I was the one who contacted Sennheiser back in December and they stated that the 598 and 598SE were identical, only different colors. I have heard the beige 598's at a retailer and thought they sounded terrific but couldn't compare the SE version at the time because they weren't available at that time. I managed to snap up a pair of SE's during the Black Friday sale on Amazon because to me they were a terrific buy especially based on my memory of the beige 598's. I burned them in on continuous play for 200 hours (listening in periodically) and then packed them away as a Christmas gift to myself from my mother-in-law not hearing them for 3 weeks. Late evening Christmas day I finally had an opportunity to have some quality time with them and I thoroughly enjoyed the stupendous musical soundscape these HP's gave me, especially for the ridiculously low price that I obtained them for. Now they don't resolve as well as my HD650's but for the price I paid for the 598SE's they're amazing. As good as the beige 598's, honestly no idea but frankly who cares if there is in fact a major (?) or whatever difference, they just sound damned good. Don't forget to just enjoy the overall sound and don't get too hung up about the minutiae.
Seems like you gave yourself a hell of a Christmas gift! I hope it's not to late to wish you had a happy holiday and that the (relatively new) year is a great one for you (and everybody else as well). And of course, welcome to the SE fanclub!
I think I am becoming (have been for ages?) a total Sennheiser fanboy. I got to listen to HD700/HD800 today through a HDVD 800 amp/dac.
The experience taught me a few things, possibly the most important being the HD598 is a FANTASTIC headphone for the money. The setup they had on show was somewhere in the region of $3500 and, compared to my $80 E10K and $100 HD598, it would be like tearing up $100 bills in the shower. It was a fantastic audio experience, but I can fully enjoy my 598s knowing that summit-fi is akin to climbing a hill for me.
Treasure your Lennons and.. wait.. what did we agree to call the beige ones?
Wow, so you DID get to hear the HD700 before me! You lucky guy! Now I feel so jealous. So... How do they sound? I mean, in comparison to both their little siblings the 598, 600 and 650, and his older sibling the 800? Oh, I would also like a comparison to your X2 (since you posted in the X2 thread that you were interested in comparing the two headsets)... Is that too much to ask?
So... Do we agree that from now on, the HD598 SE had been rechristened as the Lennons? I feel so complimented! Haha XD (Oh, and yes, I will treasure them for as long as I can)