Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Sennheiser HD-558

Sennheiser HD-558

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #32 in Over-Ear

Sponsored

Get the latest news and updates at the Sennheiser sponsor page.

Posted

Pros: Forward, engaging mids. Overall euphonic, non-fatiguing, super comfortable, etc.

Cons: Lacking deep bass extension

At the time of this writing, these headphones cost less than $130 on Amazon.  At that price point, they are an incredible value.  For some reason, these headphones seem to be damned with faint praise in many reviews on the web.  I think some of the professional headphone reviewers are afraid to give top marks to inexpensive headphones, so they use terms like "more refined" for the more expensive ones.  I enjoyed listening to the HD558 more than my $400 HD600 (yes even with a good DAC/AMP), so I sold the HD600 and continue to enjoy the HD558.  If that makes me unrefined, so be it!

What the 558 offer:
-Beautiful, natural, relatively neutral sound overall
-Forward, engaging mids (what I like best about these)
-Non-fatiguing highs
-Rich bass with good bass impact but not exagerrated bass (look elsewhere for "bass monsters")
-Wide soundstage
-One-sided, replaceable cable (my favorite type)
-Good looks (my second favorite looking current-production Sennheisers after the HD650)
-Easy to drive (50 ohm impedance means you can drive these easily with iPod, phone, etc)
-Supremely comfortable on my fat head

What they don't offer (and neither did the HD600):
-Great sub-bass extension

Other points to consider
-As an open design, these do not offer noise blocking or prevent leakage (this is not a con, per se)
-They come with a 10ft (really long) straight cord terminating in a 6.35 mm stereo plug. The 3.5mm adapter is a bit unwieldy for use with phones, etc. However, Sennheiser offers a separately sold inexpensive 4.5ft replacement cable with a 3.5mm termination, perfect for such uses

If you are not using a dedicated amp and are looking to plug headphones directly into your phone/MP3 player/laptop/computer, don't need closed headphones to keep sound out/in, then IMO these are the best Sennheisers available and one of the best choices of any brand at any price point.  Of course they sound even better with a dedicated amp.  I'm primarily using them with a Schiit Modi DAC and Asgard 2 amp, and they sound fantastic.

 

The only limitation I find is that the bass extension is not adequate for 2% of my rap and electronic music.  Eg, ODB's "Harlem World" or MF Doom's "Hey".  Otherwise they sound fantastic with all genres (including rock, jazz, pop, and 98% of my rap/electronic).

Posted

Pros: Comfort, style, and sound are 2nd to none in its price range.

Cons: 3.5mm connector too large to fit some portables. Cable replacement is hard to find. Price continues to go up with demand, specially outside the US.

 

I have only owned this for a couple months, but it did not take long to see why these are highly regarded. They quickly became my favorite all-rounder headphone for home use. I also own the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II, and Grado SR60i, I will make some comparisons to these also. Although sound quality is important, I will take a more balanced look at how practical these are to use on a daily basis.

 

Comfort/Design

 

I consider the comfort and design of a headphone to be just as important as sound quality, because this is what will ultimately determine whether I will find it practical to use on a daily basis, and whether it will last for many years to come.

 

The HD 558 is hands down the most comfortable headphone I have ever worn. The open design, the Velour headband and ear pads, the light weight construction, the perfect clasping force, and the roomy size inside for the ears all work in harmony to create what many consider to be one of the worlds most comfortable headphones, in any price range. I can wear them all day long (even with my glasses on), with no hint of discomfort, no heat or sweat issues. Grado SR60i's being on ear style do get slightly uncomfortable with glasses on over extended periods. This is a non issue with the HD 558. In terms of style, these look fantastic on your desk, or on your head. The fusion of comfort and style is truly a feat of engineering on Sennheisers part.

