You are here

Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Kevin Nolan » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:34 pm

I wonder if anyone can advise on whether the HD700 are studio reference monitoring headphones or very high end audiophile headphones?

I presume studio reference headphones aim to be neutral in sound-colour; while audiophile headphones will intentionally colour the sound(?). Will be delighted to stand corrected on this (I realise the subjectivities) - I'm looking for advice so as to determine whether to buy a set of HD700s as studio reference monitoring headphones where neutrality is the goal.

And consequently, if the HD700s are for audiophile use, are the HD650 better studio monitoring headphones?


Thanks,
Kevin
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 814
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 1:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby John Willett » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:01 pm

The HD700 are both.

An audiophile mostly wants accuracy and not colour.

The HD700 are a big step up from the HD600 and HD650 (though nowhere near as good as the HD800).

I know several serious recordists who use the HD700 (including Michael Grace, of Grace Design, in the USA).

I would certainly use the 700 over the 600/650.
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7102
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:30 pm

Kevin Nolan wrote:And consequently, if the HD700s are for audiophile use, are the HD650 better studio monitoring headphones?


I'd agree with John's comments, generally. Sennheiser's premium headphones are equally suited to high-end audiophile and critical professional applications, and I'd have no qualms about using HD700s for critical listening.

However, I would temper the enthusiasm slightly because we are very much into the realms of diminishing returns here. There is no doubt at all that the HD800s are stunningly detailed and accurate headphones, and that the HD700s are not quite as good and the HD650s are not quite as good again ... and so on down the range.

However, the quality increments are pretty small and cost a great deal. If you have the budget and can justify the expenditure in your own mind, then great -- go for it. You won't regret it. However, a lot of people were very happy with HD650s before the HD800 and 700 were launched, and a most still are!

The HD700/800 technology also has a different sound character to the HD600/650 technology, and there are other high-end alternatives to the Sennheiser range with different characteristics too, including AKG, Beyer, Shure and so on... all with their own advocates and detractors.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27118
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Kevin Nolan » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:01 pm

Thank you both for those very helpful and insightful answers. It is reassuring to hear the HD700 are so capable for critical listening. I'm very interested in them for a particular situation, and you have given me the confidence to consider them seriously in this instance (along with other options too of course).

thanks again,
Kevin.
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 814
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 1:00 am
Kevin Nolan,KNECT.
http://www.knect.ie

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby mjfe2 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:35 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:However, a lot of people were very happy with HD650s before the HD800 and 700 were launched, and a most still are!

+1
User avatar
mjfe2
Frequent Poster
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:00 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:37 pm

Another +1 from me, who's also still happy with his HD650s 8-)


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 15658
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Zukan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:01 pm

My 650s just got demoted to...I dunno...just demoted. The AKG 712 Pros have now taken top tier and are a huge jump up from the 650s at the samish price point.
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 8689
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby The_BPP » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:24 am

I have the HD800's, and they are quite neutral & detailed. I assume the HD700's will be similar.

I would point out that the only way of getting anything like an optimum listening experience from headphones at this price point is to get a decent, dedicated headphone amp. (which I found out to my cost).
User avatar
The_BPP
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1413
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Lincolnshire

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby John Willett » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:04 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:..... a lot of people were very happy with HD650s before the HD800 and 700 were launched, and a most still are!

So was I - until the HD 800 came along.

There was so much more clarity and detail in the HD 800 that I don't use my HD 600 and 650 anymore (only for listening to the TV).

The 800 are a *big* step up from the likes of the 600 and 650 (and 700) - and the 700 does sit well in the middle between them.

It's the ring radiator of the 800 that make them so good as you are not driving an unsupported dome of material that can distort and muddy the sound.

BUT - the HD 800 do show up deficiencies in both the recording and the monitor chain, so they really do need a good headphone amp.

The HD 700 is an excellent step up from the 600/650 if you can afford them but not the 800.

I do like the 700, but as I already had the 800, sold them on.
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7102
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:09 am

John Willett wrote:There was so much more clarity and detail in the HD 800 that I don't use my HD 600 and 650 anymore (only for listening to the TV).
...
It's the ring radiator of the 800 that make them so good as you are not driving an unsupported dome of material that can distort and muddy the sound.

I'd be reluctant for someone to come across this thread and read it without knowing that John works for Sennheiser! The implication is that the HD600/650 only has enough detail for watching TV (!) and their sound is distorted and muddy, but this simply isn't the case.
User avatar
mjfe2
Frequent Poster
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:00 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:11 pm

Quite ! ;)

No one is denying that the HD800 (and 700) aren't superb headphones -- they most definitely are. (Although the AKGs are nice too... ;) But as with all things high-end, you're into a case of ever greater expense for ever smaller benefits.

To me, the HD650s equate roughly to working with a set of monitors in the £2500 bracket -- decent, reliable, workable monitors worthy of that name, and more than enough to deliver good mix results.

The HD800s are more like working with monitors that cost upwards of £10,000. Lovely if you can afford it, and clearly more informative than the cheaper monitors...

But the launch of some new £10,000 speakers doesn't make the £2500 speakers perform to a lower level!

I'm quite sure that if someone knicked JW's HD800s in the middle of a recording job he'd be able to complete it perfectly well on the crappy old HD650s unplugged from the telly... ;)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27118
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby The_BPP » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:20 pm

In my experience, if you've sub-par amplification, the HD800s actually sound WORSE than the HD650s...

When I first plugged my HD800s into the output of my audio interface, they provided a very weedy listening experience, whereas the HD650 performed perfectly adequately.

It wasn't until I bought a relatively expensive headphone amp that I could see the more impressive detail/bass of the HD800s over the HD650s.
User avatar
The_BPP
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1413
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Lincolnshire

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby Jim. » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:59 pm

mjfe2 wrote:

I'd be reluctant for someone to come across this thread and read it without knowing that John works for Sennheiser!

He has not worked for Sennheiser for a number of years now.

Jim
Jim.
Poster
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Cambridge

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:40 am

mjfe2 wrote:I'd be reluctant for someone to come across this thread and read it without knowing that John works for Sennheiser!

Sorry, I do NOT work for Sennheiser and have not done so for almost 4 years.



mjfe2 wrote:The implication is that the HD600/650 only has enough detail for watching TV (!) and their sound is distorted and muddy, but this simply isn't the case.

Where did you get this from? I certainly suggested no such thing.

The HD600/650 headphones are excellent and are about the best in their price range (along with the AKG 701/702).

The 600/650 are certainly NOT distorted or muddy and I never suggested such a thing - I own both models, anyway.

It's just that the 700 and 800 are very much better - especially the 800 - but you have to pay the price for the better units.
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7102
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Sennheiser HD700 - studio reference or audiophile?

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:43 am

The_Big_Piano_Player wrote:In my experience, if you've sub-par amplification, the HD800s actually sound WORSE than the HD650s...

When I first plugged my HD800s into the output of my audio interface, they provided a very weedy listening experience, whereas the HD650 performed perfectly adequately.

It wasn't until I bought a relatively expensive headphone amp that I could see the more impressive detail/bass of the HD800s over the HD650s.

Too true - I did say that the HD 800 are very revealing of the source and will show up deficiencies all along the chain.

That's why I use mine with the Grace m903.

The Lehmann black cube is also good as is also the DACS Clarity HeadMaster (both of which are less expensive)
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7102
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Next