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191 of 194 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:

Pro's:

- 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.

Cons:

- 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.
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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!
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135 of 145 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.
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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.
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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.

Wholeheartedly recommended.
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6 of 6 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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2015
After getting them out of the box and listening to them, I was not impressed as the sound was only mediocre. However after burning them in for 48 hours there was a noticeable difference. The sound-stage is huge even for an open headphone and the fact that the 40mm professionally tuned drivers are angled making it seem not like your wearing headphones but listening to a full top of the range speaker system. The sound is airy with excellent clarity and micro details and tight bass that makes your music truly come to life, this is not usually found in headphones for under £200. you can improved the HD 598 further with an after market cable as the one it comes with is extremely long and ends in a 1/4 inch plug, and a highly recommended DAC/Amp such as the Dragonfly by Audioquest. The two together are a mean set-up for a relatively low cost. These headphones are comfortable. VERY comfortable, the plush earpads and baggy headband means that you can forget that these are on your head altogether. The design is gorgeous in person and feels both in your hands and on your hands like a top quality product. If these fall into your price bracket then do not think twice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2014
These headphones are crisp and clear. They don't bat an eyelash when playing heavily produced tracks. An amp is not required to push these well, although it may be wanted to get the fullest sound. Classical and acoustic couldn't possibly sound better on anything else. The mids are amazing and the lows and highs area always present.

The only cons here is that old mp3s or youtube videos are a bit annoying as these will clearly point out flaws. High quality tracks are a must. Also bass-heads beware. I didn't know how much of a bass-head I actually was until I bought these. The bass is "there" and it is clean, but it is not emphasized. If you want your head to rattle look elsewhere.

I'm not sure why you would buy these for strictly this purpose, but skyping and gaming with these is great especially since they are open backs.

I'm really wanting a pair of headphones with the clarity and soundstage of these, but with more bass. I'm not even sure this is possible in a headphone as more bass would overpower the other sections. Guess it is alright to dream though.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2014
I purchased these headphones with no previous knowledge of high quality headphones. What I head amazed me. I will list what they're good at:

* Awesome sound; very balanced, neutral sound, very all round, tight bass.
* Unbelievably comfortable; never worn anything so good, the velour pads are never fatiguing, and the headband is never failing to convince me to forget it is even there.
* Very easy to clean as the pads simply click on and off.
*The wire is separate, and therefore replaceable.
(I cannot think of a single thing I don't like)

All in all, if you are looking for headphones in this price range for indoor use, get these.
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15 of 16 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.
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