Sennheiser HD569 Around Ear Sealed Headphones Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response plots show the HD569 is sensitive to a good seal for bass extension; it's likely these cans actually have better bass extension with a seal on the human head as I heard the bass extension as a little better than measured. On the other hand, treble fluctuations surprisingly modest above 6kHz.

Bass response is a broad hump centered at 60Hz about 7dB above the midrange response where bass hump returns to baseline at about 300Hz. A moderate pad bounce feature can be seen at ~160Hz.

The midrange rise is a little abrupt from 300Hz to 600Hz and then flattens out before a fairly steep rise starting at 1.5kHz. Bottom line here: this curve, while fairly smooth, is also a litte bent out of shape emphasizing the 500Hz-1kHz area and de-emphasizing 1kHz to 3kHz, giving vocal fundamentals and lower overtones a little more emphasis than the higher overtones in the presence region and making vocals a little veiled sounding.

Low treble falls off a too abruptly after the 3kHz peak and adds some loss of sparkle when heard. I have to say, however, I heard these features as less intrusive than I would have expected from measurements.

30Hz square wave has a fairly sway back shape and returns to zero before the end of the waveform, echoing the humped bass response in the raw response curves. Coupled with the rising THD below 150Hz we can see evidence of less than perfect response. I heard it as a bit blurry and lacking resolve, but the perceived bass level was quite pleasant.

300Hz square wave show some significan but clean ringing from the relatively sharp peak at 3kHz, and a gentle upward slope indicating a slightly rolled-off treble response. This ringing can also be seen in the impulse response where it looks a little dirtier due to higher frequency ringing likely from the peak at 10kHz. This kind of narrow band ringing at 3kHz and 10kHz is less intrusive than it might appear as it's occurring at natural frequencies for the concha bowl and ear canal resonances. Nevertheless, it's not as good as a well damped response; I heard it as a bit hazy sounding.

THD+noise is nice and low above 400Hz, but a clear rise in the bass is visible though not terribly excessive. I did hear the bass as slightly confused and blurry, but again, this was mild.

Impedance plots show a nominally 33 Ohm headphone. The primary driver resonance appears to be at about 100Hz. While the impedance and phase curves do move around some, they look generally well behaved.

Isolation at -18dB broadband is about average for a good sealed headphone and quite good for a low cost sealed can.

With 56mVrms needed to achieve 90dBspl at the ear, the HD569 will easily reach solid listening levels for portable devices.

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Martin.'s picture

Nice to see cheaper headphones on the wall. Great that they give the revered M50x a run for their money.

Argyris's picture

I wonder if this headphone could be improved with modding. Specifically, I wonder if something could be done to damp that ringing. Could be a fun project for the modding community.

Also, looking at the graph, the HD 569 appears to come closer to the general response curve of the HD 600 than closed headphones typically do, particularly in this price range. I'm not expecting the same coherence or refinement, of course, but just in terms of overall tonality, how close is the HD 569 to the HD 600?

metal571's picture

It's worth noting that the HD 569 to my knowledge is identical to the HD 598 Cs.

potterpastor's picture

The specs are the same, but the 569 has velour cups and a velour headband, while the 598 closed has a cheaper, less comfortable cushioning, and a tighter fit on the skull.

Also, the 598 cs midrange is not as smooth as the 569, a bit more nasal sounding.

potterpastor's picture

Metal571 was right, hd 569 and 598 cs are the same headphone. The amazon description describes the build for each differently, but they really are the same. I apologize...

I have the 598 cs and the 598 open, and my wife and I like the bass better on the 598 closed. But over all, we think the 598 open has the higher end, more open sound and the one we would most likely choose for movies, youtube, and classical and jazz. We would probably choose the 598 closed for pop music.

Suuup's picture
dustdevil's picture

Did you make those graphs yourself? How did you apply the Harman curve?

Suuup's picture

Yea I did, I wrote a program that let's me do it.

dustdevil's picture

wow that's impressive

Suuup's picture

It is a bot on a Discord server, you're more than welcome to come check it out.

dustdevil's picture

definitely gonna check it out

ADU's picture

With Harman comp

Same disgusting mid bass hump as M50X, same pit in lower treble. A bit less upper mids. Weird 3.5khz spike? No thanks.

Bear in mid that the Harman curve was developed for a G.R.A.S. HATS system, which has a different treble response than the Head Acoustics measurement system used by Inner Fidelity. To the best of my knowledge, the blue curve on this graph is still the most current Harman headphone target...