 

Some have concerns about the plastic construction, and what affect it will have on durability. Although I have only owned them for a couple months, I have no doubt they will last many years. The Sennheiser HD 25-1 II has legendary durability, and is completely plastic also. The look and feel of the plastic is top notch. There were reports of cracking on earlier models, but this has been addressed with newer models. Sennheiser has been great in honoring their 2 year warranty from what I have read of those affected. Heck, you have 2 years to “break” them in ;).

 

The only real conn in terms of design for me is the cable. The 3.5mm connector is huge, and wont fit many portables, specially ones with protective cases. And even if your lucky to have it fit, it will stick out by nearly 4inches, more than doubling the size of most portables, making them not so portable anymore. On my desktop, I use Logitech Z-2300 2.1 speakers, which have a 3.5mm input on the remote control that I used to use for my other headphones, but this connector is too big to fit, really annoying.

 

The length of the cable at 3m is over double what most people need. The fact it's replaceable is nice, however, I can't seem to find any of these cables to buy. The headphone connector is 2.5mm, but its a really narrow shaft, and most 2.5mm cables I found are too fat to fit. Plus, theres that nifty locking mechanism that only the official Sennheiser cables have. My only option seems to be to cut this one down and re-terminate it myself, or find a pro to do it for me.

 

Sound

 

The sound stage on these is similar to the Grado SR60i, that is to say, its fantastic. Yes, it will occasionally have your head turning to locate that “noise” behind you, on tracks you heard hundreds of times already. The HD 558 does this all with slightly better separation on more complicated compositions, especially in the mid range. In comparison to the SR60i, the highs are more subdued, which I consider an improvement. SR60i's are great, but the highs are a little overdone in my opinion.

 

The area where the HD 558 really takes the cake is the mids. The mids are in your face, right where you want them. They are far superior to any headphone I have in this regard. The only real conn in terms of sound, for some, will be the bass response. It is a noticeable step up from the SR60i. It keeps up well, you hear it all, but not with that satisfying punch or rumble that you would get with a closed or more expensive ($400+) open headphone.

 

The nice thing about these is your average source or portable will be able to to run them with no problem. It seems when you break the $250 price range your going to need to double your budget to get a decent source to enjoy their full potential. Not the case with the HD 558. As with most higher end headphones, these can shine even more when connected to high end amplification, but it is by no means required.

 

Verdict

 

If your looking for a great all-rounder for the home under $200, these are hard to beat. At home people tend to leave headphones on for extended periods, and you will have a hard time finding something more comfortable or better sounding in this price range. The only way I can't recommend these, is if your a complete bass head, in which case, your alternatives in this price range will be destroyed in every other area besides bass, and will leave you in a puddle of sweat within the hour. And if your looking for something portable, you should not be looking for an open headphone, specially a full size one. My HD 25-1 II is my portable headphone of choice, and the HD 558 has become my home all-rounder of choice. Between these two, I have a quality headphone for any application, at home, or on the go. Viva la Sennheiser!

Posted

Pros: Mostly neutral tonality, quality timber meets or exceeds expectations for the price, good presence across the spectrum, great all-rounders

Cons: Sennheiser veil, bass can bleed a little and doesn't go all the way down, mids not always as forward as I would like ideally

My chain: Lossless -> Foobar 2k -> HifimeDIY Sabre DAC -> E11

 

The HD558 are doing it for me right now. I was not blown away, but they really don't do anything wrong. The bass is not boomy but does bleed a tad, not ideal for classical but it's not hugely problematic.

 

The mids are nice. Never overly resonant, just enough bite to give realism but not intrusive. Imaging is very nice, but transients are a little weak.

 

Having started my hifi game at IEMs and gone far enough to see the kind of soundstage they are capable of (TF10, SM3), and opting for my first real can to be closed yet with a good stage (DT770), I feel like I can really discern the elements of sound presentation that are unique to open headphones, and they are well-present in the 558s. The sound is not necessarily much "bigger" than my DT770 in terms of the size of the stage or how far away certain sounds are; the DT770 actually wins out on this in some cases, especially with certain types of electronic music (psytrance in particular). However the benefit of the open sound is literally the dimensionality of the sound: the individual "sounds" themselves actually have distinct dimensionality and spacial presence of their own, rather than simply being placed at relative distances to each other. It improves the actual realism of the sound and makes it sound more speaker-like or even "live" sounding. 

