The HD 559 is the most affordable headphone in Sennheiser’s HD-5 series. The manufacturer, from near Hanover, recommends a retail price of 99 Euros and classifies these headphones for home use, but also places them as an entry-level model in the audiophile class.
The workmanship and wearing comfort are at Sennheiser’s usual high level and the matt black design with silver-grey elements is also pleasing. However, it is clear that compared to the more expensive models, you have to accept slight compromises. For example, instead of the protective grille on the outside of the headphones, here there is only a fabric covering.
The headband of this open design is well padded. The length of the headband can be finely adjusted. The ear cups have the familiar velour padding, which can even be replaced if necessary. The cable is routed on one side via a replaceable, 3-metre cable that is sufficiently long and ends with a 6.3-mm jack plug. However, the omission of adapter to the 3.5 mm jack format is rather unnecessarily frugal.
The ear cups themselves cannot be rotated, but they can be moved slightly, which ultimately leads to a permanently comfortable and secure fit. Sennheiser can’t be fooled here. The straightforward design does not include any other extras; these headphones are obviously for use in the home and are primarily intended to be used as the output of a stereo system, but of course, they also work with any audio interface on a computer.
The basic sound impression of the HD 559 was positive and pleasing. The open design delivered a balanced sound. The bass range turned out to be a bit too hefty for my taste and didn’t completely hit the spot in terms of definition and reproduction of tonality. The midrange was well resolved and offered secure stability to vocals and central instruments. Nevertheless, I noticed a slight overemphasis in the form of a surge, which limited the delineation of the elements involved in a mix compared to more expensive designs. The midrange flatters the powerfully distorted guitars of rock music with a fullness of sound, while dense arrangements like “Nautical Twilight” by Tori Amos become a bit choppy. The dynamic reproduction is fully appropriate for the price class. The high-frequency range does without harshness. However, acoustic guitars, for example, lack brilliance and airiness. This is also evident in vocals, where fine details of articulation are somewhat lost.
Finally, the HD 559 succeeded in building up space and stereo panorama in such a way that an enveloping sound image was created. Considering the price range, I also liked the detail resolution and contour of the reproduction. Combined with the comfortable fit, it is certainly possible to enjoy music and movies.
Compared to the HD 560S, which are twice as expensive, the HD 559 has less bass, tonality and definition. At the same time, the more expensive model also covers the upper range better and literally opens up another level of airiness. The HD 560S are therefore more versatile, more balanced and with finer brushstrokes in detail resolution, differentiation, spatial imaging and dynamics. They convey the mix and the emotionality of a recording better and with less strain. Nothing surprising there.
For comparison headphones, I used the AKG K702, which have been on sale for 129 Euros for some time but actually have a higher recommended retail price. Subjectively, the Sennheiser product clearly wins the race. In terms of sound, the K702 is less powerful in the levels, but more airy and somewhat cleaner. In the bass, the AKG model was more reserved, but with improved definition. However, the HD 559 can definitely hold their own with their different tuning, which foregrounds listening pleasure and I also preferred them for listening to rock music.
The entry-level model from the HD-5 series by Sennheiser delivers a thoroughly good performance. For an attractive price of just under one hundred euros, you get a neatly manufactured, well-balanced open headphone with impressive wearing comfort, designed for home use with stereo systems. You can’t expect much more at this price. However, I do not share the manufacturer’s classification of these headphones as an audiophile product. In this respect, the evaluation is based on the price range. If you have higher demands, you should dig a little deeper into your pocket.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)14 -26.000 Hz
- Impedance50 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1 kHz/1Vrms: 108 dB
- Weight with cable217 g
- Cable length300 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with 6.3 mm jack plug