Home Headphone Comparisons HD 598 vs. HD 599 – Is The 599 An Upgrade?

HD 598 vs. HD 599 – Is The 599 An Upgrade?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
Sennheiser HD598 vs. HD600 vs. HD650

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Updates:

  • 9/7/19.
  • 9/15/19. Article cleanup.
  • 2/2/21. Article/link cleanup.
  • 2/10/22. Article/link cleanup.
  • 3/11/22. Article revisit.

Howdy friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the HD 598 vs. HD 599 comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

Today I will outline the HD 599, compare it to the 598, and give a recommendation towards the end. πŸ™‚


Table of Contents

Click to navigate the article!

Specifications & Summary
Pros & Cons
Video Reviews
Amp/DAC requirements
Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad
Consensus/Conclusion
Similarities & Differences
Amp/DAC Section
Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Sennheiser HD 599

Specifications

Summary

The open-back HD 599 continues in the tradition of Sennheiser’s detailed, rich, lifelike sound. A supremely comfortable as always, the headphones themselves are again very light but don’t feel cheap.

The sound this time around is tighter, more focused, and boasts a deeper bass response. While the Soundstage isn’t as wide, the overall signature feels like it has a greater sense of purpose and direction.

One thing in particular to note is the bass. It digs down deeper than something like an HD558 and 598 (meaning it’s rolled off less in the sub-bass regions).

The mid-bass is still elevated by about 5dB, but it feels like a smoother curve this time around rather than a bump that may not be quite as ideal from a listening standpoint.

Intended Use

Being that these are open back and fairly bulky, you’re not going to want to use them on the go.

This is due to the fact that they leak sound quite easily and tend to disturb others.

However, if you are looking for headphones to listen to in a quiet studio-like environment, these are what you’re looking for.

Build & Comfort

The build of the 500 line has always been quite good even despite their featherweight profile.

Because of the velour pads and weight, they almost feel like air on your head which comes in handy when you’re gaming, watching film, or mixing in the studio over long sessions.

You’re pretty much never going to be making adjustments with them on, and they do in fact quite easily make my most comfortable headphones of all-time list.

The headphones themselves aren’t tiny like an HD25, but they also aren’t as bulky as something like an HD280.

In other words, you don’t look like a gigantic doofus with them on your head; surely an added benefit if you plan to invest in a pair!

The reason is that their design is fairly utilitarian and unassuming. Most people will be drawn to these immediately from an aesthetic standpoint and the phenomenal comfort levels will quite possibly leave you speechless.

As with most headphones in Sennheiser’s line, the pads here are replaceable and it’s quite easy to make the change. Just pull gently and they’ll snap out.

To install the new ones, just line up the pad with the cup and push gently until you hear them click in a few different spots.

What about the Pros & Cons?

Pros

  • Good impact, especially for an open-back headphone.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. This is pretty much a given for anything Sennheiser.
  • Comes with 2 cables: One terminates in a 1/4″ jack with a 3.5mm adapter, and the other is a traditional cable that terminates in a 3.5mm jack with a 1/4″ adapter.
  • Easily driven by an amp.
  • Good packaging.
  • Detailed in the treble with nice sparkle. Intimate sound.
  • Accurate Timbre.

Cons

  • Though comfortable, they aren’t quite on the level of an HD558. You will notice them more due to the clamp pressure.
  • The adapter is a bit bulky.

Let’s watch a video!

Video Review (HD 599)

Credit to my boy @Metal571. Check him out on twitter!

My Video Review (HD 598)

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Do you need an amp?

Amp/DAC requirements

Because both headphones are very efficient at around 106dB and have a somewhat low impedance, an amp isn’t mandatory but could enhance the overall sound to an extent. How to choose a Headphone Amp!

Who do these headphones benefit?

Great for:

  • Acoustic instruments.
  • Gaming. They come across as more open and airy in a gaming environment. Great imaging here. Learn more: The Best Headphones for Gaming!
  • Vocals.
  • Watching Movies.
  • Guitars.
  • Classical.
  • Rock.
  • Hip-Hop.
  • EDM.

These will do well with almost any genre though, so fret not!

