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    Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Design
    1. Style
    2. Comfort
    3. Controls
    4. Stability
    5. Portability
    6. Case
    7. Build Quality
    8. Breathability
    9. Cable
    10. Front
    11. Angled
    12. Side
    13. Rear
    14. Top
  3. Sound
    1. Bass
    2. Mid
    3. Treble
    4. Frequency Response Consistency
    5. Soundstage
    6. Imaging
    7. Total Harmonic Distortion
  4. Isolation
    1. Noise Isolation
    2. Leakage
  5. Active Features
    1. Wireless
    2. Latency
    3. Battery
    4. App Support
  6. In the box
  7. Conclusion
  8. Q&A
Reviewed on Mar 29, 2017 , Marc Henney, Jean-Christophe Lamontagne

Sennheiser HD 598 Cs
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings
6.6Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.7Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.1Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.4Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
7.0Home Theater
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Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The HD 598 Cs are the closed-back variation of the popular HD 598. They deliver a good sound quality with a few improvements thanks to the closed-back design but also some drawbacks for more critical listeners. On the upside, they're slightly more versatile because they isolate better than the open back model but not enough for commuting or traveling.

Test Results
Design 6.5
Sound 7.8
Isolation 6.3
Active Features 2.7
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Sturdy build quality.
Cons
  • Below-average isolation.
  • Slightly bulky design.

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Black HD 598 Cs
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6.5

Design

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Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Design Picture

The HD 598 Cs keep the same aesthetic as the open HD 598. The earcups are closed compared to the perforated back of the open model, but the build quality is the same, as well as the slight bulkiness of the design. You can skip, play and pause tracks with the added inline controls but you can't change the volume, which is slightly disappointing. Unfortunately, the different padding on the earcups feels a lot less comfortable than that of the regular HD 598, although it does isolate listeners a bit better.

Style
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Design Picture 2

The HD 598 CS look pretty much indistinguishable to the open HD 598, especially at a distance. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice the slight difference in the padding and the closed-back earcups that have a matte finish instead of the perforated metal back like the regular HD 598. They look pricier than their actual cost giving them a somewhat high-end appeal. They only come in the understated black color scheme, which shouldn't be an issue for most listeners but they won't stand out in a crowd.

7.5 Comfort
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What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.62 lbs
Clamping Force
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What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.58 lbs

The Sennheiser 598 Cs are decently comfortable headphones, but they're not as well padded as the open 598 variations. The padding used for the ear cups on this model is a bit stiffer, which makes the headphones feel tighter on the head. This results in a fit that's a bit more tiring to wear for extended periods of time unlike the open 598.

6.2 Controls
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What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

The 598 Cs, unlike the open variation, have a cable with an inline remote that provides basic call/music and track skipping functionality. Unfortunately, the button is not very responsive, and the lack of volume controls is a bit disappointing.

6.5 Stability
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What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Stability Picture

These headphones are stable enough under normal, casual listening conditions but they're not intended for and won't be ideal to use while running. They're a bit bulky and sway a lot under strenuous activity. On the upside, the cable will detach if hooked on something provided you do not lock them into the earcup.

5.6 Portability
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What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Portability Picture
L : 7.48 "
W : 6.63 "
H : 3.44 "
Volume : 170 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The HD 598 Cs are bulky, and the earcups do not fold or lay flat to take less space. They're not particularly portable headphones, and they're not designed to be. And although they're not as big as some of the higher-end models of the same series, they're still too cumbersome to carry on your person without a bag. They also don't come with a case or pouch, which is slightly disappointing.

0 Case
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What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : No case

7.0 Build Quality
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What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Build Quality Picture

The build quality for the HD 598 Cs is above average but slightly weak at the joints. The headband is reinforced with a metal frame, and they feel sturdy enough to withstand a fair amount of physical stress. Unfortunately, the swivel hinges are a little thin and seem like the most likely area where they may get damaged.

