Hello there friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Sennheiser HD558 Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Price: Check amazon! | Check eBay!
- Type: Open back
- Fit: Circumaural (over ear)
- Impedance: 50 ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
- Material: Plastic
- Color: Black
The Sennheiser HD558 is an open back, circumaural headphone that specializes in making you feel at ease. Lol. If I had to use one word to describe this extremely comfortable set of cans, it would be: Non threatening. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
First off, the headphones are built like a tank, but feel rather light in your hand. Putting them on is like resting two mini pillows against your ears. The reviews don’t lie; they are really that comfortable. While I think the HD600’s clamp force is rather tight at first, the HD558’s clamp is pretty comfortable right off the bat.
They feel pretty lightweight, but not like they’re going to snap in half. The build quality is very solid, and I don’t have any doubts these would hold up for a long time.
Sound wise, the best way I can describe them is non confrontational and warm. They’re not the type of headphones that you’re going to rock out with really hard. They’re more for analyzing music, relaxing with it, and kind of observing sound. They enable you to take a step back and relax a little.
- Honest, straightforward, and balanced sound signature.
- Very comfortable. You’re not going to have to adjust these very often.
- Durable & Lightweight.
- Great Soundstage. What is Soundstage?
- Detachable cable.
- Detailed sound. You start to hear things in music that were previously lost, or obscured by sounds that ran together and became muddy.
- The 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter is a bit of an annoyance.
You don’t necessarily need an amp with these, but a portable DAC/Amp combo has been known to bring out the sound. How to choose a headphone amp!
I personally use the Schiit Magni/Modi combo, which will work wonders with most audiophile headphones.
Who these headphones benefit?
These headphones do best with more laid back genres, but I still think they can be used with many types of music, as long as you accept the fact that they’re not going to blow you away. If you buy these specifically for stuff like EDM, Rap/Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, Dubstep, etc. you’re going to be disappointed. Just know that before purchase. They are meant for quiet days in studio, really analyzing the sound and relaxing with it. For instance, I’d probably take a bubble bath and listen to jazz with these before I threw on some Rap and tried to jam out. 😛
I really love these for Jazz specifically. With most headphones it sounds okay, but the instruments tend to sound kind of distant with not much clarity. With the HD558 it’s like the band was moved from 20 feet away to about 6 feet away. I can hear everything going on, and not only that but it’s got this laser like precision and detail. Drums start to sound fantastic and to top it off, there’s no sibilance whatsoever. What does Sibilant mean?
What you’ll find is that the bass and kick drums are extremely textured and clear. It’s quality over quantity here, but the sound is very full, lively, and intricate.
Thoughts from Stu’s Notepad
- Nearly all headphones terminate in a 3.5 mm jack. Of those, most audiophile headphones come with a 1/4″ adapter as well. This enables you to plug them into various devices such as receivers, headphone amps, audio interfaces, etc. The 558’s are a bit different in that they actually terminate in a 1/4″ jack and come with a 3.5mm adapter. This can become a bit of an issue with cell phones specifically. For instance, if I want to listen with my Android device, I have to take off my Otter Box because the plug won’t fit. A small inconvenience in my eyes, but for others it may be more of a hassle. My pair actually has an after market NewFantasia LYSB00KAKBHKM-ELECTRNCS Replacement Audio Upgrade Cable for Sennheiser HD598/558/518 and I absolutely love it. I got the 1.2m which not only cuts down on cost but saves me a lot of headache. I really don’t like long cables because they tend to get tangled and end up just getting in the way. This cable feels very durable because it’s only the second one to have that protective spring at the end. My beloved M50 is the only other headphone to feature this, and it’s made a world of difference in the overall build. I’ve had zero problems with it since January of 2013.
- One thing to keep in mind: If you’re not getting sound out of one ear, it may be because the headphone jack is not actually plugged in all the way. It must be plugged in correctly and twisted to lock it into place. I had this issue with the Audio Technica ATH M40x’s as well. I thought I got a defective pair until I plugged them in correctly.
- Just so you know, these are open back headphones and will leak sound. Many of the negative reviews online were ignorant to this fact, and left 1 star because they didn’t know better. The headphones also don’t emphasize bass, or any frequency for that matter. I would say they are mid-range oriented, so you get that nice clarity and instrument separation. These aren’t for bass-heads. It’s a balanced overall sound. To sum it up, they are made for the studio and aren’t that portable (Though I know a girl at work who wears them and loves them). I’m sorry if that rant came off as rude but the more you know. 🙂
- A secret to getting a better sound-stage and a bit of a punchier, more pronounced bass is modding them. The ear pads on both sides can be taken apart and a small piece of foam can then be removed. Check out this video on how to do it! Really easy! Some people say that doing this enables these headphones to sound identical to the HD 598, while others claim it does not at all. It does however make a difference in sound regardless..
Balanced overall sound with a great soundstage. Durable and comfortable. Does better with more laid back genres, but still remains a versatile headphone with most music selections. Not for bass heads. 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter is strange, but again, these are meant for the studio and aren’t that portable (in theory).
I do love the 558’s, but I think a better option would be the 598. Even though the mod for the 558’s has been proven very effective, I think the 598’s are a better set overall. The frequency range is improved, and the sound is more refined. If you’re looking for an amazing overall set of headphones for nearly everything, the HD 598’s more than fit the bill. Just know that they aren’t going to be bass heavy, so bass-heads take note.
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL SENNHEISER HD598 REVIEW!!
That said, if you’re strapped for cash, the HD558 makes an amazing alternative and I wholeheartedly do recommend it. Just make sure you get the aftermarket cable if you don’t like the original.
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sennheiser HD558 Review.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Are you looking for something specific?
Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? What do you think about the HD598? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,