Review: Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones

Bought this headphone over winter break. I’ve been breaking it in and listening to lots of music over the past month, so I think it’s a good time to do a review on why it’s just plain awesome.

Quick background: I’m far from an audiophile, but I do enjoy listening to music, and I appreciate good sound quality. I bought a pair of Klipsch S4 earbuds a while back for portable music listening, and it hasn’t failed to disappoint.

I’m pretty skeptical of headphones made by Bose and Beats, not because they’re bad headphones, but because I think they’re definitely overpriced for the sound and overhyped.

Okay, so on to the actual headphones. The Sennheiser HD 558 is one of the nicest-looking Sennheisers I’ve seen. It’s the successor to the highly-regarded HD 555, and the build quality and design have definitely seen some big improvements.

This headphone is made of high-quality plastic, so it’s lighter than expected. I’ve been using it at home daily, and I can see it lasting for years to come.

The HD 558 ranks high up in comfort. The ear pads and headband cushion are of a soft velour material, and I can wear it for hours on end without having to take it off.

Sound is where the HD 558 truly shines. Absolutely amazing sound quality, where you can hear the individual layers of instrumentation and the smallest details of the music. Actually threw me off, because I would hear new details in songs I’ve listened to hundreds of times.

The sound is considered very balanced, with good-sounding highs, mids, and lows. Great for a variety of music genres, but don’t expect overwhelming bass.

Now, for some things to keep in mind. These are open headphones, meaning they don’t cancel out sound. But if you’re home (which I assume you’ll be, as these are not portable headphones), it’s not a problem.

There’s also a burn-in period of around 100 hours to get the best possible sound – most headphones require this, and you can just play them out of the box, and the sound will actually get better the more you use them.

I paired the HD 558 with a FiiO E5 portable headphone amplifier, which improves the volume and sound slightly more. It’s not required – the headphone sounds great out of the box, but I thought the E5 would be a good complement to the headphone.

In short, the Sennheiser HD 558 is the best headphone I’ve ever owned, hands down. I look forward to using it every day, and it has increased my appreciation for music.

If you’re looking for high sound quality, amazing comfort, and great design at a fraction of the price of better-known headphones, the HD 558 will more than suffice.

Music and life at

  1. December 6, 2012

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