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Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Over-Ear Headphones - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
|Price:||+ $4.99 shipping|
- Premium, audiophile-grade over-ear, open back headphones
- Padded leatherette headband and luxurious velour covered ear pads perfect for long listening sessions
- Compatible with virtually every audio device including phones, tablets, computers and stereo components
- Two cable options (3 meters and 1.2 meters) included along with 3.5mm adapter plug.Jack plug-6.3 mm
- 2-year limited warranty only when purchased from an authorized dealer.
- Impedance: 50 Ω
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|Sold By||L&Y Business (NO ANY REBATE | SERIAL NUM RECORDED)||PHOTOTECH||Amazon.com||Bsd Wholesale||Technology Galaxy|
|Headphones Form Factor||Over Ear||On Ear||Over Ear||Over Ear||Over Ear|
|Item Dimensions||4.10 x 8.10 x 9.40 inches||6.70 x 7.90 x 3.90 inches||8.10 x 3.95 x 10.25 inches||4.33 x 7.48 x 9.06 inches||11.00 x 5.00 x 88.00 inches|
|Item Weight||0.59 lbs||0.66 lbs||0.55 lbs||0.91 lbs||1.25 lbs|
|Special Features||lightweight||Lightweight||noise-isolation||Tangle-Free Cord, Lightweight||lightweight|
The HD 598 Special Edition headphones are an open back, over ear, audiophile grade headphone that combines exceptional sound quality with extreme wearing comfort. This premium headphone features a padded leatherette headband and luxurious velour covered ear pads perfect for long listening sessions.
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Last year, the Ivory color of this 598 was the Black Friday sale, and it was a no brainer absolute steal purchase! This year, the "special edition" black version is on sale for the ridiculous bargain price, I just had to grab another one.
I also own the Sennheiser 600, but that model and higher requires an amp. With the 598, you do not need an amp to enjoy it.
It will bring a whole new life to your music collection and be enjoying the same music you've listen to hundreds time with a fresh new experience, being able to clearly hear the vocals and individual instruments and depth - a concert feeling; not a confined claustrophobic, everything muffled together mess. No matter what genre you listen to, it should make you feel like you are in a concert hall. It is like having a portable surround sound system on your head. Poor audio speakers can make the listening experience a chore or exhaustive after a few minutes; I can listen to music I normally wouldn't listen to or my favorite songs for longer periods because there's so much audio satisfaction with these, just being able to appreciate the little instrumental details and directions.
The only negative is that sound will leak because these are open headphones for a more natural sound that you will even forget you are wearing headphones; so probably not a good idea to listen to Britney Spears in public. ;)
If you can appreciate sound, this is a no brainer purchase, especially if you never owned higher quality headphones; your wallet and ears will be satisfied. The design also looks professional and not juvenile. I'm still blown away by the sounds these headphones are capable of producing. Headphones usually require break-in periods and these will just sound better and better over the years.
If you are having trouble removing the cord from the headphones, make sure you TWIST first then pull; I had trouble first pulling it out and it turns out you need to twist to lock/unlock the cord before removing it.
The HD 598 SE is perfect for use in the privacy of your own home where the sound leakage from the open back design won't be an issue. If privacy and sound leakage are a concern, the HD 598 Cs is a great alternative.
I decided to buy an external DAC & headphone amp, the Schiit Fulla 2, and I've been using it for a few days now. Although my X-Fi was able to drive these cans "good enough," the Fulla 2 is able to squeeze just a bit more clarity and punch out of my HD 598. Nothing major, the differences are subtle for the most part. The HD 598 definitely opens up some when you crank the juice up a bit. If you have the extra cash, I definitely recommend a quality headphone amp for use with the HD 598.
These headphones are still going strong and holding their own against several other headphone purchases I've made over the past couple years. I am now using them with a Schiit Modi Multibit DAC & Magni 3 amp, which is a significantly cleaner and more powerful setup than the Fulla 2 I used previously. These headphones fail to disappoint and still get a good amount of use for music & gaming alongside the HD660S and Fostex TH-X00 Ebony.
Top international reviews
However, I must add that when I first tried the headphones on my laptop, though the sound it produced was clearly better than anything I had heard before, I was a little disappointed with its clarity at low frequencies. But I had noted many reviews saying that these headphones sound best with a DAC-Amplifier. Having invested so heavily on these headphones, I thought why not? And ordered FiiO E10K and Headphone Amplifier and USB DAC within the very same day of receiving it.
