Reviewed on May 08, 2018

Sennheiser HD 650 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
5.6
Mixed Usage
7.9
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.7
Sports/Fitness
5.2
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.8
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 650 deliver an excellent and open sound that's great for critical listening. They're comfortable and decently built but unfortunately, like most open critical listening headphones, they won't be suitable for more casual uses. They do not block any noise and they leak a lot so they're best used in isolation where you can really benefit from their sound quality.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Isolation 1.9
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Well-built design.
  • Comfortable and stable design.
Cons
  • Open-back design, so they leak a lot.
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 8/12/2019: We've updated the Comfort score to better reflect how tight these headphones are.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.5

Design

The Sennheiser HD 650 are decently designed headphones with large comfortable earcups. They're not as tight on the head as the HD 600, which reduces the clamping sensation you feel during long listening sessions. Sadly, this also makes them slightly less stable on your head. They offer no audio control options, and they're also a bit too bulky and may require a bag to carry them around. Also, like most open-back designs, they will not be suitable for outdoor use.

Style

The Sennheiser HD650 have the same design as the HD 600 with a few minor differences. They have a two-tone, dark gray and black color scheme with a glossy coating. The large open ear cups have a suede-like finish on the padding that gives these headphones a premium appeal. They do not look as eye-catching as the HD 600 because of their slightly bland color scheme, but the style will work for some.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.02 lbs

Update: 08/12/2019 After comparing these headphones with other models, we found them to be very tight and reduced their score accordingly.

The Sennheiser HD 650 are slightly more comfortable than the HD 600. Like the previous model, these headphones have large ear cups that fully encompass most ears. They are also covered in a suede-like fabric that feels good on the skin and adds to their overall comfort level. The headband design is better than the HD 600, it's not as tight, and it's better padded.

0 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have any controls.

7.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.4 C

The Sennheiser HD 650 have an open-back design that makes them decently breathable. They still seal your ears within the ear cups which obstructs a good amount of airflow but thanks to their open back design and slightly porous earcup pads they do not get as hot as most closed back over-ear designs.

5.3 Portability
L : 7.68 "
W : 7.09 "
H : 3.94 "
Volume : 214.21 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are not designed to be very portable. They're large and bulky and do not fold into a smaller format for transport or easy storage. They also don't offer a dedicated case or pouch to carry the headphones in, which is slightly disappointing. Although the box they come in could be a substitute for a case, it's too big and impractical for regular use.

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

These headphones do not come with case or pouch to carry them in.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is above-average with a few minor flaws. It doesn’t feel as high-end as the HiFiMan Sundara or the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The headband is the weakest part of their design. The metal frame is connected to the earcup by a fragile-looking joint that's susceptible to breaking under moderate physical stress.

7.0 Stability

The Sennheiser HD 650 are a little less stable than the HD 600 because they have less tension in the headband. They stay in place during casual listening sessions and are stable enough for some low-intensity, physical activity. However, they are not designed for sports, and the slightly looser headband may cause them to fall off your head if used while running. The detachable cable will also pull the headphones of your head before it disconnects from the ear cups, which is slightly disappointing.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

These headphones have a very good, consistent, and punchy bass, a great, well-balanced, and clear mid-range, and a very good treble. However, their bass lacks a bit of thump and is a little bit muddy, and their treble is slightly veiled. This makes them a very versatile pair of headphones that sounds great on classical, rock, folk, and other vocal-centric genres, but their sub-bass may be a little bit lacking for the fans of bass-heavy music. Additionally, they have very good imaging, but their soundstage is not as good as Sennheiser's larger headphones like the HD 800 S and the HD 700. Compared to the HD 600, the Sennheiser HD650 has a bit more sub-bass and sounds slightly veiled in the treble. However, the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee will sound slightly better and offer better overall value. 

