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HD 558 vs HD 280 Pro

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

At the advice of a forum member, I upgraded from a Sennheiser HD 280 Pro to a Senn HD 558. I must say I'm a touch disappointed, especially given the price difference. My impression of the 558s is that they have better mids than the 280 Pro, but on the 280s the treble seems more "forward". The bass on the 558s is tighter and more controlled than the 280s, but the 280s seem to have more punch than the 558s. All these factors seem to make listening on the 280s a more "exciting" proposition, which is strange considering they're supposed to be professional, neutral sounding phones. Supposedly the open 558s have a much better soundstage than the closed 280s, but I'm just not hearing it. I do notice an improvement, but it's not significant. The one place where the 558s get a clear win is in comfort; they're far more comfy than the 280s.

 

Do my impressions match anyone else's? Would using an equalizer help much? Unfortunately, I listen to many music videos on a computer, and the EQ options on most video players are lacking. Should I be looking for cans with more pronounced treble?

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imrazor View Post
 

At the advice of a forum member, I upgraded from a Sennheiser HD 280 Pro to a Senn HD 558. I must say I'm a touch disappointed, especially given the price difference. My impression of the 558s is that they have better mids than the 280 Pro, but on the 280s the treble seems more "forward". The bass on the 558s is tighter and more controlled than the 280s, but the 280s seem to have more punch than the 558s. All these factors seem to make listening on the 280s a more "exciting" proposition, which is strange considering they're supposed to be professional, neutral sounding phones. Supposedly the open 558s have a much better sound stage than the closed 280s, but I'm just not hearing it. I do notice an improvement, but it's not significant. The one place where the 558s get a clear win is in comfort; they're far more comfy than the 280s.

 

Do my impressions match anyone else's? Would using an equalizer help much? Unfortunately, I listen to many music videos on a computer, and the EQ options on most video players are lacking. Should I be looking for cans with more pronounced treble?


So, we can assume your using the computer's on-board audio, plugging the headphones directly into the computer?

Have you tried updating to your motherboard's latest audio drivers?

The HD 280 Pro headphones might work better with on-board audio, then the HD558s

 

Get the Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card, $27-$37, should help improve audio quality at least a little.

(There is a $10 mail in rebate this month, for the DG & DGX)

I'm of the opinion that the HD558s need time to break in to sound their best, like give them 50 hours to see if they improve with use.

Some people believe that there is no break in period for headphones.

You can also remove the black rubber tape from inside the cups of the HD558, should improve (at least a little) the mids, surround sound and treble of the HD558s

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 


So, we can assume your using the computer's on-board audio, plugging the headphones directly into the computer?

Have you tried updating to your motherboard's latest audio drivers?

The HD 280 Pro headphones might work better with on-board audio, then the HD558s

 

Get the Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card, $27-$37, should help improve audio quality at least a little.

(There is a $10 mail in rebate this month, for the DG & DGX)

I'm of the opinion that the HD558s need time to break in to sound their best, like give them 50 hours to see if they improve with use.

Some people believe that there is no break in period for headphones.

You can also remove the black rubber tape from inside the cups of the HD558, should improve (at least a little) the mids, surround sound and treble of the HD558s


No, I'm not using onboard sound. I've tried both headphones with a Soundblaster Z's heaphone port and an Echo Indigo I/O. The difference isn't as noticeable on the Indigo, but it's still there. The 558s just sound more veiled than the the 280s.

 

Break-in? Maybe. I've had the 558s for 2 weeks or so,  and have probably put somewhere around 25 hours of usage on them. The 280s were bought used about 6 months ago, and could have a considerable number of hours on them.

 

Are you referring to the "foam mod"? I'm hesitant to void my warranty...

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imrazor View Post
 


No, I'm not using on-board sound. I've tried both headphones with a Soundblaster Z's headphone port and an Echo Indigo I/O. The difference isn't as noticeable on the Indigo, but it's still there. The 558s just sound more veiled than the the 280s.

 

Break-in? Maybe. I've had the 558s for 2 weeks or so,  and have probably put somewhere around 25 hours of usage on them. The 280s were bought used about 6 months ago, and could have a considerable number of hours on them.

