The HD700 is truly a great headphone. Very enjoyable, detailed, clear, good bass, excellent detail and precision but sometimes the treble can be a bit hot. To me it is the perfect headphone between the HD650 and HD800. It’s maybe a bit closer to the HD650 as the sound isn’t as neutral and analytical as the HD800. Price wise ($999) I would have liked to see it priced more towards the HD650.
I’m a big Sennheiser fan, the HD25 and HD650 in particular. Somehow I never liked the HD800 but the HD700 definitely made it to my “Like” list. I really miss the HD700 since I sent it back and I will probably try to find one on the second hand market.
A little bit from Mike
When I wrote about the HD700 earlier, it was a pre-pro unit, and everything seems identical to the final version except that the headband pressure on the pre-pro unit was a lot more loose. What happens is not only do you get a headphone that’s slightly floating on your head, but you lose bass body and that was my biggest complain with the HD700 when I had it. However again with the pre-pro sample if I tried using my hands to exert additional clamping force, there was a significant boost in bass body and that’s exactly what I found on the final version of the HD700. There was also some treble peak on the pre-pro version, but I found that have been softened by quite a margin on the final version. Meanwhile, the same clear clean and effortless black background sound that I was raving about is still there on the final version. I can see how the HD700 manages to be the perfect bridge between the HD650 and the HD800. Not only in terms of price, but sound quality.
Bridge in the sense that it gives you a technicalities that’s higher than the HD650 but lower than the HD800 (and I know a lot of people object to this — that they’re not getting the best technicalities they can), but also more than just technicalities: they are getting a far more likable sound signature than the polarizing HD800 (too bright, too thin) and somewhat also the HD650 (for being too slow and too thick). The HD700 is warm, relatively dark tonality but with excellent clarity (unlike the HD650), has a fast pace (unlike the HD800 and HD650) yet you still feel the reference class quality with the HD700.
I don’t see having a lesser technicalities from the HD800 as a problem. You’re still getting a headphone that’s superior in technicalities even compared to the most popular $1K headphones out there, including the Audio Technica dynamics (W5000, W3000ANV), or the planars from Hifiman and Audez’e. And it seems that with the HD800, the superior technicalities often becomes a negative thing as it’s merciless with mainstream recordings and anything short of a $5K DAC/Amp system.
So, there it is, the HD700. Combining the best elements of the HD650 and the HD800 and being an excellent bridge product between the two. I still think that bass impact is on the weak side, so frankly I still enjoy the HD650 more. But I know that a lot of people are sick and tired of the “slow” HD650 and they demand a clearer, cleaner sound with faster pace and transients, and the HD700 is just that headphone.
Oh, BTW if anybody wants to trade his HD700 with my HD800, straight trade with no additional cash, I’m all for it. 😉 Seriously.