6.6 Breathability
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What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
  • 100% Avg.Temp.Difference
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Breathability Before Picture Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.2 C

Cable
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 10.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with two cables; a 1/8" TRS to 1/16" audio cable and a shorter 1/8" TRRS to 1/16".

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
7.8

Sound

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What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Frequency Response

The HD 598 Cs are a good-sounding pair of closed-back headphones. They have a well-balanced Bass reproduction, but those with glasses or long hair may experience less Bass under certain conditions. The Mid Range and Treble Ranges are also well-produced, but vocals and leads may sound a little forward. On the other hand, they don't have an as open and immersive Soundstage as the open-back variation.

9.3 Bass
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What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Bass
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.11 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
14.14 Hz
Low-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.48 dB
Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.01 dB
High-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.17 dB

Excellent Bass Range performance. The overall bass response is nearly flawless and within +/-1dB of our Target Response, if you can achieve a proper seal with these headphones. The plot shown here is the average of 25 measurements done on 5 human subjects. We noticed that subjects who have long hair or wear glasses with arms that aren't flush to their temple measured less bass.

8.3 Mid
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What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Mid
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.26 dB
Low-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.17 dB
Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.71 dB
High-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.33 dB

Good Mid Range performance. Low-mid is very well reproduced, but mid and high-mid are consistently overemphasized by about 3dB. This tends to push vocals/leads to the front of the mix.

7.8 Treble
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What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Treble
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.64 dB
Low-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.03 dB
Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.23 dB
High-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.88 dB

Decent Treble Range performance. The 5dB dip around 5KHz has small negative effect on the detail and articulation of vocals/leads. Also, these headphones may sound slightly sibilant. (Sharp S and T sounds).

5.8 Frequency Response Consistency
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What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Consistency L Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.01 dB

Poor Consistency. The lower regions of our over-ear and on-ear headphones are measured on 5 human subjects, 5 times each. We noticed that subjects with glasses or long hair didn't achieve a seal as good as other subjects, and therefore experienced a significant drop in bass. However, this wasn't apparent to them until we made the measurements. We noticed that glasses with arms that were not flush to the temple, had a bigger impact on the bass measurements.

5.8 Soundstage
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What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in Pinna-Related Transfer Function of the headphones, compared to that of a loudspeaker. Whether the soundstage is perceived to be unnatural, located inside or in front of the head, is dependent on this quality. The more the headphones activate the HRTF resonances of the ear (similar to what loudspeakers do), the more the soundstage will be pulled out from inside the listener's head. This quality affects both stereo and mono content.
When it matters: When a natural, in-the-front soundstage is desired, similar to that of a loudspeaker.
Good value: <5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
5.2 dB
Openness
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What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
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What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones takes some of the characteristic of its environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.7
Correlated Crosstalk
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What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
-0.0 dB

Average Soundstage. The earcups on the HD 598 Cs are deep and large enough to interact with the pinna, but because of the closed-back design, they isolate the listener from the environment and don't sound as open and immersive as the open-back HD 598.

8.0 Imaging
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What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Phase Response
Phase Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in the phase, from the ideal flat response.
When it matters: When an accurate and transparent imaging is desired.
Good value: <60°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
33.58 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
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What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <0.3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.6 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.13 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <90°
Noticeable difference: 30°
:
23.88 °

Very good Imaging. The amount of phase error is minimum and the only audible shifts maybe around 200Hz and 10KHz. Additionally, the drivers of our test unit were quite well-matched in amplitude, frequency and phase responses.

8.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
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What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.14
Weighted THD @ 100
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.194

Very good harmonic distortion performance. The amount distortion in the Bass Range is slightly elevated, but humans aren't very sensitive to low frequency distortion. The Mid and Treble ranges show very little distortion, regardless of level.

6.3

Isolation

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Score components:

The HD 598 Cs naturally isolate more than the open 598  due to their closed-back design. They also leak a lot less. However, compared to some other closed-back headphones their isolation performance is below average. They will let in enough noise in loud environments to be distracting when listening to your music at average volumes. They also leak quite a bit, so the people around you may hear what you are listening to.

