Review: Sennheiser HD599 – One Up!

Disclaimer: The Sennheiser HD599 was sent to us on loan by Sennheiser’s local PR agency. It will already have been returned when this review is published. Sennheiser is not a site advertiser.

 

Sennheiser

In 1960 Sennheiser presented the MD421 to the world and it put the Sennheiser name on the map. Four years later Sennheiser created their first headphone, the HD414. I’m sure you’ve seen it before as it is very easy to remember with the yellow colored pads. Sennheiser produced it for 15 years and sold over 10 million units which is extremely impressive. They patented the open ear design for 25 years. Sennheiser employs 1300 people in Germany (of which 400 are in production) and 2800 people worldwide.

Of course everyone visiting this website knows Sennheiser, it’s simply one of the most famous headphone brands in the world and I own a couple myself such as the HD600, HD650, HD25 and HD800.

HD599

After having launched the HD800S and the new HE-1 headphone, Sennheiser decided it was time to update the existing 5XX product line, of which the iconic HD598 is part of. The new HD598 is called the HD599 and that means it’s closer to the HD600, in more ways than you can think.

The HD599 – according to Sennheiser – lets the listener enjoy their choice of home entertainment with exceptional wearing comfort assured, thanks to the large ear cups and soft, replaceable ear pads. Created with Sennheiser’s “Ergonomic acoustic refinement” (E.A.R.) technology, the headphones have been designed to more effectively channel the audio signal directly into the ears of the listener for a more satisfying listening experience. Offering a step into the world of audiophile sound, the HD599 is a premium headphone for those seeking sophisticated sound, design and build quality. The top-of-the-range model impresses with a natural spatial performance.

When you look at the HD599’s press material you immediately notice this headphone is branded as a top of the line “do-it-all” headphone for watching movies and for listening to music and basically anything that can be done with a headphone. The HD6XX and all the higher end models are marketed as pure audiophile headphones for music listening.

The HD599 has an Impedance  of 50 Ω, and not the iconic 300Ohm of the audiophile level units. Its frequency response is 12- 38,500 Hz, the sound pressure level (SPL) is 106dBSPL (1kHz/1Vrms) and THD, total harmonic distortion is <0.1% (1kHz, 100dBSPL).

product_detail_x2_desktop_hd_5_599_sennheiser-4

Looks & Feel

Sennheiser’s Marketing Dpt says the following: “The new HD 500 range has been refreshed with Sennheiser’s elegant contemporary design language, which discretely communicates refinement, purpose and exceptional build quality. The HD 599 features subtle premium design cues that reveal their superior performance at a glance. The HD 599 combines a timeless ivory color scheme with a headband finished with brown stitching which, with the matte metallic detailing on the ear cups and headband, create an immediate impression of substance and quality”.

I’ve always like the way the HD598 looks and it’s no different with the new model. If you’re not a fan of the timeless ivory color scheme than that’s an issue as there only is one version. The build quality is good – it’s made in China – and it feels pretty solid. The open-backed HD599 of course is an over-ear headphone and it has soft & replaceable velour ear pads making it a very comfortable headphone to wear. The brown leather headband looks nice and it spreads the (light) weight evenly over your head. The clamping force of the pads and ear cups is as good as perfect for my head. At the same time the HD599 has a very light and plastic feel to it and the headphone band does bend in a lot of ways. It’s a lot more flexible than any of the higher end models and I’m not sure how much of a beating it can take. That’s the only concern I have with it, though I’m pretty sure Sennheiser tested everything before producing it.

The HD599’s cable is removable and it is terminated at the ear cup’s end in a single 2.5mm plug that enters the left ear cup and that twists to lock. The HD599 comes with two stock cables. One three meter cable terminated with a 6.3mm plug for home use and one 1.2m cable terminated with a 3.5mm plug for use on the go. The unit comes with one 6.3 to 3.5mm adaptor and one Velcro cable tie. Because of the locking mechanism it might be harder to find a proper aftermarket cable for it.

The HD599’s official price in Sennheiser’s shop is €249, VAT included (free shipping) and that seems to be the price on Amazon as well right now. It’s a great price for a really nice looking and sounding headphone but at the same time the HD600 is only 50€ more on Amazon. More about that in the End Words.

Sound

According to Sennheiser the HD 599 is your first step into the world of audiophile sound and I couldn’t agree more. It’s smooth, easy to like and listen to but you also get good detail and depth resulting in a musical and natural sound.   

“You may have listened to headphones that are quite good. The HD 599 will show you what lies beyond that. Be warned: there is no turning back”

Marketing people always find interesting statements, don’t they? I do see what they mean though and for a whole lot of people who never experienced decent sound this most likely will be the case. The keywords that come in to mind when listening to the HD599 are smooth, engaging and musical and all that in a very possible way. The HD599 simply sounds smooth and is easy to listen to and it to a lot of ears will sound natural with a lovely warmness. Sennheiser achieved to make the HD599 smooth and detailed at the same time and because of that it will please both the new listener as well as the more experienced one. The H599 is a headphone you can perfectly use for watching movies and for listening to music to, it’s a great all-rounder.

Sound, comparisons and combinations on Page 2, after the jump below or the click HERE

Review: Sennheiser HD599 – One Up!
3.8 (76.9%) 116 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

21 Comments

  • Reply November 10, 2016

    Barun C

    Glad to see Sennheiser stepping up their Mid-Fi sound range. I never went beyond the HD595 in the Senn HD59X line as I did not like the sound signature that much. In terms of design they have maintained the same aesthetic, which is quite typical of Sennheiser.

    Collector’s should look in to the HD 540 I,II, Gold Reference, 560 Ovation I, II if they want a headphone which can compete and surpass even the best of what Sennheiser Electrodynamic had to offer before HD 800 came along.

