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Sennheiser HD 598

92% Positive Reviews
Rated #6 in Over-Ear

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Posted

Pros: Natty, Removable 4 Conductor Cable.

Cons: Hits Excursion very early, Poor Headband Ergonomics, High Level of Distortion, Overrated and Overpriced.

 

 

 

Want to preface this by presenting this picture, I'm not a TROLL or a A-Hole, I just like to mock the fu** out of headphones I dislike.
This time its time for the "Fehlerhaft HD598".

 

I'm a fan of the 580-600-650, I own all of them.
The 598 is interesting because it sounds crude. Coming from Senn I was surprised by how bad it sounded..the first day I got them I was certain I had a defective unit, so I went to Senn and was able to convince them I had a faulty pair.
They gave me a new one after a week, I was sure my first 598 was broken and I was expecting the new one to be just fine but...nope, the new one sounded exactly the same.
So then I was sure, these use cheap "Made In China" low fidelity drivers.

 

Anyway, I'll come to what's completely wrong with the sound soon, let's go over some other things.

 

Build -

 

They slightly worry me, they feel solid, nothing rattles but the headband is one of those bendy weird-like its going to break types. The side articulation spot seems to be the most scary one.
I don't think they'll break but they just feel too bendy rather than feeling solid, there is no metal in the construction..from the fake wood to maybe even the headband, its all ABS, the headband maybe some kind of a composite though.
I have to admit, although the wood is plastic, it looks pretty sharp. The grain detail is obviously not like real wood but looks pretty convincing for the most part.

 

Comfort - 

 

I never have any issues with Senns, due to the oval pads mostly. The Headband never bothers me but with the 598, the Headband is pretty annoying..it sticks out..the headphones fall from my head when I look up or look down.
If you listen on your Sofa while resting your head, the 598 will be quite annoying.
Ther padding itself is pretty good, the Earpads are great..can't go wrong with Senn Oval Velour.

 

Cable - 

 

The cable is removable, its proprietary of course..like we don't have loads of proprietary connectors to begin with.
I found out the cable has 4-Conductors inside, that means you can cut the cable and install a 4-Pin XLR and run it balanced on the HDVA-600 and the HDVD-900, which honestly is quite fantastic.
The stock cable is pretty soft bendy, not one of those sh**** silver conductors which kink and piss you off.
Another advantage is that since it is 4-C, you can make a DIY Microphone contraption, biggest problem the recessed jack on the headphone..the only way I can think of is a CNCd 2.5mm connector or maybe cut the stock cable and solder the wires which is the less elegant way.

 

Efficeny and Scale-Up - 

 

I have no respect for IEMs and Low Impedance dynamic headphones, I really hate that Senn is going away from their High Impedance system for the newer models.
They are 63 Ohms or something..correct me if I'm wrong. They aren't that sensitive to be great out of a iPad or a iPhone, with my Nano 7G I barely get any dynamics due to the lack of efficiency, if you make a efficient headphone..fuc**** make sure its efficient..
If you can't do that, then just make a Non-Efficient one, don't fuc***** make one in the middle.

They have some issues with excursion, that can be cured with Amplifers with Low Output Impedances..I have seen some audible improvements in excursion limits, which is good to know.
I'll come to the excursion soon.

So, time for the Sound now..

 

Bass -

 

Impact-less, weak, slow, low excursion and all that crap.
The bass is abysmal, the bass is worse than the cheap Nexus 5 IEMs, they have zero impact, no extension to be found here.
Only some Mid-Bass, which happens to be pretty ****ty, the bass quality is so Low-Fi that its funny, they make me laugh...in my existence this is the first time a headphone made me laugh, except Japanese headphones -That's a different story, I should dedicate a segment to explain how shi*** those fuc**** Japanese headphones are.
Anyway, the 598s do Stand-Up, the bits are in the form of the bass they reproduce. 
I hate the bass, if people can complain about accentuated bass, I sure can mock these 598s for having poor bass.

I haven't looked at the graph yet but audibly I think they roll-off severly at 120Hz, there is no sub-bass.
They hit excursion quick too, 60Hz at XX SPL, I am not stating an exact number because I haven't measured them, believe me its at medium volume which is pretty bad.
The driver seem to be cohesive in terms of hitting it, 1db tolerance maximum.
Overall, these headphones can't do bass.

