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Simply not worth it

A Review On: Sennheiser HD 595 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 595 Headphones

Rated # 63 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $150.00
Posted · 32021 Views · 22 Comments

Pros: Detailed, comfortable (further review upon re-possession...)

Cons: Pitiful bass, leak massive sound & provides little isolation (I guess as any open-back headphones would) (further review upon re-possession...)

The Sennheiser HD 595's were on sale on Amazon recently for $150 and I was just furious when I heard them.  Expecting something godly for the price they're originally at, especially considering their size, I got not even a minimal kind of wow factor and rather, instantaneous notations of flaws.  I must say, in the end, I was satisfied IN GENERAL with the sound, but with no complaints maybe if they were priced at $100 AS THE ORIGINAL.  I STRONGLY prefer my $60 Brainwavz M2 IEM's (which I got for $35) in almost every regard, and that's just absurd no matter how objectively you could look at it...

Further review upon re-possession of headphones...


I own both the 595s and M2s myself.
First off, the 595 does not have 'speakers on the outside'. I don't even have the faintest clue what you could possibly mean by that.
They leak? Of course they do, they're open-back headphones.
I really like the M2s myself, they're fantastic value for money. However, there is nothing the M2s do better than the 595s, bass included. In terms of soundstage there is simply no comparison. They aren't hard to drive at all, but do benefit greatly from having a proper DAC. They do indeed sound poor from an onboard soundcard. The bass isn't 'pathetic'. They are indeed bass-light, but the SQ of the bass is of rather high quality, and the volume is sufficient for many people. Bass quantity is the only thing the M2s do better than the 595s, assuming you're running both from the same source, and that source isn't onboard sound, an iPod, or something with a similarly dysmal SQ.
You should have done some research into headphones that suit your taste and musical preferences. The 595s are notorious for being laid-back and bass light. Your primary focus of complaints is that they're laid-back and bass light...
You can't just go about buying some of the worst possible headphones for your tastes and then write an absolute joke review about them. 1/10 for effort.
Man, the second I saw the e-mail of somebody commenting on my review on this, I knew it would be some poor sap defending his/her hard earned money spent on these precious headphones.
Ok look, first off, when I said "speakers on the outside", I wasn't sure if that's what it actually was or not but it was a good way to describe what was happening with the sound. I didn't technically observe if it literally did or not but maybe they were just somehow utilizing their open design. My friend was their with me when I was listening and let me tell you, he was confused as f***. We had a number of laughs at how the sound coming from them was so strange in the sense that from the outside, it was as if the sound was coming from random distant directions, and significantly loud too.
My review is absolutely accurate and I even mentioned on almost all accounts that it's the way I feel about it. I mentioned the existence of these things for this pair of headphones, and if you like it, that's fine. That's your bag. You're the one that seems to lack any skills of interpretation, not me.
And you really just said that at the end? Umm, well first of all, I mentioned that I bought them because they were for a good deal. Regardless of styling, I thought high-end Sennheiser HD's would sound amazing. So far, I've always been disappointed with their products it would seem. Secondly, that's exactly what people do. People try headphones and review them to their taste. That's perfectly fine especially when that's stated like I did, so people with similar taste can pick up on that and make a proper decision. It's very hard choosing headphones when there's only idiots like you giving praise. I'm sorry, but your reaction attests to that.
10/10 for ignorance.
I feel no need to 'defend my hard-earned money' in some laughable attempt to justify my purchase.
I enjoyed the headphones for well over three years before upgrading to the HD 650.
I have absolutely zero issues with someone disliking a pair of headphones. I just found your review offensively bad to the point where I had to comment. I assume you had never heard open-back headphones before these? That would certainly explain the infantile amazement with regards to the sound signature caused by them being open. I had a number of laughs at how oblivious you and your friend are to what a pair of open headphones sounds like.
I also find it amusing that you just admitted to buying them 'because they were on sale' and 'you expected them to be amazing'. Had you done any research into headphones in general, you would have realized this simply does not work.
Still, nobody could blame you for purchasing a pair of headphones which clearly don't match your sound signature preferences. However, when your entire review consists of you pointing out facts that are very well known, and then exaggerating them to the point of hilarity, I will call you out on it.
Had you pointed out that you found the bass slightly disappointing, didn't enjoy the laid-backness and found them to be conflicting with your preferences, as opposed to calling them, seemingly objectively, lack-luster and overpriced, that would have been a fair observation.
In reference to the part where you call me an 'idiot' who praises these 'infuriatingly bad' headphones; I find it pitiful that you have to resort to name-calling in an attempt to somehow retain the credibility of your review.
If anyone with preferences similar to yours - you like bass, you dislike a laid-back sound - were to ask for a headphone recommendation, the 595s would quite literally be one of the last pairs of headphones I would recommend.
Perhaps you should try a Denon AHD 2000. Or you could just, for example, buy an AKG K 701 and write a side-splittingly poor review of those, as well.
Your reply to my post also receives a 1/10.
