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Sennheiser HD 560S Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 13, 2020 at 07:42 am
Sennheiser HD 560S Picture
8.4
Neutral Sound
3.8
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
4.6
Office
4.6
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
1.6
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 560S are wired open-back headphones meant for neutral listening. They deliver a well-balanced sound profile that should suit most musical genres and deliver audio consistently. They're also very comfortable, with a relatively lightweight design and plenty of plush padding. Like most open-backs, they're poorly suited for use on-the-go, with terrible noise isolation, high levels of audio leakage, and a bulky construction. Otherwise, if you're looking for a pair of comfortable headphones with a neutral sound profile, they're a great option.

Our Verdict

8.4 Neutral Sound

The Sennheiser HD 560S are great for neutral sound. While they're slightly lacking in low-bass, most mixes should still have adequate body and warmth. Vocals and lead instruments are present, detailed, and clear in the mix, and audio is delivered with impressive consistency. They have a decently immersive soundstage, too.

Pros
  • Very well-balanced sound profile.
  • Impressive stereo imaging performance.
  • Comfortable, relatively stable fit.
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • No sound profile adjustment features.
3.8 Commute/Travel

The Sennheiser HD 560S are poor for commuting and traveling. They're very bulky and barely block out any noise, so you're likely to hear the rumble of bus and plane engines as well as the chatter of fellow commuters. Thankfully, they're very comfortable, even during extended listening sessions.

Pros
  • Comfortable, relatively stable fit.
Cons
  • High audio leakage.
  • No on-board controls.
  • Bulky design.
5.5 Sports/Fitness

The Sennheiser HD 560S are sub-par for sports and fitness, though they aren't meant for this purpose. While they offer a surprisingly stable fit, they're still quite bulky and don't have any sort of on-board controls to make playback adjustments. Their audio cable can also snag on something while you're on the go.

Pros
  • Comfortable, relatively stable fit.
Cons
  • No on-board controls.
  • Bulky design.
4.6 Office

The Sennheiser HD 560S are a poor choice of office use. They don't block out much background noise and leak a lot of audio. Their wired-only connection also limits their range of connectivity. Thankfully, they're comfortable enough to wear throughout the entire work day.

Pros
  • Comfortable, relatively stable fit.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation.
  • High audio leakage.
  • Wired-only connection limits versatility.
4.6 Wireless Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 560S are wired-only headphones and aren't suitable for this use.

6.7 Wired Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 560S are an okay choice for wired gaming, as long as you don't plan on using a mic. They're very comfortable and have a well-balanced sound profile that gives equal emphasis to both sound effects and in-game dialogue. Their open soundstage and great stereo imaging performance generate an immersive listening experience, while their wired-only connection guarantees latency-free audio.

Pros
  • Very well-balanced sound profile.
  • Impressive stereo imaging performance.
  • Comfortable, relatively stable fit.
Cons
  • No on-board controls.
  • No included microphone.
  • No sound profile adjustment features.
1.6 Phone Calls

The Sennheiser HD 560S don't come with a microphone and aren't suitable for this use.

  • 8.4 Neutral Sound
  • 3.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.6 Office
  • 4.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.7 Wired Gaming
  • 1.6 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Updated Jan 12, 2021: We incorrectly reported their headphone type as 'on-ear' and have corrected it to 'over-ear'.
  3. Updated Nov 13, 2020: Review published.
  4. Updated Nov 09, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Sennheiser HD 560S share a passing resemblance to other headphones in the manufacturer's HD5 lineup, like the Sennheiser HD 598 and Sennheiser HD 599. Similar features include its swept-back ear cup mounts and oval-shaped ear cups.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.54 lbs
Clamping Force
1.1 lbs

These headphones are very comfortable. The headband and ear cups feature liberal amounts of plush padding. They feel quite lightweight and shouldn't apply too much pressure to the sides of the head, even for people who wear glasses. Overall, they should be comfortable enough to wear for extended listening sessions.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones have no on-board controls.

5.4
Design
Portability
L 8.5" (21.6 cm)
W 6.8" (17.3 cm)
H 3.5" (8.9 cm)
Volume 202.30 inยณ (3,315.09 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required N/A

These over-ears aren't very portable. While their audio cable does detach, which reduces the chances of the plug getting caught on something, the ear cups don't swivel flat and the headband doesn't fold, so they have a pretty bulky footprint.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These over-ears don't have a case or pouch.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

These headphones are decently well-built. Their headband and ear cups are made of dense matte plastic, and the audio cable is detachable and replaceable. Unfortunately, the yokes and ear cup hinges feel a little flimsy, and represent weak points in their overall construction.

