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Sennheiser HD598 v Shure SE535 letdown?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hiya,

 

I currently own a pair of Shure se535 (IEMs), and was looking to get some good mid-range headphones to use at home, since long usage of earphones gets a bit uncomfortable for me. After looking around for a fair bit, I narrowed my choice down to AKG 701 and HD 598s. Having gone to a store where they let you try headphones though, (Saturn in germany), when I tried them I was frankly rather disappointed. They both sounded pretty bad compared to my se535s (only thing good was soundstage, otherwise it was unclear and just bad), so I was wondering if anyone has any listening experience to both the earphones and headphones?

I was thinking that perhaps the store didn't use an amp which might be the cause of the bad sound quality, but would the lack of an amp make such a huge difference? Or perhaps the SE535s are in a different class and I can't expect headphones at that price point to match up to them?

I'm in Germany for a couple of months, and sennheiser is a lot cheaper here compared to back home (a good 30% or so I would expect), so hoping I can make a decision on whether I should get them or not soon.

post #2 of 10

I thought the SE535s were okay, bass and treble kind of just rolled off, and the mids can be too much. Liked my W4s and PFE232s better. But I would say that the HD600/650 would definitely be consider if you were underwhelmed by the HD598. Do you have a budget? Any preferences in sound?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I like the shure sound signature (i know it's a bit warm but I prefer that), my budget would be approximately 200-300ish (excluding amp), and I would've picked the 598 over the akg based on reviews saying it has a richer bass. Also would prefer a bit less treble since too much tends to be fatiguing, and I intend to wear the headphones for long periods of time. 

 

I know it's a bit hard to compare a headphone vs earphone, but would you say the sound quality of the hd 598 is notably worse than your w4? (I tried those out too when I was choosing between the 535 and w4) I'm aiming to get something which is approximately the same level as my earphones, as I still intend to use them when commuting and wouldn't want them to start sounding bad in comparison. 

post #4 of 10

I would try a HD600 or HD650, or order a Mr. Speakers Mad Dog mod of the Fostex T50RP.  The Mad Dogs are $299 with the nicer headband and ear pads.  I find them neutral but not shrill, and they are currently my favorite headphone.  I also have HD650s, which are smooth and open sounding, never fatiguing.  The HD650s are like putting on your most comfortable pair of jeans.

post #5 of 10

The Sony MA900 are very good sounding open fullsize headphones for portable use and they are easily comparable to SE535. The other headphones like HD600( need good AMPs help to shows its best, mids), Grado SR325, D2000 are recommended.

post #6 of 10

I've had the HD598 for a while now and think they're great.  Great soundstage.  Warm, but not too warm.  Respond well to EQ.  I don't have much IEM experience because they just don't want to fit in my right ear properly ha.  HD598, like any headphone over 50 ohms, do benefit from amping.   

The Fostex Mad Dogs were recommended and even though I don't have experience with those, I've modded my Fostex T50RP with only the most basic mods (page 346 of the Fostex Mod thread has a great run down of the mods) and think they sound great.  They do crave power though and the more you give them the better response they will give you. 

post #7 of 10

sounds like you're a smiley face kind of guy. looking at the SE535, you're more used to the heavy low end and bright high end, naturally fones like HD598 will sound dull to you in comparison. all the neutral-ish headphone will sound that way in comparison to your SE535, it's not because they sound bad, it's just because your ear is used to the smiley curve. but it can get fatiguing after a while. 

 

i used to like the smiley curve a lot, in fact, the Beats phone does a lot just that. until i started listening to more neutral response fones then realized how much details i was missing. 

 

since you already have the SE535, why not try a pair of more neutral fone to compliment it, IMO there really isn't much point trying to find a fone that's already similar to what you have, should try something new. 

 

although i've never owned the HD650, it does have slightly more smiley-ish response compare to 598. but you still won't get that same smiley curve you're used to with the HD650. the HD650 is just slightly warmer, or laid back compare to 598. 


Edited by howzz1854 - 10/10/12 at 4:41pm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

sounds like you're a smiley face kind of guy. looking at the SE535, you're more used to the heavy low end and bright high end, naturally fones like HD598 will sound dull to you in comparison. all the neutral-ish headphone will sound that way in comparison to your SE535, it's not because they sound bad, it's just because your ear is used to the smiley curve. but it can get fatiguing after a while. 

 

That's a bit surprising, SE535s are pretty neutral, and if anything they have slightly forward mids. 

 

I think I'll hold off on purchasing any new headphones for now, maybe consider it again when I have a higher budget. Thanks for the responses!

post #9 of 10

 

 

the Se535 in green. BIG smiley face :) 

 

if you've been listening to that kind of response curve, your ears naturally is used to that and perceive it as neutral. so going from that to a more neutral fone like 598 or AD700 is a big adjustment. but again, you'll ears will eventually adjust to that. 

 

notice that to get the same level of mid, with the SE535, you have to bump the overal volume up by roughly 10db just to match the 598 and AD700, resulting in an even higher bass and higher treble. in contrary, to get the same mid that you're used to with the AD700 and HD598, you have to lower the overall volume by some 10db to get the same mid as the SE535 resulting in much lower bass and lower treble. 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Update: I borrowed a set from a family friend+amp and tried it at home some time later, turns out that whatever Saturn was doing was utter ********, complete misrepresentation of what the headphones were capable of. No idea what they did but I can get 'better' sound quality running running the Sennheisers from my handphone unamped... Will probably get them after all, they're pretty decent IMO. Just advise anyone not to try headphones at Saturn. 

 

@Howzz, You can't just look at frequency graphs to compare headphones and earphones. They are far too different in terms of physical design/function/etc, primarily because earphones are so much closer to your eardrums, and also the volume of air that earphones can actually move is a lot less than a headphone. Try comparing the shures to other earphones and you'll see.

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