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Sennhieser hd 558 review

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Sennheiser HD 558 Review





  • The HD 558's are insanely neutral sound signature, they focus almost evenly on the mids and highs with really strong and detailed bass to back it up
  • These headphones can handle all types of music due to its neutrality in its sound signature
  • Open design on these headphones make anything you listen to appear like it is coming from outside the headphone
  • Life-like acoustics
  • Airy bass (perfect for bass guitar reproduction)  due to open design




  • The HD 558 are not designed for portability in any way this is shown by how Sennheiser made these headphones:
    • Open design leaks more noise out and lets more noise in (not enough so that louder volume can't compensate for but still can be a tad annoying)
    • The jack is 6.3mm and the adapter is huge so if you have a case for your player, it may get in the way
    • The cable of the headphones are 3m long, so if you want a shorter cable, I suggest you use a cable tie or something to keep it bound (avoid rubber bands, they can damage the cable due to the pressure it outputs) 
    • Fails to produce impacting sub woofer-like bass without assistance(bass booster)



This was the first pair of audiophile headphones that I owned (not the first one that I used, but the first for me to own).


So my school laptop is just horrible when it comes to sound card and cant bring the colour and detail out of these headphones but the output is perfect for these headphones, what i noticed when these headphones are properly powered are these headphones are LOUD!!!

The first thing you would notice about these headphones would be how comfortable they are, followed by how little noise they block out, the annoying 6.3mm jack and the 3m cable. All the characteristics of a pair of headphones that is meant for studio use. 

Sound Frequency Chart
The Overall Sound:
the sound of these headphones will definitely sound familiar and it sounds very much like the time i tried on my friend's HD 555's mainly focusing on the mids, highs and the treble and detailed bass without the bloating (some of my friends get ticked off at that [but they use the Beats Studio so its understandable]). But for those who used the HD 555 will notice that the 558's are actually more dynamic in sound/has better soundstage, not sounding as flat as its predecessor.  This headphone has a fairly neutral sound signature that leans towards the brighter side of the sound spectrum. This headphone focuses mainly on the mid tones with strong highs and detailed bass to support it.
these headphones are rather neutral headphones leaning towards the brighter side, in this review, I use the word neutral because it is within the range where none of the tones seem to be overpowered, drowned out, or too soft to be audible, I mean it is a near balance between the three tones (highs, mids and lows). These headphones truly accel at the highs. The first thing you would notice is these headphones make vocals seem like they are coming from outside the headphone and acoustic sounds sound like they're coming from a guitar about a meter away from you.
OK big improvements here, there isn't that gap I've noticed with the 555's and they have made the mids on these headphones to really stand out on these headphones (but not so that it can sound overpowering) the mids are just as detailed as the highs but are more "background" then some other headphones. Persecution instruments are more background then instruments like vocals and occasionally cymbals, while higher mids like electric guitars and similar digital noise (such as the intro of Don't Talk to Strangers by Hedley) stick out brilliantly right behind the vocals.
These headphones almost hit the bass sweet-spot for many songs where you both feel and hear the bass. But saying this I find these headphones rather bass-lacking for some songs like Flo Rida's Low where sub woofer bass impact is needed to make the song really enjoyable, that is without bass booster which I generally dislike for distorting the rest of the song to increase the impact of the bass. Having said that you shouldn't expect teenage sub woofer bass performance bass from these headphones without any personal tweaking. Pardon the contradicting statements but I am nowhere close to lying when I say these headphones almost hit the sweet-spot of bass. These headphones are absolutely amazing at recreating a bass guitar's sound, unlike most closed and semi-opened (with a small hole) you get an airy bass guitar sound which is almost essential for a bass guitar to sound like a low guitar and not a low sub woofer-like sound. As I have previously mentioned in my headphone 101, bass is usually traded off depending on the type of headphone you go with.

