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419 of 434 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Reviews
Having looked through the other reviews for these headphones, there seems to be a general lack of understanding with regards to what you're getting with Sennheiser's HD598.

1. Sound Isolation: These headphones are not at all designed to be sound isolating. They are completely open - any other sound in your listening environment will come in, and anyone else...
Published on September 20, 2011 by Russ

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
For the price there's better out there. I got these on the recommendation of a friend saying they were very comfortable. I don't think so.
besides they are hot after only a few minuets. Now it seems they have developed a squeak after only a few short wearings. Don't waste your money...
Published 25 days ago by George Webster


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419 of 434 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Reviews, September 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
Having looked through the other reviews for these headphones, there seems to be a general lack of understanding with regards to what you're getting with Sennheiser's HD598.

1. Sound Isolation: These headphones are not at all designed to be sound isolating. They are completely open - any other sound in your listening environment will come in, and anyone else around you will be able to hear what you're listening to. That being said, they are not intended to be used on the city bus or subway, or in a library, or in your cubicle at work. These headphones are for listening to music and movies in the quiet seclusion of your home or studio. The openness is what gives these headphones the unmatched sound stage they have. No closed set can even come close, on any price range.

2. The 1/4" Plug: On the end of the HD598 comes a plug size that may not be familiar to many. This is not a set of headphones for your iPod or your laptop's headphone jack. Will it work with the included adapter? Sure. By doing so are you missing out on what these headphones have to offer? Absolutely. If you don't have one already, get yourself a headphone amp with the HD598. You need a good source to bring these headphones to life, and with one you won't have to turn the volume way up to hear the finer nuances.

3. The Bass: Sennheiser is not known for their hard hitting bass. Think of their HD5XX line like German sports cars. Some might think they're boring or soulless, but those looking for a consistent, predictable, and balanced performance get exactly what they want out of them. They are designed to give the same output levels across their entire functional range, and the HD598 leads the group. Bassheads should look elsewhere.

As one last note, there is a bit of concern about the cracking on the band that people saw with the older HD555. I can't speak for Sennheiser's official policy on the matter, but every case I've heard of owners contacting Sennheiser about theirs breaking has resulted in a free exchange. The newer ones are supposed to be tougher, and I can certainly speak for that. After several months of daily (ab)use and moving from house to house, mine look as they did when they were new. No cracks, no scuffs, no dings.

These are damn good headphones, and they're comfortable on my big head, to boot. In a few years when it's time to get something new, I'll be going to Sennheiser again.

----
Three year update (2014/04/15): I still use these every day, and they look, sound, and feel exactly as good as they did the day I bought them. They show zero signs of wear, despite *thousands* of hours of music, movies, and gaming. My five star review stands - these headphones are exceptional. Keep doing what you're doing, Sennheiser.
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399 of 432 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Sennheiser! New Verified owner. A happy one at that!, October 31, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
If you're reading this review, it's probably because you've either stumbled upon the HD 598's while looking for headphones on Amazon, or you've been to head-fi.org which is a website where you can read all about the legacy of all different headphones wether each headphone has been criticized negatively, has awesome reviews or some, both. In the case of the 598, there has only been awesome reviews.
For those of you who have just stumbled upon this headphone, i will spare you the time it takes to read about headphones becuase you will get hooked. Simply put, these are AMAZING headphones. Let me first off say that what drew me into liking these headphones was their ability to sonically reproduce anything i threw at them accurately and without distortion. I absolutely love acoustic recordings. These headphones will make you feel like you're actually getting a personal perfomance from any performer. If there are any other performers in the mix then there is an attribute of the headphone called soundstage that helps seperate the instruments or different sounds anyways. This helps create a mental image needed to feel the capability of a headphone. These headphones excell with soundstage and mental imaging. As for bass, it's tight and well controlled. There really isn't a focal point on the bass if through electronic music it's kind of like just there. With bass from an instrument, there is a very good focal point that adds to the headphones imagining. Brilliant.
These headphones do need a minimal 40 hours of burn in and they sound good through an mp3 player. I do suggest highest bitrate possible such as 320kbps or FLAC and cd's because the 598's are so good at reproducing what is given to them. Also a better digital to analog converter (DAC) will really help these headphones come to life. I personally use the headphone amp on my home theater receiver on the 598's and it really does help but from what i've read, a really expensive amplifier is unecessary with these headphones. I do always suggest an amplifier though.
I really think anyone will be happy with these headphones no matter what genre they listen to. Between their sparkly highs (really quite beautiful and even the best audiophiles have noted the truly magical highs and how they can't believe it,) the amazing soundstage and imaging all without having to buy an expensive headphone amplifier.
PLEASE RATE THIS REVIEW!!!
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366 of 409 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Owner of the HD555, HD558 and HD598, April 29, 2011
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This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
In a hurry so I will try to be quick, but thorough. Forgive the lack of proper structure but I think you will find the review quite informative.

