I have affordable Sennheiser headphones in my new Sennheiser HD 560S Review article today.
- 1 Intro
- 2 Sennheiser HD 560S Specifications
- 3 Design & Construction
- 4 Technology
- 5 Sound Quality & Comfort
- 6 Sound Test
- 7 Sennheiser HD 560S Video Review
- 8 Final Verdict
To make the highest quality headphones that will be affordable to the broadest possible range of users, Sennheiser has tried to take over as many positive features as possible from the globally popular HD 600 series and to make the production process cheaper where possible, while the sound suffers minimally.
So, the recipe is simple on paper: keep most of the quality but significantly lower the price of the product, and that’s precisely what Sennheiser has managed to do with the new HD 560S audiophile headphones. However, I am sure that the process was not at all easy, as evidenced by the combination of the design and ergonomic solutions of the HD 500 series and the tonal qualities of the HD 600 series, which is why, among other things, the well-known German manufacturer developed completely new drivers exclusively for this model.
Sennheiser HD 560S Specifications
- Impedance: 120 Ω
- Frequency response:6 Hz to 38 kHz (-10 dB)
- Sound pressure level (SPL): 110 dB (1 kHz / 1 V RMS)
- THD, total harmonic distortion: < 0.05 % (1 kHz / 90 dB SPL)
- Jack plug: 6.35 mm with 3.5 mm adapter
- Transducer principle: Dynamic, open-back
- Weight w/o cable: 240 g
- Ear pad material: Velour
You can download the manual here->Sennheiser HD 560S Manual
Design & Construction
The HD 560S is made entirely of plastic, including even the hinges and sliders. Apart from the speaker units and internal wiring, the only parts that are not made of plastic are the metal mesh on the outside of the resonators and the velour pads on the resonators and the mount. The mentioned plastic is of solid quality and pleasant to the touch, but it does not seem particularly resistant to scratches. When it comes to structural strength, it’s ungrateful to evaluate brand-new headphones, but I believe that Sennheiser knows what they’re doing and didn’t allow themselves to sell headphones that will fall apart after a few years of use.
Well, after we got over the worst at the beginning, things get better and better from this point on in terms of the concept, The HD 560S features an open-back design that provides natural propagation of sound waves. As I mentioned, the design is almost completely taken over from the HD 500 series, which means the elliptical resonators and the support that forms a visual whole with them. However, unlike models such as the HD 579 and HD 599, the aesthetic atmosphere is completely neglected and only discreet company logos are visible on the resonator meshes, while everything else is done in matte black, which is the only finish in which the HD 560S are available.
As expected, the resonators can be adjusted along all three axes, and in their interior, hidden from view despite the open design, there are completely new drivers. Although the manufacturer did not specify the diameter of the membranes made of the new polymer mixture, some sources state a figure of 38 millimeters, which should be taken with a grain of salt. The patented E.A.R. (Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement) technology was used for positioning the driver. This involves placing the individual at a certain angle so that the sound waves reach the eardrums slightly from the front, simulating the speaker setup in a hi-fi system – Sennheiser has been developing and applying this technology for years, so there is no reason to doubt its effectiveness. The specifications state that the frequency range is from 6 Hz to 38 kHz, with distortions of 0.05 percent and the highest sound pressure of a rather high 110 dB. The main feature that distinguishes the HD 560S from its relatives of the same series and brings it closer to the higher HD 600 series is the impedance of 120 ohms – so, although they are far more demanding than other models from their series, the tested headphones are still acceptable enough to run on weaker amplifiers or even audio players.
Sound Quality & Comfort
The packaging of the headphones is quite modest and includes a three-meter-long detachable cable equipped with a 6.35-millimeter connector with gold-plated contact surfaces, as well as a high-quality 3.5-millimeter adapter cable.
