Sennheiser’s new HD 700 ($999.95) over-the-ear headphones sound “effortless,” without strain, harshness or aggressive edge. Their stereo soundstage is more open and spacious than you’ll hear from most audiophile headphones, and the bass, midrange, treble balance is quite smooth, without overly exaggerated frequencies. The HD 700 is along the middle, an extremely accurate group of headphones suitable for buyers who would like to hear sound with nothing added or recinded from the music.
Design and features
The HD 700 feels as though it weighs next to nothing on your head, however in fact it’s 272 grams, which is approximately average for full-size headphones. Its plush microfiber-covered earpads enable some air circulation, so they are less inclined to make your ears sweat than leather pads would.
I find the HD 700 well above average in comfort, even after hours usage. Earpad pressure against my ears was light, and that certainly contributed to the HD 700’s exceptional comfort. It’s mostly of the full-size headphones that didn’t put pressure against the frames of my glasses.
The HD 700’s unique styling might not exactly align with everyone’s tastes, but I believe it looks great. Overall construction is top-notch, however the earpieces and headband are created from gray plastic, which feels out of put on a high-end design. The 40mm driver is exclusive to the HD 700, and isn’t found in any other Sennheiser headphones.
The HD 700’s open-frame earpiece supports the 40mm driver within a tightly controlled, open-air acoustic chamber. The three ultrafine, stainless-steel mesh grilles gracing the earcups’ exterior can happen to be purely cosmetic, nonetheless they were carefully made to control the air movement behind the 40mm driver.
The steel mesh may dent in the event that you handle the HD 700 too roughly, but even small dents won’t adversely affect the sound of the headphones, according to a Sennheiser engineer I asked.
On the other hand, high-end headphones ought to be treated with the same care you might provide a $1,000 camera. That isn’t to imply a problem for the HD 700’s long-term durability; my 15-year-old Sennheiser HD 580 headphones’ plastic parts never cracked or deteriorated at all.
The HD 700’s earpieces are absolve to move on lateral and vertical pivots, so they should comply with everyone’s head form easily. The open-back design will not isolate the wearer from hearing environmental noise, and persons near to the listener will hear sound from the headphones. As such, the HD 700s will most likely not be the very best headphones to listen during intercourse when you’re not by yourself.
The headphone comes packed in a handsome and strong padded case. The 9.8-foot-long Y cable has 3.5mm connectors that plug in to the left and right earcups, as the stereo 6.3mm connector at the other end can plug into an AV receiver or dedicated headphone amplifier.
The cable is quite flexible and covered in a durable fabric, but tends to kink when bent. It generally does not have a 3.5mm adapter plug.
The HD 700 includes a 150-ohm-rated impedance, instead of 300 ohms for the flagship HD 800 headphone. However, 150 ohms is greater than most headphones suitable for use with lightweight music players and phones, typically rated at 50 ohms or less.
The HD 700 doesn’t fold up for compact storage and isn’t made to withstand the stresses to be jammed right into a travel bag way too many times, so it’s a really stay-at-home group of headphones.
The HD 700 includes a two-year warranty, and proof purchase or sales receipt from a certified dealer is necessary for guarantee claims.
The HD 700 is equally adept playing movies and music, because of its unfatiguing sound. Resolution of details is in the very best tier of high-end headphones, yet with high-quality recordings, the sound is never harsh or unpleasant at all.
The HD 700’s wide-open soundstage floats freely from the earpieces, therefore i found it simple to forget I was wearing the headphones after simply a short while into watching “Being Flynn” on DVD. The sound isn’t confined in my head, rather it seems to result from further away.
The film stars Robert De Niro as a homeless man, and the HD 700s i want to hear subtle information on the actors’ voices much better than I really do over most high-end speaker systems. When De Niro has gone out on city streets, the traffic sounds result from off in the length. The HD 700’s neutrality is particularly evident with dialog; voices sound naturally balanced and clear.
Outrageously powerful soft-to-loud dynamic jolts, like in the plane crash scene in the “Flight of the Phoenix” DVD are communicated much better than they are with most headphones, but nowhere in addition to big speakers and subwoofers. I’m using an Onkyo TX SR805 AV receiver for these music and home entertainment listening tests.
For music listening, I switch to the Schiit Lyr headphone amplifier ($450). The deep rumbling basslines on my “French Dub Connection” CD receive their full due by the HD 700.
With great headphones like these you do not just hear the bass, you can sense the texture of the sound. My Grado RS-1’s bass is merely as powerful, but it’s looser and less clear. The RS-1 also shrinks the recording’s soundstage, collapsing it inward, so it is trapped between my two ears.
On fusion jazz recordings, funky electric bass notes sound blurred over the RS 1, and more crisply defined over the HD 700. When the drummer whacks a snare drum, the HD 700 can make me jump; it’s that alive and realistic sounding.
The HD 700’s refinement also shines with classical music. The headphone almost disappears and lets the music come through without adding any coloration to the sound. The quiet details, just like the room sound and ambience of the recording venue are offered unerring accuracy.
The Sennheiser’s clarity is hard to resist, especially weighed against the Hifiman HE-500 ($799) headphone. The HE-500 includes a richer tone, which some listeners may prefer, however in the finish the HD 700 sounds similar to being there, and it’s really considerably more comfortable compared to the HE-500.
Previous generations of high-end Sennheiser headphones didn’t sound great connected to iPods and such, however the HD 700’s winning clarity is on full display on my iPod Classic.
The HD 700 is quite expensive at $999.95, but its extraordinary sound, construction, and comfort justifies its lofty price for the most demanding audiophiles. They’re highly accurate and clear, but won’t likely meet buyers seeking a rich and warm tonal balance. Regardless, no group of headphones can please every taste, and the HD 700 will appeal to those buyers who prize clarity and sonic precision.