 

Mid-Range - 

 

 

Mid-Range works, its fine..nothing too striking from lower-mids, going to the presence region is clean..mostly, presence region and you have a peak at the lower octaves, adding thinn-ness to the overall sound, the upper-half is slightly uneven too, not the cleanest I've heard.
There is audible Break-Up (Distortion) which takes away from the transparency, overall the Mid-Range is NOT High Fidelity, lacks weight and body, slightly honky and grainy as well.
No Musicality here, very thin and Low Fidelity.

 

Treble - 

 

I find the treble presentation to be rather respectable, they extend quite well..detailed high frequency response.
I wouldn't say its having the crazy upper treble resolution because it doesn't but..for the price, its above average in terms of treble presentation.
Like all BoPET membranes, there is break-up and its not free of grain but its not too grainy either.

 

Separation and Imaging -

 

Ooo they are angled, I've seen some idiots go crazy and start to believe a headphone sounds 3D if its angled, that's just stupid.
I mean really?
The 598s are just fine, they aren't congested sounding, they image decently. Nothing noteworthy in the imaging department.
Separation is useless to talk about because it depends on the recording, anyway if you are interested, there is speration, Ooooo.

 

Distortion - 

 

Now I'm not an Engineer, I don't have much knowledge in terms of types of distortion. I don't know if its THD or IMD or whatever, there is audible distortion..thanks to the awesome drivers, thank you Senn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, I don't like them, its better than the hideously offensive and grainy ma900 but the 598 isn't that far from the ma900 in terms of how fu***** bad they sound.
I think the ma900 wins in terms of ****tyness..followed closely by the 598, wooohooo, congratulations ma900!

Get these headphones if you are a crazy headphone collector like me, for listening to music, I would rather just sleep than listen to these.
Also, owners, don't be offended..I'm just being honest..if you can leave some valuable and relevant comments, go ahead, don't comment and try to educate me.

Thanks for reading, here's my YouTube review - 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Amazing sparkly high's, Very balanced, extremely comfortable

Cons: lacking bass

(This is my First Official Review in the Head-Fi Community) 

HD 598 Review

The HD 598's are a worthy headphone of the Sennheiser Brand. As this headphone is rated for audiophiles, I will be reviewing it at that level of sound. This particular headphone's strength consts of amazing highs, and I recommend it for its soundstage, clarity and comfort. However, this headphone is best suited only for classical music, jazz, audio recordings, and genre of that type. More modern music genres, such as hip-hop, rock and pop are not as well suited to this headphone. As I often work at home, often isolated from the other members of my family at my desk, this open ended headphone provides the comfort that is desirable. This headphone is perfect for home use, as for me, these headphones practically live on my desk. I can wear these for at least 5 hours straight, without gaining ear moisture, or headaches.The overall sound of this headphones was very bright and clear, contrasting with my darker sounding  Superlux HD 681 Evo's and TDK ST Hi-Fi 700s. The clarity and presentation of the Highs was the strongest point of the 598's, while I personally found the bass lacking and almost harsh. However the bass is very detailed, and the tight bass contributes the flat sound signature of the headphones. 

 

A description of the Specs, Highs, Mids, Lows, Soundstage, Comfort and Design will be included below.

 

Specs/info:

Weight                          9.52 oz

Type                             Over Ear

Frequency Response     12 - 38500 Hz

Magnet                          neodymium

Sensitivity                     112 dB

Impedance                     50 Ohm

Connectivity type            wired

Harmonic Distort (THD)   0.1%

Special Features            Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement technology (E.A.R.) 

 

 

Highs 

No doubt, the highs are a influential reason as to why this headphone is rated #6 on the Head-Fi list. The highs in this headphones are just mind blowing, and very pleasant to listen to. They are extremely clear and crisp while amazingly do not cause any ear fatigue. Listening to I See You by Leona Lewis and songs by Adele was a phenomenal experience. Female vocals, and high pitched instruments such as the violin, piccolo, flute, piano, and even sounds from electro-mixes sound absolutely stunning on these headphones. No doubt the highs are helped by its open ended design, and the EAR technology. I would highly recommend these headphones for the highs, which I cannot emphasize enough. Compared to the flat tone of my Superlux HD 681 Evo, my muffled Bose Soundtrue OE,  and the artificial metallic tone of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, these are clearly superior. haha "clearly superior". Get it? Sorry, bad pun lol. O.o

 

 

Mids

The Mids on these headphones are pronounced. As expected with audiophile level headphones, the Sennheiser has a flat sound signature, which is present with its detailed Mids ranged sounds. The mid range on these headphones are very enjoyable, extremely clear and sharp, while not recessed like many V-shaped sound signatures.

