Sennheiser HD-598 Amp necessary?
Sep 27, 2011 at 1:14 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

scroller52

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Hi,
 
Total noob here and I just recently got my 598's (about 2 weeks) and love them so far. They are definitely better than the EH-xxx's that I previously used. I've gone through many of the 598 threads to look for this answer, but I don't think there is a definitive answer.
 
From what I've read the 598's do not necessarily need an amp for them to sound good and that if there is a decent amp, the improvement will be there but it isn't a night and day difference. 
 
I have a somewhat 'old' creative sound x-fi fatality sound card. It has a front panel for the 6.3mm plug. Is that sufficient for these cans? There is definitely a difference between the sound when I plug it in there vs the sound card from the motherboard. And is there an optimal sound level to play these at for music, games, movies etc.
 
Any guidance is greatly appreciated!
 
Steve
 
 
Sep 27, 2011 at 1:21 PM Post #2 of 23

BID

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I have not owned the HD 598, but I have owned the HD 555. An amp would not make a huge difference. Using a headphone out and not a line out will make a difference though, as you pointed out.
 
Sep 28, 2011 at 7:07 AM Post #3 of 23

Koolpep

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I have the HD598 and love them to bits!! They are absolutely awesome for the money. These and my Ultrasone Pro750 are my favorites (plus the various Superlux I mostly use at work).
 
I wouldn't expect wonders with an amp but they do gain soundstage and "body". The Schiit Asgard is a great choice for the HD598, as is the nuforce icon HDP (as a DAC/Amp combo). The Valhalla works also very nice, however the Asagrd seems to be the better choice.
 
Sep 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM Post #4 of 23

fusedpro

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The Schiit Asgard, Matrix M-Stage, and FiiO E9 (+ E7 for the DAC if needed) have been shown to work wonderfully with the HD598. These are all fairly cheap, ~$200, with the E9 being only about $120 if you don't need the E7.
 
Dec 22, 2011 at 6:21 PM Post #5 of 23

luczamic

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I'm sorry but I just can't agree with that. Just got myself an Fiio E7/E9 combo for Sennheiser HD 598 and....... I'M HUGELY DISAPPOINTED!!!.
 
It's just rubbish, I was listening to sennheisers for about 6 months just with my laptop ( Dell E4310 ) and I was/still am in love with them, but as I read all the hi-fi forums I was convinced that i should get myself somekinde of amplifter. So I went for that combo and it just .S^&(*# :)
 
Sorry about that but the stage is just unbelievably small compared to headphones and laptop fix. Obviously they play a lot quieter but i just don't care about that
 
Got no words for it.
 
But hey, at the end of the day, you just have to listen to it by yourself. It's just my opinion and I will keep on looking for right amplifter for my ears...
 
Dec 22, 2011 at 9:38 PM Post #6 of 23

fabio-fi

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Quote:
I'm sorry but I just can't agree with that. Just got myself an Fiio E7/E9 combo for Sennheiser HD 598 and....... I'M HUGELY DISAPPOINTED!!!.
 



Try using the E7 only. It sounds good for me. 
 
Dec 25, 2011 at 7:06 AM Post #7 of 23

Wolvaras

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Sorry to bump this up a bit, but I've got the same question as the OP. The only difference here is that I don't have any dedicated sound card. Period. I'm really looking to go sub 100 dollars (unless something that's very good bang for buck comes along) and I'm currently looking at the FiiO E10 for around 95 dollars/75 euro's.
 
Comments?
 
Jan 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM Post #8 of 23

plorwax

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Quote:
I'm sorry but I just can't agree with that. Just got myself an Fiio E7/E9 combo for Sennheiser HD 598 and....... I'M HUGELY DISAPPOINTED!!!.
 
It's just rubbish, I was listening to sennheisers for about 6 months just with my laptop ( Dell E4310 ) and I was/still am in love with them, but as I read all the hi-fi forums I was convinced that i should get myself somekinde of amplifter. So I went for that combo and it just .S^&(*# :)
 
Sorry about that but the stage is just unbelievably small compared to headphones and laptop fix. Obviously they play a lot quieter but i just don't care about that
 
Got no words for it.
 
