Just wanted to post up a mini review/first impression on the Sennheiser HD558 and a thanks to the audio forum for all their advice and to @Slick for first mentioning these on the WAN show. I started researching through the web and on the forums after Slick mentioned these on the show and decided into looking at getting a new pair of headphones to replace my Siberia V2 which I loved.
With BF4 coming out soon and having a bit of money from tax return I picked up a pair of Sennheiser HD558 for $185 AUD + free express shipping. I previously mentioned on another thread that I have had experience with a lot of other headphones on account that my older brother is a DJ here in Oz and I have used a lot of headsets from guys in my gaming community and our LAN parties. Anyway I really wanted to take the next step in better audio quality and to be honest I didn't think it would make a huge difference from a "gaming" headset...I was wrong. I will say this now before anything else:
GET A GOOD PAIR OF HEADPHONES AND A MICROPHONE.
So my background with audio is mostly from highschool where I played guitar and drums with some time in a recording studio. As mentioned I have had experience with other headphones but not while gaming and have had experience with many headsets while gaming from razer, corsair, plantronics, steelseries, astros, logitech, thermaltake, etc. I have used or have had experience with atleast one or more pairs of headsets from the list of brands, this is usually from borrowing off friends or members of my gaming community for short periods of time (1-2 weeks). I am in no way an audiophile, but I did notice a huge step up in sound quality. I'm running them through my ThunderFX which some may not exactly regard as a great DAC but I have found it much better than even the onboard SupremeFX included on my Maximus V Forumla. I have also adjusted the EQ to suit my own personal preferences.
Sound Quality: Balanced / Crystal clear sound stage
The 558s are one of the best balanced all-round headphones I've used. When it comes to gaming, the sound stage is a huge benefit over many closed headphones/headsets. The clarity of sound makes it amazing for movies and particular genres of music. I predominately listen to Hardcore/Metalcore and while they don't have the bass of some Sony headphones I've used, they still give a great low end and enough bass to get those double kicks across. I would say these headphones shine particularly well with Jazz and Classical but have noticed that some bands like Karnivool have particularly good use of a wide sound stage on some of their songs which makes the experience overall with music very good but if you listen to hip hop or RnB then I'd recommend looking at some cans with more bass (not that these wouldn't suffice, just that some prefer more bass for those genres, something like the DT990).
These headphones are also great for movies. I tested them out with some action movies like the Avengers and loved the depth of clairty during action scenes. Explosions had a nice bassy thud while still having clarity at producing higher frequencies like cracks of gunfire without sounding broken. I think the immersive properties of having the sound stage also help with with some horror or thillers. They're just great all round headphones for gaming, movies and music.
Build Quality: So far, so good
Unfortunately I have not had these headphones for an extended period of time so I can't comment on it's long term durability. In the 2-3 weeks I have had these, they have withstood flexing and stretching without any problems. I have removed and reattached each earcup a number of times and there are no signs of wear so far. The plastic doesn't feel as nice as a metal frame but it is thick and looks as tho it could stand up to a bit of abuse but I definitely wouldn't recommend you purposely do so. I take care of my gear as best as possible and keep my headphones on a hanger near my desk. One issue i can see happening down the line is that the velour on the cups may wear down after a few years of use but there are replacements that can be found online. Overall the build quality is sturdy and light without having the plastic feel flimsy. My early impressions is that if you take care of your gear then it will definitely last longer than you expect.
Comfort: Perfect out of the box
Comfort with the circumaural cups are great, they're not too tight but don't flop around either. The velour earpads are also very soft and even now with the bushfires going on here in Sydney and the temperatures getting pretty hot, I am still able to wear them for hours on end. I did notice that when I moved from my most recent Siberia V2 which were also comfortable, I found that having the cups sit around my ear as opposed to slightly on, that it reduced the pressure overall and made it much more comfortable for extended periods of time. The plastic also makes the headphones very light and coming from a pair of Siberia V2 with the suspension headband, these were very easy to get used to, to the point where I wouldn't feel that I had them on at all.
I've noticed a big difference in having the depth of the earcups of the HD558 as opposed to other headsets like the Siberia V2 or other around the ear cups. While my ears arent squashed in the cups of other headphones/headsets, there is a prominent space of comfort in the HD558 cups as the inside of the cups leave ample room for the sound stage and ears to breathe. This was a big plus in being able to wear them for extended periods of time and something I noticed much more comfortable from other headphones that I felt were cupping the ears as opposed to sitting around them as the HD558s do.
Add on ModMic 4.0: Who needs a headset
I added a ModMic 4.0 and went onto my gaming community's teamspeak server and did a quick test between the Siberia V2 mic. All microphone settings stayed the same and I just plugged the different mic jacks into my ThunderFX DAC. My friends did say they noticed that the sound was very clear and my voice sounded more natural, that they could hear there was more bass and tone in my voice. Overall it was a better mic. I also found that the output was much greater and therefore was able to turn off the gain on my mic channel which greatly improved that background hiss you usually get from a boosted mic. The clarity was exceptional for a boom mic, I wouldn't say better than a standalone desk mic such as a blue snowball or compressor mic but it can definitely replace any everyday use and definitely better than any headset mic I've experienced.
The setup was easy and I was worried that the pads wouldn't be strong enough but after attaching the mic I was happily surprised that both the mounts and the magnets holding the mic were very strong.
I would definitely recommend the Modmic 4.0 for anyone who looking to turn their favourite pair of headphones into the best pair of headsets they've ever used.
Conclusion: Highly recommended sub $200 AUD open headphones
I can highly recommend these headphones (or @MayflowerElectronics, @ShearMe and others may also recommend the AD700X or DT990 depending on your price range) to anyone wanting to make the move from headsets and while you might say the convenience of having a single cable and a mic on the headset is better, I can happily say that I was there myself and making the jump for better audio quality is definitely worth it. It really isn't any trouble having another line for a zalman clip on or another boom mic. The bottom line is: The HD558 + Modmic 4.0 is my perfect headset to date.
*** Doing the foam mod does open the soundstage slightly and also makes the bass more airy and less muddy. However, some FPS gamers may like having the foam kept in as it adds a slight punch to explosions and gunfire. It doesn't sound exactly the same as a pair of 598 as some may expect. However, if you are looking for a very similar experience as the 598, then these are definitely the pick. ***
The final result, a "headset" under $200 AUD with better audio and immersive experience than ANY headset I've ever used.
Again thanks to all the guys on the forums and to the guys who always have great advice, you know who you are cause I like all their posts Cheers.
I personally liked the old logo a lot better, it was elegant, simple, subtle. This new logo has no meaning to me, at least not any obvious meaning, looks like a cheesy, "gaming" symbol. (Like Asus' "TUF" symbol, but the "TUF" symbol at least spelt out "TUF"). I hope they go back honestly, being a huge Corsair fan, it makes me a bit upset. (Check my signature and you'll see how much of a Corsair fan I am)
The problem is condensation which is why nobody does this as they don't want water dripping onto everything which is why they made phase change cooling (how fridges, freezers, and A/C work) for computers.
I've had 2x Intel 520 120GB in RAID0 for almost 2 years now. Never had a problem with them and they're super quick.
In saying that I also have an 840 Pro 256GB but not in any raid config, I haven't had a problem with that either.
Intel have a great track record for reliability, but I haven't heard of a Samsung 840 Pro failing yet. Either will be fantastic.