 

 

Lows

The lows of these headphones are very controlled and tight. This will be a positive for most audiophile listeners, but for the average consumer, who listens to modern genres, this is one of the biggest weakness of the headphones. The base is very controlled, and while it is present, it has a very neutral tone. The base is recessed and will leaving you wanting more of it. It feel very light, and has no impact. The base is there, but unlike the Sennheiser Momentum, it has no power, it is basically the opposite of what the  Audio-Technica ATH-M50x's provides. I personally find the base very lacking and almost tinny and harsh after listening to a pair of ATH-M50's or my Bose Soundtrue's. However, despite its lack of power, it makes up for its impotence by being very detailed. The bass is not sloppy or muddy, but clear and detailed, while providing no impact in the bass.

 

 

Overall Sound

The overall sound of this headphones was very bright and clear, contrasting with my darker sounding  Superlux HD 681 Evo's and TDK ST Hi-Fi 700s. The clarity and presentation of the Highs was the strongest point of the 598's, while I personally found the bass lacking and almost harsh. However the bass is very detailed, and the tight bass contributes the flat sound signature of the headphones. 

 

 

Soundstage

This is another killer feature of the HD 598's that make them so amazing. The soundstage on these is the equivalent of Dolby 5.1 Speakers. Listening to any song that recorded with emphasized soundstage will really make these headphones kill. Listening to audio recordings of bands and orchestras will sound pronominal, and while there are headphones with better soundstage, for its price the Sennheiser triumphs. These headphones will give you a slight edge in gaming, as you will be able to detect the location of sounds, such footsteps, shots and general background noise. Movies are also very enjoyable with these headphones, as you will experience the soundstage that theaters provide. The soundstage is no doubt boosted by the open ended design.

 

 

Comfort/Design 

This headphone is the most comfortable I have ever worn. I have large ears, and the headphones still fit amazingly with its deep ear cups and enormous earpads. While the HD 598's are made out of plastic, this is only a benefit in comfort, as it makes them extremely light to wear on your head. While the all plastic design of its body does not look good on paper, in actuality, the plastic is of high grade, and as mentioned above, make the headphone light and comfortable. The design of these are not made to be portable, as they are not in any way compact, and are open ended. Sennheiser even neglected to pack a carrying case with these headphones, clarifying the intentions that these headphones were made for. As many of us do, I personally find the color of the headphones attractive, however many others will find this color repulsive. It is kind of a love it or hate it issue that has sprung up (see sexy or fugly poll). Sennheiser claims that the color and design were modeled after European Sports Cars, and while I find that statement awfully convenient, I still find the new color refreshing compared to the standard colors of grey and black that are the Sennheiser standard. The included 9 foot cable with an 4 inch bulky 3.5 mm adapter to the 1/4 plug was included in the packaging, and should be considered a major inconvenience for those that listen to their mobile devices and mp3 players. While I find the long reach and flexibility of the 9 foot cable welcome,  I consider it a hassle when i occasionally take the headphones for outside use and had to use the 4 inch 3.5 mm conversion plug. For that use, I simply detached the cable from the headphones, and plug in a separately ordered 1.2m replacement cable with a 3.5mm jack. (see link below) 

 

 

replacement cable 

http://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Audio-upgrade-Sennheiser-Headphones/dp/B00KAKBHKM/ref=pd_sim_e_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1PD5Z9BCFT0DF9PCH3WR

 

 

Conclusion 

I consider these headphones of a great value for their current online price, and would recommend these to a friend. The sparkly highs are extremely welcoming while I do with it had more power in the bass department.  These Headphones are great home use with their comfort and open ended design. 

overall rating: 4.4 Stars.

 

Thanks for Reading! Please rate Review?

Posted

Pros: Soundstage, detailed sound

Cons: Few accessories

The Sennheiser HD-598 Open-Backed Headphone is a great value for how it's priced. Found mine used with only two hours use, and I must say that these babies are a joy to listed to for any most any genre of music.

