33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2011
To confirm in case you didn't already imagine, these headphones are absolutely impractical for any kind of use outdoors. The 6. jack with the 3.5 adaptor makes the connector pretty chunky and as I've found connecting to some phones in cases it may not plug in correctly. The cable is long as well, so you'd have alot of slack.
They leak alot of noise, so if anyone else is around they will hear what is blitzing through these things, and they are loud.
However put these things in your computer at home or any portable player as well and they absolutely stunning. My music (Alot of rock / metal with occasional electronic / drum and bass) has never sounded so clear, so crunchy and impactful.
Whack the volume up to the most that your ears can handle, these things don't care. You'll get no crackling or distortion and whatever you're playing will still have amazing clarity.
These are expensive headphones no doubt, but I've never wanted to listen to so much music in my home since getting them. Everything sounds new again!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2012
The main reason I got these were for comfort since every single headphone I have ever purchase has caused me some discomfort after several hours of use. So after quite a bit of research I found these bad boys and my god they feel so nice. They do leak a lot of sound so if you want to use them on the go then just know that everyone within 10 feet of you will be able to hear what you're listening to.
I'm not much of an audio guy but the sound quality for me is pretty nice. I have no qualms about it. If you're looking for something that fits nicely around your ears and is comfortable to wear for several hours then get this. If you're going for something to use on the go then I'd suggest something else since the audio leak is kind of ridiculous.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2013
My wife bought me these headphones (on my recommendations) after reading several positive reviews on here (and elsewhere).
the quality of the product is top notch, well made, well packaged and as described.
Sennheiser are one of the big researchers into sound technology and the HD558's definitely have benefitted from some of their technological developments dripping down to them. this is unlike beats or others which are all about the marketing hype!
in terms of sound quality, they are top notch as hoped. i have enjoyed listening to plenty of music. what i enjoy most about the audio through these phones is that you really can pick out each individual track within the recording. you can focus on backing vocals or a hidden guitar and really pick it out. dont expect them to blast your head off with bass as this is not what they are designed for. they are for budget concious audiophiles so its all about quality not quantity.
as mentioned in other reviews because these headphones are open back, they are not at all suited to the outdoors (rain WILL destroy them) and sound leakage will be a problem, both inwards and outwards. my wife said when i first started listen through them that she could 'just hear everything'. is a bit of an overstatement and i would describe the leakage like taking in ears out and putting them on the other side of the room.
However, i recently took them on holiday and they werent too bad. on the plane the volume was sufficient to overcomb the drone of the engines and other systems and in the terminal they worked pretty well (during quiet parts of songs i could hear the tannoy and people speaking loudly).
one downside is that they dont come with any kind of case (bag or semi rigid) and it is difficult to find a case that will suit them. i ended up buying a camera case with adjustable 'padding'.
another reason i bought these headphones is that the cable IS detachable. there is basically a 4 pole 2.5mm 'micro jack'? that plugs in to one of the cans. the cable is very long and i will probably look to get a second shorter one, when travelling. The purpose of the detachable cable is to make them easier to store and to provent damage. They come with a full size stereo jack connection and an adapter to 3.5mm stereo jack. when attached this is a bit of a beast and is about the size of 2x AA batteries, i had no problems with plugging this into my iphone but i can see the concern from others. Sennheiser potentially could have included a 3m long 6.35mm cable and a 1 - 1.5m long 3.5mm cable?
the main use of these headphones is of course for listening at home or possibly for studio mixing. they will suit the individual who wants to watch an action film 'on loud' without disturbing neighbours/ sleeping children. they are also well suited to recording using a direct input (i.e. garageband or equivalent). they will be no could as monitors for live recording again due to them being open back.
the quality of the drivers is definitely good. the 50 ohms means that using an iphone on almost full volume gives you full immersion in soundwithout hurting your ears. i have also used a friends HD 650's, they are obviously much higher quality and the drivers are 300 ohms, using an iphone with them makes the sound very quiet but they are best used with a amplifier which takes you into a different league of listening.
if i were to make a couple of suggestions to sennheiser they would be;
a) make more of the chasis out of metal to make them more robust, im sure they are sturdy enough however i feel as though i need to treat them with padded gloves.
b) provide a case, for and extra 5% of the price surely a storage/ carry case could be provided?
either way apart from pedantic gripes the actual headphones are 5/5 for their intended use, 3/5 for outside use (not including jogging or walking about in the rain) as a product 4/5.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2012
Like a few of the other reviewers, I bought these as an upgrade to my HD 485's, and I am not disappointed. They are better in pretty much every single way, from comfort to sound quality. The Headphones are very light, and after even 10 minutes or so become largely ignored. Despite this, they are sturdy, and on top of things look fantastic.
The Sound quality is great, and although the bass is not as powerful as some other contenders, there is a good balance, and overall the quality is superb, whether you're listening to music or watching a movie. The 10 foot cable should ensure you can comfortably watch a film or play games without straining the cable.