6.3 Noise Isolation
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What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.54 dB
Bass
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-0.29 dB
Mid
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-12.77 dB
Treble
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-31.69 dB
Self-Noise
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What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones don't isolate any sound below 300Hz. However, the closed-back earcups of the HD 598 Cs achieve an average amount of isolation in the Mid Range, by attenuating the sound by about 12dB. In the Treble Range they achieve about 32dB of isolation which is good.

6.3 Leakage
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What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
43.67 dB

Poor Leakage. These headphones leak sound over the relatively broad range of 400Hz-4KHz, which covers parts of Mid and Treble Ranges. However, the overall level of the leakage is not very loud.

2.7

Active Features

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What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

No active features.

0 Wireless
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What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Type
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What it is: The type and version of the wireless network, the headphones use to connect to the audio source. This could either be Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: The Bluetooth version will determine how compatible the headphones are with your Bluetooth enabled devices. Typically, newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible with older ones but may lack the additional features that more recent Bluetooth protocols provide.
:
N/A
Obstructed Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A
NFC
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What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
:
No

10 Latency
Base Latency
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What it is: The latency for the default sub-band coding of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 75ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
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What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 130ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
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What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

Battery
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What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Score components:
Battery Type
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What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
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What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
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What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Auto-off
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What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
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What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
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What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

0 App Support
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What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Equalizer
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What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
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What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Room effects
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What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
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What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A

No compatible app

In the box

Sennheiser HD 598 Cs In the box Picture

  • Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Headphones
  • 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
  • Audio cable (x2)

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

6.6Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The HD 598 Cs are a bit more versatile than the open variation since they block more ambient noise and leak less. They also still deliver a good sound quality that's great for casual and critical listeners although some critical listeners may prefer the open sound of the regular HD 598. However, even with the improved isolation, they're not the best headphones to use in loud environments.
7.7Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Suitable for critical listening. Although, they're a bit less comfortable than the open HD 598, for long listening sessions, and also have less soundstage; The HD 598 Cs still deliver a well-balanced frequency response with better bass, thanks to the closed design, and a moderately flat mid-range that caters well to instruments and vocals. They do not sound as open and airy as the HD 598, but the treble range is still well above average for most headphones.
6.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Below-average for commuting. They do not isolate well in loud environments. However, they do have a control scheme compared to the HD 598 which makes them a bit better to travel with.
6.1Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Not meant for sports. They're bulky and unstable to run with.
6.4Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Below-average for office use. They don't isolate well enough for a loud work environment, and although they don't leak as much as the open HD 598, your colleagues may still hear what you are listening to at higher volumes.
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Questions & Answers

2 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
4
Why didn't you lock 1 kHz to 90 dB? And did you change the compensation curve recently? A lot of the measurements seem to have a hump around 2 kHz while there used to be a dip (800S, M50x, HEX, SHP9500, iirc).

We don't lock down the response at 1KHz, because it won't align the Frequency Response across the Target SPL properly. Currently we align the response full range (20Hz-20KHz), but we are open to suggestions for doing it differently.

We have just updated our Target Response (compensation curve), which you can see below, and we are in the process of updating our measurements and scores with the new target. That's the reason for some changes on the website.

All the headphones will be updated to the latest test bench (which includes measuring the bass of over/on-ear headphones on 5 human subjects), by the end of April.

Rtings.com Headphones Target Response
0
Can you please elaborate on your methodology when measuring with human subjects? Do you still also measure on the dummy head? I don't understand it.
We are working on a video to better explain our issues and workarounds for headphones measurements. In short, we measure over/on-ear headphones on 5 human subjects, 5 times each. We also measure the headphones 5 times on the dummy head. We then merge the results of the two sets of measurements (human and dummy head) in the Mid Range to get the final Frequency Response.
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