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • The Soundstage on these isn’t quite as large, wide, or impressive as the HD558 or HD598.
  • You may not always need amplification for these, as sometimes the bass can get a bit too overpowering.
  • These aren’t as relaxed sounding as an HD558, or a 598 for that matter.
  • The 599 is very honest and will expose flaws in the recording. This is especially true for Rap/Hip-Hop type stuff.
  • You may need a New Fantasia cable. I have one and it’s really durable! The cables that come with the 599 are a bit on the flimsy side.

What’s the Consensus?

Consensus/Conclusion

An updated headphone in all regards. The soundstage isn’t quite as big, but the bass, treble, mid-range, and build are all improved.

Similarities & Differences

Similarities

Differences

Sound

The HD 599’s sound is a bit cleaner and more refined by comparison. By and large, the 598 and 599 share about the same sound. The 599 is a little tighter sounding as opposed to the more open 598, but it’s almost not discernible.

While the HD 599 will do better with pop music, the HD 598 excels with Jazz and Classical type genres. If your preference is to be right up on stage (or closer to the artists), the 599 works better. If you prefer to be a few rows back, the 598 is better.

Basically, the 598 is going to give you a slightly more open sound vs. the more focused sound of the 599. While the HD 598 was pretty flat overall, the 599 is more exciting. The 599 has more impact as well.

Bass

The bass here is a bit deeper with more thump than the HD598 but does have a tendency to get boomy at times. For the most part, though, the HD 599’s bass is clean with a lot of impact.

The 598 by contrast lacks some of this impact in the sub-bass regions, but still sounds good.

Other differences

  • Color Scheme. The colors are a bit different than the HD598. The 599’s sport a more modern look vs. the elegant feel of the 598.
  • Fit. The clamp pressure is a bit tighter on the HD599 but does open up over time.
  • Build. The build quality of the 599 is a little better than the 598. The 599 is a bit heftier and doesn’t feel quite as loose. The ear cushions on the 599 are a little stiffer as well.
  • Treble. The treble on the HD 599 is a bit more subdued this time around. While the 598 could be a bit bright, the 599 is not. It’s smoother by comparison.
  • Mid-range. The mids on both are very similar, but the 599’s are a little more forward and aggressive around 3kHz.
  • Overall. The 599s will work with a wider variety of genres than the 598s.

You won’t absolutely need an amp per se, but these are some great solutions to keep in mind regardless. Comment below if you have any questions!!

Amp/DAC Section


FiiO E10K or K3

FiiO K3 vs. E10K

FiiO K3 vs. E10K

If you only have a Benjamin or less to spend, the E10K is the absolute go-to solution in my opinion. It’s one of the best portable budget Amp/DAC combos. With an output impedance of less than 1.04, it will also power most headphones without issue. I would steer clear of trying to use it with 600 Ohm headphones, as well as power-hungry planar magnetics with their weird drivers. πŸ˜› What is a headphone driver? However, these will work with cans like the HD600, and the amp is more capable than some give it credit for. I love the crisp and neutral sound these provide. Comes with coaxial out, line out, and USB. Very clean signal, lots of detail. You like!

 

My Video Comparison

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The JDS Labs ATOM

JDS Labs Atom

The Atom is a nice upgrade from the original Objective 2.

JDS has since discontinued the Objective 2, but the ATOM is amazing and sounds great. It’s definitely flimsier than the rock-solid O2, and its output impedance is also slightly higher at around 0.7 Ohm.

In other words, it’s still very neutral but perhaps not quite as cold-sounding? The differences between 0.2 and 0.7 are basically negligible, but the ATOM works well in basically any situation with any headphone, and thus why I recommend it a lot.

It functions as a preamp, meaning you can connect it to separate speakers (unbalanced), and it also has plenty of power for more demanding headphones.

Video Comparison to the Atom

Here I discussed the updated Atom. Definitely worth a look!


Audioquest Dragonfly Red

Audioquest DragonFly Red

A Great Desktop Setup.

Doesn’t really get much simpler than this folks. Plug this little crumb-sized wonder into a USB slot, plug in one of those dongles (if you’re using a mic) that I mentioned earlier, and have yourself an afternoon delight.

The Dragonfly Red really impressed the snot out of me upon demo, and I actually plan on purchasing one in the future because it instantaneously increases the quality of all my headphones in a matter of seconds, plus I can take it anywhere! The other great thing about this combo is that it powers my HD600’s with ease.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to use it with anything over 300 Ohm, but it provides just enough juice for the 600. If you plan on using it with your phone, pick up this adapter which is very cheap and gets glowing reviews.