 

Sound

The sound of the 598 is warm and detailed, with light emphasis on the low mids and upper bass. I find it quite refreshing, especially after my last phones, the ATH-M50s which give preference to the deep bass. The 598, though not being a rattling bassphone reproduces complex bass lines with ease and control. I've quite enjoyed TripHop on these, especially Heligoland by Massive Attack, but also acoustic singer-songwriters (like Laura Veirs and Sara Jarosz) play very well with the detailed mids. The tone and articulation of Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin and Double Bass as well as the vocals are clear and sexual, and drums are punchy without being obtrusive.  Especially with acoustic, the 598 is quite immersive. I've noticed many details with these phones that before escaped my ears. I don't have any major complaints about the sound of these cans.

 

Comfort

Not much to say here, I've never gotten listening fatigue from these puppies, as they're light-weight and not too tight. My only quibbles are that they're kind of hard to keep positioned when lying down, but that is because there is not a lot of pressure exerted on the head, which serves as an advantage most of the time, and they get a bit warm if you're in a warm setting, but that's pretty unavoidable.

 

Style

Now usually I don't give a rip about looks, but the HD598 simply looks nice to my eyes, with the tan frame and accents, and I understand it does have the potential to make you look like they're over 30 years old, but personally I like it.

 

Build

I've had no problems with these babies yet, but seeing as I've only had them a couple months, I should wait to give an opinion on the durability.

 

Accessories

The 598 ships with only the phone itself, the three meter chord and 3.5mm adapter, which is quite inconvenient should you want to use it with a mobile setup. Now I understand that that's not the intended purpose of these, seeing as they're open-backed, but I find myself going on many walks in semi-secluded spaces and I like to take these with me. I had to get the three-foot chord which terminates in a 3.5mm plug by default, with a 6.3mm adapter, because of problems with the stock adapter, but it's no big deal.

 

That's pretty much it. Love these phones and don't regret the purchase in the slightest.

Posted

Pros: Amazing soundstage, extremely comfortable, Outstanding sound quality

Cons: Come with 6.3mm jack plug but you end up using them with 3.5mm adapter most of the time

Note: This is my first audiophile headphones so i can't compare them to any other headphones out there for the same price.

 

These headphones are well designed, fit your head perfectly and are extremely lightweight. They are made out of plastic but they don't look cheap. They are very solid in my opinion.

You can wear these for a long session and never worry about them.

This is the first reason i decided to buy these.

About the color. You may or may not like it. I love the color combination, they look classy but it's all about personal taste. Since they sound so great you'll forgot about the color soon enough after wearing them. 

 

Second reason, probably the most important, is the sound quality.

I was looking for open headphones. The soundstage you get from that kind of headphones can't be replicated by another. The HD 598 soundstage is amazing. Period.

They sound leak a lot but this is intended and make them sound phenomenal in terms of soundtage. If you plan to use use them for personal listening at home or in a quiet place you shouldn't worry about that. (By the way these are sold for home listening so if you buy them and complain about the sound leak, that's just stupid).

 

Out of the box they sound good but i noticed an improvement with each hour of listening. 

The sound quality in general is amazing and changed the way i enjoy music. These headphones work well with different musical genres. I listen a lot of folk, jazz, blues, funk, rock but i tried almost everything with them (even electronic which is my least favourite genre) and they never failed me.

If i had to describe how they sound i would say "smooth and extremely clear". You can ear every single instruments even when there are tons of instruments. 

I love vocals and these headphones make them shine. I almost cried listening to some songs posted in the "best female vocals" in forum music section.

 

In a word, they are accurate. 

 

Being so precise i noticed the sound source has to be right to enjoy these headphones to their full potential. You can easily spot the difference if a song is not well mastered or comes in poor quality (song's format matters).

An amp is not needed in my opinion but could be useful. 

I tried them with my pc and an ipod. They sound different on my ipod and not so great. I wouldn't recommend them if you plan to use them only with an ipod or a dap in general. And you shouldn't as i mentioned early these work wonder if you use them for house listening. 

 

About the lack of bass response someone point out in some reviews. That's not true. The bass is there how he should be. It's not emphatized compared to some headphones out there.

 

I found almost no cons. My only complain is about the cord: it ends with the larger 6.3mm plug but i use the 3.5mm plug most of the time. However the cord is detachable so you can replace it easily so it's a minor con.

