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Sennheiser HD 599 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Aug 30, 2021 at 09:21 am
Sennheiser HD 599 Picture
8.1
Neutral Sound
4.0
Commute/Travel
5.4
Sports/Fitness
4.9
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
1.7
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 599 are over-ear headphones intended for audiophiles. Their sound profile is slightly warm and smooth but well-balanced overall. By design, they aren't ideal for use outside quiet spaces, like at the office or during your commute, since they don't isolate you from ambient noise and leak a lot of audio. That said, they have a very comfortable fit and a wired design, with a couple of audio cables included, so they work well for long listening sessions at home or in the studio.

Our Verdict

8.1 Neutral Sound

The Sennheiser HD 599 are impressive for neutral sound. They lack a bit of low-bass, but overall they have a warm, well-balanced sound profile, with vocals and lead instruments that sound present and clear. Their open-back design helps to create an open, spacious-seeming soundstage. Some slight over-emphasis in high-bass and low-mids can make mixes sound boomy and muddy with some tracks. They also don't have a companion app that you can use to customize their sound.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
  • Good passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Don't block out ambient sound, by design.
4.0 Commute/Travel

The Sennheiser HD 599 are poor for commute and travel. They block out virtually no ambient sound and leak a lot of audio, so your music is likely to bother people sitting near you on the bus. While they have a very comfortable fit, they aren't very portable and don't come with a case or pouch for protection.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
Cons
  • Don't block out ambient sound, by design.
  • Leak a lot of sound.
5.4 Sports/Fitness

The Sennheiser HD 599 are inadequate for sports and fitness use. They're comfortable but aren't intended for sports use and aren't stable enough to stay on your head during a workout or run. They may make you sweat more if you wear them during exercise, and although we don't test for it, they lack an IP rating for dust and water resistance, like most audiophile headphones.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
Cons
  • Don't block out ambient sound, by design.
  • Leak a lot of sound.
4.9 Office

The Sennheiser HD 599 are poor for office use. Because of their open-back design, they isolate you from almost no ambient sound and leak a lot of audio, so they aren't ideal for use in a shared space, like an office. They have a very comfortable fit, but their wired design means they lack useful Bluetooth features like multi-device or NFC pairing.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
Cons
  • Don't block out ambient sound, by design.
  • Leak a lot of sound.
4.7 Wireless Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 599 are wired gaming headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.

6.7 Wired Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 599 are okay for wired gaming. You can plug their audio cable into a PC or console controller to receive audio. Since it's an analog connection, they have virtually no latency. Their well-balanced sound profile has a bit of extra boom that can help bring out sound effects in action-packed games, too. However, they don't have a microphone, so you can't use them to chat with your teammates. They also lack onboard controls.

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
  • Virtually no latency because of analog connection.
Cons
  • Don't block out ambient sound, by design.
  • Leak a lot of sound.
1.7 Phone Calls

The Sennheiser HD 599 don't have a microphone, so they aren't suitable for making phone calls.

  • 8.1 Neutral Sound
  • 4.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.9 Office
  • 4.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.7 Wired Gaming
  • 1.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Updated Feb 05, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  4. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  5. Updated Feb 16, 2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  6. Updated Aug 10, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  7. Updated May 30, 2017: Review published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Sennheiser HD 599 have a similar design to the Sennheiser HD 598, with better padding and a more premium look and feel. The ear cups are also a bit different, with more metal around the cups but cheaper-feeling plastic grilles. 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. They come in 'Ivory' or a special edition 'Black'.

8.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
0.71 lbs

These are very comfortable headphones. They have large oval ear cups that are well-padded and should fit comfortably around most listeners' ears. The padding is covered with a soft material that feels nice against your skin. The headband is also amply padded and not too tight on the head. These headphones shouldn't cause fatigue, even when you're wearing them for hours on end.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
7.4
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 3.3 ยฐC

These are decently breathable headphones. They trap less heat against your ears than a lot of closed-back headphones. They aren't intended for sports use, and you may sweat more if you wear them while exercising.

5.6
Design
Portability
L 7.5" (19.1 cm)
W 6.7" (17.0 cm)
H 3.4" (8.6 cm)
Volume 170.00 inยณ (2,785.79 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Sennheiser HD599 have poor portability. They're bulky and don't fold, so they're cumbersome to carry around without a bag. Unfortunately, they don't come with a carrying case, meaning that they may get scratched or damaged if you toss them into a bag or backpack, which is slightly disappointing.

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

The Sennheiser HD599 have a decent build quality. They feel about as well-built as the Sennheiser HD 598, although their headband is a bit different since it's covered with a more premium leather coating. They also have more metal accents on the ear cups. However, the frame still feels weak compared to some other headphones, and the hinges feel like a weak point in the build.