 

Timbre and decay are both superior to any phones I have owned; the warmth is obvious, and I can hear the "Sennheiser veil," but it doesn't really interfere with detail or realism when you listen closely. It is more noticeable with some music than others; it makes violins and pianos sound a bit veiled, meaning these are not the BEST cans for classical, but they are VERY far from the worst; again better than anything else I own.

 

These guys really show their strengths with music that combines synthesized and analog sounds, like Lindsey Sterling and Massive Attack. They give a very pleasant fullness to instruments and never let synthesized bass drown out real instruments, isolating everything neatly without giving that slightly artificial separation that some multi-BA earphones can showcase.

 

I will say that I personally I wish I had thrown in the extra $80 and gone with the HD598; I would like a little more upper midrange presence out of these guys, and the bass could be tighter. However that doesn't detract from the fact that these are definitely quality cans, they make a great compliment to my DT770 for when I want a more laid-back listen. Overall the sound is laid back yet involving, almost seductive; it doesn't have tons of punch in the bass, so some electronic like Justice or other dubsteppy-like stuff is underwhelming (my DT770s are better suited there) but more intricate, atmospheric stuff like psychill, Lindsey Sterling, later Simon Posford stuff (Shpongle, Younger Brother) is very involving. Even deeper house like Deadmau5 and Jackbeats is good. It can't quite keep up with some of the faster, super-intricate Shpongle tracks (I found the album Nothing Lasts...but Nothing is Lost more problematic than the rest), but then the only thing I've yet heard that can is the SM3, which handled anything I ever threw at it.

 

Overall I am happy with my purchase, these make a great compliment to my LEs; now to complete my mid-fi conquest I am going after something fast and aggressive with tight, extended bass, maybe a Grado? Perhaps HD25-i-II...any recommendations? ^_^

Posted

Pros: Everything

Cons: none

So I bought these hd 558's and I cant be happier, they rock and are a amazing headphone in all ways especially for the price!

Music like Frank sinatra and the ink spots sound awesome on these! The bass is absolutely perfect for this kind of music and the bass reminds me of a old console stereo with 12-15 inch drivers.

They are clear and precise as well, all vocal music sounds amazing but so does rock and dubstep/bass type music.

I would highly recommend these phones 

You do NEED a high quality source! I want to build a tube pre-amp or something for these to make the sound even more warm.

Posted

Great sound quality and value! The sections in the ear piece can touch your ears if they are large and they are made entirely our of plastic, but overall they are extremely good headphones!

Posted

Pros: Good soundstage, delivery and open sound

Cons: Only can be used at home

Sennheiser has recently refreshed its audiophile range of with the HD518, 558 & 598 and the fabulous HD600 is almost out leaving just the HD650. This review takes a look at the mid-tier Sennheiser HD 558, which actually turned out to be the best value headphone in the current line-up.

Sennheiser HD558

The Sennheiser HD558 maintains the classic headphone look with good styling. I specially mention the “classic headphone” look because with the HD 598 Sennheiser has tried a new look/color which seems to have many complaining. Personally, the HD598 is a refreshing redesign and I have no complaints. Incase you are not the consumer who goes for the European sports car look (of the HD598) then its just one more reason to pickup the HD558. The new audiophile line also sports detachable cables, a welcome feature – as more often than not the cables are more susceptible to usage.The clean curves and bold looks and reasonably good plastic housing makes it worth the price. You can always look up the feature list on on the HD 558 product page, so let’s get on with things that matter more… (in my opinion).

