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Sennheiser HD558 impressions / review - Page 6

post #76 of 112

I also found HD558's 21Hz and 17000Hz from my Acer NoteBook are not audible even with high volum, unless connecting to an amp.

Why is that? If NB filtered them then no AMP can make them audible.

I am going to try that with my K240 again.


Edited by john65537 - 4/2/12 at 7:53pm
post #77 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by john65537 View Post

I also found HD558's 21Hz and 17000Hz from my Acer NoteBook are not audible even with high volume, unless connecting to an amp.

Why is that? If NB filtered them then no AMP can make them audible.


The amplifier allows for louder sound, making very low and high frequencies more easily audible at the higher volume. Also, some low end sources with capacitor coupled output roll off the bass when driving low impedance (i.e. headphone) loads, but this does not affect the much higher impedance line inputs.

 

post #78 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

The amplifier allows for louder sound, making very low and high frequencies more easily audible at the higher volume.

 

Also, some low end sources with capacitor coupled output roll off the bass when driving low impedance (i.e. headphone) loads, but this does not affect the much higher impedance line inputs.

 

I tested these pure tones mainly with midle level volume. happy_face1.gif

Just now I found K240 is similar to HD558, need an AMP to make 21Hz and 17000Hz audible. But K240 performed better on 21Hz.

 

Funny thing is the AMP I use is a cheap FiiO E6, which is like a toy showing no contribution to Sound Quality. But it demonstrates some effects on very low & high frequencies.

 

 

post #79 of 112
Quote:

Originally Posted by john65537 View Post

I tested these pure tones mainly with midle level volume. happy_face1.gif


The middle level volume on the amplifier does not necessarily output the same voltage as the middle level (or even higher) volume on the laptop. It is not easy to accurately judge absolute loudness subjectively, and it does affect the lowest and highest frequency that can be perceived.

 


Edited by stv014 - 4/3/12 at 6:09am
post #80 of 112

Thanks for the scientific stuff.

Pity I can't understand them quite well. Maybe I need some trainings from Kant's phylosophy lectures. :P

However, would you pleased suggest an ideal source/DAC/AMP for HD558? Or HD600?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post


The middle level volume on the amplifier does not necessarily output the same voltage as the middle level (or even higher) volume on the laptop. It is not easy to accurately judge absolute loudness subjectively, and it does affect the lowest and highest frequency that can be perceived.

 



 

post #81 of 112

Oops! Just now I found HD558 becomes so pleasant to listen to.

Maybe it has been used over 200 hrs? rolleyes.gif

Although 558 is not technically excellent, or as neutral as HD600,  but it is very pleasant for most music.


Edited by john65537 - 5/19/12 at 7:35am
post #82 of 112

I know your comment was a long time ago, but I have the same experience. I have no trouble hearing this tone through my HD 558s.

 

Edit: Oops, forgot to quote. Well, never mind.


Edited by Muzzlehatch - 6/27/12 at 4:24pm
post #83 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

 

So...I've had the HD558's for about 3 weeks now, and after about 100 or so hours of burning in, I think It's time to do a little review. I'm not an expert by any means, these are the most expensive headphones I've ever owned, so I wont use any technical data, I'm just gonna give an honest opinion.

 

First of all, a few words about my setup.  I only use my headphones at home (they're too big and clumsy to carry around anyway...), so PC is the only source. I have an Asus Xonar D2X sound card with ASIO drivers which I believe is more than good enough for HD558's.  The sound card has a more than decent headphone amp built in able to run these headphones to brain-melting volume levels , and its got some high quality components like for example Burr-Brown PCM1796 (123db, 24bit/192khz) DAC.

I use Winamp 5 Pro with Kernel Streaming plug-in to play only FLAC format music, mostly 16 bit /44khz, but I've got some 24/96's as well.

 

I mostly listen to 70's, 80's rock, 80's pop, jazz, instrumental and vocal music, sometimes rap / hip hop and trance when I'm in the mood.

