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Designed for indoor use, the HD 598s also offer some good maintenance options.

As the Sennheiser HD 598s are open-backed, there are certain precautions that you need to take in order to preserve your high-priced cans. Because the electronics are essentially bare to the elements, you should not take the Sennheiser HD 598s outside, nor should you let them come into contact with humid air, as this may over time damage your cans. The good news? Even though cables are often the first things to break on headphones, the Sennheiser HD 598s allow you to replace the 10 foot, robust and well-insulated monstrosity easily should it break or suffer unacceptable internal wear and tear. This is a great feature to have, as I can tell you from horrible, horrible experience.

Sennheiser really sunk a lot of time and effort into making the HD 598s appear as opulent as their pricetag would suggest.

Sennheiser really sunk a lot of time and effort into making the HD 598s appear as opulent as their pricetag would suggest. With a creamy beige casing with burlwood accents, the Sennheiser HD 598s look like they were carved out of an audiophile’s dream, and sold online. This rather extravagant detailing may not be for everyone, however, especially if you have a rather strong distaste for the bourgeoisie.

When we put the HD 598s on our heads for the first time, we noticed right away that they gripped our skulls firmly, but the thick padding on the ear cups eliminated any discomfort we would feel. Simply put, for our size heads, the Sennheiser HD 598s fit us well and are very comfortable to wear. Keep in mind though, you may or may not have a differently-proportioned head than we do, so try these on before you take the plunge.

Opulent audio to match the package.

For those of you out there that are very demanding with your headphones, the Sennheiser HD 598s are fantastic. The bass frequencies and the beginning of the mid-tones are ever so slightly emphasized, but overall the Sennheiser HD 598s will give you an equal representation of all sounds along the range of audible frequencies.

For those of you out there that are very demanding with your headphones, the Sennheiser HD 598s are fantastic.

There is a tiny bit of distortion in the lower end of sounds, but on the whole it's not eminently audible, more of a minor imperfection. Similarly, each speaker maintains an equal volume, but with very teeny-tiny errors that are well below the threshold of a normal human's hearing. Overall, there's nothing much to complain about, and these headphones offer a performance to match the fancy casing.

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Stunning headphones, another good showing from Sennheiser.

Our final verdict? These headphones are great. Not only do they provide a flat frequency response and clear sound, but their open soundstage helps provide a very realistic sound. Though these cans aren’t perfect (we’re still waiting on that to happen), they do field a strong performance, and should satisfy a large swath of audiophile consumers. They aren’t able to go outside, but really, they were never intended to in the first place. Good show, Sennheiser!

Now for the meat and potatoes of any review: the data to back up the HD 598's good performance

A flat frequency response is prized, as it allows you to equalize your music without error, and bring out your music's full potential.

For those of you out there that are very demanding with your cans’ frequency response, the Sennheiser HD 598s' is very flat, meaning that most sounds will be reproduced at or near the same exact volume as the others. The bass frequencies and the beginning of the mid-tones are ever so slightly emphasized, but overall the Sennheiser HD 598s don't actually have more than 5dB of variance, and only run into issues at 10kHz and beyond, which covers the very highest end of sibilance and harmonic frequencies.

Distortion measure so small, you can't hear it.

Surprisingly enough, the Sennheiser HD 598s actually do have a teeny tiny amount of distortion in the very lowest end, but nothing that is going to be annoying to you. Audiophiles will be quick to point out any imperfection, but speaking as a Linguist, this editor can tell you that very few people at all will ever be able to hear this.

Additionally, the Sennheiser HD 598s are capable of blasting sound at just over 110dB before they output a 3% level of distortion, but you shouldn’t be listening to your headphones this loudly anyway. It’s nice to know that in theory your cans can blast music this loudly, but in reality: you could very well damage your hearing irreparably, which is a very sad thing for an audiophile to endure, especially if it’s a very preventable condition.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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