Sennheiser HD 580 (headphones)

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These are high-quality headphones, designed for comfort and (relatively) easy repair. I think they might be discontinued, but you can still find them refurbished.

User Comments

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Tripecac (Travis Emmitt)

I bought my Sennheiser HD 580s on 2000-06-06 for $195.

First off, I want to say that these are my favorite headphones. They're great sounding, comfortable, and relatively easy to fix.

Okay, now I'm gonna go off on a tangent and talk about how I found them. This is mostly of interest to people who are themselves hunting for headphones.

Wanted: Good Headphones

Back in 2000 I was wondering: which headphones should I get? I wanted a pair I could use for recording, listening to CDs, and watching DVDs. I had a rough idea for requirements:

  • great sounding - obviously, they need to sound dramatically better than my old headphones
  • comfortable - wearable for hours at a time
  • snug - I want that immersive, "you are there" feel that I only get w/ really snug headphones
  • slender - I want to lie on the couch w/ them and watch DVDs

Wrong turns

Roland RH-50
($35) I bought these when I got my Korg Triton. I wanted a cheap, decent pair that was a step up from in-the-ear phones. Unfortunately, these have wimpy treble and sound worse than the $20 in-the-ear headphones I wore at work.
Lesson learned: Don't skimp. Don't buy something that you know you'll have to replace before you can be happy and productive. I didn't need these to "tide me over" because I already had a bunch of other headphones at home. These were a terrible purchase!
Sony ???
($150) I brought home the best-sounding headphones I could find at Crutchfield, which is a slightly higher-end version of Circuit City. The Sonys sounded great, especially when plugged directly into my Triton, but they were too big. There was no way to get them to fit snugly - I even tried wearing hats over them and tying a belt around my head, but they were just too big and loose to wear comfortably. They were also too bulky to use as lie-down headphones for watching DVDs.
Lesson learned: Comfort is key. No matter how good headphones sound, if they don't fit well, you're not going to enjoy wearing them, so take them back.
Sennheiser HD 580
($250) Crutchfield had some discontinued Sennheiser headphones. I tried them on and the fit was awesome! I loved the feel and snugness of the "fuzzy" ear cushions; plus, the set was flat enough so that I could lie down with them. However, Crutchfield didn't have any decent demo CDs, so I didn't buy them. Good thing, because the next day I found the same pair online for much less; see below!
Lesson learned: Shop around! I was lucky that Crutchfield failed to provide me a decent demonstration of these headphones; if their service had been better, I would have paid the $250!

Right turn

Sennheiser HD 580 w/ DSP
($195) I bought these from, my favorite online store. Check out the price difference! These are the same headphones as the ones at Crutchfield, but were bundled with a Dolby DSP kit, which is used for simulating surround sound. I loved them the instant I heard them. The DSP kit died after a couple years, but I still use the headphones every day when I work on music.


I love these headphones, but still have had a few problems with them:

Dolby DSP Surround Sound / Preamp - Static

The Dolby surround/preamp DSP thingie stopped working a year or two after I bought it. The secondary headphone jack still works, but the main jack (which has the full surround features) gives me static and no signal.

I tried to fix it several times. I downloaded the wiring diagraph and even bought tools to try to diagnose the problem, but never got it to work. Sennheiser said it's out of warrantee, so I guess I'm out of luck.

Broken Cable

I think I snagged the headphone cable on my swivel chair. The wire near the connection to the headphone got broken somehow; the signal was intermittent.

I bought 3 replacement cables. They were about $30 each. This was an expensive but easy fix.

Low-Frequency Distortion

While working on my new album, I started noticing buzzing in the right ear whenever I played low frequencies. The buzzing occured even at low volumes, and I've never played the HD 580s very loud, so it's not like I was "maxing them out" or anything.

I called Sennheiser and they said I could replace the "driver element" for around $60. I asked them how I could open up the headphone to see what would be mailed to me. A tech guy told me how to open the headphone. I noticed a bunch of dust and hairs, and he told me how to clean it.

Cleaning helped. The buzzing went down, a lot. Through my testing, I also found out that my current Triton template was causing all my headphones and speakers to distort (at least a little), not just the HD 580s. So, I lowered the reverb on my bass, and the buzzing went away. A-ha.

So, false alarm, I guess. We'll see if the buzzing comes back.

I'm glad the Sennheiser tech guy was honest.


Don't be scared off by the problems I listed, or deterred by the long-winded biographical info. I had the wrong turn / right turn stuff on the main "gear" page and needed to move it somewhere, and figured this was as good a page as any.

Yeah, I wish these were sturdier, but hey, I love the sound and comfort, so I don't mind having to troubleshoot now and then. As a computer user, I'm used to having to deal with "bumps" in the road.

These are excellent headphones. I hope I can use them for another 20-50 years.