188 of 190 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2012
I Bought these a couple of months back, and now, having had time to fully test them, will present this review.
Just want to say first off that I have a musical background myself, in listening, composing recording and production, and recently just finished a degree in popular music. And BOY, do I wish these headphones had been around when I was doing my sound work in my course!!!! Ill do some pros/cons to get things going:
- For a start, VERY comfortable headphones. I CANNOT stress enough just how pleasant they are to wear. I often wear them all night with no pain or discomfort from wearing, which I could not say of any other headphones I have used in the past. This is due mainly to the "over ear" design, as opposed to "on ear" headphones, which can exert pressure on the cartilage of your ears. Ear pads and headband pad are very soft,it almost feels like you are not even wearing headphones at all.
- Extremely clear, and balanced sound. The 598's produce low, mid and high frequencies extremely well with great detail. They bring new life and detail to everything I listen to on them. The high end is beautiful, shimmering and very glassy, without being shrill or harsh. The mid-range is very comfortable, it will bring out guitar from a band mix very well, while not being too mid-heavy. The bass ranges from very subtle to surprisingly punchy powerful bass. The bass is very tight, and responsive... not rumble-ey or flappy in any way. The best thing I can say about the bass response, is that when listening to bass heavy music, the high frequencies are not compromised at all, the sound remains well balanced. (not sure of how else to put that really.)
Note, these are NOT designed to enhance bass in any way. If you are looking for headphones that do, you should try the Beats by Dre made by Monster.
- Surprisingly.. Versatile! I was surprised at just how many different kinds of music I can enjoy on the 598's. From solo piano music, all the way to electronic like trance, dubstep and everything in between. The 598's are very adaptable, they can sound warm and mellow for piano music, and loud and powerful for electronic music too. Film scores and classical music also are reproduced with remarkable accuracy. In other words, top notch stuff.
- Long cable, good to see. Most cans have cables that are faaaaaarrr to short. Even comes with a 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter which is a nice touch.
- They look lovely too, nice when you take them off after a good listen sesh, and think "aww yeahh, they look goooood"
- Replaceable cable, even though it has odd choice of connection. (see cons for more info).
- Construction is VERY solid. At first glance I expected the part where the neckband meets the speaker housing to be very fragile, but I was completely mistaken. The headband is flexible, but very well made. The cups even rotate up and down, and left to right slightly for an even better fit.
-Short "burn in" time. When I first began listening, the 598's sounded slightly unclear, with a lot of mid-range presence, however after about 4-5 hours of listening the sound improved dramatically.
- No carry case included, minor niggle, but these are not really intended to be travel headphones anyway. Still, a carry bag is a feature found with lower end 'phones from sennheiser. (such as HD215)
- Proprietary cable connection. The cable IS replaceable, but the end which attaches to the phones themselves plugs into a VERY recessed (jack socket is far inside the actual casing) jack socket via 2.5mm cable, so a standard headphone replacement cable will not fit. The cable is held in place by a notch, which fits into a groove on the plug, which you twist to hold it in position.
- They spill a LOT of noise. These are not 'phones to use around others, or for travel. However, I believe this should not affect the review score, as the 598's were not designed to be travel 'phones. If you were buying them to use for travel, please do not be put off by this. You would discover first hand (or ear... :P) that they do not cancel external noise, so are not suitable for listening in a high noise environment.
As you can see, the "cons" of this review are not major issues, and do not detract from the quality of the headphones as a product at all.
HOWEVER (this bit is important)...
These headphones sound great when they are playing back high quality audio sources. By high quality I mean music from a boxed CD, or music ripped in WAV, AIFF, FLAC or any other lossless formats.
The artifacts and issues with compressed music sources are very noticeable with these headphones. Sometimes almost to the point where songs below 256 or 192Kbps become un-listenable. MP3's/M4a's at 256-320kbps sound good, but this is dependent upon the style of the music, and what was used to encode it. You may find that low quality mp3's encoded with older versions of LAME are full of glitches and do not sound good at all.
Strangely, this is not a negative thing. It is simply the nature of high end audio products. They work best with high quality audio sources. Some low quality music sounds perfectly decent on the 598's, it all depends on the genre and quality setting used.
I hope this review has been helpful and provided some insight into the quality and performance of the HD598 headphones.
