Advice needed on upgrading my Sennheiser 598's
Feb 2, 2015 at 7:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

jazzjet

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Hi,
 
I’m seeking some help and advice in choosing an upgrade to my Sennheiser 598’s. One problem I have is that there are hardly any specialist retailers near where I live ( Cornwall, UK ) so I’m mostly ‘flying blind’.
 
I am interested in a home setup ( I mostly listen to audio books on my iPhone and I’m happy with my Digital Silence DS 101A in-ears ). Most of my listening is via my MacBook with a HRT Microstreamer DAC/Amp, using the Fidelia player. I also use my hifi for listening about a third of the time ( Marantz CD 6003, NAD C 350 amplifier ). My musical tastes are predominantly jazz with some blues, soul and rock on occasion.
 
The Sennheiser’s are perfectly acceptable but I find myself wondering if there is anything out there that would be a marked improvement given my setup. The price point I’m considering is around £250 ($375). I guess the key word is ‘marked’. I’m not really interested in an upgrade that would give me only a marginal improvement on the Sennheiser’s.
 
From browsing this great site I have earmarked (sic) the PSB M4U2’s and the Focal Spirit Pro’s but I am very open to other suggestions. In general, I think I prefer closed back headphones.
 
I’m hoping that someone in the community has experience of some of my potential choices and can give me some valuable advice.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 11:18 AM Post #2 of 9

billybob_jcv

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Questions of worth or value of an upgrade are always tough. What I hear as a "marked upgrade" might not be a significant upgrade to you, or it might even sound worse.

I have not heard your candidates, but I suspect the only way you will really know is if you spend the money to find out.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 11:41 AM Post #3 of 9

jazzjet

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Thanks, billybob.
 
Yes, it is all pretty subjective. Perhaps rather than 'marked upgrade' I should have said that I'm looking for some new headphones that give me a 'different' kind of experience than the Sennheisers. As I said, they are fine headphones but perhaps a little 'polite'. I'm not sure, for example, how the Focal Spirit Pro - which is described as neutral in presentation - would compare with the HD 598s. I've really only ever had Sennheisers so I'm not sure what sort of difference I would experience in moving to another brand.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 11:56 AM Post #4 of 9

billybob_jcv

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I think both the PSB and the Focal are considered fairly neutral headphones. If you truly want different, then you might want to look at something a bit less neutral, like the Beyer DT880 or DT990, AKG K712, or if you *really* want different from the Sennheisers, then perhaps Grado.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 12:05 PM Post #5 of 9

Mr Rick

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  Thanks, billybob.
 
Yes, it is all pretty subjective. Perhaps rather than 'marked upgrade' I should have said that I'm looking for some new headphones that give me a 'different' kind of experience than the Sennheisers. As I said, they are fine headphones but perhaps a little 'polite'. I'm not sure, for example, how the Focal Spirit Pro - which is described as neutral in presentation - would compare with the HD 598s. I've really only ever had Sennheisers so I'm not sure what sort of difference I would experience in moving to another brand.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've been a Sennheiser fanboy since the 1960s. I've gotten on the demo list for the Oppo PM 2s and have a set of Philips X2/27 Fidelio headphones on order. I've decided to bite the bullet and just try something different for a change. 
 
I have the HD 598s and HD 650s so the comparisons should be enjoyable.
L3000.gif

 
Feb 2, 2015 at 2:06 PM Post #6 of 9

jazzjet

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I think both the PSB and the Focal are considered fairly neutral headphones. If you truly want different, then you might want to look at something a bit less neutral, like the Beyer DT880 or DT990, AKG K712, or if you *really* want different from the Sennheisers, then perhaps Grado.

Thanks again, billybob. This gives me some nice choices to review and narrow down my options.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 2:10 PM Post #7 of 9

jazzjet

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  I'm in the same boat as you. I've been a Sennheiser fanboy since the 1960s. I've gotten on the demo list for the Oppo PM 2s and have a set of Philips X2/27 Fidelio headphones on order. I've decided to bite the bullet and just try something different for a change. 
 
I have the HD 598s and HD 650s so the comparisons should be enjoyable.
L3000.gif

That's pretty much my situation, Mr Rick. I might find that I don't come up with a better option than the 598's but the journey should be interesting! I'm looking forward to your feedback on the Philips.
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 2:16 PM Post #8 of 9

Music Alchemist

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I may get a used beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium soon.
 
The Focal Spirit Professional has been on my wish list for awhile, but whenever I found one used, it was a little out of my immediate price range.
 
Oh, and speaking of Philips, I will receive the SHP9500 in about a week as well.
 
Anyway, if I don't post impressions here within the near future, you can PM me if you're curious.
 
Feb 3, 2015 at 10:24 AM Post #9 of 9

jazzjet

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Thanks, Music Alchemist.
 
I've just ordered the AKG K550's. I've read good reviews, here and elsewhere, plus they are available at a very good price at Amazon UK so I can take the risk without breaking the bank. I'm interested in experiencing closed headphones. I'm still keen on trying the Focal Spirit Pro at some point.
 

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