I think it would be quite helpful to do a comparison. In contrast to the 598s, the HD555 are quite affordable to most for a beg head fi headphone, and they do sound good. Also, yes the foam mod "works" when done on the 555 in that it opens up the headphones, bass is more prominent but still remain tight (this is a popular mod that is well known in the head-fi community).
The 558 mod (foam removal) will NOT make the 558 like the 598. It will make the bass somewhat heavier/looser (slightly overlapping the mids) which some may find as a negative.

The casings where the drivers sit are different and the drivers are tuned differently.

The sound on the 555 is laid back and the 555 is not as airy and open as the hd558 or the 598. The 558 is also laid back and darker than the 598s.
The 558s and 598 are more refined and the frequency is smoother throughout relative to the 555s; the 598s are undoubtedly more refined than both the 555 AND the 558.

The 598s are brighter than the 558, the 598 are awesome for vocals, that is, the vocals are more up front and pleasant (especially awesome when listening to female vocals, I love my Adele :)and piano (awesome with piano), the 598s definitely shine with classical music as well. The 598 also excel in a wide genera of music including pop, jazz, classical, jrock, jpop, acoustics.
Bass is weightier on the 558s and tighter on the 598s (tighter bass is what I prefer, I like the tight punch). Not only is the 598 relatively bright when compared to the Senn signature, but it is funner to listen to as its mids are more forward than both the 555 and the 558.
The 598s have a Grado approach without the treble being overly sharp.

Like others have said, and I concur, the 598s def open up/come alive when coupled with an amp/ decent DAC. But at 50ohms, an amp is not necessary to drive these babies.

A number of audiophiles have stated that: The sound from the hd598 are UNMATCHED by ANY other headphone. AGAIN, that doesn't mean they are better than, for instance, the hd800s but rather that they are unique, nonetheless, a notion is to be taken in a positive way.

Comfort is great on both the 558 and 598. BETTER than the 555/595. If you call Senn they will tell you that the clamping force is the same BUT I as well as a couple of others I know all agree that these are MORE comfortable, you pretty much forget that they are on your head (that says a lot especially because I wear glasses and I'm really sensitive to the pressure in that area).

If you are going to be playing electronic, house, metal then these headphones may be a bit slow for you, they could use some speed. If you want that, then I recommend the HD 25 1 ii. DO NOT get the hd25SP (easily mistaken since the picture is incorrect on amazon.com). The hd 25s are closed back, awesome for portable use and the no.1 DJ headphones in the world. They are also used by the broadcaster in NBA, NEWS etc (their version has a special mic attached of course).

If you were to do a AB testing bw all 3 like I did, you would definitely notice the difference, the HD598 is the clear winner in my estimation.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT and thus should be noted, as stated by another reviewer there has been incidents in the past where there has been cracks that have been formed on the headbands of the 5xx series. Although Sennheiser essentially ignored the problem for several years they have INDEED taken corrective steps in manufacturing as of last year to prevent this. Further, they come w/ a two year warranty replacement and Ive heard pretty good things about the CSRs there.

Lastly, is it just me or do you guys also cringe when people/"reviewers" complain about sound leakage when reviewing an OPEN BACK HEADPHONE.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HD598 Review | Jack of all Trades, May 10, 2011
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This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
Let's get this out of the way right now. This is the best all-purpose headphone I've ever used, and not just for music either. I'm talking music, movies, and games. Their extremely likeable and unfatiguing sound makes them an ace at nearly any kind of music you throw at them; their huge and precise soundstage gives you the advantage in competitive gaming while enhancing any gaming experience; and their unbelievable comfort makes watching hours of your favorite movies or shows a breeze. Due to their insane versatility, these would be the absolute first headphone I would recommend to anyone looking for a solid performer in all aspects. For those looking for just one headphone to use for everything, this is it. They seriously kick butt in just about every regard, making them truly worthy to be qualified as the jack of all trades.

