Sennheiser has been making top-of-the-line audio equipment for 70 years now, and simply put, they are one of the most renowned and respected headphone manufacturers worldwide. The Sennheiser HD 599 is the latest in their 5XX range. It’s branded as an entry-level audiophile headphone that does it all.
Whether you’re watching movies, listening to music, or anything else you’d use headphones for, the HD 599 intends to bring audiophile-level sound to the experience.
Best for home use…
They are open-back headphones. This means they are primarily designed for listening in controlled environments, which for most people would generally be at home. You can take these on the move, but if mobility is your main consideration, you’d be best off looking at other models.
So, do they live up to the hype, and are they worth spending your hard-earned cash on? Let’s take a deep dive into our in-depth Sennheiser HD 599 Review and find out…
- Open-back circumaural headphones.
- 38mm dynamic driver.
- 12 – 38,500Hz frequency response.
- 250 grams.
- Replaceable ear pads.
- Two-year warranty.
The Sennheiser HD 599 comes in two color schemes. The standard model sports ivory-colored housings, black and silver edged grills, and brown ear cups and headband. The special edition does away with the ivory and brown, replacing them with a more traditional black.
The ivory version is certainly a “love it or hate it” affair, but we actually quite like it. Although the Black and silver special edition is sure to be a winner with everyone.
Comfort and durability…
The build of the 599 is almost entirely plastic. This may be a contentious issue for some people who worry that the all-plastic construction would make them too fragile. These concerns are unwarranted. The Sennheiser HD 599 headphones are incredibly well built and durable. They are very tough and flexible in all directions.
The tough plastic construction and thick leatherette mean the headband has a real quality feel to it. Furthermore, the headband is very comfortable. Nice deep padding on the inside combined with a weight of 250 grams means basically zero discomfort, even after long periods of use. The headband adjuster has plenty of range, and it should be able to fit pretty much any sized head.
The perfect fit…
The ear cups have a small amount of vertical movement and some lateral movement to allow for even finer adjustments. The earpads are still rather soft, if not especially deep. All the same, there’s plenty of room for your ears. The drivers are nicely angled towards your ears, a standard feature with Sennheiser headphones.
Clamping force is really quite light. Likewise, when worn with glasses, you won’t find any discomfort whatsoever with the level of force. We’d almost go as far as saying that the Sennheiser HD 599 may be the single most comfortable headphones we have worn, ever.
The Sennheiser HD 599 is on the bulky side and can’t fold down to a smaller size. They also don’t come with any kind of case or carry bag. So, they may well get scratched up or potentially broken if thrown in amongst other items in a bag.
In other words, they’re not portable. And it really should be stressed again that these headphones are for domestic or basic studio use only.
The HD 599 comes with two different cables. Firstly, a 3-meter cable that ends in a 6.35mm jack plug. You can slot an accompanying 3.5mm adapter over the larger jack if you so require. However, this does result in a rather bulky construction that might be a little heavy for your average 3.5mm port.
It would make more sense to supply a 6.35mm jack adapter instead. Thankfully, the cable is nice, soft, and flexible, so no complaints about that.
Sennheiser also supplies a 1.2-meter cable with a standard 3.5mm jack on the end. The shorter cable also houses an in-line mic and remote control unit. The unit enables play/pause and track selection, also the ability to answer calls. Both cables are plugged into the headphones via a 2.5mm port with a twist to lock connection keeping everything securely in place.
The Sennheiser HD 599 is what the manufacturer describes as entry-level headphones for audiophile-level sound. This statement hits the nail on the head. They offer a very refined listening experience for what would be considered a lower-tier audiophile headphone.
The overall sound signature is very typically Sennheiser if you are familiar with what that means. They have a very impressive sound stage with a wide and natural sound thanks to the open-back design. They are certainly one of the better headphones out there when it comes to sound performance.
Balanced, not bassy…
The bass is what we would call a lean, neutral bass with plenty of warmth. Kick drums have a ton of lively energy going on. Our only complaint would be the slightly lacking sub-bass performance of the HD 599. That’s not to say that the bass isn’t present, powerful, and articulate where it’s needed. There is a decent amount of clarity and detail in the bass, but these just aren’t bass-heavy headphones.
It’s not too much of an issue for stuff like rock, pop, blues, and jazz music. However, for electronic dance music and hip-hop, they are most definitely too light on the bass. They lack that slam and thump of headphones with full extension. But this is par for the course for open-back headphones with a dynamic driver.
The mid-range is a real treat…
Lead instrumentation is bold clean, and well separated. Furthermore, vocals have a sweet and smooth quality to them. In fact, smooth is probably the best way to describe these headphones as a whole – incredibly smooth.
The trebles are respectfully restrained but still retain more than enough detail. Some might say they are a little on the bright side, but this is bright done right. Detail retrieval is top-notch and never feels at all piercing. There’s no unwanted harshness to the trebles, and once again, the word that springs to mind is smoothness.
For the Sennheiser HD 599 price range, you will be very hard pushed to find a more finely balanced and detailed set of open-back headphones. Sennheiser has delivered on this front.
It should go without saying that the HD 599 is not great at keeping unwanted noise out. This is obviously because they are open-back headphones and aren’t supposed to be worn in noisy environments.
If you do decide to take them out of the house, expect to hear everything that’s going on around you. But remember that your fellow commuters will hear everything you’re listening to as well.
Sennheiser HD 599 Review Pros and Cons
- Audiophile level sound.
- Amazingly comfortable.
- Robust and durable design.
- Relatively cheap for this level of quality.
- If we’re being fussy, the 6.35mm jack on the 3-meter cable could go.
Looking for Something Else?
Finding the right headphones has never been easier. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Lightweight Headphones, the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200, the Best Headphones Under $200, and the Best Headphones with Microphone you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Waterproof Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, and the Best Neckband Headphones currently on the market.
The Sennheiser HD 599 Review – Final Thoughts
For home listening in a quiet environment, open-back headphones really do take the audio experience to a whole new level. The Sennheiser HD 599 offers an accessible gateway into this exciting new world of audiophile-level sound, without the need to take out a second mortgage.
Once you make the leap, you’ll never be able to go back to closed-back headphones again. There isn’t much to criticize about the Sennheiser HD 599. They have a beautifully expansive sound with a relatively small price tag. And who doesn’t like that?
Until next time, happy listening.