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Headphones

Sennheiser HD 598

Your Price: $249.95
MSRP $249.95 No Sales Tax
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Inspired by sophisticated interiors from Euro sports cars, the Sennheiser HD598 looks as elegant as it sounds with high-gloss burl wood accents complementing cream leather padding on headband and earpads. Employing the most recent Sennheiser 'E.A.R.' drivers, the audio wave is routed precisely into the ear to mimic room speaker spatiality and acoustic spaciousness. The HD598 deeply layered sound presents improved musical detail clarity and better soundstage depth versus most other headphones at this price.


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Product Features:

  • 'Eargonomic' Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) Sennheiser technology simulates open sound from high-end room speakers
  • 'Twist-n-Lock' single-sided cord eliminates tangles & simplifies replacement or cord upgrade
  • Extremely fast driver response time for superb transient response and mids/treble clarity
  • Sweet metal mesh grill & sophisticated high-gloss burl wood accents
  • Premium 2-year Sennheiser manufacturer's warranty

What's In The Box:

  • 3.5mm (1/8") 'mini' plug adapter
  • Sennheiser owner's manual

Applications:

Perfectly splitting the sonic balance between 'lively' and 'warm', the Sennheiser HD598 open-back headphone sounds just as great as it looks. As engaging on the outside as it performs on the inside, the HD598 brings sumptous style and luxe sound quality to a well-priced mid-tier headphone suitable for demanding audiophile ears. The Sennheiser HD598 use a new proprietary DuoFol diaphragm and driver geometry that claims to minimize inter-modulation distortion while delivering a very fast frequency response extension. The rapid transducer response time equates to a smooth, detailed listen that allows you to rediscover the hidden secrets of your favorite music. Although not quite as full-toned and buttery as the HD650 in the lower-most registers, the HD598 possesses a smoothly singing, open tonality in the mids & highs that render it a superb partner for vocal recordings, electric jazz & rock, and well-produced singer/ songwriter music. Bass response is leaner and more delineated with an emphatic clarity of the upper bass instead of the thicker bottom-end impact heard in the HD650. The depth of the HD598's soundstage image remains superior to lower-level cans with an airy sense of dimension that accurately reproduces room sound textures and nuanced spatial acoustic effects, an especially desired trait for classical, orchestral or symphonic listeners.

Audiophile music lovers finding themselves without a dedicated headphone amp should have fairly few worries; the HD598's rated impedance of 50 Ohms combines with sensitivity specs hovering around 102dB~108dB to allow use with most home or portable audio sources. Of course, we always believe a good headphone amplifier can add significant detail resolution power, dynamic range extension and musical definition to any quality headphone, so serious listeners will want to hear the HD598's full timbral accuracy and quickened dynamics under the drive of an amp. But it's nice to know you won't absolutely need a head-amp right off the bat just to get useable volume levels and good tone from this terrific-looking can. But for all you tech heads, our HeadRoom lab testing discovered quite high impedance peaks around 250 Ohms at 100 Hz, meaning for best bass response a dedicated head-amp is highly recommended.

Perhaps reminiscent of a swanky Jaguar or Porsche interior, the Sennheiser HD598 come in a creamy taupe color featuring real burl wood accents around the headband frame and identical thin burl flashing encircling the earcups. We think it's the most attractive and classy-looking headphone Sennheiser has released positively oozing "high-end". The HD598 earpad cushions are brown velour and semi-oval in shape and should rest comfortably around the earlobes on most wearers. The similarly deep-padded carbon fiber headband is secure fitting without being overly tight and provides good wearing comfort as it keeps proper 'E.A.R' linear azymuth between the driver elements and your ears. The HD598 cord extends about 9ft and terminates in a full-size 1/4" stereo plug. A plug adapter to a 1/8" [3.5mm] 'mini' jack is thoughtfully included in the Sennheiser package. The strong 2-year 'repair or replace' manufacturer's warranty remains in effect ONLY when proof-purchased with a verified Sennheiser-authorized dealer receipt -- like at HeadRoom where we've served as the most trusted Sennheiser headphone seller for 20 years now!

Specifications:

  • Sensitivity: 102 dB
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years
  • Headphone Type: Full Size
  • Weight: 9.52 oz w/o cable
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 50 Ohms
  • Detachable Cable: Yes
  • Cord Length: 9.5ft
  • Cord Type: Straight Left-Side
  • Coupler Size: Large
  • Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Acoustic Seal: Open

Reviews At A Glance
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Average Rating 
(Showing 3 of 5 reviews)



HD 598
Posted by x on 2013-05-11

Recommend Product: Yes

4/5


Sound Quality
Comfort
Look & Feel
Durability

15 out of 20 people found this review unhelpful. Did you?


Great balance of price and quality
Posted by Eirepaul from Madison, WI on 2013-01-14

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: comfortable, smooth, clarity, balanced, distinct looks,
Cons: can't think of one

The HD598 has a more balanced sound signature than the HD600 series from Senn, which are at the higher end of their line. This set does not roll off the treble like the 600 series, which gives it more brightness and clarity, but not overly so. I previously had HD580s (from the same lineage as the 600 series, but at the low end) and I found them to be pleasant enough, but a bit boring, lacking sparkle. The 598s provide a perfect balance of sparkle, clarity and bass for me. The bass is not exaggerated, but if it's in the recording it will come through and I typically hear the bass lines with a clarity I have not heard before. A perfect balance of bass, mid and treble, with everything crystal clear and smoothly defined. I do use these with a Schiit Asgard amp, which I think provides additional definition and bass depth - the mids are just excellent with this combination. Overall, I prefer the slightly brighter signature of the HD598 to the more expensive, probably more refined, but darker sounding HD650. Therefore, these are a perfect balance of quality and price for me, and I love the distinct looks. Also, these are the most comfortable headphones I ever owned - this must be the tenth pair of headphones I've owned.