Before we dive into what makes them so great, we need to cover some basics.

If the glowing reviews don't catch your attention, the color sure will. Arguably the strangest color scheming to a headphone ever made, these definitely attract a lot of comments. For those of you who think these look ugly, I suggest holding your opinions until you see them in person. Yes, they are kinda strange at first, but they really do look unique in their own way; and the color really seems to grow on you. And I'll admit right now, side by side to my HD558, I actually preferred the overall look of the HD598 better. The grills look better, the headband material looks better, and the color scheme with wood accents is quite intriguing to say the least. Build quality wise, they are plastic, but that was expected. Not much to write home about here, but given their cheap feel, at least they are incredibly lightweight and are physically quite small. But lucky for us, we won't be staring into a mirror while listening to these, so it really doesn't matter what it looks like.

Probably the aspect of a headphone I am most strict on is the comfort. There are multiple things that need to be done right in order for a headphone to have good comfort. Sometimes manufactures think they can get away with awesomely soft pads, while incorporating nearly no headband padding. Or an innovative headband design and horrible ear pad ergonomics. Luckily, the HD598 doesn't skimp out on comfort in any aspect. In fact, I'll just say it now. These are easily one of the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn, and possibly *the* most comfortable. And as I mentioned before, I am terribly critical when it comes to comfort, as my head or ears can get upset and fatigued quite easily. That said, these simply do not disappoint. I've worn these for hours on end with movies and games, occasionally forgetting they were even there. Absolutely no complaints here. Highest marks I can give in this category.

But now, we approach the inevitable. How does the HD598 sound and what makes it so special?

I'll tell you what makes it special; it simply doesn't do anything wrong. The sound as a whole is well, whole. Nothing is missing, nothing steps out of line. Bass is here, yet the least present of the sound trio. Many will complain it's not enough. Well, it's enough. If it had any more bass it wouldn't be nearly as good of an all-arounder, because it would start rendering classical, jazz, and orchestral works as overbearing because of the lower frequencies. The midrange is definitely here and possibly the most present of the three. Vocals sound stellar on these folks. And the midrange really makes the entire sound come together as a whole, giving the music more life and realism. And finally we have the treble, and it's here too. But it's not your ordinary treble; this is some of the most special treble I've ever experienced in a headphone.

Treble is known for giving a great sense of detail, speed, energy, and clarity. But unfortunately, treble in my opinion is one of the hardest aspects of sound to get right. If it sparkles and has great clarity, it usually is fatiguing in a form of being too hot or bright. But, if it's rolled off to prevent that fatigue, then you obviously lose some of that desired energy and clarity. The HD598 somehow manages to have a brighter overall sound signature, which gives it a good chunk of the qualities of good treble, yet it simply does not fatigue. I've never had it cross into sibilance; never have been irritated by piercing highs; and I never once thought about wishing it would cool down a bit, like I frequently think with even the slightest of bright headphones. I honestly don't know how the engineers at Sennheiser did it, but they seemed to have pulled of some of the most wonderful treble I've ever listened to. It's smooth, it's alive, yet it knows its place and doesn't bother the listener.

But there is another aspect of sound besides the main trio that often gets overlooked. Soundstage is one of the most important aspects of any headphone for me, as it literally gives music more room to impress. I find that sometimes I am unsatisfied with even stellar closed headphones due to their claustrophobic feel, yet am impressed with even the basic of budget open headphones. How is that possible? Well, it's the soundstage. (Not to mention the acoustics of an open headphone compared to a closed one, but that's another story). It adds new dimensions to the music and gives you more breathing room. It also seems to envelop you a lot more rather than command you to its presence. A good way to describe it is it makes the music more effortless. Freer flowing, if you will. It's just an aspect of sound I really appreciate. That said, the HD598 excels wonderfully. The soundstage on these is some of the biggest I've ever heard in any headphone, and that includes the K701/Q701 and AD700/AD900. Typically, headphones with huge soundstage that I've had in the past, had bass that was seriously lacking, but these seem to get it just right by having a vast soundstage on top of having plenty of bass. That alone is something I find hard to achieve... enough bass, with enough soundstage; yet the HD598 once again pulls it off.

