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Headphone dilemma. Sennheiser HD 558 or Audio Technica or Beyer or...?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey guys.

 

So my trusty HD 555 cans just broke yesterday after years of abuse and having it accidentally fall on the floor and stuff. The right cup cracked and is now supported only by the wire running to the right earpiece but whatever.

 

So I've been doing some hunting and had a look at the head-fi over-ear open-type headphones. I've narrowed down my options to:

 

Sennheiser HD 558 (mod this to HD-598 quality)

 

Beyerdynamic DT-990

 

Audio Technica ATH-AD700

 

However, I'm still confuzzled. My budget's around $180 USD or so. What I require from headphones is to have very good or excellent sound positioning for competitive games, great sound for music (most genres), good for movies etc. Now I know that what I'm asking might be impossible to find in my price range but what do you think?

post #2 of 14

Mad Lust Envy posted a gaming headphone multi-review, so you can look at that here:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/534479/mad-lust-envy-aka-shin-cz-s-guide-to-headphone-gaming-particularly-with-dolby-headphone

 

As for my recommendation, I would suggest the HD558.  Like you and I know, the HD555 was a supremely versatile set of headphones for music (OMG that awesome warmth and soundstage) and movies.  I've heard the 558's soundstage is much improved over the 555, which is impressive.  The review above also says the HD598 is awesome for gaming, so I'm sure the HD558 will be too.  I listened to the DT990 at a meet and spent a good deal of time with them, but I was unimpressed. Never tried the AD700.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply Hayang. I'm still deciding whether to take the plunge on the HD-558's or just hold off for a while and do some more research. If there are any other versatile quality cans you recall, please post away! Has there been any info on the Sennheiser PC360's? 

 

 

post #4 of 14

 

Although I dont have much experience , I'm gonna share my thoughts with you.

 

To be honest, I never heard the HD555's, but I got the HD558's about 2 weeks ago. They sounded amazing, mind-blowing, extremely loud to me when i first got them (mainly because i never owned headphones that cost more than 50 euros, HD212' s being the best headphones i ever had). The thing that impressed me the most is the wide sound stage and the detailing. Its amazing to actually hear the separate sources of sounds in songs, so i doesnt all sound mixed up and blurry if you know what I mean. Closing your eyes while listening to music makes you feel like the sound is coming from speakers. I read that on senn's webpage, i didnt believe it...until i bought them. Another thing that i like very much is the deep and very strong, punchy bass, much better than on HD212's (which are famed for having good bass reproduction).

 

I dont know what else to say about the sound, except that I like it very very much. Its very pleasing ( i guess the word is "warm") and energetic. Gives me goosebumps while listening to songs I heard hundreds of times before and never liked very much. Lots of WOW moments as well....  What else can I say...I'm a newbie audiophile, but I'm slowly being pulled into the whole thing.... :)

 

Now, as far as the mod goes. I was skeptical at first, I didnt want to damage my headphones, but after pulling the earcups off (which was very easy), you just have to undo 3 screws and thats it. As far as sound goes, I can honestly say I didnt notice HUGE difference. Bass is a bit punchier and faster, more responsive (i dont know how else to explain it), and overall the sound is a bit clearer , especially in the mid frequencies.

 

I heard the 598's in the store before buying the 558's, and sound was very very similar, definitely not worth the extra money if you ask me. Unfortunately, even though it sounds amazing, the 558 doesnt sound as good for me as it did in the store (not even after the mod), but thats mainly because mine's connected to a cheap ass onboard sound card trough the logitech z2300, and the one in store was connected to a 500 euro amp. :P And also, since my source at home is different, I cannot compare the modded 558 to 598, but i guess the 558's would sound as good as the 598's after the mod, since they sound so similar when they're both stock.

 

If I had to give these headphones a score, It would be 9/10. But thats only because I dont have a headphone amp, and I know that 558's can sound better than they do for me.

 

Did you use any headphone amp or DAC for your 555? I'm currently in the process of buying something like that.   

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

derbigpr,

 

Haha. Your experiences remind me of the first time I switched over from Grado SR-80's to HD555. Yes, that's what the mod does. Makes the bass punchier so all in all, a win-win.

