Revenge of the HD590?So... my trusty HD590s had been gathering dust (or not) in a drawer for, umm, ages or so. Now just yesterday a little mod brought the output level of my tuner-driven BT928 down enough for even the HD590 to be usable at sane volumes with tolerable volume pot mistracking (I tend not to "crank it up" more than necessary), which I found out when I grabbed both this and the HD580 and compared with my usual HD420SL of yore (a model that may be lacking in extension on both ends but has rarely let me down in capturing the "soul" of music). Now the HD580 doubtlessly has the more convincing presentation with more even highs, but when contrasted with the other two it's just too cool and analytical sounding. The HD590 may have somewhat beefed-up bass and the highs appear to have some peak that doesn't make them entirely neutral sounding, but I found the upper mid recession to be far less bad than I remembered and the warmth to be all there. If I had to pick any of the two, it would probably be the HD590 (not for technicalities, but sympathy) - sorry HD580, but I guess the warmth issue is why there's the HD650 now. (Which still is #1 on my headphone shopping list.)
Let me reiterate that the HD590 is certainly not particularly neutral - my EQ'd HD540 comes close to that - but I'd consider it quite listenable and a welcome alternative to ye olde '420SL in terms of bedside-fi. Who'd have thought?
Edit: I can well imagine that "HD580-heads" may not be all that fond of HD590s, and in fact they typically weren't. Nonetheless, this model was sold for 5 years until the lineup was replaced, and finally when it was closed out around the $100 mark it was far from a bad deal for the money.