Sennheiser HD 598

Average User Rating:
4.36486/5,
  1. MyFamilyShoppin
    2.0/5,
    "Lacklustre sound"
    Pros - Comfort
    Cons - Too much seperation, distance, and empty areas. No "immersion".
    I got the Sennheiser HD-598 based on all the existing rave reviews.
    It's amazingly comfortable. That's all the good I can say about it.
    I just hate the sound.
     
    Okay, I am no "audiophile". I am not using these headphones on any fancy sources.
    First device is my laptop...an MSI GE70. It has "SoundBlaster" lol!
    Second device is my old phone...a Samsung Galaxy Ace II x. It has "PowerAmp" app installed lol!
     
    So this review is for cheapo weirdo's like me.
     
    Yes, it has "sound stage". It's almost like they put different speakers in different faraway sections of the headphones...and each plays one component of the sound.
     
    But the problem is that everything is too seperated. The sounds become so distinct & isolated...nothing really blends.
    It also feels like there are so many parts of the sound stage where NO activity is going on...as if those sections are empty.
    It ends up feeling so unpleasantly clean, technical & robotic, I just can't get "immersed" in what I'm listening to.
     
    Yes, it can have "clear vocals". But the positioning of the vocals is terribly queer.
    In 90% of the songs I have listened to, the vocals seem to be positioned at the back or middle.
    So while you can have clear vocals, the instrumental components at the front overwhelm them.
    The best solution I could come up with for this problem is to flip the headphones...whereby the "R" side is on my left ear & the "L" side is on my right ear.
    This brings the vocals closer to the front...and the instruments leaning back.
     
    Truth be told, my $30 Behringer HPX2000 headphones deliver much more powerful & immersive sound than these $270 over-hyped cans.
    Something to contemplate this Christmas season.
     
    --------------
     
    UPDATE EDIT (22/12/2014): For some odd reason, I cannot find a button to reply to comments. So I'll just say in this space that Ortherion is the only one who seems to get it. The rest of you, in various ways, are simply sticking up for a product that works within your personal contexts. Within my context (which will not be changed, because I listen while lifting & working on a mobile laptop - hence, no amp)...the sound is exactly as frustrating as I previously described. Contrary to Ortherion's suggestion, I will simply return these headphones to Amazon Canada (for those of you who asked - the total was actually 296 with shipping & taxes included).
     
    I think what I'm realizing is that - with my sources & the sort of coloured & powerful sound I like - a bizzare headphone (like my existing Behringer's - or perhaps I'll try Grado's next) might work best.
  2. MrTechAgent
    2.5/5,
    "Fehlerhaft Kopfhörer"
    Pros - Natty, Removable 4 Conductor Cable.
    Cons - Hits Excursion very early, Poor Headband Ergonomics, High Level of Distortion, Overrated and Overpriced.
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    Want to preface this by presenting this picture, I'm not a TROLL or a A-Hole, I just like to mock the fu** out of headphones I dislike.
    This time its time for the "Fehlerhaft HD598".
     
    I'm a fan of the 580-600-650, I own all of them.
    The 598 is interesting because it sounds crude. Coming from Senn I was surprised by how bad it sounded..the first day I got them I was certain I had a defective unit, so I went to Senn and was able to convince them I had a faulty pair.
    They gave me a new one after a week, I was sure my first 598 was broken and I was expecting the new one to be just fine but...nope, the new one sounded exactly the same.
    So then I was sure, these use cheap "Made In China" low fidelity drivers.
     
    Anyway, I'll come to what's completely wrong with the sound soon, let's go over some other things.
     
    Build -
     
    They slightly worry me, they feel solid, nothing rattles but the headband is one of those bendy weird-like its going to break types. The side articulation spot seems to be the most scary one.
    I don't think they'll break but they just feel too bendy rather than feeling solid, there is no metal in the construction..from the fake wood to maybe even the headband, its all ABS, the headband maybe some kind of a composite though.
    I have to admit, although the wood is plastic, it looks pretty sharp. The grain detail is obviously not like real wood but looks pretty convincing for the most part.
     
    Comfort - 
     
    I never have any issues with Senns, due to the oval pads mostly. The Headband never bothers me but with the 598, the Headband is pretty annoying..it sticks out..the headphones fall from my head when I look up or look down.
    If you listen on your Sofa while resting your head, the 598 will be quite annoying.
    Ther padding itself is pretty good, the Earpads are great..can't go wrong with Senn Oval Velour.
     
