Part of the brand new Sennheiser 5 Series, and the penultimate model in that lineup, the HD 579 retails for a cool $199. But how does it stack up to the competition? And is it the headphone for you?
Sennheiser HD 579 Review
To my relief, the 579 comes with a 3.5mm adapter plug – a point of contention in my review of the cheaper, less-impressive HD 559. But apart from this adapter plug and a warranty booklet, the HD 579 is surprisingly light in the way of accessories.
The 10 ft (3 m) removable cable is thick and robust, and the headphones, despite a plastic construction, are equally solid. Thick pleather padding on the headband, in conjunction with deep velour padding on the earcups, provides astound comfort and helps to block out some ambient noise, despite the fact that these headphones utilize an open-back design.
Frequency Range: 15-28,500 Hz
Impedance: 50 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 106 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.2%
The frequency range is similar to the more expensive HD 599, but without the extensive high end. The impedance and volume, though, remain the same between the two models. Clarity sits just a notch below that of the 599, but it’s still pretty impressive.
The low end of the HD 579 offers tight, well-controlled bass with plenty of impact and minimal bleeding. Male vocals remain distinct even among tricky instrumentation, and the level of contrast and articulation is commendable.
Similar to the HD 599, the 579 seems to exhibit just a shade of compression in the upper mids – though it still seems better than that on the 599. Perhaps that imperfect was due to an extended upper end of the frequency range, but the cleaner sound on the HD 579’s midrange is welcome if puzzling.
Almost bright with good detail, the high end on the HD 579 may not deliver every nuance a track has to offer, but the sound remains well-controlled and free of piercing or screeching flaws. To be sure, it’s nowhere near as detailed or bright as the high end on the 599, but for the price, this is one rich high end.
Soundstage on the HD 579 features impressive placement and decent depth. While I can close my eyes and sense instruments around me occupying individual spaces, the music can, at times, feel downright oppressive – as though bearing down on me from a few feet away.
The Sennheiser HD 579 offers as much detail as the more-expensive HD 599, but with a flatter sound and a cleaner midrange. Despite the relaxed high end and sometimes-lackluster soundstage, I’d still say it’s the most impressive 5 Series headphone for critical listening.
If you prefer low lows and high highs, or if you’re a rock or hip hop aficionado, you may want to skip the HD 579 in favor of the more dynamic HD 599.
However, if you’re in the market for more of an analytical sound, the HD 579 is probably your best bet – or should at least be on your list of headphones to try. For classical and jazz music, this may be the better option, though a close second and third might be the Grado SR225 or the AKG K612, respectively.
Offering much of the same pros as the HD 599 at a cheaper price, the HD 579 offers a relaxed, almost-flat sound that’s perfect for critical listening. Is there any reason not to buy this headphone?
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