 

Video Shootout

Here I compared the Red to the newer Cobalt + some others πŸ™‚

So what’s the final word, bird?


Final Word


Sennheiser took an already great headphone in the HD 598 and made it better across the board with the HD 599. I would say that if you’re looking for a more open sound, the 598 is a bit better, but it’s honestly very subtle and may not even be noticeable to the average person.

If you’re digging the more focused sound of the 599, I don’t blame you. Everything is better, from the mid-range to the treble, to the bass, build, and everything in between.

At the end of the day, these headphones sound very similar and any small differences are incredibly subtle.

Interested in reading some reviews?

 

 

How about an in-depth guide covering the 500 series?

 

If you’re interested in the 599 but desire a slight upgrade, the 560S does fit the bill but it is complicated. For my review:

 


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Sennheiser HD 598 vs. HD 599.

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Are you convinced that the HD 599 is a worthy upgrade? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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36 comments

Randy December 10, 2017 - 12:04 am

Would you go with the HD599’s over the HD600 if you weren’t really interested in getting an amp?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 10, 2017 - 12:10 am

Hey Randy!

For sure. The HD600’s won’t sound loud enough out of a mobile device, and definitely need an amp. With the 599’s you can get away with not having one.

Reply
antoine December 19, 2017 - 12:42 pm

Hi, I already have the Sennheiser HD25 for portable listening, but I want to buy an open back headphone for home listening. I listen classical music (sometimes electro and gaming) and I drive it with a fiiO X5. But today I’m split between HD599 and Beyerdynamic’s dt990/880. Do you think going to a hd598 is the better choice ? Thanks so much ! πŸ˜‰

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 19, 2017 - 8:21 pm

Hey Antoine!

It really depends on the type of sound you’re after. The 880’s are very clinical, surgical, and kind of cold with a very bright treble. They are best suited for mixing/mastering and reference.

The 990’s are a bass head type of headphone, with a V-shaped response, crisp highs, and a recessed mid-range.

The HD598’s are a warmer type of headphone, with great Soundstage and a very balanced response overall.

So if you listen to Classical, but sometimes Electronic and also like Gaming, it’s tough.

The 598/599 and 880 will be better with Gaming and Classical, while the 990 will be better for Electronic. The 598/599 is the better all around headphone. I may go with the upgraded 599 in your case. The only thing is that it won’t be as good for bass heavier stuff.

Let me know what you think.

Reply
Antoine December 20, 2017 - 3:46 pm

ok thanks you for this reply, I go for the hd599 πŸ˜‰

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 20, 2017 - 6:46 pm

Please let me know how you like it!!

Reply
Ben December 26, 2017 - 2:14 am

Hey Stuart, I read the review between the 598’s and the M50’s. The 599’s are $200 right now and I’m at a crossroad until I make a bigger investment on better headphones and a dac/amp. I want a gaming headphone with a good amount of bass for rap/EDM but, will be clearest doing so of course. While half a year from now, I will buy something with more.. “subtle tones” and treble. I am very curious of the bass and gaming difference since the 599’s a open back.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 26, 2017 - 9:09 pm

Ben,

Your situation is tough because both of these (598 and 599) are great for gaming but you’re not going to be satisfied with them for EDM or Rap. Myself? I think there’s enough bass for those genres, but it’s not going to slam like you desire. It’s more of an articulate and textured bass. You’re able to actually hear each individual note. I’ve come to prefer that over a pure slam, although there are times when I simply want that deep impact. For those times, I use the Crossfade M100, but that’s not open back.

So.. basically you’ll have to make a compromise, or buy an open back and a closed back. Which would you prefer investing in right now? I presume an open back?

Reply
Jan April 3, 2018 - 7:57 pm

hi. nice review πŸ™‚ I was gonna buy the 599, but i read in you review that the soundstage is worse, but the overall sound is better. how much worse is the soundstage. is the tradeoff worth for the better overall sound compared to the 598?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 3, 2018 - 8:35 pm

Hey Jan!

The differences between the headphones are pretty subtle. I would honestly just purchase a used pair of HD 558’s from eBay and remove the rubber strips inside. It will net you the same sound as the 598 at a much cheaper price. The 599’s are good, but there isn’t a significant enough difference in sound quality to justify the price at the moment. Check out my 558 article: https://homestudiobasics.com/sennheiser-hd558-review/

Let me know what you decide!

