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Sennheiser HD 558 as first open cans?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hey Head'Fiers!

I'm strongly considering a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s, but I have a few questions first.

I already have a set of ATH-M50s, which (to my ears) are the best headphones I've ever owned (also own/owned Klipsch Image One, B&W P3, Bose OE1, Bose IE1, Shure SE110, etc.) and one of the best I've ever heard (have auditioned B&O H6 and Sennheiser HD 380 Pro).

I'm looking at the HD 558 specifically, because I'm able to get them for $150 CAD at the moment. Therefore, as much as I appreciate other headphone recommendations, it's these headphones or no headphones.

I'm also looking at the HD 558s not because I need them, but because I'd like to experience and have headphones that give a different perspective than my M50s every now and then. I've never owned a set of open cans before, nor I have even heard ones before.

So here are my questions:

1.) Source: I will be using them to listen to music off my iPhone 4S (mostly 320 kbps mp3s). I will be using them with my Pioneer VSX-1019 receiver to play PS3 games (mostly Gran Turismo), and occasionally watch movies, TV, and listen to music. I've read conflicting reports about how well the HD 558 plays without an amp. Honestly, I'd rather skip the hassle of buying a ~$80 amp (Fiio E11 and L1) and having another device to worry about, but if the headphones won't be utilized to their full potential (or even close), then I will buy the Fiio. Opinions?

2.) Sound. Like I said, these will be my first open-back headphones and my first Sennheisers. I listen to many different stuff; from A Tribe Called Quest to Daft Punk to Massive Attack to Radiohead to Kendrick Lamar to Bob Marley to Rush to Duran Duran to The Roots to ASAP Rocky. I do listen mostly to hip hop, but I also like a lot of classic rock, '80s new wave/pop, '90s house/trance, and everything in between. I like bass, but I like quality over quantity. I can be sensitive to overly bright headphones. I like a warm, lush sound signature. I like being able to crank up the volume without the sound turning harsh. And I love the feeling of being surrounded by music. I keep hearing about Sennheiser's "laid back" signature, which sounds like something I'd enjoy, and may be why I liked the HD 380 Pros. Do the HD 558 sound like something I'd like?

3.) The 558 Mod. From what I understand, it's a simple task of removing a piece of "tape" behind the driver, which then opens up the soundstage and brings overall sound quality to ~95% of what the 598 is. I may do it or I may not do it. I've never been one to mod headphones, but I just wanted to make sure that this mod is reversible (back to stock) in case I prefer how it sounds pre-modded.

Thanks guys!
Edited by Autoholic - 1/14/14 at 9:23am
post #2 of 4

Go for it!

 

Don't have the 558 but the 598 and the ATH-M50 as well. Would always keep these two. However, the M50 have quite a lot of bass compared to the 558/598 but the quality is great. The Sennheiser are really amazing cans and scale nice with an amp. But there are no bass monsters for sure. The soundstage and positioning of the instruments though (with the right music) is very very good.

 

I think you will not regret that move.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoholic View Post

I'm strongly considering a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s, but I have a few questions first.

1.) Source: I will be using them to listen to music off my iPhone 4S (mostly 320 kbps mp3s). I will be using them with my Pioneer VSX-1019 receiver to play PS3 games (mostly Gran Turismo), and occasionally watch movies, TV, and listen to music. I've read conflicting reports about how well the HD 558 plays without an amp.

2.) Sound. Like I said, these will be my first open-back headphones and my first Sennheisers.

3.) The 558 Mod. From what I understand, it's a simple task of removing a piece of "tape" behind the driver, which then opens up the sound stage and brings overall sound quality to ~95% of what the 598 is. I may do it or I may not do it. I've never been one to mod headphones, but I just wanted to make sure that this mod is reversible (back to stock) in case I prefer how it sounds pre-modded.

The HD558s are the oldest headphones I have that I still like to use.

With the HD558 using an amplifier is optional, works fairly decent without one, but works best with one.

I plug my HD558s into my Yamaha A/V receiver all the time, the receiver's headphone amplifier does a good job of driving the HD558s.

Once you remove the black rubber tape from inside the cups of the HD558s, I doubt you will ever want to put the tape back in.

 

This cable ($17-$20) is great to have when you want to use the HD558s with a 3.5mm jack.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261255113290?var=560215640800&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post

Go for it!

Don't have the 558 but the 598 and the ATH-M50 as well. Would always keep these two. However, the M50 have quite a lot of bass compared to the 558/598 but the quality is great. The Sennheiser are really amazing cans and scale nice with an amp. But there are no bass monsters for sure. The soundstage and positioning of the instruments though (with the right music) is very very good.

I think you will not regret that move.

Thanks for the post. Glad to hear from someone who has the M50s. Gives me some more confidence that I will in fact like these cans.

As for the question of bass, I'm fine with it as long as it's present and detailed, doesn't have too much sub-bass roll-off, and mid-bass doesn't bleed into the mid-range like my old Klipsch. Basically, quality over quantity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The HD558s are the oldest headphones I have that I still like to use.
With the HD558 using an amplifier is optional, works fairly decent without one, but works best with one.
I plug my HD558s into my Yamaha A/V receiver all the time, the receiver's headphone amplifier does a good job of driving the HD558s.
Once you remove the black rubber tape from inside the cups of the HD558s, I doubt you will ever want to put the tape back in.

This cable ($17-$20) is great to have when you want to use the HD558s with a 3.5mm jack.

Thanks for the post, and also linking me to that cable.

Good to hear that these can be driven nicely with an AV receiver, and that they still perform okay without an amp.

The fact that you say use them often despite being your oldest set of headphones shows that they some quality that keeps you coming back.

---

Now I really appreciate the 2 posts above, but I'm still open to hear more opinions. I'm *almost* convinced. If these were just another set of closed headphones, no problem, I've purchased many sets just going off reviews without hearing them. But the fact that they're my first open-backs (both to hear and to purchase) and they're final sale are the 2 "issues." I just wish the store would allow me to audition them before buying.
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