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First Time Listener Considering Sennheiser HD598 - Your Thoughts?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,

 

I’m looking into getting a pair of premium headphones (first time!) to see just what I’ve been missing as a music lover, however I’m trying not to go over $300.  Currently I own an Ipod Touch (I’ll have to get an amp too of course) and currently most of my music is in Apple Lossless ALAC.  My musical tastes vary as listed below.

 

Classical (Beethoven/Mozart/Bach)

Trailer Music (Two Steps from Hell/The Immediate)

Metal/Rock (Dream Theater/Nightwish/The Police/Foo Fighters)

Classical Crossover (Sarah Brightman/Jennifer Thomas/Escala)

Others (Vienna Teng/Hans Zimmer)

 

After researching I’m considering the Sennheiser HD598’s which seems to appeal to the Classical/Trailer music/Vocal portion of my musical tastes (which I believe is what I’ll probably be listening to most with these at home).  My only concern (and it is a slight one) is that I understand there is a lack of bass.  I don’t need pounding bass but just wondering if there is at least some sort of punch for the rock music.  However, I imagine whatever amount it has is probably better than what I’m listening through now.  Any thoughts or recommendations?

 

Thanks!   

 

--The Fifth

post #2 of 19

Welcome to the forum.  I haven't spent any extended time with the HD-598 other than to check them out at a Sennheiser store display.  However, I have been an owner of enough other Sennheiser models to weigh in a bit on your question.  From the music you've listed, it doesn't appear that you would necessarily require strong, emphasized bass, but still don't want to buy a headphone that has bad bass.  I have the HD-555, HD-595 and HD-600 currently.  The HD-555 / 595 are along the same lines as the HD-598.  Sure, there have been some variations in the method on how the HD-598 was implemented, some variation in the driver, too.  However, the Sennheiser "house sound" is still quite relevant in this situation.

 

For me, the HD-5** series, can offer a slightly wider sound stage and can lend itself well to music types that you have listed.  Yet, it doesn't give up a lot of bass to get there, either.  While I also find my HD-600 quite enjoyable, I don't discount the HD-5** headphones as being of any lesser capability.  The bass is still there.  It's not overwhelming bass, but it is bass and by no means, does the headphone sound anemic.  It is also hard to follow the views and opinions of posters here on this site.  So, please also view what I say in an objective manner.  However, when one says the HD-598 has bad bass, what makes it have bad bass?  Compared to what headphones?  If someone who is used to the Denon D2000, which is a bass-minded headphone tries the HD-598 from Sennheiser, they'll say that the HD-598 doesn't have good bass.  When reviewing the opionions of the others here, you have to take everything that is stated into context.  Finding out what they've compared the HD-598 to is also important. 

 

I don't think that the Sennheiser HD-5** series is a bad series at all.  In fact, I can go between my HD-600 and over to the HD-555 with relative ease.  I believe that all-too-often, people end up placing a lot of belief into model numbers.  Manufacturers have their model numbers stacked, so that when you look up the chain, you think that the higher model numbers are always better.  Sure, they can be better.  But, by how much?  Is the HD-800 10% better than the HD-600?  Probably.  But, to get to that 10%, one has to spend about $1,000 to get there.

post #3 of 19

You don't necessarily need an amp either with the 598s. :) 50 ohms means they are not nearly as demanding as the 600 series. Put off the order for an amp until you give it a listen for yourself. 
 

Based on the music you listed, I believe the 598s will be a very pleasant experience for you. There is indeed still enough "punch" for rock music, so you don't have to worry on that regard.

Reply
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi Wje,

 

You hit it right on the money that I’m not looking for strong bass but also don’t want bass that is bad or nonexistent either.  I appreciate your knowledge and experience you have provided in regards to these and their series.  You have provided me plenty of food for thought as I continue the research.  I had considered the HD 600's as well but they fell just outside of the budget line so it's good get your thoughts on them and the 5xx series.  It kills me that I can’t find a store nearby that would allow me to listen to them to make this decision a lot easier, but from what I’m gathering here and sources outside of the Hi-Fi forum, I can see being very happy with these head phones. 

 

Thank you for your input!

 

--The Fifth

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi HideousPride,

 

That is good to hear about the amp and the ohms.  As you suggested, I will wait a bit on the amp actually, as luck may have it I may be able to borrow one from a friend for a short time to at least listen to the difference with and without one.   Also it is nice to hear that the headphones should have just enough “punch” for the rock music.  I will probably use them mostly for classical/trailer music but it's good to know that when my curiosity takes me to the rest of my music collection, I should be pleased in that regards as well.

 

Thank you for your thoughts!   

 

--The Fifth

post #6 of 19

Both wje and Hideous were pretty accurate in their statements so there isn't much more to say lol. I have them and based on your artist choices (some of which I listen to), you'll be very happy with the 598's. I listen to a lot of alternative rock and they are great for it. I bought a second pair of headphones for more pop and hip-hop or bass oriented songs but I would always choose the 598's for your genres. There is the bass you need for that music, it's just not thumping. 

