My all time favorite Sennheiser headphones #bestheadphones

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My Sennheiser journey started with the HD 414 in the early 1970s; I bought an original HD 414 a few years ago.

Next came a HD 580 in the late 1990s.

Then a HD 700, still on the company’s site,

And now a Massdrop X Sennheiser HD 6XX (aka HD650). I misquoted the price in the video, I said it’s $200, it’s actually $220. Here’s my CNET review from last weekend,

My 2011 Bottlehead Crack headphone amp review,

The Bottlehead Crack is still in production,

The Hifiman HE400S is $229 on Amazon,

I also love the IE 800/IE 800 S in-ears,

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27 COMMENTS

  1. I have one of these Sennheiser headphones. The sponge ear pads disintegrated and became like a powder years ago. I also have an ITT Schaub Lorenz headphones Made in Germany of that period. Stopped working years ago. That is Kraut technology for you

  2. For me it started with 414(yellow ducky)… then the hd600… roommate’s cat ended those… then another pair of hd600s, and now hd660s with Corpse Cable’s ‘Gravedigger’ balanced cable plugged into a Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amp/DAC listening through Roon to binaural dsd 256 files!… a long way from the ‘yellow duckys’ of the past. Throw in some Grado 225s and the old Koss foldables, and an’Audio by Van Alstine’ headphone amp, and youve got my whole headphone journey. I was born an audiophile more than 62 years ago!

  3. Hey Steve, I recently found the HD 455 in a thrift store with original box and paperwork. I can’t find much about these online, it has a price of $99.99 on the box, which makes me think it was a consumer product. The headphones have a particular sound, I don’t know if I like it or not yet, but is definitely not as crisp as newer headphones, I wonder if there is any maintenance that can be done to the Sennheiser headphones in general, or this specific model its just not amazing(?)

  4. i was born/raised in germany… remember the 414's well, that's all they had at the record listening stations in german dept stores… back then (circa 1968 thru 1976) i had a set of koss pro 4aa… memories…

  5. By the way HD580 are 300ohm you told as 150 ohm i do own all HD series From HD580 Precision,HD580 Jubilee Carbon Fibre,HD600,HD650,HD6xx,HD58x Jubilee,HD660s just now im a collector of all Hd Series

  6. I first owned Koss Pro4aa but quickly moved to the Senn 414s. Owned Audio-Tecnicas, Yamahas, Koss ESP electrostatics, Grados. My go to units now are some KEF and Senn 580.

  7. I have HD 580 from the 90's and Ive always loved them and always used them with my home stereo, they are underpowered with portable devices

  8. My first pair of headphones which I used for decades were the Sennheiser HD-424s. I loved them but little did I realise they were slightly thin sounding. Then I owned the Sennheiser HD-518, HD-600, HD-650s and found them "too 'warm' sounding" too. Actually it's that their bass is 'tubby' and their highs a little dark. Great with (slightly thinner overall) 1970s recordings, but not current releases. My current all favourite pair of headphones, the HiFiMAN HE4XXXs (from Drop), are not tubby sounding at all with excellent bass punch and extension, but will be nicer if they were just a "lttle bit" darker, – or when paired with a fancy tube amp. Tell us Steve who makes an in-between open-back pair of headphones (between the HD-6XXs and the HE-4XXXs that can be used with normal (non-tube) amps and devices?

  9. I love your videos. And i am a Sennheiser fanboi. Have you ever wanted to do a review of the Senneiser HD800+HDVD800 using XLR cables?

  10. Hi Steve! Just beginning so, does anyone make $100 or less, headphones worth using? I’ve recently purchased the $200 Klipsch reference speakers you mentioned in one of your vlogs and the little Kinter amp that I’m using with a preamp and my turntable. It sounds great but I need some headphones or my wife is going to kill me. Thanks in advance for your advice!

