Sennheiser HD580 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Sennheiser Model HD580
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 260 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 300 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 12 - 38000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$160
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 5.9 Bass Impact 5.6
Bass Quality 6.4 Mids Quality 6.6
Highs Quality 6.4 Soundstage 7.3
Detail 6.6 Portability 1.8
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 7.0
Durability 6.1 Improvement With Amplification 7.5
Value for Money 8.3    
Overall Score 6.6 Total Reviews 8

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member muzikluver83 on 04 Sep 08  18:36
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability5
Value9

Now this review of the HD580 is with an upgraded Stefan AudioArt Equinox Cable ($200), which improves its bass quality, impact, and extension. Without the cables, this section would be mediocre at best, but the cable really does clarify in this department and bring it forward. The quality of mids and highs are improved dramatically. I am probably most impressed with the soundstage on these headphones. Even without the cable upgrade, the soundstage was pretty good, but with the upgraded cable, it is pretty close to actual live sets. This is even more noticeable when you listen to live jazz or classical music. I have had these headphones for 4 years and they are the most comfortable headphones I have had or tried. This is, of course, a matter of preference, but the paddings are quite soft and you really forget you have headphones on. The durability is pretty good, but it all depends on how well you maintain it. It is not the most sturdiest compared to some of the other headphones out there, but if you maintain it well, it should keep fine like mine. I currently listen through my Musical Fidelity X-Can V3 and it adds a lot to the sound. The mids and highs quality would go up to excellent with the added amp. These headphones should really be used with an amp, it adds color and variety to the sound and the HD lines should really be powered by an amp to get the full flavor of the headphones. Thus, I have rated these headphones with the upgraded cable, amp, and kimber kable for mini to rca transfer. This rig is sub-$1000, but it truly does sound like a several thousand dollar sound system.

Review by Senior Member tdogzthmn on 20 Nov 07  16:22
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability5
Value8

Great pair of cans, sound awesome with a cable upgrade

Review by Senior Member j-pak on 29 Aug 07  09:06
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality5
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality6
Detail6
Comfort8
Durability5
Value9

Equipment at the time of review:

Source: North Star M192 DAC, M-Audio Transit (lineout to portable amp)
Amplification: Melos SHA-1, Maxed M^3, MisterX XP-mini
Other headphones: AKG K1000, Audio Technica L3000, Grado HF-1

The Sennheiser HD580 are balanced headphones (not balanced design, I'm referring to the frequency response), and offer great performance for how little they cost. They handle every genre of music well without any glaring flaws. They have an airy, open quality that is very addictive and enjoyable. Everything in its frequency response is average to good; they do lack the lowest bass, and high frequency extension isn't the best. They are surprisingly detailed for an entry level/mid-fi headphone. The soundstage is very good in the under $200 range (soundstage does lack depth), but imaging is fuzzy. The HD580 has a "laid back" quality that might not suit everyone's listening tastes.

Comfort is very good, even without bending the headphone I don't experience any of the "Sennheiser clamp". They scale well with better source and amplification but sound fine out of basic portable amps (as long as they are using powerful opamps). Once you replace the plastic grills with HD600 "screened" grills the headphones are also very attractive. Not the last word in build quality as I have experienced the headband snapping under normal use.

My only gripe is they have to be played slightly louder than I'm comfortable with in order to really wake them up. Still a bargain and my favorite headphones under $200.

Review by Senior Member Jigglybootch on 24 Jan 06  18:40
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail6
Comfort9
Durability8
Value9

All-in-all, this is a great pair of cans, but they need good amplification to sound their best. These aren't the best cans for those looking for a fast, bright, and/or hard-hitting sound. These are more laid-back, but still, in my opinion, can do rock and metal very well so long as you have a good amp. If you prefer a darker, more laid-back sound (as I do), these will suit your taste very well. But once again, I must stress that when unamped, you won't be getting the most out of them. Depending on the source, when using them unamped these cans tend to sound muddy and "veiled." Good amplification will cure this, but there are some individuals who will still tell you that they are veiled headphones.

If you want a good, all-round performing can for various genres and plan to have good amplification and a good source, this can will do very well. But if you are a big time rocker and/or metalhead, these cans probably won't appeal to you very much, amped or not. These are laid-back cans, and will suit laid-back music much better, but they are still very capable cans for just about any genre.

Review by Senior Member fewtch on 05 Nov 05  22:48
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail5
Comfort6
Durability8
Value10

I've owned a pair of HD580s since 2003, and for over a year I owned both the HD580 and HD600 at the same time. Sadly, I had to sell the HD600s to pay some bills, but was able to keep the 580s. I wouldn't part with them for anything.

The HD580s are just a crazy bargain, as far as I'm concerned. A great introduction to headphone high-end sound that may end up being a stopping point for some folks as well. At the price they go for ($150 or so, around $100 used) you really can't go wrong, unless you're a heavy metal nut. Unfortunately, since they're so inexpensive there's been a large number of people buying these to listen to metal/rap, in many cases unamped. This has skewed the perception of sound quality downward, in my opinion. The 580 is really not a good headphone for hard & heavy listening, nor is it worth the money getting one without an amp (even a Cmoy will do). Make no mistake about it, these are high fidelity headphones and in no way are "mid-fi."

