Sennheiser HD580: Affordable Reference

The Sennheiser HD580 is one of the best-bang-for-the buck purchase in the world of headphones. Used units go in the $100+ range, and the sound is virtually the same with the higher priced HD600. The HD600 headphone has gained a renowned status as the reference headphone for amplifier designer Ray Samuels and Ti Kan from AMB Labs. That means, for $100+, you can get a headphone that sounds very much alike to the reference headphone Ray Samuels and Ti Kan uses.

What was Sennheiser thinking when they use the same driver on the HD580 and the higher priced HD600? The HD600 does use a more expensive, more rigid material for their housing, and that may affect the sound somewhat. But most of the time, people cannot tell the difference between the HD580 and the HD600. Provided that they uses the same version of drivers. (Please read the article on the driver versions here:

A lot of people actually prefer the matte finishing of the HD580 to the fake-marble finish of the HD600. And with a grill change, the HD580 really looks sharp! We don’t know for sure if the grill change alters the sound of the HD580, but the HD650 cable definitely makes the sound smoother and more refined. A brief A/B-ing between the HD600 and the HD580 tells us that the sound is identical. This is with the HD580 using a HD600 grill.

The HD580 pictured here comes with an HD600 grill and a HD650 cable, and it has the new version driver.

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  • Joey

    Classic question! AKG or Senn? 😀 I'm sitting on the fence at the moment.

    • Joey

      Im asking this question cos I'm currently offered a pair of HD580 for $160 and a BNIB pair of K601 for $200. Don't know which to get so figure you'd be the best person to seek opinions from 🙂

      • Hi Joey, while the K601 is a great headphone, it never really belongs to the reference level.

        The H580 has the same driver that the HD600 has and for all practical purposes it has the same sound.

        Whether the Senn or the AKG sound is for you, it's an entirely different discussion though.



  • i've heard on senn HD600 which peoples said that it has the same sound sig with the hd580. i like everything came from it, except the mid to low bass. it was totally annoying for me… when i played a song from leona lewis (loseless file), the mid bass interfered with the mid frequency..very uncontrolled..

    • Hi Emo, have you tried the HD580 with a more powerful amplifier? The HD580/600/650 are some of the toughest headphones to drive. I guess I forgot to mention that in the article.

  • Eric_C

    I thought the HD580 have gone out of production? Where can you one still find a pair, and at what price?

    • Yes, unfortunately Sennheiser has discontinued the HD580.

  • JPS

    I have a hard time taking this whole article seriously when you claim the cable makes a difference. :-/

    • Then perhaps next time I should lie and say that cables don't make a difference. 🙂

  • iyayy

    i agree with Mike on the cable.

    unfortunately a lot of people expects miracles and hoped cables upgrade to bring a hd555 to hd600 level.. that will never happen of course.