So then, is there anything I don't like about the sound? Well, to get really picky, I wish the bass had deeper extension. I also wish the overall sound was a bit more resolving and refined. But that's hardly something to complain about, especially with everything else it does so well, but I still wanted to mention it for reference. No, I'm not saying it's lacking, because it's really not. But you must realize that wherever this headphone is priced, I will match accordingly. Meaning, it has some fierce competition in this price bracket against headphones that can do individual aspects of sound better, yet none can nail the perfect sweet spot of balance between all aspects that the HD598 can hit. Simply put, the HD598 really is the jack of all trades, but the master of none. But I would much rather have a headphone that was great at everything, then excellent at just one or two things.

There is simply too much to like about the HD598. I classify it as the best all-arounder, multi-purpose headphone that I have ever had the privilege to listen to. It's just one of those headphones that are a joy to own, because there is always something that it can be great at. And it's flexible enough that it can *always* be used for something, if not everything. Whether using it for its superb long term comfort, utilizing its expansive soundstage to enrich a gaming experience, or just simply to enjoy tunes with its very special sound signature; the HD598 is sure to impress just about anyone in some aspect or another. Quite the achievement by Sennheiser if you ask me.
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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite open headphone under $300, February 2, 2011
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
I bought these headphones mainly due to how good they were supposed to be for gaming. Some reviews have also compared them to the AKG K501 and several people have mentioned they have slightly forward mids. That's a huge plus for me. I ignored the color and bought them anyway. I think the color is just plain ugly, but I guess I'm the only one who thinks this. It's growing on me though. I almost skipped them because the price seems kind of high. If I had knew how good they sounded I may have just paid full price. I hope the price on them comes down soon.

Out of the box there is some clamping force. Luckily it's not as bad as the HD-600 and the pressure went away after a few days. They're now the most comfortable headphones I own. They're up there with the D2000 and K240 Studio for comfort. One negative for me is that they have the larger jack. I think this isn't a bad idea, but I just don't like having to use an adapter. I do use them about 25% of the time un-amped with an Ipod Touch. This drives them fine, but I highly doubt a smaller mp3 player could drive them very well. The other times I use it with a full desktop amp (Schiit Asgard) and an Oppo DVD player or another source. All ALAC lossless files.

So what do they sound like? The first thing I can say is that it's signature is very smooth sounding. A perfect balance of everything. What shocked me at first is how they are one of the brightest Sennheiser headphones i've heard. Even more so than the HD-600! It's still quite "laid back" but not anywhere near as much as the HD-600, HD-555 or HD-650. The highs just feel way less rolled off. When some of my poorly recorded music is harsh and has annoying treble to my ears, it IS on the HD-598 and they don't try and change it and make the sound more polite like my HD-600 did. The sound signature is totally non-fatiguing, but it depends on the source files. Some of my music is just painful to listen to on any headphone.

It's mids are impressive. They're very slightly forward, but not as much as my Koss Pro DJ 100, Audio Technica ATH-AD2000. Maybe about the same as the AKG K601. Female vocals sound amazing on this headphone. ALMOST as good as my ATH-AD2000, but not quite. At first I thought these don't have a lot of detail, but I do think they do. What detail it has is forward sounding and easy to hear. On my HD-600 the detail felt a bit less clear and VERY slightly muffled, but not too badly.

I can't go into detail on this but the soundstage is quite impressive. It's much bigger than the HD-555 and maybe the HD-600! I haven't compared them with the HD-600 though. Imaging is also good. Because of all this, these are very, very good for gaming. I actually prefer them for gaming over my ATH-AD2000, but the ATH-AD2000 has more forward sounding detail and a bigger soundstage, but probably poorer imaging. For gaming I even prefer these to the K702. I absolutely hate those for gaming and prefer the K601 for gaming over the K702. Obviously for highly competitive gaming, the ATH-AD2000 would be a better option.