    • Reply August 30, 2017

      Daniel Y.

      Hi,

      I’m currently deciding whether I should get the AD900X from Audio Technica or these.
      I game a lot of sandbox and FPS and want to have some amount of immersion without the sound being too bass-light or trebly. Also, are the highs on the AD fatiguing? I’m really torn between which headphone to get and want the better all-rounder.

      Thanks so much in advance!

  • Reply November 10, 2016

    dale thorn

    I got the HD580 after a rave review in Stereophile, but lost interest after awhile because it was too distant. Then the HD600 and 650 original edition (which was essentially the same as the 600), and while they were nice, they were just too ‘sweet’ or polite etc. – boring I thought. I settled for awhile on a Grado SR325 and a Senn HD565, which were similar in sound, but I’ve never heard the current HD650.

    • Reply November 11, 2016

      Barun C

      I always thought of getting one 580, but when I found out the similarities it has with the 600, I gave it a pass. I have heard the 600 & the new 650.

      The new 650 from the Devialet 120 sounded cold, unexciting and veiled in comparison to another Senn’s I had with me at the time HD 250 Linear II (My Favorite Senn’s till date). Don’t get me wrong, the folks who like that sound signature, love them a lot. But for me it didn’t work as well.

  • Reply November 27, 2016

    Nick

    For the money, I think it’s fair enough. I’m just wondering if there are other colors for these since I’m a big fan of black colors. And surely this has noise cancelling feature right?

  • Reply February 5, 2017

    Nathan

    I’ve bought 589 before. Can you please talk about different on the 599 vs the older 589? Thanks.

  • Reply February 18, 2017

    Arnold

    The Sennheiser the HD 599 is a really awesome headphones and I have been using it for some time now! Works great, fantastic sound! BTW Thanks for the Review.

  • Reply April 14, 2017

    Juan Luis Quiroz

    How compared with dt770 32ohm???

    • Reply April 14, 2017

      Lieven

      Beyer is V shaped, the Senn is more musical, thicker and warmer. Quite different

  • Reply April 28, 2017

    Anirudh Gupta

    The HD 598 are about 100€ cheaper on amazon than the HD 599. Could someone suggest me one out of these two headphones (justifying the price)? And please suggest among these two only because HD 600 need more power to run but I want 50 ohms headphones. Thanks.

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    alex

    Let me start out by saying that it’s been quite a while since I’ve used over-ear headphones. Usually I buy in-ear headphones to go with my mobile device, but my use for these is for use with my desktop computer to replace a set of Logitech gaming headphones.

    These are pretty light and fit well on my head. The pads don’t make my head feel hot and are more comfortable than I thought they would be with the cloth ear pads, as my previous experience has been either foam or a vinyl type of pad. I like the fact that the ear pads are replaceable, but haven’t had them long enough for that.

  • Reply November 5, 2017

    Eduardo

    the HD599 is a dynamic headphone?

  • Reply November 5, 2017

    Eduardo

    I have 599 since the beginning of the year and your description on this 599 is very well explained to anyone who is interested in buying. Congratulations Lieven!
    You make it clear that it’s a really good headphone for movies (true), and are your top brothers (600, 650 ..) good for movies too, or just music?

  • Reply November 8, 2017

    Eduardo

    Is Dragonfly Black enough (power and quality) for the 599 using on the computer?

    • Reply November 8, 2017

      dale thorn

      I don’t have an impedance curve for the 599, but the 598 impedance spikes from 50 to 300 ohms around 100 hz, which means you need much more power for the bass. The DF Black will probably be OK, but if your computer uses internal replaceable sound cards, you could consider a better more powerful card instead of the DragonFly. If you have a recent-model Mac, the quality from the headphone jack might be good enough for most music. There are many variables. If I were using the HD599, I would try the DragonFly and also save up more money for a good amp.

  • Reply November 8, 2017

    Eduardo

    I understood, the dragonfly dac would be okay and would invest better in an amplifier. thank you! I’m currently using my 599 with a humble amp/dac creative E1. I do not know if the dragonfly black would be a significant improvement as dac in relation to E1. In addition to the 599 I’m going to buy another headphone, or the HD650 or HD660S, I’m waiting for your review on the 660, to know if the signature is “romantic” like the 650. If I am 650, I would probably buy the Beyerdinamic A20 for use with 599 and 650. But if I go with the 660, so far they have indicated low output resistance amplifiers so I think the A20 would not fit, but the lake people G103.

    • Reply November 8, 2017

      Lieven

      The 660 is not smooth, bassy or romantic. It is a mix between the 50 and 00. The 700 never was popular, this is Senn’s second try.

  • Reply November 9, 2017

    Eduardo

    So far in the reviews I noticed that people are, some saying that it is the 600 improved and others the 650 improved, in relation to the new 660s. But as I prefer to hear the people who really know the 650 (you!), which is the handset I’m ready to buy, I have not changed my mind about wanting the 660 instead of 650. So this new headphone does not come the deep bass of the 650? If it 660s goes over to the 700 then would the sound be brighter?
    The 650 is smooth, bassy and romantic?

    Regarding the internal part of the 650, they say that over time the sennheiser has updated to improve, so from time to time, those 650 updated so easier to drive? since it was one of the things people complained about, it would not be any amp that had the 650 power it needs.

    • Reply November 9, 2017

      Lieven

      To me it’s not an improved 600 or 650, it’s a mix of both.
      At the show I didn’t get the impression it could match the 650’s bass. And yes, the 650 needs a good good amp

  • Reply November 9, 2017

    Eduardo

    Thank you for clarifying the doubt.

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