HD580 is commonly believed to sound nearly identical to the HD600, but I have not found that to be the case. The major difference lies in the area of dynamic range -- with very dynamic music, the HD600 is just worlds better. However, the 580 is no slouch in this department. HD600 is also blacker overall, and blacker between notes. Tonally, the two headphones are practically identical. It's worth noting that they both use the same drivers, but earcup design is a bit different, as are the grilles.

If you're a classical music listener on a budget, you've found your dream headphone in the HD580. Film soundtrack listeners (and by extension, movie watchers) should also love these cans.

Review by Senior Member SDA on 31 Mar 05  11:29
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality6
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability7
Value7

The HD580 is the cheapest and oldest of the 580/600/650 line, and as expected it also sounds worst of all of them. That said, it does sound almost identical to the HD600 (and should sound exactly identical with HD600 grilles, although I've only done stock comparisons) and costs considerably less. I would expect any MAJOR individual rating differences between the two to be due to the different people rating them, as they are very similar in all categories.

Bass extension is actually very good, but partially masked by a shallow midbass hump. Bass is not very impactful (certainly not in Grado territory), but is of good quality overall. I'd describe the bass as soft and warm, and arguably a shade bloated (depends on what you're used to). It's fairly well-controlled, but won't feel that way to some ears because of its nature.

Mids are nice to my ears, but tend to sink into the background. I agree with spike33 that these don't do female vocals well, and I also think they're not very good with most guitars.

Highs are detailed, but noticeably recessed. It's hard for me to give an overall rating on highs quality, because your view on brightness will have an enormous effect on how you perceive these headphones. If you do like dark headphones, then you'll probably react positively to how these headphones handle treble.. but if you don't, stay far away. On the bright side (no pun intended), I don't think I've ever heard these be sibilant.

Don't even think about wearing these outdoors. They can take knocks pretty well, especially for headphones with a lot of plastic on them, but they're extremely bulky and ugly. That picture up there doesn't do the color justice, as they're actually more of a dark cyan in color. Dark cyan is one of the ugliest colors known to man. You've been warned.

Comfort: when you first get these, they will probably clamp down on your head like a vise. If you give them time, though (putting them on books works, stretching them out does too but is not recommended), they loosen up and get very cushy and comfortable.

Like the HD600 and HD650, they also react very well to gear upgrades. The downside to this is that you'll definitely hear any bad equipment in the chain, and they won't be anywhere near as good as they could be with an amp. This makes them somewhat difficult to recommend in general, because most people just entering the hobby won't have very good equipment and most people who have been around for a while will want to consider the HD650 instead. Of course, the HD580 (or any good headphone, but I digress) unamped out of a receiver will probably sound far better than what people with no hi-fi experience are used to.

My advice: try before you buy (of course). Failing that, buy them used (but reasonably close to new, as the pads get too mushy after a few years) so that you can resell them without much loss if you don't like them. The HD580 isn't really a love-hate headphone, but there are still plenty of people on both sides of the fence.

Review by Senior Member spike33 on 20 Mar 05  00:42
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality5
Detail7
Comfort5
Durability7
Value7

Great bargain entry level hifi headphone. These can be had for less than $150, sometimes as low as $100 so they are a great deal for anyone starting out in audiophile world.

They were not as laid back as I expected, but I did feel there was a 'veil.' Bass extension is lacking, has a decent amount of punch but can be a bit boomy. Highs were slightly rolled off. Mids were ok, does not do justice to female vocals.

They definately need to be driven by an amp. When I tested them using only soundcard, they sounded very muddy/bloated. With amp, they sounded alot better. Build quality is solid but the plastic grill looks ugly. There's quite a bit of clamp so after an hour or so, I have to take them off.

They're nice all arounders, does every type of music well and has alota space between the notes, excelling in classical. The main reason I got rid of these was that they lacked emotion, vocals were plain flat.

Overall, a great starter can but I doubt anyone will be ultimately satisfied with these.

Review by Senior Member Ma1vad0 on 25 Feb 05  22:39
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality5
Detail5
Comfort4
Durability4
Value7

About two or three months ago I purchased the HD580ís and spent a week or two burning them in. These are now my main headphones for home use and I have been using them for months. What stands out the most with these headphones is the value compared to the rest of the Sennheiser line. Using the same drivers as the HD600ís these headphones perform very well for the price and they also improve quite a bit with an amp, so the price leaves you room to put some money into a decent amp.

Another one of the features I look highly upon with these headphones is the great soundstage. I have used these headphones for DVDís, Gaming, Dolby encoded music videos. They have never once failed to produce a realistic and clear soundstage.

The bass on the HD580ís is a bit soft so if youíre really into a much stronger bass I suggest going with Beyer Dynamic headphones instead of these. Even though the bass isnít one of the greatest features with these headphones you can still expect a crisp bass.

As for the durability of the HD580ís I found them to be a pretty sturdy but I have come across a problem where the outer plastic shell over the driver tends to fall out if you bump them or move them around too much. Other then that small problem I expect these headphones to last me a very long time.

These headphones are great for someone who wants to get into the audiophile scene but doesnít want to spend too much money.

Sennheiser HD580