The fact that you found it offensive already confirms much of what I said. I haven't ever been defensive of headphones in response to somebody who would go out there bashing headphones, even if it were in the most radical and stupid way. In fact, what I did in a case like that is give suggestions on how to improve their sound or confirm its limitations and say that if that were something they truly didn't like at all and they're sure, then the headphones wouldn't be for them. If that guy were to clearly state the matter in a review, I'd have no problem with it. People reading contrasting reviews can be objective. If you disagree, you could make your own review and contribute to what I feel is an overly positive attitude towards this particular pair of headphones. That's how it is for most things anyway, if not all...
Now you're right that I have no experience with open headphones. At the time, I wasn't fully sure what that even meant to be honest. That really is an ignorant way of viewing somebody's reaction to this, finding it amusing, reason being, the concept of open headphones makes absolutely no f'ing sense. So even when I read about it, I wasn't convinced I understood it correctly. I just thought "no way", since the result would be catastrophic. That defeats the entire purpose of what I thought headphones were and still find them to be. Why not just use speakers then?... And don't even respond to the questions - rhetorical. If you weren't being an ass and actually brought up normal discussion instead of expressing your misguided irritation, then maybe there'd be something to talk about...
OBVIOUSLY "that does not work" to just randomly buy relatively expensive headphones on sale or something and expect them to be good. "I admitted" to that for reasons I already explained, for people to know a large portion of the reason for their purchase and for people to understand how I'm valuing them. Sorry for the modesty.
People find me to be insane on how much research I do before buying a pair of headphones or speakers or whatever it may be really that has to do with visual/audio quality. When there are a lot of choices, I always try to find the best - what would satisfy me most for the money. With my experience, it tended to be a minimum of two weeks regardless of what it was - 2 weeks for a pair of IEM's... That ended up being very successful for me.
In this case, I kept hearing about the Sennheiser HD's and with little time for research, I decided to take the leap. I didn't know that the small differences in model numbers had completely different sound. I thought it was just a scale of improvement the higher up in price they went. I checked them out; they seemed nice; I knew a few things in general about Senny's signature (for IEM's anyway), so I got these. The entire point is for people with different tastes to review headphones, otherwise, it could make the decision impossible for some seeing only one interpretation - like it can't be possible for a certain trait/feature to actually be bad if everyone says it's good and therefore it must be a defect of theirs or something... A lot of times it is quite the opposite and just hard to tell. I actually felt it was important for me to review these. I didn't come here just to bash them and that isn't at all what my review looks like. At a point or two, I merely expressed my strong distaste for them, WHICH YOU ACTUALLY SHOWED UNDERSTANDING FOR, and yet you still chose to rebel against "my insolence".
Anyway, thanks for the compliment you made in there. I was apparently able to pick up on all these specific traits already known about the headphones all on my own. I must be damn good. Interesting how my opinion your interpretation ends up as being me over-exaggerating flaws. Even if so, that is in fact often means of expressing opinion, as long as not done through a conceited fashion. You might actually think that's how it was but what it would then really be is YOU exaggerating or just overreacting to what you've read.
In terms of you saying that I called you an idiot who praises these infuriantingly bad headphones, I don't even know wtf you're quoting. That's such a convenient twist of words and interpretation to somehow pull out of your ass that I have to resort to such a low level of retort. Whatever, continue seeing what you want to see out of this.
Continued (2)...
Finally, I am once again shocked/confused by your ending. The way you wrap things up just comes out of nowhere. Thank you, really, I appreciate that, sincerely. Even though you just threw bass heavier headphones at me without really asking what I'd actually be looking for, that would've been a great start initially. You could also go and have a field day with my thoughts on the Audio-Technica M50’s as I’ve stated it in a thread of mine. They’re supposedly bass-heavy relative to many others and suggested as amazing for me and yet I think those I ACTUALLY hate. Can’t imagine what you would have to say on that!.. Yeah…
Would it not have been more satisfying to have a normal back and forth on the formally mentioned terms where you could’ve made recommendations or other suggestions – maybe stated your opinion, and don't you think where I was coming from would've become evident by those means? Of course you added a bit of sarcasm at the end of your statement there but I would've gotten what you were hinting at, would've been able to deal with that little slip, and then would've tried to clarify a few things; what I felt might've given the wrong impression I'd make clearer.
Anyway, I hope you feel better after getting your irritation out of your system. Find somebody at least slightly below your level of thinking next time so that the person can't backup his/her statements. Actually, now I feel bad, because it might just be somebody younger that has a harder time expressing their possibly correct thoughts that you'd end up undeservingly picking on.
One thing I forgot to mention is that in terms of signature, a way to describe the headphones as others have would be to say that they're "dark". They have sort of like a gloomy kind of sound, as to give some sort of visualization for them... I'll add that to the review.
I like this game so I’ll play it: YOUR reply gets a 9/10 for shallow interpretation and unwillingness to consider the chance that maybe you got a bit overly hysterical initially.
terrible review, and terrible flame war. 3/10 for some entertainment value ^_^
So good flame war then? That is, since it was entertaining. :)
This is interesting though. A review getting reviews. Cool!.. People are amazing...
Any negative reviews are bad. The people reading them are those who either don't know or that think the exact opposite, unless it just becomes a thing to bash the popular at the moment. Yeah, whatever...
After finding out that Sennheiser cheats (see my hd595 review) i can no longer recommend sennheiser
This review flat-out sucks. It's like buying a pair of IEMs and then being shocked and awed that they go inside your ears.

