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Ready to buy the HD 558s unless you have other recommendations in the ~$150 price range.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

I'm going to be buying my first pair of "real" headphones soon. I've done a fair amount of research, including 2 posts on head-fi, and I think I've come to a conclusion. I think I'm going to go with the Sennheiser HD 558s. Budget is about $150. I'll mostly be using them for music. 70% music/netflix, 30% games. Don't need to be portable. They'll be hooked up to my PC. Don't care about open or closed. Don't care about sound leakage. I listen to just about every genre except country.

 

Some concerns I have with the 558s:

 

  • Lack of Bass. I don't really think I'm a basshead, but I do listen to some dubstep. I'm concerned they might not have enough bass for me. I don't think I need much bass, but I am wondering just how bad it is.
  • Being too laid back. I hear the 558s are very laid back and the headphones aren't fun. I primarily listen to music to enjoy myself.

 

But remember, this is also coming from someone who has only ever listened to gaming headsets. The best headphones I've listened to would probably be the Razer Carcharias

 

Bonus Question: Am I going to need to get an Amp/DAC/Sound Card with some headphones? I'm not really keen on spending 75% of the price of the headphones on other things. At that point, I think it'd be best to get better headphones.

 

Thanks again,

-Adam

post #2 of 28

You will most likely find them underwhelming as many of us have.  At first they sound clear and neutral, but in the end the lack of bass, weak construction, and slight bright tilt to the sound signature makes them a poor choice for most applications.

 

You would be much better off with something like the Audio Technica ATH-M50 which has much deeper bass extension, keeping it in check with the rest of the frequency spectrum, is built like a tank ( I have had mine for 7 years ), and can easily be driven by just about anything out there.

 

That is my suggestion having been down the road you are about to travel.

post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion519 View Post
 

Hey,

 

I'm going to be buying my first pair of "real" headphones soon. I've done a fair amount of research, including 2 posts on head-fi, and I think I've come to a conclusion. I think I'm going to go with the Sennheiser HD 558s. Budget is about $150. I'll mostly be using them for music. 70% music/netflix, 30% games. Don't need to be portable. They'll be hooked up to my PC. Don't care about open or closed. Don't care about sound leakage. I listen to just about every genre except country.

Some concerns I have with the 558s:

 

  • Lack of Bass. I don't really think I'm a basshead, but I do listen to some dubstep. I'm concerned they might not have enough bass for me. I don't think I need much bass, but I am wondering just how bad it is.
  • Being too laid back. I hear the 558s are very laid back and the headphones aren't fun. I primarily listen to music to enjoy myself.

But remember, this is also coming from someone who has only ever listened to gaming headsets. The best headphones I've listened to would probably be the Razer Carcharias

Bonus Question: Am I going to need to get an Amp/DAC/Sound Card with some headphones? I'm not really keen on spending 75% of the price of the headphones on other things. At that point, I think it'd be best to get better headphones.

The Xonar DG sound card, $27, might improve audio quality, over a Win PC's on-board audio.

I do like my HD558s, it's the oldest headphone I have that I still use.

post #4 of 28

AKG K612 Pro is also one to consider, but keep in mind that you would have to get an amp as well to drive it. Grado SR80i is a solid contender as well, though none of these cans are the one if you're looking for 'bassy headphones'.

post #5 of 28

You should buy the HD558 and run now!  You'll only get an onslaught of recommendations.

post #6 of 28

Get the HD558. I don't think they lack bass or are bright at all. You also don' t require a dedicated amp for it. Enjoy!

post #7 of 28
Well, they lack bass for hip hop and edm.
post #8 of 28

Regardless what the opinions of others are the graphs are irrefutable.

 

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3431&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2941&scale=30

 

See how the HD558 curve falls below the ATH-M50 and the LCD-3 ( most neutral headphone measured )?  From 60 Hz down the HD558 is more than -10dB away from the other headphones.  That is the very definition of lacking bass especially compared to neutral.  Take into account that almost all humans hear slightly emphasized bass as sounding more pleasant the gap continues to grow.

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

Regardless what the opinions of others are the graphs are irrefutable.

 

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3431&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2941&scale=30

 

See how the HD558 curve falls below the ATH-M50 and the LCD-3 ( most neutral headphone measured )?  From 60 Hz down the HD558 is more than -10dB away from the other headphones.  That is the very definition of lacking bass especially compared to neutral.  Take into account that almost all humans hear slightly emphasized bass as sounding more pleasant the gap continues to grow.

Did you consider the huge price difference between the LCD-3 and the HD558? If don't think you can get an LCD-3 for $150 or anywhere close to it. If you consider the FR of the ATH-M50 vs the HD558, the bass response of the ATH-M50 tracks the HD558 but at a slightly elevated pace but the treble is rolled off which overall is not as flat as the HD558 but is instead angled down as the frequency increases. Also the ATH-M50 has some irregularity in the mids. To me the HD558 has a more desirable flatter sound profile.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

Regardless what the opinions of others are the graphs are irrefutable.

 

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3431&graphID[]=2861&graphID[]=2941&scale=30

 

See how the HD558 curve falls below the ATH-M50 and the LCD-3 ( most neutral headphone measured )?  From 60 Hz down the HD558 is more than -10dB away from the other headphones.  That is the very definition of lacking bass especially compared to neutral.  Take into account that almost all humans hear slightly emphasized bass as sounding more pleasant the gap continues to grow.