    Cable - 
     
    The cable is removable, its proprietary of course..like we don't have loads of proprietary connectors to begin with.
    I found out the cable has 4-Conductors inside, that means you can cut the cable and install a 4-Pin XLR and run it balanced on the HDVA-600 and the HDVD-900, which honestly is quite fantastic.
    The stock cable is pretty soft bendy, not one of those sh**** silver conductors which kink and piss you off.
    Another advantage is that since it is 4-C, you can make a DIY Microphone contraption, biggest problem the recessed jack on the headphone..the only way I can think of is a CNCd 2.5mm connector or maybe cut the stock cable and solder the wires which is the less elegant way.
     
    Efficeny and Scale-Up - 
     
    I have no respect for IEMs and Low Impedance dynamic headphones, I really hate that Senn is going away from their High Impedance system for the newer models.
    They are 63 Ohms or something..correct me if I'm wrong. They aren't that sensitive to be great out of a iPad or a iPhone, with my Nano 7G I barely get any dynamics due to the lack of efficiency, if you make a efficient headphone..fuc**** make sure its efficient..
    If you can't do that, then just make a Non-Efficient one, don't fuc***** make one in the middle.
    They have some issues with excursion, that can be cured with Amplifers with Low Output Impedances..I have seen some audible improvements in excursion limits, which is good to know.
    I'll come to the excursion soon.
    So, time for the Sound now..
     
    Bass -
     
    Impact-less, weak, slow, low excursion and all that crap.
    The bass is abysmal, the bass is worse than the cheap Nexus 5 IEMs, they have zero impact, no extension to be found here.
    Only some Mid-Bass, which happens to be pretty ****ty, the bass quality is so Low-Fi that its funny, they make me laugh...in my existence this is the first time a headphone made me laugh, except Japanese headphones -That's a different story, I should dedicate a segment to explain how shi*** those fuc**** Japanese headphones are.
    Anyway, the 598s do Stand-Up, the bits are in the form of the bass they reproduce. 
    I hate the bass, if people can complain about accentuated bass, I sure can mock these 598s for having poor bass.
    I haven't looked at the graph yet but audibly I think they roll-off severly at 120Hz, there is no sub-bass.
    They hit excursion quick too, 60Hz at XX SPL, I am not stating an exact number because I haven't measured them, believe me its at medium volume which is pretty bad.
    The driver seem to be cohesive in terms of hitting it, 1db tolerance maximum.
    Overall, these headphones can't do bass.
     
    Mid-Range - 
     
     
    Mid-Range works, its fine..nothing too striking from lower-mids, going to the presence region is clean..mostly, presence region and you have a peak at the lower octaves, adding thinn-ness to the overall sound, the upper-half is slightly uneven too, not the cleanest I've heard.
    There is audible Break-Up (Distortion) which takes away from the transparency, overall the Mid-Range is NOT High Fidelity, lacks weight and body, slightly honky and grainy as well.
    No Musicality here, very thin and Low Fidelity.
     
    Treble - 
     
    I find the treble presentation to be rather respectable, they extend quite well..detailed high frequency response.
    I wouldn't say its having the crazy upper treble resolution because it doesn't but..for the price, its above average in terms of treble presentation.
    Like all BoPET membranes, there is break-up and its not free of grain but its not too grainy either.
     
    Separation and Imaging -
     
    Ooo they are angled, I've seen some idiots go crazy and start to believe a headphone sounds 3D if its angled, that's just stupid.
    I mean really?
    The 598s are just fine, they aren't congested sounding, they image decently. Nothing noteworthy in the imaging department.
    Separation is useless to talk about because it depends on the recording, anyway if you are interested, there is speration, Ooooo.
     
    Distortion - 
     
    Now I'm not an Engineer, I don't have much knowledge in terms of types of distortion. I don't know if its THD or IMD or whatever, there is audible distortion..thanks to the awesome drivers, thank you Senn!
     
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    Overall, I don't like them, its better than the hideously offensive and grainy ma900 but the 598 isn't that far from the ma900 in terms of how fu***** bad they sound.
    I think the ma900 wins in terms of ****tyness..followed closely by the 598, wooohooo, congratulations ma900!
    Get these headphones if you are a crazy headphone collector like me, for listening to music, I would rather just sleep than listen to these.
    Also, owners, don't be offended..I'm just being honest..if you can leave some valuable and relevant comments, go ahead, don't comment and try to educate me.