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2012
Like most people my preferred listening is through good quality speakers. However, there are times ... late at night for instance ... when you may want to blow your own mind without having a similar effect on other household members or, worse still, the neighbours. For this we must seek the very best alternative available within our price range and, for me, the Sennheiser HD598s provide exactly that. It is only fair to point out that I have been very much a Sennheiser man for many, many years but, when considering new headphones on this occasion, I opened my mind and ears to to the ... often very worthy ... competition. For some time I have been using a pair of Sennheiser HD380PRO but was anxious to return to open back phones. I read dozens and dozens of reviews on the 598s, many of which were cautionary if not downright condemnatory. Significantly, however, the vast majority of unfavourable reviews were by people listening to rock and pop or computer games. Their requirements are very different to my own. That is not to say they are less worthy of consideration but it is important to recognise that difference.
For classical music I find the HD598s quite marvelous. Helped by the fact that they are open backed the sound stage is broad: instrumental groups and soloists can be accurately located and clearly heard within the greater orchestral landscape. Sound quality is excellent (I am not looking for exaggerated base or wild sound effects: my interest is music, not aural pyrotechnics) and these headphones certainly provide that. When an orchestra blasts forth at full volum,the HD598s handle it with panache and, if that same orchestra whispers softly they handle it with equal panache. These headphones are nothing it not versatile ... at least in the world of classical music where they are dealing with natural sound and not sound which has already been electronically enhanced. With the HD598s I can be in a large concert hall listening to a symphony by Beethoven or Mahler or a more intimate hall listening to a Schubert string quartet or a Chopin piano recital. When I put these wonderfully light and comfortable headphones on they guide me to the best seat in the hall and deliver the appropriate sound. All I need in additions to the headphones is a good recording of the work in question. And all hi fi equipment is dependant upon that!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2012
Well, what to add here?
These HD598s are superb no matter where I plugged them. It is true that plugging just headphones to laptop or MP3 player doesn't bring appropriate volume unless it suffices you to have a low-key reception of music. So an amplifier can suit you sometimes.
Otherwise, the sound I get from them leaves me awed each time I listen. The proportion between bass and sound clarity is more than accurate, I can confirm that you may hear sounds which you might never have heard before and the design makes them truly outstanding phones on the market. If you are heavily into music or don't regret the money then purchase them. Purchase it not with the intention of showing off but only for a sheer pleasure of music! I did and I'm happy. And I don't work for Sennheiser.
134 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2011
Like many music lovers, the arrival of children means that headphones are a must for me. Generally I'm not so keen, preferring the soundstage and impact of a really good set of speakers. I have worked as a semi-professional sound engineer in the past, so I like an analytical sound, but not so clinical that it detracts from the pace and excitement of the music.
I auditioned the HD598 against BeyerDynamic DT880s, AKG K701s and Grado SR125s - with a budget of around 200 pounds. Comparative auditioning was conducted mainly using the headphone output of my Cyrus Pre, with extended listening impressions for the HD598s using the headphone amplifier output of a Xonar Essence ST audio card in my media PC (with losslessly encoded CD rips as source).
For my personal taste I found the AKGs to be extremely analytical, but slightly 'thin' and lacking excitement. They are known to be difficult to drive, and I suspect that my Cyrus headphone output was not really up to getting the best from them. I suspect they would be astonishing for mainly Jazz listening with a dedicated headphone amp, but that's out of budget, and Jazz only forms about 10% of my listening. I would also add that they made poor mixes (I'm looking at you, Oasis) almost unlistenable.
The Grados were almost the polar opposite: a sound which immediately grabs you by the scruff of the neck, and sounded great with edgier material (Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes). I felt that they were rather coloured - they made a bit of a meal of Beethoven Piano in G Major, for example. Easy to drive, they make great rock headphones, and I nearly purchased them. I should note that I personally found them the least comfortable of the four pairs, and probably the least well constructed.
The DT880s were extremely comfortable and appeared very well put together. I liked the sound on more acoustic material such as 10,000 Maniacs 'In My Tribe', but lacking a bit of punch compared to the HD598s on the Arctic Monkeys 'Whatever people say, that's what I'm not'. I personally found the DT880s to be less analytical than the Sennheisers.