Reply
Jan April 3, 2018 - 9:49 pm

Wow that reply was fast πŸ˜‰ ok my situation is that i had the 558s and am returning them because the broke. now i planned to buy the 599s because i can just buy them with money that i get refunded. i use them mainly for gaming and occasionally for music and movies. also i have another pair of headphones(philips citiscape downtown), which are surprisingly good and have nice bass. so what i’m particularly interested in is to know how much the soundstage worsened compared to the 598s. is it a noticeable downgrade for someone that is not too much of an expert when it comes to audio? i’d like to know if for example listening from where footsteps come will get noticeably harder in games in the 599s compared to the 598s. thanks for the fast reply and sorry for my broken english.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 3, 2018 - 11:07 pm

No problem Jan!

Both the 598/599 are some of the best around for gaming. If you’re looking for the absolute best for Gaming, the 900x would be your best bet. Check out: The Best Headphones for Gaming.

As for the 599 having a worse Soundstage, or being noticeable: It’s not at all. In fact I’m going to edit the article to reflect the fact that there is really not a huge discernible difference between the two headphones. It takes some extended listening time to tell.

Here’s a direct quote from Sennheiser: “The HD 598 and HD 599 are extremely close in sound performance, with a slightly tweaked driver. Indeed the specs are the same – it’s mostly a facelift with different colour scheme and materials used.
In fact we have a pair of HD 599 demo unit in our office which, in my opinion, sounds slightly better than the HD 598. I can say that the sound signature of the HD 599 is the same, if not better, than the HD 598. Do keep in mind that due to burn-in and HD 598 will initially sound different than brand new HD 599. But if both are brand new, then they will sound very similar.”

Even they say the differences are slight. You may try the 598 first at a cheaper price and then the 599 later to see if you like it better. Here’s the thing though: The 900x is the best for Gaming, and does extremely well with most music. It does lack that wow factor for movies (bass is lacking), but overall it’s an excellent purchase. The 598/599 is going to provide a bit of a warmer sound, so perhaps a bit better for overall music/movie enjoyment, but not as good for Gaming (but still excellent). It’s hard to make a recommendation outright. Check out the Gaming article and keep me updated on your decision making process and any other questions you may have! πŸ™‚

Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
Keith April 4, 2018 - 11:38 am

Hi Stu,
Thank you so much for your extremely in-depth reviews. I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. It was a Godsend for you to answer all the questions anyone would have. You do have a way of breaking down tech speak so we Gronks can understand in common language. Your insights is so valuable. Thank you.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 4, 2018 - 1:13 pm

Thanks much Keith!!

Let me know if you ever need anything. πŸ™‚

Best Regards,

-Stu

Reply
Raju G April 9, 2018 - 5:59 am

Hey Dear Stuart.

Thank you for detail and useful review. Pls i need your help for selecting right headphone for my need. I am looking for Best Open back only. Budget is $200. HD 598 SR ($ 172) 599 ($187) both are presently available for almost same price.

I want Headphone for Listening Philharmonic Orchestral Music, Piano Instrumentals, Indian Classical Vocals & Instruments, Sitar Santoor Sarangi Bamboo Flute, Watching Movies & above all Practicing Piano.

If Possible, Required better Soundstage, Instruments separation & should be Comfortable for long time wearing.

I am confused between this two (or any other model as you suggest) so pls advice me. Which is better for my requirement?

Thank you with warm Regards
Raju G.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 11, 2018 - 6:45 pm

Hey Raju!

Do you require a headphone that’s closed back (meaning you won’t bother others around you), or will you be mostly in a quiet environment?

Let me know!

Reply
Jay Hansen April 18, 2018 - 5:56 pm

Hi Stuart

Thank you for a great detailed site πŸ™‚

Kindly, I could need a piece of advice in choosing the right headphones.

Which would you recommend for general listening of music thru the computer but also for listening and recording of electrical guitar – either thru pc or directly plugged into the amp (solid state amp).

Ive read your above review – the HD-599 could be one option, and another could be Beyerdynamic dt-990 Pro.

What do you reckon? maybe a third option?

best wishes
Jay

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 21, 2018 - 12:23 am

Hey Jay!

No problem!!