    Thanks for reading, here's my YouTube review - 
     
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  3. ringofoaksmusic
    5.0/5,
    "Unbelievably good"
    Pros - Clean as a nun's earlobes, great bass extension with just enough punch, phenomenal midrange and effortless highs. Really unique and classy aesthetics.
    Cons - What? How dare you ask? None.
    Value: I got these for $207 and at twice the price they'd be a great buy.
    Sound: If the next sentence seems defensive, it's not. it's an assertion of the sound quality of the HD598s. I've been in the music business for over 40 years and I have to assert that anyone giving these a low score on sound would not know a good set of headphones if it bit them on the ass (thanks Frank). These things are very close to neutral with just a bit of warmth due to the fact that they emphasise the lower mids and upper bass just a tiny bit. Bass extension is superb with just enough punch, mids are clear and detailed, highs are effortless and real and the soundstage, considering they are cans, not speakers, is wide and deep. Sonic details, positioning and spatiality are excellent.
    Design & Build: Superb. They are phones, not earthmoving equipment. Treat 'em like phones and they'll be OK.
    Comfort: Yes, they are comfortable, but I'll add a disclaimer; I find HD 25s comfortable. Anyone finding headphones uncomfortable is a wuss anyway.
    Style: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. These look beautiful to me. Real class and something different. I own eight pairs of HD 25 MK IIs for live monitoring. One set is jewelled just in case a certain female drummer turns up, one set is the Adidas. All the rest are plain black ordinary (but cute) looking cans. Oh, and I have one set of Amperiors and I can't hear a difference but I haven't really A/B'd them as I've just worked in the studio with them. Quick work and little time. Now that I have a couple of sets of these the studio has lit up. I got these for assistance on mixdown/mastering alongside a pair of HD 600s and a pair of Adam A77X speakers. Out of all of the gear these look the best, although I do admit that I lust after the A77Xs as well.
    Accessories: After the horse has bolted, so to speak (after a million complaints about the 1/4" jack) Sennheiser are NOW supplying a 1/8" adapter.
    Summary: If you have a REAL ear for all types of music, these are headphones you'd be nuts not to try.
    Feedback for Head-Fi: Those green bars do not operate properly.
  4. CallMeFishmael
    5.0/5,
    "Excellent overall 'phone."
    Pros - Soundstage, detailed sound
    Cons - Few accessories
    The Sennheiser HD-598 Open-Backed Headphone is a great value for how it's priced. Found mine used with only two hours use, and I must say that these babies are a joy to listed to for any most any genre of music.
     
    Sound
    The sound of the 598 is warm and detailed, with light emphasis on the low mids and upper bass. I find it quite refreshing, especially after my last phones, the ATH-M50s which give preference to the deep bass. The 598, though not being a rattling bassphone reproduces complex bass lines with ease and control. I've quite enjoyed TripHop on these, especially Heligoland by Massive Attack, but also acoustic singer-songwriters (like Laura Veirs and Sara Jarosz) play very well with the detailed mids. The tone and articulation of Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin and Double Bass as well as the vocals are clear and sexual, and drums are punchy without being obtrusive.  Especially with acoustic, the 598 is quite immersive. I've noticed many details with these phones that before escaped my ears. I don't have any major complaints about the sound of these cans.
     
    Comfort
    Not much to say here, I've never gotten listening fatigue from these puppies, as they're light-weight and not too tight. My only quibbles are that they're kind of hard to keep positioned when lying down, but that is because there is not a lot of pressure exerted on the head, which serves as an advantage most of the time, and they get a bit warm if you're in a warm setting, but that's pretty unavoidable.
     
    Style
    Now usually I don't give a rip about looks, but the HD598 simply looks nice to my eyes, with the tan frame and accents, and I understand it does have the potential to make you look like they're over 30 years old, but personally I like it.
     
    Build
    I've had no problems with these babies yet, but seeing as I've only had them a couple months, I should wait to give an opinion on the durability.
     
    Accessories
    The 598 ships with only the phone itself, the three meter chord and 3.5mm adapter, which is quite inconvenient should you want to use it with a mobile setup. Now I understand that that's not the intended purpose of these, seeing as they're open-backed, but I find myself going on many walks in semi-secluded spaces and I like to take these with me. I had to get the three-foot chord which terminates in a 3.5mm plug by default, with a 6.3mm adapter, because of problems with the stock adapter, but it's no big deal.
     
