The HD558 takes over from the old HD555 as the budding audiophile's headphone of choice. Given the nice price, the acoustic performance of the HD558 headphone offers superior audio 'bang-for-the-buck' with improved clarity and excellent musical definition over its former brethren. Expect a well-mannered audio presentation that synergizes cleanly with MP3 recordings and low-bitrate digital files since the smoothly detailed presentation of the HD558 won't overly highlight the flaws of less than perfect recordings.
What We Think:
Outstanding vocal projection and cleanly textured bass response mark the HD558's highly involving sound signature. As typical for Sennheiser, the acoustic presentation remains liquid and lush but without undue bloat in the low mids that can mask detail resolution and muddy the waters for audiophile listeners. Sennheiser audio engineers have devised an advanced DuoFol diaphragm technology that minimizes standing waves within the circumaural earcup capsule, resulting in a simple but precise tonal delivery sans harsh edge or grain. A unique Sennheiser 'surround reflector' structure within the HD558 nicely extends the spatial field without the odd mid-range hollowness we sometimes hear with other deep-soundstage, image enhancing headphones. Highly optimized, field-strengthened neodymium ferrous magnets and nearly-weightless aluminum driver arrays deliver excellent quick-throw dynamics and musical definition that belies the attainable price of the HD558. Efficient enough for most portable applications at rated 50 Ohms impedance, listeners employing dedicated amplification can expect audibly improved accuracy, instrumental definition and vocal body under the drive and control of a quality head-amp. Given its strong synergy with any recording or musical genre, the HD558 is a well-recommended investment for getting into awesome high-end headphone sound without an awesomely high-end price tag.