Hmm. General listening through the computer and also recording of electrical guitar. Do you prefer closed or open back?

For a closed back I would go with the Sony MDR V6. Fantastic all around reference headphone that’s also wonderful for easy listening with all genres. Here’s my review: https://homestudiobasics.com/sony-mdr-v6-studio-monitor-series-headphones-a-classic/

For an open back, the Philips SHP9500 is my top choice. Here’s my review: https://homestudiobasics.com/philips-shp9500-review-impressive/

Let me know what you think/if you need further guidance, and leave some feedback on the videos as well if you don’t mind!!

Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
Dennis April 20, 2018 - 8:05 pm

Hi Stuart, thanks for your detailed review and comparison.

I’m currently owning a pair of Sennheiser G4me One’s (the open back ones, based on the 558’s I think) and I have been very happy with them for a long time.
Now I’m looking for an upgrade, also because I’m not that much into Gaming anymore and don’t even have the mic plugged in, and also because they got a bit damaged.
I’m a very big fan of soundstage and I love to analyse complex music and recognize some instruments and melodies that were somewhat hidden in tracks. So I think I would go for the HD 598’s. I am a bit worried that I will get a headphone which is slightly better but overall just the same. Do you think the difference between my current ones and the 598’s will be worth it? Or should I try a different company for good sound stage in that price range? (100-150€, and no modded headphones)
Kind regards

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 21, 2018 - 12:32 am

Hey Dennis!

Thanks for your nice comment and your welcome πŸ™‚

If the G4me Ones are identical to the 558, then the 598 will be an upgrade, albeit a relatively small one. The only thing to consider is the 558 Rubber Strip/Foam mod. Taking the strips out makes the 558 sound basically identical to the 598, but I doubt the Game One sounds like the 558 without the mod in place. Here’s a link if you want to check it out: https://homestudiobasics.com/sennheiser-hd558-review/

And yeah, the 598 is just slightly better than the 558 without taking the strips out.

You may try my favorite entry level open backs, the Philips SHP9500. You certainly won’t be disappointed, and may have your breath taken away like me. Check out the review: https://homestudiobasics.com/philips-shp9500-review-impressive/

I personally love the Soundstage on them, but some people claim it’s not that wide. I kind of agree and disagree. With gaming, I found I was hearing sounds from Fallout 4 all around me, and even thought someone was knocking at the door at one point!

With music, they provide a fantastic image as well.

Let me know what you decide and if you need any further assistance πŸ™‚

Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
Rafael June 18, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Hello master of sound!
For a HD 599 with the intention to use only in the PC to play games and listen to music you recommend an audioquest dragonfly black or a FiiO E10K? I have read in certain places that sometimes these amp / dac give delay in films and games, is this true?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black June 18, 2018 - 9:08 pm

Hey Raf!

I read a blurb about that awhile back but I’m not 100% on it. I would actually save an extra $100 and go with the Dragonfly Red which will be a better investment and work with way more headphones. The Black version can’t handle anything over 100 Ohm while the Red version powers my HD600 with ease. I’ve been meaning to buy one but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve demoed one on a few occasions and I absolutely love it.

Let me know what you decide! If you don’t ever plan on upgrading and/or adding headphones down the line to your collection, you could go with the Black version and be okay (as the 599 has a 50 Ohm impedance). If that’s the case though, I’d rather go with the E10K.

But my solution is to save until you can afford the Red version. It’s just an overall better buy. Audioquest Dragonfly Red Review

Reply
Andrew June 27, 2018 - 3:20 am

Hi, I’m coming from a ATH-M40X and looking for a first pair of open back headphones, how do the 598/599 compare to the M40X ? I know the M40X is a closed back while the 598/599 are open, it’s that I would like to know of a general feel of the 598/599 compared to the M40X. Oh and to add I just have a E10k as a dac/amp, nothing special. Thank you for your time.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black June 27, 2018 - 4:26 pm

Hey Andrew!

The bass on the 40x is def heavier than the 598/599. The overall sound of the 598/599 is more open, with better Soundstage for music as well as Gaming. Both do well for many genres, but the 40x is undoubtedly better for Hip-Hop/EDM and the like.

Comfort is much better on the 598/599, and build is a bit better on the 40x though there were some issues with the hinge near the ear cup according to many. I haven’t had any issues with mine but I don’t use them everyday so yeah..