Bass on these is just fine for me. I hate bass heavy headphones unless it's very well controlled bass. For example, I love the Denon D2000, but ONLY when connected to a desktop amp! These are not anywhere near bass heavy. The sound is balanced and bassheads definitely should skip these headphones. HD-650 might be a better match. I think these have more bass than the HD-555 and about the same amount as the K240 Studio perhaps. Those are another favorite and they're dirt cheap but need a good amp.

As it is right now these are tied as my favorite headphone under $200. My Koss Pro DJ 100 is the other favorite. It has more bass, more forward mids, but more rolled off highs. Imaging is also better, but the soundstage obviously isn't as good. That headphone does need a good amp to sound it's best though. This does also, but is much picky and still can sound decent unamped. The DJ100 also seems to be a tad more clear and have more detail and better quality bass.

These are worth the full retail price, but I don't feel it's a good deal. I'd suggest shopping around or waiting for a good price. Again, if I knew how good they sounded before buying them I'd have no problems paying the full price.

If you need the perfect headphone for gaming, music and movies, this just might be it. It's good for almost any genre except it's not a good match for metal or bass heavy music. Strangely I've found this headphone doesn't have the typical Sennheiser sound, but pretty close. I wasn't a huge fan of the HD-555 or HD-600, but I love the HD-598. Now if only Sennheiser would do an upgrade of the HD-600! I'd buy it in a second if they made similar improvements.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth comparison to the HD 595, October 15, 2011
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This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
This technical review will cover all the differences between the HD 595 (and 555) and the HD 598. It is intended for owners of the former, who may be unsure whether to upgrade or not, and those new to the audiophile league. Though the design is the same, nearly all the materials have been changed from the previous generation!

EXTERIOR & BUILD QUALITY: The 598 has improved materials over the 595. I believe I have the re-engineered headband version whose lower plastic arm makes a lower pitched sound when tapped on compared to my HD 555, which makes a higher pitched sound. There's now more flex in the top of the headband when expanding it. The HD 555 has a stiffer inner headband material that puts stress on the top portion of the plastic arm during expansion. Also, when the headband is expanded to its maximum size, the earcups do not tilt all the way forward like on the HD 555, which always seemed odd. The HD 598 does not exhibit any creaking noises at the joints when swiveling the earcups or expanding the headband, unlike the HD 555 which did so since day one. The headphones exert a bit less clamping pressure as well. The headband padding is soft and has a quality feel to the touch. The velour earpads are more densely filled with a different nap that isn't such a lint magnet. The earcups have a different plastic too, that vibrate less with lower frequencies during playback. The three screws that secure the driver baffle to the earcups are now located away from the damping element. The grille is now metal instead of plastic, with the Sennheiser logo on the fine cloth mesh just behind it. The 2.5 mm, 3 meter detachable cable is the same thickness, but has a rubbery feel to it. The cable's socket area is fully lined with chrome. So basically, only the black mesh piece that covers the drivers is the only carryover from the previous line.

ACOUSTICS: The HD 598 uses a new driver (part no. 533392). The damping element material is slightly darker and has a bolder outline of the asymmetrical frame behind it. The driver has 4 small holes in the cellulose portion and at the rear, a black plastic ring on the pole piece. The driver's PCB remains the same (part no. 93481B).

SOUND QUALITY: After using my modded HD 555 (i.e. an HD 595) for a year and half, I've come to know its sound signature like the back of my hand. It can be confirmed that the HD 598's sound is more laid-back compared to the HD 595. This was the most noticeable thing upon first listen. I was a bit disheartened at first since they sounded somewhat boring compared to the HD 595. ***The HD 598 is not forward and highly energetic in the upper mids and lower treble anymore.*** The frequency range from the beginning of the upper mids at about 700 Hz to the meat of the lower treble at about 3 kHz is very prominent on the HD 595. Readers may question how they can sound different when the frequency response of both in that region is nearly identical. I've come to the conclusion that the difference is due to the presence of standing waves in the HD 595. Standing waves are resonances (ringing) that manifest as glare and harshness during playback. A spectral decay or waterfall plot is used to view such anomalies. But Sennheiser's packaging for the HD 555/595 hints that "the advanced Duofol diaphragm technology almost eliminates standing waves inside the capsule" while for the HD 598 states "the advanced Duofol diaphragm technology effectively eliminates standing waves within the capsule."

