Reviewed on Apr 29, 2016

Sennheiser HD 598 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
5.9
Mixed Usage
7.8
Critical Listening
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
6.0
TV
6.0
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 598 are comfortable open-back headphones with good studio quality sound. They're well built and feel durable but offer no control options for your audio. The open back design also leaks a lot of sound and doesn't block any ambient noise. They're not designed for commuting and may disturb people around you.

Test Results
Design 6.6
Sound 7.8
Isolation 2.5
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Good audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  • Leaks a lot of sound, by design.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.6

Design

The Sennheiser HD 598 are amazingly comfortable and premium looking headphones. The earcups are large enough to fit around most ears, and the headband feels sturdy with a metal frame for reinforcement. Unfortunately, they struggle a little to stay on the head during physical activity and offer no control options for your audio, which is slightly disappointing.

Style

The Sennheiser HD 598 are stylish and look premium. They have an all-black color scheme and silver accents around the large, oval open back ear cups. The padding on the ear cups is a suede-like material, which adds to the premium feel if the headphone. They also come with an ivory and brown color scheme that may be more appealing for some.

8.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.55 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.68 lbs

The Sennheiser HD 598 are very comfortable headphones. The padding on large ear cups is soft and coated in a suede-like material that feels nice on the skin. They easily fit around most ears and do not apply much pressure to the head, contrary to the Beyerdynamic DT 770. The ear cups may be a little too large for some, but that's the only downside to an otherwise very comfortable listening experience.

0 Controls
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A
7.4 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.1 C
5.6 Portability
L : 7.48 "
W : 6.69 "
H : 3.35 "
Volume : 167.56 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Sennheiser HD 598 are not designed to be very portable. They're bulky, and the earcups do not lay flat to take up less space. They also do not fold up into a more compact format. They are not as big as some of the higher-end models of the same series but are still too cumbersome and will occupy a lot of space in your bag. They also don't come with a case or pouch, which is slightly disappointing.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A
7.0 Build Quality

The Sennheiser HD 598 have above-average build quality, but weak 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 feel a little weak and susceptible to damage.

6.5 Stability

The Sennheiser HD 598 maintain a stable fit during casual listening sessions. Unfortunately, they are not designed for sports and are unideal for use during high-intensity activities. They will slip off your ears while running or jumping.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.4 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with two cables; a 1/8" TRS-TRS with no inline controls and a 1/4" TRS-TRS also with no inline controls.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.8

Sound

The Sennheiser HD 598 is a good sounding pair of open-back over-ear headphones. They have a good Bass, a very good Mid Range and an excellent Treble. They also perform relatively consistently across multiple individuals and have a good Soundstage, mainly due to their open-back design. However, their Bass lacks sub-bass, they sound muddy in the lower Mid Range, and they tend to be a bit sharp and sibilant in the Treble Range. Additionally, their distortion performance could be better as they tend to distort with bass-heavy tracks at very loud volumes.

7.5 Bass
Std. Err.
:
3.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
48.96 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-5.61 dB
Mid-Bass
:
0.47 dB
High-Bass
:
3.49 dB
8.6 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.82 dB
Low-Mid
:
2.84 dB
Mid-Mid
:
1.08 dB
High-Mid
:
0.42 dB
8.5 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.84 dB
Low-Treble
:
1.93 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.38 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.38 dB
7.2 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.57 dB
8.5 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.45
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.82
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
7.89
7.0 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.33 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
2.66 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.37 dB
Openness
:
9.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
8.3
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.00 dB
6.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
1.876
Weighted THD @ 100
:
22.965
2.5

Isolation

The Sennheiser HD 598 are open back headphones that are not designed to isolate and fair poorly in loud environments. They do not have active noise cancellation, and the open back ear cups let a lot of ambient noise seep into your audio. They also leak a lot as part of their design to improve sound, which makes these headphones unideal for commuting or traveling and may disturb the people around you, even on a bus.

2.6 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-2.81 dB
Bass
:
-0.05 dB
Mid
:
1.32 dB
Treble
:
-9.37 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones don't isolate any sound below 2KHz, which is typical of open-back headphones and by design. Above 2KHz, they perform very poorly, failing to achieve more than 10dB of overall attenuation in the treble range.

2.1 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
61.7 dB

Poor leakage. These open headphones leak a lot of sound throughout a broad range of frequencies. The leakage starts to become noticeable around 300Hz and remains so up to 20KHz.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A
0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

4.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

See our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.

Sennheiser HD 599
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 598 and the Sennheiser HD 599 are both very good critical listening headphones, but the HD 599 are marginally better. Though they look pretty different, they’re nearly identical in terms of comfort and build quality. The HD 599 do sound a bit better, with less underemphasized bass, but the difference will likely be negligible for most. The HD 599 also seem to isolate the wearer better than the HD 598, but neither of them isolate very much since they’re both open-back headphones. They’re very similar headphones and your personal preference will matter most in your decision.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 598. They are noticeably better-built headphones and feel sturdier. They also don’t lack sub-bass like the HD 598 do. However, they might sound a bit sharp for some and are a bit tight on the head. Also, the HD 598 are more comfortable for long listening sessions, thanks to the nice padding and large cups. We’ve also measured that they were more open-sounding than the DT 990 PRO.

Sennheiser HD 600
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 598 are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 600, mostly due to comfort. The HD 598 have a better over-ear fit that does not clamp your head and feels very comfortable. They also have a slightly more elevated high bass which some may like since it adds a bit more punchiness than the HD 600, and they come with an additional cable in the box. On the other hand, the HD 600 are more balanced and will not sound boomy on some tracks like the HD 598. The HD 600 also have a slightly better build quality which should last you a bit longer than the HD 598s.

Philips SHP9500
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Philips SHP9500 offer better value than the Sennheiser HD 598. Both headphones perform almost identically and there are only minor differences in their audio quality. Both are very comfortable, but the Philips are slightly heavier and bulkier. For most people, the affordable Philips SHP9500 will be a better option.

5.9 Mixed Usage

The Sennheiser HD 598 are made for critical listening. They're not versatile enough to be good everyday headphones.

7.8 Critical Listening

The Sennheiser HD 598 are great headphones for critical listening. They're comfortable to use for hours, and they sound excellent with most tracks. They have a balanced bass, mid and treble response and their open design create a spacious soundstage.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Not designed for commuters. Open design lets the loud ambient noise seep into your audio.

5.6 Sports/Fitness

Not intended for sports use. They're big, bulky and too unstable.

5.4 Office

Poor isolation not designed for office use. They don't block the office chatter and everyone can hear what you're listening to.

6.0 TV

Above-average for home theater. They're sufficiently comfortable to wear for hours. They're also open with a well-balanced sound suitable for watching movies. However, since they're wired headphones, they won't have the best range.

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