sennheiser hd 598

Featured Review: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones

January 11, 2015 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

Sennheiser is known for their amazing sound products, including the HD line of headphones. The Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are high-end audiophile cans with an open-back circumaural design that is a pleasure to both listen to and wear. The HD 598s have a 12-38500 Hz frequency response and 50 ohm impedance and are probably the best sounding headphones you can get for under $300. They will rival headphones at higher price points as well. Let’s dive in and take a look at the Sennheiser HD 598 headphones.

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Design

The Sennheiser HD 598 are over-ear, circumaural headphones with large, comfortable ear cups. These are seriously the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever put on my head. The cups are wrapped in soft velour, while the headband is wrapped in leather and cushioned as well. The padding inside the headband and the velour cups make for a very pleasant wear. The headband can be adjusted to fit your head. The inside of the cups are lined with velour as well. The driver is angled and directs sound forward, towards the front of your ear. The cups are designed to recreate the way our ears hear sound coming from external stereo speakers. All around, the HD 598s are well made and built to last.

The cable on the HD 598 is detachable and ends in a 1/4 inch, or 6.3mm, jack. This is a full sized plug that is designed to be used with an amp. These cans are high-end, and the fact that Sennheiser used a 1/4 inch plug bears witness to this fact. The cable is detachable from the headphones themselves and uses a locking mechanism to keep the cable in place. You twist the cable to lock and unlock it. They do provide you with a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch (3.5mm) adapter so you can plug right into your laptop or smartphone. The adaptor makes the cable jack really long, almost 4-inches, and feels a little precarious when you plug it into a laptop or portable music player.

The only thing I didn’t like about the Sennheiser HD 598 was the color scheme. They are designed to look like the interior of a luxury automobile, with wood trim and everything. But the brown and white combo wasn’t my favorite. At the end of the day, this is really a matter of personal preference and when I’m sitting in my office enjoying the sound coming out of these cans, I don’t mind the color scheme a bit.

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Sound Quality

The HD 598 from Sennheiser is one of the best sounding headphones you’re going to find for less than $500 or so. The sound quality is stellar. They are an open-back design, so you will also hear what is going on around you. On the flip side, anyone around you will be able to hear what you are listening to. The HD 598s are meant to be used in a quiet place. The open-back design also means that you get a wide, expansive soundscape that I truly enjoy. They are different from the sound you’ll get out of a closed back headphone like the Sony MDRV6. While both are enjoyable, the open sound signature from the HD 598 is fantastic.

When listening to all kinds of genres of music, from metal and rock, to pop and hip-hop, the HD 598 produced gives great results. Vocals are clear and instrumentation is distinct, allowing you to hear each layer and note with clarity. Sennheiser tends to have a recognizable sound across their entire line of headphones. It’s warm and the bass isn’t overpowering. This is something that I also noticed with the HD 598. The highs are crisp, mids are rich and don’t get lost, and the bass is balanced and doesn’t push its way to the front. This means that for certain genres, particularly EDM, these may not be the headphones I would go to first. With that said, the HD 598 are some of the most open, natural, and accurate sounding headphones you’ll find, at any price point.

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Wrap-up

The Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are outstanding. Their open sound scape and accurate reproduction rival headphones that cost two and three times as much. The color scheme isn’t my favorite, but I can get past that. They are open-back cans, so be aware that you will get sound bleed. There is no noise isolation or cancellation built in. You won’t want to use them when travelling or in a noisy environment. While the highs and the mids are fantastic, the bass is evenly mixed and doesn’t push forward to overpower the sound. Overall, the HD 598 are some of the best headphones you can buy and are an incredible value considering you can get them on Amazon for about $150. Sennheiser sells them directly for $250.