Sennheiser HD598 Review
The HD598’s definitely stand out when compared to your typical headphones. The tan and beige color profile is modeled after, according to Sennheiser, the interiors of high-end European sports cars. Some people (like Digital Trends) don’t care for the unique look, but the more I use it, the more I like it. The HD598’s have an ageless quality that will stand the test of time.
- Sound Quality: 5.0
- Build Quality: 4.85
- Comfort: 5.0
- Overall: 4.95
Best Feature: Sound Clarity
Let’s get this out of the way right away: the sound reproduction put on by the HD598’s is astonishing. The headphones are open-backed, meaning there is sound bleed both in and out of the headphones. The result is that big orchestra and live recordings give you the feeling of being there. The HD598’s also borrow some of transducer technology from the HD800’s: they are bent at a 60 degree angle. This enhances the wide soundstage of music.
But don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a ‘classical music only’ set of headphones. The bass-line is focused, and impactful. The bass drum of Metallica hits you as good as any bass-head headphones.
Watching movies is a treat with these headphones as well. The increased spatial awareness of sound, coupled with the powerful bass line, means you’ll probably be turning your head every once in a while to make sure those noises aren’t actually happening next to you. But, keep in mind that everyone in the living room will be hearing your movie as well.
Who’s It For:
Sennheiser definitely had home listening in mind with these headphones. The long 10′ cord ends in a 6.3-millimeter gold-plated plug, although the headphones come with a 3.5mm adapter for conventional listening devices. The open-backed headphones aren’t commuter friendly. They also don’t come with a travel case, which I guess is Sennheiser’s way of letting you know these headphones aren’t travel friendly.
But they are very comfortable. The earcups are made of a soft velour that is comfy, light and breathes. The headband is also thickly-padded to help you stay comfortable for long periods. The headphones also feel very light on the head.
These headphones are for two kinds of people: people who want absolutely stunning sound quality while working/watching movies (and can get away with the sound bleed), and music producers who want audiophile grade sound quality on a budget.
HD598 for your iPhone?
Portable devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are notorious for downgrading their sound tech in order to save battery life.
I tried out the HD598’s on my iPhone and first generation iPad. While you can get up to some high volume levels on the HD598’s, that may not be enough for some. I added in my little Fiio E6 portable headphone amp and it was enough to seriously boost the volume. I was content using the HD598 as is, but if you want more volume you don’t have to break the bank. A little boost is all you need.
HD598 vs. Beats
Enthusiastic audiophiles will look at this debate and say that there is no contest. But Beats Headphones are the bestselling headphones in this price range. So, what can you expect with either? We’re going to compare various aspects of them, and help you decide for yourself. We used the Beats Solo HD for this comparison for two reasons: 1. They are about the same price, and 2. Monster Studio have noise-cancelling technology, which inherently reduced sound quality.
- Comfort – HD598 hands down. The soft velour ear cups are a pleasure to wear and breathe, which means you can wear them for long listening sessions. Beats’ earcups tend to get sweaty and warm your ears up fast.
- Travel-Friendly – This one goes to the Beats for sure. Beats headphones come with a travel case, are closed-back so you don’t disturb people on your commute, and have an inline-remote for controlling your portable music device.
- Sound Quality – With this one there really isn’t comparing. it’s like the HD598’s give you the faithful sound reproduction of $500 level headphones. Whereas Beats sound like they should cost about $75. And it’s not just about bass either. The HD598’s bass is booming and powerful, whereas the Beats’ bass-line is muddy and doesn’t hit as hard.
There’s a reason these headphones sit atop our list of the ‘best headphones under $300’. The sound quality truly stands out above the rest. The wide sound-stange and crystal clear mids are some of the remarkable features of these headphones. But they were designed for home use only. The colors are one of those either you love it or you hate it features. You can always go for the Sennheiser HD558’s for a more traditional looking Sennheiser pair for the same price.
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