  11. I bought the HD660S more on impulse than clear thinking. It is fabulous, already on a simple 400 currency USB DAC-headphone amp (does USB bus mastering). Or on an AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt to give my smartphone a 3.5mm connector. Maybe a better amp, one day, that can drive this HD balanced.
    I listened to earlier open models and found them too thin (poor bass). This one sounds really neutral to a bit warm.
    In the late 1970s, I bought a Pioneer Monitor (10?). Beautifully made. With a large Yagi pointed to national radio, and a very good tuner, it revealed the end of a song when the studio technician opened the presenter mike potmeter and the noise floor rose a bit. Closed, dynamic. Had been my reference for a couple decades. Until the arrival of Sonus Faber Extremas.

  12. Nice review, Steve! Started my journey with 598's, still love the precise but fun sound of those when hiking, etc. The 800S paired with bottlehead crack tube amp is musical heaven for orchestral recordings, especially — with an equalizer and the bottlehead amp, all genres are enjoyable, though I prefer the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd gen for rock, jazz, etc. The 600's are balanced and neutral and great for watching movies with surround effects.

  13. HD700 sounds as bad as HD800, it has treble peaks just as nasty and peaked low-mids, they're the most aggressive V-shaped sound headphones I heard. HD650/660S are plenty resolving without having peaks and problems

  14. Oh senheiser porn! Great!!!Mine are way too cheap to get a mention of course 🙁
    I have 598cs on my noggin which I have just got ANOTHER lead for. I wish I could afford better but these make me smile I'd LOVE the marble headphone amp and matching headphones they made! A kidney anyone!? 😂

  15. I still have my Sennheiser HD-420's from the early 80's. They were a Consumer Reports best buy back then. They are 600 ohm so they won't sound good unless you have a good headphone amp that can drive that load properly. Comfort and light weight. I had the Grado 225's but they were bright and highly uncomfortable so they were sold, the 420 is my favorite for classical and piano or anything acoustic.

  16. Wow Steve I thought I was the only person on planet earth who likes the HD700s… I didn't like the HD800s at all and I prefer the HD700s over the (imho boring) HD600/650s. Audiophiles hated me for saying that… I feel so happy now knowing you have a similar opinion! What an honor!

  17. I agree with you. I auditioned a couple of Sennheisers, from their lower priced offerings up to the HD598 and I believe an HD650 and my conclusion is, they sound soft to some degree. Not mellow, but soft. It's probably the sound that I'm used to and coming from a Grado and a Shure which are both sharp, fast, and revealing, I don't really dig the Sennheiser house sound. BUT, "beguiling" is also a way to describe them perfectly. And that is a compliment. I don't imagine ever being fatigue by that kind of sound. It's intended for endless listening sessions. Nonetheless, if you love rock including the fast, heavier genres like progressive or metal, won't be good for those. Maybe the classic HD600, which based on reviews are more neutral and less warm will do the trick (or the mighty 700). I will audition both one day and compare them with the 650 and maybe, just maybe, one of them will be my first (and last) Sennheiser. 🙂

  18. I got my first headphones when I was like nine, back in the early 1970's, a pair of HD 414's, which I used for years and years. The foam eventually crumbled from age so I cut new ones from the underside of my mattress, hoping my parents wouldn't notice (no ebay spare part back then). I still have them. I used Sony headphones for a while after buying the then new Sony Walkman WMD6-C (yup I still have that one too, but not the phones). Then I bought a pair of HD 580, which I still have but one of the coils broke after a fall, still looking for a spare part. I then bought a pair of HD650's, which were fantastic, I eventually upgraded to a pair of HD 700, but I really had a hard time parting with the 650's. I had the same problem when I recently upgraded again to a pair of HD800S. But I had to sell the 700 to finance the 800S. I think you sort of get used to a specific sound after using the phones for a while, which makes it hard to change. Even though the 800S (in my opinion) does have a wider sound stage and a clearer, "faster" bass, I still loved the HD700. On that note I wonder if Sennheiser sort of managed to keep the midrange "Sennheiserish" from the 414 and forward, and that that's why I still like the sound. A bit like why I still like modern rock bands that sound like they were recorded in the 1970's. Thanks for in interesting video. Greetings from Sweden.

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