True audiophile headphones often cost upwards of $300 / £300 / AU$400, but the latest cans from Sennheiser are said to deliver all the specs you'd want from a pair of analytical over-ear headphones, without the extortionate price.
Costing $199.95 / £169 (about AU$280), the Sennheiser HD 560S offer a "natural and accurate reference sound that divulges every detail, complemented by an outstanding low-frequency extension", making them ideal for use during long analytical listening sessions.
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According to Sennheiser, the HD 560S’ transducers are "specifically tuned for accuracy, offering dependable A/B comparisons of mixes, sources, and media formats" – without imparting any of the headphones' own character on your music.
With an open-back design, Sennheiser says that its latest headphones "facilitate a natural expansion of sound waves" for a "wide, articulate soundstage" – which sounds great for listening alone, but be aware that lots of sound will likely leak from these cans, making them unsuitable for use while commuting or in the office (lest you inspire the disdain of your colleagues).
The HD 560S boast a large frequency range of 6Hz - 38kHz (most headphones offer something in the range of 20Hz - 20kHz), which the company says allows for a "smooth low-frequency extension" and means the headphones can "accurately reproduce the complex bass sounds found in modern music".
A sensitivity of 110dB/1V also means that these cans offer and "expressive dynamic range and clarity", says Sennheiser.
You should be able to use the Sennheiser HD 560S with virtually any playback source, thanks to a 120 ohm impedance – in other words, your powerful amplifier shouldn't cause these headphones to 'blow out', though they will require more power than most to drive them.
You won't find any wireless connectivity on board as seen in the Sony WH-1000XM4 – though that's not necessarily a bad thing, as many audiophiles still prefer to use wired connections to avoid compression of their audio over a Bluetooth connection.
Instead, you'll get a detachable 3-meter cable, a 6.3mm jack, and a 3.5mm adapter with a 150mm lead. There's no option for a balanced connection, though, which is common with audiophile headphones, and is said to reduce distortion and avoid crosstalk between the left and right channels. Saying that, the lack of balanced connection could be one of the ways that Sennheiser has kept the price of the HD 560S relatively low.
As Sennheiser has designed the HD 560S for extensive listening sessions, some care has been taken over making the design as comfortable as possible. According to the audio brand, the headphones use "an ultra-light chassis", while the "ventilated cup remains cool without touching the wearing ears".
The earpads are also made from luxurious velour, which should feel soft and comfy during even the longest listening sessions.