 

Yes, I'm using a PA2V2 amp I ordered years ago from Gary Ali courtesy of electric avenues. Best $60 I've ever invested in audiophile equipment besides headphones. Although I've gotta get off my ass one day and find a converter or something to have the amp powered by the DC adapter (I live in the Middle East so NA adapters are a no-go here). . I hate having to replace and recharge the batteries occasionally.

 

Well, I think I'll take the plunge on the HD-558's then.

post #6 of 14

Hey, when you get them, could you do a favor to us all and give a detailed impressions thread and compare it to the HD555?  That would be awesome.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by numbnuts View Post

derbigpr,

 

Haha. Your experiences remind me of the first time I switched over from Grado SR-80's to HD555. Yes, that's what the mod does. Makes the bass punchier so all in all, a win-win.

 

Yes, I'm using a PA2V2 amp I ordered years ago from Gary Ali courtesy of electric avenues. Best $60 I've ever invested in audiophile equipment besides headphones. Although I've gotta get off my ass one day and find a converter or something to have the amp powered by the DC adapter (I live in the Middle East so NA adapters are a no-go here). . I hate having to replace and recharge the batteries occasionally.

 

Well, I think I'll take the plunge on the HD-558's then.


Hmm, I dont think i can get the PA2VP amp anymore. But i guess any will do since the 558's are only 50 ohms, shouldnt be hard to run.

How about the source of your audio? Do you use it on computer? If yes, do you have a special sound card?

 

Because I'm using my headphones on PC only, and I was thinking whether its better to buy a soundcard + some cheaper headphone amp or a DAC with preamp like nuforce uDAC2.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

I could try but the current condition of my HD-555's will make it hard. Here's a pic describing why:

 

HbFV7.jpg

 

I think the guy's still around making PA2V2 amps. You should prolly have a look at his website. I use it on the computer powered by a Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic card <-> PA2V2 amp <-> my headphones. I'm not really knowledgeable about amps so can't help you there.

post #9 of 14

Oh, how did that happen? Did they just crack on your head one time or did you drop them?  I hope it doesnt happen on my Hd558's . I'll be more gentle with them from now on. :P      By the way, I found out yesterday that my motherboard has a pretty decent onboard sound card ,Realtec ALC899 HD. Had a look around some forums, and people say unless you're rdy to buy a soundcard for 150+ dollars, its not gonna make much difference, so I'm probably gonna go for the amplifier alone. Something not too expensive, since 558's are easy to run. Later I'll invest some money into a decent external USB DAC.

 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just kept dropping them accidentally on the floor over the course of 3 years lol. Definltely gonna invest in a headphone stand now.

 

post #11 of 14

A lot of Senn 5 series develop cracks. I think there is a thread today where someones 598 is cracking on the Senn logo on the side. Same place my 555 started cracking after 4 weeks of light use. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

Oh, how did that happen? Did they just crack on your head one time or did you drop them?  I hope it doesnt happen on my Hd558's . I'll be more gentle with them from now on. :P      By the way, I found out yesterday that my motherboard has a pretty decent onboard sound card ,Realtec ALC899 HD. Had a look around some forums, and people say unless you're rdy to buy a soundcard for 150+ dollars, its not gonna make much difference, so I'm probably gonna go for the amplifier alone. Something not too expensive, since 558's are easy to run. Later I'll invest some money into a decent external USB DAC.

 

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yeah that's where mine started cracking as well. And I just checked the left logo side and I see a small crack forming there too. Dammit.

post #13 of 14


Yeah, that would be mine. One may see it here. The crack hasn't developed much if any since then, but still not happy that it's happening.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaughter View Post

A lot of Senn 5 series develop cracks. I think there is a thread today where someones 598 is cracking on the Senn logo on the side. Same place my 555 started cracking after 4 weeks of light use. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

Oh, how did that happen? Did they just crack on your head one time or did you drop them?  I hope it doesnt happen on my Hd558's . I'll be more gentle with them from now on. :P      By the way, I found out yesterday that my motherboard has a pretty decent onboard sound card ,Realtec ALC899 HD. Had a look around some forums, and people say unless you're rdy to buy a soundcard for 150+ dollars, its not gonna make much difference, so I'm probably gonna go for the amplifier alone. Something not too expensive, since 558's are easy to run. Later I'll invest some money into a decent external USB DAC.

 


 
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've got the same sort of crack on my left side too. Well, since the cracks just became noticeable after like 2 years or so, I think I'll take my chances with a HD 558. :P

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