7.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have a stable fit. They shouldn't fall off your head even with severe head movements due to their somewhat tight, but not uncomfortable, fit. However, it should be noted that they're clearly not designed for workouts.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sennheiser HD 560S headphones
  • 1/8" TRS to 1/4" TRS audio cable
  • 1/4" TRS to 1/8" TRS adapter
  • User pamphlet

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.05 dB
Treble Amount
-0.49 dB

The Sennheiser HD 560S have a well-balanced sound profile. Like most open-back headphones, they're slightly lacking in low-bass. However, their mid and treble ranges are very well-balanced overall, yielding clear, present, and detailed vocals and lead instruments. Overall, they should be very well-suited for listening to different types of audio content.

8.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.39 dB

The frequency response consistency is great. Aside from a little bit of variance in the treble range, you should be able to achieve a consistent listening experience on separate occasions, even if you have long hair or wear glasses.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.22 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.76 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.34 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.22 dB
High-Bass
0.7 dB

The bass accuracy is great. They're slightly lacking in low-bass, which may displease fans of genres like EDM or hip-hop. That said, the mid and high-bass range are mostly flat and neutral, so most tracks should sound full-bodied and warm.

9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.17 dB
Low-Mid
0.14 dB
Mid-Mid
0.3 dB
High-Mid
0.76 dB

These over-ears have superb mid accuracy. Vocals and lead instruments should sound full-bodied, present, and clear in the mix, absent of any thinness or harshness.

8.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.59 dB
Mid-Treble
1.12 dB
Low-Treble
1.37 dB
High-Treble
-6.11 dB

The treble accuracy is impressive. Aside from a slight rise in the mid-treble range that makes some notes sound a little piercing, sibilants and cymbals should be perceived as detailed and clearly articulated.

8.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.28 dB
Dips
0.47 dB

The peaks and dips performance is great. There's a dip in the right driver in the high-mid range that slightly weakens some vocals and lead instruments, but this isn't too noticeable overall. Peaks in the low and mid-treble range make some notes sound a little harsh and piercing too. Other than that, however, the rest of the frequency range is quite flat.

8.4
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.35
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.86
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.21

The Sennheiser HD 560S's stereo imaging performance is great. Their weighted group delay falls beneath the audibility threshold, yielding tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are well-matched in regards to amplitude and phase response, with very minor frequency mismatch. Objects should be accurately localized within the stereo image, which is important in creating an immersive listening experience. It should be noted that these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.

7.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
1.45 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.84 dB
PRTF Distance
9.65 dB
Openness
9.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.0

These over-ears have a decent passive soundstage. Due to their open-back enclosure, it should be perceived as being speaker-like and open, but also a little small.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

These headphones have no virtual soundstage features.

8.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.136
WHD @ 100
0.070

The weighted harmonic distortion is excellent. There are no spikes across the frequency range, so audio reproduction should be clean and pure.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser HD 560S. Our results are only valid when they're used in this configuration.

Isolation
1.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-3.19 dB
Bass
0.19 dB
Mid
1.44 dB
Treble
-10.85 dB

Like most open-back headphones, the Sennheiser HD 560S have terrible noise isolation. They let in ambient noise across the frequency spectrum, so you should hear everything from the low rumble of bus engines to the higher-pitched hum of an AC unit, not to mention the chatter of people nearby.

2.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
59.12 dB

These over-ears leak a lot of noise, which is normal for open-back headphones. You're likely to disturb people nearby if you listen to your music in a crowded room.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These headphones don't have a microphone. If you're looking for Sennheiser headphones with a mic for gaming, check out the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X.

0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A

These over-ears don't have a microphone.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
N/A
Audio While Charging
N/A
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port N/A

These headphones are wired-only and don't have a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a companion app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These over-ears are wired-only.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones don't support any wireless connections.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 10.40 ft (3.17 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Sennheiser HD 560S have a 1/8" TRS to 1/4" TRS cable for latency-free audio. They also come with with a 1/4" TRS to 1/8" TRS adapter.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones only receive audio when you plug their 1/4" TRS cable into an Xbox One controller.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don't have a base or dock.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser HD 560S only come in one variant: 'Black'. You can see its label here.

