Sennheiser HD 560S Review

Sennheiser HD 560S

Design, Build quality & Comfort

 

The Sennheiser HD 560S has the typical Sennheiser 5-series shape and I quite like the modern, slick and flowing design. It’s simple and recognizable, yet pretty and functional. The build quality – as we’re used to from Sennheiser – is good, even if the unit has a very plastic (dare I say cheaper) feeling to it.

The HD 560S uses a very light, plastic chassis for “distraction-free listening” and the headphone only weighs 240g. The HD 560S has an open, around-the-ear design though your ear most likely will touch the soft velour. At the same time, the HD 560S is very comfortable and I can use it all day long without it annoying me.

The pressure on the side of your head is a bit higher than with most headphones however. Of course that will get better over time, and you can always stretch it out if it bothers you. The velour headband and pads are soft and thick. They’re comfy and they perfectly distribute the weight evenly on your head.

Sound – Intro

Sennheiser is marketing these new headphones as having a natural and accurate reference sound, with superior detail retrieval, a fast clear bass response and ultra low distortion. In marketing language that reads as follows:

Sennheiser’s new HD 560S headphones offer just what is required for analytical listening sessions at an accessible price point: natural and accurate reference sound that divulges every detail, complemented by an outstanding low-frequency extension, while providing a “barely there” experience on the head and ears

The HD 560S’ tuning is more to the neutral side, with a natural and accurate tuning. I find it to be a nicely balanced and linear headphone in fact. The presentation is very open and spacious. The detail retrieval is quite good and for this segment the HD 560S is quite analytical. At the same time there is a smooth delivery in the mids and an overall engaging and musical presentation. Warm is not a term you can use to describe the HD 560S’ sound

From top to bottom you get great speed and clarity. The HD 560 is spacious and extends on both low and top end. Sound stage-wise the HD 560S performs very well, certainly looking at the price point. Don’t be expecting HD 800(S) levels of course, but impressive non-the-less.

The depth is pretty good but this together with the layering is where its bigger brothers of the 6-series perform quite a bit better. That being said, the depth, layering and rumble down low can really surprise you at certain times, but it’s always in a neutral way, not exaggerating it. The note extension, note decay and overall note timbre is quite good, especially – again – at this price point.

Another thing I really like is the stereo imaging and left-right balance the HD 560S gives you. The vocals to me also are very well portrayed by the HD 560S, in a natural and realistic way.

Sound Classics – Bass

The HD 560S is a more neutral sounding headphone and as such the bass doesn’t get any extra weight, well maybe just a little. Sennheiser describes it as an extended low-end reach with gratifying presence, and I fully agree to that.

What I love here is the unique and typical Sennheiser dynamic driver bass. Bass is fast and tight and it’s quality over quantity here. The HD 560S’ bass is tight and goes deep when needed. I still get surprised sometimes how low it can go and how well layered it is for a $199 headphone (try Billie Eilish). It’s not always the fullest bass looking at body and impact though, but that’s only normal with a neutral and accurate tuning. It does also depend on how bass-heavy your source is. At the same time it’s very safe to say the bass never feels light and there’s always enough impact and kick to make things engaging and musical.

Sound Classics – Mids

The mids connect perfectly to the bass and they share the same characteristics. Naturalness, clarity and spaciousness are the key characteristics here. The mids are spacious and open sounding, they have good timbre and the decay and layering are not too bad either. As said before, the vocals here are spot on.

Weight-wise the mids – just like the bass – are somewhat lighter looking at presence and impact, but they don’t have too little presence either. The longer you listen to the HD 560S, the better you will how good these mids actually are. Of course all in the neutral and accurate context.

Sound Classics – Treble

The HD 560S’ treble extends quite well, but its of course not at HD800 level, and most will actually like that.

Treble sounds spacious and open, but it is also tuned rather safe. I never with the HD 560S have had the feeling the highs were, sibilant, too sharp or overly energetic. In fact, they share the same characteristics of the bass and mids. Treble is energetic and realistic, yet musical and natural.

Looking at the neutral tuning and how the bass and mids connect to each other, I don’t see how Sennheiser could have done the treble section in any other way.