 

Now about headphones, at the end of each category, I'm gonna give them a score from 1-10 , with score 10 being my expectation for this price, so if i give 10/10 to sound, it doesnt mean i think its perfect, it means i feel its best possible in this price range. Also I'm gonna compare them to my old Sennheiser HD212pro:

 

Looks and build quality:

- First of all, while these headphones look kind of cheap on pictures, they look really high-quality in person. Yes, they are made of plastic, but its seems like quality plastic, and that combined with soft velure-like ear cushions and shiny aluminum-look stripe around grill, makes them looks pretty upmarket.  Some people say that HD5x5's had problems with headband cracking, I dont see how that could happen.   I guess it would be nicer if some parts were made from metal, but you cant expect that for this price.

9/10

 

Comfort:

Out of the box, the HD558's were pretty stiff and uncomfortable. By uncomfortable I mean that they pressed my ears pretty hard, and also ear cushions which were pretty hard, pressed my neck a bit, so I felt my blood pulsing trough neck arteries, which was extremely annoying. After a few days, they became pretty loose and by now, they're almost too loose.  After the initial headband "burn in", they became pretty comfortable headphones, but they're pretty heavy, which overall makes them harder to keep on the head than Sennheiser HD212pro.

9/10

 

Sound:

The first thing I noticed when I first plugged them in was that they felt very loud compared to HD212's, thats probably because mids were pretty forward, however, I wasnt very impressed after a few hours of listening.  They felt like they were straining at high volumes. I though to my self, "they need to go trough burn-in period". After about 20 hour burn-in period, not much changed in sound... Then I remembered the reason why I bough the HD558's instead of Hd598's.

 

The mod:

I decided to take them apart and indeed, there were small (5 x 3 cm) pieces of very soft and dampening rubber material which covered about 60% of the mesh. I took that out, put them together, plugged them in, and I noticed the difference in the first 10 seconds. They sounded more airy , treble seemed more clear, mids seemed to be even more forward , but the biggest change was bass, and 558's low end now started sounding more like a 12 inch subwoofer than a 6" driver on high-quality monitor speakers.

I dont know whether the mod made them identcial to 598's, since I havent heard the 598's, but frankly, I dont even care, I'll get into reason for that a bit later.

 

Lows:

As I said, bass really woke up after mod. Using some frequency sweeps, its obvious that these headphones dont go as low as the specs say, meaning that you cant hear anything out of them until about 20 Hz, but thats ok, my favourite part of low end is 40 Hz anyway. :P

Bass might sound a bit loose and boomy on some tracks on very high volumes, like for example the beginning of MJ - Billy Jean, but as far as natural (instrumental) bass

goes, its nice and tight, and surprisingly punchy, although, It doesnt make my jaw rattle like HD212pro... HD558's clearly lag behind 212pro's in every aspect of low-frequency reproduction.

7/10

 

Mids:

I feel that this is an area where these headphones shine. Mids are very forward ,clear and natural. Voices, especially female ones, sound extremely pleasant and warm, while air and string instruments have a nice timbre, also sounding quite warm. However, I cant say the same for pianos. Piano tracks just dont sound as good as string / air instrument tracks. Piano reproduction is not loud enough, and every time the key is pressed, sounds seems to be unclear and muddy. Its not that bad, and certanly much better than Hd212pro, but you'd expect more after hearing a saxophone for example.  Its a minor "fault", no big deal, overall, I still feel this is the area where these headphones stand out and deliver.

9,5/10

 

Highs:

Nice and clear, not ear-piercing, but clear and detailed.... um.....I dont know what else to say here. :P 

As I said, im not an expert, so I dont know what to specifically look for in high frequency range. :P    To me, it sounds nice, and almost as good as the mids.

9/10

 

Soundstage:

These headphones give a really nice feeling of space, and separation between instruments in quite good, although not impressive in rock / hard-rock / orchestral tracks where there's loads of instruments fighting to stand out.

I perticulary like these headphones in games, with *dolby headphone* feature turned on in Asus Xonar driver menu.  558's sound really really detailed in games.

