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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones price and Review :

This is one of the best all-purpose headphone, 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 sound stage 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.

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. 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. 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. 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 , 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.

Price: $195

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