So with that into consideration, the HD 598 is actually more accurate and refined now in that region, and this is where much of the emotion of music is present. Instruments and vocals, particularly female, now sound more authentic with better timbre, since it lacks that coloration present in the HD 595. But some listeners may prefer a more colored sound, as it gives a sense of high energy and presence in a particular frequency zone. With the HD 595, female vocalists singing loudly in the "A", "E", "I" and "O" pitches, have a tendency to be glaring, screechy, thick, and in-your-face at high volumes. It ultimately leads to fatigue and that fullness-in-the-ears feeling. The same issue applies with electric guitars. But the HD 598 is just as enjoyable in its own right even though it is now more laid-back since it allows one to actively *listen* to the music easier than before, having better detail retrieval throughout the whole frequency spectrum that is easily audible. The tighter bass response has better extension from 60 Hz and under while the highs are smoother sounding. There is also more needed mid-treble (6 kHz to 10 kHz) compared to the HD 595. Transients are also slightly quicker, indicating better impulse response.

The 20 Hz to 20 kHz sine sweep is very smooth with the mid-treble nicely balanced with the mid-range. This is certainly one of most neutral headphones and thankfully does not exhibit the bright and peaky mid-treble often found in the new crop of exotic $1000+ headphones. The HD 598's soundstage size is the same as the HD 595's. However, the HD 598 has much superior imaging of that soundstage. This means that the sound image is processed by the auditory system as being more open, natural, and having spatial properties where sounds are thus interpreted as coming from outside the head. In particular, the imaging of the upper mids and treble is just superb. Depth separation of the sound layers is well rendered. There will undoubtedly be a desire to re-listen to one's collection just to hear the better soundstage performance.

These cans are right at home with the Xonar Essence STX under the high-gain setting with no sound presets or equalization. The new driver is electrically more demanding with its impedance hump measuring in at a little under 300 ohms. Without dedicated amplification, and especially from basic computer sound cards, the bass sounds under-damped and slow, mids and treble lack that quickness and detail, and it can't play loud enough. They sound great out of the box, but improve during the burn-in period. The sound becomes smoother and fuller when they settle into their nominal performance level around the 50 hour mark.

With the refinement of the HD 598, I'm amazed at how long I can listen to any genre of music without getting ear fatigue or getting annoyed at any aspect of its sound reproduction. And yet it's not a sterile or mellow listening experience either. It's just an immersive, accurate, and musical experience. And that's what we all want in the end.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, but not for me, September 30, 2011
By 
Angus Bohanon (BOULDER, CO, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
These are labeled as "audiophile headphones," and they certainly are. The sound they produce is incredibly clear, and it made even the voices of people on TV sound rich and full. The problem is that audiophiles don't tend to listen to the same music I do, namely hip-hop and dubstep, and that's where these fall short. The bass is very warm and deep at low volume, but as the volume goes up, the bass doesn't, so it lacks the impact--the actual BEAT of a beat--and the treble, vocals, and stuff like high hats and snares start to drown it out and sound unpleasantly harsh by comparison. I've tried them with games, TV, movies, and music, and they excel in sound quality for dialogue, instrumentals, and low-volume bass, but the lack of power in the bass at high volume is a deal-breaker. For me.

They are open headphones, so they let a fair bit of sound in and out, meaning if you want them to isolate you from the outside world or vice versa they won't be very good, but if you're wearing them in private, you're golden.

And lastly, comfort. They're incredibly comfortable. I had them on non-stop for about 7 hours yesterday and had no discomfort at all.