If someone comes across a different variant of these headphones, let us know in the discussions below so that we can update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 560S are open-back headphones designed for neutral listening. Their sound profile is very neutral, and they're comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time without discomfort. Unfortunately, they're quite bulky and don't have any sort of on-board playback controls. If you're looking for alternatives, take a look at our recommendations of the best audiophile headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best open-back headphones.

Sennheiser HD 599

The Sennheiser HD 599 and Sennheiser HD 560S are closely-matched in regards to neutral sound. The HD 599 are more comfortable, have a better-balanced treble range, and a more spacious soundstage. The HD 560S offer a more stable fit, a more neutral bass and mid-range, better stereo imaging performance, and demonstrate slightly less distortion at high volumes.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. The Sennheiser are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, and have a better passive soundstage performance. However, the Beyerdynamic feel better built.

AKG K702

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better for neutral sound than AKG K702. They have a more neutral sound profile, a more stable fit, and are less prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery. On the other hand, the AKG are better-built and create a more open-seeming, speaker-like passive soundstage. 

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Philips Fidelio X2HR and Sennheiser HD 560S have different strengths in regards to neutral listening but share similar overall sound profiles. The Sennheiser have a more stable fit, better peaks and dips performance, and exhibit less audio distortion. Conversely, the Philips are more sturdily built and have better stereo imaging performance as well as a more expansive soundstage.

Sennheiser HD 600

The Sennheiser HD 560S are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 600. The HD 560S are more comfortable, deliver audio more consistently, and have a more neutral sound profile. However, the HD 600 feel better built.

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee

The Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee and Sennheiser HD 560S are pretty evenly-matched open-back headphones. The HD 58X are more sturdily built and have a better-balanced mid-range with superior stereo imaging performance. Meanwhile, the HD 560S are more comfortable, exhibit less audio distortion, and have more neutral bass and treble responses.

Sennheiser HD 660 S

The Sennheiser HD 560S are slightly better for neutral listening than the Sennheiser HD 660 S. The HD 560S have a better-balanced bass and treble range, a more natural soundstage, and a more comfortable fit. However, the HD 660 S are better-built, deliver a slightly more neutral mid-range, and provide superior stereo imaging performance.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 560S. The HiFiMan deliver audio more consistently and have a better passive soundstage performance. They also have a much better build quality. However, the Sennheiser have significantly better bass accuracy, so they may be more suitable for genres like EDM and hip-hop. They also have a more stable fit.

Sennheiser HD 6XX

The Sennheiser HD 560S are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 6XX. The 560S are more comfortable, have a neutral and accurate sound profile, and their passive soundstage performance is a bit better. However, the 6XX are better built.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Sennheiser HD 560S are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. The Sennheiser are open-back headphones with a much better passive soundstage performance. They're much more comfortable and have a more consistent bass delivery. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic have a closed-back design. Their bass response is more accurate, they leak less audio, and isolate you from a bit more ambient sound. They also have a significantly better build quality.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better headphones for neutral sound than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. The Sennheiser are open-back headphones that are more comfortable, have a more neutral and accurate sound profile, and a significantly better passive soundstage performance. However, the Audio-Technica are closed-back headphones that are better built. 

Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 650 are better for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 560S. The 650 have a more accurate bass response, a passive soundstage that seems more open, and a more comfortable, stable fit. However, the 560S's build quality is significantly better. 

Philips SHP9500

The Sennheiser HD 560S and the Philips SHP9500 have different strengths, and you may prefer either. Both models are great for neutral sound, but the Sennheiser have a more neutral bass response, which some listeners may prefer. On the other hand, the Sennheiser are much more comfortable, so they may be less fatiguing to wear for long listening sessions.

Drop + Sennheiser PC38X

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile and a slightly better passive soundstage performance. However, the Drop are better if you like to game with others. They have a flippable boom mic with excellent recording quality and feel better-built.

Beyerdynamic DT 880

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 880. The Sennheiser have an open-back design, a more neutral default sound profile, and a better passive soundstage performance. They're also much more stable on your head. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic have a significantly better build quality and come with a soft case to protect them from minor scratches and splashes. 

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Sennheiser HD 560S have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The Sennheiser are open-back over-ear designed for audiophiles. They have a more comfortable fit, neutral sound profile, and a natural-sounding, open, and spacious passive soundstage. However, the Beats are more suitable for casual use. The Beats are better-built, have an ANC system that isolates significantly more noise around you, and an integrated mic, so you can take calls on the go. They also have a wireless design and last roughly 24 hours continuously.

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