10/10

 

8,8/10

 

 

Listening experiance:

 

So, judging from these scores, you'd presume I love these headphones a lot. Well, you'd be quite wrong. I actually dont like them.  I want to like them, and i want to love them, but I dont, and I just cant make myself to like them.

 

I just cant explain why, because when i do some listening tests to find any obvious faults, I cant find any,  I'm always impressed with soundstage, detail, mids, highs...but when I just want to enjoy music, I cant enjoy it.   They just dont sound well while playing rock / pop,  they sound very nice with instrumental , vocal and classical, but again, they sound kind of uninspiring and boring.  They never make me tap my foot, and HD212's do in almost every song.

 

Yes, these headphones are detailed. Yes, they sound clear. Yes, mids and highs are great. Yes, the bass is punchy.  But overall,  when you put all these things together, I feel they sound boring and not very emotional or musical.

 

They make me listen to the sound, not the music.

6/10

 

Conclusion:

 

They're no doubt great headphones for the money, but they're not my cup of tea.  They're very natural, clear, soundstage is great, and they dont have any obvious faults in terms of sound, but they're not engaging, fun or musical. 

 

Would i buy them again? Probably not unless I couldnt find anything better for this price.

Would I recomend them? Yes If you like your music to sound as natural as possible, while not caring much about the emotional part of it.

 

I'm probably gonna sell them (since as days go by, they spend more and more time on the headphone stand, instead of being on my head) and get me some headphones that are more fun, even if they're worse in terms of audio quality.

 

Feel free to recommend fun headphones in 200-250$ range. :P

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Looks and quality: 9/10

Comfort : 9/10

Sound: 8,8/10

Soundstage: 10/10

Listening experience: 6/10

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Overall score:  7,2

 

 

 

------------------------------

UPDATE:  26/2/2011

------------------------------

 

I decided to keep the headphones for a little bit longer, and I have to admit I'm starting to like them. With over 200 hours of burn-in now, I think they're starting to sound pretty nice, and they're actually fun to listen to now.  I'm increasing my initial score of 6/10 for listening experience to 8/10.

 

But I have a new complaint.  When i wrote the review, i didnt really have the hd558's on the head for long periods of time, since i mostly just left them in the drawer to burn-in... now that i actually use them, i feel like comfort is an issue. Its not that they're uncomfortable, but they just dont stay on my head properly, and i have a nicely shaped head, average sized.  I cant find the perfect position on my ears, also, when playing the music loud, bass actually gets so strong the whole headphones vibrate, and i can feel the earcups slide towards the back of my head every time the bass hits. Also, they are pretty heavy (270g)... my neck gets tired after about 3-4 hours of wearing them.

 

 

 

-----------------------------

UPDATE: 15/8/2011

-----------------------------

 

 

Okay... I've had these headphones for 8 months now, and I have to say, I just LOVE them.   Everything about them that I didn't like is now gone, manly because I adjusted to them and paired them with Fiio E9 amp. I'd describe their sound as addictive .  Now I understand why some people kept their 595's for so many years, and 558's are even better in every aspect.  Comfort is perfect, I can wear them for 3-4 hours without ever noticing them (my neck got used to the weight), the ear pads adjusted to my head and its not an issue to wear glasses while I have headphones on the head.  Sound wise...I feel that they sound much "heavier", the amount of bass impact is greatly increased over the initial bass performance (even though it still only extends down to about 35-40 Hz, after that it gets lost, but thats ok, since the bass is more than powerful enough for any music, even hip hop.  Its also very tight and doesnt feel as loose as it felt at first.  Mids are still as great as they were, and highs got a little bit snappier, clearer.  The sound of these headphones now feels tight, and they're actually very very fun to listen, and if you ask me now "what would you change about the sound", I'd say "nothing.". Ok, maybe I'd a bit of bass, but these headphones arent made for hip-hop or similar music anyway.   I've heard many headphones since I got 558's,   including:

-HD595's (great but slightly worse than 558's in every aspect, especially bass) 

