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Reviewed on May 30, 2017

Sennheiser HD 599
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.0
Mixed Usage
7.9
Critical Listening
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
5.5
Office
6.1
TV
6.0
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 599, like the HD 598, deliver a comfortable critical listening experience. They're lightweight, not too tight on your head, and have a well-balanced audio reproduction. However, like most open headphones they're not suitable to use outdoors or in noisy environments.

Test Results
Design 6.6
Sound 8.0
Isolation 2.8
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
  • Great audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Sensitive to ambient noise, by design.
  • Leaks a lot of sound, by design.
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
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 599 are the updated version of the HD 598 with essentially the same design. They have a few cosmetic changes to the headband and ear cups, but it won't affect the fit and feel of the HD 599. They're still relatively lightweight and super comfortable headphones you can wear for hours, but they're also not ideal for outdoor use.They're not stable or portable, and their build quality feels a bit weak at the hinges.

Style

The Sennheiser HD 599 do not change much design-wise from the HD 598. The headband has been slightly improved with a better padding and a more premium look and feel. The ear cups also have some minor changes, with more metal around the cups but a cheaper plastic grill when compared to the HD 598. However, apart from the silver branding on the HD 599, it's difficult to distinguish them from the HD 598 at first glance due to the similarity in their design.

8.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.71 lbs

The Sennheiser HD 599 are incredibly comfortable headphones to wear for long listening sessions. They have large oval ear cups that are well padded and fit comfortably around most listeners ears. The padding is coated with a microfiber fabric that's soft and feels nice on the skin. The headband is also amply padded and not too tight on the head. You will rarely feel any fatigue even after having the HD 599 on for hours.

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
7.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.3 C
5.6 Portability
L : 7.5 "
W : 6.7 "
H : 3.4 "
Volume : 170 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like the Beyerdynamic DT 770, the Sennheiser HD 599 are bulky and don't fold. Therefore, they're not portable and they're a bit cumbersome to carry around on your person without a bag. Unfortunately, they don't come with a good carrying case so they may get scratched or damaged if you just throw them in your bag with all your other things, 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 build quality of the Sennheiser HD 599 is about the same as the HD 598, with minor changes to the headband. The headband is now covered with a more premium leather coating and there's a bit more metal used on and around the ear cups. However, the frame still feels a bit weak when compared to some other headphones especially at the hinges.

6.5 Stability

The Sennheiser HD 599, like the HD 598 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, are not stable enough for sports but should be fine for casual listening. They also have a detachable cable that will disconnect if it gets hooked on something unless you lock it into the ear cups. However, they're not made for sports and aren't as tight as some of the other models from Sennheiser so the ear cups will sway a lot and slip off your ears if used while running.

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

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

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.0

Sound

The Sennheiser HD 599 are very good sounding open-back headphones with an extended bass, good mid-range, and a well-balanced treble (see our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones). They also perform consistently across multiple individuals and have a relatively open and spacious Soundstage. However, their Distortion and Imaging performance can be improved, and like most other Sennheiser headphones, they tend to sound a bit muddy in the low-mid/high-bass area.

8.1 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.63 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
31.75 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-2.72 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.36 dB
High-Bass
:
3.92 dB

Very good Bass Range performance. Low-bass, which is responsible for low-end thump and rumble is slightly lacking. Also, high-bass is overemphasized by an average of 4dB, making the sound of these headphones noticeably boomy. See our recommendations for the best headphones for bass.

8.4 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.12 dB
Low-Mid
:
3.0 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.8 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.49 dB

Very good Mid Range performance. Mid and high-mid are reproduced nearly perfectly. However, the bump in low-mid, which is the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis will make the Mid Range slightly muddy.

8.4 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.96 dB
Low-Treble
:
0.87 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.64 dB
High-Treble
:
-3.92 dB

Excellent Treble Range performance. Low-treble is reproduced consistently and is within 1dB of our target which is very good. The small bump around 9KHz however, could make the sibilant sounds slightly sharp.

