The Best Sennheiser Headphones Review
The Best Sennheiser Headphones Review
Sennheiser’s famous IE 80S has just gone wireless. But at a cool 500 bucks, it’s quite an investment considering that it’s a Bluetooth earphone. What makes this model so pricey? And does it retain all the same sound qualities as the wired version?
SENNHEISER IE 80S BT WIRELESS REVIEW
IN THE BOX
I’m not usually a fan of neckbands, but considering how light this model is, I didn’t even notice it against my skin, even after hours of wear. And this type of design is a great option for folks who generally have trouble keeping their in-ear headphones in place. Not only do the small earbuds provide a snug fit, but the ear hooks and neckband offer added stability without feeling obtrusive. You’ll also get a variety of eartips to optimize the fit, including double flange and the squishy and moldable Comply tips, which are great for isolating sound.
Controls and Functionality
The only thing that initially bothered me about the design was the buttons on the neckband. Once the IE 80S BT is around your neck, you can’t see the controls. So, you have to get acquainted with the placement of the buttons to know what you’re pressing. However, after a few tries, I got a feel for how they were situated, and navigating the controls became easier.
The IE 80S BT will offer the standard functionality, including play/pause, volume control, track skipping, call answering/ending and voice assistant activation.
The great thing about these buds is that, like the wired IE 80S, the cable is detachable. This means that, essentially, you’re getting the original IE 80S with a wireless cable. So, if you want to go for a higher resolution sound, all you have to do is buy a separate cable designed for the original IE 80 S. And this is the factor that explains the price tag.
You’ll only get about 6 hours of playtime from these buds. And there are other neckband earphones (like the Klipsch Reference) which provide longer battery life. But given how light these earbuds are, it’s a fair compromise.
Sennheiser has employed a micro-USB connection for charging.
The IE 80S BT supports high resolution Bluetooth codecs, including aptX HD, AAC, LHDC and aptX Low Latency. Low latency is important if you’re using the earbuds to watch video. It means that there won’t be any lag, and the sound will stay in sync with the picture.
Call clarity is excellent on these earbuds. And it beats the Momentum True Wireless in this respect. Not only does the caller’s voice sound clean, but the microphone is also very sensitive without picking up too much ambient noise.
Forward leaning with tons of meat on the bone, those with a taste for bass will certainly gravitate towards this low-end. This range lends plenty of warmth to rock tracks and gives ample punch to energetic pop tracks. Fans of hip-hop will also find that there’s enough sub frequency response to make their bellies jiggle. In terms of transparency, you’ll notice more smoothness than detail when listening to string instruments in the lows. But the cohesiveness of the sound gives classical pieces a graceful fluidity that’s oh so pleasing to the ears.
As Sennheiser fans may know, the mids on the IE 80S aren’t as forward as they are on the IE 800 or the Momentum, for example. And the bass frequencies on the IE 80S BT tend to overshadow the low mids at times. So, on certain tracks, the mix feels a little hollowed out in the middle. In fact, the balance is the only factor that stops me from being a hardcore IE 80S fan. But it’s a matter of taste. And actually, this kind of dynamic feel is ideal for pop. Still, because there’s so much flesh in the bass frequencies, you’ll get a decent amount of body in rock and pop rock tracks. And the snare sits forward in the mix, offering plenty of impact and energy to rock tunes where the snare drives the song.
The level of separation and detail is also solid for a wireless pair of buds. Fans of folk and acoustic rock will enjoy the clean definition of guitar picks and strums. At the same time, there’s a gentleness or tenderness in the way the the IE 80S BT handles acoustic instruments. (Sennheiser fans will certainly recognize this characteristic). And the impressive level of articulation makes these instruments feel absolute in their presentation.
Even in the high frequencies, the IE80S BT presents a very lush character. Female vocals, for example, have a weighty, velvety feel. But because the sound is so transparent, the breathiness and nuance in the vocal performance remains. At the same time, there’s some extension in this range. So, listening to pop, percussion sounds crisp, snappy and vibrant.
You can expect a generally spacious sound. Live recordings have a stadium-like feel. And you’ll get a nice sense of dimension as well. Instruments placed along the vertical axis show plenty of height, and small gradations in depth were audible as well. That being said, instruments placed at a distance didn’t have a tremendous amount of richness or definition. But all in all, it’s a pretty multidimensional sound for an in-ear wireless headphone.
Yes, these earbuds certainly have the IE 80S sound signature. If you’re a fan of Sennheiser, you can expect the deep, warm and lush flavor that the brand’s IEMs are famous for. They may not be as detailed as the original version. But given that the cable is detachable, you still have the option of upgrading the sound fidelity through a wired connection. So, it’s almost like getting two sets of earphones for the price of one. And considering the excellent call clarity and light weight design, the IE 80S BT is a great option for commuters who expect high performance sound on the go.
The Sennheiser HD 660 S are high-end open-back headphones. These are the kind you might use to listen to music at home, or to watch a movie late at night when you don’t want to disturb anyone else.
An open design is useless for the outdoors, but contributes to the Sennheiser HD 660 S’s wide, involving sound.
These headphones are a follow-up to the Sennheiser HD 650, considered a classic pair for well over a decade now. Sennheiser retains the warm, accessible tone for the HD 660 S, making this pair easy to recommend to virtually anyone who can afford the high price.
Sennheiser HD 660 S – Design and comfort
If you’re new to high-end headphones, the most important part of the Sennheiser HD 660 S to note is their basic style. These are open-back, and you can see the driver mountings through the grille on the back of each ear cup.