The classic comfort that one expects from Sennheiser headphones is prominent the HD 558 and one feels it the moment the phones go on the head. The most obvious characteristic that you’ll notice with the 558 is the large soundstage and airy presentation (within this price category). Ofcourse one expects such a presentation from open-headphones in general, however I think that the 558s provide a good dimensional presentation for an entry-level audiophile headphone. I haven’t heard the Grados and Audio Technicas so I can’t compare them but I have heard the Sennheiser HD600 and AKG K550 and know a good presentation when I hear one! I tried out the 558s on both a Matrix Mstage followed by a Burson HA160 and the headphones stepped up their act with better resolution and dynamics.

Sounds like…

The highs were initially a bit shiny for my tastes but with time they did settle down. In general the highs are crisp and clean (probably my Cambridge DAC Magic rubbed off some of its upper end shine).The mids are lovely and smooth, right there along with both highs and lows. If you enjoy jazz and vocals you’ll appreciate the tone of the mids greatly. It definitely stands up in comparison to my previous Sennheiser HD448 (and it should considering the price difference, and it definitely would be the recommended upgrade from the 448s). Bass is in sufficient quantity for non-bass heads, though it does get slightly boomy when extending further down, all-in-all quite good for the price and I did notice slight betterment with burn-in (I recommend atleast 50 hrs of burn-in). I have been recently listening to a HiFiman HE500 and a Sennheiser HD650, so its very much likely that I have been “spoiled” with regard to the quality of bass that I expect ;-). That said, I would definitely rate the treble performance of the 558’s higher than its bass.The HD558 retains most of the laid-back style house sound of Sennheiser which goes very well with a lot of listeners but if you are a serious rock and electronica nut these may not provide that pace or “zing” that adds a great feeling to such tracks. Though I cannot exactly pin down the flavor in the HD558, I see it as a more “popular” deviation from the previous HD6xx line. The HD558 is not as laid back as the previous generation of Senns, and I don’t see that as a disadvantage – it probably reflects the fact that Sennheiser is updating it’s house style with a bit of popular music listening styles. Overall the HD558 can be described as a very pleasant and slightly colored listening experience. The coloring keeps the 558 from getting cold and yet not too warm. This nature keeps the HD558 suitable for most music genres though hip-hop listeners may notice the lack of strong bass.

Sennheiser mentions that the 558 plays well with most mp3 players and portable media players owing to its higher sensitivity. I found this to be the case as the everything from my iPod Classic, iPhone to the Sandisk Clip could drive the 558 easily to loud volumes, that said the 558 ships with a quarter-inch headphone pin and using the provided 3.5mm adapter is quite “dorky”! Though Sennheiser says the sensitive 50 ohm HD558 is compatible with most portable audio sources, frankly driving it from mp3 players and laptop audio output sources is not a great idea. These headphones are meant to be driven atleast from a home audio receiver but one can also opt for a much more wallet friendly and portable headphone amp like the Fiio E10 and enjoy better sound from the headphones.

Sennheiser HD558 headphones

in conclusion…

The general pricing difference between the 3 models (HD518, 558 & 598) are roughly 30 bucks (HD518-100, HD558-130 & HD598-160).Remember that there is the HD518 which sits below the 558 coming in just at or under 100 bucks, my advice is to skip it! The price difference between the 518s & 558s is almost negligible…just hunt for good offers on the 558 (online) and you will definitely be coming away with a great value purchase for your money. The next step-up model HD598 is relatively pricier than the 558 in the real world, it goes without saying that if you are getting a good price on the 598s, don’t think twice!

Posted

Pros: Comfortable, light, non fatiguing, sub bass

Cons: bright, not for a basshead, long cable

Comfort and build

These headphones are extremely comfortable, I have worn them for upwards of 8 hours, with out my ears hurting. The ear pads do collect a lot of "stuff" like lint and animal hair very easily. The HD558s are build very well, holding up to abuse I put them through. Even though they are made completely of plastic, it feels of top quality.