6.5
Design
Stability

These headphones are adequately stable. They should easily stay in place during casual listening sessions. Their cable is detachable unless you lock it into the ear cups, and you can pull it out if it gets hooked on something instead of yanking the headphones off your head. However, they aren't intended for workouts and aren't as tight as other models from Sennheiser, like the Sennheiser HD 560S. The ear cups can sway a lot and slip off your ears if you use them during exercise.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sennheiser HD 599 headphones
  • 1/8" TRS audio cable
  • 1/4" TRS audio cable
  • 1/4" to 1/8" adapter
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.79 dB
Treble Amount
-2.76 dB

Their sound profile is slightly smooth and warm but overall well-balanced. Their open-back design means they lack some low-bass, but their exaggerated high-bass response adds extra warmth and boom. Some mixes may sound slightly muddy, but the well-balanced mid and treble ranges ensure instruments and lead vocals are present and clear. Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app with an EQ or presets to customize their sound.

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

The Sennheiser HD599 have excellent frequency response consistency. Their bass and treble delivery is much more consistent than the Sennheiser HD 598's and doesn't vary too much depending on the headphones' fit, seal, and positioning. You don't need to worry too much about adjusting them to get the same sound each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.7
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.19 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
45.55 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.32 dB
Mid-Bass
0.89 dB
High-Bass
4.3 dB

The Sennheiser HD599 have good bass accuracy. Like most open-back headphones, they lack low-bass, so mixes are missing thump and rumble. The mid-bass range is neutral, so music has the right amount of body and warmth. However, overemphasis in the high-bass range adds boominess.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.13 dB
Low-Mid
2.47 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
-1.95 dB

The Sennheiser HD 599 have excellent mid accuracy. The mid to high-mids are very well-balanced and neutral. However, the bump in low-mid, which is the continuation overemphasis in the high-bass range, makes mixes slightly muddy.

8.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.87 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.91 dB
Low-Treble
-0.07 dB
High-Treble
-8.87 dB

The Sennheiser HD 599 have excellent treble accuracy. The low and mid-treble responses are very neutral, so instruments are clear and well-articulated, while sibilants like cymbals and S and T sounds are present and bright.

7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.6 dB
Dips
0.81 dB

The Sennheiser HD 599 have good peaks and dips performance. There's a peak from the mid-bass to low-mid that adds boom and muddiness, while a dip in the high-mid somewhat weakens instruments and lead vocals. There are also some peaks in the low-treble that add harshness to some instruments. The biggest peak is in the mid-treble range and makes sibilants like cymbals seem piercing.

8.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.51
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.27
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.31

The Sennheiser HD 599 have a great imaging performance. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold for the entire range, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are well-matched in amplitude and phase response, and even though there's a small mismatch in the phase response's treble range, it shouldn't be audible. However, they're also slightly mismatched in frequency response, which may cause holes in the stereo image at certain frequencies. Please note that these results are only valid for our unit, and your experience may vary.

7.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.26 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.06 dB
PRTF Distance
9.5 dB
Openness
9.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
7.9

These headphones have a good passive soundstage performance. Thanks to their open-back design, they create a very open and spacious passive soundstage. Sound is likely to seem to come from inside your head rather than speakers in the room around you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.123
WHD @ 100
0.372

These headphones have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. There's some distortion present at very high listening volumes, but it shouldn't be very noticeable with real-life content. Audio reproduction is mostly clean and pure.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser HD 599. Our results are only valid using this configuration.

Isolation
1.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-3.21 dB
Bass
0.04 dB
Mid
1.42 dB
Treble
-10.72 dB

These headphones are bad at noise isolation, but it's by design. Like most open-back headphones, they block out virtually no ambient sound, except a little bit of high-pitched noise like the hum of an A/C unit.

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

These headphones have a poor leakage performance, which is typical of open-back headphones. They leak a lot of audio at high volumes, so people nearby can hear your music even in moderately noisy environments. They aren't ideal for use in a shared space, like an office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.40 ft (1.34 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These wired headphones come with a detachable 1/8" TRS audio cable, a longer 1/4" TRS cable, and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser HD 599 come in one color, 'Ivory', which we tested. There's also an HD 599 SE or 'Special Edition' variant in 'Black'. Aside from the color, they seem to be identical, and we expect our result to be valid for that variant as well.

If you come across another variant or your headphones are different, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 599 are wired over-ear headphones intended for audiophiles. Their warm, well-balanced sound and spacious passive soundstage should please fans of neutral sound. However, like most open-back headphones, they lack some low-bass and aren't very versatile, since they leak a lot of audio and don't isolate you from background noise.

If you're looking for more options, see our recommendations for the best wired headphones, the best headphones for studio use, and the best audiophile headphones.

Philips SHP9500

Both the Philips SHP9500 and the Sennheiser HD 599 are both very comfortable headphones that are great for neutral listening. The Sennheiser deliver more bass for those who prefer a bit of extra punch, but the Philips sound less boomy.

