Sennheiser HD 559 Review - Affordable Audiophile Quality Headphones?

Sennheiser HD 559 Review

Sennheiser HD-559 Review

The Sennheiser HD 559 is an open backed headphone which offers audiophile quality at an affordable price.

They feature a comfortable design, durable construction, and excellent sound quality with a flat, accurate frequency response.

If you’re looking to buy a set of audiophile headphones but don’t want to spend a fortune, the HD 559 is certainly worth a look. Check out the following review to learn more.

Pros: Open backed design with audiophile level sound; comfortable; accurate response; open, immersive sound; detachable cable.
Cons: Does not include a 3.5mm adapter. You will have to supply your own if a mini plug is required; their size limits them to home, office, and studio use.

Specifications

  • Type: Open back, around ear
  • Color: Black
  • Impedance: 50 Ω
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): 108dBSPL (1kHz/1Vrms)
  • THD, total harmonic distortion: <0.2% (1kHz, 100dBSPL)
  • Frequency Range: 14- 26,000 Hz
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired

Package Contents

  • HD 559 headphones
  • 3 m cable / 6.3 mm straight plug
  • Warranty card

Comfort

Like all Sennheiser over ear headphones I have reviewed, the HD 559 is comfortable to wear for hours on end. The ear pads are soft, comfortable, and fit perfectly around your ears. The headband is also well padded and comfortable.

The headphones are well balanced and distribute their weight evenly, eliminating pressure points that often make headphones tiring to wear. If long mixing and listening sessions are your norm, this is a great set to buy.

Durability

Just as with more expensive Sennheiser products, the HD 559 is well built and durable. Aluminum voice coils provide high efficiency, incredible dynamics, and low distortion. They are designed to withstand year after year of long sessions.

If something does go wrong, however, the detachable 3 meter cable is easily replaceable, as are the ear pads. The Sennheiser HD 559 is designed to provide quality playback for years to come.

Features

The Sennheiser HD 559 features an open backed acoustic design which provides an open quality that makes you feel as though you are immersed in sound. Plus, the open design improves frequency response accuracy, preventing the buildup of frequencies that often occur in closed back designs.

The open backed design, while ideal for audiophile sound, is not ideal for tracking in the studio (so you may wish to check out these top recording studio headphones instead).

In an open backed design, sound escapes from the headphones. While recording, you don’t want sound to leak from the headphones into your microphones. For example, you don’t want the click track leaking into your vocal mic. Because of this, open backed headphones should not be used for tracking when microphones are involved.

This is not a weakness; it’s just that certain tools are designed for certain things. A closed back headphone is ideal for tracking in the studio, while an open back design is ideal for monitoring, mixing, and critical listening where precision and accuracy are required.

Sennheiser’s proprietary E.A.R. technology (Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement) channels sound directly into your ears. This creates a natural and “in the room” listening experience that many other headphones cannot provide.

The Sennheiser HD 559 is a straight ahead, simple design which offers no additional features such as inline controls or a built in microphone.

Most all of Sennheiser’s focus has been placed in accurate sound quality, and in this they excel.

Sound

Anyone familiar with the Sennheiser brand knows their commitment to quality and acoustic accuracy. The HD 559 headphones are no exception. The sound is natural, accurate, and incredibly flat for the price. This makes them a great set of headphones for mixing and editing.

When performing these tasks you need headphones which represent the sound as it really is as opposed to headphones which unnaturally color the sound. This way you can produce a mix which will accurately translate to other playback systems.

For example, if you mix a song on a pair of headphones that is weak in the bass, you will create a mix that has too much bass. It will sound great through your headphones but when you take it to your car or another playback device, the bass will be overwhelming.

On the other hand, if you mix with a pair of headphones that has too much bass, you will create a mix that doesn’t have enough low end. The mix will sound great on your bass heavy headphones, but when you listen to it on another playback system the bass will all but disappear. Therefore, it is essential to use flat headphones which provide you with an accurate reference.

The review model I tested provided quality sound that was rich and immersive, with a wide stereo spectrum. The bass was just as it should be, not overpowering, not too light, but just the way the artist intended.

Likewise, the mids are clean, clear, and vivid. In a recording, there is more information in the mids than in any other frequency area, so clear, clean mids are essential to a good headphone.

The highs are clear, present, and shimmering, without being thin or fatiguing. The highs are not boosted or hyped, they are just as the artist and mix engineer intended.

What is remarkable about the Sennheiser HD 559, however, is the sense of spaciousness they provide. You can feel the size of the room the recording took place in. There is a sense of space and depth that is amazing for a set of headphones in this price range.

Sennheiser makes audiophile headphones with prices that extend up into the thousands. Do these sound better than the HD 559? Yes, probably. But, does the HD 559 sound amazing for the price and provide a great value to those wanting audiophile headphones at an affordable price? Most definitely.

Our Verdict on Sennheiser HD 559

The Sennheiser HD 559 was a fun headphone to review.

Anyone who is looking for a great set of flat, accurate, audiophile headphones at an entry level price should definitely check these out. They feature a comfortable to wear design, quality construction, and a sound quality that is not only accurate, but is beautiful and spacious as well.

If you’re looking to move up into Sennheiser audiophile quality but don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands, the HD 559 is an excellent choice.

Whether you are mixing, editing, mastering, or just enjoying your favorite music at home, the Sennheiser HD 559 is a great buy.

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