598/599 will do much better with Jazz and Classical, and generally lighter, more laid back genres such as Folk and Acoustic as well.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you need any additional clarification.

Best Regards,
-Stu

Reply
Alexeis February 21, 2019 - 2:42 am

Why do some monitoring headphones such as the HD599 need battery, whereas the HD598 and Beyerdynamic DT990 don’t need?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black February 25, 2019 - 5:27 pm

Hey Alexeis! The HD599 does not need a battery. Where did you read/hear that?

Reply
John Canales April 4, 2019 - 4:42 am

Hi, Stuart. Your site rocks: Down-to-earth advice that communicates technical stuff in an accessible format, avoiding excessive technical jargon. What’s not to like?

Quick question (hopefully). I have the HD598’s and have enjoyed them for a few years now. At the moment, the HD599’s are on sale. Do you think it’s worth the upgrade? From what I gather in your review and comments, I’d lose a tad of soundstage, but gain better overall clarity in sound.

Specs: I use the HD598’s both on the go and with my Mac. I use them for gaming and for listening to pop, rock, classical and jazz (including latin), with some EDM. I don’t touch rap/hip-hop.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 9, 2019 - 11:09 pm

Hey John thanks so much for the kind words! Sorry about the late reply. I think you should go for the 599 if it’s on sale. The 598 sometimes has this weird wooly quality to it and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Let me know what you decide!

Reply
Jesse February 28, 2020 - 9:34 pm

Hello Stu. Long time no see once again. Before I dive into my comments particularly regarding the Sennheiser HD 599, there are a couple of updates that I wanted to touch upon. One of them being that I did eventually sold/returned the Focal Elears which I demoed for a handful of weeks. While it possessed an opulent build quality and nice comfort apart from being a bit heavy, it did not come off as being all that more detailed/improved sound wise over my two de facto headphones the HD 600 and 650. Especially considering that it was close to double the cost of either the 600 or 650 in my case. Anyway, I decided to purchase the HD 599s during the holiday season following my return of the Focals.

Part of the incentive behind why I settled on the 599s were due to it’s somewhat overlooked status in my opinion. Especially with how it retailed for about $150 on Amazon at the time which put it in direct competition with the well-heralded HD 58x Jubilee. Some of the observations which I’ve compiled regarding the HD 599 are interesting to say the least. Though it’s part of the 500 series lineup which falls under the well lauded 600 series, it’s far from being a slouch sound-wise and so on.

To start, I actually find them a bit more comfortable compared to the HD 600 and 650. Though the 600 and 650 have been relatively broken in and less clampy, the HD 599s are noticeably less clampy in part of its lighter mass. Though it’s predominantly plastic, it doesn’t feel chintzy or toy-like build wise. Moving on to sound, they have certain traits which are somewhat similar to their 600 series brethren and others which set it apart. For one, the bass region is more emphasized compared to the 600 and 650. There’s more body/warmth overall which I both like and find it slightly muddy at times. In the sense it’s sounds more compressed compared to the 600 and 650. Which is funny considering it has a larger sound stage to my ears. The mid range is by and large quite nice in it being not recessed neither too forward. It sounds less intimate compared to the 600 and 650 though the 600 is more of an offender in this regard which can be positive or annoying depending on circumstances.

Tonality is pretty close to ideal which continues to the treble area. Though it’s less forward in the upper mids/low treble area, there’s a bit more sparkle to the treble compared to either the 600 and 650. Which makes it a bit more exciting though a bit more colored which I don’t particularly mind. In essence, I wouldn’t classify the HD 599 as being purely “reference” or the most “neutral” sound wise. In Metal571’s review of the HD 599, he touched on how the headphone has subtle colorations sound wise which parlays nicely with rock music and anything with guitars. Plus, it sounds pretty close to “neutral” though depending on the listener it can sound subtly colored. Overall, it’s a nice addition to my headphone stash that probably works a bit better for causal usage and gaming purposes. Though, I’m not a particularly avid gamer especially compared to my younger days. In reality, I’m still in my twenties actually being 26 πŸ™‚ As always keep up the good work, Stu.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black March 15, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Hey man! Great to hear from you as always!

