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From HD 598 to HD 700: worthwhile or not?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi there, currently I own an HD 598, paired with Apple ipod nano 6th gen, HRT istreamer and Schiit Asgard. I'm very satisfied so far with this combo, but I'm looking for an headphone upgrade with eventually more resolution, more bass extension and even wider soundstage (HD 598 having already a big soundstage).

I was leaning toward  Senn HD 700 but I'm a bit concerned after all the negative impressions I read in this forum: too bad I cannot have any chance to audition them before purchase. 

I'm looking for an advice mainly from someone who has/had both hd 598 and hd 700, even better if matched with Asgard: I need to know if HD 700 is a consistent upgrade with regard to HD598. I'm considering also HD 650 as cheaper option, but I really don't know if I can appreciate its signature, very different from HD 598.

The musical genres I listen to are mostly soundtracks, rock, pop and classical.

post #2 of 17

I have both HD598 and HD700 and the difference is as large as the distance from the earth to the moon. At the moment I am using a Titanium HD and a Sherwood receiver for the amplification. The HD700 is just better at everything. The bass is what stunned be the most being much more controlled and present. The soundstage is wider, much more detailed mids and highs. I am hearing new instruments my songs. And bear in mind that I do not have proper amplification for the HD700. I will receive a bottlehead crack in a few weeks and I suspect the headphones will really open up to their potential.
 

post #3 of 17

eleathar, did you end up getting the 700s? i'm in the same boat right now and can't decide whether or not to get the 700s after owning and loving the 598s for a little over a year. i crave something new, something higher end but i'm not sure whether forking out a grand on HD 700 is worth the upgrade. 

 

please let me know if you have both phones now, i'd be interested in your impressions. 

post #4 of 17

For $1000 you are much better off upgrading into a planar magnetic (Hifiman HE500 maybe, would advice against Audeze if soundstage is a big factor for ya) or electrostatic (Koss ESP950) headphone.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

For $1000 you are much better off upgrading into a planar magnetic (Hifiman HE500 maybe, would advice against Audeze if soundstage is a big factor for ya) or electrostatic (Koss ESP950) headphone.

 

hmm, HE-500s seem to be going for $700 right now, which is a great price considering their MSRP is $900, i believe. i wish you had chimed in an hour earlier before i pulled the trigger on the HD 700s. 

 

i must admit, i'm a sennheiser fanboy to the core because i absolutely love their sound signature and am addicted to my 598's sound stage. i wanted something that would exceed those attributes and it seems like many people say HD 700s do (even after all the negativity surrounding their treble peaks and whatnot). 

 

i think i have an hour or so before i can cancel my HD 700 order. i'm really conflicted now. i really like Steve Guttenberg's reviews and he also seems to love the HE-500. damn it, decisions, decisions...

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post

 

hmm, HE-500s seem to be going for $700 right now, which is a great price considering their MSRP is $900, i believe. i wish you had chimed in an hour earlier before i pulled the trigger on the HD 700s. 

 

i must admit, i'm a sennheiser fanboy to the core because i absolutely love their sound signature and am addicted to my 598's sound stage. i wanted something that would exceed those attributes and it seems like many people say HD 700s do (even after all the negativity surrounding their treble peaks and whatnot). 

 

i think i have an hour or so before i can cancel my HD 700 order. i'm really conflicted now. i really like Steve Guttenberg's reviews and he also seems to love the HE-500. damn it, decisions, decisions...

Actually Hifiman reduced the MRSP of HE500 down to $700 since like a year ago (at the same time they jacked HE6 MRSP up from $1k to $1.2k). But yeah it's pretty dang fantastic-sounding...very neutral but also incredibly musical (the mids are to die for), and extremely extended (steady down to 17 Hz and up to 19000 Hz at least to my ears) and well-behaved bass and treble. 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Actually Hifiman reduced the MRSP of HE500 down to $700 since like a year ago (at the same time they jacked HE6 MRSP up from $1k to $1.2k). But yeah it's pretty dang fantastic-sounding...very neutral but also incredibly musical (the mids are to die for), and extremely extended (steady down to 17 Hz and up to 19000 Hz at least to my ears) and well-behaved bass and treble. 

have you had a chance to audition the HD 700 or you just have a built-in aversion based on all the talk out there? i'd be interested how they compare. it seems like people compare HE-500s to HD 800s more than 700s which is another positive for the Hifiman considering there aren't many people who don't like the HD 800s. 

 

also, can you comment on HE-500's soundstage? you mentioned Audeze wouldn't be a good choice for that but is Hifiman a better choice?

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post

have you had a chance to audition the HD 700 or you just have a built-in aversion based on all the talk out there? i'd be interested how they compare. it seems like people compare HE-500s to HD 800s more than 700s which is another positive for the Hifiman considering there aren't many people who don't like the HD 800s. 

 

also, can you comment on HE-500's soundstage? you mentioned Audeze wouldn't be a good choice for that but is Hifiman a better choice?

 

I have zero experience so zero bias toward HD700, other than some measurements (measurements don't do much other than showing potential flaws though). I have limited experience with HD800 but from those audition experiences HD800 came off as a neutral, holographic, slightly fast sound with some punchy but rather light-weight bass. HE6 was a magnitude more natural-sounding compared to it when I A/B'd them though.