    That's pretty much it. Love these phones and don't regret the purchase in the slightest.
  5. zanox
    5.0/5,
    "The smooth and musical HD 598 "
    Pros - Airy soundstage, sparkly yet smooth treble, slightly lush mids, mid bass, comfort, great looking, serious bang for the buck.
    Cons - Mild upper mids coloration preventing them from sounding totally natural.
    ..
  6. Cobaltius
    4.0/5,
    "Great Pair of Headphones!"
    Pros - Decent amount of Details, HUGE Sound staging, Good Sound Imaging, Slightly warm, Great Mids and moderately airy highs, Comfort, Vocals
    Cons - Sometimes too bright and aggressive (depends what music), Bass is thin, Headphones get rather boring after long periods of time, slow, Grainy
    These headphones are a great pair for home use, and use for movies, videos and ect. They deliver great sound quality, but I wouldn't consider it hi-Fi though.
    I listen to mostly Metal and Rock music, and I have to say that these do a pretty good job. They sound pretty aggressive on some metal/rock albums I own such as System of a Down's Steal This Album and Toxicity. They preform pretty Warm along with Rammstein albums, Mutter, Reise, Reise, Rosenrot, and Liebe Ist Fur Alle da and sound very analytical with Rammstein's debut album Herzeleid. Theses headphones in my opinion sound very best with Funk, jazz, and music with a lot instruments in the background due to the massive sound staging and amazing instrument separation. You will be amazed if you gave a listen to Dave Matthews Band's Crash album and Santana's famous Supernatural album. You can practically hear every single instrument playing in the song clearly, along with decent amounts of detail, from the crunchy distorted guitars, to the strumming  of the Bass guitar and acoustic guitars. The drums sound pretty realistic with these headphones, but the only thing I'd have to say is a con (at least for me) is that they don't deliver a "cutting snap" sound that you'd hear on speakers and stereo's. The Cymbals sound pretty airy, and well imaged. Lastly, I have to say that these are one of the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn! I could wear these to sleep for all I care and wake up without any headaches!
    Elvenefris and LoveKnight like this.
  7. Garraty
    4.0/5,
    "Fairly good beginner cans, if flawed"
    Pros - Spacious soundstage, wonderfully airy, non-fatiguing yet sparkly
    Cons - Stock cord and adapter, grainy, unnatural midrange, lack of sub-bass, overpriced
    Design and Comfort:
     
    These headphones are primarily composed of plastic and this contributes to the wonderful lack of weight and fatigue while wearing these. For the price, I would expect better quality material for the frame of these headphones but in reality, without the plastic, it wouldn't be nearly as comfortable. However, if you do buy this; keep in mind that these will not fare well if they're dropped (I've had them accidentally drop and the sound coming from the right cup became a bit wonky, so be cautious). These headphones were designed with looks of retro cars from the 60's and 70's in mind and though I wasn't sure I'd like the look, it's grown on me. 
     
    The large velour pads and supple leather headband make sure that it the HD 598's are very comfortable, which was well needed for my large head and ears. The brown velour pads provide comfort for hours and are spacious for larger ears and the headband ensures no certain pressure point of the head is pushed. These headphones can be worn for hours without discomfort; in fact, I often forget it's even on my head! The only flaw in the design is the cord and adapter which is cumbersome to say the least. It's terribly long for those who need a bit more portability and most just use the 3.5 mm jack. However, Sennheiser has come up with a replacement cable that is shorter and terminates into a 3.5 mm plug which I recommend but I do wish that they'd include it as a secondary cable with the headphones.
     
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    The treble of the phones is for the most part unfatiguing with a small bit of sparkle from 17-20 kHz. This is from a small peak and it adds a wonderful bit of sparkle and glimmer to drums and cymbals but can be a little sibilant in poorly recorded records, with vocals in particular. This can be remedied if you're overly sensitive to treble with EQ but I find this rarely occurs. (this is probably why the HD 598 is considered to be a bit bright)
     
    The HD 598 are a mid-tastic phone, as their sound is more focused on the mids than other parts of the spectrum with a very forward presentation. Guitars and vocals are well-done with these headphones and they give a lovely pluck to strings. However, I've found there is an unnatural peak in the upper midrange of these phones, making vocals in particular sound a tad unnatural. Again, this can be somewhat remedied with EQ but it always comes off a little off. 
     
