Review on Sennheiser HD560S Headphones
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The Review on Sennheiser HD560S Headphones
If you’re looking for comfortable reference headphones that won’t break, the Sennheiser HD560S should be on your shopping list Pros Very refined sound Very comfortable Spacious soundstage Cons Neutral sound won’t appeal to everyone Poor sound insulation
Open-back headphones represent a relatively small niche in the headphone market, and it’s not hard to see why. Because of the way they are designed, they have poor sound insulation, meaning you can both hear what’s going on around you and be heard by others when you’re listening to music.
The advantage is that they usually deliver a wider, more expansive soundstage than their closed-back counterparts. Sennheiser’s HD560S are no exception and their accessible price and neutral sound signature make them a great choice for audio enthusiasts looking for top quality sound without the cost.
Sennheiser HD560S review: What do you get for the money?
Inside the box you’ll find the headphones, which come with a 3m detachable cable and a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter, so you can use portable devices like your smartphone as well as hi-fi sources. Unfortunately there is no carrying case, which is a shame as it would be nice to have somewhere safe to keep all the bits together when not in use.
The good news is that the headphones are designed with long listening sessions – and therefore comfort – in mind. I found that their large ear cups fit easily over my ears and thanks to their soft velor ear cushions, they felt great without ever clamping my large head too hard. The headband also has a thick, soft pad, which helps distribute the HD560S’s relatively light construction (240g) evenly over the top of the head.
While Sennheiser claims the HD560S has a sound rooted in the DNA of the HD660S, it’s worth pointing out that they use an “all-new” 120-ohm driver. This, the company claims, helps the headphones reproduce “deep, defined bass and brilliant highs.”
Another interesting design feature is that the drivers are angled to deliver a “triangular listening position” as you would find in recording studios and even your home HiFi speaker setup. Along with their open-back design, the idea is that this helps to provide a listening experience more akin to what you’d expect from speakers than headphones.
Sennheiser HD560S review: What do we like?
There is no doubt that the HD560S performs when it comes to sound reproduction. Their frequency response is incredibly flat, making them a great option for those who want to listen to recordings the way they were intended. And along with this uncolored sound, they offer a level of sophistication that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else at this price.
For starters, there’s a ton of clarity in the mids and highs. Instruments have excellent separation and the open design of the headphones certainly helps to give a decent sense of space. The HD560S delivers music with such balance that even other open-back headphones, such as Grado’s SR80e (one of my favorite headphones), can sound a bit crowded and raw by comparison. Of course, Grado isn’t trying to produce reference headphones with the SR80e, but it’s a useful comparison nonetheless.
Comfort is also top notch. As I’ve mentioned, the HD560s are designed to be great for long listening sessions. If you ever find yourself having to rest your ears from that feeling of being crushed when wearing over-ear headphones, you’ll be pleased to hear I didn’t experience any such issues with the HD560S.
Sennheiser HD560S review: how can they be improved?
Aside from the fact that open-back headphones aren’t for everyone (see my comments above on noise isolation), the main criticism I can throw at the HD560S is that their neutral sound signature will leave some unimpressed.
With most over-ear headphones with slightly amplified lower frequencies, the HD560S can fall slightly short in this regard. I have a feeling your ears will usually adapt to subtle differences in sound signature over time, but if you like a healthy dose of bass and don’t want to EQ all your music to boost the lower registers, these probably aren’t. the headphones for you.
Due to their relatively high impedance of 120 ohms, you may also find that portable listening devices such as your smartphone have a bit of trouble driving the HD560S. They sounded fine when tested with a Google Pixel 3a XL, but I normally had the volume within a few notches of the maximum volume.
For the very best experience, you’ll want to pair the headphones with a good headphone amp or DAC and even then that neutral sound signature may force you to turn up the volume for a more captivating performance.
The only other problem with having such excellent sounding headphones is that you might discover weaknesses in recordings that you didn’t have before. That’s a good problem to have, you might argue, but I found that some productions just lacked the level of sophistication I expected from listening to the HD560s. If you’re looking for unadulterated enjoyment from your headphones, then you might be better off with something else.
Sennheiser HD560S review: should I buy them?
If you’re looking to buy accurate reference headphones for professional use or critical listening, look no further. These are among the cheapest headphones you can buy when it comes to pure sound quality. They deliver everything you could wish for, from affordability to comfort and detailed, spacious sound.
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