Wholesale site Drop has taken to partnering with audio companies to offer products at a discount, but are they any good? The site has partnered with Sennheiser to release two dramatically-cheaper options in both the Drop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee, and now the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX. Based off of the former consumer flagship and Sennheiser HD 650, the HD 6XX has enormous shoes to fill. Interestingly enough, there’s really not much difference anyone will notice between the two—the HD 6XX is the best deal currently for audiophile headphones.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on May 14, 2021 to add in new data collected on our latest setup, and to add more clarification to the sound quality section.
Who are the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX for?
Audiophiles on a budget, or Sennheiser fans looking for that high-end fix at less than half of sticker price will love the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX. While it won’t look the same, the matte black plastic and metal casing looks better in my opinion. Additionally, the headphones come with all of the perks of the famed Sennheiser HD 650, so what’s not to love?
What’s it like to use the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX?
For anyone looking to get into the world of high-end audio, the Sennheiser HD 6XX is an excellent entry point. Not only is it more affordable than the legendary Sennheiser HD 650 that it’s based off of, it also provides an incredibly similar performance as well.
If you’re making the jump from more portable headphones, you need to know that open-backed headphones like the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX present with some foibles that you might not be ready for. For example: they do not offer any isolation from your surroundings, and you will find that outside noise will be incredibly annoying through no fault of the headphones. Because of that, you are insane if you take these out on a commute with you. Not only are you sacrificing audio quality, but you’ll have to crank the volume up to unsafe listening levels in order to hear your music above the outside world.
The natural habitat of the Sennheiser HD 6XX is by a computer, or plugged into a home theater setup. There are several reasons for this which I’ll get into in a moment, but for now you should assume that this is where you’re going to use these headphones if you buy them. This is perfectly fine for music lovers who want to rock out at home, and it’s a great place for these cans. If you’re wondering whether these are for you, keep in mind that the selling point of the Sennheiser HD 6XX is the audio quality and almost nothing else. There’s no microphone for calls, there’s no extra features, or anything like that. It’s a purely performance-centric device.
Because the Sennheiser HD 6XX is only about 200g (under 10oz.), the large ear cups with velour ear pads do a great job. Not only do they secure the headphones to your skull well, but they also don’t put too much pressure on your head either. The ear cups themselves are so large that they most likely will never touch your outer ears, or force them into an unnatural position.
This, combined with the open backs mean that you can listen to these headphones for hours on end with only minimal heat buildup or discomfort. Additionally, those who wear glasses will appreciate the velour pad covering, as it doesn’t bind or catch on the arms of your specs.
What does the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX use for connection?
Like most audiophile headphones, the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX uses a good ol’ TRS 3.5mm headphone connector. This cable, in turn, plugs into each earcup at the bottom with a removable two-pin connector. On the off chance you somehow damage your cable, don’t worry: you can just grab a new one online (though that one has a 6.3mm connection—you’ll need a cheap adapter). Or if you don’t have time for that, you could always repair it yourself.
Can you use the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX with a phone?
This is a good time to point out that you may want to use a DAC and amplifier for this set of headphones, as it takes a little bit more power than you might be used to needing. Not every phone can get it to a good loudness, for example. On paper, only the LG G8, LG V30, V35, V40, V50 can satisfy the power requirements of these headphones. The Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX are much better suited for the computer.
Do you need an amp for the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX?
To expand upon this, the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX has a resistance rating of 300Ω and a sensitivity of 103dB/1Vrms. That’s a pretty significant amount of power needed to reach higher volumes, so you want to leave these by the computer. If you find that your preferred source can’t get the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX to a good listening volume, you’ll want to pick up an amp.
How does the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX sound?
I’m going to have a hard time giving this model up when the review is over, because they’re one of many pairs of headphones that are truly exceptional. A lot of that owes to the fact that they’re pretty much the same headphones as another audiophile darling, just… $200 instead of $499. There aren’t any channel balance errors, no appreciable distortion, and the sound is very neutral. I personally prefer accuracy over bassiness, so these headphones are a good fit for my life at home.
Like many audiophile headphones, they target what’s generally accepted as a “studio” response where the headphones don’t add many “colorations” or swings in emphasis for the notes in your music. The main advantage of this is that you can hear a song exactly how it was intended to be heard, without any extra layer of change to the signal. Additionally, songs will appear a lot “clearer” than you might be used to because there aren’t any ranges of notes that mask out others.
This type of response really excels with music recorded before the loudness wars. Many of these tracks are a bit tough to hear because they were recorded with quality over loudness as a concern, so they can often sound a little crappy on consumer headphones compared to how they should sound.
You may be used to extreme bass over-emphasis in your headphones, so they may sound a little like they don’t have any bass at first. Your ears will get used to it, and in the long run you’ll enjoy these headphones more. Sure, our target rewards a little low end, but for those that know they want a more accurate set of headphones, these are an excellent pickup.
Can I listen to these headphones outside my house?
I wouldn’t. Because the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX has open backed earcups, outside noise will absolutely wreck your listening experience. While open-backed headphones like the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX have certain advantages, they also have a major weakness when it comes to dealing with outside noise. That same phenomenon of auditory masking linked above will prevent certain notes from being heard if there’s anything going on around you.
While open-backed headphones like the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX have certain advantages, they also have a major weakness when it comes to dealing with outside noise.
Because of that, you’ll notice a drop in sound quality when your kids, roommates, or neighbors start banging around. It’s really annoying on the best of days, and actively disruptive on the worst. If you live in a quiet area you have nothing to worry about, but it’s something to consider.
Should you buy the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX?
If you’re looking for a set of cans to stick by the computer, you’ll have to look long and hard for a better deal than this. Sure, $200 is a lot of money to spend on headphones, but in the world of high-end audio, the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX is an absolute steal.
Of course, they’re not the right headphones for everyone, and that’s okay. If you are a commuter looking for better headphones for the train or bus, these are a terrible choice. But if you want nothing but the best audio quality for your money at home, the Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX makes a great case for your money.