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Sennheiser HD 598, 558, 518; which one do you recommend me?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I'm new here and that also means the audiophile world. I'm looking for headphones but am saddened by the fact that I only have a choice with the sennheiser brand where I live. I'm seeking your assistance. Choices would be HD 598, 548, 518 or the HD 25-1 II, but I heard those have average bass only for closed phones. I've been reading a lot about them but still wouldn't pinpoint exactly which would fit my listening disposition. My guess would be that the 518's would be like slightly less good modded 548's, but then again I haven't seen anyone compare modded 548's to the 518's.

Basically, I would primarily watch movies and listen to music with them whilst gaming from time to time. I want to know: how is the sense of direction and depth compared to the 598 for gaming/movies?  For music, I like female vocals, classical, folk, shoegaze, rock, post-hardcore, lo-fi (so I'd want something that won't kill my lo-fi records), hip hop and some electronic music from time to time (but I'm thinking of buying some headphones primarily for bass in a couple of weeks for that purpose). I'm basically looking for an all-rounder that can play live recordings and acoustic instruments very nicely, make me sore into the skies with female vocals and pump out hip hop bass and the base guitar smoothly. That's why I think 518's would be more than enough until I buy something on  a different level like DT880's.

As a DAC, since I'll be using them with a laptop at home, I'm thinking of buying a xonar u3. And can someone explain to me why I see so many DAC's, including this one, only outputting up to 20khz? Does that mean the scope of the soundstage would be dampened, or am I worrying for nothing? Should I get a 48khz one instead?

Also I heard that both the 548's and 598's crack rather quickly...It would suck to buy 548's, mod them, see them crack, then have a replacement denied because of it. In any case, I hate it when stuff breaks so are the models out right now fixed from this issue?

 

Sorry if I asked too much at once but I like to make sure before I buy stuff. Thanks in advance.


Edited by DreamKing - 10/10/11 at 2:00pm
post #2 of 20

I vote the HD-518 because of the price for performance ratio.  All of the models you listed have the same treble dip that drives some of us crazy, but is common with Senn headphones.  The 518 are a tad bass heavy, but for some that is a good thing.  It is not going to be boomy bass, rather, a nice emphasis in the bass region.  See in the graphs below there are no huge differences in performance?  To me they all sound roughly the same so I would go with the less expensive pair.

 

Pros:  Wide Soundstage, Crisp Clear Sound, Very Comfortable

Cons:  Dip in the treble sounds odd to some, Lack bass impact, Harmonic Distortion is audible at 80dB+, can be tricky to amp due to the frequency dependant impedance curve around the fundamental.

 

Below are the charts comparing each model:

 

Frequency Response

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851

 

50Hz Sign Wave Response

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=3&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851

 

500Hz Sign Wave Response

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=4&graphID[]=2841&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2851


As far as DAC's go I tend to find a high quality DAC because they really affect sound quality.  Apple for example includes very nice DAC's within their iPod technology.  They either use the Cirrus Logic in the 6th Gen Classic or the Wolfson in all other models.  Both are nice musical DAC chips.  The Xonar U3 posts some decent numbers, but the DAC chip is relatively unknown.  I personally used a Bithead for both an amp and DAC for many years and liked it for the cost and performance.  The FiiO is also posting some good numbers.  I think it costs around $90 and has a head amp in it too.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Cool, I'll be looking into FiiO once I get a set of bass headphones in a couple of weeks.

Oh and can you tell me if the output frequency response on a DAC can bottleneck your headphones?

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

anyone got an answer to that?

post #5 of 20

I would say it is certainly possible a DAC could bottleneck your headphones, but it is highly unlikely.  Most DAC chips of any quality, even the low end Wolfson 8761, typically spec to a sample rate of at least 48kHz ( 44.1kHz min ) due to CD's being recorded there.  If the DAC like the xonar U3 throws up a spec of 20Hz - 20kHz I suspect that major measurements were not conducted outside of this band.  I think the xonar u3 would be just fine for you and is a low cost DAC option.