Unless you experience it, it is very hard to explain what a world of difference it makes! All the bass returned with crystalline clarity. This combination is one that you can simply never regret buying.
I don't know what pleasure people gain by calling a genuine product fake and giving it 1 star simply to bring its rating down. At the side of the box, there is a small metal piece with a unique ID and a code above it. You can easily go to the Sennheiser authentication website and get its authenticity verified in no time. I did it as soon as I got them and they are genuine :)
Anyone who complains of sound leak have only themselves to blame. Even a few minutes of research on the net will clearly show that the HD598 SE does leak sound due to its open back design. This is also its claim for perfect natural sound experience. Ignorance is not a good excuse for wrong purchase decisions.
•• Intro ••
This is going to be a fairly large review encompassing many years of trial and error. If you don't want my background or to understand why I ultimately chose the 598's, skip to "ENTER THE HD 598's." Otherwise, I'll cover my headphone background, whether gaming headsets are "good enough," what sound-stage is and why it matters, and a quick comparison of some alternatives - budget and otherwise. Lastly, I'll talk about the HD 598's musical quality, but I specifically purchased these headphones with PC gaming in mind.
•• You don't need to be an audiophile to appreciate the difference ••
Sound quality is one of those often-overlooked areas that can DRAMATICALLY improve your gaming performance. Naturally, this depends on the type of game you're playing. If you like RTS's or MMO's, directional sound won't have a huge impact on performance. I mean, it'll sound BETTER, but it won't typically be the difference between your living or dying. A first person shooter, on the other hand, is where sound can make a tremendous difference. Picking up footsteps vs not picking up footsteps. Getting shot from out of nowhere and then immediately identifying the source based on sound alone. These are the things we pay for, and these are the reasons why the Sennheiser HD 598's are awesome.
•• My headphone & gaming background ••
I've been playing FPS games for over 16 years now. I was never a big CS head, but I've played damn near everything from Quake and Unreal, to almost every iteration of Battlefield and Call of Duty. More recently, I've been playing Titanfall 2 and Overwatch. That said, I specifically bought the HD 598's because I've started streaming Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. Playerunknown's is a perfect example of a game that benefits MASSIVELY from sound-superiority. Because you die so quickly and can't instantly respawn, knowing the direction of your enemies is crucial.
I come from a long line of cheap headphones. I remember playing WoW probably 10 years ago with a $3 microphone/headset from China. Oh, how times have changed. From there, I upgraded to a Logitech G35, which was probably $130 at the time. When I put those on for the first time playing Battlefield 3, I was like, "Holy crap! Such immersion, much wow! Is this what I've been missing?!" The problem is, that feeling of immersion can actually overwhelm and muddy the senses as opposed to delivering crisp, concise, directional information. Bass, in particular, might put you right in the middle of the action... but is it helping you e-murder people to your FULL potential? Not really.
There are plenty of games where you can puzzle things out, but more often than not, I'd be slightly confused. Is he left, right, or literally all around me? The problem with my G35's was that in stereo mode, it was too quiet. In 7.1 mode, it was louder, but I couldn't tell where the heck anything was coming from. I mean, it gave me enough info to guess some times, but I wanted to know if there was a better way.
•• Are Gaming Headsets Good Enough? ••
Gaming headsets are immensely popular nowadays. By gaming headsets, I mean any headphones that come with a microphone attached. They tend to be heavily marketed towards gamers and have flashy aesthetics that do nothing for gameplay. I dove into Hearthstone for awhile, and I noticed that my most-watched streamers had things like Corsair, Hyperx Cloud 2's, or Logitech anythings. Many of my friends have these as well. I consider these "good enough" for specific game genres that are lacking in split second decision making based on sound. Obviously, it's great having a mic AND headphones packaged into one item. However, those established companies have one thing in common: they sell you a mediocre mic and a mediocre headphone... and they charge you a premium. I'm not saying you NEED great headphones. If you go from a $5 mic to a gaming headset, you're going to be thrilled with the difference. But there are several levels above that, and that's what I'm here to tell you about.
Back to Playerunknown's and other shooters, I noticed most of my favourite streamers invested in heavy duty headphones. MrGrimmmz, arguably a top 10 Playerunknown's player, uses Sennheiser HD700's, which sell for something insane like $700-1200. I firmly believe that you can pay MUCH less. Once you start going over $150-200 for headphones, you're going to suffer diminishing returns in effectiveness. They might sound better, but they may not grant you more accurate directional data.
