Sennheiser HD 559 – The endangered species of headphones

When people think of headphones, the mainstream kinds are what pops in their mind. The headphones they see overly advertised, the ones in music videos and the kind laying on their coffee table.

These headphones are typically wired or bluetooth and are to be used with any bluetooth enabled devices, such as phones, tablets or computers, again, mainstream.

 

The Sennheiser HD 559 are not one of those, they are a pair of headphones designed to be used with your home entertainment system, which was initially odd that they still make those.

Introduction

These headphones are designed to complete your home entertainment system, powered by Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology including the “Ergonomic acoustic refinement” design, which channels the audio signal directly into your ears via these comfortable, classy and high quality pair of headphones.

To get into further detail, the HD 559s are open-back headphones, meaning they provide no noise cancelling or isolation. The purpose is to enjoy high quality audio via a pair of headphones that will enable you to allow an immersive listening experience, without blocking out the entire world.

The build is fully plastic with soft-touch materials, soft cushioning, and a durable signature Sennheiser design.

Technical Spec:
Impedance – 50Ω
Frequency response – 14-26,000 Hz
Sound pressure level – 108dB (1kHz/1Vrms)
Total Harmonic Distortion – <0.2% (1kHz/100dB)

The HD 559 is designed for home entertainment systems, and comes with a 3 meter long 6.3mm cable.

The Box

Sennheiser continues with their simplistic signature box design.

The box houses black Styrofoam with cut-outs for the headphones, cable and instruction manual. No carrying case or adapter for the cable.

This is where I have a bit of a rant. I get the purpose of it being designed for a home entertainment experience enhancer and all, but who still has home entertainment systems and plugs a pair of headphones into it anymore?

I, personally, do not have one and for the sake of the review, thought i’d ask around and as it turns out, I did not know a single person with a home entertainment system that had a 6.3mm port. Everyone I know uses a Smart TV with sound boxes, wireless or bluetooth speakers.

To be able to listen to the headphones to begin with, I had to purchase a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter, but you can swap out the cable entirely for a regular 3.5mm cable. Also, the one provided is 3 meters long, which if you do not need, you can swap out for a shorter one.

Buying an original will ensure you get the twist and lock feature to keep it secure.

I would recommend purchasing the cable instead of an adapter as the end is quite large and adding an adapter to that, just makes it look unnecessarily bulky and may affect wearing/carrying the headphones. Plus, the adapter I bought managed to die after a few days.

What I do not get is why Sennheiser did not provide this in the box? Also, why no carrying or protective case/bag?

The Build

There is no denying that Sennheiser did an awesome job in making this pair of headphones look and feel premium in every way possible.

It is all plastic, but where needed, they have thickened the plastics and overall, it feels a lot sturdier than it looks. It has sufficient flex for wearing, removing without any damages to the build and has no noises or creeks.

It does not fold which may mean storage might be a little of a pain, especially if you plan on carrying these around in a bag.

Overall construction is solid, headband extenders providing a satisfying click ensuring it wont move about when in use.

The padding on the ear-cups and headband are super soft, very cushiony and comfortable. The only feedback I would have on this very type of cushion is that they are hard to keep clean as dirt loves to get in and stick.

One important thing to mention with headphones is the “clamp”. Some headphones, even if extremely comfortable can be tiring to wear as the pressure on both sides of the head is too much. The HD 559 has a little more clamping pressure than I would like, but if I extend the headband a little it does loosen up, and I’d hope with time this clamping would reduce too – not a deal-breaker but preference.

The HD 559 is also very decent and understated to wear, and does not shout out for any attention.

The final part of wearing the headphones is how long can you wear these for. The answer to that question is, quite a long time. Being that the headphone design is open back, it allows not only for noise to enter and exit but also air, which keeps these headphones ventilated and cool with long periods of wear.

The Audio

With quite a bit of positives and negatives, it all comes down to the quality of the audio.

To start off, these headphones are open-back, which means audio freely and clearly moves around you. Yes, they are directed to your ears with Sennheiser’s Ergonomic acoustic refinement design but they come through clearly and openly. This gives a different audio experience as you also hear the whole world around you.

Oh, keep in mind, the world around you can hear your audio too!

The audio quality in these headphones is very good. I would say it is as good as it can get for its price tag of about 150$.

Clarity is very high, and would be extremely good for audio with a lot of vocals. Simple music, movies, and less complex entertainment. This, after all, is the main focus of the headphones, to give your home entertainment systems the ability to bring amazing audio closer to your ears.

These headphones are focused mainly on the lows and mids, providing the best details, clarity and bass.

Bass does come in quite thick, not punchy and lacks a little detail, so bass heavy audio or music, would not be as impressive as bass focused headphones, or headphones typically in the mainstream these days.

One element important in headphones is if they put you in the middle of what you’re listening to. Do you feel you’re in the music track or movie, or listening to it via headphones? The HD 559 does a good job of this fortunately.

Overall

I enjoyed listening to music and watching movies with these headphones, feeding audio from my laptop, smartphone and tablet. They were comfortable, immersive and provided great sound, which is fantastic for Sennheiser’s entry-level home audio headphones.

It is not all perfect as you’ll need to live through several quirks such as it being an open back providing no privacy and no total immersion, having to use an adapter or purchasing another cable and living some design concerns.

I would recommend giving these a try, along with the rest of the headphones within the price range to see if its worth steering away from the mainstream or not.

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