Sennheiser told me that the HD598 and HD558 should have an improved soundstage performance than the predecessors. Although I don’t have a HD595 or a HD555 to compare with, both the HD558 and the HD598 has a very good performance. What I like is how background details seemingly comes out better than what I remembered the older models to be, or even compared to the HD650. If you really listen, the HD650 ultimately is still more detailed. Yet the darker HD650 (even with the newer and brighter silver screen driver version), seems to make it hard for background details to come through. The HD598 and the HD558 is better in this regard.
Although the HD598 doesn’t quite share the refinement and the wonderful timbre of the HD650 (you can tell that the HD598 is the lower model in the line up just by hearing it), it’s slightly brighter sound signature and more forward mids than the HD650 makes the HD598 an easier headphone to enjoy. It’s as if a Sennheiser had mated with an Audio Technica headphone and out come the HD598. The HD598 is definitely the headphone to try out.
A while ago, Hadi and I were talking how the conventional Sennheiser laid back sound seem to work well with “older generation” music that tend to be medium to slow paced Jazz or Classic Rock, yet not so well for the newer generation music that’s mostly Alternative, Pop, or Indie music that people listen to these days. I think the HD598 is a correct step to reach out to the newer generation of music listeners. It’s signature is very easy to like, reaching a good middle line between the old Sennheiser sound to the newer, more fun, more engaging Sennheiser sound. Now Sennheiser needs to make an updated HD650 that combine the HD598’s signature with the HD650’s refinement.
A big thanks to Rosmadi at Sennheiser for giving me a sneak peek into these two headphones.