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Sennheiser HD 558

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #28 in Over-Ear

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 $100 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. 

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
-Good looks 
-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.  

 

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: Pristine sound clarity for it's price. Very neutral sound having the right amount of everything. Very very comfortable can be worn for hours.

Cons: Just like any other open back headphone sound is audible to people around you, that's about it!

When I bought the headphones I was amazed at the comfort level these headphones offer. I must admit this is my entry into the world of premium headphones,:L3000: and I truly feel pleased with my decision. So it goes without saying I'm NOT an audiophile. :p

 

I'll keep this video short and crisp.

 

These over-ear headphones offers premium comfort with near sonic perfection. I was amazed even after keeping EQ in the flattest possible setting in my amplifier these babies sounded so detailed. This meant two things, Sennheiser is truly giving you a neutral sound and if you want you can tweak the EQ to give the bass, mids or highs a little push to make it shine all the more. I plugged into my amp as well as in portable devices and as expected the full blown setup brought out the jewel in it while the portable devices sounded detailed in their own right. Being an open back headphone made my ears sweat less but also made sure everyone surrounding me got a taste of what I'm listening too. So if privacy is you're concern make no mistake it'll be intruded once you get these! :beyersmile: 

 

A few scenarios:

Gaming - One of the best headphones for gaming simply because of the wide sound stage and correct frequency response.

Movies - Again the feeling of having speakers in your room while listening to them makes them awesome for this purpose!

Music - If you're into all genres of music it is perfect for you! However if you're into only contemporary forms of music (like electronic, trap music and the likes with extended bass lines) and crave for enhanced bass you must look elsewhere.

 

 

So apart from the great sound and supreme comfort in this price bracket what else do I have to say...pretty much nothing!

If you're a newbie like me just shut your eyes and make the purchase and you'll be fine...actually more than just fine! On the contrary if you're a veteran and want something in this range you'll know better and will be able to define how wonderful these sound!

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: Soundstage, highs, mids, bass.

Cons: None for me

For the money they are extremely comfortable, sound great plugged into my Onkyo TX-8255 receiver playing either music or watching videos from my pc through the Onkyo.  I know you can spend many times more (a little more for ex on the HD 598s) and there are some great phones but for my classical and jazz lossless music they are amazing.  I prefer open headphones also so these well as they say "fit the bill".  I'm not saying others may prefer for ex Grados, Audio Technica and others and headphones & speakers are very much individual taste.  I owned some very accurate Grados and for me these are much more comfortable. I will rarely if ever be connecting them to my iPhone (for which I have a headphone amp) so again they fit my receiver phone jack perfectly.

Posted

Pros: Great sound, punchy low end, nice mids, crisp highs

Cons: Longest cord i've seen come with a pair of headphones

     Oh Sennheiser, I'm in love with these headphones. Honestly. Everything is perfect with these. Before I continue with this review, let me make this disclaimer. I am not a "Professional Audiophile". I am just a guy with a love for audio. Now since this is out of the way, I can get to the review.

 

Comfort:

 

  These headphones are really comfortable. Like, REALLY comfortable. This is easily the most comfortable headphones I've worn to date. I honestly can't remember the last time headphones felt like this. I've let my friends use them. One of them exclaimed "What material is this? It reminds me of fabric you'd feel in some kind of car." I can agree to this. The velour feels amazing. From the headband to the earcups, they feel oh so right in every way you could think of. The earcups move back and forth, and side to side a little bit. The headband adjusts 18 clicks, so they should be able to fit every head imaginable.

 

Design:

 

 You have a removable cable like most headphones these days. I think these headphones look amazing. They are open backed as well if you couldn't tell right away. The design is so good they reused it for the special edition of the 598's. If this doesn't show you how amazing the design of these headphones are, I don't think I can help you. Your vision may not be 20/20.