22 out of 23 people found this review helpful. Did you?


Upgraded from modded HD555.
Posted by JHL2859 from Berkeley, CA on 2011-01-29

Recommend Product: Yes

I'm quite satisfied with this product. I have had my HD598s for a little over a month now and listen to them through my Macbook and the HeadRoom Total Bithead. I have to say that they are without a doubt more refined than the foam-modded HD555 (which is basically a HD595). As I am writing this review, I have both hooked up to the HeadRoom Total Bithead with the crossfeed circuit turned on.

The first thing that I notice going from the modded HD555 to the HD598 is the added bass. For anyone who found the bass on the HD555/595 to be somewhat anemic, the HD598 (while not pumping bass at the level of closed cans) definitely has bass that has more weight, is tighter, and is noticeably more refined. Lower frequencies of bass can easily be heard on the HD598 that were absent on the HD555/595. Bass punch is about the same on both cans.

The mids/highs on the HD598 are less forward than those of the HD555/595. For anyone that found the HD555/595 to have a glaring, screeching tone to it that would make it uncomfortable to listen to, the HD598 has addressed that problem and pulled the mids back. Additionally, the mids/highs are noticeably more refined on the HD598 than the HD555/595 giving it a clearer and more textured sound, which too helps in longer listening sessions.

The HD598 has a more open sound to them than the HD555/595. I'm not sure why this is the case since the grilles on the back of the HD555/595 are actually slightly bigger than those of the HD598. It is probably the new driver design. This gives the HD598 a more relaxed sound than the HD555/595. The HD598 also has a significantly bigger soundstage than the HD555/595. Instrument separation is noticeably better on the HD598.

The HD598 is more comfortable than the HD555/595. The frame design is very similar but the HD598 has better earpads and the drivers are housed farther away from the ears so that the ears are not touching the driver. The clamping force on the HD598 is slightly stronger than that of the HD55/595. However, I have found this to be preferable since the headphones don't have as much of a tendency to fall off my head while I'm studying now.

All in all, the HD598 is a better headphone than the HD555/595 in every way. The only exception that I could think of is if you listen to a lot of hardcore or death metal in which case the more forward mids of the HD555/595 could be of preference. I have listened to alternative, trance, house, electro, acoustic, songwriter music, R&B, jazz (pretty much everything) on both pairs of headphones and in every case liked the HD598s better. The increased refinement has made a difference for me.

However, the HD598 is not a perfect headphone. The plastic construction still gives the headphones the same slightly cheap feel as the HD555/595. Its durability is also very similar to that of the HD555/595. The HD598 also isn't as open or airy as the Audio-Technica AD-700, though it does have better instrument separation and linear extension of soundstage (imaging) than the AD-700. The sound of the HD598 is also slightly (but only very slightly) more refined than the AD-700 in the mids and highs, and provides a balanced frequency response while the AD-700 lacks bass.

For those that are wondering, the HD558 is not just a HD598 with the foam sticker inside the housing. Whereas removing the foam tape from the HD555 basically made them the HD595, removing the foam tape from the HD558 does not make them the HD598. The housing is different in the two cans. And according to an excellent article by Mike at Headfonia.com, this makes a noticeable difference in sound. (Link: http://www.headfonia.com/sennheisers-new-hd558-and-hd598/3/).

I am not an audiophile and I have not owned any headphones or amps better than my current setup of the Sennheiser HD598 and the HeadRoom Total Bithead. Given several years time, I would like to upgrade to a HD600 or HD650 with an appropriate amp and DAC. But until then, I have to say that I am very pleased with my current setup.

Update (7/15/11): For those in the community that are concerned about the headband cracking problem, this was a problem only with the first batch of these headphones released by Sennheiser. My pair was amongst this first batch and cracked. However, it is covered under warranty and Sennheiser will replace your headphones for free. Any pair of HD598s manufactured after this first batch has been made with a new type of composite plastic that does not have this cracking problem. On my replacement pair, the plastic is noticeably more flexible so I do believe corrective steps have been taken.

A few new words on the sound of these headphones. The 598s have a very unique sound signature. They sound brighter than my modded 555s yet give less of a screeching sound which makes them somehow less fatiguing while extending the upper frequency ranges and giving more detail. I have since the first writing of this review had the chance to demo the HD600 and HD650 briefly on a micro amp. The HD600 has a more refined sound but a significantly smaller soundstage than the 598s. I'm sure I would've been pleased with the 600s if I had gone to them directly from the modded 555s but having gotten used to the enormous soundstage and more upfront sound of the 598s, I found the 600s to be quite dull. As for the HD650s, they are a very different headphone from the HD598s. The HD650 is obviously more refined but is more laid-back, has significantly more lower frequency bass, darker sound (more rolled-off highs, more "politeness") and a better feeling of ambiance than the HD598. However, I do still think the HD598 has a bigger soundstage than the HD650 though not by much, especially when the HD650 is matched with the correct (albeit expensive) amp. I prefer the HD598 over the HD600 but find myself liking the HD650 as much as the HD598 simply because both headphones have something unique to offer to the music that is played on them. In terms of construction quality, the HD650 obviously has the upper hand here.

I continue to love these headphones and still wholeheartedly recommend them so long as you are not expecting sound isolation or very powerful bass from your headphones.


Sound Quality
Comfort
Look & Feel
Durability

144 out of 146 people found this review helpful. Did you?


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