This target curve (in blue) is based on Harman's 2-knob subjectively preferred in-room loudspeaker curve (or "PIRL" for short), which is not an accurate representation of the steady-state (aka "in-room") response of an anechoically flat speaker imo. The Harman PIRL is the smooth pink curve shown on this graph...

The current Harman headphone target (blue curve on first graph) is Harman's PIRL, plus the dashed green curve on the first graph. The dashed green curve is an in-ear measurement of loudspeakers calibrated to a _flat_ in-room response. And that in-ear measurement was performed with a G.R.A.S. head & torso simulator.

Suuup's picture

The curve I applied is the same one as Tyll applied in his post on the Harman Target Response Curve

I believe he even changed it a bit, elevating 5-20khz?

Anyway, I lifted the compensation from his measurements and applied them to other measurements.

ADU's picture

Thanks for clarifying that.

The modified Harman plot may be closer to neutral than IF's regular Independent of Direction compensated plots. But I'd still take some of the results (esp. in the treble) with a grain of salt, because Tyll's modified curve is also based to some degree on the G.R.A.S. measurements.

Would you be interested in trying some other compensation curves?

Suuup's picture

Sure, I also lifted the DF curve. If you want, join the Discord, and we can have a chat. It's a bit easier than doing it here.

Suuup's picture
ADU's picture

Thanks for the invite. I'll consider it.

I'm still workin on some new target curves for IF's Head Acoustics system (and others). This plot is an average of 20 reasonably good HPs measured with a B&K simulator though, and might be sort of interesting to try...

The headphones in this sampling were generally a bit on the bright side imo. So a "neutral" headphone will probably have a slight downward tilt overall toward the treble, compared to this graph. A little overshoot in the lower bass is probably also ok, for better extension.

There are also some slight discrepancies in the treble between the B&K, and Head Acoustics system (used by IF), which may cause some "waviness" in that region on the compensated plots. This is all I've got though at the moment from my own work.

Plot showing all 20 headphone samples, and resulting curve...

Amplitude range (vert. axis) is 50 dBs on both graphs. Frequency range is the usual 20 Hz to 20 kHz logged.

Suuup's picture

Very interesting stuff. Do you have a list of the 20 headphones? "good" seems like a very subjective score ;-)

ADU's picture

Do you have a list of the 20 headphones?

I do! And it was actually _21_ headphones, rather than 20! : ) (Guess my memory was a little fuzzy.) And both the left and right channels were used, which makes a total of 42 samples all together.

These are the headphones in the sampling: AKG K812, Audeze LCD-3, Audeze LCD-X, AudioTechnica M50X, Beats Solo2, Beyerdynamic DT-880, Beyerdynamic T1, Bowers & Wilkins P7, Denon D5000, Focal Spirit Professional, Grado SR-325i, HiFiMan HE-500, KEF M500, Philips Fidelio F1, Philips Fidelio X1, Philips Fidelio X2, Sennheiser PX100-II, Sennheiser HD-800, Shure SRH-1540, Sony MDR-MA900, and Sony MDR-Z7.

Tha raw B&K measurement data came from the Korean Golden Ears website. When I made the above graphs, GE did not have plots for some of the more popular Wall-of-Famers here, like the Oppos, NAD HP50, or Senn HD600. So I had to make due with the best I could find in their database.

I tried to strike a good balance between brighter, and bassier HPs. Imo though, the graph favors the brighter audiophile cans a little, because there were simply more of those to choose from.

Suuup's picture

Interesting. What do you want to use this curve for exactly?

ADU's picture what I was thinkin.

You could try using the average curve to compensate Tyll's raw frequency response data, in place of his modified Harman curve.

I think I may have some better curves for this purpose in the near future though.

Suuup's picture

Sadly I only have Tyll's compensated data. But now that you mention it, I should lift his raw data. Hmmmm...

Tyll hasn't given me any data, I extracted the pixels from all of his graphs and converted that into my own data, so I'm able to redraw it.

Yes, you can use it as a compensation, but what would the goal of the compensation be?

ADU's picture

Sadly I only have Tyll's compensated data. But now that you mention it, I should lift his raw data. Hmmmm...

I have a better idea, that won't require the use of the raw FR info.

I can create a different correction curve that can be applied _directly_ to the compensated plots, which will undo the existing Independent of Direction compensation, and apply a new compensation function (based on the 21-headphone curve, or whatever other curve I like) in a single step.