•• So what provides the most accurate directional data? Sound stage? What the heck is that? ••
Sound-stage is an interesting concept in headphones. Basically, imagine you're at a small-ish concert. Your favourite band is playing. The singer is in one location, the guitarist another, the bassist and drummer another still. You close your eyes. In your mind, there is a virtual stage that approximates their proper locations, granting a musical depth that you may not have had simply listening to an album with $10 ear buds.
This is sound-stage. It's a "virtual environment." Certain headphones have much broader "virtual stages" than others. Now, think about playing a shooter game. Think about the sound of gunfire. It's harsh, cacophonous . Bullets aren't BOOMING and BASSY -- unless you're firing a cannon, maybe. They're loud and SHARP. These require an enhanced treble and mid-range that don't get squashed out by too much bass. What we're talking about here is finding a perfect balance.
•• Enter the HD 598's ••
The 598's are celebrated as having some of the best "balance" of sound-stage and bass among audiophiles and gamers alike. I can absolutely confirm this. They're typically compared to their counterparts the HD 558's. They're quite similar, but the 558's have more bass, which is why the 598's tend to be picked for gaming.
Gaming is a treat. It's night and day from my G35's. Locations are accurate, sounds are crisp. I noticed a tremendous difference in my close-range gameplay the very first day I used them. Then, quite the opposite, I got shot from a far hill - behind and to the left - that I guarantee would have had me spinning around blind before. Instead, I knew exactly where the guy was. I flanked and killed him for his effort. Again, I'm not saying that you can't do this with any headphones, but there is a significant difference in my ability to immediately identify the threat and react.
Regarding music, this is why I actually went with the 598's over my alternative choices. The 598's still have enough bass to make most genres sound good. I'm a metalhead, so bass isn't the most important thing to me... but a little goes a long way. They're the best sounding headphones for music I've ever used, but I'll fully admit I haven't gone deeper down the rabbit hole yet. That'll be another review somewhere far in the future.
•• Open-backed or Close-backed Headphones... wait, what? ••
The HD 598's are open-backed headphones. These are undeniably better for FPS gaming. This concept allows for a more robust sound-stage; most would argue music as well. The catch is, if you're playing something very loud, sound will bleed out, meaning others in your immediate area can hear it. Similarly, you can hear things from the outside world more easily. So if you're in a noisy environment, and you NEED utter focus... open-backed might not be the perfect solution. This hasn't been a problem for me. I think it's one of those perfectionist categories where it does make a difference but doesn't realistically cause a problem in most scenarios. For example, my wife hasn't complained when she's literally right beside me watching TV, and I haven't had a problem blocking out other general sounds with the 598's.
Closed-backed are the opposite. They are true "noise-cancelling" headphones. They cup your ears, and the world around you disappears. These are best for immersion and total solitary listening of music. The reason they're not great for FPS gaming is because you're basically in a cave by yourself. What happens when loud sounds occur inside of a cave? They blend, echo, and it's extremely difficult to pinpoint the origin. Not the best concept for gaming.
•• Aesthetic, Quality & Fit ••
The HD 598's feel fairly light. Some would consider this cheap, but considering my wife's PC 350's have lasted 4+ years and are of similar feel... I'm confident the 598's are well-made. The ear pads are velour, whereas the PC 350's have this awful faux leather that cracks and gets EVERYWHERE. Seriously, 4-5 years later, and I'm still finding pieces of black crap everywhere. That was a similar problem with my G35's. The velour will never do that. It's also comfy, but it picks up animal hair like crazy. It's not a huge problem that causes daily consternation, just a minor nitpick.
The fit is something that will be a source of argumentation. Sennheiser definitely makes "huggy" headphones. For some head shapes, this may feel vice-like at first. You can combat this by over-sizing the fit so that they're more loose on the head. Wearing a hat to oversize it helps, as it lessens the pressure. They definitely break in over time. Personally, I was never close to pain wearing them, and I wear them 4-8 hours daily. I wear them with glasses, and they feel like a dream compared to my G35's. Those things literally crushed and hurt my head. I've never had a headache or even close to pain from my glasses being pushed in by the 598's. I have a reasonably small head (5'7, 145lbs), but I like to wear them tight so that no sound escapes.
