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Sennheiser HD 598 vs HD 700 no amp. HD 598 wins?!?!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone. New user here. I've gotten into the world of audiophiles recently "thanks" to a friend. Now my bank account is in a drought. Anyways, I got the M50 a few months back, and at the time they were an amazing upgrade from my long list of $20 headphones. However, summer came and it got hot, and the M50 got very uncomfortable to use. Couldn't wear them for more than 20 minutes at a time.

 

So I looked for pair of open headphones that are comfortable and I decided on the HD 598.

 

WOW

 

Maybe my ears just naturally attuned to open headphones, but to me the upgrade from M50 to HD 598 was greater than from the $20 headphones (okay Koss KSC 75 at least) to M50. I should also note that I listen to pop/rock music mostly, though recently I've been listening to acoustic guitar and other lighter rock. I'm currently in a Jpop phase. YUI <3

 

I started looking into more high end headphones, and the HD 700 piqued my interest since they were cheaper than the HD 800 and people mentioned they were less fussy on amps. I went to a local Best Buy the other day, and they happened to have the HD 700 on display to try. So I brought along my HD 598 to compare.

 

Unfortunately, they didn't have any amps, so I was left to try both without. Now I have been using my HD 598 with my smartphone (HTC One), without an amp, but the HD 598 work really well unamped.

 

Here is what I thought about the two headphones without an amp (and with smartphone DAC):

 

- HD 598 was the clear winner over the HD 700 (am I crazy? once again, NO AMP)

- HD 598 was very clean, and I could hear the instruments and vocals distinctly. Instruments did not overpower vocals.

- HD 700 had more bass, but it seemed to make everything muddy. All of the instruments and sounds seemed less clear, almost as if at a lower quality. Less separation of instruments.

- This may be just placebo from looking at the HD 700 price tag: HD 700 brought out some sounds and instruments that the HD 598 did not bring out, but once again it was all muddy.

 

So am I crazy here, or does this make sense that without an amp, the HD 598 outperforms the HD 700? If I was really hearing more instrumentation with the HD 700, perhaps a proper amp/DAC will reduce the muddiness overall and really bring out all the sounds. In that case, it would beat the HD 598 with same or better clarity and even more sounds.

 

I guess what my personal preference on what I should hear from music is a wide soundstage, distinct separation of instruments and sounds, and a clean, crisp vocal that is not overpowered by other instruments.

 

I'm still interested in the HD 700 if an amp/DAC will bring out its true sound and obliterate the HD 598. Hopefully, my experience with the HD 700 was just the result of the lack of amp/DAC.

 

Can anyone confirm my experience to be valid or should I go and get my ears checked tongue_smile.gif?

 

Here are examples of some of the music I used to compare (LAME mp3 VBR V0 quality on my device):

 

Acoustic rock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2Fmnr9uLLw

 

Heavier stuff, probably as heavy as I'd ever go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUNrXa9YLrw

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Bump anyone?
post #3 of 6

Yes, it makes a perfect sense.

 

HD598 are more suited for powering directly out of a smartphone. I would never use HD700 that way... On the other hand, if you are thinking about HD700, go straight for HD800 because HD700 are simply not worth the money IMHO. Get a used pair of HD800 with a decent amp and you're set for years. :-)

 

 

 

 

I guess what my personal preference on what I should hear from music is a wide soundstage, distinct separation of instruments and sounds, and a clean, crisp vocal that is not overpowered by other instruments.

 

=====> GET HD800....................be endlessly happy ................. The end of story. ,-)

post #4 of 6

I've tried the HD598's extensively and have always been super impressed with them.  By my own personal experiences, they might possibly be the best sounding headphones that I've ever used which doesn't require an amp (Denon D2000's might be the only other one).  I'm not surprised at all that you found them superior to the HD700s when unamped, hell I wouldn't even be surprised if you still preferred the HD598's against HD700s amped.  The HD598s are some of the smoothest most relaxing headphones I've ever used which didn't cause me any fatigue at all.  While technically, it may not be superior to more higher end headphones, it's signature is very comfortable and balanced.  When you get deeper into the audiophile world, you will start to notice that the costs will start doubling or tripling when you factor in dac/amps, to get less and less improvements on sound.  The HD598s are a very good bang for your buck value, and to be honest, the 1000-1500 dollar cost of the HD700 + dac/amp will NOT sound 2X, let alone 5X as good as your 598s.

post #5 of 6

Glad you left the hype train (m50) and came into the light 

post #6 of 6

This makes perfect sense to me as well. Pretty much every headphone benefits from amping in some way or another, and the HD 598 are no exception. But both the HD 700 and HD 800 are known for this. Not only their sound properties but the volume you can achieve are completely different when you add a good amp; it is pretty obvious since the HD 598 have a meager 50 Ohm impedance while the 700 are 150 Ohms and the 800 are 300 Ohms. 

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