Sound – Conclusion

The HD 560S to me is a great all-rounder and I really like it. The dynamic drivers make everything sound easy, natural and accurate, yet musical. You can also perfectly use the HD 560S for conference calls and then switch to your favorite tunes, it doesn’t matter for the HD 560S, it really is a very versatile sound/headphone.

I really like how the dynamic drivers perform in this headphone and it’s the main reason why I expected this headphone to be more expensive. (Though the box and plastic feel wouldn’t warrant this).

Give the HD 560S a few hours of non-stop listening and I’m sure you’ll like it as much as I do. Just take into account it’s more about linearity, accuracy and balance here, with a musical delivery. If you’re interested in seeing measurements of the HD560 S’ drivers, the guys over at Diyaudioheaven have got you covered.

The part on sound continues on the third page. Click here or use the jumps below.

4.2/5 - (174 votes)

linkedinrssyoutubeinstagram
Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

26 Comments

  • Reply September 29, 2020

    InvisibleInk

    [From the article] “Technically the HD 650 to me still is the superior headphone and especially the sound stage, depth and layering here are at a higher level.”

    I never found the soundstage of the HD650 very impressive. Instead of giving the impression of a big room or theater, it was more like listening in a narrow hallway. Sennheiser claims the 560s has a much wider soundstage, and I read your quote above suggesting the HD650 is better.

    • Reply September 29, 2020

      Aaron

      I for one also think HD650 performs rather mediocre in soundstage. They sound very shut-in for an open back headphone.

      • Reply October 2, 2020

        drno

        I have phillips x2hr’s for movies n gaming, senns hd25s for general listening to music (great sound in my book) and ath-m50x for mixing audio. Happy with them but……….would the hd-560s be a good upgrade from the hd-25s for general listening to music?

    • Reply September 29, 2020

      Lieven

      I mean the depth of the 650 vs the 560S, not the width. Sorry if that wasn’t clear

      • Reply October 22, 2020

        JS

        I agree with Lieven. I have heard HD650 on various setups and its staging, especially depth depends on thr setup. It can be in your head or it can project a convincimg image in front of you.

  • Reply September 29, 2020

    EG

    You mentioned the Sundara in closing. I’m assuming you feel the Sundara is superior even if it’s not a direct competitor?

    • Reply September 29, 2020

      Lieven

      The Sundara has a different technology and sound, and is more expensive. So I didn’t want to compare them. I have heard good Sundara’s and bad ones, but the sound signature is different from the HD 560S. Both are great headphones.

      • Reply September 29, 2020

        EG

        Okay, thanks for confirming!

  • Reply September 30, 2020

    Michael Walton

    Many thanks for a great review. I currently have IBasso dx150 ( amp 6) and enjoy it with Hifman Re 600 earbuds but looking for a fuller sound with headphones. Would Hd560 add extra warmth to the mix which I am trying to avoid ? . I was hoping for a bit brighter sounding signature headphone and which the Dx150 could easily power. ?
    I really enjoy your reviews

    • Reply October 7, 2020

      Lieven

      There will be no extra warmth with the 560S

  • Reply September 30, 2020

    Paul

    How do these headphones compare to the HD 599? I own these and look at the HD 560s as a potential upgrade. Are they an upgrade, or should I go for a more expensive headphone like the Sundara?

    • Reply December 5, 2021

      Camo

      they’re only an upgrade if you want a more analytical sounding headphone.

  • Reply October 1, 2020

    Jason

    How would it compare with the DT 880 Premium 250 ohm? On DIY Audio Heaven they compare very similarly in the graphs except the 560s showing better bass extension and the DT 880 showing more elevated treble.

    Curious how the two compare in person.

    • Reply October 7, 2020

      Lieven

      Don’t have the DT880 250, sorry

  • Reply October 5, 2020

    Paul B.

    How would you rate the HD 560S against the HD 600? I own a pair of HD 600s and love them but sometimes crave for a bit more “meat” and bass weight without sacrificing the 600s numerous strengths and overall character. Do the HD 560Ss tick those boxes or would you steer me straight towards the HD 650 instead?

