Sennheiser HD 598

Average User Rating:
4.36486/5,
  1. DannyRox23
    4.0/5,
    "OH MY! WHAT A SHOCKER!"
    Pros - Good pair, for the price, and sounds more than a $200 pair of headphones.
    Cons - Exaggerated mids and artificial soundstage.
    Review coming soon ...
  2. deaglecat
    5.0/5,
    "Sweet ... but not for every one."
    Pros - Awesome mid range.
    Cons - Bass is clear but will not shake you
    These are so easy to listen to for a long time.   Comfortable, not harsh.   Superb mids.
     
    I can hear things on these headphones that I never could on my Sony MDRs.     They need amping though (and playing loud) ..or they are a bit too mild mannered.
  3. davisman
    4.5/5,
    "Great introduction to HiFi"
    Pros - Comfort, good all rounder. Easy to drive, not picky about source or amplification.
    Cons - Some will prefer a more subdued design
    Intro
     
    This was my first real pair of headphones, and they satisfied me for two years. So it is only fitting that my first headphone review be on these awesome headphones. The HD598s are a great entry into personal HIFI. They are not picky about amplification, and will not over analyze bad recordings. 
     
    Setup
     
    For two years I ran the HD598 from my Asus xonar essence stx sound card. They are a decent enough match, you could do better or worse. I have also tried these on my recently acquired Schiit stack (Bifrost, Asgard 2).  
     
    Sound
    Note: I don't have the poetic vocabulary to do a proper analysis of the headphones, but I can give you a general idea of what to expect. 
     
    The mid-range is the star of the show here. They will sound the best with vocals, and acoustic music. The highs are present, but not sparkly. They are not fatiguing at all. The only real problem I had with the HD598s was the bass. It is present, but lacks impact. It is a very enjoyably signature that satisfied me for two years. But alas this is headfi and the itch to upgrade was too strong. 
     
    Because of the open design and good sound-stage the HD598s are a great match for Dolby headphone for competitive gaming and movies.  You will pinpoint enemies with ease. However, the bass is the weak link here, and lacks immersion. Mad Lust Envy has an excellent write on these headphones in his thread. 
     
    Comfort
     
    The velour earpads, light overall weight, open design, and padded headband all combine for a very comfortable headphone. I doubt anybody will be returning these for comfort issues. You literally forget you have them on after a while. 
     
    Conclusion
     
    The Sennheiser HD598s routinely go on sale for ~$150. At this price I consider them a no brainer. They are great entry level can, and the Sennheiser 'Do no harm' sound signature makes for a great all rounder. They bass is still light for my taste, however the pros far outweigh the cons. There is a reason why this is one of the most recommended headphones under $200. 
  4. dz1000
    2.5/5,
    "Sound as boring as they look."
    Pros - Comfortable to wear, help you relax.
    Cons - Makes your music sound dull and boring.
    Had these and couldn't wait to get rid of them. I agree with What Hi-Fi? who gave these 3 stars out of 5 and said they were dull and boring. These headphones do manage to suck the life out of any music.

    If you want something to help you relax then these are the right cans for you, but you will get bored and you won't feel much from listening to vocals and music, which for me is like missing the point of music.

    I now have Creative Aurvana Live! headphones which are so much better than these. Much more exciting. Much more interesting to listen to. I honestly believe people who rate the HD598 highly don't have another decent set of energetic sounding headphones to compare them with. Once you listen to something like the Aurvana, there's no going back to Boresville.

    I would like to reply to some of the ignorant comments made below this review but, for some reason, this website does not allow it. So i will respond to those comments here.

    When a respected reviewer like InnerFidelity doesn't even bother to review the Sennheiser HD598 then perhaps it is because he knows they are not worthy of a review. MarcadoStalker7, don't pretend you know my likes or dislikes. I like smooth headphones as much as the next guy, but there is a big difference between smooth and dull.

    Negative comments on the CAL! are also way off. Those headphones are praised by the respected reviewers. After all, they made it onto InnerFidelity's Hall of Fame. Go there to read about them MarcadoStalker7, Xinze and skyforger. You all might learn something if you do. Don't even think about comparing the CAL! to Beats and other similar rubbish.
  5. joe50000
    4.5/5,
    "The Sennheiser 598 has carved out an entirely new niche in the audiophile world: value-fi."
    Pros - Amazing performance for the price, easy as pie to drive, can scale extremely well, forgiving presentation
    Cons - Polarizing appearance, needs an aftermarket adapter for 1/8" jack
    The Sennheiser 598 is the new the ruler of the sub-$300 roost. 
     
    If you're looking for a headphone with an expansive sound stage that is at once both intimate and expansive...
     
    If you can't shell out for a Hi-Fi set of cans like the HD600/650 and the necessary amp to drive them well....
     
    If you're looking for a versatile headphone that bring music to life but doesn't punish your ears with poor source material...
     
    If you're looking for a headphone that you can comfortably wear all day long....
     
    If you're like me, and use your computer as your primary entertainment center for music, movies, and games...
     
    Then the Sennheiser 598s are a godsend for you.
     
    Many reviewers have described these headphones as being "lush", "warm", "creamy", and "smooth".
     
    Forget the audiophile jargon.  
     
    Lyrics, especially female vocalists, come in crystal clear and are front-and-center in presentation.  The background harmonics are there, but hey, you paid money to hear someone sing, right?  Movies and television shows benefit from this too - it's almost as if there's a small circular stage with a spotlight on it that the actors are on, and all the background noise just falls away.
     
    There's an accusation that these headphones lack detail.  It's not true.  
     
    Detail is not hearing every artifact in a recording.  Detail is not having every audible instrument played with equal intensity and volume.  
     