So to the HD598s themselves. First impressions are very good - I like the slightly 'retro' looks and colour. They are immediately very comfortable, and I have subsequently found that listening sessions of several hours are no problem at all.
Starting with Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue', the HD598s showed a very open soundstage - not quite what I get from my ProAc speakers, but outstanding for a pair of headphones (for me, the best of all of the auditioned 'phones), and without any sense of being 'artificial'. Moving to more acoustic material (10,000 Maniacs again), every element of the mix (which is a technically and musically outstanding piece of work) was revealed in detail, yet without this detracting from a wonderful 'foot tapping' sound. The Arctic Monkeys and White Stripes material showed plenty of attack and aggression - perhaps not to the same extent as the Grados, but there was more detail here as compensation.
I've had the Sennheisers for a month or so now, and have yet to find anything they don't cope with very well. I find them particularly well suited to rock, but (as I'd expect at this price) they are very comfortable with Jazz, acoustic and orchestral work as well.
One final point worth considering: compared to many phones at this price point, they are pretty easy to drive - they are quite acceptable with my iPod at lower volumes, for example.
In short, I am extremely pleased with my purchase, and would recommend them to anyone.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2014
These headphones are as near reference headphones as I have ever heard. That means they will reproduce what the source produces and that may not please every listener.
I find these headphones superb. I dislike music that has been processed though graphic equalisers or the such. I enjoy hearing, as far as possible, what the sound stage sounded like at the live recording, this is referred to as reference listening and these Sennheisers are well on the way to being a reference headphone but at a quarter, or less, of the cost.
If the source is poor the Senns' will reproduce a poor sound, they are unforgiving of poor sources. Use a quality source and these headphones produce all the goods that can be expected for a product IN THIS PRICE RANGE. Of course there are headphones that will reproduce an even greater referenced sound, point here is not at this cost!
The quality of materials used is at the top of the league. Workmanship is simply top draw especially at this cost.
Comfort......In the 45 years or so of purchasing hi-fi I have yet to find a more comfortable pair of headphones of this type.
Please, as in all things, we need to be reasonable and maintain a perspective of reality. I have no idea how Sennheiser have produced a headphone this quality at this price. It is a tribute to them that they have managed to do so. Had these phones been manufactured in Europe they would have cost the earth.
I have only owned these for several hours and have yet to even run them in but from experience if they sound this accomplished this early on things are truly going to improve after two days of use.
Not travel friendly BUT they are not designed to be. If you need travel friendly ear wear try the award winning SoundMAGIC E-10's or the Sennheiser PX100-11, they are simply unreal for the cost. Oddly enough I use the PX100-11 as a reference point in reviewing all things musical I purchase from software to hardware.
If you need some home Hi-Fi headphones that are quality made from quality materials and reproduce what the source plays and this is your area of budget these deserve a review.
A word to the younger base heads. Avoid. Not what you are looking for and its silly to spend this sort of cash to have your ears blown apart with exaggerated base. Been there in my youth and doubt these would have hit the spot. Not being in the least condescending these phones are more for the music lover than entertainment seeker that most of us are when young.
Highly recommended. That takes some doing with some of the 'hi-fi' I have heard lately!
Update 02 07 14. Now these have run in they truly are worth every cent spent on them. A class act. Of course different ears will always appreciate different sounds so ones best critic is always ones own ears. Needless to write these tick all the boxes for me. Again these are not for bass heads. If you enjoy music as the source intended these are well on the path to getting you there. Supremely comfortable, I have fallen asleep wearing these now several times! Quality act from construction to sound reproduction.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2014
After reading all the positive reviews about the sound quality, I decided to buy these to replace my ageing HD 570 phones. As others have commented, the sound quality is truly superb - as a classical music enthusiast, I'd say these are the best phones I've ever owned (and also the most expensive - but then you get what you pay for).
But do they really mimic stereo loudspeakers, as claimed in the description? Well - a qualified yes to that. The sound isn't really like listening to your HiFi system - its still a "headphone sound". But, unlike any other phones I've heard, the sound does seem to come from just in front of you, rather than sitting squarely between your ears. If you try putting the phones on the wrong way - swapping left and right - the sound seems to come from behind you, which is surreal! Close your eyes, and you can almost believe you're in the middle seat of the front row of the stalls at an orchestral concert - it's that good. (You will need a good recording for this of course. These phones really show up poorly recorded sound).