I got the same impression of the Elears actually. Demoed them around 2017 and they just didn’t do it for me. The Clear’s sounded a bit better but I remember the Elear was a bit grainy and wasn’t impressed with it (especially at that price point). Very comfortable and solid build though. Sound wise, definitely not worth that asking price. Not even close. I would like to do a shootout of the Clear, Elear, Stellia and Utopia though. I think that would be really interesting.

Yeah Metal571 once called the 599 the Audiophile Gateway Drug. Hehe. I would love to do a side by side with the 598 actually and maybe toss in another 500 series headphone in there. In fact, a huge 500 series shootout would also be dope. I will have to look into it. Perhaps you could send the 599 at some point, but that’s totally up to you!

Yeah, I actually find the 598 more comfortable as well. I think it has to do with clamp but also it just feels more like a pillow than even the HD600, and that’s hard to believe considering how comfy the 600’s are. Every time I go back to them I fall in love all over with how they feel. Legitimately one of (if not the) most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. I simply8 forget they’re on my head sometimes.

You’re spot on about mud; the 599 does sometimes get a bit clammy/bloaty in the bass region, as if it just can’t keep up at times. Sort of like an overweight woman trying to run a marathon or spring the 40 yard. LMAO.

The 600’s bass always strikes a perfect balance for me. I very rarely think to myself that the track needs a bit more. The 600’s render it with ease and precision. It’s like that story of the 3 bears and the porridge. Just right. You’re spot on about the mid-range too. On the 600 it can be too much at times. I found the 598 handled it a bit better and more neutral for sure. Also found the treble on the 598 good, but I still kind of prefer the laid back vibe of the 600’s treble. I’ve found that I just do not like too much sparkle anymore. Thankfully I’ve been kind of saving my ears these last few years and bright sizzly treble is a huge turn off nowadays. I think it kind of ruins an otherwise perfect headphone like the HE-4XX, but I digress..

Really glad you’re enjoying the 599 overall. Haha you saw Metal’s review then too πŸ™‚ I love his content. Hopefully he’ll be back doing reviews at some point.

Hit me up here or on YouTube as well! Would love to get a dialogue going there too about anything really. I will be taking this next week off as I need a bit of a recharge, but I’ll be back Sunday the 22nd.

Be well and blessed man!

Talk soon,

-Stu

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Jesse March 19, 2020 - 2:06 am

Yeah, I’d say that Metal571 is one of my favs regarding audio/headphone reviews. There are others who I either really like or at least respect in some aspects. Though it’s too long of a list, some of my favorites are Z Reviews, Joshua Valour, DMS, Wheezy Reviews, Tyll Hertsens from Inner Fidelty, etc. While enjoying music is not uncommon, being a dedicated and sometimes brazen πŸ™‚ audio nut to which uncovering fine details and so on is more exclusive. Plus, more of a financial rabbit hole if one chooses to go down. As someone who’s not hurting financially in addition to being at least kitchen literate πŸ™‚ Headphones which cost $1,000 or more gets harder to stomach. Having an urge to either constantly upgrade or trying to find that last little 5% if that becomes less fulfilling. That’s not to imply that I’d never try out different headphones or speakers if feeling adventurous. I say that because one of the key influences into myself becoming a fan of music plus caring about hunting for the finer details etc was my father. He was more of a speaker person than headphone person though he could get the appeal of a good set of headphones. Probably had to do with him growing up during the 70’s and so on where the headphone market was less crowded and listening to music on speakers being more of the norm plus more extroverted in a sense. Whereas listening to music via headphones regardless of one’s set up is more intimate/personal. Same goes for myself though it’s in reverse where my preferences are more with headphones vs speakers. Taking time off to recharge and maintain ones sanity is completely understandable. I look forward to seeing whatever new or interesting content you put out, Stu.
Keep up the good work as always.

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Stuart Charles Black April 8, 2020 - 5:34 pm

Yeah man! Our experiences seem to mirror each other in a few ways. My dad is also a speaker head and doesn’t really listen with headphones ever. The only pair he has he lent to me lol. The Sony MDR-101. The same type that used to come with the Sony Discman back in the day. Ah the memories. He has a pretty neat surround sound system/receiver and it’s really cool to watch movies at his place because of the 70″ TV he just got. XD

He’s also gotten into the BT craze and was showing me his simple set up to play some old Classic Rock through Spotify and the system. I asked him if he’d be interested in a small set up for headphone listening and he was sort of yeah and meh at the same time lol. I was going to get him something for b-day or fathers day. Seeing as how he fixed up the office upstairs with a desk, it looks prime for some sort of humble set up with Spotify (since he already has that). You and I both know the power of a good set of headphones. I think it would be cool for him to experience that – something like an HD6XX + ATOM.

