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Sennheiser HD 598 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Headstar, Feb 22, 2011.
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  1. gargani
    After reading the original post about the598se, completely lacking in bass; I was thinking along the lines of, it was a matter of how much bass one likes, or is used to.
    But, after reading your posts, since you have owned both, and hearing the lack of bass compared to the Ivories,
    And mathieulh, hearing a lack of bass compared to the6xx and 58x, I was starting to think, the 598se were different than the Ivories

    However, mbwilson111's comment that the 598se - would not be for bassheads, but they have nice bass - , is how I could describe my Ivories.
    So I guess, there are at least some 598se that are "off" for some reason.
  2. LazyListener
    Agreed. I highly doubt that the "bad" pair of 598 SE I received were the only pair like that in existence. To be fair, when I brought this up at the time, there were members who posted that they had the opposite experience, with the ivory 598 sounding noticeably weaker in the bass than the SE. Which leads me to believe that it's probably the same driver assemblies being used in both the ivory and SE models, and some driver assemblies were manufactured "out of spec." It's strange though because before the black SE came out, I don't recall anyone bringing up this significantly noticeable difference in sound signature between 2 pairs of new ivory 598s. Maybe someone did and I missed it. I sure haven't read every single post of this thread or other 598 threads, so there's that.

    BTW, I agree with mbwilson's description as well. Not for bassheads, but definitely a nice bass to them. I would go further and say that they have perfectly adequate bass for most songs and are only lacking bass slightly on some songs, especially ones with low bass.

    When I got my first pair of 598s, I was a bit concerned due to some owner reviews saying they were light in the bass. Knowing this was subjective, I took a chance, and it's the best decision I've made when it comes to headphones. Upon first listen, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that while they were slightly light in the bass, they were more than adequate. I had no regrets and still don't. And I was coming from a Porta Pro being my main headphone, which has quite a bit more bass. The 598s do so much so well, that even though they are slightly light in bass, it's forgivable, and it's never to a point where the bass is seriously lacking. Of course, if you primarily listen to bass-heavy, especially low bass-heavy, genres like rap, hip-hop, and EDM, and want to really feel the bass and rumble, then I'd suggest a suitable closed/sealed can instead. While I consider the 598s perfectly adequate for most songs of these genres, especially with bass boost enabled (more below), there are better cans out there if you want to really feel the bass from these genres. For such folks, I surely wouldn't recommend an open back can, except maybe some planars.

    One last tip. For anyone that owns an HD 598, and feels the bass is lacking, something like a Fiio E10k with analog bass boost switch, helps quite a bit. In the E10k's case, it will muddy up the low mids a bit and add heft to male vocals, but it may be worthwhile tradeoff for the bass it adds. If not, use the digital EQ on your player, or free software like Equalizer APO, which lets you fine tune the bass without affecting the mids.
    KopaneDePooj and gargani like this.
  3. LazyListener
    So I listened to my ivory 598s for the first time in a while yesterday (I listen with speakers more now) using my E10k as both dac and amp. Yes, they are a little light in the bass, especially low bass, but it's definitely there. Even low bass is audible just not in quantity. What I love about the 598s bass though is that because it's not overwhelming, I can hear individual bass notes very clearly separated from other bass notes. I appreciate this clarity and separation between bass notes more than flat out bass volume for the genres I mostly listen to. Other folks may have different priorities. With many cans with more potent bass, certain bass frequencies will overshadow other, present bass frequencies. Some may prefer that.

    IMO, what the 598s truly excel at is vocal clarity and soundstage. Vocals, especially female vocals really shine. It's downright seductive at times. Even after owing them for a few years now, the vocal presentation I heard last night still impressed me greatly. While listening, I felt like it can't really get much better. As far as soundstage goes, what I noticed especially with simple, slower music without too many instruments/sounds playing simultaneously, I could really hear the decaying or fading of notes. It's almost like the 598s create this ambient soundfield of a small hall or room where the notes have room to bounce around and gradually fade out. It's such a seductive combination that I've not heard to this extent on any other headphone, including the HD 650. Again, this is readily apparent with real music with instruments. Music recorded electronically, like rap/hip-hop, EDM, most of today's pop, likely won't have these characteristics, and no headphone can create something that's not already present in the recording. Well, I guess they can, but I think you guys know what I mean. haha