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-5.07 db
Treble Amount
:
-2.53 db
7.3 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.55 dB

The frequency response has above-average consistency. Due to their open-back and ear pad design, these headphones has near perfect consistency in delivering its bass. The maximum amount of deviation throughout the bass range was less than 1dB. However, they are prone to inconsistencies in the treble range, and depending on the positioning and ear shape, there could be as much as 6dB of variation in the treble response.

8.0 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
2.7 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
40.58 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-4.67 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.23 dB
High-Bass
:
2.69 dB

The bass of the Sennheiser HD 650 is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 40Hz, which is good. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres, is lacking by about 5dB. This will be noticeable, but subtle. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and punch of kick drums is within 0.3dB of our neutral target. High-bass, however, is overemphasized by almost 3dB, adding a bit of muddiness to the overall sound.

8.1 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
2.52 dB
Low-Mid
:
2.74 dB
Mid-Mid
:
2.13 dB
High-Mid
:
2.51 dB

The mid-range is great. The response throughout the range is very even and flat, but consistently over out neutral target by about 2.5dB. This results in a clear and well-balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments, but with a bit of excess emphasis on the mid-range.

8.7 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
2.65 dB
Low-Treble
:
1.73 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-2.0 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.79 dB

The Sennheiser HD 650 have a very good treble performance. Low-treble and mid-treble are flat and consistent, but with a 5dB tilt favoring lower frequencies. This results in a treble that lacks a bit of brightness and brilliance, which will be mostly noticeable on vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals.

8.5 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
0.95 db
Dips
:
0.96 db
8.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.6
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.83
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.49

The imaging performance is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.15, which is excellent. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This ensure a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched. This is important for the accurate localization and placement of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image.

6.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.06 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.82 dB
PRTF Distance
:
8.02 dB
Openness
:
9.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
8.2

The Sennheiser HD 650 have an okay soundstage. The PRTF graph shows that these headphones don't interact with the pinna that much, and therefore show very little activation. They don't show a dip notch around the 10KHz area either. This means that although these are open-back headphones and may feel more open and spacious sounding that closed-back headphones, their soundstage won't be perceived to be large or located outside of the listener's head.

8.9 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.087
WHD @ 100
:
0.063
1.9

Isolation

The open-back design of the Sennheiser HD 650 encourages leakage to improve sound quality. However, this means they leak a lot and will disturb the people around you even at moderate volumes. They also won't block any ambient noise from seeping into your audio and won't fare well in loud environments or on a noisy commute, since they're not designed to be used outdoors.

1.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-4.0 dB
Bass
:
0.07 dB
Mid
:
0.75 dB
Treble
:
-12.51 dB

The Sennheiser HD 650 have a poor isolation, due to their open-back design. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, they achieve no isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they also achieve no isolation. IN the treble range, occupied by sharp S and Ts, they isolate by about 13dB, which is below-average.

2.4 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
60.36 dB

The leakage is poor. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 400Hz and 20KHz, which is a very broad range. This means the leakage will be fuller sounding compared to that of closed-back headphones and in-ears. The overall level of the leakage is quite loud too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages at 60dB SPL and peaks at 74dB SPL, which is a lot louder than the noise floor of an average office.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

These headphones do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

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

The Sennheiser HD 650 have no microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A

The noise handling has not been tested since the HD650 have no microphone.

0

Active Features

These headphones have no active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software for added customization options.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
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
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
macOS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones do not have a dedicated, compatible app for added customization.

3.8

Connectivity

The Sennheiser HD 650 are straightforward wired critical listening headphones. Their cable does not have a mic for voice chat on console but will support audio when plugged into the PS4, Xbox One controller or PC. On the upside, since they're wired, they have practically no latency for watching movies and videos but do not have the convenient range of a wireless headphone.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good Bluetooth headset for more casual use, check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

These headphones have practically no latency since they have a wired design. Unfortunately, this also means that they're limited by the range of the provided cables.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 9.84 ft
Connection : 1/4" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

These headphones come with 3 audio cables with no in-line remote. This means they will provide audio when connected to your PS4 or Xbox One controller but do not have a microphone for voice chat.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
:
No
Xbox One Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Sennheiser HD650 do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Audio cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 650 are great for critical listening but average headphones for everyday casual use. They deliver a good and open sound reproduction that caters well to all tracks. They're comfortable and don't feel tight on your head like the HD 600. Unfortunately, their soundstage isn't as spacious as other similarly designed open back critical listening headphones. Their build quality also isn't as durable as some of the competing models below. See our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best DJ headphones, and the best over-ear headphones.

