Sennheiser HD 599 Open Back Headphone

General Information

Powered by Sennheiser's proprietary transducer technology for truly excellent sound performance, the open back HD 599 delivers impressively natural spatial performance. Topping Sennheiser's 500 series, the full sized premium headphone offers near-audiophile levels of sound quality and exceptional wearing comfort thanks to the large ear cups and soft replaceable ear pads. Finished in a distinctive Ivory color, with matte metallic detailing and a brown stitched headband, it is a great choice for those wishing to enjoy entertainment with sophisticated sound, design and build quality.

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
Excellent headphone for the prize
Pros: Tonality
Decent bass
Decent mid
Decent highs
Cons: Small soundstage
I have hd599 SE, bought from Sennheiser outlet under 100e.

I read the reviews before mine and was suprized, I did not hear the negatives so much, well come to this later.

Slightly smooth, okay amount of detail not too much energy. Not fatigueing and no sibilance. I judge this based on violin music and some female vocals.
Male and vocals sound excellent to my ears, Sam Smith especially. Female vocals slightly are a miss, okay but propably that missing high frequency energy causes them to sound rounded, this is not the case for all tough, some female vocals sound actually really good. I use singing to judge this.
No sub-bass, but nice slam. Great detail for the price, and especially good for EDM...this was a suprice to me. EDM, some acustic music is used to judge this.
Imaging seems to be good, not too much air, so separation is not as easy tough. All songs+ Yosi Horikawa is used here
Small, not IEM small tough, but notacibly smaller than adx5k i owned. The canvas is pretty much inside your your head, and it is not black, but dark grey tint.
Superb, bought these to be used in my work as a everyday hp and they exceed.

So these got a lot of praise from me, and I disagree with most of the reviews before me. I have listened to many 1000e+ hps and still enjoy these, why?
I used my Violectric DAC/AMP combo to run these, and it is the reason these sound so good on my setup. When I plugged these to my PC, I got the above reviews much better. Slam was reduced, vocals did not sound as good and highs had a harshness no them. Also I had to ramp upt the volume to hear the same detail as with vio gear, so dynamics lacked with pc.
Headphones this cheap should not need expencive amp/dac to sound good, it is a major con. I don't like the idea of going source first, but these headphones makes me question that. Also, I don't think chinese amps like SMSL or Topping would yeald the same results as my Vio stack.

PS: Im listening to John Martyn - Solid Air at the moment, and I cannot find any fault from these headphones, I mean you can have more detail, separation and a pitch black background, but the song just sounds excellent to my ears. Johns vocals fit these hp:s, small soundstage does not affect this song...okay instruments do blend a bit, but tonality is good.

EDIT: Changed the rating to 4, I don't think I can switch pads, and the connector is annoying. I actually tought of giving these 5 sonically, just listening to random stuff that sounds excellent.
At 200e I would still give the sonical performance a solid 4.5, 500e 4.0 and at 1000e I would be disapointted.
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New Head-Fier
Great entry level headphone for $120 dollars (don't pay more)
Pros: Exceptional comfort
Perfect cable selection
Good for gaming
Open (wide) sound
Bass extension
Great imaging
Cons: Uses propietary 2.5 mm input
Bass quality
High-Midrange veil
Harsh treble
Sennheiser HD 500 line has become more and more popular with the arrive of the younger sibling, the HD 560s. A headphone that has an spectacular technical performance for the price. The older models seem to have lost momentum if we also take in mind drop's HD 58X as well as other competitors on the 100-200 dollars range. HD 599 is a very popular headphone in Mexico because of some very favorable reviews on YouTube and it's sells for just 100 dollars on Amazon with free returns so it's safe bet for most people.

P.D. I tried both the OG HD 599 (Brown/ivory) and the HD 599 SE (Amazon). They seem to have the exact same sound with just a different color scheme

Design and comfort

Sennheiser classic HD 500 is present here as well, I don't have any complain regarding the form of the HD 599. My main criticism is the Ivory/Brown color scheme, looks quite good on photos but in real life it's a bit ugly. Fortunately, the HD 599 SE black color scheme is way better IMO. Sennheiser doesn't disappoint at all providing us perfect comfort for long periods of uses thanks to their traditional Velour earpads. They are very soft and great even if you live in a warm environment. However, you may need to replace them after 2-3 years.

Amplification and DAC

At only 50 ohms and 106 db/ 1 V RMS, the HD 599 se doesn't seem hard to power at first glance. Unfortunately, they requiere you to have a good-great headphone output, connecting it to a cheap laptop or phone 3.5 port is a mediocre experience. Any dongle Dac would be just fine, DON'T BUY A HEADPHONE AMP. What seems to change for the most part is detail and bass control.


Probably, the most dissapoint aspect of the headphones. Extension is pretty good for a dynamic driver open back but there is on major problem than concatenates with more. High bass and midbass have some coloration that seems to mess up with control, speed and detail. If this is your first audiophile headphone, it's way better than any Sony/Beats bass, but nothing really special.


