HD580 review by Flux

*posted with permission*

Sennheiser HD580 Open-back dynamic driver: Price varies, although allegedly priced at $349 in 1994
For those who care about baffles, this is a raised plate white paper variant of the hd580
For my personal compensation curve, I find "IEF neutral" to be most applicable in this day and age

The 580 has older plastics for hardware, while also feeling a bit sturdier compared to the modern Sennheisers (including the 2019 hd600 and hd650). The pair weighs in at 253g on a kitchen scale from the grocery store. Velour pads are direct from Sennheiser in the era of the HD660S pad revision, one revision before the currently available Sennheiser pads.

Bass (0-250 Hz):
On higher end systems, I find the HD580 (580) performs quite well for my perceived extension. It does not feel like it extends down to 20 Hz with the same strength of one of my favorite headphones for this category, that being the LCD4, but the extension into the sub-bass is quite good for the headphone being an open-back dynamic driver. there is a bit of a midbass hump present here on the white paper, but I find it has the most significant roll-off at about 120Hz down to our limits of hearing. Leads to the bass being most similar in my experience to a very natural bookshelf-sized loudspeaker. There's noticeable bass impact and decay, but also a warmth that helps in making this particular 580 easier to stomach than the silk variants of the 600 and 650. I recall being disappointed in the bass of the 6x0 on the budget stacks from JDS, Schiit, and the 789/SU8 v2 combo.

Midrange (250-4000 Hz):
In a word, impeccable. It's the primary reason for why so many folks love these Sennheisers and why there are folks that are $20k+ deep into signal chains for a pair of headphones I once got on the used market for $90. Every single vocalist and orchestral instrument (even adapted to other genres) is judged with this headphone alone. One gripe I have with this particular pair is how there seems to be a slight elevation around 500-1000 Hz to then a slight dip (something I prefer) that starts and ends in this range (1.5-3 kHz) and averages about -3 dB from IEF Neutral in said "upper mids".

Treble (4k-10k Hz):
My particular pair measures, on an EARS graph, very similar (albeit recessed by comparison) to a silk 580. For my headphone collection, what I like, how I like to enjoy my music, this is the primary reason why I select this headphone as the reference to judge all others. This pair has anywhere from 1-2 dB less treble than the silk, and the silk I have known to be the best benchmark of 580 performance for other technical aspects I will touch on later. I like how this pair sounds relative to my personal target FR, which I'd consider to be just below IEF neutral from 4k-10k Hz. Thus, why unfortunately why I have to say that this pair is my personal endgame, but it is most certainly not what others should chase+.

+PSA to the readers:
your personal FR tolerances, your own comfort tolerances will need to determine what variant, if any, you'll like of this series.

Headstage, Imaging, Spatial Cues, Layering, etc:
Again, with the caveat of higher end systems, I find the 580 to have very nicely-sized staging relative to my ears. The layering highlighted represents a significant amount of the dac and amplifier's performance as well as the headphone. Because the gear is able to stage wide, so too does the headphone. I find that while the 580 has some imaging issues, I find there to be more issues with gear staging than there to be issues with the use of a headphone compared to speakers having a center image.

Lastly, the cons:
Pad replacement - there's only one option in my eyes, and you're subject to Sennheiser, fbow
Cables - the stock is fine, but they change and can potentially go further depending on your audio views
Used market prices, availability, condition


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