Ath M50x vs. Sennheiser HD 598 – 2018 Comparison

ath m50x vs sennheiser hd 598

The Audio Technica ATH m50x and the Sennheiser HD 598 are some of my favorite headphones. I use the ATh m50x as my primary mixing headphones in the studio and I've always had a soft spot for the HD 598. But is one headphone better than the other?

Today, we'll have a head-to-head comparison between the ATH m50x and the HD 598. We'll compare the headphones on the following characteristics:

  • Sound profile
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Use Cases

Here's a summary table for you to reference throughout the article:

Winner
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
Frequency Response
15-28,000 Hz
10 – 28,000 Hz
Impedance
38 Ω
23 Ω
Sensitivity
98 dB
112 dB
Comfort
Excellent
Excellent
Weight
10 oz.
11.8 oz
Ear Coupling
Around Ear
Around Ear
Transducer Principle
Closed
Closed
Driver Size
45 mm
40 mm
Winner
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Frequency Response
15-28,000 Hz
Impedance
38 Ω
Sensitivity
98 dB
Comfort
Excellent
Weight
10 oz.
Ear Coupling
Around Ear
Transducer Principle
Closed
Driver Size
45 mm
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
Frequency Response
10 – 28,000 Hz
Impedance
23 Ω
Sensitivity
112 dB
Comfort
Excellent
Weight
11.8 oz
Ear Coupling
Around Ear
Transducer Principle
Closed
Driver Size
40 mm

Comparison Of The Sound Profile

As you can see from above, these headphones are incredibly similar. It really comes down to the soundstage of each headphone. To get started, have a look at both headphones frequency charts. 

Audio-Technica_ATH-M50x frequency response

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Sennheiser_HD 598 frequency response

Sennheiser HD 598

You can instantly see the difference between the two headphones. Comparing the two headphones, the HD 598s appear to have a flatter frequency response. You can see the slight boosts (about 6 dB) throughout the frequency range of the ATH-M50x. ON the other hand, the HD 598 has a relatively flat response until you get around the 5k mark where you see a 6 dB boost. 

On this frequency analysis alone, one can conclude that the HD 598 will be a better set of studio and mixing headphones. The Audio-Technicas may likely be a better consumer headphone due to the EQ treatment. 

But you don't have to be a pro-audiophile to know that judging headphones on their frequency charts alone won't give you the full picture. There are a number of different factors in play when it comes to sound quality and they can't be easily quantified. 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Sound Profile

The ATH-M50X lean slightly to the low-end. However, it is totally within studio tolerances. The treble boost is minor enough to keep the sound from becoming fatiguing and doesn't have too much of the messiness that often plagues brighter headphones.

The overall sound is warm and controlled with enough low-end to keep things balanced.

Sennheiser HD 598 Sound Profile

The HD 598 were made for mids and highs, which means that vocals sound crystal clear. Keep in mind there is the option to purchase these headphones both as closed-back and open. I've decided to compare the closed-backed version as it is more applicable to the Audio-Technica. 

You should be aware that these headphones don't pack an extra punch in the low-end. Therefore, if you tend to listen to modern music you will probably want to go with the M50X. On the other hand, if you listen to more subtle music that requires more definition, the HD 598s are the way to go. 

The sound is detailed and well balanced. The midrange is well defined and is integrated well with the treble. The treble is smooth enough to prevent any harshness when the volume is cranked. Overall, the sound profile is well-balanced. My only complaint is it lacks a little punch. 

A Comparison of Comfort 

Both headphones have outstanding comfort. The ATH-M50x has a unique U-shaped circumaural design that contours around the ears for extra sound isolation in loud environments. The headphones sit nicely and don't apply too much pressure. The one area where they beat the HD 598s is in sound isolation.

This makes them slightly better for those who are going to be using them for an everyday headphone.

Headphone Comfort

The HD 598s closed backs are also incredibly comfortable. While they don't have the same U-shaped design, they still fit nicely around your ear. I find that the 598 ear pad material is actually a lot more comfortable compared to the Audio-Technica. The fabric vents heat well and prevents your ears from overheating. 

Unfortunately, they are a little on the snug side. This contributes to their ability to isolate the sound from your surround environment but can be a pain for longer listening sessions. 

In terms of comfort, the Audio-Technica takes the win. I have worn them for hundreds of hours without any issue.

The Difference of Durability

The HD 598s are designed for listening at home. Because of this, they are slightly less durable than the ATH-M50x. The main difference is in the articulation of the ear cups. The ability of the M50x to articulate makes them a little less susceptible to breaking.

They can fold in on themselves, making for a more compact design. The ability for the ear cup to swivel even makes it possible to use as DJ headphones if needed.  

Both headphones come with a replaceable cable. This is a huge win for durability. There is nothing worse than having to replace an entire set of headphones because your cable wore out. 

Use Cases For Both Headphones 

Because of the sound profile of the HD 598s, they are better suited for those who will be listening to music at home. If you are someone who listens to classical, jazz, or similar styles of music, you will definitely want to go with the 598s. There are no better headphones within this price range for that style of music. 

Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
  • Premium, audiophile-grade over-ear, closed back headphones.Connectivity Technology: Wired
  • Padded leatherette headband and luxurious fabric ear pads perfect for long listening sessions. THD, total harmonic distortion - <0.2% (1kHz, 100dBSPL)

It's a tough call for which headphone will be better for studio mixing. The number of people using the M50x for mixing is really hard to argue against. However, if you were to consider the soundstage of both headphones, the 598 would be slightly better. Keep in mind that I am slightly biased as I do use the M50x for mixing. 

If you are going to be using the headphones outside of your home or on the go, you will want to stick with the M50x. The durability of these headphones is outstanding. 

Additionally, if you are listening to more modern music - i.e. electronica, hip-hop, metal - you will likely prefer the M50x. The sound profile is still accurate while packing a little more punch. 

It's an obvious choice if you are going to be doing any DJing with either headphone. The M50x is much better suited. 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
  • Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
  • Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils

HD 598s

  • At home listening
  • For those who want an accurate, flat frequency response
  • For jazz and classical listeners
  • Great in the studio

ATH-M50x

  • Better on-the-go headphone
  • Better for modern music - hip-hop, electronic, rock
  • Great in the studio
  • More punch in the soundstage

Conclusion

These headphones are very similar. Personally, I think the Audio-Technica slightly edges out the HD 598s. While they both have their pros and cons, the ATH-M50x provides slightly better value. Although, you definitely wouldn't be wrong to choose the HD 598s. 

It's really going to come down to your personal preference in music and use cases. 

About the author

Glen Parry

My name is Glen Parry. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. This includes guitar, keyboard, ukulele, speakers, headphones and everything else that comes with it. I spend all my free time on music production and jamming with friends. I hope to use this site to share my experience and help anyone looking for solutions to audio related problems.