 

As for the amp, I still feel as though my music is much better with an amp. Even a cheaper one like the Fiio E11. It adds more body to the music and refines the bass a little. Yes, it may be true that it doesn't need an amp. But it certainly benefits from it. It sounds really bad just plugged into my iPod Classic in my opinion and you're not getting the full experience without an amp in my opinion. I don't even like the 598's straight out of my computer. It's lacking a lot of body, especially at lower volumes.

post #7 of 19

i actually wanted to upgrade to the HD650, but after trying them out at the shop i felt that it is not much of an upgrade. it may sound more refined, but the sound is not as wide and airy as my current pair, but also i did not amp them properly at the shop (only used some $300 C-entrance DACports which is the max i can afford)
so for light amping/ no amping, stick with the HD598

also note that amping really brings out the true soundstage powers and adds a lot of texture into the sound of the HD598/HD558/HD518 (not so sure about the HD518 though, not tried it)


Edited by streetdragon - 2/16/13 at 11:21am
post #8 of 19

I own the HD558 mod (which is sonically very similar) to the HD598 and the HD650.

While the bass on my HD558 is by no means "bad", to my ears it is not prominent enough for certain musical genres where bass is prominent. In particular, of the metal/rock music you listed, Dream Theatre and Nightwish sound significantly better on my HD650 compared to the HD558 due to its bass.

 

On the other hand, the HD558 has soundstage IN SPADES which tends to lend it a slight edge when it comes to faithfully reproducing classical music.

For $300 I believe you can get a HD558 and HD580 if you shop around.

The 558 mod is very sonically similar to the HD598, and the HD580 the youngest sibling and best value of the venerable HD580/600/650 family. 

Both are absolutely superb headphones, you'll probably want to keep both.

 

Good luck!


Edited by AzN1337c0d3r - 2/16/13 at 5:41pm
post #9 of 19

I can only confirm what these guys have already pointed out. I have owned a pair of HD 598's before and for classical and vocals they really are superb, the soundstage brings that kind of music to life like few other headphones. They are good for rock/metal as well. As for the amount of bass, I'd say it's just about right, not to little, not to much.

 

Every now and then I regret selling them. In a few cases they really mopped the floor with my HD 650's which I mainly use at the moment redface.gif

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses!

 

@Bngbox and Streetdragon and Kewrel - Thank you for sharing your experience with the HD598 and for your suggestions on getting an amp.  It definitely helps.  Browsing through the forum it seems the majority do seem to favor in getting an amp.  I do plan to borrow one for a while so I should have plenty of time to shop in the meantime.  I'll keep the Fiio E11 in mind and check the forum for others as well!
 

@AzN1337c0d3r - Thank you for your suggestion on a HD558 mod and HD580.  I'd prefer to go with just one but I'll check further into the comparisons on these to the HD598.

 

 

I do have another question in regards to the open ear headphone of HD598.  My understanding is that the music does leak out and you can hear things in the environment you are sitting in.  Sometimes I'll listen to music with earbuds while my wife is watching tv.  So if I did this with these open ear headphones, am I correct that I would then hear the tv along with my music?  And with that I'm assuming she would hear my headphones from across the couch?   I'm just wondering how much of a distraction it is.  It may not make a difference for my purchase of them but I'm just curious.

 

Thanks!!

 

--The Fifth

post #11 of 19

Yes if you are sitting next to your wife or even on the other side of the room she will hear everything that you are listening to clearly. You will also be able to hear everything on the tv clearly, which is distracting to me. I prefer to listen to my 598. 's in a quiet environment and the sound leakage drives my gf crazy so I don't listen to them in the same room as her most of the time. My girlfriend does have super sensitive hearing, but the 598's are completely open so at normal listening volumes anyone in a quiet room will be able to hear the sound out of your headphones. If you are the next room with the door closed it will not be a problem. Most likely you will want to continue to use IEM's or closed cans when you are in the room with your wife watching tv or in bed next to her. 

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the quick reply, Dillont3.  I was hoping the bleeding sound wouldn't be too bad, but it looks like if I go with these I'll have to do what you suggested and use the IEM's in those circumstances or go to the other room.  It's either that or risk sleeping outside!  tongue.gif 

 

Thanks again!

 

 

--The Fifth 

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillont3 View Post

Yes if you are sitting next to your wife or even on the other side of the room she will hear everything that you are listening to clearly. You will also be able to hear everything on the tv clearly, which is distracting to me. I prefer to listen to my 598. 's in a quiet environment and the sound leakage drives my gf crazy so I don't listen to them in the same room as her most of the time. My girlfriend does have super sensitive hearing, but the 598's are completely open so at normal listening volumes anyone in a quiet room will be able to hear the sound out of your headphones. If you are the next room with the door closed it will not be a problem. Most likely you will want to continue to use IEM's or closed cans when you are in the room with your wife watching tv or in bed next to her. 
Depends on how noisy the environment is, if its really quiet like a library then yes it would be quite audible from across the couch, but if in a fairly noisy environment then even the person next to you cant hear anything.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post


Depends on how noisy the environment is, if its really quiet like a library then yes it would be quite audible from across the couch, but if in a fairly noisy environment then even the person next to you cant hear anything.

But the problem is that you'll hear everything going on on the outside and not be able to hear the music. Unless you blast the music at dangerous volumes lol.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bngbox View Post

But the problem is that you'll hear everything going on on the outside and not be able to hear the music. Unless you blast the music at dangerous volumes lol.

true that, so it is a kind of dilemmaredface.gif soloution is to get something that isolates. (at a cost of soundstage generally, depending on model)

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