If you love mid-fi headphones, then you’re sure to fall in love with Sennheiser’s products. Starting from the 600 series, this company has been coming up with stellar headphones that take listening to new heights.
However, finding the headphone model you want is not an easy task as there are only minor variations between the different Sennheiser models. So, if you’re debating about buying HD 650 or HD 700, then we have you covered.
This guide talks about these models, compares them across different aspects, lists the pros and cons and gives you a final verdict, to help save time and effort for you.
Table of Contets
- 1 Sennheiser HD 650 vs HD 700: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Sennheiser HD 650 vs HD 700: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Let us rate both these headphones across different parameters to understand which scores better overall. These headphones have been around for some time. HD 650 came to the market in 2003 while HD 700 was released some time in 2005/06. So, both these models have been around for more than a decade and the fact that we’re doing a comparison now is a testimony to their quality and durability.
Even after about 15 years, so many people love these headphones!
The design of HD 650 is simple and elegant. The metal finish adds a nice touch of class to the overall design. The drivers are visible on the outer side of each ear cup and they are covered with a metallic grill. This gives a really neat look to these headphones. However, the lettering and metallic finish give it a cheap look, but the build quality is excellent.
The ear cups are really large, especially when you compare them with the 500 series. The metallic edges around the ear cups add to the beauty of HD 650. The ear cups have a nice padding and they sit well on the ears. They are large enough to fit any for any ear size and still, there is a definite cushion between the ears and the drivers.
Also, these headphones are one of the most lightweight ones in the world and this adds to their popularity. They are easy to wear and carry around and have cables of a nice length.
The design of HD 700 looks classy. There is no bold “Sennheiser” name written on the top side of the headband which is nice because sometimes that looks jarring and spoils the overall look. The lettering is fairly subtle and hardly visible. Also, there is a small logo on the inner side of the ear cup and this is cool.
The headphones are completely rubberized unlike the 650 that has a metallic finish on the outer side and padding on the inner side. It is probably this metallic finish and the bright lettering that make 650 look a little cheap. It is not a premium headphone in terms of price, and it sure doesn’t look like one. Thankfully, Sennheiser has decided to use better material and make the lettering more subtle in HD 700.
Another major difference in design is the shape of the ear cups. While HD 650 had an oval shape, the 700 has a D-shaped ear cup. This is probably the first headphone that comes with this shape of the ear cup. Sennheiser has said that they want it to match the shape of the ears. And they have got it bang on.
Also, the ear cups are farther apart when compared to HD 650 and this means, a less clamping force on the head.
The next aspect is the headband. In HD 650, there are two partitions of padding below the headband and this gives a nice feel to your head. The 700, on the other hand, is a single large piece of foam sitting on your head and this doesn’t feel too comfortable. Also, the headband in 650 is made of plastic and that kind of feels a little cheap. But the headband of 700 is made of thick rubber and you can feel this difference. The padding material is almost one inch thicker than 650.
The build of 650 is way better than that of 700, especially the area around the drivers. If you see your 650, you’ll notice that there is some kind of shell surrounding the driver and this gives a protective layer. But there is no such thing for 700. You can reach the driver and actually break it with a hard tap. That’s really how flimsy it looks.
The idea behind this change was to give a cool shape to the ear cups, but it just didn’t work out as well as Sennheiser thought.
So, which of the two designs is better? Purely going by aesthetics and looks, 700 is hands down better. The material sued for making it feels superior to the plastic look of 650, and the overall design is much better. The subtle tones and the ear cups definitely make it the winner in this category.
Both the headphones feel comfortable to wear. The cushion on the ear cups of HD 650 give it a good feel to the ears, but they clamp down a little too tightly and this could make it uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Also, the circle-shaped ear cups don’t always feel perfect on any ear shape.
In comparison, HD 700 puts a lot less clamp force on the ears and this could be attributed to the fact that the ear cups are farther apart from each other.
Another aspect is that the ear cups are extremely comfortable and sit well on the ears. As said before, this could be attributed to the innovative D-shape of its ear cups that match every ear so well.