 

Something like the CENtrance DACport would serve as a far more reliable DAC just based on what they show for specs.  They spec their DAC frequency response from 20Hz up to 40kHz with a loss of only .2dB on the high end.  It has much better SNR and THD as well.

 

 

Here are some comments from people who actually use the DAC:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/533707/xonar-u3-usb-dac/60

 

If you are looking for technical chatter go here:

http://www.edn.com/article/463334-Flatten_DAC_frequency_response.php

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DreamKing View Post

Cool, I'll be looking into FiiO once I get a set of bass headphones in a couple of weeks.

Oh and can you tell me if the output frequency response on a DAC can bottleneck your headphones?



 

post #6 of 20

Heya,

 

Save up, get the DT880 PRO also look at HD600, HE-300, FA-003.

 

Buying lesser headphones and creeping towards something nicer is ultimately way more expensive. Just save up and get one that will do what you're looking for and not just some of what you want.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Aren't the 880's better for bass but not for soundstage/directional sound when compared with the 558/598? Either way, the problem is that Beyerdynamic products do not exist where I live. I'd have to buy them online and that's not possible in my current situation. Plus this line of sennheisers demands very basic amp/dac needs. I chose these headphones for specific reasons. I save cash by buying Sennheiser locally but the HD-600's are highly overpriced here for some reason.  Which is why I'd prefer to wait till I can buy online to get higher level cans (which is soon). I'd buy the Premium 990's instead though. I know that they're pretty much the pinnacle of all-around headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

Save up, get the DT880 PRO also look at HD600, HE-300, FA-003.

 

Buying lesser headphones and creeping towards something nicer is ultimately way more expensive. Just save up and get one that will do what you're looking for and not just some of what you want.

 

Very best,

 


Edited by DreamKing - 10/17/11 at 8:13pm
post #8 of 20
I am looking to get the 518s or 558s. I am willing to pay extra if they last longer or of they are made out of more durable material. Any one hd feed back on that? Is there any significance in comfort?
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Droppedin View Post

I am looking to get the 518s or 558s. I am willing to pay extra if they last longer or of they are made out of more durable material. Any one hd feed back on that? Is there any significance in comfort?


The 558 has better ear pads and are more comfortable.  It also has a better sound stage.

 

If you're looking at this line, buy the best one you can afford--or at least that is the best value given the price spreads you find.  Each one is a step up from the lower model.  All three are good cans and form a great line--especially at the street prices we saw about a month or so ago.

 

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

Save up, get the DT880 PRO also look at HD600, HE-300, FA-003.

 

Buying lesser headphones and creeping towards something nicer is ultimately way more expensive. Just save up and get one that will do what you're looking for and not just some of what you want.

 

Very best,

 

Your point has validity.  However, not everyone will move up beyond a certain level.  I suspect that many folks will be very happy for a very long time "living" in the Sen 5x8 line.  You get quality audio that is easy to drive and requires little or no expenditure for additional equipment, especially if you have a decent home audio set-up.
 

 

post #11 of 20

I like 558s, but they are all plastic. I wish there was a little metal at high stress areas...

post #12 of 20

I am almost thinking of just going with the 600s...do they have the same bass level?

 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Droppedin View Post

I am almost thinking of just going with the 600s...do they have the same bass level?

 


The 600's bass is better.  You might want to read this thread, which provides a number of views on the 598--600--650:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/567229/hd598-vs-hd650

 

Each of the three models has people who like it the best.

 

post #14 of 20

Don't bother going to the HD600/HD650 unless you are willing to dump at least another $300 for a decent amp and probably the same amount again for a decent source. I've owned the HD600's in the past and I must say don't bother with it unless you are willing to spend. The DT880 on the other hand is a nice option but you still need a decent amp.

 

Now the Beyerdynamic DT440's. I own them and they are very excellent for the price. They don't really need a dedicated amp either to sound excellent. I would say that they are better than the Sennheiser HD518/558/598.


Edited by ProjectDenz - 2/23/12 at 12:07am
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post


The 600's bass is better.  You might want to read this thread, which provides a number of views on the 598--600--650:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/567229/hd598-vs-hd650

 

Each of the three models has people who like it the best.

 



Thank you!!!

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