    I own KEF Q300 bookshelf speakers, which I love and have amazing imaging. Paired with a Polk subwoofer and Outlaw audio receiver. I can tell you that the HD 598/ Fiio E10k combo sounds better, especially with clarity, separation and soundstage. Imaging is not as accurate and obviously not as much bass, but overall, I prefer the sound of the 598/E10k. The reason I listen more to speakers now is because I started having occasional ringing in my ears after using headphones for a while, and I don't think I listen all that loud either. The ringing has all but gone away after I stopped using headphones.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
    MatukaHiFi and KopaneDePooj like this.
  4. BrotherKathos
    If you want more bass in the 598s then switch the pads from the velour to leather. I did this with my hd 558 and it made a huge difference. I actually used the stock pads from a hd 598 cs while i wait for the new fantasia leather replacements for the 598 cs. I much prefer the cs pads on the 558 over the stock velour for both sonic reproduction as well as comfort. The 558 sounds like a totally different headphone with the pad replacement, but in a good way. Its actually much closer to the sound of my hdxx now
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
    LazyListener likes this.
  5. BrotherKathos
    really like the 598 cs by the way. Very good closed back hp imo.
  6. LazyListener
    Another option to improve the bass quantity with the HD 598, is to pick an appropriate amp. For better or worse, some amps sound bassier than others, and it sometimes depends on a specific headphone/amp pairing. There are 2 examples that come to mind from my own personal experience. I found the Audioengine D3 to be a particularly warm, punchy, and "fun" amp. It really added a nice, driving bass. The other is the iBasso D-Zero MK2 portable DAC/Amp. When used as both a DAC/Amp, it wasn't particularly bassy. It was actually kind of bright. However, when bypassing its built in DAC, and plugging its amp directly into my iphone's headphone output, the bass really came alive. I mean it was really transformative. Bass sounded amazing. I was shocked. It was like a different headphone, and the best my 598s have ever sounded. Keep in mind I have limited experience with amps, maybe 5-10 or so. YMMV
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  7. auronthas
  8. Niouke
    Just got the 598 SE SR from Amazon, I wasn't expecting such an upgrade from my tired 518's., using a FiiO X5-3 as source

    I wasn't expecting this bass looking at the measurements of the 598, I can literally feel sound pressure around the ear on bassy tracks.
    The detail is also very satisfying, comfort is still at the sennheiser top, with an improvement on weight

    10/10 would buy again for under 100€
  9. LazyListener
    Cool. Glad you like them.

    Yeah, the 598s can produce a decent amount of mid-bass that you can feel a bit. I still think they're a bit light in the bass overall, but they have more bass than most open backs I've tried. Of course, closed back cans have quite a bit more bass, generally speaking.
  10. Niouke
    depends what you are expecting, I'm satisfied with a flat response curve and looking at the specs I'm sure a basshead could get more out of them with some EQ
  11. 87112
    I tried them for one day and returned them. Just not enough of a vibrant sound to me, it sounded muddy and not a clear punchy sound. I am using a JBL everest 710 and really enjoy its rather tame sound signature where there is just enough bass with good clarity overall. I was trying to buy something more exciting and I just thought I would try the 598s based on so many great reviews.
    I think I am a V shaped kind of guy. Any suggestions??
    MatukaHiFi likes this.
  12. LazyListener
    As much as I love my 598s, I would not recommend if you're looking for an "exciting" or "vibrant" sound. 598s are well known for having a relaxed, fatigue-free sound. Clear, yes. Punchy, not so much.

    I'm not sure what to recommend. What type of music do you mostly listen to? Are you looking for an open back or closed back headphone?
  13. 87112
    After a LONG day of constantly thinking about headphones I found this out

    1. prefer closed back,. When I tried the HD598 I could not tell the difference between closed and open when I went back and forth with my JBLs which are closed. There was not a perceived more of a open sound or sound quality with the 598. I did however hear the dang heater in the room with the 598s even with music on.
    2. I thought the bass was VERY present on the 598. Much more than the pro reviews state. It lingered more than I would like in many songs.
    3. I am now close to buying the Sony Wh-H9000N for its bright lively sound and the reviews saying they sound just as good or better than Sony flagship NC headphones.
    4.I listen to everything out there, 80s pop music, Chinese slow ballads, some EDM,
    5. Don't get why the JBL Everest 710 do not have any presence on these forums, they sound excellent with a extremely detailed " soft" kind of sound to every song.

    Not looking to spend over 150.00 so I probably will buy from Ebay, but I am weary of getting warranty work on EBAY purchases since they are not a authorized dealer for Sony or other brands.

    MatukaHiFi likes this.
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