• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Sennheiser HD 598 SE* Review (headphone)

OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
35,358
Likes
135,596
Location
Seattle Area
That's fine, you can disregard the review because it was done using aftermarket pads that totally changed the frequency response, so the reviewed unit in this thread doesn't resemble a
That is a bit of nonsense. People like every headphone there is regardless of how bad they measure. That is the more likely explanation than anything else. You also don't know the audible impact of different pad. Don't pile on conjecture on top of conjecture.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,179
Likes
2,692
Location
UK
That is a bit of nonsense. People like every headphone there is regardless of how bad they measure. That is the more likely explanation than anything else. You also don't know the audible impact of different pad. Don't pile on conjecture on top of conjecture.
I think it goes against the flow of evidence shown in this thread. That your measurement differed a lot from other measurements of the same headphone combined with the fact you're using an aftermarket pad that's made of a different material. So I don't think the guy that I responded to can really judge whether he "should" or "shouldn't" like this headphone based on your review, so he shouldn't be surprised. (I'm not gonna go through all the posts & evidence that other people have presented in this thread - it's already there.)
 

maverickronin

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
2,042
Likes
2,511
Location
Midwest, USA
That is a bit of nonsense. People like every headphone there is regardless of how bad they measure. That is the more likely explanation than anything else. You also don't know the audible impact of different pad. Don't pile on conjecture on top of conjecture.

Come on Amir.

Plenty of people have posted measurements with the stock pads that show a radically different frequency response. From first principles it is overwhelmingly likely that replacing that replacing a firm velour pad with with a cushy leather one will have a radical effect on the frequency response of a headphone.

Assuming you would get a similar frequency response with the stock pads is itself an improbable conjecture.
 

infinitesymphony

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
1,040
Likes
1,684
We've seen performance differences between new and old pads due to the way they compress with usage over time.

Similarly, there could be a significant delta (up to 0.5") between the thickness of stock pads and slimmer aftermarket pleather pads. The thinner pads would bring the driver closer to the ear and reduce the amount of space inside the headphone. And that's not accounting for potential acoustic differences due to material.
 

raistlin65

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
2,059
Likes
3,159
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
That is a bit of nonsense. People like every headphone there is regardless of how bad they measure. That is the more likely explanation than anything else. You also don't know the audible impact of different pad. Don't pile on conjecture on top of conjecture.

Where is your data to support your conclusion that changing from a velour pad to an aftermarket leather pad doesn't make an audible impact? You are the one speaking out of pure conjecture.

Meanwhile, in my experience, objectivist and subjectivist enthusiasts alike who are knowledgeable about this all seem to agree that pad changes can make a significant difference. And it's not just personal experience. There are plenty of headphones that have been measured with pad changes to support this notion. For example, Dekoni has a whole database of headphone pad change measurements.
 

raistlin65

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
2,059
Likes
3,159
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
We've seen performance differences between new and old pads due to the way they compress with usage over time.

Similarly, there could be a significant delta (up to 0.5") between the thickness of stock pads and slimmer aftermarket pleather pads. The thinner pads would bring the driver closer to the ear and reduce the amount of space inside the headphone. And that's not accounting for potential acoustic differences due to material.

Yep. And there's a reason soccer balls and American footballs are made out of leather instead of cloth. Keeps the air from exiting through the material.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
1,515
Likes
1,437
Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone needs a prime example of the power of expectation bias, you have it right here.
What are you trying to say? That EQ don't make a difference?
 

Doodski

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
8,485
Likes
7,920
Location
Canada
Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone needs an example of the power of expectation bias, you have it right here.
The difference on HD 598 between EQ and no EQ is so huge that a deaf person would need to be used to not hear it.
 

phoenixsong

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Messages
663
Likes
529
If we were to give Gary the benefit of the doubt, he is probably referring to the use of an EQ setting that was meant for a different headphone. Still, 2 lefts don't make a right, and that statement is itself baseless and little better than noise :)
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
1,515
Likes
1,437
Saying that pads have no influence on the frequency response is like saying that a kit containing a determined set of Woofer, tweeter and crossover will sound the same whether you assemble it in a cardboard shoe box or in a 20 liter MDF cabinet.
 
Last edited:

Madlop26

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
20
Likes
24
Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone needs a prime example of the power of expectation bias, you have it right here.
luckily i can do a fast A-B test turning on and off the EQ, and to my limited ears EQ on sounded way way better, Still could be expectation bias? as a man of science can not rule out that possibility completely, but very unlikely in my opinion.
 

fun

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
66
Likes
86
luckily i can do a fast A-B test turning on and off the EQ, and to my limited ears EQ on sounded way way better, Still could be expectation bias? as a man of science can not rule out that possibility completely, but very unlikely in my opinion.
From my experience, the changes EQ made is very easy to discern (particularly in the bass region), compare to changes in equipments, source resolutions etc. For HD598 specifically, the negative gain at 200Hz clearly take care of the boominess in bass (Disclaimer: I use Oratory setting, not Amir's. The original Oratory setting also has a negative gain at 200Hz, but the recently revised EQ setting is different).
 