 

Sound

I love the sound signature of these headphones. The Sub-bass is satisfying enough for most music, but if you are really into Hardstyle and other bass eccentric EDM genres, these will not suffice. I found these headphones the most enjoyable whilst listen to classical style music, such as works from Hans Zimmer's, and soft house music. The only thing that would make the 558s better would be a larger, more gratifying, extension into the bass.

Posted

Pros: Nice Soundstage, Deep Bass, Euphoric, Mids, Forgiving

Cons: None, just maybe a little bit too warm at times.

This was my first open headphone and I fell in love with it the moment I heard it. I would say it's a rather dark -sounding headphone with a really pretty midsection. It has a tight, well defined bass that tends to do quite well with low quality recordings (but does not extend really deep). It does exceptionally well with trip-hop artists such as Massive Attack (In my opinion).

 

This is the best budget for under 200$. It will work with a phone, and even though sennhieser recommends this, It sounds the best when plugged into a slightly better sound source like my MacBook Pro.

 

It does benefit slightly from a DAC or AMP, but not by much.

 

 

Also, people say this sounds better than the HD600 when un-amped. However, That is really not true in my opinion. BUT it's still is a great headphone nonetheless.

Posted

Pros: Comfort, sound quality, removable cable feature, replaceable earpads, soundstage.

Cons: The 3.5 mm converter/adapter is huge, cannot use with phones/media players that have cases, all plastic build.

So, these were purchased on September 17th of this year from best buy online for $179.99, and I was overcome with joy the very second I submitted the order. I actually have never owned a pair of these before, so, I knew this was going to be a new experience for me.

 

I waited day in and day out patiently hoping that they would arrive soon, and guess what? My patience paid off. About 2 days after I had placed the order, they had arrived at my doorstep. Once I opened the box, I was actually surprised at how simple the packaging was. Nothing fancy. You get the headphones and the detachable cable. That is it, and I was ok with that. When I plugged them into my FiiO E17, I started to smile inside. I was very surprised at how balanced these were. As I started to listen to these more and more, the openness of the sound and the clarity in the midrange and treble became more and more noticeable.

 

Lows/Bass: Well refined, but not overdone or bloated in any way. I don’t listen to dubstep or bass oriented music, so bass was not a priority for me. It blends into the midrange very well, and it never gets to that point where I want to take these off or where my ears are fatigued.

 

Midrange/Vocals: Clear, easily heard, and never boring to listen to. With enough detail to satisfy even the pickiest people, i think these have the potential to be one of the best vocal performing headphones that i have heard.

 

Highs/Treble: The treble is easily heard, but it takes a back seat to the midrange, but just a bit. I think that was done on purpose by Sennheiser so that people will be able to listen to these for a longer period of time.

 

Soundstage: This portion is really great! The HD518, 558, 598, and other open back headphones from Sennheiser really succeed in this region. It is very 3D like. I am able to hear individual instruments clearly. Part of the music was in the back of the room, and the other was in the front. Like that basically. Everything was very enjoyable.

    

Conclusion: To wrap up this review, I highly recommend these at the $179-$200 price point. I got these for $179.99, like I said before, and I think, at that price, it is a steal. Overall, these headphones are really great! I cannot stress that enough.

Posted

Pros: Smooth, Euphoric, Naturall, Soundstage, Looks, Long Cable,

Cons: May be too slow for you, Lacking a bit of treble,

I Like It. I can't tell you I don't. :L3000:

Sennheiser HD-558
Description:

With their special internal Surround Reflector, the HD 558 open, circumaural headphones are able to generate an extended spatial sound field, making them ideal for listening to home cinema as well as music. They are also fitted with Sennheiser’s innovative E.A.R. technology which ensures accurate channeling of audio signals into your ears, as well as sophisticated Duofol diaphragms which reduce unwanted resonances to an absolute minimum. The HD 558 come with skin caressing velour ear pads and headband cushion which provide outstanding wearing comfort, even for long listening sessions.

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Sennheiser HD-558