You clearly did zero research on how these are supposed to sound or how they work. Your criticism holds no water because you're complaining that you don't like the sound type they were designed to offer, and not whether or not they fail to meet their objective. They are meant to be laid back, airy and detailed. Hate on them all you want if they fail to achieve that, but it's illogical and nonsensical to judge them to a completely irrelevant standard.
Yeah this review is very unfortunate. Maybe just to address some of the specifics;

1) This has already been said, but there is no outside speaker. The drivers point inwards, and the back is open, as intended with any open headphones.
2) The sound is not dull. This isn't so much a matter of opinion as the fact that the frequency response of the headphones is complete and steady. I suppose you might call it "flat" in that the response curve is flat compared to the treble/bass punch of IEMs. "Dull" speakers will have lacking high and low frequency sounds. Maybe if you listen to IEMs all day the real response of the music sounds dull, and that's what you could be hearing.

These headphones have technically superior sound to any IEMs I've heard, and I've heard a lot of them. Again though, I wouldn't give a pair of IEMs a bad review on that alone, because it's not their fault that they have punchier sound and stronger treble, that's just a consequence of the mechanism by which the sound enters your ear. If I didn't want it, I wouldn't buy IEMs.

You might have personal preference for the punchier, "in your head" sound of IEMs, but this if this was the case you should have know it before buying the Sennheisers. These headphones are able to reproduce sound as it was created, which is a rare quality among audio equipment.

