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My HD555 experience (so far)

post #1 of 268
Thread Starter 
I have only had these phones since last night, and the only burn-in they've had is from being attached to my FM receiver overnight, running at moderate levels. So I don't really know where they will end up, sonically. I do know, from personal experience, that Senns need a lot of burn-in. My 590s sounded like mud for about 25 hours, then suddenly developed the treble for which they are (in)famous. It took weeks before they completely sounded like 590s. So I will work the HD555 for, oh, 29 days (love return policies) to see what headphone I end up with. My Sennheiser reference phones are HD497, HD590, and HD280 Pro, so those are the only comparisons I'll be making.

Right out of the box, they sounded pretty good, but also rather confined and dark -- very much like a bigger, better HD497. They displayed a lot of midbass but not much up top. The treble has opened up some, and with it comes more detail and air. I think a gentle roll-off may always be evident up high, but that works for me -- I got tired of always turning the treble knob down to save my ears from the 590s. But we'll see what happens.

Here are my current impressions, after a few hours of burn-in, and without an amp:

-HD555 plays considerably louder at the same volume levels than HD590.

-Mids, and especially vocals, are fuller and more musical than on the 590, I've been listening for "grain," but i must not know what grain is, because I don't hear it. Am I detecting a dark-ish coloration? Will keep listening.

-People have been concerned about the bass. The bass is there; in fact, there seems to be about as much midbass as the 590. Neither phone has tons of low bass, IMO. The impression of less bass might be conveyed because of the relatively strong mids, whereas the bass on the 590 sort of has the field to itself down there. The balance is better on the 555. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the mid-to-upper bass calmed down a little; right now the lower mids and upper bass are sort of dancing on each others' feet. But that may be my ears, which are still used to the 590.

-The highs are pleasant, but I don't think they've fully arrived yet. They are making progress, though. Right now, someone who finds excess treble painful would love these phones. They are certainly less fatiguing than the 590. A little more detail will be nice, though not essential. Come on, phones, you can get there.

-These headphones are comfortable, but not quite as featherweight as the 590. Certainly more comfy than the 280 Pro! I think they need to get used to my head, or vice versa.

-I honestly can't tell any difference in soundstage between the 555 and the 590, not right now. That's fine, since the 590 had a very good soundstage already. At least the new technology hasn't done any harm! Sometimes I feel that the 590 is throwing things a little wider, but that may just be the 555 conveying better center stage due to stronger mids (vocals, dialogue, etc).

I'll have about 20 hours on these by this time tomorrow. but since I'm only using moderate volume levels, my burn-in may proceed more slowly than some.
post #2 of 268
I just recieved them now..and as soon as i plugged them in through my sound card was that they sound exactly the way my 497's did when i tried them out too. Now i really don't wanna have to return another set of headphones...so i dunno what to do. The 555's have a weak bass response as well..through my computer and this is really starting to aggravate me. Im assuming its my soundcard(turtle beach santa cruz) that is the problem. what are you using to test these out? Anyway, i really didn't want to have to but an amp...but it looks like i might have to. Or maybe a better soundcard...becuase both these and the 497's i tired have a weak bass response with my computer.
post #3 of 268
Thread Starter 
I'm running them through a Yamaha HTR-5540. And at 20 hours burn-in, I'm not sold yet. Still too tame, too dark, with not enough detail. Maybe they'll come around, but I'm not buying an amp just to power these suckers. If these don;t work out, I'll basically be stuck with buying ATH-A900, since it'll be the only easily-driven open phone better than the 590 for $200 or less, as far as I know.
post #4 of 268
The A900's aren't open.
post #5 of 268
Thread Starter 
You're right. I didn't mean to say open. open or closed won't matter to me for this rig.
post #6 of 268
What about the Beyer DT440's that lini's been talking about or Grado's?
post #7 of 268
Thread Starter 
I don't know. Is there a place with a return policy that I could order them from? They would have to have a flat enough response for classical, and a fairly wide soundstage....but you/she may be right....On the other hand, I shouldn't give up on these phones until I know I've done all I can to burn them in. And they'd be pretty great, if only the treble would show up....I can't discount the possibility that it's my ears that need adjusting, after all that time with the 590s.