What else? Well, they're supremely comfortable, and stylish too. And quite sensitive - you need the volume turned down a bit compared with other phones. It's worth paying another tenner for the short lead if you want to use these with portable players with 3.5 mm sockets.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2014
I am a musician. i do all my own studio work. i need good headphones. unfortunately, i seem to be on a life long quest to find my perfect headphones. I buy ones that sound great and break easily, ones that are expensive and also really bad quality, ones with short cables that injure my spine, ones with really long cables I have comical accidents with when I trip one them carrying pointy things. i'm too busy with work and family and work and more work, and pleasing the mrs, to be bothered reading all the reviews and technical what-nots of headphones. to me they are a bit like buying washing machines - something you really need, but not something you really want to buy, not like a TV or, in my case, a shiny guitar. plus reading all these reviews (mine excluded ofc) is reallllllly boring.
anyway, to get to the point: these headphones are very, very good. they are not perfect. sure, I could spend £8,000 on a pair of really silly headphones if I was an idiot, but I was sold on the brown/beige thing at first glance. they make me feel like the black guy from Enter the Dragon. ach! alas, if they only had big novelty volume sliders.
they DO NOT enhance the bass. they do nothing to the sound except play it with perfect, beautiful clarity into your ears. they DO leak sound. for classical music they are wonderful. they make you feel like you can hear the choir tremble when you play Orff, but sound a bit wooden and middle-y when Lamb of God start shouting about walking in hell. like so many things, the sound they reproduce depends on the quality of the other stuff in the mix.
I would suggest if you want to rattle the bum cheeks on someone three seats away on the bus, then buy the equivalent Dr.Dre headphones - also very good. if you wish to blow your mind with such superb balance, and have a pair of really decent headphones for recording and mixing, I recommend these. good price, good stuff.
also the brown velvety ear cups feel like rubbing your ears on a rabbit's bottom
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
I'm very pleased with the HD 598's. I primarily listen to music from the PC and have them connected to a FIIO E7 USB DAC/headphone amp.
I bought them because they're said to be comfortable. I can indeed wear them for hours without sweaty or sore ears. My only complaint in terms of wear is that when I recline back in a chair to listen, they want to slide off the back of my head and I have to compensate by pushing the headband forwards so they can hang in place. I suspect that this is simply a factor of their size and weight, and I'd rather have it this way if the alternative is to have them clamp on with uncomfortable force.
By contrast I have some HD238 on-ear headphones which sound OK but become painful and hot after a while, to the extent it put me off headphones and I had switched to a pair of JBL control 5 studio monitor speakers for a year or 2 (E7's line-out to sonos amp). Also where the HD238's cable was short and thin, and I managed to snag and tear the rubber down to the wire, the HD 598 cable is long, thick and feels robust. I also have peace of mind that it can be detatched and replaced. The cable is actually over-long for my current needs, but I bound the spare length up with a cable tie and the bundle rests on my desk doing no harm.
Despite the HD598's higher listed impedance I find I'm setting the E7's volume lower than I tended to with the HD238's (12 instead of 16), and it still sounds plenty loud. It also feels like I can listen to them for a long time and still be attracted to and enjoy a particular track some time later, without getting fatigued and losing interest.
The JBL's do sound great, particularly after setting the amp's gain to a sweet spot for the E7's line-out. Tracks can sound hauntingly beautiful on them, while the same track might sound average through tv speakers, or just terrible through a car stereo. However I've grown to prefer the 598's because they seem less fatiguing over a long period, better at excluding background noise (without having to raise the volume and shut the door), and also they simply offer a fresh interpretation playing back my music.
I would feel silly walking around town with them on. I also wouldn't use them in an open office environment or on a train due to the sound leakage from open backed design.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2014
I bought these as reference monitoring headphones, and they're worth every penny. Once burned in (I gave them 20 hours plugged into a radio) the difference from how they sound straight out of the box is incredible. Totally immersive sound, with exceptional detail - so much so that switching back to speakers is almost a disappointment. Others have commented on a lack of bass response, which frankly baffles me. All I can say is that if I lost these (how careless would that be?) I'd buy them again in a heartbeat.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2014
- Look SO good. (I do realize however that some people might not like the design)
- Feel very sturdy, good build quality, don't be intimidated by the all plastic casing.