I don't know what Sennheiser was trying to achieve here. Low midrange is accentuated making male vocals and guitars louder, while high midrange is recessed. This is pretty evident with good records where the voice is not mastered very loud. Detail is just average.


It's actually a bit accentuated, this is not the problem though. Treble lacks warmth so it's a bit sharp and annoying with modern recordings. Details level is good.

Technical performance

The most relevant feature of the HD 599 is the technical performance. First off, imaging is very precise and you can notice different layers and air among instruments. On the other hand, soundstage is both wide and deep, better than HD 600 family. This makes the HD 599 a great option to consider for gaming, it's a shame that connecting a mic is not that easy.

Final take

Honestly, I don't recommend paying more than 120 dollars for this headphone regardless of where you live. In addition, the weird OG color scheme makes it even less atractive. It is a good headphone for new people joining this hobby, since it work good for music, movies, TV Shows and games. It doesn't need expensive gear but it also doesn't scale much.


New Head-Fier
Good headphones but just nab the HD560s if you have to choose between that and the 599s.
Pros: Sound Quality:
Mids and Highs are good
Lower bass is fun

Other crap:
Colors are divisive but imho beige and brown make you stand out of the crowd in a good way
Cables are sufficient
Cons: Sound Quality:
Mid bass. ..Lets just not talk about it.
The HD560s exist

Other crap:
No headphone case
Edit 3/30/23 - I realized that giving it 4.5 stars is a bit too high to be honest, so I dropped it down to four. I am also a beginner audiophile so please take my review with a grain of salt. I would recommend taking the other reviews more seriously.

599s are good till you realize the 560s exist.

It's gonna be a short review so I'll just get straight to the point.

- Listened on: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 with Peace APO tuned to Harman Target, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with Wavelet with AutoEQ and limiter on, wired with apple dongle
- Tracks listened: some classical music, "Don't Drift Too Far" by Elephant Revival, RapCaviar playlist on Spotify

The 599s are the kid in the back who knows everything and has a loudspeaker but is shy.
The 599s have the detail, it's there but its chillin in the background. You have to listen harder for the specific nit-picky detail and it's there but more recessed, but in a good way where they're in the background. That same kid/headphones also has loudspeakers with bass, so when he decides to play music you get to party with these with the lower-bass.

Mids and Highs are very good. Present in the headphones. All tracks in these frequencies are clear enough to listen to.

Lower-Bass is excellent. Very good for RapCaviar and other modern rap songs, may get in the way for songs using acoustics but you can EQ that down and problem solved. Doesn't remove detail, just is a distraction to it.

Mid-bass, that's where I will dive in specifically.
On "Don't Drift...", they're essential to the openness of the song. It sounds very spacious in there and you're relaxed. However, it can be a bit overpowering there as sometimes it can distract you from the detail, but more often than not, you will feel relaxed and happy with this mid-bass open on this song. On classical same story.

It's a necessary evil, where it overpowers the song but also contributes to the airiness and openness of the song itself.

When I listened to RapCaviar though, it becomes the Achille's heel of these headphones. It detracts from the vocals rappin out and overpowers the song along with the Lower-bass. Lower bass is good itself, but if combined with this part of the frequency it just detracts from the song entirely.

This is just rawdoggin the headphones without any EQ.

However, using PeaceAPO and Wavelet does the trick. It minimalizes this part of the frequency to where you can enjoy the mids and highs as well as partying to the lower-bass while you're at it. I recommend you use these settings as displayed below, (edit 3/30/23) although I would in the end just recommend you to tune to your preference, as not everyone prefers the Harman target.

Without too much emphasis/deemphasizing the mid bass, the frequencies of the sound profile are excellent.

Everything else about the sound profile is good. Detail as I said above is excellent, just recessed like the kid in the back corner that knows everything and not the focus of the room. Soundstage is excellent and realistic.

The extra goodies are satisfactory for the most part. Comfort is one of the best out of all headphones I wore in my entire life. You just put it on and you barely notice while multitasking or playing video games. The colors are eye-candy and the cables they provided get the job done for the most part. However, there is no hard case and I had to purchase that separately which I disliked.

The 599s are the kid in the back corner, and the sound overall is pleasant and audiophile. Well, except for the mid-bass, because it muddies the sound. However, EQing it down will fix this issue and once that's done the sound profile is excellent across the board.

However, the 560s also exist. I recently tried them out at Best Buy and I love the detail in those because its straight in your face. The 560s are the overachiever kids, the streaming service with a premium subscription. The 599s gives you what you need, but are more chill and know how to relax.

Overall, I'd say these are excellent, but for the price point hovering around the $110s lately they're not worth it. Get the 560s they're worth the extra $40 USD. However if you find these on sale at around less than $100 these will not disappoint unless you're just want to squeeze every last drop of that detail.

TL;DR: 599s are the chill, quiet, and smart kid with party speakers in the back, so they perform very well while bringing fun into your music. But there is boomy mid-bass so EQ it. However the 560s provide more value on the market lately so just get that if you have neither. But, 599s are worth keeping and not too necessary to upgrade from (to the 560s) if you already have them. These won't disappoint if you find them at less than 100 US Dollars.
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