-HD598's  (which are exactly the same as modded HD558's, I challange someone to tell one from another in A-B blind tests, as its even hard to hear difference between stock 558's and 598's)

-HD650's (they made me realize that I prefer dark sounding headphones, and they also made me realize that they're not worth the extra money over 558's since they sound only slightly better, and only in certain songs.  And yes, they were connected to an amp, it was a Nuforce Icon 2 amp, and they were burned in)  

-Grado SR325 (they made me realize I absolutely hate bright sounding ear piercing headphones, I could not listen to a single song for more than a minute on these)

 

 

All in all, I love these headphones now, I don't know whether they got so good because of burn-in time or I just got adjusted to the sound, but I think I'll keep them for a very very long time.

 

 

PS:  They sound perticulary good with my new favorite sound demonstration record: Blue Coast E.S.E. Sessions, which sounds just amazing. Soundstage is amazing, it feels deep and wide, it sounds three dimensional. Hands down the best sounding record I've ever heard, and acording to some, the best record ever.  I highly recommend it.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Looks and quality: 9/10

Comfort : 9,5/10

Sound:9,5/10

Soundstage: 10/10

Listening experience: 9/10

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FINAL Overall score:  9,3

Is there another update??

I'd love to see how it sounds a year and 8 months after...

post #84 of 112

hmm the modded HD558 im using right now is NOT the same as the HD598 i tested at the shop, it seems to be a significantly cloudier version of the hd598 (but the rest is all the same o.o) 
seems to be because of the extra material in the grill and less air flow compared to its bigger brother

post #85 of 112
I have found a cheap simple way or get 3.5mm plug and terminated to any length.

http://www.custom-cable.co.uk/custom-3.5mm-termination.html

All you do is add into the shopping basket both the replacement cable for the hd558 and the custom option, specify length and pay. £12.50 for this seemed ok. I will get my cable next week. Happy now, as the included cable is crazy long and the adapter to 3.5mm is a nonsense with these cans.
post #86 of 112
Your experience has matched mine very closely with the 558. They are a versatile headphone, and to date the highest end I have owned. I do feel that they strain a bit on my current setup at very high volume. However, I find the best quality they have is their openness. It isn't immediately apparent to me, but if I listen to some closed cans and come back to these I get it. They are built from their open sound, and contort themselves willingly to many genres. I love them, and my only gripe with them is this: the 558 have unshakeable class. She is well mannered and aims to please, but sometimes you want something vulgar. The 558, being the lady she is, will try to appease, and do so admirably. But sometimes you don't want a lady, you want a freak.
Edited by morijinal - 3/23/13 at 10:13pm
post #87 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by morijinal View Post

Your experience has matched mine very closely with the 558. They are a versatile headphone, and to date the highest end I have owned. I do feel that they strain a bit on my current setup at very high volume. However, I find the best quality they have is their openness. It isn't immediately apparent to me, but if I listen to some closed cans and come back to these I get it. They are built from their open sound, and contort themselves willingly to many genres. I love them, and my only gripe with them is this: the 558 have unshakeable class. She is well mannered and aims to please, but sometimes you want something vulgar. The 558, being the lady she is, will try to appease, and do so admirably. But sometimes you don't want a lady, you want a freak.

That's why you gotta get a grado toowink.gif

post #88 of 112

I realize this is an old thread but I stumbled across this a few weeks ago looking for opinions on the 558 and other headphones.  I decided to get the 558's after considering others to replace my old Sennheiser HD535's.  

 

First off to the earlier poster who said he couldn't tell the difference in the sound was probably due to him plugging the headphones into a mobile device, the 558's are really not designed to do that even though they can but they won't sound as good as plugging it into a regular stereo.  I noticed the sound wasn't particularly different from my HD535's when plugged into a mobile device, and it required turning up the volume to near max levels, so if you want a headphone to be loud with a mobile device you might need to look at something different which Sennheiser does make called the Momentum which I did not try.  