The fact that the 3.5mm jack comes as an adapter means that overall the jack will be about 2 inches in length, making it a bit obtrusive when using it with an iPod, but that's a small issue. The open back and E.A.R technology, as well as the comfort of it, makes it seem like the sound is coming from around you as opposed to next to your ears. Overall, these are a great pair of headphones, and I would highly recommend them.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2011
This is my first time reviewing an item here on amazon, but having read millions of reviews and opinions about many headphones in this price category I thought I would try and synthesize everything I have come across in the hope it may make the choice easier for prospective buyers. Okay here goes then the Hd 558 generally received no less than 4 stars with many professional reviewers from audiophile websites giving them 5 stars. Recurrent advantages that people cite are that they have an excellent soundstage, comfort and design as well as very detailed and tight bass. In my own experience of them there are many things that particularly made an impact on me, but the soundstage is what really hit me. Though this is a bit of a generalization, these headphones I think are best suited to acoustic instruments and it is with music such as jazz and classical that they really shine. Instruments are very clearly defined and all seem to have their own distinct space in the soundstage. This makes listening to your music a much more immersive experience in which you can truly lose yourself. Another advantage is that when watching films you can enjoy a 5.1 surround sound experience for comparatively little. If you are in doubt as I was because of the price, just think, it's not only an investment in your music but also in your films. In comparison with other headphones such as the ATH AD 700 which from what I've read have an equally good soundstage, don't have sufficient bass to give music and films sufficient punch and impact. I'm no bass head but sometimes you can't pretend to be so superior and claim you don't need some bass in your music. Fortunately I think the HD 558s strike the balance perfectly between not overwhelming the music or leaving it lacking. In comparison to the model above it, the HD598 I have heard that the main differences are that the 598s have a brighter sound signature as opposed to the darker presentation of the 558s (this however I don't think is necessarily better, just a matter of personal preference) and a wider soundstage. However it is worth noting that the 558s can be modified into a pair of 598s as they are virtually the same set of headphones (with the same drivers) the only difference being a strip of tape on the insides muffling the soundstage and bass. I cannot comment on it as I have not yet tried it but from what I have heard the soundstage does indeed improve and the mids get brighter, however one reviewer at headphonia[...] says that the bass gets boomier and less tight as a result. Now as for amplification, I would not say that you absolutely need an amp but it does help with rock and pop, I personally use a battered old hi-fi amp from the 80s and that does the job just fine. Right now I'm listening to them on my computer with the volume turned up ¾ and the volume is perfectly adequate for my taste. Interestingly though when I listen to them on my iphone they just don't sound as good with sound stage somehow greatly reduced, but when I listen to them on an old ipod they sound as good as they do on my computer. I have listened to some other higher end headphones from sennheiser such as HD 65o and while its definitely a better set of headphones, these are really not very far off at all and considering the 650s cost nearly 200 quid more I think you get absolutely excellent value for money with these headphones, especially given that you have the option to mod them into the model above it ( which isn't very different by all accounts). So if you are considering buying these I would heartedly recommend them but I think you should also consider what sort of music you're going to listen to. I can confidently say that there are very few genres which wouldn't sound great through these cans, but Jazz and classical as well as some rock and pop are really where they shine (Bob Dylan sounds really great, just make sure if you're listening to the older recordings that you have a good bit rate track) . They have the capacity both in terms of bass and musical presentation to please almost all listeners (unless you are a millionaire audiophile in which case you probably wouldn't be reading this review). Sorry if this has dragged on a bit! But thank you for reading and I hope that which ever set of headphones you choose to buy, they will give you many years of listening pleasure and contentment.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2013
Having these headphones for a while now, I must say they are amazing. Excellent sound quality, very comfortable. I previously had hd215s which have lasted for over 4 years of rough treatment and are still going strong. So I decided to upgrade to the next level and went for Sennheisers again because of the excellent performance of the previous. The only problem I had with the 215s was that they pressed against my ears and caused some pain if I wore them for over an hour. I went for the 558s because they are borderline audiophile headphones and they were also reputed to be very comfortable. No part of the earcup touches the ears, unlike the competing Grado headphones which certainly have excellent sound but which squeeze right against your ears and I imagine would get very uncomfortable very quickly.
When I first tried my new hd558s I was not wowed. The sound quality was certainly very good but not great. However I have found that after a burn in period they have certainly improved. But the most important factor has been to connect them to my hifi rather than to my laptop. I was at first sceptical that this would make any difference at all since the sound is still originating from my laptop - why would putting a hifi in the middle have any effect? Trust me, it does. The bass has now become much punchier, all sounds are clearer, and overall the sound these headphones produce has gone from 'pretty good' to 'amazing'. So that is my conclusion - these are amazing, extremely comfortable headphones, but you do need to use an amplifier to get the best out of them. If you are wondering about buying them - just go for it, you won't be disappointed.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2012
The HD 558 headphones are much better than my older HD 500 headphones. However the sound is much improved by implementing the modification that is listed in various places on the internet (a simple removal of tape from the inside of the outer case). This modification makes the sound more spaceous. The headphones also improve after 20 hours of use. I am very happy with these headphones.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2015
Firstly let's set the record straight a bit.