8.1 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.38 dB

Excellent consistency. The Bass Range of our Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones are measured on 5 different human subjects, 5 times each. The Sennheiser HD 599 shows very good consistency in the Bass Range, since their open-back design allows them to rely less on an air-tight seal to create their low-end. The Treble Range also shows good consistency, but depending on the positioning, there could be up to 3dB of variance at 3KHz.

8.2 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.27
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.31
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.78
6.9 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.26 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.06 dB
PRTF Distance
:
9.5 dB
Openness
:
8.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
7.8
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB
7.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.697
Weighted THD @ 100
:
9.946

Average Harmonic Distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion in the Treble Range is very low, regardless of the level, which is excellent. However, high-bass and low-mid show excess distortion, especially under heavier loads.

2.8

Isolation

The Sennheiser HD 599 are open headphones that are not expected to do well in loud environments. They let in a lot of ambient noise and won't be the ideal headphones for your commutes. Their open design also makes them quite leaky, which may be distracting to those around you in quieter settings. The HD 599, like other open headphones, are best used in isolation, where you can appreciate the benefits of having an open design without leakage and noise being an issue. 

2.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-3.21 dB
Bass
:
0.04 dB
Mid
:
1.42 dB
Treble
:
-10.72 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

Poor Isolation. Due to their open-back design, it is natural for the HD 599 not to isolate well. They achieve no reduction up to 2KHz, and above that, they only achieve about 10dB of isolation, which is poor.

3.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
58.17 dB

Poor Leakage. The significant portion of the leakage is from 400Hz to 20KHz which is a broad range. The overall level of the leakage is loud too, which is a consequence of the open-back design of these headphones.

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 599 Headphones
  • 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

See our recommendations for the best wired headphones, the best headphones for studio use, and the best audiophile headphones.

Sennheiser HD 598

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

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Sennheiser HD 599 are both great headphones for critical listening, but the HD 599 are more comfortable for long listening sessions, while the DT 990 PRO are noticeably better-built and feel more durable, but feel tighter. Also, while both their sound profiles are very similar, the HD 599 might be slightly more open-sounding than the DT 990 PRO. The DT 990 PRO come with a non-detachable coiled cable while the HD 599 come with two thin and detachable audio cables.

Sennheiser HD 600

The Sennheiser HD 600 and Sennheiser HD 599 are very similar headphones in performance, and the HD 599 might offer better overall value. Their sound profiles are fairly similar, but the HD 599 are noticeably more comfortable and don’t feel as tight as the HD 600. On the other hand, they don’t feel as well-built as the HD 600. Some may find the HD 600 sound a bit more neutral.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Sennheiser HD 599 are two great sounding headphones but should be used in different situations. The ATH-M50x pack a bit more bass, which is due to their closed-back design. They’ll be a better option than the HD 599 if you’re looking for great sounding headphones to bring on the go. On the other hand, the open-back design of the HD 599 will be better-suited for quiet listening environments, and they are very comfortable for long listening sessions.

Conclusion
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6.0 Mixed Usage
The Sennheiser HD 599 are critical listening headphones that aren't versatile enough for other use cases. They leak a lot, they don't block any noise in loud environments, and they're not portable enough to carry on you at all times. However, they deliver in the sound department with a balanced and open audio reproduction ideal for critical listeners.
7.9 Critical Listening
The Sennheiser HD 599 are great headphones for critical listening. They have a better Bass than the HD 598 and sound good with instruments and vocals. Their Soundstage feels spacious thanks to their open-back design, and overall they deliver a well balanced audio reproduction. However, the slight emphasis in high-bass/low-mid makes them a bit boomy and muddy with some tracks.
4.7 Commute/Travel
Subpar for commuting. The 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.
5.5 Office
Poor for office use. They don't block the office chatter and everyone can hear what you're listening to.
6.1 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. Unless you have an extension cord for the audio cable, they won't be the best headphones, to comfortably watch tv from your couch.

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