These headphones have the strong treble of the Sennhieser soundstage clear, detailed and very apparent. This was probably the first thing I noticed about these headphones was how clear, detailed and realistic the treble sounded on these headphones even on an unamped iphone. i find that on a few rare moments in about 5 songs in my 2000 song library that the treble can even sound a tad overpowering covering tiny hints of the mids or highs. For those who don't like listening to the cymbals as much, and on a few rare occasions, even more then the drum, these headphones may not be for you
foam mod
Ok my friend did the foam mod on his pair of 558's so I decided to give them a try. This mod helps a lot with the bass and it is something bass-heads might want to try. But the downside of this mod is a small loss of control in the highs, mids and bass. I have been noticing some notes are not as vivid, i will do this mod again to confirm this but i want to get some adequate equipment first.
The infamous cracks
Build Quality
The build quality of these headphones is almost totally reliant on when you get them. Sennheiser has had constant problem with their 5xx series headbands and the same applies to the early 558's. My HD 558 were purchased early December and the cracks started in late March, I swear I was flipping out. But Sennheiser has claims to have fixed the problem in the stocks that arrive in June (depends ultimately on your store). The new material is supposedly more rubbery as opposed to the old brittle plastic that cracks when stressed too much, but I can't confirm this until I get my HD 558's repaired. On the side you can see a picture of the cracks as they start. The best way to tell if you have this problem is you hear a cracking sound as you move the headphone joint it makes it really obvious that there is a problem.


Overall Impressions
Well when I re-wrote/revised this review I totally forgot about this section. So I'm writing this now after my HD 558's are gone so I have the funds to acquire the HD598's for a comparison between the two. Anyways, these headphones are a dream to listen to and can make even the crappiest of sources (like an iPhone/iPod or on-board sound card) sound amazing. The low impedance makes it drivable by just about anything and comfort is near god-like with it's velour ear pads. These headphones will have a fairly familiar sound signature to anyone who has enjoyed the HD 555's but with more dynamic and dimensional sound and a sweet looking colour scheme. For you new to high end headphones or for those of you who stuck with Beats, Skullcandy or Bose, I really recommend getting these headphones to get you started with high end audio.








 Bad quality but better then nothing











My simple cable tie solution
The odd 6.3mm jack and the 3.5mm adapter


Picture of the headphones before they came out of the box






Edited by jrkong - 3/28/14 at 6:33pm
post #2 of 28

Have you tried it on a receiver or integrated amplifier etcetera from an audio system? 


I was not impressed by the HD558 anyway...

post #3 of 28

Nice review!

I've been looking into these for a while also but it seems that there aren't many revieuw around on the net. I'm not in a situation where I can test them out so some more input, from you or someone else, would be greatly appreciated.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

actually this was why i wrote this review anyways even though i'm not really prepared equipment-wise cuz when i got these cans there was almost no info on these cans


if u live within the GTA area, we could probably work something out, i don't mind letting people try these phones out

post #5 of 28

I'm curious how they sound compared to the HD555... Maybe I'll buy them and return same-day after a comparison listen, if they sell them at best buy.. 

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

id say thats a good idea they don't seem to change that much, but that could just be my equipment and setup

post #7 of 28

"these headphones are really bright headphones as you would have guessed and the highs are relatively the same as the 555's"


To me this is a contradiction. The 555s would not be described as "really bright", at least not in comparison with the competition. Maybe you could elaborate here?

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 



"these headphones are really bright headphones as you would have guessed and the highs are relatively the same as the 555's"


To me this is a contradiction. The 555s would not be described as "really bright", at least not in comparison with the competition. Maybe you could elaborate here?


thx for pointing that out i know i need to update my review some time soon

but what im saying more like "These headphones are bright compared to "name brand" headphones like Bose and Beats which most people my age support" so to speak but ya i still think that they are more headed toward the "bright side" (highs mids and treble) rather then the "darker side" (bass and fart cannon territory) they arn't the neutral even overall


im going to add this to the review very soon but after more experience with it i find that these headphones are almost pretty balanced when it comes to most songs but when i listen to "Hey Mama" and "Lets Get Retarded" by Black Eyed Peas 320 kbs (my whole iphone is 320 or apple lossless from flacs) the bass seems to be lacking a tad sometimes on lower volumes, but the foam mod fixes it for the most part. but i prefer the extra mid control and the clean non bloated bass you get from the stock rather than the foam mod. But that is just personal preference.