However, the padding material used in the ear cups is not as good as the one used in 650. In fact, you feel sweaty within a few moments after you wear them. It is almost like the materials are not breathable and make you feel a little suffocated.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the headband. When compared to HD 650, the headband is made of thick rubber and the heavy padding beneath it makes it feel heavy on your head. You almost feel like you’ve placed something heavy and this feeling makes it difficult to wear these headphones for long periods of time.
To top it, there is not much depth in the ear cups and this makes your ears touch the ends. This could be annoying especially if you have large ears.
Though this design change in 700 was made to enhance the comfort of wearing, it doesn’t really feel the same.
The final verdict. HD 650 is way more comfortable to wear than HD 700, despite all the changes made in design. Though 700 is better designed, it doesn’t translate to higher levels of comfort. With a few minor changes, the 700 could be the most comfortable headphones ever, considering its unique D-shape ear cups, but then Sennheiser did falter in those aspects, so 650 is definitely more comfortable than 700.
HD 700 retails for a whopping price on Sennheiser’s official site while HD 650 sells for a lower price. If you go to Amazon, you’re sure to get them at a lot lesser prices as there are some discounts happening there all the time.
But for comparison sake, let us take the retail price available at Sennheiser’s site. HD 700 is expensive and there is nothing really that substantial enough for this price difference. The headphones of HD 700 sure look great and they come with a really wide sound, but besides that, there is nothing else that would justify that price.
So, if you have to choose between the two, go for HD 650 as it is definitely cheaper.
|Sennheiser HD650||Sennheiser HD700|
Let’s start with unboxing to see the first impression.
When you open the box, both the headphones come in a nice looking case. Both come in a clamshell box. In fact, HD 700 comes in a case with blue piping and that looks really nice. Also, the outer clamshell of 700 seems to be of a better material and even have a sheen to it. Both come with user manuals, which is a little unnecessary considering that you can find all that information online. Guess some practices don’t change quickly.
Now, let’s compare the cables. HD 650 comes with good thick cables that look like they can last a long time. If you open the wire of HD 700, you’ll be shocked to see that it is 20 meters long and looks completely messy. The cable is really thick which is unnecessary for a 150-ohm headphone. It is straight for a large part and then there are ups, downs and loops and looks overall clumsy.
Another problem with HD 700 is that the ends of the cable have adapters to fit into each ear cup, which is fine. But they come with that little indentation that makes it extra hard to identify the right cable for the right cup and to actually squeeze it in. In other words, you can insert the cable into the headphones only at a particular angle and this is a real pain for most users.
So, the verdict is clear. HD 650 is the clear winner here. Sennheiser should have done more to make those cable-less bulky and maybe even make it easy for users to plug it into headphones.
5. Sound Quality
Sound quality is an important aspect, and both the headphones score well on this front though there is some variation in what they offer.
HD 650 sacrifices some of the neutrality we saw in HD 600. It comes with some added brightness that appeals to some sections of users while others may find it a little annoying. Just depends on you. If you want to listen to music as a fun and entertaining option to de-stress, then the added brightness will make it more lively for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to analyze each song and its details, HD 650 is not the right choice for you.
In some cases, brightness is not all good either because when you listen for long periods of time, it kind of hurts your ears. To cope with it, if you reduce the volume then it may get a little hard to hear the low-end notes. So, it just depends on what you want. But, 650 is definitely quite bright.
A highlight of HD 650 is its soundstage. In earlier models, the music will seem like coming from the headphones only, but in 650 you’ll feel like the sound is coming from outside. Many times during our testing, we forced ourselves to stop playing the music just to ensure that the sound was not coming from outside. One of the tracks we played was a nature-based instrument that had a water flowing sound, and we had to stop to check that one of the taps was not on. That’s the effect you get with these headphones.
But when it comes to the vocals, you’ll not get the most perfect clarity and detail. It may seem like the vocals are spreading out a bit. This is why these headphones are ideal for certain genres like classical, hip-hop, jazz and instrumental.
Moving on to HD 700, a salient aspect of these headphones is the width, which is way better than HD 650. That said, these headphones are trying too much to sound wide and in the process, misses out on the clean vocals that are offered by HD 600.
