Hello all, good to see the 598 getting some love on here. I assume this is due to the recent sale prices leading to actual sales increases and more interest.
I have been listening to mine for almost a week now and I can say that they have really grown on me. I have worn them for extended periods while listening to music/surfing the web, watched a few movies with them, etc and have experienced zero comfort issues at all.
With my Grado SR80i and Skullcandy Aviators, I always have to readjust the 'phones and eventually have to cut my listening session short, due to extreme discomfort. I am sure moving from on ear to over ear 'phones is the reason for the extended comfort of the 598. I will never buy another pair of on ears again, unless something comes along that I MUST have.
At this point, I can't see myself going back though. This is the first time I have ever been able to truly enjoy using headphones. Never before have I craved the idea of listening to 'phones over my full size system. However, all week long, I have been coming home and excitedly putting on my new Senn's for a night of music/movies!
Now on to the sound.
I believe these are probably about as "burned in" as they are going to get at this point, so I feel comfortable with my opinion at this point.
I want to preface this by saying that I had auditioned these cans a very little bit by way of a Rockboxed ipod 5th gen video, and found them to be a bit bright. SO much so, that I never would have bought them at full price. However with the great deals popping up on these as of late, I thought I may as well take a chance, and see what they really have to offer.
As noted in my early impressions, I found these to be a bit light on the bass. Now, after a lot of playing and listening, I have to say they have definitely improved in the bass dept. Not the deepest extension, nor very powerful IMO, but more than "serviceable" for the price I paid, and where they sit in the Sennheiser lineup.
I was afraid these would be too bright for my taste and make me regret making the purchase. I will now say that those fears were completely unfounded. Yes, they are a bit "sparkly" on top, but even my over sensitivity to sibilance has not been able to pry these off my head. I have played them with my laptop's built in sound card (RealTek HD Audio Card), through my Emotiva XSP-1's 'HP output (that is fed with a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic as a source), and the aforementioned ipod without issue. No listener fatigue, even at high volume for an extended amount of time. Good news for me, to be sure.
I do not have a lot of 'HP experience, so I cannot comment with any sort of authority regarding the sound stage (no idea of what to compare it to, or how to explain in audiophile language) so I will not embarrass myself by trying to get into all of that.
Detail retrieval seems to be pretty good IMO. When listening intently to something, I can pick out details such as vocal chords rubbing together, get an approximation of how close they were to the mic, etc. One thing I have found, is that when listening to modern pop CD's that were mastered too loud, the extra distortion sticks out like a sore thumb. However, I do not fault the Senns for an issue that was clearly created by the mastering engineers.
When it comes to dynamics, I have to admit that I am a bit "up in the air" in regards to how I feel. My full size setup is Bowers & Wilkins being fed by Emotiva XPA-1 mono blocks, and they are SUPER dynamic. Almost to the point that when I listen to less beefy amps, I feel everything sounds a bit flat, or less lively. Not as dynamic, as it were. The reason I am not sure how I feel about the Senns in this area, is because I have never actually used them with a true headphone amp.
With full size gear, an amplifier choice can add/remove dynamics, in a dramatic fashion. So, is the lesser dynamics I am hearing (and used to with my full size setup) due to these phones not being super dynamic, or is this simply an unfair comparison? I don't know for sure, so I will reserve a critical judgement.
At the end of the day, I will say that these even do some things better than my full size setup. I find them to be more intimate, and the high end is FAR better than my B&W's aluminum dome tweeters...which do drive me out of the room at high volume levels. I just wish they could reach deeper, and have more bass impact. One quibble, and this may come from up stream, is that they have a tendency to sound a bit "congested" when the source material becomes "busy". There isn't that last bit of delineation I am used to with my home setup. As stated, though, this may (or may not) be a fault of the 598's. I am not 100% sure on that.
This post has now become a novel, so I will leave it as is, and sum it up.
The Sennheiser HD-598 is a winner for the sale price, and easy outclasses my other 'phones in all categories, especially comfort. If they only had more supple bass, I could imagine that my lust for the HD-650 could be cured. I can easily recommend these to any non-bass head, especially if they can be had at a sale price.
Thanks for reading!
Edited by painted klown - 10/22/13 at 10:26pm