HD598 CS Review

by admin
Summary
The HD598 CS headphones do a great job filling the much-needed void of a budget, warm sounding, and closed headphones for people who listen to a lot of mid focused or sparely scored music, such as vocals and solo instruments. In addition, the closed version has a surprising amount of bass and soundstage, making these headphones pretty engaging to listen to; however, while some of the technical ineptitude is forgivable at this price range, I simply couldn’t get past the massive discomfort caused by the clamping force and non-velour cups.

 

Quality and comfort

The HD598 open headphones are one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve tried. The CS is just as sleek as the HD598s with a very similar design, and these feel slightly heavier than the original (officially weight not listed); however, despite having the same shape, there are some issues that are deal breakers for me.

First, the big change is in the cups. The cups do not feel like your traditional velour pads and are not thick enough, so the top of ears touches the mesh on the inside. I personally can’t stand these rough and suffocating earcups, and they feel stuffy and irritating after even 15-20 minutes of use. In addition, they did increase the clamping force, most likely to get a better seal. This caused a noticeable pressure in the top part of my head after 10 minutes of wear. While it’s not a sharp pain, it’s incredibly uncomfortable.

 

Sound

The HD598s are smooth sounding headphones with a warm characteristic thanks to its rolled off treble relative to its mids. For people used to brighter headphones, you’ll definitely notice that treble doesn’t have a strong presence. The difference here is that you need to listen for the treble to find it as opposed to it being there all the time. Mids have always been Sennheiser’s strength, so vocal focused recordings sound excellent on these headphones. Lastly, there’s a surprising amount of bass thanks to being closed, so it’s significantly more than its open counterpart. While it can feel a bit loose or doesn’t extend as deep, it makes listening to hip hop and electronic music enjoyable.

When it comes to soundstage, there’s a surprising amount of depth in the sound compared to a lot of closed headphones it competes with. While the soundstage is not wide as headphones like the AKG K550s, it’s sufficient enough for most genres.

The headphones struggle as expected when it comes to heavily layered music, whether it’s orchestral or metal, and it’s technical limitations such as lack of bass extension, lack of crispness and tightness in bass and treble, and insufficient soundstage are apparent when you throw on more competent headphones like the HD650s or DT880s; however, at this price range, I don’t think there’s any competition for people who are looking for warm closed back headphones as long as you can get past the comfort factor.

 

Music section
Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk
  • 00:00 – 00:36 – His voice is definitely the highlight with the highs and bass pushed off in the background.
  • 00:36 – 1:08 – The soundstage depth is a pleasant surprise, and the highs are noticeably rolled off and not in your face. Compared to HD650s, there’s a lot less highs. The separation in soundstage width is pretty great for closed headphones.
  • 6:58 – 7:30 – The lacking treble is immediately noticeable in the cymbal because it lacks crispness and is fairly loose. Bass is slightly loose and lacking in this section, but the presentation is not bad.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • 00:00 – 00:50 Overall, there’s a warm characteristic that’s very easy to listen to. The treble is definitely rolled off, and his voice is the main focus for the listener. Bass guitar is present and actually sounds relatively balanced.
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
  • 00:00 -1:00 The soundstage is nice and intimate at the opening, and her voice takes over the stage when she enters. the accompaniment is there, but not overwhelming.
Four seasons L’estate III Presto – Vivaldi (Pavel)
  • 00:00 – 00:44 The attacks aren’t harsh at all since the treble is rolled off, and the soundstage depth is surprisingly good for a pair of closed headphones. When all the instruments come in, the flaws of closed headphone soundstage are apparent. I find myself wishing for more separation instead of struggling to make out individual violin sections within the music.
  • 00:45 -1:04 Pavel’s entrances aren’t as impactful from the rolled off treble. While pleasant to listen to, it falsely translates his aggressive play style by making his playing too smooth.
  • 1:05 – 1:20 – I’m also wishing for just a tiny bit more separation, but the depth is still fairly impressive.
Count Bubba – Gordon Goodwin
  • 00:00 – 00:41 The upright bass is nicely present in the music, and everything sounds very balanced; however, I’m wishing for slightly more separation between the instruments and for some reason, the sax section sounds pretty flat in this section.
  • 1:10 – 1:39 The sax section sounds nice and balanced, with all the different saxes sounding very cohesive, and the soundstage is great for these small instrument sections.

Closing thoughts

  • They’re closed, so they do a good job of not leaking sound
  • I had to take these headphones off multiple times during the few hour review session due to discomfort from clamping force
  • They are incredibly easy to drive, and they’ll work out of any source
  • They’re stylish!
  • It comes with 2 cables, 1 that’s a 3.5mm to 3.5mm and about 1.5m or 1.8m long, which is perfect for most use. The other one is your standard long cable with a quarter inch end

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