The new correction curve will be a little "messier" than the Harman target though, or the average headphone curve I posted above, because the IoD HRTF is a bit messy....

...And an equally messy curve will be needed to undo it. I think this would be easier than trying to work with the raw graphs though.

I'll also have to perform some tests of my own to make sure the new "de-compensation/re-compensation" curve works correctly. And all of the above could take some time.

ADU's picture

what would the goal of the compensation be?

It would simply compare the headphone's frequency response to the average response of a variety of other reasonably good headphones. Nothing more, nothing less.

How were you able to create the Harman plot of the Senn HD569, btw, if you don't already know how to use Tyll's raw plots, or how to de-compensate his compensated plots?

Suuup's picture

I simply compared Tyll's ID compensated plots to his harman compensated plots. From that I derived the compensation.

Yes, it would compare it to the average frequency, but what can you use that information for? I don't understand. Harman is preference target curve, so there's some meaning to it.

ADU's picture

Bear in mid...

I meant "bear in _mind_" rather than "bear in _mid_" in my first post above btw. No edit button. : (

amartignano's picture

Hi Tyll, can you please tell the differences (timbrically) between the hd569 and my (beloved) hd599 and Sony Mdr1r. I have also the HD 600, 700 and 800, but I still love the sound of the cheaper siblings and the sound of the Mdr1r for closed applications. I wonder if the Hd569 can improve my "closed" listenings towards a more "openish" sound.

Three Toes of Fury's picture

Thanks Tyll for the great review and heads up...these cans were off my radar.

Sennheiser continues to impress across the spectrum from low cost to high cost, from in ear to on ear to over ear, from open to closed. The one challenge is that they have SO many offerings that its difficult to figure out which are the cream o the crop. That being said, i think they have way more HITS than MISSES and i never regret grabbing a pair of them for music, movies, or spoken word.

Peace .n. Living in Stereo

Three Toes of Fury

brause's picture

What is the difference between the 559, 569, 579, and 599. And why is there no 589? Sennheiser confuse the customer.

ADU's picture

I'm gonna try to stick it out with AKGs awhile longer (even though the earpads are now completely thrashed, and have to be replaced). But reviews of other HPs in this price range are _very_ welcome and helpful. So keep em comin dude!

molank's picture

598cs: Leather headband with weaker cushioning integrated which will eventually wore off with the entire part.
569: Flexible plastic headband with softer cushioning attached which will be replaceable.
In addition, HD5 series weigh almost 280g, so the cushioning is essential in my opinion. The sound is well-balanced with a little forward mid making the vocal sounds in your face. The bass is only there, so this is definitely not for the bass heads. I really am loving this headphone over m50x, dt770pro, srh840, mdr1a, and qc25. The sound quality is of course not perfect, but it's ridiculously comfortable even for the big head listener with the glasses like me. Thank you for the review and measurement!!

molank's picture

By the way, better look elsewhere if you want something for outdoor uses. It's not foldable and there's no carrying pouch or anything in the box.

Junki's picture

I'd love to see you do a measurement/review of the RBH HP-2. They're beryllium dynamic closed back cans from an American company with no apparently marketing budget whatsoever. They sound great, MSRP $250, but are on sale on their website for $139.

amartignano's picture

In the end I've purchased the Hd569, and it's really a great headphones. I think it's timbrically better than the Hd599. A really great achievement for a cheap closed headphone. Very good soundstage too! Thanks Tyll for bringing this headphone to our attention.

amartignano's picture

IMHO there's another outsider in the 5xx line. The HD579 sounds to me better than the Hd599, and very good overall. 130 euro now in Europe, a bargain. (Hd800S owner)

crazywipe2's picture

In Europe is cheaper than m50x. That is a very good deal. Order placed!
I have also the m50x but I prefer the Sennheiser hd25 overall.
The review does not sound too enthusiastic, anyway, it makes the Wall Of Fame, LOL.

crazywipe2's picture

I can hear the slightly muffled vocals, It's apparent compared to hd600 and hd25.
Also for the small soundstage depth, I think the backward angled drivers push it a bit back.
This can sound very very good for the price. I want to see if things change a bit with burn-in.

donunus's picture

Are replacement pads available for these? I've noticed 598 pads available but since these use a memory foam inside, I am concerned that it may impact sound quality if I use those pads.