Sennheiser HD 558 Review


  • The HD 558's are insanely neutral sound signature, they focus almost evenly on the mids and highs with really strong and detailed bass to back it up
  • These headphones can handle all types of music due to its neutrality in its sound signature
  • Open design on these headphones make anything you listen to appear like it is coming from outside the headphone
  • Life-like acoustics
  • Airy bass (perfect for bass guitar reproduction)  due to open design


  • The HD 558 are not designed for portability in any way this is shown by how Sennheiser made these headphones:
    • Open design leaks more noise out and lets more noise in (not enough so that louder volume can't compensate for but still can be a tad annoying)
    • The jack is 6.3mm and the adapter is huge so if you have a case for your player, it may get in the way
    • The cable of the headphones are 3m long, so if you want a shorter cable, I suggest you use a cable tie or something to keep it bound (avoid rubber bands, they can damage the cable due to the pressure it outputs) 
    • Fails to produce impacting sub woofer-like bass without assistance(bass booster)

This was the first pair of audiophile headphones that I owned (not the first one that I used, but the first for me to own).

So my school laptop is just horrible when it comes to sound card and cant bring the colour and detail out of these headphones but the output is perfect for these headphones, what i noticed when these headphones are properly powered are these headphones are LOUD!!!

The first thing you would notice about these headphones would be how comfortable they are, followed by how little noise they block out, the annoying 6.3mm jack and the 3m cable. All the characteristics of a pair of headphones that is meant for studio use. 

Sound Frequency Chart

The Overall Sound:

the sound of these headphones will definitely sound familiar and it sounds very much like the time i tried on my friend's HD 555's mainly focusing on the mids, highs and the treble and detailed bass without the bloating (some of my friends get ticked off at that [but they use the Beats Studio so its understandable]). But for those who used the HD 555 will notice that the 558's are actually more dynamic in sound/has better soundstage, not sounding as flat as its predecessor.  This headphone has a fairly neutral sound signature that leans towards the brighter side of the sound spectrum. This headphone focuses mainly on the mid tones with strong highs and detailed bass to support it.


these headphones are rather neutral headphones leaning towards the brighter side, in this review, I use the word neutral because it is within the range where none of the tones seem to be overpowered, drowned out, or too soft to be audible, I mean it is a near balance between the three tones (highs, mids and lows). These headphones truly accel at the highs. The first thing you would notice is these headphones make vocals seem like they are coming from outside the headphone and acoustic sounds sound like they're coming from a guitar about a meter away from you.


OK big improvements here, there isn't that gap I've noticed with the 555's and they have made the mids on these headphones to really stand out on these headphones (but not so that it can sound overpowering) the mids are just as detailed as the highs but are more "background" then some other headphones. Persecution instruments are more background then instruments like vocals and occasionally cymbals, while higher mids like electric guitars and similar digital noise (such as the intro of Don't Talk to Strangers by Hedley) stick out brilliantly right behind the vocals.


These headphones almost hit the bass sweet-spot for many songs where you both feel and hear the bass. But saying this I find these headphones rather bass-lacking for some songs like Flo Rida's Low where sub woofer bass impact is needed to make the song really enjoyable, that is without bass booster which I generally dislike for distorting the rest of the song to increase the impact of the bass. Having said that you shouldn't expect teenage sub woofer bass performance bass from these headphones without any personal tweaking. Pardon the contradicting statements but I am nowhere close to lying when I say these headphones almost hit the sweet-spot of bass. These headphones are absolutely amazing at recreating a bass guitar's sound, unlike most closed and semi-opened (with a small hole) you get an airy bass guitar sound which is almost essential for a bass guitar to sound like a low guitar and not a low sub woofer-like sound. As I have previously mentioned in my headphone 101, bass is usually traded off depending on the type of headphone you go with.


These headphones have the strong treble of the Sennhieser soundstage clear, detailed and very apparent. This was probably the first thing I noticed about these headphones was how clear, detailed and realistic the treble sounded on these headphones even on an unamped iphone. i find that on a few rare moments in about 5 songs in my 2000 song library that the treble can even sound a tad overpowering covering tiny hints of the mids or highs. For those who don't like listening to the cymbals as much, and on a few rare occasions, even more then the drum, these headphones may not be for you

foam mod

Ok my friend did the foam mod on his pair of 558's so I decided to give them a try. This mod helps a lot with the bass and it is something bass-heads might want to try. But the downside of this mod is a small loss of control in the highs, mids and bass. I have been noticing some notes are not as vivid, i will do this mod again to confirm this but i want to get some adequate equipment first.

The infamous cracks

Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is almost totally reliant on when you get them. Sennheiser has had constant problem with their 5xx series headbands and the same applies to the early 558's. My HD 558 were purchased early December and the cracks started in late March, I swear I was flipping out. But Sennheiser has claims to have fixed the problem in the stocks that arrive in June (depends ultimately on your store). The new material is supposedly more rubbery as opposed to the old brittle plastic that cracks when stressed too much, but I can't confirm this until I get my HD 558's repaired. On the side you can see a picture of the cracks as they start. The best way to tell if you have this problem is you hear a cracking sound as you move the headphone joint it makes it really obvious that there is a problem.

Overall Impressions

Well when I re-wrote/revised this review I totally forgot about this section. So I'm writing this now after my HD 558's are gone so I have the funds to acquire the HD598's for a comparison between the two. Anyways, these headphones are a dream to listen to and can make even the crappiest of sources (like an iPhone/iPod or on-board sound card) sound amazing. The low impedance makes it drivable by just about anything and comfort is near god-like with it's velour ear pads. These headphones will have a fairly familiar sound signature to anyone who has enjoyed the HD 555's but with more dynamic and dimensional sound and a sweet looking colour scheme. For you new to high end headphones or for those of you who stuck with Beats, Skullcandy or Bose, I really recommend getting these headphones to get you started with high end audio.


 Bad quality but better then nothing

My simple cable tie solution
The odd 6.3mm jack and the 3.5mm adapter

Picture of the headphones before they came out of the box


 Things to take note of:

Tranducer type: dynamic
Operating principle: open air
Frequency Response: 15-28,000 Hz

Impedance: 50 ohms
Cable Length and Termination: 3m cable 6.3mm (3.5mm jack included)

Website: Sennheiser

Facebook: Sennheiser on Facebook

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