 

In conclusion, these are quality headphones. Sennheiser quality. You won't regret your purchase and you'll start to enjoy music even more.

I give them 4.5/5 stars even if they are perfect for my needs and they are one of my best purchase ever. 

 

I would strongly recommend them to anyone who want a great pair of headphones without paying much. I look forward to use them everyday.

 

Note: this is my first review and my english is not so good. Sorry about that. I hope this could be useful to someone. I'll add some pics as soon as possible

Posted

Pros: Airy soundstage, sparkly treble, slightly lush mids, neutral bass, comfort, great looking, serious bang for the buck.

Cons: Mild upper mids coloration preventing them from sounding totally natural.

The HD 598 is a terrific mid-fi headphone. They sound very natural and almost effortless. They are extremely comfortable headphones. Also, they look like a luxury product.

These are excellent for gaming and watching movies. Also, these don't have high impedance like the higher end Sennheiser headphones. You can drive them with your iPod. Though, an amp can help you drive them to their full potential.

If you are a basshead , then stay away from them. It doesn't mean they lack bass, they have a perfect amount of bass for  most music genres, though, it's not overly emphasized like in bass heavy headphones.

 

Talking about its sound -

They sound smooth with mild coloration in the upper mids. Apart from that - they sound natural.

 

Lows - well, they do bass, but it's not heavy hitting . There's an emphasis on the mid bass.

You can hear the sub bass, but it's mildly masked because of the mid bass emphasis. I wouldn't call the bass lacking . It's just neutral. Nothing special to write about.

 

Mids - Strongest feature of the headphone. It is something very different. I have never heard such a spectacular midrange before. It is lush sounding with a touch of brightness that prevents it from sounding too dark and laidback( it is still laid back though). It has an emphasis on the lower mids giving lushness to the sound.

There's a mild coloration in the upper mids . Upper mids are rather forward revealing harsh edges in some songs, though, It's not bothersome as they become smoother with burn in. The mids are nicely textured. Overall, HD 598's midrange is smooth and moderately bright sounding. Very addictive.

 

Highs and Soundstage - Another amazing features that keep the headphone from sounding too dark. The treble is smooth and there's a mild recessesion at 8khz. though, there's a peak rising at 20 khz giving the treble a nice sparkle and airy sound. There's absolutely no sibilance to speak of. The treble is very nicely controlled. It blends perfectly with the amazing midrange producing a magical sound. This is furthermore helped with a very wide and deep soundstage. It is one of the best soundstages I have ever heard in headphones. It is not ultra wide like the K701 that can screw up imaging. It is decently wide and airy without feeling disconnected from music . Also, the depth is suprisingly well done.

Talking about instrument separation - instruments are separated nicely , you can hear each instrument clearly . Instruments have nice air around them.

 

All in all, if you are after natural sound and have a 200$ budget, then buy them in a heartbeat. Amazing deal.

Posted

Pros: Natural, airy, unhyped and detailed

Cons: None...except they'll make you realize just how bad MP3s really suck. But is that really a con?

I've had these for about 6 months and I find them to be outstanding.  I think you'd pay double to get anything better.  Natural, unhyped response. Nice full soundstage. VERY, VERY COMFORTABLE. I use them with a Fiio E10 as well as a Focusrite TwinTrak Pro. I have quite a bit 24/96 and vinyl. For reference I also own  AKG K240M (600 OHM), Sennheiser HD439, Superlux HD681 and AKG K55.  The 598s are by far my favorite, no contest.

Posted

Pros: never harsh sounding, no sibilance, easy to listen to, wide soundstage

Cons: bass rolls off, not very detailed, a bit muddy, dark sounding, overpriced

Firstly, this headphone is the prime example of something I'd love to hate.

I did like the HD595 as a non fatiguing headphone... and yeah the HD598 is better. But that ugly design and MAP restriction left a sour taste.

I'm still saddened they didn't switch to a 1/8 inch connector as most devices use that nowadays. Another problem is the impedance varies among the frequency greatly, especially in the mid-bass. Don't plug these into some receivers, they will get really muddy.

It sounds like the HD595 with better clarity, and more treble. But again much better can be found for the money.

Supposedly Sennheiser fixed the build quality issues, but we'll see...