 

HE-500's soundstage is better than average I'd say. Personally I find my HE400s to be a touch more open-sounding (especially when grill modded), but both are a whole lot more open-sounding and holographic than any LCDs, which all sounded overdamped and closed-in. I'd say Audezes are the most close-sounding open headphones in the high end category that I've heard.

post #9 of 17

after reading a few reviews on this site and having experienced HD 650s for a good month alongside my 598s, i can honestly say 598s soundstage is intoxicating compared to one of 650's. and HE-500 seems to have its soundstage narrower yet. but everyone raves about their sound quality. i seriously have no idea what to do right now. i have less than 30 mins to make up my mind :\

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post

 

hmm, HE-500s seem to be going for $700 right now, which is a great price considering their MSRP is $900, i believe. i wish you had chimed in an hour earlier before i pulled the trigger on the HD 700s. 

 

i must admit, i'm a sennheiser fanboy to the core because i absolutely love their sound signature and am addicted to my 598's sound stage. i wanted something that would exceed those attributes and it seems like many people say HD 700s do (even after all the negativity surrounding their treble peaks and whatnot). 

 

i think i have an hour or so before i can cancel my HD 700 order. i'm really conflicted now. i really like Steve Guttenberg's reviews and he also seems to love the HE-500. damn it, decisions, decisions...

 

Cancel your order.

 

Get a Hifiman HE-500.

 

Will work perfectly with your HRT/Asgard setup.

 

Very best,

post #11 of 17

damn, what a whirlwind it has been! after doing a ton of reading on HD 700s, i just ended up canceling my order and got HE-500s instead. unfortunately, amazon said it may not be able to cancel the order as it's being prepared for shipment but in the worst case, i'll return it. 

 

now, fingers crossed i've made the right decision. i've never even heard any Hifiman headphones but have many (mostly superbly positive) experiences with Sennheiser so i hope i just didn't make a $700 mistake. 

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post

damn, what a whirlwind it has been! after doing a ton of reading on HD 700s, i just ended up canceling my order and got HE-500s instead. unfortunately, amazon said it may not be able to cancel the order as it's being prepared for shipment but in the worst case, i'll return it. 

 

now, fingers crossed i've made the right decision. i've never even heard any Hifiman headphones but have many (mostly superbly positive) experiences with Sennheiser so i hope i just didn't make a $700 mistake. 

 

You can always just refund HFM headphones if you end up hating them, the only thing you lose is the shipping cost back.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko View Post

eleathar, did you end up getting the 700s? i'm in the same boat right now and can't decide whether or not to get the 700s after owning and loving the 598s for a little over a year. i crave something new, something higher end but i'm not sure whether forking out a grand on HD 700 is worth the upgrade. 

 

please let me know if you have both phones now, i'd be interested in your impressions. 

 

 

 

Vladinecko, I ended up getting them and I think they worth every euro I spent for them (630): they are technically better in every aspect than their little sibling.

I keep thinking of the 598s as a terrific bargain: they worth a lot more than their price (I payed them only 165 euro): they have superb soundstage and mids, with an incredible rendering of female voice and strings.

 

How the 700s compare to 598s?

Think of a song with instruments and voice as a nature landscape with a house inside: with 598s and their forward mids, you see that house perfectly focused and you forget all the rest, everything around the house appearing slightly confused and out of focus. With 700s you see all the landscape in focus, so you start to notice the grass and the trees around the house and the sky and clouds over it.

Out of metaphor, 700s bring you more extended and articulated bass and crystal clear treble, with the same warm rendering of mids that is typical of Sennheiser signature: I think that transient speed  really makes a difference here. 

Except for the very first use, I never felt the 700s treble as too hot. I don’t feel the soundstage wider than 598s, but way more layered so you can separate instruments better.

700s seems to me as warmer and bright at the same time, while 598s are more on bright side.

 

To be honest, I love 700s and hate them at the same time, because they took my “innocence” away, letting me hear muffled low bass when I went back to 598s, which I never noticed before.

Furthermore, the more revealing and analytical approach damps part of emotion I was getting from 598s, that focus greatly on voice and are way more forgiving on the rest. 

Most of all, I hate them because now I’m struggling to keep my wallet shut, because my 700s scream for a tube amp, which I cannot afford right now. evil_smiley.gif

 

Out of irony they are great headphones and, while 800s are surely the best technical solution for who can afford them, 700s are a fantastic compromise between a more analytic and a more fun approach.


Edited by eleathar - 11/29/12 at 3:07am
post #14 of 17

thanks for that, eleathar. it's nice to see i'm not the only person contemplating the same choice. you're completely right about 598 being a bargain for the quality they deliver. i snatched mine for $173 and i thought they would sound just OK at that price. i was completely blown away by what i heard though. so it's hard to justify the crazy price hike going up to HD 700 at $999. i wonder if the price difference equals quality difference in this case. 

 

Amazon wasn't able to to process my cancellation after all so now i'm having both headphones shipped to me. they'll arrive tomorrow. it may just be a blessing in disguise (granted i can return them :O ) because i'll be able to compare 598 to 700 and both of them to a completely different type of headphone, Hifiman HE 500. 

 

i'm inclined to agree with you in terms of all the negativity surrounding the 700. being a Sennheiser fanboy, i'm having trouble believing they'd produce such trash at such high price as many on this site make it seem. but it's hard to judge without hearing them in person. 

post #15 of 17

This will be great! I look forward to hearing your impressions of both headphones :)

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