    The bass of these headphones are the least noticeable of the whole spectrum but is presented politely and accurately; it's very well defined and tight. However, it's always lacking some physical part of the bass. Upper and mid bass are plentiful but the sub-bass has a noticeable lack in amount of it. At times in bass-heavy recordings, the bass seems too polite in its presentation and as a result, the HD 598 are not especially renowned for their sound in club music, hip-hop and rap. The sub-bass problem can be partially remedied by amping and EQ but in the end, if you prefer a more bassier sound preference, you're better off looking for something else.
     
    The HD 598's are pretty grainy for the price and some details are masked thanks to the uneven upper midrange and treble. However, the HD 598's more than make up for this with an airy, spacious soundstage that is perfect for those who want a more natural soundstage than that of the AKG's. The soundstage is balanced in width and depth, never claustrophobic yet never too thin in its presentation, providing a very realistic presentation of sound.
     
    The HD 598's in short have a forward mid-focused sound presentation that can come off as convincing thanks to its large soundstage. The bass and treble take to the back burner and are relatively laid back but are presented well to provide a tad bit of sparkle with tight, accurate bass. These are great with acoustic, classical, rock and jazz. But, if you prefer a more exciting sound signature in the treble and bass or a headphone with a more V-shaped sound signature, you may not prefer these. 
     
     
    Value:
     
    Are these headphones worth it for the price of $250? I don't think so as there are better phones in the same price bracket (SoundMAGIC HP200, HifiMan HE-400, Sennheiser's very own HD 600, AKG's, etc.) but these don't really need an amp or lossless music and this is why it shines. I've tried an amp or two and though I found it gave the HD 598 more body and slightly better bass extension and presentation, I found amping doesn't change the sound all that much.
     
    These are still a great value, though maybe not at its MSRP. It can provide easily 80% of its full sound quality potential, un-amped on an iPod. More expensive headphones near this price range require an amp to drive them to their full potential and become more cumbersome. These don't need an amp and if you're bold enough to go portable, why the hell not? The price of these phones fluctuate from $150 to $250 online but I got mine on Amazon for about $190. Now that I've had these for a while, I would be reluctant to buy them again unless they were at a really great deal but ultimately, I don't regret my purchase. 
     
    Albums Used: 
     
    Too many to name.
     
     
    EDIT: Edited this review many times to give more in-depth information and to edit the previous text. Hope this time will be the last!
     
    EDIT 2: Changed a lot of things in this one- feel differently about these then when I first got them. Still a killer set of cans, though.
  8. mwhouston
    3.5/5,
    "Very good sounding at an affordable price"
    Pros - Smart looking and looks very durable
    Cons - The white may look dirty over time if not taken care of
    While having a listening session with a friend on my newly made valve headphone amp we swapped phones. I was using the Audio-technica ATH700 Air and my friend The Sennheiser HD598s. My tube amp can drive two HPs at the same time with both being close to each other in impedance and efficiency. For the extra $100 over the cost of the AT I would say the Sennheiser are good value. They were not as bassy but good bass extension and mids and treble was airier and cleaner. By no means are the AT a slouch and for $160 they are really excellent value. But if you want something better and happy to pay around $100 more I would suggest the Sennheisers.
  9. noblemff
    4.5/5,
    "Great natural spacious sound"
    Pros - Spacious, Transparent, Balanced, Very Comfortable
    Cons - Too neutral?
    Spacious:
    Absolutely love the spacial sound and madly in love. Big soundstage that would make your other headphones in this price range sound awful. Although it is having a wide soundstage the dimensions are not sharply defined meaning that it could sound a tiny bit confusing at times.
     
    Transparent:
    The sound detail is great with good separation. Balanced sound that makes listening to orchestral music a bliss.
     
    Comfort:
    Even if you wear it for continuous hours it doesn't hurt, you start to wonder am I really wearing this?
     
    Too neutral??
    Sound well across all frequencies but laid of in higher highs and lower lows. Not for everyone who loves to hear fast or punchy music. Bass may not be enough for some even with adequate amplification.
  10. buldome
    5.0/5,
    "great all-around headphones, best for it's price"
    Pros - wide soundstage, very detailed sound, confortable, exotic look
    Cons - long cable, sound leakage
    sounds great even from integrated audio card, but with a proper dac/amp it really shines, love them, very comfortable