My first impressions of the HD598s really blew my mind. Sennheiser are pretty reliable with its headphone range and these don't disappoint. They may look like the interior of a 1970s Mercedes - at least the cream coloured model I had did - but the performance is very much in this decade.
For the first time in years, music gave me an adrenaline buzz. The sound is rounded, possibly slightly bass orientated, but crystal clear and spacious. This may well be down to the Sennheiser's Internal Sound Reflector and the Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) design. Whatever it is, it does the trick and I didn't feel like I was wearing headphones, but instead listening to music through a high-end stereo.
The body is somewhat creaky, which I can see growing worse over time. Plus it sounds like there's a crackly material underneath the pads and if in a relaxed position, ear against the side of an armchair for example, one may have to put up with the sound of chomping snails, if you know what I mean. Not that that's noticeable with music blasting through.
Nevertheless, the HD598s were a top performer and definitely one of my favourites. Reasonably priced too, for what you get. I'm definitely considering the investment myself, as recording with these made everything sound better, instantly, without artificial stimulants. So there's a saving already.
Reg Rating 90%
More info Sennheiser
Shure is famed for its live performance audio gear and the SRH750DJs are sturdy DJ cans, which serve their purpose well. The cable input features a twist and lock system which is ideal for live environments, as you don't want to pull the cord out by accident midway through a mix. The coiled rubber cable isn't going to tangle easily either.
The durable body is boosted by the flexibility of its linkages, however everything is extremely creaky which is slightly annoying without musical distraction. As with the Sennheisers, the sound of chomping snails returns, however in the club environment, both of these put-offs are irrelevant.
With its leather earpads, the SRH750s are extremely comfortable and isolate background noise efficiently. Their high impedance means they don't play particularly loud through an MP3 player, but do the job well through a mixing desk, and home studios are surely a target environment.
The 50mm drivers provide a fantastic bass response and a crisp top-end, sounding great with dance music and electronica. They come reasonably priced too, ultimately only let down by the creaky plastic body. They're pretty slick, but could do with a good oiling.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Shure
Next page: Sony XB500
THREE FIGURES for FUCKING HEADPHONES? Are you having a laugh?
In the real world, <£20 is cheap and nasty, £30-£50 is decent quality, but you're paying for it, >£50 is very good, but pricier than I'm generally willing to go. £330? £550??!!??!! You'd have to so rich that price tags have literally no meaning to you or stark raving insanse!
It's all a con
There was a story recently about someone disassembling Sennheiser HD 555 (about 70 quid) and finding the working parts were identical to the 595 (about 140 quid) except they jammed a bit of foam in to muffle the sound slightly. So if you have access to a screwdriver you can double the value of your headphones by removing it.
One thing that really really gets me is the crappy quality earphones that you get with apple products and other pmps and the amount of people that happily use them..
They sound terrible! Even a £10 pair of buds from HMV is a 10x improvement over the crappy free ipod earphones..
When commuting in london I regularly see obviously well off people well dressed with ipads and so on, and they're using the shitty free apple earbuds to listen to their music.. They've spent 500 quid on kit to listen to music on and have crap earbuds.
After all when buying hi-fi the recommendation typically is you spend 50% of your budget on amp and sources, and 50% on speakers.. these people have spent 100% on source..
Its almost like spending £500 on a decent blu-ray player and then hooking it up to a 14" black and white crt TV.
Personally due to the amount of background noise while commuting and the fact I'm not loaded I have spent around £60-70 on a half decent set of in ear buds. I would probably only spend the money on the ones listed above for home listening which I don't do much of.
Even so when friends see them and ask how much they cost the reaction is usually "£60 for earphones?!!"
I just don't get it.. I spend more time (1 or 2 hours a day) listening to these earphones than I do my home hi-fi setup, in terms of £s per hour of usage my earphones cost a fraction of a penny per hour..
sorry, rant over.. bloody apple consumers, all style over functionality...
Not even on old MP's expenses
would I pay those prices - and I've got Quad speakers!
What's it worth to you?
If all you listen to is the highly compressed and low dynamic range stuff in noisy environments and/or are only interested in making you ears bleed then I'd agree with you. I use a 4 year old 2nd gen Nano and a pair of ~£40 Sennheiser iems on the train quite happily (though not at eardrum bursting levels).
On the other hand when I'm listening to high quality flac at home with other good quality hi-fi gear I'm not going to use a cheapo pair of headphones just to save a couple of quid. I'm no rabid audiophile but if you would spend £2-300 on speakers why not £1-200 on headphones? I use mine (Grado, why were they overlooked?) for extended periods while photo editing in the evening so as not to disturb the neighbours and the level of detail expressed rivals that of my speakers. They are still the cheapest part of my hi-fi rig too.