Lots of audio companies say they are committed to innovation and high standards, but few can lay claim to receiving awards recognizing achievements in those areas. Sennheiser is one of those few and even earned awards for significantly affecting the television and broadcast industry. It has paved the way for consumer, business, and professional audio components since releasing the world’s first open-back headphones back in 1968. We looked at the best Sennheiser headphones currently available to see what kinds of things they have to offer.
In this concise guide we’ll discuss important product characteristics of Sennheiser headphones, supply a complete list of available options, then provide an extensive review of the three best choices. With our help you’ll have absolutely no trouble finding a set of Sennheiser headphones that fit your style and wallet.
A Few Things to Consider
- Wearing Style. The best Sennheiser headphones are available in regular wearing styles making it easy to find one that matches your personal preferences and situational needs. The wearing styles refer to how the speakers align on your ears. Those are: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear.
In-ear headphones, or earbuds, fit inside your ear. Getting the tips to create a good seal within the ear canal is the most important aspect of using this style. These are the best at isolating sound and generating massive bass.
Headphones whose cans gently sit atop your ear are on-ear headphones. They don’t envelope your whole ear; this allows some sound to leak out. You’ll be able to hear your surroundings and people around you can hear some aspects of your audio.
Over-ear headphones are only slightly different than the on-ear type. These fully cover your ears instead of just sitting on them. Over-ear models tend to be the most bulky but they isolate sound really well.
- Application. How and where you listen to audio directly influences which headphones will best suit your needs. You may benefit from features that someone else wouldn’t.
For example, someone using headphones in the gym for music would need something sweat-resistant and compact; sound leakage wouldn’t pose a problem; and they have to not get in the way.
A student using headphones in the library or bus to listen to lectures would appreciate entirely different headphone features than the gym member. The student definitely would want great sound isolation, and ones that aren’t heavy on bass.
- Housing. The housing of your your headphones influence how your audio will sound. There are two varieties: closed-back and open-back.
The holes of open-back headphones allow sound to escape. Closed-back headphones don’t let the sound escape; they isolate sound.
Music listened through closed-back headphones sounds deeper and stronger, than if heard through open-back models. Open-back headphones are like hearing music in a concert hall.
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The HD558 is quite similar to the HD598 in both sound quality and construction.
Both the HD558 and HD598 use the same driver, however, the HD598 is capable of reproducing a wider range of sound. The HD558 is subtly darker than the HD598, and has less upper midrange. It’s not a massive difference that affects overall sound quality, but it is one of those things that would bother a true audiophile.
The other difference between the two is and the quality of the housing construction. The HD558 is plastic instead of wood, and doesn’t have that glossy finish. The change is purely aesthetic; HD558 is sturdy and comfortable.
The lower price-point and deeper sound of the HD558 make it an outstanding product for anyone with varied tastes of music.
We’ve seen Sennheiser’s HD598 a couple times. They’re one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones and they have impeccable sound.
The HD598 is a sophisticated yet eye-catching. It’s constructed of beige high-gloss burl wood and matching velour pads. The clean beige finish stands out amongst the crowd of black. They fit like you’re wearing a piece of clothing.
Sennheiser provides HD598 with large open-back over-ear cans. Because of their open design these are definitely best used in private. The soundstage is full and large.
Overall the levels are well balanced. Music is breathtaking through the HD598. Each instrument and tone is crystal clear. Sound reproduction is amazingly accurate. The soundscape of this Sennheiser appeals to those who enjoy the nuances and complexity of music.
The HD598 continues to be one of the top Sennheiser headphones because it delivers supremely refined sound and exquisite comfort. They’re just an all-around good set of cans.
HD280 Pro rates as one of the best Sennheiser headphones by combining high-end sound and accessories to an affordable price. At less than $100 these Sennheiser are a steal.
HD280 Pro fits as comfortably as reference headphones but aren’t nearly as heavy. Their closed-back housing isolates sound without using extra processing, and punches whatever you’re listening to. Expectedly, the headband on the HD280 is tighter than most. That’s really the only way to get a good seal around the earcups so some tightness. Knowing this, Sennheiser provides ample padding on the headband and earcups.
The HD280 Pro has options usually seen in expensive reference units. Major components like the padding, earpads, and cord can be individually changed to increase the headphone’s longevity. If something malfunctions you don’t have to replace your whole set.
Also like professional headphones, these are capable of full range sound reproduction and are perfectly balanced. Music is almost like a personal performance.
HD280 Pro by Sennheiser Pro is your choice when you value professional-quality sound but don’t want to bother anyone surrounding you.