 

I ran the headphones for 48 hours to break them in initially before sound testing them, then I tried all sorts of music from classical to jazz, to old school rock, to metal, even a sci fi movie (sorry no rap because I hate that crap!); I have to say, they sounded better then my old 535's!  What was really interesting is with a sci fi movie with lots of surround sound stuff going on, the 558's actually have some detail that makes it appear that it's coming from behind in certain scenes, not as dramatic as surround sound being produced by speakers but enough so that you can get an effect which the 535's could not do at all other then just stereo imaging.  The base is tight and accurate sounding, not boomy or over colored like the main line headphones that teens are seen with today that I tried, and at the same time the mid range never got lost due to the base overpowering it; and the high range was detailed and very crisp and natural sounding, they are very accurate sounding like the 535's whereas others I tried at various stores were not accurate, they either colored the sound usually towards the bass end  to make it boomy or over colored it to the point of sounding muddy, either way the mid end got lost; some the highs sounded tinny and others just hollow sounding.  What's really weird, I had to buy several different headphones to do this by the way once I settled on 3 best ones at the store, is with classical none of the others could reproduce wood or brass , or even string instruments sound well at all, wood sounded flat without the harmonics of the wood itself, the same was true with brass instruments which sounded tinny, and strings didn't sound natural, but with the 558's I didn't experience those problems at all.  Of course all the above is just my opinion, ears are different on every person, what I might like you may hate!

 

All I wanted to do was replace the cables on my old 535's and instead got new 558's headphones instead!  I would have never bought the 558's if I didn't think there was an improvement over the 535's, and there wasn't a whole lot of improvement except in the area of spatial sound or surround sound effect, these really shine in movies and newer music that employs surround sound technology in the recording.   For the money these are the best headphones on the market in my opinion.


Edited by froze - 3/26/14 at 7:34pm
post #89 of 112
Glad you like these. I have had mine for over a year, they still meet all my needs. What are you driving them with?
post #90 of 112

TEB1013

 

I have a different setup than some; I'm using a MacIntosh MC275 tube amp I got used for a great price; the CD player I use one of two depending on if it's a movie or music with some surround sound going on (which is limited in my library), the first one is a Marantz CD6004 which is where I play 98% of my CD's, and then the other is a Panasonic DMP-BTP210 Blu Ray player that has some interesting sound effects that simulates tube sound which I had to play with to get the effect I liked best, I just leave it in the tube mode even when watching movies.  I plug my headphones into a HK PT2300 preamp.

 

Personally I prefer the sound of speakers over headphones because you can also feel the music so I use large JBL L-7's speakers which are bi-amped with the mids and highs being run by the tube amp and the base by a HK PA2400 amp most of the time, but when the wife goes to sleep then out comes the headphones so  can listen to music or watch a movie at a comfortable level without waking her with booming bass!   With movies the surround effect is very limited but there is some effect, sort of similar to a sound bar, they both just fake it.  I never got into surround sound, I just never wanted to be bothered with having speakers all over the room, but almost every movie theater I've been in has very poor to poor surround sound effects anyways!  so these headphones are adequate enough for me in that area.

 

Remember though, these headphones are not ideal for Ipods and MP3 players, they have an impedance of 50 ohms to run, and portable devices can't put that much out to these headphones well enough to get their best sound out of, so don't buy them for portable devices.  But if you want the most natural sounding headphone that doesn't color the sound in one direction or another these are are the best you'll find at near this price.  Keep in mind, all human beings are different, and that applies to hearing, what I might like you may not, so it's wise to audition several sets of phones and get the one you like, I did that first at a couple of audio stores and then ordered 3 online and simply returned the ones I didn't like.  Also audition them with several CD's that you own and are real familiar with so you can listen to them with the music you like instead of some in store demo crap you most likely won't like or know.  None of my local audio stores carried the HD558 or the others I had to get on the internet to try them.  If you do it the way I did it make sure you can return without restocking fees, Amazon takes good care of their customers, I returned 2 of the 3 without even paying return postage.  

 

I hope that helps you and I wasn't over explaining which I have a tendency to do...LOL

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