Sennheiser HD 558
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Hey guys, I'm new to the forum and a bit of a noob, so sorry if I say anything stupid. But anyway, about a week ago I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s. I'm not an audiophile or anything but I just wanted a really nice pair of headphones as a replacement for my Sony XB 300s. The problem is that when I'm using my mp3 player (Philips gogear 4gb), the XB 300s usually sound just as good, if not better than the 558s. I know that expensive headphones aren't really meant to be played through mp3 players, but I would still expect the 558s to be way better than the XB 300s. I'm still burning them in (only done abot 20 hours so far), but I don't think it's helping much. Sorry if the information is not specific enough, but I just want to know why these headphones are not as good as they should be. Any replies would be appreciated. Thanks
 
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Please explain how you have your XB 300's connected as well as the HD-558's.  Do you plug one into a stereo amp and not the other for example?
 
According to the graphs the XB-300 is primarily bass heavy and not very neutral sounding.  The HD-558 should have a larger and crisper sound stage as well as be close to neutral sounding ( flatter frequency curve ).
 
You are most likely using the term "does not sound as good" when really what you mean is "not as bass heavy".
 
Many listeners dislike two things about upper tier Sennheiser headphones:
1.)  The headphones sound veiled as if the there is a thick pillow between the driver and your ear which presents a need to turn the headphone up just to get to the same listening level.  This creates a brightness problem as the highs begin to dominate.
2.)  The foam inside the earcups is often selected to "manipulate the sound" which is not always favorable to the listener.
 
I would say you are used to bass heavy headphones especially so with the XB300.  Take a look at the frequency charts at the bottom of this post.  Also the impedance vs frequency chart also gives some insight as to why the HD-558's do not sound as nice.  They should sound really nice, but not as bass heavy.  To get a good sound out of the HD-558 you should use some sort of amplification.
 
The mid frequency range on the HD-558 should completely blow the XB300 away.  The XB300 is really "V-shaped" which a ton of us really do not appreciate.
 
Why not upgrade along the same headphone brand that you have and go with the next step up XB700?  What exactly do you want more out of your headphones?  Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is somewhat absurd.  Let us know what you want to hear or feel you are missing and we would all be glad to help.
http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sony-mdr-xb700.php
 
Another excellent headphone is the Audio Technica ATH-M50.  It has some bass emphasis but honestly you are not going to get a headphone that is even more bassy than an "extra bass = XB " headphone.
http://www.headphone.com/headphones/audio-technica-ath-m50.php


 
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Thanks for the reply
When I say "does not sound as good", I'm not talking about the bass, I mean the entire sound. The guitar/s on certain songs actually sound better with the Sonys, for example. And a lot of songs sound kind of hollow with the 558s. As for the XB 700s, I had already looked at them but decided I didn't really want another pair of 'extra bass' headphones. As for the connection, I use both of them with my mp3 player.
 
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