Posted

Pros: Amazing performance for the price, easy as pie to drive, can scale extremely well, forgiving presentation

Cons: Polarizing appearance, needs an aftermarket adapter for 1/8" jack

The Sennheiser 598 is the new the ruler of the sub-$300 roost. 

 

If you're looking for a headphone with an expansive sound stage that is at once both intimate and expansive...

 

If you can't shell out for a Hi-Fi set of cans like the HD600/650 and the necessary amp to drive them well....

 

If you're looking for a versatile headphone that bring music to life but doesn't punish your ears with poor source material...

 

If you're looking for a headphone that you can comfortably wear all day long....

 

If you're like me, and use your computer as your primary entertainment center for music, movies, and games...

 

Then the Sennheiser 598s are a godsend for you.

 

Many reviewers have described these headphones as being "lush", "warm", "creamy", and "smooth".

 

Forget the audiophile jargon.  

 

Lyrics, especially female vocalists, come in crystal clear and are front-and-center in presentation.  The background harmonics are there, but hey, you paid money to hear someone sing, right?  Movies and television shows benefit from this too - it's almost as if there's a small circular stage with a spotlight on it that the actors are on, and all the background noise just falls away.

 

There's an accusation that these headphones lack detail.  It's not true.  

 

Detail is not hearing every artifact in a recording.  Detail is not having every audible instrument played with equal intensity and volume.  

 

Detail is when the soundmixer thought what was most important to be the star of the show.  For music it's lyrics.  For movies it's dialogue and action. 

Posted

Pros: So well balanced. No overpowering bass. So real and so natural is the sound. Pads are so comfortable. Stylish look

Cons: None I can think of.

I am a headphones aficionado and I enjoy collecting good headphones Just got this pair of incredible headphones today after biking for more than 10 km. Was going to buy another make but when I set my eyes on this one and it's the only one in the store, I seized it because I read such good reviews it has. I put them on immediately and rode home on my bike. It was probably the most enjoyable 10km bike ride I ever had with John Mayer crooning away while I push those pedals.

 

I am enjoying Beethoven sonatas just as I am writing this now. Music is so rich and exuberant that it is giving me immense enjoyment and happiness.

Posted

Pros: Light, EXTREMELY comfy, great mids & highs,

Cons: Bass lacks impact, annoying cable, no carrying pouch

 

Hello everyone. I'm going to review Sennheiser's HD598 audiophile headphones, and give you an overview of my personal opinions on it. These seem to be one of Sennheiser's most esteemed set of cans, so if you really want to know what all the jazz is about, well here you go. Feel free to agree or disagree however you find suitable, however I warn you, if you disagree with me, you are provoking the wrath of the almighty audio gods, so I would be wary if I were you.

 

***Disclaimer: This is all opinion-based, but I'm pretty sure my opinions are true. Otherwise I would be an insecure jack wagon***

 

I got these headphones about two months ago and have been giving them lots of good critical listenings through a variety of different situations. Overall, my impression of them is extremely favorable and going back and forth between these and different sets, I always seem to crawl back to these. I'm just going to break down each aspect of these step by step just for you. That's right. I love all of you... well, not really.

 

Source: Droid Razr Maxx @ 320Kbit/sec MP3. 10 channel EQ'd to my personal preference. 

Amp: FiiO E09K

 

20 hours of burn-in (if there even is such a thing)

 

Accessories

The HD598s don't really come with much, and this might be a little disappointing to some people. The only accessory that it comes with is a 1/4 inch (6.3mm) female to a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) male adapter. It's my opinion that Sennheiser should have at least given some sort of complimentary box, given that you shell out a little over $200 for these (which some ignorant people might find to be excessive). But to no avail, nothing else is provided with them.

 

Cable

The cable is nice and sturdy. It is removable from the headphones, and only goes into one earpiece, which is nice since now you don't have to worry about jerking your headphones off of your head. However, the fact that it terminates in a 6.3mm plug is sure to cause a lot of frustration with some people. These headphones definitely do NOT need an amp to run proficiently, and the fact that if you want to plug them into your phone or iPod, the plug coupled with the adapter effectively becomes as big as a pencil. Now, while the fact that these cans were never meant to be mobile is quite obvious, it still is annoying that you can't really replace the proprietary cable with anything else. What would have been better is if they made the cable terminate in a 3.5mm plug, and if you want to plug them into an amp, just get an adapter for it. Really, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter is not that big or intrusive at all. Minus one for intelligence.