Sennheiser HD 600
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 600, although not by much. The biggest difference between the two models is that the HD 650 are a bit more comfortable, so you can wear them for longer than the HD 600. They have pretty much the same sound quality, although the HD 650 does have slightly better bass and less treble. However, it's very hard to tell by listening alone. On the other hand, the HD 600 offer a better value for your money for about the same sound quality.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650. They're noticeably better-built and feel premium. They have a better bass performance than the HD 650, although some people may feel like they sound overly bright and sharp.

Sennheiser HD 660 S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Sennheiser HD 660 S are very similar headphones. Their build is almost identical and their sound profile is practically the same as well. The biggest difference is how they feel once on your head. The HD 650 don’t feel as tight as the HD 660 S do, which could be more comfortable for most people. We also measure a more open-sounding soundstage on the HD 650, but since their design is the same, we expect them to sound very similarly. The HD 660 S come with a 0.17 inch (4.4mm) balanced audio cable, which the HD 650 don’t have.

AKG Q701
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG Q701 are better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 650 have a disappointing soundstage for open-backs, and their treble range depends on the positioning of the headphones and ear shape. The Q701 also has an extra 20-foot cable. The HD 650 are also more expensive, making the Q701 a better pick.

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650. Their bass is slightly better and has less roll-off. Both headphones are still very similar, but the HD 650 is more comfortable as it doesn’t clamp as much as the HD 58X. On the other hand, the HD 58X Jubilee are less expensive and will offer better overall value, but are only available on the Drop website.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Both the Sennheiser HD 650 and Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are good critical listening headphones, but the Sennheisers are open-back, which could make them sound more open-sounding. The HD 650 are also a bit more comfortable, but they don’t have the nice and sturdy build of the DT 770 PRO. Additionally, the Beyerdynamic have a better sound profile, notably because of their closed-back design, which helps with a fuller-sounding bass. Their closed design also means they block more ambient noise and leak less than the HD 650.

Focal Elear
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Focal Elear are better critical listening headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650, but they are also more expensive. They have better build quality and feel like more premium open-back headphones. On the other hand, the HD 650 have flatter treble, and they are more lightweight and stable on the head. Both are great headphones, but the HD 650 might be a better choice if you’re looking for your first pair of audiophile headphones.

+ Show more
5.6 Mixed Usage

Below average for mixed usage. The Sennheiser HD 650 are best used as critical listening headphones since they won't be versatile enough for more casual use cases. They have a bulky and cumbersome open-back design that doesn't block a lot of noise so they won't be suitable for commuting or to use outdoors. On the upside, they deliver a good audio reproduction with a decent soundstage for more critical listeners.

7.9 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral listening. They're decently comfortable and have a decently well-balanced sound quality with an open-sounding soundstage. Unfortunately, they lack a bit of bass compared to closed-back neutral listening headphones and also tend to be a bit forward with instruments and vocals but overall they have a good sound quality that's suitable for casual and neutral listening.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Not made for commuting. Their open design does not block any ambient noise and leaks a lot. They're also bulky and have no controls so they won't be practical to use on the go or while travelling.

5.7 Sports/Fitness

Subpar for sports use. The Sennheiser HD 650 have a bulky critical listening design that's not meant for running or workin out despite being decently stable on the head.

5.2 Office

Below-average for office use. Unless you work in an isolated environment, the leakage will distract your colleagues.

4.7 Wireless Gaming

Subpar for gaming. The Sennheiser HD 650 have a good sound and a low latency wired connection but are not as convenient or as customizable as most wireless gaming headsets. Also, they don't have a microphone.

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