I just A/B'd them to my old HD497s. Almost identical sonic profile, except that the (burnt-in) 497s have a little more high end and less bass.
post #8 of 268
Originally posted by GanChan
I don't know. Is there a place with a return policy that I could order them from? They would have to have a flat enough response for classical, and a fairly wide soundstage....but you/she may be right....
Hehe, just so you know, lini's a guy.

I know Jan Meier carries the DT440's but I don't know what kind of return policy he has. Headroom doesn't seem to have them listed but they are relatively new so it might be worth it for you to contact them and see if they are planning on getting them in anytime soon. Myself, if I was pretty sure they would be the headphone I was looking for and the only place to get them was somewhere that you couldn't return them I'd pick them up anyway and if I didn't like them sell them for a slight loss in the gear for sale forum.
post #9 of 268
Gan, its some nice impressions you put up! The main thing that alarms me is Sennheiser High end hps always need Amps or they sound worse than under 100 dollar counterparts. Its like having great speakers and A BOSE or Apex receiver (cruddy)When I upgraded my receiver on my car it had much more bass and mids, even with the same speakers! i thought my speakers sucked, but no it was the amp! The amp is like the vocal cords, the speaker like the Lips and mouth. Change the vocal cords and we have completely new person.
I guess you can try to buy a 25 dollar cmoy or 80 dollar mint. That would help matters.
But the thing is, dont take it from me. I do not own these things, but I certainly want to!
post #10 of 268

Got a question...Is there noise when there is nothing on??? I can hear air in the background which remains if there is a low part in a track.

This was not a problem with my hd570. Big mistake on my part on getting it through JandR I hate their credit only policy
post #11 of 268
I agree with most of the comments re: the 555, fairly dark phones, etc. However I think it's a mistake to call them the "next" 497. They are MUCH clearer, much crisper. When A/B'ing them to the 497's, the 497's sound extremely muddy. The 497's are much more veiled and distant as well. The 555's are more upfront and like I said, more clear. Furthermore, the bass is deeper than the 497. It definitely has a more after-effect to it as well. As someone who is sensitive to harsh treble, and as a mover-upper from the 497 to these, I have to say I'm real happy with them!
post #12 of 268
Thread Starter 
Actually, I was trying to convey that they have a similar timbre to the HD497. Obviously they are better phones than the 497 in accuracy, extension, and soundstage, but to my ears they share the same trademark Sennheiser sound. I don't find them to be particularly "upfront" or "immediate," which is how people have been describing them. Of course, they're coming from the HD600, while I'm coming from the HD590....

Incidentally, I found a way to make my 590 sound uncannily like the 555. I switched on Pro Logic II and routed it through the headphone jack via Yamaha's "Silent Cinema" feature. The result was a good imitation of the closer center stage and fuller mids of the 555!

I found another remarkable technology to make my 590 sound a little fuller and less bright. It's the treble knob on my receiver.

Seriously, though, I'm going to try adding the Equinox cable to my 590 just to see if it can round out the mids a little. If it does, then I will be pretty satisfied with my 590.
post #13 of 268
These hd555 's sound awesome! how is it for Classical music? or piano, acoustic guitar, rock music? bass Thump?
Looks like this is ALL mine. over the hd580, which is very hard to not buy.
post #14 of 268
Originally posted by GanChan
Incidentally, I found a way to make my 590 sound uncannily like the 555.
"uncannily" is a great headphone adjective! narf!
post #15 of 268
So, GanChan, do you like the HD555s better than the HD590s, or not?

I currently use my HD590s for my computer rig, not for my home stereo setup, and am looking for a replacement (sometime in the future.) Still waiting for a comparison between the new HD595s and the HD590s, but that may not happen (except for Lou's enthusiastic embrassing of the HD595 over the HD590, haven't seen any other opinions here!)

Anyway, just wondering whether or not the HD555s beat out the HD590s.

Though I appear to be partial to the Sennheiser sound, I am still considering the ATH900s, too - sort of apples to oranges comparison, but as a closed can (I think,) the ATH900s may tune out the sound of my many computer fans.
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