•• Note on Impedance/OHM ••
The more powerful your headphones are, the more likely they require an amp. The HD 598's have a rating of 50 ohm. Gaming headphones tend to have less. However, my new Z270-A Prime motherboard's onboard sound is able to drive headphones capable of up to 600 ohm. That should indicate that most motherboards from this decade are easily able to power HD 598's. You shouldn't need an additional sound card or amplifier of any kind.
•• Alternatives & Attachable Microphones ••
First, an example of a good pair of headphones that are allegedly awful for gaming. These are a top seller from Audiotechnica, an extremely good brand: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Headphones. They're supposed to have a great mix for music but have a severely limited soundstage that makes picking out directions just plain awful. Surprise, surprise - they're close backed!
On the opposite end, Audio-Technica makes these, which are known as some of the best budget gaming headphones in the world:
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X. They hit all my thumbs up categories. Extreme sound-stage, check. Lack of bass, check. Open-back, check! The catch is that they apparently have a poor mix and sound mediocre when it comes to music.
These are supposed to be the best of both worlds next to the HD 598's: Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones. They are supposed to have a better music mix with the best soundstage money can buy. So why I didn't I go with these over the 598's? Two reasons. 1) They have even less bass, apparently. The HD 598's still have some bass and still sound good musically. 2) The style of the wing-band is supposed to be really irritating for certain head types. There's a way to make them less annoying, including pinning the wings onto the band with an elastic band... but I didn't want to buy headphones that I may or may not hate the fit of. Also, be really careful about the name. The AD900X is open-backed, and the AD900 is closed-backed. Not the same experience.
Those are the highest rated for the price. I could go on and on, but those were the ones I considered deeply. For further consideration, I'll point you to reddit. The subreddit /r/headphones has a "gaming headphones" breakdown on the sidebar. One guy tested something like 40 well-known headphones and concluded that the 700x and HD 598 are among the best for competitive gaming.
Update 01/31/2018: More options! I'd heard great things about the Philips SHP9500 that I had to try them. I found them for $75 on a Best Buy Christmas sale. Shop around! They are incredibly comfortable because they sit nice and loose on the head. They're excellent for larger heads, but they're great for small heads like mine, too. The sound quality is almost as good as the HD 598's, which was quite surprising to me. I've tested them extensively on PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch. The sound stage is slightly smaller than 598's, but we're talking a marginal difference. You could play competitively with them without issue. I literally bought them to try out of interest. They're now my wife's go-to headset, replacing her aging Sennheiser PC 350's.
The other good news is, you can pair the SHP with the V-MODA BoomPro Gaming VOiP Headset Headphone Mic. It fits directly into the jack on the earphone.
There's one issue. They're so open that they tend to bleed sound loudly, meaning people will hear what you're listening to. You can also hear people around you much more clearly. This is a pro-con depending on how much traffic you have around your gaming area.
•• Mics & Attachable Microphones ••
For plug and play, I heartily recommend something along the lines of the Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid. I, myself, have a full Blue Yeti setup, but the Snowball and Snowflake are good, cheaper options for desk-mounted microphones.
On the flip side, you can actually buy microphones that will attach to your headphones. Something cheaper like the V-MODA BoomPro Gaming VOiP Headset Headphone Mic or the more well-known Antlion Audio ModMic Attachable Boom Microphone - Noise Cancelling with Mute Switch. I own a Vmoda Boom (cost about $36), and they sound excellent for the price -- highly recommended for budget-mid level purchases if your headset supports it. The mic cable is steelflex, meaning you can adjust its positioning an innumerable amount of times, and it'll stay strong. If you're using Discord or something similar, you may have to play with the "automatic noise detection" in order to stop it from cutting out. It's not an indictment on the quality of the mic. Even expensive condenser mics sometimes have trouble with Discord's automatic settings; my Yeti was pain before I set it manually.
Please keep in mind, I don't know if those attachable mics work out of the box with the HD 598. I'm trying to provide a concept for you to learn! :)
•• Conclusion ••
I went with the HD 598's because they're the best of both worlds: they're good for music, and they're so so so great for FPS gaming. If you followed me all this way, I sincerely hope you learned something. It took me quite a bit of research. If you're not convinced or you want to do your own research, many reviews across tons of websites will corroborate that the 598's and AD900X's are the crem de la crem, particularly for under $200.
Happy murder-spreeing. I hope you find the enemies you were looking for.