 

Sound:

 

 It is phenomenal. I don't know exactly what Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) is, but whatever it is exactly, it works. I am a huge anime nerd, so I tested these headphones out with the Mushishi soundtrack. My god. Everything was perfect. Highs, Mids, and Lows. It blew me away. Umi Sakai (Unasaka) Yori sounds god like. With it's dreamy plucks, piano, and low bass hits. Everything just melts together perfectly. I could almost tear up just listening to this song. That is how good the sound is on these. This isn't boomy bass though. It is tight and perfect. If you are a basshead, don't even think about purchasing these. These aren't made to push out booming and flabby low end. If you like tight accurate bass, you'll love it. This doesn't mean it's not there. It's just accurate. Electronic Music more your liking? Great! These handle Electronic music nicely as well. If Jazz is more your forte, this are perfect as well. The whole Fallout 4 song list shines on these. Speaking of gaming, these are also great for those! These headphones take anything thrown at them with ease.
 

I also tried the mod, but honestly I can't tell the difference at all. Might just be me, but eh. Anyways.

 

In conclusion, if you are looking for a pair of open-backed headphones under $100, these should be at the top of your list.

Posted

Pros: SOUND. looks, earcup size

Cons: A bit clampy, bit inside touches ears, cable

In my endless search for headphones that fit, and fit, are comfy, and satisfy my sound tastes; my dumbo ears have led me to very few outlets to choose from.

I chose to try the Sennheiser 558, as it gets rave reviews, and such.

Before these, I had good, but not great experiences with Sennheiser products, and these changed that for the better.

 

My first, and most important note is that these are my new favorites of any headphone in terms of sound.

1. These have enough bass, and play that they don't sound boring.

2. There is not too much bass, meaning not too much bleed into other ranges

3. The soundstage is great for the price

4. I get pulled into the music without too much detail loss.

 

These, for me, hit a special sweet spot. The SHP9500, and most of my headphones, are objectively better and cleaner, but I didn't care (and still don't). I can't put a price on the feeling these give me.

 

I can see why someone would find these not-so-good. They can be relatively veiled and uncontrolled, even laid-back.

 

I will post the bullet list I made while evaluating these in the order I noted them, and then attempt to elaborate.

 

Sennheieser hd558

 

1. love the sound.

 

When I first put these on, I immediately loved their sound. There is not much else to say. I got lost in the music.

 

2. part sticking out touches ear inside cup

 

Though the research suggested otherwise, I find that the bit sticking up on the inside of the earcup inevitably touches my epic ears. This is likely not a problem for most.

 

3. clamp is kinda tight

 

I am a bit sensitive to headphone clamp, and these clamp quite a bit, but I think most will find them acceptable. I have not noticed any loosening of the grip at this point.

 

4. proprietary cord kinda sucks

5. default cord connection should be 3.5mm, since most people with 1/4 inch jack amp would likely invest in more expensive headphones.

 

4&5 are very related, thus together. The cord is made of some awful, grippy, rubber-like plastic which clings to everything, and is also a bit springy. The cord is quite long, which doesn't bother me, as they are open. the proprietary connector on the headphone end of the cord is annoying, but can easily be modded to fit most 2.5mm, or adapted for 3.5mm cables. Lastly, the cord has a 1/4 inch adapter... (read 5.)

 

6. Keeps clarity while having enough body to pull you into music

 

This is the defining feature of the HD 558 for me. I very easily get lost in the music enough to where I forget the ear-touchy thing, and the clamping effect. 

 

7. fiio e10 is vast improvement over on-board audio sources for the 558

 

After testing the HD558 on portable, phone, decent pc onboard, and whatever else I could find; I conclude that an amp is an improvement for the HD558, even a cheap little FiiO e10. 

 

8. they look nice

 

I mean... They do to me. :cool:

 

9. significantly better balance than g4me one, WAY cleaner (to my ears)

 

After owning these, I think either Sennheiser used HD 518 drivers, or they tried to make a "gamer" sound signature. Really, I didn't think they were that close.