 

I have a lot of respect for Tyll, but that's not my experience (measurements and subjective impressions):

 

 

 

HD558: green

ATH-M50: red

LCD-2: yellow

 

There is a bit of product variability in the LCD-2s treble response, but the ones measured were pretty well balanced IMO. The HD558s don't have the sub-bass extension, low bass non-linear distortion, and price of the LCD-2s (or 3s). But they have more than decent bass. I also feel the HD558 are more neutral (FR) than the LCD-2s. In general, most of the LCD-2 I've heard tend to be a little dark.

 

The ATH-M50 are IMO a little bassy, but pretty good.

 

Again, the HD558 do not lack bass IMO. For me the main issue with the HD558s would be that they are a little muddy in the bass region relative to better and more expensive cans (like it's sibling the HD600).


Edited by ultrabike - 11/22/13 at 10:19pm
post #11 of 28

Go with the ATH-M50, the bass is much better, as is everything else in my opinion. Even with the mod the 558 still sound pretty average and much better could be bought for the price range.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post
 

 

I have a lot of respect for Tyll, but that's not my experience (measurements and subjective impressions):

 

 

 

HD558: green

ATH-M50: red

LCD-2: yellow

 

There is a bit of product variability in the LCD-2s treble response, but the ones measured were pretty well balanced IMO. The HD558s don't have the sub-bass extension, low bass non-linear distortion, and price of the LCD-2s (or 3s). But they have more than decent bass. I also feel the HD558 are more neutral (FR) than the LCD-2s. In general, most of the LCD-2 I've heard tend to be a little dark.

 

The ATH-M50 are IMO a little bassy, but pretty good.

 

Again, the HD558 do not lack bass IMO. For me the main issue with the HD558s would be that they are a little muddy in the bass region relative to better and more expensive cans (like it's sibling the HD600).

I have both the HD558 and HD600 cans. Yes the HD600 sounds better but it costs plenty more. I can take the HD558's to the office, it still sounds great compared to it's peers in the same price range and doesn't require any amping. I'd venture to say that the HD558's have a very similar flavor to the the HD600's which is probably why I like them,

post #13 of 28

I would recommend checking out the beyerdynamic custom one pros. It's a bit over your price range at the moment but sales are just around the corner at this point. From a fellow gamer's perspective, you're probably not going to have issues with lack of bass because of the because of the sliders at the bottom of each headphone. The headphones deliver a clean punchy bass depending on your chosen setting. I found it to be great for things like movies and gaming  and you can always tone down the bass when it comes to genres that don't have as much (i.e. classical, jazz, etc). Another pro it has from a gamer's perspective is it's removable wire that can be replaced with a wire that also has a boom mic (similar to the one V Moda offers). That's all alongside the customization factor if you're into that. You can swap out just about any part for others of different colors, designs, or even design your own sideplate with an image of your choice.

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emongaa View Post
 

Go with the ATH-M50, the bass is much better, as is everything else in my opinion. Even with the mod the 558 still sound pretty average and much better could be bought for the price range.

 

The bass is cleaner (less distortion) on the ATH-M50s than the HD558s. This can be appreciated as tighter, less muddy bass on the M50s. However, like most closed headphones, the M50s suffers form coloration (at least the current one I heard and measured). The best description I have for this is a slight hollow sound due to depression in the frequency response of the lower treble region. I personally can adjust to this though depending on how deep and wide this depression is. The HD558s don't have this problem and overall have a more neutral signature.

 

The current iteration of M50s tend to be a little bit bass heavy. I actually have a friend that specifically bought them for this.

 

Regarding the HD558s, I completely disagree that a lot better could be bought at this price range.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

I have both the HD558 and HD600 cans. Yes the HD600 sounds better but it costs plenty more. I can take the HD558's to the office, it still sounds great compared to it's peers in the same price range and doesn't require any amping. I'd venture to say that the HD558's have a very similar flavor to the the HD600's which is probably why I like them,

 

Indeed, the FR is pretty similar. They differ mostly on distortion.

 

HD558 (red) vs HD600 (green) Frequency Response

 

 

HD558 Distortion

 

 

HD600 Distortion

 

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrabike View Post
 

 

The bass is cleaner (less distortion) on the ATH-M50s than the HD558s. This can be appreciated as tighter, less muddy bass on the M50s. However, like most closed headphones, the M50s suffers form coloration (at least the current one I heard and measured). The best description I have for this is a slight hollow sound due to depression in the frequency response of the lower treble region. I personally can adjust to this though depending on how deep and wide this depression is. The HD558s don't have this problem and overall have a more neutral signature.

 

The current iteration of M50s tend to be a little bit bass heavy. I actually have a friend that specifically bought them for this.

 

Regarding the HD558s, I completely disagree that a lot better could be bought at this price range.

 

 

Indeed, the FR is pretty similar. They differ mostly on distortion.

 

HD558 (red) vs HD600 (green) Frequency Response

 

 

HD558 Distortion

 

 

HD600 Distortion

 

Most modern amps and headphones produce HD well below the ability of human perception. IMO Intermodulation Distortion is easier to perceive but is not usually specified.

You can look into Just Detectable Distortion (JDD) and might be surprised at the findings as to how much higher the thresholds are than we think.

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