•• Quick Note On Hyperx Cloud 2's ••
The Cloud 2's are actually a Kingston re-branding of the TAKSTAR PRO-80. All they really added was a microphone. The lesson is this: if you take an excellent game-tested pair of headphones and add a mic, you're gonna have a good time. The Cloud 2's are a decent all-inclusive solution compared to their competition, but they're still objectively meh compared to cans like ATH-700X's or HD 598's. If you slapped a mic on those, suddenly you'd have a new "best gaming headset."
Still absolutely love these. The earpads look and feel brand new. There's no wear on the top band, which wore out CRAZY fast on my G35's. I even hit the top 0th percentile for KDR and Winrate in Fortnite. There isn't AS distinctive of a sound advantage in that game; however, I'd still prefer to have the best :) Also, really looking forward to using them in Battlefield 5.
These complement my Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Collapsible High end Headphones - Black closed backs which were bought for travelling (noise isolation).
The HD598SE is splendid! Sound wise, I think they are nicely balanced all the way through the spectrum, and don't seem to exhibit the rumoured so-called "Sennheiser Veil" (which is another way of saying muted highs). I paired it with my O2-DAC-AMP and managed to ABX between 320kbps/256kbps CBR MP3s (I found it really difficult) if that means anything to you. However, these don't need an amp, and worked fine with my laptop and phone directly, both without cranking the volume even anywhere near max.
Basically, if this pair is an upgrade for you, it'll expose alot of detail in your sounds that you play through it, so any poorly encoded stuff will show immediately (and bad mastering too, like over-compression, sub 20kHz roll-offs, clipping, etc.). It's great if you like listening in depth and diving into the music to hear each and every detail to fully appreciate what it's made of.
Comfort wise, these are excellent. The felt cushion around the ears are really comfortable although they are not sweat-resistant so be careful! (I sometimes eat spicy food while watching a show on my com, so sweating can happen while sitting still!) The "air-filled" cushion on the head bit feels as though it's not there at all! The grip on the ears are quite light, so you can't vigorously shake your head and expect them not to move, but it should be strong enough for most casual movements.
The 1.2m cable has the 3.5mm jack on it (no adapter needed), so that's great for a desktop amp or even portable amp (although you probably won't want to go out with open-backs). Haven't used the 3m cable.
Lastly, the headphones don't collapse or fold into a more compact form whatsoever, so transporting them may be difficult.
I am a music lover. Not a professional musician.
Very pleasant sound. Open, detailed and bright.
I was eager to listed to all my favorite pieces again to discover unnoticed details and sounding.
Have Plantronics BackBeat Pro and these come close but only if powered. Unpowered Plantronics BB Pro are far worse sounding.
Very comfortable. I can wear them for 2-3 hrs. The best I have ever used. It's a pleasure working on PC for hours and listen with them on.
The leak being open but at volume at which you are not damaging your hearing they should not disturb anybody at >1m from you and anyone >3 will not hear almost anything.
Very good though I've seen more luxurious ones. The leather sewing at the top looks uncouth to me,
One short and one 3m long to plug to your AVR + adapter included. Good quality. Soft and can't strangle easily. You do not need to buy any additional for upgrade.
I handle them quite roughly and they have never broke, the sound is amazing, could wear them for hours, days, years. I use them for all types of music, from classical to hardstyle and while the only thing I feel would make them better is slightly more punchy bass, aside from that, the quality is tremendous. Not going to waste your time with an extensive overview on the sound technicalities, aside from just buy them, you wont regret it. Arguably one of the best headphones in the world for the price.
Nice comfortable headphones that I use for listening to music on an ipad,, smartphone, and for Hi-Fi use.
Sennheiser have been making headphones forever and good ones too. Even during the 70s they were tonally bright i.e. the famous HD400, HD414, HD424 which must have sold millions, I know I sold hundreds!
So on receiving these I new if they wasn't to my taste I could return them to Amazon.
Summary - Good detailed headphones, slightly on the brighter side as expected but when used for many hours settle down nicely. definitely worth listening to (and buying) and justifies all the 5* ratings given here.
Also, be aware, the impedance seems to be actually a little higher than the specified 50 ohms, I would guess it is closer to 80 so these may be hard to drive with very cheap amps and soundcards. However this is still a fairly modest requirement for the beautiful sound these produce and so I can throughly reccomend them, mainly on the strength of the beautifully clear mid and high pitch ranges as well as the comfort during use, light weight and open design.
and I couldn't be happier with how it sounds 10/10 would reccomend to people buying their first quality headset.