But hey, at the end of the day, you just have to listen to it by yourself. It's just my opinion and I will keep on looking for right amplifter for my ears...



I'm sorry to hear about you're experience but I can't agree you with you on that. On a fiio e7 and e10 I will agree that there is not that much difference but Its is still worth getting one imho, but on an e9? I thought e9 really wakes up my 598s the makes it better in every way.
 
Jan 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM Post #10 of 23

spongeworthy

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Quote:
I have a titanium hd, I also have an HD598 on the way. If I do end up looking into an amp would the e9 be a good idea? Are there any other options in that price range? 



I'm in the same position, I also have a titanium HD. Since the headphone out is rated for headphones up to 300 ohms impedance, do I really need an amp? Would it make it sound any better?
 
 
Feb 2, 2013 at 9:16 AM Post #11 of 23

ArcticZero

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Well I have an HD598, and my E09k just arrived today. Here are my thoughts so far:
 
- It doesn't change the sound signature at all. Not one bit. At first I thought it sounded exactly the same amped and unamped. But that's not a bad thing, since I like how the HD598's sound anyway.
 
- Originally when connected directly to my Titanium HD, I would have to crank up the volume a bit to truly hear all the details from my music. THIS is where I noticed the difference of having the E09k: I could hear far more detail on lower volumes than I did before I put it on my chain. It used to be such a pain when I had to use such a high volume, that I could no longer hear people speaking to me when I had my music playing. And that's saying a lot for open cans.
 
That's it so far. Will post more observations as I go on. I had originally planned on getting a Magni instead, but the convenience of the Fiio's pre-amp and line out jacks for my desktop speakers was the deal maker for me. :)
 
Feb 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM Post #12 of 23

Nirvana Woman

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Quote:
Well I have an HD598, and my E09k just arrived today. Here are my thoughts so far:
 
- It doesn't change the sound signature at all. Not one bit. At first I thought it sounded exactly the same amped and unamped. But that's not a bad thing, since I like how the HD598's sound anyway.
 
- Originally when connected directly to my Titanium HD, I would have to crank up the volume a bit to truly hear all the details from my music. THIS is where I noticed the difference of having the E09k: I could hear far more detail on lower volumes than I did before I put it on my chain. It used to be such a pain when I had to use such a high volume, that I could no longer hear people speaking to me when I had my music playing. And that's saying a lot for open cans.
 
That's it so far. Will post more observations as I go on. I had originally planned on getting a Magni instead, but the convenience of the Fiio's pre-amp and line out jacks for my desktop speakers was the deal maker for me. :)


Yes the FiiO equipment seems to generally be excellent period, and even better value to add to that.
 
I do think that if you lived with the e9 for a while and you then took away the amp, you'd be amazed at the difference.
 
Feb 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM Post #13 of 23

benbenkr

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Old thread but here's the thing, the HD598 (or the 595, or the 558 or the 555 for this matter) do not need an amp to sound amazing, period.
You need a decent sound card of course, but even a cheap X-fi XtremeMusic does wonders for the HD598.
 
Will an amp make it sound even better? Yes. But is it compulsory? No, definitely not.
It's something that you should spend on IF you have the money. Otherwise, stick with what you have.
 
Feb 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM Post #14 of 23

KewreL

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As long as they're driven by a dedicated soundcard, and not some on-board nonsense, it should be fine.
 
Feb 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM Post #15 of 23

scuttle

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Quote:
The Schiit Asgard, Matrix M-Stage, and FiiO E9 (+ E7 for the DAC if needed) have been shown to work wonderfully with the HD598. 

 
If "shown" means "Some easily influenced guy on the Internet says so."
 
You really don't need $200 of headphone amp to drive 598s; people do it perfectly well with $550 Sansa Clip DAPs.  Selling headphone amps that people don't need is a hugely profitable business, but the reality is that any reasonable amp running in spec will sound like any other:
 
http://tom-morrow-land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm
 

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