I personally bought the HD555 and removed the cage rubbers to convert them into HD595s, and the sound is incredible on my Audigy ZS. I wouldn't go so far as the other guy by saying this review was offensive, but I do think it's a shame that many people don't understand good sound when they hear it. It wouldn't bother me, but it forces the industry to focus on the flood of treble-rebel "bass enhanced" products that we have been seeing since the late 90s, when what I really want to see is more consumer-level products like the 595s...
Ok. that's it, I'm removing this damn review (Or rather, editing it to nothing) and making another one when I re-listen to these. I have never liked Sennheiser and I'm sure I never will. Remembering back my experience and simply trying to remember the sound, there are many thoughts that I still think I'd stick to but I'd be able to phrase them in a much more educated way. These were the first over-the-ear headphones I purchased and all I knew was that the "Sennheiser HD's" kept being mentioned and among them these stood out for what I thought I should buy out of the existing models. I saw them for a deal so I jumped on getting them.
I have a more solid foundation on interpreting sound than anybody you'd come by but no need to prove myself. I had all reason to be pissed as regardless these headphones will never be worth the price and then I didn't know better. There is a complete misconception of how I interpret sound. I'm sure you guys have at least heard of the next model of headphones I'm about to mention as in the past year, they have really been being discussed in many places. After going through many-a-pair, the perfect headphones in every way which can be mentioned for me ended up being the Brainwavz HM5's (or at least that's the version of those that I logically deduced to go with). I haven't even reread what I said here and I have a feeling I don't want to, but I'm sure that now with a more proper comparison of headphones, the understanding and all the entailment of neutral sound (not just flat response), and even pushing for the idea behind it, I still think many of what I said would hold true. Well hey, at least you didn't mention the word Beats in your comment because then I'd really go nuts if that's really how people are interpreting my review for this. I'm sorry but I could easily tell between when beginners are hearing the right things but just don't understand enough to express what it is they think those things are and when people have no idea what they're talking about and probably listen only to Hip Hop or rap music, recorded and mixed on Windows XP with a laptop microphone and taken to the studio for an "engineer" to compress the crap out of it and in turn "makes it sound better". Sigh..
Ok, actually, I guess I am going to reread this crap... Let's see what here is inaccurate... Like I said, regardless I'm taking it down for the most part and will remake this review more properly informed now. I still think the idea of open headphones is absolutely nonsensical and there really is no way I could've been ready for that because even if it was typed right in front of my face, I would've just thought I didn't understand something since such an idea "couldn't possibly exist", I would think...
Alright, so having re-read, the only absurd thing is the speakers on the outside but I remember a friend of mine passing by and asking about that himself. I simply didn't know any better and came to the only conclusion I could have without factual basis. I obviously had much doubt about that but the point then to say that was to express the experience. Other than that, looking at it now, still a legit review by a slightly above average consumer. It has to be put in relative terms which you kind of did I guess, the contrary only being you stating your like for these headphones vs. my dislike at the time. I would of course say things differently now and I might not think all of the things I did in this review, but most of all if I think back now, I distinctly remember it not sounding realistic despite what the benefits of open-back headphones are supposed to be, the reputation Sennheiser has, and the you now mentioning that "they are able to reproduce sound as it was created" which I really think is not justified. From the standpoint of engineering which I can truly back up now, certainly not so. Even though a bit of a distance in time between the purchase of these and my now Brainwavz HM5's, if that were the case, I'm sure I would've still had a similar experience/realization and appreciation for what they were providing as I did with these. Not worth it, but I will get them again (the 598's this time) just to prove or disprove this once and for all to myself.

And btw, just to mention, the IEMs I was talking about (the Brainwavz M2's) don't have a "strong" treble. As a matter of fact, many people consider it too weak which is kind of true since I EQ the bass down on them if I can. It's just relatively quieter than the rest of the range but even the subtlest of noises in the highest of ranges are distinguishable on them. Anyway... Much of what you said is really intended towards the generalization of the kind of consumer of audio that you think I am and it doesn't really apply. At this point, it just became crucial for me to respond since you didn't make a stupid comment and it's therefore potential damage to my reputation, whatever that importance may be on here...
Fair enough.

RE the open headphones issue: I can certainly understand your dislike for the 595s, especially if you weren't expecting open headphones. Open headphones do make a lot of sense though if you are trying to build headphones that can reproduce a set of high quality speakers operating in a room. You can't reproduce that in headphones without signal processing unless you physically alter the effective area in which the speakers operate, and you can't do that in headphones unless you physically open them.

Open headphones are therefore not portable devices, they are more akin to a piece of HiFi equipment that you can use to listen to loud music with HiFi-like sound. More importantly, open headphones allow you to experience very high quality hifi sound very cheaply. The amount you'd have to invest to get the quality of sound of a pair of HD595s would greatly exceed the cost of the headphones.

