headphones. The balance between the highs, mids and lows gives this particular set of cans a very relaxing and enjoyable sound signature that does not cause ear fatigue like many other headphone does, which is one of the reasons why these are my daily go to set of headphones.
From the upper mid to the highs these set of cans does become a little bit of recessed, which may have caused many to say that these have sennheiser treble veil. But while the treble are recessed that doesn’t mean that any of the detail in the treble is gone. There is just less energy there than many other headphones that I consider to be a tad too bright. Many may consider this lack of brightness to be dark and veiled.
But in HD 650 the treble feels less piercing and less fatiguing which is what I like about these set of cans. The treble in this set of cans is smooth and congestion free and sweet. Sennheiser has designed these set of cans to be enjoyable and for long term listening without any fatigue to the ears. That’s why when coming from an overly or even little brighter headphones these may seem dark or veiled, but for long (or short) pleasant and enjoyable listening session I would definitely take these over any other headphones.
In my honest opinion these are one of the best headphones ever made and these were made for enjoying music for long period. But while buying these you should also remember that these are 300Ω dynamic headphones, so you do need a good amp to power these. Even though many amps can power these, a good amplifier can really bring the full potential of these headphones. And similar to the HD 600 these do actually benefit from using a tube amplifier, and if you do like the tube sound I also highly recommend doing that. So in conclusion these are highly enjoyable and very detailed sounding set of headphones and I highly recommend them especially when paired with a good set of DAC and amplifier.
- Audio GD NFB 11.28 (Best Budget Choice)
- Schiit Jotunheim
- For Tube amplifier – Dark Voice 336SE or Bottlehead Crack + Speedball
DT1990 Pro is the headphone that makes you fall in love no matter what your taste in the music is. I have heard DT770 Pro, 880 and the DT 990 Pro before. But this headphone is definitely much improved over those and in my opinion it’s one of the best headphones to date
Design & Build :
The design of nearly all the Beyer dynamic headphones is very similar. But the DT1990 Pro in my eyes looks the most beautiful among them and I think many would agree with me in this regard. The Black and silver combination makes it look to be thing of beauty. Even the metallic logo goes really well with the looks. Even though wood wasn’t used in any part of the construction, the looks of this headphone is very premium and I do prefer it’s looks than to most other headphones.
The build material of this headphone is mainly metal and pleather except for the velour ear pads. As I stated before no wood was used in the construction or any real leather, but the build quality is extremely good and you can see it the very first time you pick them up. You can find “Made in Germany” written near the bottom of cups and it really shows that German build quality. All the components come together as a whole making this a headphone of extreme comfort. Though use of metal in the cups made it little heavier than the legendary DT Trio, but the headband distributes the weight very nicely and with the combination of the comfortable pads provided with the headphone, this is still a very well built and comfortable headphone for long sessions of music. Also the Detachable cable pops in and out very easily.
Along with the headphone you get 2 Detachable Cable (Mini XLR to 1/8”) and screw-on 1/4″ adapter. Even though both these are very solidly built and of good quality, but both these cables are too long for my personal taste. The straight cable is standard 3m long and is actually a nice cable and I have no complain about it. But the coiled cable is 5m long and though it may be really useful to someone, that person isn’t me. I really wish they included a 1.5m cable as well.
Also included is one extra set of velour Pads that may seem like a set of replacement pad at first glance. But the included pad gives you a different sound signature. The two sets of pads are denoted as “Analytical” pads and “Balanced” pads (A and B for short). The balanced pads are pre-installed during shipping.
A hard body rubber case is the final accessory that you get along with this headphone. A small pouch is sewn inside that contains the coiled cable. The case isn’t particularly useful as it is larger that you may want to carry in your bag.
This headphone is extremely comfortable for usage, even for long sessions of music listening. Both sets of pads are quite comfortable. But the “Analytical” pad is softer and is more comfortable, so I do prefer this over the “Balanced” pad for comfort. Since the balanced pad is little bit stiffer, it can cause discomfort over long period of listening.
Soundstage, Imaging & Separation :
Since these are marketed as professional monitoring headphone, I think Beyer dynamic kept the soundstage from being too wide because that may cause some of the detail in sound being lost. But it certainly is not narrow. And this way you get the best of all perks. Of the headphones that I listened I would put the soundstage of Phillips Fidelio X1 to be the widest and Sennheiser HD600 to be narrowest. In that regard the soundstage would definitely be closer to the Sennheiser HD600 than the X1s, but in no way it is as narrow as Sennheiser HD600.
And also the imaging and separation is absolutely incredible. While listening to this every detail in the sound becomes apparent. Depending on the quality of recording you can even imagine how the music was recorded in the studio, like where each of the instruments is positioned and even the faintest noise made by these instruments. That’s how good the separation and depth is in this headphone. And I can honestly tell that I would not change a thing about this headphone.
Sound Signature :
I have to say from the start, that I do prefer neutral sound signature, and that may be the reason why I love this headphone, especially with the “Analytical” pads.
Even though this is an open back headphone bass is really clean and well defined that extends quite deep, which is quite surprising really. With the B-Pads it sounds a bit warmer with a bit elevation in the mid and upper bass. And with the A-Pads the bass sounded to me more neutral and if possible even cleaner. There is no excess boom or thump with nor does any of the bass extend into the mids region with either of the pads. Which means with both pads you get very good quality bass and unless you are extremely into bass without regard for the quality of the bass, you are going to love the bass in this set of cans.
Even though the bass is well defined with either set of pads, my preference stays with the analytical pads which sound to me to be more natural.
The mids in this headphone is extremely neutral and very detailed in a way that makes them really enjoyable to listen to, especially with the vocals. There really isn’t much to say other than to say that I love the clarity and detail mid range that this headphone puts out. This headphone has a beautiful, clear and well defined mid range that most other headphones can’t rival.
But the issue with the mid range lies in the upper mid range where it may come as little darker to some listeners, especially if you’re transitioning from some other headphones like Sennheiser HD650. But this issue was hardly noticeable to me and I only included this issue because a friend of mine told me about the mids being recessed.
The treble is where this headphone does have a little brightness, which is the one issue that I feel beyerdynamic should take into account in solving, since this is a recurring issue in many of their headphones like DT990 Pro and even in the new Amiron. But even if the treble issue isn’t as bad as those two, it still can be fatiguing in long sessions. Any issue that anyone may have with these would definitely be treble related. This treble energy may sound harsh and piercing.
I may have said only bad things about the treble on the DT1990 Pro but I haven’t heard any sibilance in the highs, the treble crisp and very clear and sharp. And for many people good quality in treble is something that they look for in their headphones. The treble has astonishing clarity and detail and would definitely be loved by many that prefer little extra energy in their treble.
My only issue really with the highs in this headphone is that with the bright treble it becomes fatiguing to listen to music for long period, which I would love to do in this headphone (without any kind of equalization).
In my opinion this is one of the best headphones currently in production that anyone would love if they do hear it. But while buying these you should also remember that these are 250Ω dynamic headphones, so you should use a good amp to power these. Also having a good quality audio source would definitely help bringing the beauty in the music. And when you do both, this headphone will definitely bring out the beauty in the music that you are listening.
- Audio GD NFB 11.28 (Best Budget Choice)
- Schiit Jotunheim