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.
Edited by Autoholic - 1/14/14 at 9:23am