Is Sennheiser 600/650 an overkill ?


I am looking for a good headphone for my cube at work. It will be used to listen MP3 from my computers, which fairly new ones with P4 and Intel sound cards that come with the computer. Currently I am using a 'free' headphone that comes with a cheapo MP3 player, which sounds not too bad to me.

On Audiogon, a used Sennheiser 600 goes around $200 and 650 $380, which are not expensive at all to me. But my quesiton is are they too much for my application? If they are, what other models would you recommend?


from Bay Area,
My advise is the Sennheiser HD-497, it should be a good match for your computer. The HD-600 & HD-650 would be an excellent match for an amp that can drive them (300 omhs),
the HD-497 impendance is just 32 ohm and it comes with the
1/8 connector. I am pretty sure that your computer headphone amp won't be able to drive any headphone with an impendance above 50 ohms. In my opinnion the HD-497 would be your best choise for use at work. They are open air design so you will be able to hear if someone calls you.
The in ear type headphones are very good at isolating you from the rest of the world, they may not be a good idea at work. Hope this helps, Hector.
Hepl makes sense. However, if money is not object then look at the headphone amps for sale and combine one with a Senn 600 or 650 for ultimate resolution.
If you want ultimate resolution you wouldn't be listening to MP3s. I'd go with Hepl's advice. The 600 / amp combo will just reveal flaws in the source. There are also good models from Grado, Beyer, etc.
You might also consider a closed back (sealed) headphone, to close out background noise, and so that your music is not audible to others. I use the Sennheiser HD-280 pros, and I really like them. A step up from these is the Beyer DT-831 (I think that's the model).
Thanks everyone!

The headphone will be used in my cube at work with computers/MP3 ONLY, so an Amplifier is not an option unfortunately.

Seandtaylor99: -- I didn't know 600/650's open design will make the sound audible to others! That is definitely not suitable for cubicals. I don't see many Sennheiser Pro or Beyer headphones here on Audiogon though. Are they good with computers?

You can find them at HeadRoom, I would suggest you also consider the AKG 271s. They are nice and will block noise well, too well at times if you need to hear ringing phones and such. They're pretty inexpensive or if you want used go to, lot's of used headphones in the for sale forum. BTW - Just because you're using a computer doesn't mean that you can't use an amplifier, take a look at the HeadRoom BitHead.
Thanks all of ya!

I just placed an order of new Sennheiser HD280 Pro on Yahoo for $84. This is like pocket change comparing to my other audio gears! If this doesn't work out I can try another one without breaking the bank. I'd love to try HD650 but too bad it is not suitable for cubicals :-(

BTW, how can I hook up an headphone Amp to my computer (Compaq laptop)which only has headphone jacket output ????????

As stated above the Senn 600/650 are great headphones but require external amp because of 300 ohm rating. Headphones that are run directly from portable CDP/MP3/Computer need to be very efficent 30-60 ohm range, any Grado headphone would work also ideally get used 225 or 325 models.

To substantly upgrade sound for any headphone you need external amp to boost signal from portable CDP/MP3/computer, also need mini/dual RCA cable to connect headphone amp, ideally device has "line out" mini to directly connect headphone amp (eliminates cheap volume control of MP3 player)

Popular headphone amps for @$300 widely available include Creek, Musical Fidelity, Grado, Headroom. Go here to look at some headphone gear and explore options:

Also to read top headphone discussion forum check out Head-Fi:
The 580/600/650 will be to hard for your computer to drive without an amp. I would recommend you check out anything the the Grado line starting from the SR-60's and up. The higher up the line you go the better they get.

I have the SR-225's and like thm very much. They are easy enought to drive that my ipod can handle them. You can also ge the grado 1/4 to 1/8 adapter its a few buck more than other adapter but I like the design (does not put added pressure on the 1/8 headphone plug) and is well built.

My Grado headphone take an enormous amout of time to break in. At least 300 hours but once they do they are worht it. My advice though is to stay away from the SR-325's, so say that they a little fatiging afterawhile.

You can read more about them at
Probably not. I currently have two sets (1 for home, 1 for work) of the 580s - 1 was bought here for $125 and the other I got off Audio Annex for $85!!! They sound fantastic, are easy enough to drive with your PC, and do not seem to bother anyone else her in the cube farm.

I imagine the 600s or 650s would do as well or better...

I don't know of anyone who was disappointed when they bought something because it was too good. I know of lots of people that wish they would have popped for the better product. Maybe down the road you can upgrade other things to be more in line with the 600/650s.
The Sennheiser 280s are available from for $100. IMHO anything better than these and you'll be listening to the inadequacies of MP3. Even with these $100 headphones you can clearly hear the difference between MP3s and CDs. I wouldn't spend more if I were you ... or get two pairs 280pros for work and used 580/600s for home.

BTW the 280 pros are very efficient ... you will not need an amplifier. A battery powered portable will drive them very loud.
600s for $200. Just get 'em! Their comfort level is worth it, even though your source isn't.
I don't know about others but I can only enjoy open backed headphones in a quiet environment. 600s and 580s don't sound so great when they're competing with a discussion in the cube next door. It was for that reason I suggested closed cans. Also having a reasonable pair of closed cans is perfect if you want to watch a DVD or listen to music at home without disturbing others, and without being disturbed. I only ever use open back cans when I'm in a quiet room, and where I'm not going to annoy anyone else with my second-hand music.

Hope you like the 280s Abe.
I've got the 600's running from a Musical Fidelity X-can and I only wish I paid a measly 200$ for them. They're great. On vinyl I like them better than my Revel studios. There's also a Cardas wire upgrade for the 600's. Anyone heard this?
I would reccommend the 600s to anyone interested in excellent headphones.They have serve me well for several years now. However, in my experience, they are very revealing of source and source material, and therefore not the ideal gear for every format. I think in your case they might be overkill, not only for your player but your music as well. You may have been wise to have gone with something a little more forgiving. However, if you also have a system at home either the 600s or 650 are an excellent upgrade, especially at the prices you can find them here.