Sennheiser HD530

The HD530 (here, Ref1 300 ohm) was part of Sennheiser’s over-ear line in the late 80s, when the HD540 Reference and later HD560 Ovation were the flagships. The HD530 / HD530 II were the middle-range models, while the HD250 Linear I and II were the closed-back variants.

The HD530 is cheaply built, but it’s very light and extremely comfortable. The variant I have is not super hard to drive, but with 94 dB/mW, it still requires some power to reach listening levels.

○ Release : 1988
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 258g
○ Impedance : 300 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : 94 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $50-70

Sound Impression
The HD530 is slightly mid-centric and thin sounding, but the timbre is quite good. I tried it with 3 different pairs of pads : stock pads (worn out), Chinese pleather pads and Brainwavz Angled Pleather. I didn’t like the sound with the Brainwavz pads. Stock pads make the sound too lean, while the Chinese models seemed to have the best balance, adding body and reducing some upper-mids shoutiness.

How do they sound ? Imagine a Sennheiser HD600, with 5dB less body below 200hz, and you’re pretty close.  Treble doesn’t seem too annoying and has decent extension past 10khz (still, I find the HD600 better performing here). Midrange has good tone, but lacks some low-mids and the upper-mids are a bit too strong – especially with worn out stock pads, I imagine the stiffness of new pads would help.

The main issue I have (with stock pads) is the total lack of body and bass. There is no bass impact to speak of. As a result they sound very thin, and the mids/low-treble can become shrill if we turn up the volume to much to compensate the leanness. Staging is pretty good – more open and wider than HD580-600-650. Technicalities wise, it’s impressive for a mid-range headphone from the 80s.

Measurements & Resources

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