GaryH

Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
387
Likes
418
Saying that pads have no influence on the frequency response is like saying that a kit containing a determined set of Woofer, tweeter and crossover will sound the same whether you assemble it in a cardboard shoe box or in a 20 liter MDF cabinet.

Then creating an EQ profile for that kit assembled in a shoe box, and people using that profile for that same model kit but in the MDF cabinet it was acoustically designed for, then them repeating the exact same subjective impressions of 'improved spatial qualities' despite the resultant frequency responses after EQ being completely different between the shoe box speaker and proper cabinet speaker. Then others chiming in that expectation bias has nothing to do with it. Ha, wouldn't that be ridiculous?
 
Last edited:

DivineCurrent

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
98
Likes
119
Quite a bit of drama here huh.
Well, I can speak from experience how much pads can and do affect the frequency response. With the Hifiman HE-500, it’s crazy how different pads sound from each other because of the different materials and sealing to the cup. You can get a huge dip at around 2kHz if you use leather or sheepskin pads from Dekoni. Surely a company like Sennheiser who has measured and tested everything with stock pads made sure they perform best with those intended pads. That’s why most do not like the HD600 series headphones with aftermarket pads, because the tuning was purposely done on those specific velour pads. Once you introduce other pads, you have to account for the amount of air they let through or seal off, the thickness of the pads, the material, shape, and how all those factors will result in sound reflections and other artifacts.
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,179
Likes
2,692
Location
UK
What are you trying to say? That EQ don't make a difference?
He's probably saying that the EQ that Amir devised is based on a wholly unique pad/headphone combo that differs so much from the stock frequency response that the EQ would therefore be totally invalid in terms of improving a stock 598 (and probably any 598 out there, almost) - therefore "expectation bias" rather than "true improvement", could be a logical extension. But it doesn't matter, the guy that used Amir's EQ did so in good faith, everyone can suffer from expectation bias and especially if you don't have a frame of reference of other headphones (EQ'd to Harman) for instance.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
10,141
Likes
22,333
Location
The Neverlands
Then creating an EQ profile for that kit assembled in a shoe box, and people using that profile for that same model kit but in the MDF cabinet it was acoustically designed for, then them repeating the exact same subjective impressions of 'improved spatial qualities' despite the resultant frequency responses after EQ being completely different between the shoe box speaker and proper cabinet speaker. Then others chiming in that expectation bias has nothing to do with it. Ha, wouldn't that be ridiculous?

I decided to incorporate Amir's EQ into Oratory's plot of the HD598SE (on the same rig as Amir) and drew a (very amateuristic) approximation of what you may have heard.
Amir EQ on HD598.png


Based on the blue trace I would describe the resulting sound as.
Better subbass, no more boomy lower mids but tight bass, much more clarity and forward sound more intelligible voices and instruments and better treble. The increased 1.5kHz will add to the sense of better imaging (lets call this the Grado effect but sans the sharp treble :D)

I don' t think you're wrong preferring this over the stock sound but would recommend you also give oratory's EQ a chance.
You may not like it as much but that may be preference in your case.
You can now, based on the blue line change the EQ and see if it improves a bit more
 

Robbo99999

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
3,179
Likes
2,692
Location
UK
I decided to incorporate Amir's EQ into Oratory's plot of the HD598SE (on the same rig as Amir) and drew a (very amateuristic) approximation of what you may have heard.
View attachment 138300

Based on the blue trace I would describe the resulting sound as.
Better subbass, no more boomy lower mids but tight bass, much more clarity and forward sound more intelligible voices and instruments and better treble. The increased 1.5kHz will add to the sense of better imaging (lets call this the Grado effect but sans the sharp treble :D)

I don' t think you're wrong preferring this over the stock sound but would recommend you also give oratory's EQ a chance.
You may not like it as much but that may be preference in your case.
You can now, based on the blue line change the EQ and see if it improves a bit more
(Yes, in light of what's been discussed in this thread about this review, definitely better to use the Oratory EQ, @Madlop26 )
 

Madlop26

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
20
Likes
24
He's probably saying that the EQ that Amir devised is based on a wholly unique pad/headphone combo that differs so much from the stock frequency response that the EQ would therefore be totally invalid in terms of improving a stock 598 (and probably any 598 out there, almost) - therefore "expectation bias" rather than "true improvement", could be a logical extension. But it doesn't matter, the guy that used Amir's EQ did so in good faith, everyone can suffer from expectation bias and especially if you don't have a frame of reference of other headphones (EQ'd to Harman) for instance.
Very valid point, and i knew the limitations of using Amir EQ with a HD598 with the original stock pads, it may not work, but anyways i tried it and i can hear a huge improvement. Yes i am not and expert in this area, that boominess they are talking about? I was oblivious to it, after 12 year of using this headphones on and off, but when they point out the issue, it was clear in my face and yes i compare to my other headphones which clearly do not have the issue (K371, Focal Elex, aenon DT). i was wondering how the heck I never realize this...yeah oh well...just an aficionado here
 
Top Bottom