I spent 100 bucks on my HD595's (well, modified HD555's technically) and can listen to music at quality comparable and arguably superior to a pair of Klipsch speakers which might cost 1000 bucks. I don't have 1000 bucks, so for me that's what it's all about.
FYI I hadn't read your latest post when writing that.
Your review is fine. I think it's great you made the effort to write about them. I just wanted to provide a different side of the argument. Sound is by nature subjective anyway so meh.

The reason I said the sound is more realistic, is because an open pair of headphones is physically similar to a real situation; sound is produced in an acoustically open environment, and soundwaves are able to dissipate as they would in a real situation. So if you produce the sound of a piano playing in an open pair of headphones, the bass will dissipate and the treble will not overwhelm, just as it would physically. If you put the "real" sound through a pair of IEMs, it will sound different because the sound is directly inserted to the ear drum, and removing the effects of dissipation, and echo.

Put more simply, if you take the pure sound of a piano and stick it directly in your ear, you're not going to hear something resembling an actual piano, whereas if you place that same sound in an open environment and reproduce it, you'll hear a piano, because it's physically the same as an actual piano. I suppose you could argue this makes IEMs more suitable for electronic music, where realism isn't really a plus.
I get what you're saying about open-back headphones I guess. You've definitely rationalized it out for yourself. Still though, even if all of that were 100% accurate and true, the use for them I'd still consider such murky grounds. They're kinda neither here or there. But putting it in perspective, speakers normally tend to have a "fuller" sound and a more impactful one for many obvious reasons. For one, playing them at what we'd perceive as equal loudness to what we'd be playing from a pair of headphones would be a significant increase in soundwave pressure. Second, the way and the amount that they're amplified (usually with a tube amp) also contributes to that fact. In other words, on some level, closed-back headphones would probably come closer to that so well-designed ones would be the way to go in that respect. Regardless, you can't avoid the fact that we interpret it differently no matter how the headphones would be designed; there honestly is no replacement. Even though logically what you're saying makes sense, it just can't practically turn out this way and in this limited experience of mine, that seems to have been the case.
Again, your opinion is valid but I just wanted to lay out the reasoning for the claimed legitimacy of what has previously been discussed here, even if I didn't understand why yet at the time and definitely made mistakes in trying to understand but that is never what I was asserting.
I haven't read your latest comment so I'll have to add a little bit on XD
Before I get to that, I'd just like to say, I love that you think about this and the way in which you did. Unfortunately, I'll have to disagree.
So, what you're talking about is already a factor in the recording. The sound dissipating or not is a choice made by the engineer and that stays in the recording. What you're talking about for speakers actually isn't a good thing because it's adding the characteristics of your room to the sound it's trying to reproduce that was captured. It's why that is always attempted at actually being removed as a factor. Similarly, the sound characteristics of open headphones work opposite to what happens with speakers in a room. You accurately applied your logic based on the observation of the effect you've likely noticed that open-back headphones have on the sound but really, here it is: in a room, treble is actually what dies much quicker and is much more directional because the size of the waves are much smaller. Bass is what lingers and floats around the room - yet again, more reasons why speakers in contrary tend to sound "fuller". And for most recordings, that's actually more the standard of how it's intended to be heard since that's how it's generally expected to be played back (or at least definitely was with all recordings only a little ways back). Bass also gets around obstacles much more easily. In turn, the result of open headphones is the opposite where bass ends up not having any containment especially while more trebly sounds tend to go directly in you ear anyway since there's barely even air between the drivers and your ears. Well-balanced "neutral" closed-back headphones would in the mentioned case be the most accurate in showing what the recording actually sounds like, just, not the only factor to be taken into consideration when actually creating a mix and therefore arguably not necessarily the idea behind that it is also best for casual listening (although IMO, use them with a tube amp, and that settles that). We could talk more in PM and I wish I could personally show you by actually giving you samples to listen and you vice versa. That really is a productive conversation and I wish things were more uniformly agreed upon in this industry because there really is right from wrong and I'm not always right, point being, that when that is the case, it's hard to come by that information without really knowing your s*** in depth like I've been doing at an accelerated rate lately.
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