 

Are you referring to the "foam mod"? I'm hesitant to void my warranty...

Some have described the HD558s as having a veiled sound.

Did you disable the desktop's on-board audio when you installed the Sound Blaster Z?

You can hold off on the foam mod, no rush.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Some have described the HD558s as having a veiled sound.

Did you disable the desktop's on-board audio when you installed the Sound Blaster Z?

You can hold off on the foam mod, no rush.

 

Yes, I did disable the onboard sound. However, I have two other sound cards present, an M-Audio Delta 410 and NVidia HDMI audio. The Echo Indigo was the sole active sound device in my laptop.

 

Maybe veiled isn't quite the right term. "Recessed" might be better, at least when comparing the treble of the 558 to the 280. I do hope you're right about breaking them in. Anyone else need to break in their 5x8 series cans?

post #6 of 12

I've owned both before.

HD558 is very sensitive to ear position, make sure that the center of each driver is aiming right at your ear canals' entrances or soundstaging will be off.  HD280 has stronger treble, so it will sound brighter, or less "recessed" in the treble.

You should feel more "punch" with HD280.  Closed headphones often do that.  558 loses some of that "punch" due to being open.

 

I liked HD558 more with burn-in.  If you prefer a brighter sound, you might want to read up on HD380 (that's not a typo), ATH-M50, and ATH-AD900x to see which one you like.  These are not all of the alternatives that you could go for.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imrazor View Post
 

 

Yes, I did disable the onboard sound. However, I have two other sound cards present, an M-Audio Delta 410 and NVidia HDMI audio. The Echo Indigo was the sole active sound device in my laptop.

 

Maybe veiled isn't quite the right term. "Recessed" might be better, at least when comparing the treble of the 558 to the 280. I do hope you're right about breaking them in. Anyone else need to break in their 5x8 series cans?


You might consider returning the HD558 and getting AKG K612 Pro,

so far everything I read about them seems to be they are a little better then the HD558s (more musical and mid range).

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thought I'd update the thread in case anyone else stumbles across it. I looked through my sound card settings and found a global equalizer. I set it to +2db 1khz, +4db 2khz, +4db 4khz, and +3db 8khz. They sound much livelier now, the treble no longer seems recessed, and overall sound richer than my old 280s.

 

I've also experiment with the virtual surround settings with the Soundblaster Z, and while music still doesn't seem to have much soundstage, games sound great. Now it's much easier to pinpoint noises in game. So color me happy.


Edited by imrazor - 11/21/13 at 12:12pm
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imrazor View Post
 

Yes, I did disable the on-board sound. However, I have two other sound cards present, an M-Audio Delta 410 and NVidia HDMI audio. The Echo Indigo was the sole active sound device in my laptop.

 

Maybe veiled isn't quite the right term. "Recessed" might be better, at least when comparing the treble of the 558 to the 280. I do hope you're right about breaking them in. Anyone else need to break in their 5x8 series cans?

You might consider removing the M-Audio 410 (and it's software), it may or may not be affecting the SB-Z's audio.

and leave the NVidia HDMI audio disabled.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/21/13 at 3:53pm
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

You might consider removing the M-Audio 410 (and it's software), it may or may not be affecting the SB-Z's audio.

and leave the NVidia HDMI audio disabled.

 

You can also try the third party software/drivers "Unified Xonar Driver".

Huh? Xonar drivers for a Soundblaster Z?

 

Anyway, a few equalizer tweaks have me happy now, so I don't think I'll need to go yanking out any cards. I need the M-Audio for Linux (the Soundblaster can be made to work, but it's a pain) and use the HDMI output for my speakers.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imrazor View Post
 

Huh? Xonar drivers for a Soundblaster Z?

 

Anyway, a few equalizer tweaks have me happy now, so I don't think I'll need to go yanking out any cards. I need the M-Audio for Linux (the Soundblaster can be made to work, but it's a pain) and use the HDMI output for my speakers.


Oops, for some reason my brain thought you had an Xonar card, need more coffee.

post #12 of 12

I do not like the HD 280 Pro at all. They do not sound well.

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