Sennheiser HD 560S

The Sennheiser HD 599 and Sennheiser HD 560S are closely-matched in regards to neutral sound. The HD 599 are more comfortable, have a better-balanced treble range, and a more spacious soundstage. The HD 560S offer a more stable fit, a more neutral bass and mid-range, better stereo imaging performance, and demonstrate slightly less distortion at high volumes.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Sennheiser HD 599 are both great headphones for neutral sound, 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 have a tighter fit. Also, while both their sound profiles are very similar, the HD 599 may sound slightly more open 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 may offer better overall value for most users. 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.

Sennheiser HD 598

The Sennheiser HD 599 are marginally better audiophile headphones than the Sennheiser HD 598, but both are great for neutral sound and you may prefer either. They're nearly identical in terms of comfort and build quality. The HD 599 sound a bit better, with a less underemphasized bass response, but it's a small difference and may not be noticeable for all listeners. The HD 599 also seem to isolate the wearer better than the HD 598, but neither of them isolate you from very much noise since they’re open-back headphones. 

Beyerdynamic DT 880

The Sennheiser HD 599 and the Beyerdynamic DT 880 are both great critical listening headphones if you like a neutral sound, but they have different sound profiles. The Sennheiser sound warmer, but also muddier, while the Beyerdynamic have a brighter but also harsher sound. The Sennheiser are also more comfortable for longer listening sessions, but the Beyerdynamic feel much more durable.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

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

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

The Sennheiser HD 599 are better audiophile headphones for most people than the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X. The Sennheiser have less low-bass roll-off, less intense presence across the mid-range, and a much better-balanced treble response. They should also be more comfortable for most, although the Audio-Technica are more lightweight and the unique headband design can help relieve pressure during long listening sessions.

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Philips Fidelio X2HR are slightly better open-back headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 599. The X2HR look and feel slightly better-built, and have a slightly better-balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the Sennheiser are more comfortable and feel slightly more stable on the head.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Sennheiser HD 599 and the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are both impressive audiophile headphones, and you may prefer either. The Sennheiser are open-back, so they deliver less bass, but have an otherwise very balanced, clear sound and open soundstage. The Beyerdynamic are closed-back, so their sound profile can differ a bit more from person to person, but they generally get a lot more bass, but can also sound a bit sharp.

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee

The Senneheiser HD 599 and the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are very similar headphones with very small differences. The HD 58X have a slightly more accurate sound profile, but the soundstage of the HD 599 seems to be slightly more open-sounding. However, the HD 599 are noticeably more comfortable to wear for long periods.

Sennheiser HD 660 S

The Sennheiser HD 599 and the Sennheiser HD 660 S are similarly performing open-back headphones, but the 599 are a bit better for audiophiles looking for neutral sound. They have a much better passive soundstage performance and more neutral bass and treble responses, which some may prefer. They're also more comfortable and breathable. On the other hand, the 660 S have a much better build quality and a more stable fit on your head.

Sennheiser HD 6XX

The Sennheiser HD 599 and the Sennheiser HD 6XX are fairly evenly-matched headphones, and you may prefer either. The 599 are much more comfortable and have a better passive soundstage performance, but their sound may be a bit muddy to some. On the other hand, the 6XX have a more stable fit, a better build quality, and a more accurate mid-range response, but their treble response isn't as neutral, so sibilant sounds are a bit dull. That said, there isn't a huge difference between the two sound profiles, and either pair is a great option if you're looking for headphones for neutral sound. 

Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 599 are slightly better headphones for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 650. The HD 599 are more comfortable, their sound profile is better-balanced and neutral, and their passive soundstage is slightly more natural-sounding and wide. However, the HD 650 feel a bit better built and their audio cable is much longer.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better for neutral sound than the Sennheiser HD 599. The HiFiMan have better build quality, deliver sound more consistently, and have a better passive soundstage performance. However, the Sennheiser are significantly more comfortable and breathable.

Philips SHP9600

The Sennheiser HD 599 are somewhat better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips SHP9600. The Sennheiser have a more stable fit, and a more neutral, balanced sound profile. That said, the Philips still have a very neutral sound profile and similar overall performance.

Drop + Sennheiser PC38X

While the Sennheiser HD 599 and Drop + Sennheiser PC38X are both great headphones for neutral sound. The Drop are specifically designed for wired gaming. Their boom mic records your voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. These headphones are also better built and have volume and mic controls. However, the Sennheiser are more comfortable. 

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Sennheiser HD 599 and the Beats Solo Pro Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The Sennheiser are open-back over-ears designed for audiophiles. They're more comfortable and have a more neutral, open, and spacious passive soundstage. However, the Beats are better suited for casual use. They have an ANC system that can block out more background noise, a wireless design, and an integrated mic so that you can take calls when you're on the go.

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