I honestly think the HD 558 was superior. Less muddy, somewhat cleaner sound, better soundstage.

 

10. SHP9500 objectively better sound, etc

 

Compared to my previous daily driver (SHP9500); I think the SHP9500 was more Neutral, cleaner, and just better in purely objective terms. To me, the SHP9500 lacked bass, had a bit much treble, and were kinda dull.

 

11. My new Favorite headphone. Period.

 

I don't expect this note to be true for long.

 

12. Would love to try the hd-650, and better sources for comparison.

 

See note for 11.

 

13. after getting used to fit, the ear touching bit is a bit less noticeable. (but comes and goes)

 

14.Certain frequencies are greatly recessed. Obvious treble spike (only one spike though?)

                         ^

15. Clapping at beginning of "Bad Blood - Bastille" sounds awful.

 

*clap* sounds more like *clop*

 

17. Leather G4me zero pads fit perfectly. Zero pads add bass, decrease soundstage. Ear touches inside thing even more.

 

If you like a leathery feeling more than the stock velour pads, the pads for the G4me Zero, and similar headsets, fit perfectly on the HD558. I prefered the pads unside-down, as the inward clamp compensates well for the uneven thickness of these. The tradeoff is the leathery pads add more bass, possibly a tad muddier? and decrease the soundstage a bit.

 

18. HM5 pads could fit.

 

I would try using the plastic ring from the back of the stock pads, and putting it in the back of the HM5 pads. These have the same effect as the G4me zero pads, maybe even more-so. 

 

 

 

Conclusion: I wish these were more comfortable, and wish the cord sucked less.  I have decided to put up withe discomfort of the clamp, and the ear-touching simply because I love the sound so much, which is saying a lot for me. Gosh, they do pull me into the special, priceless place where music sounds like music, not like "a good pair of headphones accurately transcribing the sound". They sound like music to my ears.

 

The little green bar measuring thing doesn't have a measure for enjoyment, but I would give it full marks. 

Posted

Pros: Lush, very good at reproducing natural sounds, feels like you're being enveloped in a warm bath of amniotic fluid

Cons: Mid-bass bleed, slightly veiled

Let me start off by saying that I am not really an audiophile by my nature. A good portion of my library is in mp3 format; I occasionally listen to things on YouTube. That, and my music taste forces me to listen to a lot of badly-recording old records and stuff. By nature, I'm a musician. I listen to a lot of classical music, and so my primary goal is to reproduce sound as accurately and naturally as possible. So far, the HD558 is the best tool I've found for the job. (probably 598 is slightly better, but I didn't have the extra money to spend on it)

 

The "Sennheiser veil" is the most commonly mentioned drawback of these, as far as I can tell, and it's there for sure. I don't mind it hugely, since I like a warmer sound anyway, and the detail doesn't suffer a huge amount for the deficiency in upper treble. For people who are used to bright headphones, it may be a bit disconcerting. But since using these, I've found many of the more "detailed" or "clear" headphones to be thin or harsh sounding. These keep the detail, although it's slightly backgrounded - but everything has a full, lush sound. The HD558 has a habit of making even relatively poor recordings sound amazing, which is beneficial especially to me, since I have to deal with a lot of poor recordings.

 

The mid-bass bleed is a bit more of a problem. I performed the vaunted "foam mod" on these, which seemed to make the bass looser and flabbier, and I'll probably reverse it, since I don't remember it historically being a problem. The lack of sub-bass extension might be a problem for some. Obviously, I don't much care, since bass isn't an important component of any of the music I listen to. Really, though, I don't foresee it being a problem for anyone.

 

If you buy these looking for good isolation and leakage, you might be a literal silly person, because they are open and they don't do that. They're not good for the library or for public transport. Everyone will be able to hear you, and you will be able to hear everyone. If you have a relatively quiet place to listen to music and you won't be disturbing anyone, buy these. For the love of God, buy them.

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.

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