The soundstage is HD 700 is simply mind-blowing. We carried out the same test as we did for HD 650 and we realized that 700 had a better soundstage than 650. The same can be said for treble too. Even at 75% of maximum volume, the treble sounded clean and clear.
Which is the winner? Depends on what you want. If you want to have clear vocals and good mid-range tones, go for HD 650. On the other hand, if you prefer bass, treble and a great soundstage, your best bet is HD 700. The soundstage and treble in HD 700 are simply superb, so if these matter to you as an audiophile, go for 700 by all means.
6. Sennheiser HD 650 vs HD 700 – Pros and Cons
Here is a quick glimpse into the pros and cons of each product.
Sennheiser HD 650 Pros
Below is a list of the aspects we love about HD 650:
- Highly accurate.
- Mid-range tones are warm and smooth.
- Excellent imaging and sound-stage to give you that perfect feel.
- Bass is tight and authoritative.
- Sounds fantastic with most amps available today
- Versatile and plays any genre well, though it is more ideal for rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, soul and acoustic.
- Comfortable to wear. Both the headband and the ear pads fit well and feel comfortable even after many hours of listening.
- The different parts of the headphone can be replaced, so the product comes for a long time.
Sennheiser HD 650 Cons
Sennheiser HD 650 comes with a few shortcomings too and they are:
- Sometimes, the music can be too smooth.
- Treble is lacking a bit.
- Could have been more airy and harmonic.
- Can be too bright at times. If you lower the volume, the lower end notes are not audible. So, this could be a spot of bother especially if you want to listen for long periods of time.
Sennheiser HD 700 Pros
Let’s look at the high points of HD 700:
- Has a musical warmth.
- Looks elegant.
- Spatial imaging is good.
- Treble is good as it doesn’t sound too harsh or sibilant.
- Accuracy is top notch.
- Acoustic presence is realistic and gives a true to life effect.
- Bass is crisp and punchy.
- Mid-range tones are clear and vibrant.
- There is no trace of fatigue in treble and that makes it sound great.
- Clarity is not aggressive at all, and this makes it feel natural.
- There is a broad dynamic range.
- Super comfortable to wear, especially for long periods of time.
- Angled transducers provide a great soundstage.
- Works well with most amps.
- Comes inside a sturdy and good-looking case.
- Transparent and warm sounds. Also comes with good detailing.
Sennheiser HD 700 Cons
The drawbacks of HD 700 include:
- Chord feels a little flimsy.
- The silver mesh metal on the cup also looks fragile and can get easily damaged.
- Use of plastic comes as a turn-off for many people, as they expect better materials in such high-end headphones.
- Cushioning on the headband could have been better.
We hope these pros and cons help you to pick the product that’s right for you.
Closing Line: Sennheiser HD 700 vs HD 650
Now is the time for the final verdict. Which of the two is better?
Well, it’s a tough call because each scores better in different aspects. In terms of design, HD 700 is better as it looks more classy than the cheap plastic look of HD 650. But in comfort, 650 is better as they are lighter and the ear cups are slightly more comfortable, though they are not as good as what users would like.
Sound quality, both are more or less the same. They both come with pluses and minuses and are well-suited for a different genre. So, that is a personal choice as it depends on what kind of music you like and how you like them. For example, some people may like to have a neutral tone (which by the way is not present in both) while others would like a bit of brightness. So, it is up to you to make that call.
As far as cables and accessories are concerned, the choice is pretty clear as Sennheiser has completely faltered in HD 700.
When it comes to cost, HD 700 is way more expensive than 650 and that is a big factor that you should consider. If you already have 650 and are planning an upgrade, we would not recommend it because the extra price does not justify the features HD 700 has. The treble, bass and soundstage are definitely great and provide for a wonderful listening experience, but they are definitely not worth that much.
Overall, HD 650 will slightly edge out HD 700 on three fronts – cost, cables and comfort. If you get a good deal on HD 700, then they are better for an immersive musical experience, but at retail price, it is not required.
So, go for HD 650 because they are a good value for money and come with a host of features that can make you enjoy your music. If you get a good deal on HD 700 and if you’re particular about soundstage and treble, go for it. But if you have to choose, HD 650 is the winner.
|Headphones||Sennheiser HD650||Sennheiser HD700|