    • Reply October 5, 2020

      Lieven

      Actually sounds like you need the HD 660s 🙂

  • Reply October 5, 2020

    Paul B.

    Thanks for the prompt reply. Interesting – I was kind of put off by InnerFidelity’s (RIP) Tyll Hertsens’ less than complimentary review of the HD 600S and, for some reason, I’d got the impression that the 660S is actually leaner than the 600, but in your opinion that’s not the case? Not sure my pockets are deep enough to run to the 600S at this time…

    Cheers
    Paul B.

    • Reply October 7, 2020

      Lieven

      To me the 660s doesn’t sound leaner, no.

  • Reply October 6, 2020

    Adam

    For me this headphone is a bigger deal, than the HD58x Jubilee was at launch.
    It sounds EVEN closer to the HD660s, actually It might infact be EVEN BETTER than the HD 660S. And personally I find my HD560S to have a very deep, and very well defined bass. Sort of like a vibrating thick and deep left-to-right type of bass. Lots of bass in the sub bass region too. These are definitely more neutral than the HD660s which were morr on the bright side (but in a good way ofc), I just find neutral headphones to be overall superior than colored phones’. Highly recommend it. It’s that BIG of a sweet deal yes, for such a little price it rivals the hd58x and hd 660s, and its almost the same price as the hd58x. So definitely a sweet deal. Suggest you all go out and buy it now! You wont get more price-to-performance than this. I own this and the Fidelio X3, and while the X3 are a better sounding ‘Fun’-headphone over all, I think HD560S will give you more natural, neutral enjoyment.

    And while it has no way as much bass as the X3, it more than delivers on the imaging, stereo seperation, low-end, mids, clarity, etc And i still think the HD560S has more bass than any other ‘sennheiser’-headphone on the market now. I’d say the HD560S is like a cross between the HD580 and a HD660S. It doesn’t feel or sound like a 500-series phone. This phone might as well be above the 700 series in drivers alone. And for that price! Wow

  • Reply October 18, 2020

    Shaun Moss

    Great review. Totally through a wrench in what I was thinking to get next. How do you think they would compare to the meze 99 classic? Or the hd6XX? So you think a dragonfly cobalt would be able to drive these from a phone? Thanks again

    • Reply December 2, 2020

      Major Diablo

      Shaun,

      Can’t comment about the Meze or the HD6XX but I’m driving my HD560S with the Cobalt and the match is great. Plenty of power, if that’s your concern.

      I find the soundstage not-so-great, not an improvement respect to my SR80e; apparently the Fidelio X2HR should be better in that field. But I’m happy with the performance overall for $199, just a few hours into them. Hope this helps.

  • Reply January 12, 2021

    Frank

    According to the frequency charts this one could be a contender to the DT 1990 (somewhere between A- and B-Pads minus the 8k peak)? Of course the build quality of the Beyer is way above the HD 560s. But aside from that? Any opinions?

    • Reply May 26, 2021

      Dave

      I have the 560s and 1990pro, the 1990 pro (analytical pads) has way more high extension, less low mids than the 560s. The 560s has more sub low bass (at least, hearable sub bass)
      The 1990 pro sounds more expensive because of the highs extension (and bump at 8k)
      The soundstage is also bigger on the 1990pro. The sennheiser seems to stay more in your head.
      Also the sennheisers seem to have a bump at 2 to 3K to my ears, which can be fatiguing over time. Maybe that’s just my ears…
      I use the 1990pro in conjunction with sonarworks and that makes a huge difference, especially in the low end. Sonarworks don’t have a profile for the 560s yet. I will try that out once the profile is available.

  • Reply June 10, 2021

    Marc

    Aaron: you simply have no clue! I am using the HD 650 since 2010. You need a decent AMP for it – i am using the Lehmann Headphone Amp, and it’s awesome !

  • Reply December 5, 2021

    Camo

    Bagged myself the HD560S with 50% off during Black Friday, listening to them right now off a dongle DAC with ALC5868 chip… sound fairly smooth with good treble extension but not harsh. Defo feel like I could do with more power so I have ordered the FiiO E10K Type-C.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.