I am actually getting more and more into the speaker side of things though. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’ve always been more of a headphone guy like you! I just love the intimacy that they provide and always have. Lately I’ve been researching bookshelf speakers with a receiver (and turntable which I already have), but also something that I can use with my PS4/Gaming and Spotify if I want. A sort of all in one set up if you will. The receiver I’m looking at is the Sony STRDH590 5.2 and some cheap bookshelf’s that get great reviews (Sony SSCS5). I don’t really carea bout blowing a bunch of money, especially seeing as how A) I’m poor XD and B) It’s entirely unnecessary in this day and age. May as well keep it all consistent right? Sony PS4, Sony Receiver, Sony Speakers. All Black. With this set up I can also add components later if/when I move into a house, or if I just want some extra surround.

Pretty cool right!? So with this rig I can do many things with something like a K5 Pro added in. I can listen to all of my music, movies, and turntable through headphones OR through speakers + I have the option to listen bluetooth with my phone if I want. But wait! There’s more! Lol. My dad had gotten me an old Panasonic CD player/stereo back in 2003 and it still works flawlessly to this day (They don’t make stuff like they used to). I’m also planning on adding this into the entertainment center as well if I want to listen to CD’s. I’d just run some RCA from the back into the Receiver and then obviously output it to the Sony’s. What’s even cooler is that I could in theory use the speakers that came with it in the rig but I probably won’t do that.

It’s just really ideal. I’m also mapping out a blueprint for a custom built home entertainment center which will be fun to build.

And yeah – it took me a bit to get back in the groove but I just released a video yesterday. Check it out and comment/let me know what you think! https://youtu.be/a8lr4AO0CsI

Talk soon man!

-Stu

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Toby July 13, 2020 - 9:09 pm

Hi,
Which one do you prefer?
senheiser HD599 or Hifiman 400i or philips 9500?

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Stuart Charles Black July 20, 2020 - 3:59 pm

Whoaaa nelly! That’s a tough one. The 598/599 was good, but a little too smoothed over for my tastes. I love the 400i. Always have. The new 2020 model just came out and if it’s anything like the DEVA, it’s going to be a phenomenal upgrade build wise. If you look at the pics, it does look like they employed the same upgrades as the DEVA, only it retains the original 400i’s color mostly. They’re also basically giving it away still. Huge breath of fresh air. You can read my comment on that review! Honestly man, if I were you I’d just snap buy it immediately. I hardly ever say that to people but this is a special case.

I also adore the 9500 for gaming, film and music. If given the choice, I’d probably go with the 400i though. The 400i is a more elegant sound being that it’s a planar, but if you’re really strapped for cash the 9500 is a great solution. I still use on one the daily and in fact I have it on my head now!

My recommendation to you is a 400i. Have you thought about an Amp/DAC any?

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Manu Hegde July 10, 2021 - 7:10 pm

Hey Stu!
Do you think HD 599se will be a worthy upgrade over Samson SR850s? I feel SR850s are way too uncomfortable and heavy and that’s why I’m considering to buy a new set a headphones. I listen to various genres of music and play games. Also confused if I have to get the shp9500s or HD 599se! Please help

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Stuart Charles Black July 13, 2021 - 1:48 pm

Hey Manu! I definitely understand your dilemma with comfort on the 850! While I loved the headphone, I eventually had to sell them because of that + the treble was a bit much for music. For gaming, it didn’t bother me (for whatever reason).

You’re in the right ballpark. There are a lot of headphones I enjoy for gaming, but if I had to go with one I’d look to the K702. I’d consider a 599, K702, or 9500 all great. All are super comfortable and all work for lots of genres.

The 702 edges both for me because there’s nothing I can complain about with it. At times the 599 is going to feel kind of fuzzy/hazy, and the 9500, while one of my all-time favorites, suffers from that treble brightness at times.

In reality, it’s super hard to choose between these 3, but the most upgrade and bang for your money will be a K702 in my eyes, followed closely by the 599 and then the 9500.

Hopefully, that helps! Keep me posted with further questions.

Regards,

-Stu

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