So yeah. They're phenomenal headphones at a fantastic price, but they have a few shortcomings that are deal-breakers for me.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing product, December 15, 2010
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
This headphone is an amazing product. I've used Sony XD400 and Bose Triports before. I'm not an audiophile. I just use it for listening to music and movies. It sound so great...so spatial....one word its heaven. It has controlled and well defined bass. Bass does not overwhelm mid/treble as in XD400. Sound leaks out but as advertised it is open headphone, so ofcourse it does. I can hear everything so clearly. Only thing is, the pins provided does not fit iphone properly unless you hold with your hand.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp, clean, controlled, comfortable, and classy, August 10, 2013
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This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
I have been recording, mixing, mastering and producing my own music for years and am a music lover through and through. I had been using Bose Quitetcomfort over ear headphones for my recording endeavors, but I wanted something different, and preferably, better. Thus, my quest began for the best set of headphones under $350 (in that range). I tried newer Bose products, Beats, Beyerdynamic, and Sennheiser headphones throughout my search.
The Bose, Beats (including Beats Pro Over-Ear and Studio Over-Ear models), and Beyerdynamic headphones I tried were all closed rather than open headphones. The Bose have a strong bass and excellent noise cancelling (the best on the market). The Beats have booming (some call it head-thumping bass) and a strong punch, and the Beyerdynamic are true tonally compared to the former two.
However, the Sennheiser 598 headphones have the best, most natural, and spacious sound of all the various headphones I tested. This is due to the open design as opposed to the closed. Simply put, closed headphones isolate sound and prevent sound leakage whereas open headphones do not isolate sound, but have better tonality. As a general rule, open headphones sound better (more natural) than closed. This is one of the things I liked most about the 598s. The music sounds as if it is surrounding you as it would in a perfect live setting. I had been used to the closed feel which makes the music seem like it is coming strictly from the cans sitting on one’s ears. Also, compared to other professional grade Beyerdynamic headphones with higher impedance ratings, the 598s have a rating of 50 ohms, meaning you don’t need a headphone amp.
On the sound of the 598s, they are very well balanced. The lows, mids, and highs are crisp and controlled. Unlike the Bose and Beats headphones, which have uncontrolled “boomy” bass, the 598s are tight, but not lacking. The mids are beautiful. I am primarily a pianist and I listen to tons of piano music from artists like Yanni, David Benoit, Dave Grusin, Brian Culbertson, Jonathon Fritzen, and many others. They say the piano lives in the mid-frequency range, and with these headphones, you can hear the beautiful smooth sound of the piano with amazing accuracy of tone. The highs are well defined, clear, but not tinny or overriding. Compared to the Beyerdynamic headphones I tried, the 598s highlighted the highs very well without compromising a balanced mix. I have listened to these headphones for hours putting them through music of all types from Michael Buble to Journey and 3rd Force (which overpowers the Bose and causes them to overdrive) to Peter White. They have not bent under the pressure of “overproduction” as is found in songs like Buble’s “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
If you are looking for a stylistic, spacious, and natural sounding set of headphones for under $300, this is a great choice. There is no way to say it is the best headphone out there because everyone’s style is their own. Bose and Beats closed sound and strong punch may be what you’re looking for, in which case I would advocate Bose. But if you are in the market for true tonality, the Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are superb.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 10 Month user experience with these cans, June 3, 2012
By 
This review is from: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents) (Electronics)
1- Comfort is 5/5: there is nothing more I can say about it .. you can use them for 12 hours straight without any irritation .. unless if it was too hot in the room .. you may need to scratch your ears every now and then .. velour ear-pads are the best.
2- Build and Durability is 3/5: the (p)leather lining the head band is starting to develop cracks, while the ear cups are conveniently designed to fit comfortably
and overall good build quality and light weight, cable is on the long side, not easily replaceable though as it has a tiny plug designed specifically for these cans as I know and it is detachable .. I am satisfied.
3- Looks 4/5: not the coolest but I like the color.
4- Sound Quality 4.5/5:
-nice and tight bass .. not optimum as it doesn't go low enough (for my taste, I use the EQ to boost it a tiny bit)
-mids are balanced, neither recessed nor in your face.
*instruments are well separated ,, I love the violin sound on these.
-highs are also balanced, no sibilance, which annoys me the most :)
-These are faaaar from being fatiguing .. the listening experience is really special for the price .. being comfortable as I mentioned above.
-Soundstage is head turning .. I literally turn my head sometimes trying to pin point where that sound came from.
-these has an open back design .. so they don't isolate at all .. which isn't a flaw .. it's just that they were made for home usage.

Highly Recommended
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Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones (Burl Wood Accents)
$319.00 $184.21
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