 

Build

This is really where the 598s begin to hit the high note (no pun intended). The creamy, somewhat antique look to them is sure to please a lot of people, but it is also sure to repulse others. To me, I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. Everything on this is plastic, but don't fret yet (hey that rhymes!) because this is a very, very high quality plastic (I know it sounds cheesy). I don't really know what to compare it to, but I assure you that the plastic feels very good, and it doesn't feel cheap at all. The headband is cushioned with almost an inch of padding, and when you put these on, it's almost like you forget they're even there. Another plus is the ear pads. The brown velvet is extremely comfortable, and if you've ever had those really soft pajamas that you feel like you just want to cuddle up into, that is what it feels like. Very nice. Sometimes I will find myself just petting the ear pads like a dog because I feel this incessant need to give them love.

 

Let me reiterate, the overall weight is so little, that when you put these on, they almost literally disappear. They just become another part of your body.

 

Sound

Now for the good stuff.

 

Lows

 

This has been the centerpiece for a lot of controversy in the audiophile world. In no ways is the bass on these powerful, and it is most certainly not the main attention that these headphones give. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad, just a tad bit recessed compared to other headphones in the same price range. Sub bass is slightly underpowered, and mid to upper bass are both more present, but seemingly lacking just a tad bit (however this is totally subject to opinion). Now don't let this get you down, because you can still hear the beat of the drums, the pluck of the bass guitar, and everything else that the audio masters want you to hear, but don't expect to be wowed by them. To some people, this is actually a good thing and they feel like it provides a perfect tonal balance. Others feel that it could be given a bit of a boost. Opinion: Even though I am a little disappointed with the bass, that doesn't drive me away completely from them (for reasons later mentioned). Even with excessive equalizing, these still have trouble accurately representing bass-heavy tracks. For instance, take Another One Bites the Dust by Queen for example. If you don't know this song, get out right now. I want nothing to do with you. Anyway, I'm actually listening to this song right now, so here's what I'm hearing: While there is still a bit of punch that you can feel from the drums, the main bass line lacks impact. Yes, I can hear it perfectly, but it just seems to me like there's just something missing. My friend's tube amp actually corrects this problem, but unfortunately I don't have one of my own. If you try to play dubstep on these headphones, you might be better off trying to convince Nancy Pelosi that capitalism actually works better than communism. Just won't work.

 

Again, this is completely up for opinion as if you like this aspect of it or not, so if you're not sure, try to find someone that has the 598s and see for yourself.

 

Edit: After about 40 hours of burn-in, I have actually noticed that the bass has become more pronounced and punchy, however still a little recessed. Nonetheless, I actually like the bass better now as it seems to have more umph to it. Even though I stated before that I'm pretty critical of burn-in, I can't deny that either my ear or the headphones have changed to make the bass a whole lot better. Whatever it is, it is a lot better. However my rating still stands as I believe it can still be just a little bit more punchy. But it still is very nice now!

 

Mids

 

If I could sum up the characteristic of the mids on this set, it would be "tasty". Yes, tasty. Hold on a second, let me switch the song. Okay, now I'm listening to Still Got the Blues by Gary Moore. The guitar solo that Mr. Moore shreds out around 3:45 is EXTREMELY well presented by these headphones. When he switches down to the bridge pickups on his guitar, it literally makes my spine tingle with how well the mids on these things do. It is just so intensely crunchy and powerful. Almost makes me want to cry. Besides that part, vocals are very very easy to hear above the instruments. It does not strain you at all to understand what the singer is saying. If you care to look at my review I did on the Sony XB-1000s here on this website, you will find that they did an absolutely horrid job of presenting vocals. That's to major contrast with the HD598s. It's just absolutely fantastic. I don't really know what else to say about it because it's just so freaking perfect. Smooth as silk.

 

Highs

 

A lot of problems that headphones have is with sibilance. Sibilance is that cringe-inducing sound produced by the crash of a symbol or by the iteration of the "ssssssss" sound. With the 598s, I can say with utmost confidence that sibilance is completely non-existent. The symbols on drums are heard very clearly, yet they don't make you cringe at all. Squeals on the guitar make your spine tingle. Everything about the highs is buttery smooth and not fatiguing in the slightest. When playing games such as Battlefield 3 (CoD sucks by the way), gun shots are head rattling and whenever a sniper bullet whizzes past your head, it makes your heart jump. It's intensely powerful yet staying reserved enough that it doesn't rustle your jimmies. It's like these are balanced just oh-so perfectly, and really I wouldn't like the mids or highs to be any other way.