right now after 20 hours they sound more detailed and the bass gained more control


i dont have the time to write a complete update or update the main review but im gonna add it on the weekend for sure when i have more time


again thx for pointing it out and again i hope this helps with ur next headphone decision :D


PS i will continue to update this review until at least 150 and most likely 200 hours of burn in

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

The build of these headphones are nice but the paint job is moderate...

the sennheiser words start to come off after about 100 times of use

i just rubbed them off they don`t look as nice imo but better then just having the sennheiser word on one side


post #10 of 28

hey man why u havent impressed from hd 558 isnt that worth the price and i ve never listened it but idk what your opinion

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by arda1426 View Post

hey man why u havent impressed from hd 558 isnt that worth the price and i ve never listened it but idk what your opinion

ok i cant tell you enough how impressed i am with these headphones are and it is only with an iphone, i am going to get the fiio e7 and see how that goes, but you see these headphones are probably burned in for about 30 hours which, going by the dynamics of these headphones is nowhere close to being fully burned in


probably what i am most impressed by now besides the actual soundstage is how much these headphones can change ever day, yesterday the bass sounded horrible and it was barely audible and kind of sounded muddy but today it sounds like its back and stronger and more stable then before, it is still nowhere near bass-head material, but it is definitely not soft in the bass department


i remember in the review that i have stated that these are bright headphones,  i must restate myself, these are neutral headphones that seem to lean more towards the bright sound spectrum. The bass is definitely there but it does not go over any other sounds


currently i find that these perform well with songs that are more country like acoustic versions of songs and some Red Hot Chilli Peppers to hear the detail of the guitar and bass guitar (I recommend Snow Hey Oh!)


but for bass i have gone with Starstruck by Lady Gaga, the bass in this song is on par with vocals in the intro before the digitalized mids kick in during the middle of the song, bass level on these headphones are very relyant on the song itself.


i also find that these headphones are very versitile for me as it satisfies me for all of the different genres that i listen to which are: Rock Pop Hip Hop Alternative Country and Electric


So to sum up your question I am more then impressed with these headphones but i wanted them to settle a bit before getting into this. I would buy these in a snap for 250 so the 140 i payed for them was nothing, do they have the bang for buck i wanted?



i just want to note that using these for your iphone or ipod without an amp will be dangerous as the physical jack puts too much weight on your headphone jack and ultimately damaging it and the motherboard, THIS IS BAD AS IT CAN MESS UP YOUR IPHONE/IPOD BUTTONS as it did for me so you should really consider the fiio e7 or the upcoming e11 depending on your needs while using these headphones for portable/outdoor phones.


if you want pics plz ask for em ill put em up



lots of school work sorry

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

CRACKS!!!!!!!! ***BLEEEP*** THE CRACKS FROM THE HD 555's ARE BACK T_T! im gonna send it in for warrenty replacement, from what i've heard sennheiser changed the headband matirial (i have the first batch or near it)


post #13 of 28

Any updates by owners? Any new comparissons between the HD558 and his big brother the HD598?

I actually found a place where they have both but they're just connected to some sercial cd player on which you can't even change the volume so auditioning is impossible confused_face.gif

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by melie View Post

Any updates by owners? Any new comparissons between the HD558 and his big brother the HD598?

I actually found a place where they have both but they're just connected to some sercial cd player on which you can't even change the volume so auditioning is impossible confused_face.gif

As far as I've seen, there are no in-depth comparison around, i want to see if i can aquire a review pair from sennheiser but i doubt that, anyways they seem extremely similar frequency response wise (based on fq resp charts).


ANYWAYS i would have replied earlier but everything tech based has died on me, my laptop my iphone's screen and my PS3 (or rather PSN) so i'll try to answer any questions anyone has asap so don't hesitate to ask a question on this post or as a PM



post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
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