image source: pixiv illustrator akinbo (hyouka fuyou) page: “tits and headphones” おっぱいとヘッドホン (page is R-18 so you need to be a registered pixiv member. and yes the original un-crop image is NSFW)
I will be using a similar format/style of writing i’ve used in my previous AD900 review, however considering the rather short period i’ve got my hands on the headphone, auditioning on a laptop setup (which i only use for gath/meets TBH LOL!), i will lay out a disclaimer that this review is SOLELY of my opinion, based on what i have at the time (setup, source which are just 320kbit mp3’s as opposed to some of the FLAC rips or even DIRECT CD playback for some of the songs that i use for analytic listening)
a minor note is that i will only be using anisong for auditioning, and of course there will be a lot of comparisons with my current AD900 🙂
The setup i am using for this review are: Winamp 5.621 32bit with ASIO4All 2.1 -> Dell Studio XPS1340 IDT integrated audio -> GoVibe Peak Amplifier -> Sennheiser HD700. The music source are all 320kbit MP3 files played via thumb drive plugged into laptop.
this sorta sits somewhere in between the modded Alessandro MS1000 (which imho has the best damn best ever) and the AD900 (with modded ear pads)/AD2000, not as much bass volume/depth as the AT counterpart, however more refine in bass response/quality similar to the MS1000; overall an interesting mix/feeling on the bass/low frequency department. There are some tracks where it loses it’s finesse especially on rock centric tracks, however it really shined during orchestral play backs, especially the heavy/low kick drums decays. In certain way i think it exceeds even the ms1000 when it comes to those certain instruments/performance.
Vocals seems very recessed/laid back in comparison to the AT’s. Then again, it seems unfair/biased as i am very used to/prefer the coloration on female vocals from the AT lineup. That said, male vocals didn’t seem too bad to be very honest, they seem to have a very unique “style” (or sound signature if you will) that came out with the recessed mid sound signature. i personally find it very interesting, not to say i like or dislike it, just can’t really place my standpoint on it to be honest.
faster paced drums on the other hand seems to hit really well; PRAT is surprisingly well on this can despite the laid back sound signature. it seems more of a sound stage issue? (which i will get to later on) Rock centric music didn’t seem to play too well despite the adequate PRAT. I think if i were to describe it, general Sennheiser sound stage puts you further back in the mid/back of the hall/concert, while in rock concert, you’ll probably want to get as close as you can towards your favorite artists 😉
supposedly this would be an issue with the AT AD series sound stage, however, i think i can probably relate it with “crowd surfing” and you’re kinda above everyone. not to mention the pronounced guitar/string sparkes really do help a lot!
Personally, i don’t think trebles/high frequencies are Sennheiser’s forte. (i am almost certain to get a lot of backlash from silver/symphonica cable users :lol:)
That said, orchestral instruments such as violins being a popular instrument, seems to go really well with the HD700. Every pulling can be heard well, coupled with the very well done sound staging, it almost seemed as if you can hear the very exact position of the pulling!
this track would be my very reference on the above statement:
and yes, that bass slam goes very VERY well on the HD700 too!
on the usual strings, guitar plucking/rifts, id still have to stick with the AT; I just prefer the sparkles/coloration it has and yes, this is more of a personal taste than anything.
Sound stage and instrument separation
Initially, i poped in my usual anisong, rock/pop based, it just didn’t seem to go well with the hd700 much; more so when i’m just so used to the AT AD coloration and what not. and yes, i’d admit of biased opinions right there. This is when i remembered: “Sennheisers are more renowned on their amazing sound staging!
now, what’s better to audition/test out on sound staging than orchestral tracks?
I mainly used gundam unicorn tracks to audition it, and man, with the HD700, it really made me feel like i was right in this:
such a beautiful piece, brings a tear to my eye man (i totally refrained from man tearing during the audition :rolleyes: )
and yeah, usually in orchestras, you wouldn’t want to be too close to the stage so you can have a good view and listening experience from the whole stage 🙂
That said though, it isn’t ridiculously wide like it’s bigger brother hd800 is. in fact, i prefer the hd700 a lot as the hd800 soundstage *seems* a bit fake to me. it’s just too spacious which kinda put a weird vibe to a lot of music especially if they aren’t orchestral centric.
As for instrument separation, for some odd reason, for orchestral tracks, i totally prefer this over the AT AD, however when it comes to rock based music, it just seems to pale a lot in comparison. Not sure if it is the more pronounced strings/guitar, or the vocals being a factor. For orchestral tracks, it almost seems that you can even count how many violin/trumpet players are there on the stage. however when it comes to rock, i can barely tell if there are 1 or 2 guitarists around, if there’s even a bass guitarist or not >.>
Image from Amazon.com
The futuristic design of the HD800 and eventually this HD700 has always been of my interest. In fact, in more ways i actually prefer it over the Audio Technica AD series design, more so if they didn’t have that cool looking 3D-wing design.
While it may seem very plastic-ky in design/look, i can assure you that it very solid, something that you can expect from a Sennheiser higher end range. While it is solid, a lot of parts of the headphone can be turned/twisted or even flex (the headband) to cater to all sorts of heads in shapes/sizes, which is a good thing.
If there are any complaints on the build, i think it would have to go with the outer side on the drivers. It seems to be only covered by a thin sheet of aluminum which upon press, seems bent/deform. think of a coca cola aluminum can, when you press it, it goes down with a light “pop” sound (yes the same thing happened to the hd700, which really scared me as i was afraid of wrecking a brand new hd700 ><) and upon releasing pressure it just restore back in shape. So far so good for the HD700, however personally if i’m gonna spend so much on a headphone like that, that can be VERY nerve wrecking which was very evident on that night 🙁
overall though i believe the entire headphone frame is made off metal/alloy, so that shouldn’t be a problem on durability unlike a lot of negative feedback from the senn 5xx series that are mostly plastic made.
Really comfy stuff i have to say. (lol)
Headband’s a lot thicker than it’s hd800 counterpart, which means more comfort! same velour based materials on the ear cups/pads and the headband as with the hd800. Personally i have sweating issues that the velour pad may not be so good at, however during the audition it was in a cold air conditioned room, so i can’t really comment on that.
Despite the smaller ear cups/pads compared to the hd800, the hd700 is in no way less comfortable, and no parts of my ears touched any portion of the pads/cups as with the hd800, and i believe i do have larger ears than most people have. (in comparison to avg asians anyways, and yes the AD900 drivers do touch my ears which can get uncomfortable for really REALLY long listening duration)
Overall if you love the hd800 comfort level, you’re going to love the hd700 just as much, if not even more.
Can’t say the same to the hd650 though, then again, matter of preference/shape of head/face/ears etc ^^;
150ohm impedance only as opposed to the 300ohm from it’s bigger hd800 brother, more noob friendly, and more musical than the hd800 that’s ‘too dependant on whatever you feed it with’
hits a really sweet spot for more casual listeners.
If i were to put it in my way of describing:
It’s basically a scaled down hd800, with a lot of “casual” put into it; Or instead of casual, maybe the more “familiar Sennheiser sound signature” is more appropriate
Special thanks goes to TJ from Sennheiser Malaysia for bringing this wonderful Headphone, and Asus Malaysia for organizing the audiophile meet/gathering event 🙂