The Sennheiser HD models have always been synonymous with excellent, well-balanced sound quality and an attractive price-performance ratio. The current HD 560S model marks a shift into the audiophile section in the Sennheiser headphone range. Interestingly, according to the manufacturer, the Sennheiser HD 560S does not really belong to the HD 500 series, but rather wants to emulate the 600 series in terms of tuning and sound performance.
For a purchase price of 199 Euros you get a wonderfully light, wired, over-ear system with open housing construction, which aims at providing music enjoyment in your home. There is not much to report about the equipment: The HD 560S comes in cardboard packaging, has a single-sided cable outlet with exchangeable connection cable with gold-plated 6.3 mm jack and a corresponding cable adapter for the 3.5 mm format.
These completely black headphones fit comfortably and quite tightly, but therefore securely, on your head. Their wearing comfort is high thanks to the (not exchangeable) velour padding of the easily rotatable ear cups and the length-adjustable headband – even during longer listening sessions and when watching a film. The headphones themselves are pleasantly light at 240 grams. The construction is robust but, as expected, of a lower quality than the HD 660S model. The majority of the housing is made of plastic, but the protective grids on the back of the ear cups are made of metal.
In this age of in-ears, it’s nice to be able to enjoy good over-ear headphones. The listening experience is different, “more spacious”, “freer” and also more comfortable. The aim of the HD 560S is a neutral reproduction when used with common devices such as the headphone output of a hi-fi system, a laptop, a Smartphone or a TV. Sennheiser has opted for a dynamic, open design with powerful magnets and angled polymer diaphragms placed in the ear cups, which are held secure even at higher levels.
The general sound impression is coherent with convincing depth of detail, wide ranging response and fast impulse capability. With an impedance of 120 ohms, the HD 560S was always loud enough with our test Smartphone (iPhone 8), and also with various audio interfaces and Hi-Fi components.
In the bass, the reproduction is always contoured, dynamically graded and tonal comprehensible, right down to the lowest frequency (Adel Tawil: “Katsching”). There’s no booming, but they are powerful when they need to be. In the midrange, the HD 560S score points with many details that give important instruments and voices, male and female, the necessary intimacy and warmth. At the same time, they provide the necessary punch that you would expect from a rock production with distorted guitars. Finally, these headphones bring a wonderful transparency and speed to the highs, resulting in an open and detailed sound image, which at the same time does not slip into unwanted harshness.
The spatiality of a recording usually depends on the mix. For example, Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity” from the current “3-D The Catalogue” delivered an impressive three-dimensional sound result, while some other recordings sounded rather flat. The angled mounted drivers (Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement) are supposed to imitate the impression of loudspeaker reproduction, but depth staggering creates difficulties for almost every pair of headphones. This makes the stereo panorama and panning all the more vivid and wide. Here lively productions like in “Pan Blue” by Yello become really fun to listen to.
Note: These do not quite deliver the glamour of an expensive audiophile design. Nor do they have that last bit of detail in resolution and bass control. However, one must not lose sight of the price. As expected, the HD 660S from the same manufacturer, which are 2.5 times more expensive, come out ahead in almost all areas. And the fact that the HD 560S cannot be operated symmetrically will probably not present a problem for anyone.
Sennheiser’s HD 560S sits between worlds and feels very much at home with this. They are not travel headphones, nor are they a DJ product, but rather a consumer model for home use. They are aimed at those who are interested in a very high sound standard but do not consider themselves audiophiles and therefore also shop in a different price range. The concept works, because for 199 Euros you get comfortable, cleanly tuned and really great sounding headphones, which sweeten the pleasure of listening to music and watching films. There are no extras, and why should there be, because they clearly do the job they set out to do.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)6 - 38.000 Hz
- Impedance120,2 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)94,74 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head718 g
- Weight with cable282 g
- Weight without cable242 g
- Cable length305 cm
What's in the box
- 6.35 mm with 3.5 mm adapter