These are open backed headphones, they are designed to leak sound. They are NOT suitable for listening to your phone/ipod/mp3 player in public places. They don't have a mic or a volume control. These are audiophile headphones for listening to music at home through an amp or good soundcard hence the LONG lead..
The HD558 are not top of the range but certainly will do justice to your music collection. At first the bass seemed a little bloated but after just a few hours use things have changed. The bass is certainly present but in tight punchy way that doesn't drown out the delicate high frequency or vocals. Kick Drums are pleasingly slammy. Vocals are clear and crisp. Treble is crisp without sibilants. Stereo separation is good, it's well defined without being distant or artificial. Panning is smooth and creates a beautiful stereo field of sound.
Some of my favourite tracks have a new sense of feeling with reverb and hidden instruments now audible and a general sense of openness. Low quality tracks like 128kbps MP3 sound poor but that not HD558 fault, it's simply the clarity shows the inherent poor quality sound of compressed music files.
Okay they are plastic and probably won't survive being dropped onto a hard surface but there not designed to be a rugged pair of go anywhere headphones and my last set of Sennheiser lasted 10 years with similar construction quality.
Finally comfort....AMAZING. Lightweight and definitely forget your wearing them after a few minutes.
As for the foam mod.....only recommended if the bass is too heavy for your liking.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2013
I use a pair of Bose QC3 headphones for travelling, and they are very good in blocking outside sound as well as being comfortable to wear. However, I needed a pair of headphones for listening to music, TV and playing games in the evening at home. On looking at reviews, I ordered a pair of ATH-M50s, but quickly realized I had made a mistake after the first two minutes of listening with them. The sound quality was excellent, exactly what I was looking for, but it felt as though my head was caught in a vice, and no amount of adjustment would improve the fit. I knew I couldn't wear those headphones for more than a few minutes at a time and I could feel my ears beginning to overheat already. Not only that, but you couldn't hear anything in the local environment, the cups sealed so tightly that all sounds were blocked out (which is great on a plane, but not so good if you are at home and want to be able to hear doorbells, telephones etc).
So I had to reconsider, and looked at several different makes and styles of headphones before settling on the Sennheiser 558.
The first thing I should say is that these are not the headphones for travelling, Sennheiser don't even supply a bag with these phones. They leak sound both in and out, and anyone near you will know exactly what you are listening to. They are not ideal for iPods and iPads either (although I use them with both). Although Sennheiser supply a 3.5mm jack socket converter, the converted plug is enormous and would definitely strain an iPod or iPads headphone socket. You will almost certainly have to buy either a 6.35 mm socket to 3.5mm converter cable, a replacement shorter cable (try Ebay and search on hd558 ) or a small headphone amplifier (I have a Fiio E06).
These are old-school headphones, with Sennheiser's pedigree in high quality sound shining through with no compromises, the sound is tight and well-controlled with an airy well-defined stereo sound-stage that let's you hear every instrument and detail distinctively. No booming bass or muddy mids for these phones.
Used for game-playing and plugged into my computer, loud transients such as explosions are handled well and the whole experience lends itself to an immersive atmosphere, especially as these headphones are easy to wear.
Comfort is excellent, the size is almost perfect for me, and the cups rest lightly on my ears without any sweatiness or hot-ear syndrome.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2013
When buying these headphones it's important to bear in mind that you will be using them mostly indoors. They are open-back so they don't block out any (or barely) any noise and those around you will likely hear what you're listening to. You may wonder why you'd buy these headphones compared to closed-back models; let me explain why.
These headphones have such an incredibly wide sound stage that any films, games or music you feed through them sound great. I bought them primarily for games and film, in combination with a 5.1 to stereo decoder made by Astro. I had briefly used in ear headphones with the Astro unit but couldn't really tell much difference over stereo channels, thankfully as soon as I plugged these in I could tell exactly which direction and how far away things were happening - truly a revelation and I have to remind myself how good they are now since I've had them for nearly two years.
I'm now listening to most music at home with these too, when I don't feel like using speakers. You can run the headphones off an iPod too, with the volume in a quiet house never having to exceed 2/3rds. The headphones suit acoustic music excellently and sound decent with bass heavy music like hiphop, just don't expect them to shake your ear drums as much as a closed back pair of phones. Some tracks from Angus & Julia Stone's album "Down the Way" sound so alive that you feel like you are sitting in the recording studio with them. They really are that good.