In terms of comfort, it’s really hard to find fault with these headphones: in addition to being adjustable on all axes, the cushions are large enough to completely cover the ear cups, and the surfaces that rest on the head are very soft and pleasant to the touch. The pressure also contributes to the feeling of comfort, which, I would say, is somewhat lower than that of the HD 600 series. The advantage of the plastic construction is its weight of only 240 grams. If we add to that the open design, which, in addition to the acoustic advantages, provides improved ventilation of the driver, and thus less heating of the earcups, it is clear that the HD 560S guarantees exceptional comfort during use. This was confirmed during testing when I repeatedly used the headphones at continuous intervals of several hours without heating, sweating, or an unpleasant feeling in the ear shells.
It’s always a good thing when I have more components at my disposal during testing, and during the writing of this review, I had as many as three headphone amplifiers: FiiO Q3, EarMen Sparrow, and Unison Research uPhono+. Together with the new and contemporary FiiO Q3 HD 560S, they provided me with a very neutral sound, with a completely even response in the entire audible spectrum. There is almost no need to talk about tonal characteristics – in this respect, the HD 560S are probably the most accurate headphones I’ve had the opportunity to test, and they may surpass the HD 660S in terms of their credibility. Their best description would actually be “transmitter of sound” because they practically do not have their own character and color but only convey to us what the musicians and sound engineers in the studio imagined.
Sound Test With Fiio Q3
With Fiio Q3 details are abundant, and every single tone is completely clear and can be easily discerned even during complex sections. The texture of the tones and the acoustic parameters of the instruments are also at an enviable level, although they do not quite reach the heights of the HD 600 series, the tested headphones are redeemed by a better overall balance, which primarily means – more bass. And what a bass this is! The lowest part of the spectrum is represented by deep and precise tones that have body and shape, but also quite adequate mass, so the music sounds present, and the instruments gain physical size. As a potentially negative side of the tested headphones, we can mention the pronounced linearity already mentioned, which can turn away listeners who are looking for more color and excitement in their music. Nevertheless, the manufacturer remained consistent with its own tradition, so the HD 560S can be said to represent Sennheiser’s sound at its best – uncompromisingly clean, linear to the extreme, and brutally realistic in showing all the flaws of bad production.
Sound Test With EarMen Sparrow
Switching to the miniature EarMen Sparrow HD 560S surprised me by showing clear differences between the two headphone amps, even though they are affordable, low-end portable devices. Although I was more than happy with the amount of detail with the FiiO, the Sparrow showed me that the HD 560S can do even more, showing background details and the subtlest subtleties that I had not previously heard in the same recordings. As a result, the analysis is further improved, so the HD 560S proved to be headphones that are able to detect and adequately display even the most seemingly insignificant details in the recording. On the other hand, it was clearly heard on the tested headphones that the shaping of individual tones is not at the level of the Q3 model and that the Sparrow is rougher and rawer in this respect with a slightly brighter overall color and a subdued lowest range.
Sound Test With Unison Research
In the end, I switched to Unison Research – undoubtedly the most serious name – which, again, brought its own character to the sound. The HD 560S suddenly became warmer and more pleasant, almost velvety, with a slightly smaller amount of detail, but also beautifully shaped sophisticated tones. This sound contained the most energy and life, although it was not analytical like the previous one, but it is another confirmation of Sennheiser’s chameleon character – everything is in the recording and the amplifier, and the HD 560S are only there to transmit the sound directly to your ears.
Unfortunately, Unison Research is unavailable on Amazon.
Sennheiser HD 560S Video Review
Although this test threatened to turn into a comparative display of three headphone amplifiers until the end, this is only a consequence of the HD 560S’s endless analytical and neutrality – simply, their sound signature does not exist. These headphones are also very grateful to start and will not protest even when paired with not particularly powerful headphone amplifiers with USB power, but will be able to appreciate real power. Maybe the Sennheiser HD 560S won’t be to your taste if you’re looking for temperamental reproduction of bright colors and vivid coloration, but I recommend you definitely give them a chance to convey every little thing you didn’t know existed in the recording – you’ll be rewarded with a linear and analytical, almost studio-like sound, which reaches the very heart of the soundtrack.
Sennheiser HD 560S Pro & Cons
- Low weight and exceptional comfort
- Linearity and analyticity
- Even tonal balance
- They sound good even with weaker amplifiers
- Completely plastic construction