So I can get the HD518 for around $100, 558 for $130 and 598 for $200. Which one would be the best value. I'd mostly use it straight from laptop/phone without an amp. Mostly for classical and pop.
Sennheiser 5x8 line
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HD558 for value. Read up on mods, as this is a popular headphone with a lot of potential.
Alternatively, there are a lot of other headphones that are as good, and some better, than Sennheiser. Do you really have to get only one of these three?
Frankly if you're in this budget range, I would argue for a used mid-tier headphone. You get way more headphone for your dollar that way. A used Sony MA900 or AudioTechnica AD900X comes to mind.
I am just looking from some open circumaural headphones in about the $150 range. I would prefer if I could order from amazon so the prices would be from there. If I buy used I would also it to be from Amazon Warehouse deals since I've had good experiences with them. They don't seem to have those two headphones for sale.
I personally would take the HD558 over the HD518, but that $70 price is tempting.
Build quality on the HD5XX series is fairly good.
As a HD558 owner.
The HD518 is going to have a stronger bass, but the HD558 should do better at everything else.
So to me the HD558 is worth it.
I can easily waste $60 in a day buying my nephews junky toys, so what is $60 for something that will last years.
Then, by the same reasoning, would it be worth $70 more for the 598's?
I do not think so, Sennehiser add black rubber tape to the inside of the cups of the HD558s, I covers a portion of the holes, I'm assuming that it adds some bass but takes away a little of the mids, surround sound and treble. So my belief is removing the black rubber tape changes the HD558 to sound more like the HD598.
Not exactly like the HD598, just more like it.