 

***Note about burn-in***

The only time I've really noticed any change in the sound signature in these headphones is around 3-4 hours. After that, I haven't noticed any other changes. However, I am extremely critical of burn-in, so I'm assuming that it may just be my ear getting accustomed to the headphones.

 

Soundstage

 

WOW!!! That's all I've got to say about that! Instruments are spaced out extraordinarily well, and sometimes you are left wondering if what you are hearing is coming from your headphones or the world around you. Like other reviews have done well to describe, it's like you are in the actual studio (or stage) where the band is playing. This is especially good for gaming because it allows you to hear precisely where other players are. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to get the upper hand simply because I could hear someone coming my way before I could even see them. I can't impress upon you enough how well the spacial distancing is on these cans. I can literally tell exactly where someone is coming from and about how far away they are solely due to the fact that the soundstage is so amazing. This characteristic can be mainly attributed to the open-back design of the speakers. Note that this actually might be a problem for some people because they block virtually no sound. People around you can also hear everything that you are listening to as broad as daylight.

 

Clarity

These are also some of the most clear headphones I've ever heard. Every beat, every pluck of the pick, every breath of the singer can all be heard with the minutest of detail. I was also shocked to realize that in certain songs, I could actually hear the metronome in the background, which is something that most headphones would fail to present. Beats fanboys would say "hurr durr why would you want to hear a metronome." Well, that's not the point. The point is that the headphones produce such great clarity that it just so happens that you can hear the metronome. My goal in life is not to purchase headphones that play the metronome. It's just BECAUSE they are so clear, that you can hear it.

 

It is just absolutely astounding the resolution and clarity that these provide. Now don't get me wrong, I agree 100% that there are clearer phones out there, but for the price range, there is almost nothing that beats it.

 

Overall Impression

The wow factor on these headphones is truly something to behold. While the bass to some might lack impact and force, the mids and highs make up for it by presenting a crunchy and very satisfying tone. The cable is a little annoying and I wish that Sennheiser would have included a 3.5mm terminated plug since these headphones most certainly do not need an amp to be driven sufficiently, but I can see the reasoning behind it. These were never meant to be taken out of the house. Sound leakage is a problem, but that is certainly to be expected with all open-back headphones. If you are looking for an excellent entrance into the higher-quality headphone community, this has got to be on your list of consideration. It really is a great set.

 

Price range rating: 9/10

Would give 10/10 if Sennheiser would include a 3.5mm terminated cable and if the bass had a little bit more impact.

Sennheiser HD 598
Description:

Not only are the HD 598 aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but they also provide an impeccable sound quality and unrivalled comfort. These beige-coloured open, circumaural headphones come with high-gloss burl wood parts and matching ear pads for a sophisiticated, premium finish. With Sennheiser‘s innovative E.A.R. technology, audio signals are directly channelled into your ears. These headphones also incorporate a special diaphragm geometry that minimizes intermodulation distortion while delivering an impressive frequency response range, plus a highly constant compressed cellulose fleece to hold harmonic distortion to less than 0.1%. And to accentuate the already outstanding listening experience even further, their high-quality leatherette headband and velour ear pads provide outstanding wearing comfort, even for long listening sessions. Features * High-end open circumaural headphones with E.A.R. technology for outstanding sonic accuracy and clarity * Sennheiser's innovative “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” (E.A.R.) design channels audio signals directly into your ears * State-of-the-art, advanced Duofol diaphragms for transparency and minimal distortion * Highly optimised, field-strengthened neodymium ferrous magnet systems for an excellent dynamic response * Surround reflector for extended spatial sound field * Lightweight aluminium voice coils for high efficiency and excellent dynamics * Special diaphragm geometry reduces intermodulation distortion * Highly constant, compressed cellulose fleece reduces total harmonic distortion * Premium beige and high-gloss burl wood parts for a sophisticated finish * Extremely comfortable velour ear pads and headband * Excellent connectivity, also with home Hifi equipment * 2-year warranty Delivery Includes * 1 HD 598 headphones * 1 3.5 mm adapter

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