Sennheiser HD 598 v/s RS 180 v/s RS 170 Mini Review
Jun 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

techboy

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Sennheiser HD 598 v/s RS 180 v/s RS 170 Mini Review

I went to the Sennheiser office for demo of their headphones.

I preferred RS 180 in this lot because the sound quality was nearly as good as HD 598 but with more thumping bass and very little difference in clearness and clarity, while being wireless. HD 598 was a bit better but not by much.

RS 180 was significantly better than RS 170. RS 180 has more quality and quality of bass compared to RS 170 even with bass boost enabled. The clarity is better with RS 180. It was deeper and more authoritative and with a much deeper and wider soundstage. It wasn't anywhere close to as loud as RS 170 though. And RS 180 didn't leak much sound, not enough to be heard outside the room. HD 598 did leak much more sound though, still not enough to be heard outside a moderately soundproof room.

I proffered the sound signature of the RS 180 the best. The treble of the RS 170 was better than the RS 180 however the mids were best with HD 598, almost as forward and good with RS180 and slightly worse with RS 170.

All three had forward mids. I tried the RS 180 velour pads on RS 170 and the difference between the two was reduced by 30-40%, the RS170 improved a lot by doing just that. And it was also more comfortable.

In retrospect, I would prefer to buy RS 180 over RS 170. The price difference isn't as much as the difference in quality. The difference is not night and day, but certainly noticeable and very significant. Not worth upgrading at full price unless you can sell the previous can for at least 70-80% of the purchase price though.

I recommend the RS 180 over the RS 170 at current pricing. Surround option is decent but just Dolby Headphone isn't bad either. And RS 180 has better bass quantity and quality than RS 170 anyway, partly due to the velour ear pads though. The HD 598 is like marginally better than RS 180 except for thumping bass but then the bass with everything nearly as good makes the RS 180 a clear winner if you can afford it. Especially since it is wireless.

But all this was with the Lehmann amp which costs about 750 pounds. My Asus STX card doesn't power my RS 170 anywhere close. The difference from the Lehmann amp is nearly night and day with it being far livelier, open, with a bigger soundstage and brighter as well. With an STX card you don't get the same effect with a RS 170. It isn't even close.
 
Aug 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM Post #2 of 3

Defenestrata

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I bought the Sennheiser RS 180 for wireless TV & movies watching, but I also want to buy some decent headphones for my computer.  I've also been testing the Sennheiser HD 598 as well at the V-Moda M-100 and will return what I don't like.
 
After getting used to the freedom of movement of wireless RS 180s with my TV, I'm tempted to just buy another RS 180 for my computer, but I specifically bought the HD 598 because I wanted to test out listening to music on a more audiophile-grade headphone.  When I look at Sennheiser's specs, the RS 180 has a Frequency response of only 18 - 21 000 Hz, whereas the HD 598 Frequency response is much wider at 12 - 38500 Hz.
 
Given this wide frequency response discrepancy I'm surprised I don't feel that the HD 598 is that much better than the RS 180.  This is why I found your review so intriguing.  Maybe it's the boosted bass on the RS 180 that makes them seem higher quality the the 598s??
There's also the question of just how important all that extra range is given that it's outside the range of conscious human perception.  I don't want to start a war about psychoacoustics, but some experts swear the extended response range makes a huge difference, and maybe it does: my ears might just not be sophisticated enough to notice?
 
As for the V-Moda M-100, I think they would definitely make a better travel headphone.  They have a very different feature set so it's hard to compare, but I love the comfort of the RS 180s.  However, all of these headphones are a big investment so I don't want to go with the RS 180 and feel I'm missing out on better sound quality from the HD 598s.  I have buyer's remorse even before I've committed to a headset :)
 
Any thoughts?
 
Thanks
 
Dec 4, 2014 at 7:21 AM Post #3 of 3

pp312

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  There's also the question of just how important all that extra range is given that it's outside the range of conscious human perception.  I don't want to start a war about psychoacoustics, but some experts swear the extended response range makes a huge difference, and maybe it does: my ears might just not be sophisticated enough to notice?
 
 

 
Couldn't resist responding to this oldish post. Specifically, I'd just like to know what 'experts' would maintain that any FR outside the 18-21,000hz range quote is either audible or necessary. These advertising specs seem to really confuse people and I really wish such specs were never quoted at all. Frequency response is important, but far less the range as the evenness within that range. I personally didn't care for the 598 I heard, but it sure does have a fetching FR, whereas the RS180 is just a touch ragged. Not bad though. Here's a comparison:
 
 
graphCompare.php

 

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