Sennheiser HD580

The HD580 is the predecessor of the HD600 and Sennheiser’s flagship from 1993 to 1997. Orpheus HE60, HE90 and HD580 Jubilee were also produced in the mid-90s but the HD580 was the more popular product, directly following the HD540 Reference and HD560 Ovation.

It appears that four HD580 variations exist ; differences are in the production (Ireland for most HD580s, Germany for the rare early ones), drivers damping materials and minor design changes. My pair is a revision 3, made in Ireland.

○ Release : 1993
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 265g
○ Impedance : 300 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~98 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $120-150

Sound Impression
The HD580 is basically an HD600 with plastic grills and slightly inferior quality build – still very durable. They both have similar drivers and baffle design. It sounds indeed close to the HD600, but there are some minor differences. I made sure to be fair during my comparison – same pads condition, tried on same amps.

The bass is very similar between both, but the HD580 seems to be missing a bit of extension below 60hz, however the midbass is a tad cleaner, with better perceived slam. Possibly caused by a different damping behind the drivers (they have a “spider foam” stuck into plastic lids behind the magnet assembly). The midrange is again, almost identical. On some tracks the HD600 appears to be a bit forward around 3-5 khz, but difference is 1 dB at best. The HD580 still remains a midrange king with its younger brothers.

The treble is where differences are discernible. The HD600 is snappier sounding, but sharper around 8-9 khz by a few dbs. The HD580’s treble sits between the HD600 and HD650. I have a preference for the HD600 in that area – more elevated but seems better extended and resolving. Dynamics, micro-details, soundstage, imaging … pretty much the same between both. The HD600 might have the edge because of the treble, but that’s about it.

The HD580 reminds me of an HD650 without the mid-bass / lower-mids warmth and slightly more present treble. In short, the HD650 is the warmest of the bunch, the HD600 the (relatively) brightest, while the HD580 is in the middle. Like the HD600/650s, the HD580 is a fantastic value and has been the mid-fi king for over 25 years.

 

Measurements & Resources

The response of the HD580 is exemplary. Almost perfect, except the low-bass roll-off.

2 Comments

  • Anthony

    Hi,
    Fond HD-530 memories… I owned a pair of these back when they debuted in Australia. As a teenager I’d saved my pennies for the purchase of a pair of Sennheiser HD-540’s. The HD-530’s had just been released (600ohm variant) Christmas ~1986? at my local HIFI store. I compared (A-B tested) the stores HD-540’s with the newer HD-530’s using my private and mainly Jazz/Classical/Ambient/String/Wind instruments CD collection at the time. I loved the HD-530’s. I purchased these instead of the HD-540’s with some change left over.
    I particularly liked the detail, amazing wide soundstage and vocal airiness and precise instrument placement. I believed the BASS to be ample subsonic and extended. Highs also. Although I read otherwise elsewhere. Andreas Vollenweider – Caverna Magica, White Winds and newly released Down To The Moon… Absolutely sang through these phones on a relatively new Onkyo Integra C-700 CD player. Those were the days. I had many years of pleasure from these headphones although the pleather foam surrounds needed replacing every few years until my phones were stolen a few years back. I urgently require a replacement set. Any new Sennheiser or sonically equivalent recommendations. Would I be be disappointed with the newer DROP + Sennheiser series – 58X, 6XX, 8XX. I never listened to a pair of HD-580’s arriving some years latter. Are these better than the HD-540’s for my tastes? I don’t get to visit HI-FI stores these days, living in country N.S.W. A replacement must exhibit detail, amazing wide soundstage and vocal airiness and precise instrument placement. I have listened to a pair of Sennheiser electrostatics headphones twice at some Victorian-Melbourne and NSW-Sydney Suburban HI-END_WANKER_AUDIOPHILE_STORE – prohibitively expensive though. Your thoughts please. Best wishes,

    • titanosk

      Hello Anthony, thank you for the message.

      1) I would say the HD580 is a better sounding headphone than the HD540. More refined sound with better bass and treble, more detail but less spacious soundstage.

      2) If you are looking for great detail and wide soundstage with lots of airiness, I would recommend you the Sennheiser HD800S. It is definitely expensive but it has probably the best imaging, placement and stage you can find in a pair of headphones. Some Stax electrostatic headphones are also quite good, like the SR-L700.
      The HD58X, 6XX, 600 and 650 have great tonality but are a bit closed-in and intimate sounding, they are not detail monsters. The HD800S is definitely on another level and the most resolving headphone under $2000.

      Best regards,
      Jean

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