There’s an outdated Chinese language proverb, attributed to zen grasp Hsi-Tang Chih Tsang in 800AD, that reads: “Though gold mud is valuable, when it will get in your eyes it obstructs your imaginative and prescient.” Again then, he would not have had entry to the Sennheiser HD 560S open-back headphones, however his summation reminds us that gadgets deemed extremely fascinating can produce the best disdain, ought to we discover them disappointing.
In hi-fi circles, any product boldly claiming to have been “crafted for the analytical audio fanatic” however carrying a price ticket of lower than £200 ($200) will in all probability both transform exceptionally good worth or an enormous disappointment. So, has Sennheiser struck a wealthy seam of gold with the HD 560S, or is it about to rub the mud in our eye?
Sonically, Sennheiser is pushing these cans because the closest choice to its thrice-the-price HD 660S, however when it comes to consolation the corporate likens them to the respected HD 599.
Due to the velour earpads and ample padding on the scarf, they’re actually somewhat comfy. And at 240g with out the cable, their relative lightness belies the dimensions of these massive earcups, which actually do match across the ear.
Though Sennheiser’s claimed ‘barely there’ really feel is optimistic – the clamping drive of the plastic headband is stronger than the What Hello-Fi? Award-winning Grado SR325e, for instance – they’re a straightforward put on because of the padding, gentle design and barely forward-angled earcups. Owing to their open-back design, the HD 560S really feel ventilated and funky to put on, too.
Sennheiser HD 560S tech specs
Kind Open-back, over-ear
Frequency response 6Hz – 38kHz
Output 6.3mm jack (with 3.5mm adapter)
Cable size 3m
The headscarf is plastic and the sliding mechanism clicks when adjusting them to suit, however it isn’t noisy throughout use. The earcups are anchored low sufficient to allow simply sufficient motion, in or out from the scarf itself, for an optimum match. The cups are additionally designed to swivel simply sufficient to make sure they’ll cowl your ear correctly.
These wired headphones include a rubberised and comparatively slender 3m cable, with the 6.3mm plug designed to hook up with hi-fi sources, akin to headphone amps and audio interfaces, bearing that connection. The bundled 3.5mm adaptor, in the meantime, will hook you as much as digital audio gamers, tablets and smartphones which have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Sennheiser HD 560S’ cable is removable and related to the left earcup solely.
Underneath the hood, Sennheiser’s all-new 120ohm drive unit with a specialised polymer-blend diaphragm and high-strength magnet goals to breed deep bass notes and treble with each readability and management.
Sennheiser says its Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (EAR) angled driver alignment recreates the optimum triangular listening place you’d discover in hi-fi loudspeaker setups and high-end recording studios, too.
Though that is an open-back headphone and inclined to ‘leaking’ sound by design, we discover the Sennheisers really bleed audio far much less loudly than the aforementioned Grado SR325e. That mentioned, for those who’re acutely aware of not upsetting your housemates along with your musical selections, take heed.
We cue up Sean Paul’s reggae/dancehall basic, Dutty Rock, and the Tidal Grasp album comes by way of with an unusually wholesome dollop of spaciousness at this stage. The preliminary chord intro to I’m Nonetheless In Love With You snakes between our left and proper ears with a higher analytical accuracy than by way of most competing headphones at this stage.
Sasha’s vocal is effectively dealt with by way of the simple treble subsequent to Paul’s deeper registers inside a cohesive and layered combine. Devices akin to horns, which may usually really feel muddied on this monitor, are celebrated with an excellent quantity of three-dimensional brassiness by way of the midrange, too.
Because the album continues to Bubble, the presentation is even, clear and spacious. The bass is agile, though there’s a little further bass weight obtainable within the pricier Grado SR325e. Roughly struck key chords by way of the treble are additionally marginally extra impactful and edgier by way of the Grados, however even accounting for the worth distinction we really feel the Sennheisers don’t convey the complete diploma of verve and zeal which we all know to be a part of the recording.
We change to Melissa Etheridge’s Come To My Window and a shaker is superbly positioned on the high of our proper ear. Etheridge’s rhythm guitar joins a cohesive combine the place each passage is noteworthy and musically pleasing, alongside an unusually detailed vocal for the class. Our playlist continues to Angels Would Fall and, once more, there’s separation and layering, from the preliminary riff in our left ear to the eventual central, textured vocal.
Over the course of our testing, we discover a lot to rejoice when listening to classical music – stream Ravel’s Jeux d’eaux performed by Monique Haas, and the keys are emotive, clear and refined – however we discover ourselves wanting just a bit bit extra vitality, punch and pleasure from the HD 560S when listening to our heavier, funkier reference tracks.
Sennheiser’s intensive back-catalogue of five-star and Award-winning headphones spans greater than 5 many years. This wired set of open-back over-ears is a sound addition, providing a superbly acceptable and sonically detailed budget-conscious choice.
These searching for audiophile-grade sound high quality – as is the corporate’s declare – will, nonetheless, discover them only a shade undercooked for punch, zeal and enthusiasm.
Learn our information to the best over-ear headphones
Learn our Grado SR325e review