It might be a bit hard to discern from the press release, but it sounds like Sennheiser’s latest addition to the HD 600 series of headphones has more bass than some of its predecessors. The Sennheiser HD660S2 (the names are getting longer) shouts its launch fanfare as “emotive bass and powerful range”. Perhaps they are just going for a deeper reach on the low end, but further down in the copy the signature is quoted as “dramatic listen with greater intensity from enhanced sub-bass tuning”.
Intensity might imply just more bass, but only time will tell – along with reviews and the slow churn of social media and forum commentary. What isn’t still up for interpretation is the price, $599.95 US dollars. That puts the cost as what is presumably the flagship status of the mid range 600 series, with the classic HD650 priced at a whopping $550 as of this posting. Curious thing for me however, is that as a long time HD650 owner, I never found the classic mid-fi king as lacking in bass, but we will see how things got done with this latest round. Some of my favorite headphones in this range don’t exactly exude the most linear responses, but there are many flavors of ice cream out there, and I hard listen to all music with only one headphone.
The HD 660S2 headphones are a revised version of the popular HD 660S, aimed at audiophiles seeking a wholly unique experience from the HD650 or HD600. The headphones boast a “trademark vocal presence” that according to the press release makes every instrument sound more unique in the stereo field. The manufacturer also claims that the improvements in transducer airflow and voice coil provide a more nuanced low-frequency sound, with deeper and clearer bass, along with a smoother and warmer overall sound than the original HD 660S.
The headphones have a 300 ohm impedance, same as the HD650 and HD600, and come with two detachable cables and a 6.3 mm to 3.5 mm adapter.
Impedance, measured in ohms, is an important factor for audiophiles to consider when selecting headphones. A lower impedance (e.g. 32 ohms) generally means that the headphones are easier to drive, requiring less power from the amplifier to produce the same volume as a headphone with a higher impedance (e.g. 600 ohms). On the other hand, some might argue that higher impedance headphones generally have a more stable and linear frequency response, and are often paired by audiophiles for better performance with high-quality amplifiers – the headphones essentially require it.
With a 300 ohm impedance, the headphones are relatively easy to drive, yet still benefit from the improved performance that comes with higher impedance headphones when used with a good amplifier. Sennheiser claims that this results in “punchy dynamics” and low distortion. However, as with any audio product, the actual performance will depend on various factors, including the quality of the source and amplifier, as well as the individual preferences of the listener. My experience with the brand is that for most applications, they do know their way around a transducer, and have greatly contributed to the personal audio space with the HD800/650/600.
The Sennheiser HD660S2 is available for pre order starting today, with an on-sale date of February 21.
More info: Sennheiser HD660S2