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Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated May 08, 2018 at 03:57 pm
Sennheiser HD 650 Picture
5.1
Mixed Usage
7.8
Neutral Sound
3.9
Commute/Travel
5.4
Sports/Fitness
4.7
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.7
Phone Calls
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.

Our Verdict

5.1 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.

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.
7.8 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.

3.9 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.

5.4 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.

4.7 Office

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

4.5 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.

6.5 Wired Gaming
1.7 Phone Calls
  • 5.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 3.9 Commute/Travel
  • 5.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.7 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.5 Wired Gaming
  • 1.7 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/5/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 8/12/2019: We've updated the Comfort score to better reflect how tight these headphones are.
  5. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  6. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  7. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

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Test Results

Design
Design
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
Design
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
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 do not have any controls.

7.3
Design
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
Design
Portability
L 7.68 "
W 7.09 "
H 3.94 "
Volume 214.21 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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
Design
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
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is above-average with a few minor flaws. It doesnโ€™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
Design
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.

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

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-4.53 db
Treble Amount
-2.73 db
7.3
Sound
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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.0 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
72.31 Hz
Low-Bass
-7.81 dB
Mid-Bass
-2.23 dB
High-Bass
1.52 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.

9.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.79 dB
Low-Mid
0.74 dB
Mid-Mid
0.14 dB
High-Mid
0.73 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.

8.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.67 dB
Low-Treble
-0.53 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.58 dB
High-Treble
-9.07 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.

8.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.17 db
Dips
0.49 db
8.3
Sound
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.

6.9
Sound
Passive 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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.087
WHD @ 100
0.063
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
Isolation
1.7
Isolation
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
Isolation
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.

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

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

0
Microphone
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.

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
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These are passive headphones with no active components and no 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

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

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

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
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

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.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are similarly performing headphones for critical listening. While the Sennheiser are open-back, which helps them to create a more spacious and wide soundstage, they lack low-bass. However, the Audio-Technica are closed-back headphones that deliver a more even bass, have slightly better build quality, and leak less sound overall.

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 990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are both very good open-back headphones for neutral listening. While the Beyerdynamic get more bass, they also sound a bit sharp and piercing. The Sennheiser have a smoother sound with less sharpness in the treble but lack bass.

HiFiMan Sundara
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HiFiMan Sundara are better headphones for neutral listening than the Sennheiser HD 650. The HiFiMan get more bass and perform more consistently in the treble range. They also have a more impressive soundstage and are more comfortable, but there have been reports of quality control issues with the brand, so the Sennheiser is still a good choice too.

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.

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 598
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Sennheiser HD 598 are very similarly-performing open-back over-ear headphones. The 598 are quite a bit more comfortable, thanks to their better padding, and less tight-fitting design. Both headphones are quite well-balanced and accurate, though the 650 are more accurate in the bass-range, as the 598 are slightly over-emphasized in high-bass. The 650 also feel a bit better-built and durable.

Sennheiser HD 599
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 599 are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 599 are more comfortable, their sound profile is better-balanced and neutral, and their passive soundstage is slightly more natural-sounding and wide. However, the HD 650 feel a bit better built and their audio cable is much longer.

AKG Q701
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 650 and the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are differently-designed headphones to serve different purposes. The more bass-heavy Sonys have an excellent active noise cancelling feature to help isolate disruptive noise, while the more balanced-sounding open-back Sennheiser intentionally let in ambient noise to create a more spacious sound.

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 Sennheiser are also a bit more comfortable, but they don’t have the nice and sturdy build of the Beyerdynamic. 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 Sennheiser.

Sennheiser HD 800 S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are better performing headphones than the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 800 S are more comfortable for long listening sessions, have better build quality, and are better-balanced. However, they're a hefty investment and require a powerful amplifier to drive them.

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 Sennheiser have flatter treble, and they are more lightweight and stable on the head. Both are great headphones, but the Sennheiser  might be a better choice if you’re looking for your first pair of audiophile headphones.

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Sennheiser HD 650 Price

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