- Detachable cable, easily found a replacement without the big jack. I have to specify that this is needed for listening on the go.
- Comfortable.. This is actually an understatement. These feel like.. you don't even feel them on your head, you just feel a comfortable warmth around your ears.
- Expandable to lengths that are hard to imagine fitting a human head, be it huge.
- Sound quality out of the box is NOT impressive. Please be aware of this when ordering. It's very important to give them time, burn them in. In as little as 24 hours of listening, they offer a whole new experience, and it's advisable that you burn them in for at least 70-80 hours, from what I could gather reading diverse audiophile forums. However, after this burn-in while, they are just amazing. Everything is crystal clear, no imbalances in the sound whatsoever, no sibilance, good bass (please be aware that they are not bass-heavy, if compared to headphones such as the Beats Pro etc. However, it's more than enough, and you can always use Bass Boost in the EQ if you really need more. Also, Bass gets significantly better after the burn-in period, and may pleasantly surprise you at times), brilliant Mids (probably their best aspect), good highs. Most songs sound perfect on these, you can hear details that you never heard before after listening to the song for hundreds of times beforehand (If you did it on inferior quality equipment).
- Excellent given the price.
- If it's of any importance, ALL of the review sites except one gave them at least 7/10 or an equivalent.
- Very light, adds to the comfort.
- Open end provides a brilliant sound stage. Try something like Chesky Records Ultimate Demostration Disk (FLAC) to better understand what I mean. This will be more obvious in very high quality recordings, Lossless.
- Easy to drive despite being full blown HI-FI headphones. (Although they might not be loud enough for some, without a DAC/AMP)
- Perfect for Classical, Soft Rock, Pink Floyd and the likes, Jazz, Opera, Vocals. These are the things I enjoy most when listening to them. Also, good for gaming and films.
- These will DESTROY any low quality (Under 320 kbps) track. Be aware that you will NOT enjoy most of the low quality tracks that you might be able to enjoy with other more unbalanced headphones. These will make your ears bleed when you listen to an 128kbps track. You can literally hear so many imperfections in the sound that you will get anxious :)).
- A good expensive source might be necessary for OPTIMAL sound, but they will sound more than decent driven from an iPod/iPhone/Android Phone and also from Onboard Soundcards. I use them mainly with a FiiO E10. It's a decent combination, but might at times make them sound muddy (However, not on very high quality tracks).
- VERY leaky, especially at very high volumes, as you might expect. This also means that you can hear lots of sound from the outside. I would not recommend them for outdoors use. Nothing about them makes sense in that case. Not the colours, not the sound leak, not even the cable they come with by default. I did take them out a few times, but if you're in a bus, do NOT turn the volume up, especially if listening to Death Metal. I did it, people didn't really love me for it. You could see it in their eyes. (If you have small ears, check out the Over-Ear Sennheiser Momentums if you want brilliant on-the-go headphones.)
- Even if the price were to be a little higher, I think an included case for these would add loads to their overall value (One with a fitting, compact form and an appropriate, elegant colour scheme).
- Not loud enough without an amplifier (for some people). You can easily get a portable amp though, something like FiiO E05 should do fine, so you don't spend a fortune. But this might lower the perceived sound quality a bit. If you have a mediocre primary source (E.G. Cellphone) you are only amplifying mediocre sound. This means that you will hear imperfections in the music when turning the volume up. This got me a bit scared in the beginning, thinking it was the headphones, but it's actually a problem with low quality audio + low quality output + high volumes (amping), and these are a bad combo.
- WARNING: These may sound "cold" if you are used to more unbalanced sound (Such as the Bose or Beats signature sound). By giving out a flat sound, they do sacrifice the warmth of some songs. This is just the price paid for extreme detail, I guess.)
- A bit too flat for some Metal/Hard Rock/Bassy tracks. This, however, gets better with bass boost on (Be it from your amp or iTunes etc.).
- Make some songs sound worse than ever because of the bad original recording. You can always hear every single imperfection in the sound. I guess it's both a pro and a con.
Overall, a good buy. 9/10