    Detail is when the soundmixer thought what was most important to be the star of the show.  For music it's lyrics.  For movies it's dialogue and action. 
    pg1111 likes this.
  6. toronto8
    4.5/5,
    "great sounding headphones"
    Pros - Solid soundstage,robust bass,very detailed,silky signature.
    Cons - Highs are rolled off,standard cable is a bit flimsy.
    What more can you say about a pair of headphones that cost less than $200.Its truly a wonderful pair of headphones that can play all spectrum  of music and fits comfortably and non fatiguing.Soundstaging is the strong point for sure,deep,wide and high,voices and string artist is so spot on with the proper source and hell plugged right into iPod still sounds great.I own a pair of HD 600 also and some aspects the 598 are even better in the mids than the 600's.Overall if the highs wasn't a bit rolled and bright these headphones get a 5/5 considering the price.
  7. revanxp
    4.5/5,
    "Quality headphones"
    Pros - Amazing soundstage, extremely comfortable, Outstanding sound quality
    Cons - Come with 6.3mm jack plug but you end up using them with 3.5mm adapter most of the time
    Note: This is my first audiophile headphones so i can't compare them to any other headphones out there for the same price.
     
    These headphones are well designed, fit your head perfectly and are extremely lightweight. They are made out of plastic but they don't look cheap. They are very solid in my opinion.
    You can wear these for a long session and never worry about them.
    This is the first reason i decided to buy these.
    About the color. You may or may not like it. I love the color combination, they look classy but it's all about personal taste. Since they sound so great you'll forgot about the color soon enough after wearing them. 
     
    Second reason, probably the most important, is the sound quality.
    I was looking for open headphones. The soundstage you get from that kind of headphones can't be replicated by another. The HD 598 soundstage is amazing. Period.
    They sound leak a lot but this is intended and make them sound phenomenal in terms of soundtage. If you plan to use use them for personal listening at home or in a quiet place you shouldn't worry about that. (By the way these are sold for home listening so if you buy them and complain about the sound leak, that's just stupid).
     
    Out of the box they sound good but i noticed an improvement with each hour of listening. 
    The sound quality in general is amazing and changed the way i enjoy music. These headphones work well with different musical genres. I listen a lot of folk, jazz, blues, funk, rock but i tried almost everything with them (even electronic which is my least favourite genre) and they never failed me.
    If i had to describe how they sound i would say "smooth and extremely clear". You can ear every single instruments even when there are tons of instruments. 
    I love vocals and these headphones make them shine. I almost cried listening to some songs posted in the "best female vocals" in forum music section.
     
    In a word, they are accurate. 
     
    Being so precise i noticed the sound source has to be right to enjoy these headphones to their full potential. You can easily spot the difference if a song is not well mastered or comes in poor quality (song's format matters).
    An amp is not needed in my opinion but could be useful. 
    I tried them with my pc and an ipod. They sound different on my ipod and not so great. I wouldn't recommend them if you plan to use them only with an ipod or a dap in general. And you shouldn't as i mentioned early these work wonder if you use them for house listening. 
     
    About the lack of bass response someone point out in some reviews. That's not true. The bass is there how he should be. It's not emphatized compared to some headphones out there.
     
    I found almost no cons. My only complain is about the cord: it ends with the larger 6.3mm plug but i use the 3.5mm plug most of the time. However the cord is detachable so you can replace it easily so it's a minor con.
     
    In conclusion, these are quality headphones. Sennheiser quality. You won't regret your purchase and you'll start to enjoy music even more.
    I give them 4.5/5 stars even if they are perfect for my needs and they are one of my best purchase ever. 
     
    I would strongly recommend them to anyone who want a great pair of headphones without paying much. I look forward to use them everyday.
     
    Note: this is my first review and my english is not so good. Sorry about that. I hope this could be useful to someone. I'll add some pics as soon as possible
  8. Chiek
    5.0/5,
    "Rich and exuberant, great with classical music and christian rock"
    Pros - So well balanced. No overpowering bass. So real and so natural is the sound. Pads are so comfortable. Stylish look
    Cons - None I can think of.
    I am a headphones aficionado and I enjoy collecting good headphones Just got this pair of incredible headphones today after biking for more than 10 km. Was going to buy another make but when I set my eyes on this one and it's the only one in the store, I seized it because I read such good reviews it has. I put them on immediately and rode home on my bike. It was probably the most enjoyable 10km bike ride I ever had with John Mayer crooning away while I push those pedals.
     
    I am enjoying Beethoven sonatas just as I am writing this now. Music is so rich and exuberant that it is giving me immense enjoyment and happiness.
    pg1111, Usern473 and iansouth like this.
  9. wrightanswer@ear
    2.5/5,
    "Like camouflage."
    Pros - Smooths my older, rougher recordings.
    Cons - Makes all my music sound like it's been recorded in the same venue, on the same day.
    For relaxing with a nice glass of wine while reading a good book, the wash of music from the HD598 is very soothing.
    Sadly, its mid bass bloom makes my delicate lute music sound like guitars. In fact, everything seems to have the same over-weighty mid-tone about it, however it was recorded. Deep and full, politely sweet but never exciting. It's as if my CDs are camouflaged in a Sennheiser soundscape, with a feeling that there was a Sennheiser engineer present at every recording session, insisting on the exact same feel, no matter whether the music was classical, rock or jazz. 
  10. rew850
    4.5/5,
    "Decent Price Glory"
    Pros - Good Sound, Price, Look, Comfortability,
    Cons - Not too much bass
    This headphone is really good for its price and is comfortable and looking good. The sound is clear but need more bass, this is not a bad thing for everybody but on certain songs you can ear that the bass is not powerful. Overall the headphone is pretty great for audiophile starters, an amp will not be needed that much.