Practical knock-on effects are obvious. The Sennheiser HD 660 S don’t block out sound; they’ll freely leak anything you play through them. If you’re wearing them while working, you’ll find that the clack of the keyboard is as loud as the music playing.
The majority of true high-end headphones use this style, though, since it promotes a more ‘open’ sound. It also avoids overheating your ears. If I’m sitting down to watch a movie at home, I’ll always pick an open pair given the choice.
For a headphone of this type, the Sennheiser HD 660 S grip your head with reasonable force. It feels like they’re hugging your head, though, rather than clamping it thanks to the thick padding on the velour cups and neoprene-like pads on the headband. A surer fit also means theses headphones don’t fall of your head if you turn too quickly, which is useful if you’re buying for a home studio.
The Sennheiser HD 660 S look a lot like the HD 650, but Sennheiser has changed the design a little. Metallic grey plastic has been switched with black. They look a little more ordinary.
Build quality seems similar to the HD 650. Plastic doesn’t offer a luxurious feel, but the quality of the plastic used is excellent. These headphones are built to last. Cups and cables can be removed and replaced too.
Sennheiser includes a bunch of adapters to ensure most won’t need to buy after-market cables. The standard cable is 3 metres long, ending in a 6.35mm jack. There’s a 3.5mm adapter cable in the box, along with a “Pentaconn” adapter. This offers a balanced output in a small 4.4mm jack.
As long as you’re buying for the home rather than portable use, there’s very little to dislike about the Sennheiser HD 660 S design.
Sennheiser HD 660 S — Sound quality
These days, portable headphones tend to be at the top of most buyers’ to-buy lists. However, the Sennheiser HD 660 S prove full-size open headphones such as this are generally a better choice if you simply want a pair to use at home.
They have an excellent soundstage. It’s wide, expansive and superb stereo imaging and spatial imaging lets your ears explore arrangements much better than almost any closed pair at this price.
A big sound is also what you want for movies, to get closer to the experience of being surrounded by speakers rather than one where the audio is “in your head”.
Tonally the Sennheiser HD 660 S feel much like what they are, a reworking of the HD 650. That pair was/is known as one of Sennheiser’s “dark” sounding headphones, meaning music tends to sound full and rich, but not particularly bright or sharp.
These headphones have that same lower-mid range richness, but also have a little more high-frequency treble energy to balance it out. Listening closely, this added zing can come across a little “modular”, making the signature a little less of a coherent whole than, say, that of the classic AKG Q701. However, as long as you’re here for enjoyment rather than pro-style sound monitoring, you can interpret the Sennheiser HD 660 S as a bit of a “greatest hits” of the Sennheiser HD series.
You get the pleasant thickness of the HD 650 with a hint of the detail retrieval of the more expensive HD 800. I also think that many will prefer them to the AKG Q701, which sound thinner and colder. The Sennheiser HD 660 S are better ear-charmers, even if they’re not technically superior to that pair.
Comparing them directly to the AKG Q701 and the classic HiFiMAN HE-5 planar magnetic headphones, the HD 660 S display less soundstage width than the AKGs and less smooth mids than the planar HiFiMAN pair. However, the Sennheisers have more obvious energy and a less diffuse soundstage. Purists after the most balanced, neutral sound for their cash should perhaps look elsewhere.
Unlike the Momentum series, which has punchy sub-bass as its calling card, the HD 660 S have tightly-controlled bass. The frequencies are there, but so is the reserve expected of a higher-end headphone. To make up for this, the headphones delivers a little more power from fairly up-front mids.
Why buy the Sennheiser HD 660 S?
The Sennheiser HD 660 S find themselves in an odd spot. While the HD 700 launched at £600 more than five years ago, they’re now available for only slightly more money than this pair. As little as £10 at the time of writing.
Their design and fit is a little more special than that of the fairly conventional-looking HD 660 S too. However, while I no longer have the HD 700 to hand for a direct A/B test, comparisons with other contemporaries suggest that pair is “different” rather than flat-out better.
The Sennheiser HD 660 S are comfortable, have a great soundstage and a non-fatiguing combination of clarity and rich tone.
However, if you’re after a more neutral sound, you should also consider the Shure SRH1840, HiFiMAN HE560 or an AKG studio headphone such as the K712 Pro.
Best Sennheiser Headphones
Buy Headphones FAQ
To make things easier for audiophiles, this guide focuses on sound quality above all else. Over-ear headphones could also be a better option for your ear health than in-ear headphones models, putting a bit more distance between those loud tracks and your eardrums. If safeguarding your hearing is important to you, that’s another reason to look for a pair of over-ears.
You probably already know this, but Sennheiser is a brand with a lot of prestige. Sogood, in fact, that many pairs feature in our very best headphones for all budgets list. …
The Bose delivers obviously superior sound quality to the Sennheiser. … First, in a noisy listening environment like an airplane, the Bose is much better-sounding because it nearly eliminates that noise, letting the music shine through. That aside, though, its audio quality is still much better than the Sennheiser.
- Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones.
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- Sennheiser HD 650.
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth.
- Sennheiser HD 660 S – HiRes Audiophile.
- Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless.
- Sennheiser HD1 Wireless.
Sennheiser headphones are so expensive because the quality and technology they use in the headphones and the sound output in all aspects this brand stands in the top and coming to the warranty part there are very less brands which provides 2years of warranty and sennheiser is one which provides 2years of warranty for …