Sennheiser HD 598 2 VS. Audio Technica ATH-M50

Senheiser HD 598


11.8 ounces





115 dB SPL



10 ounces





98 dB SPL

For headphones that are at what most would consider to be a higher end budget, the HD 598 and the ATH-M50 are a pretty close comparison. But, since you're not the average listener you want to know that if you're about to spend close to $150 on these cans, that you're making the best decision.

That's what we're going to help you with.

From a money minded emphasis with an audio perspective, we're going to break each of these down in their most necessary areas so you can make the right decision. So let's get this started!


Sennheiser HD 598

Best Suited For: Audiophile/Professional

Audio Quality

You'll notice that once you get to higher priced, more specialized headphones, that the melt your face off volume and bass becomes less and less popular. The HD 598 follow this trend putting sound quality over driving more volume. Keeping the volume in the mid to upper mid range will give you the best audio quality, but once you go beyond that you're more likely to lose quality with muddy sound.

The best music for these headphones is soft yet vigorous music.​

Audio quality of the HD 598s have a much more balanced sound compared to the ATH-M50s when it comes to the high/mid/lows. The sound has more of a "present" feeling that makes you feel engulfed in the music thanks to the over the ear build.


Thankfully when you get the actual product in your hands, it looks like what you'll see on Amazon. Which was a great relief for us!

These headphones are designed to keep that sleek modern look while enhancing the audio quality of the cans as well. The design does help to make listening more comfortable even though they're close to 1 lb. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but if you have these on for multiple hours it can get pretty heavy after a while.​


Features of the HD 598s aren't too spectacular outside of the audio quality itself.

The noise isolation benefit doesn't really help at all actually. The passive noise canceling that comes from the fact that they're closed back over ear headphones is more useful than the added "feature".

And thankfully that's all the features these cans have,​ the audio quality really is allowed to speak for itself when the makers remove all the unnecessary features like this. So thank you Sennheiser!


From users and verified purchased Amazon reviews we were able to glean responses like this "The cups do not feel like your traditional velour pads and are not thick enough, so the top of ears touches the mesh on the inside. I personally can’t stand these rough and suffocating earcups, and they feel stuffy and irritating after even 15-20 minutes of use. In addition, they did increase the clamping force, most likely to get a better seal. This caused a noticeable pressure in the top part of my head after 10 minutes of wear. While it’s not a sharp pain, it’s incredibly uncomfortable."

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Audio Technica ATH-M50

Best Suited For: Casual Angry Music Listening

Audio Quality

Unfortunately the audio quality of the ATH M50s takes a down turn compared to the HD 598. Where the others are more balanced and suited for quality listening, these emphasize volume and almost polarized notes. The highs and lows come in clear, but the mids get lost most of the time. 

However, if you're a fan of loud angry music like EDM, or maybe you're just mixing for a metal band, these would be the cans for you!

The bass hits super hard, and they have a very rigid sound. ​


The design fits how these headphones perform.

The hard metal edges, industrial look, and lack of warmth is a great visual representation of what you're going to get with these cans. At least that's our opinion of them.​


One of the neat features of these headphones is that they have 90 degree swiveling ear cups. This doesn't do much for sound quality, but it's a pretty neat trick.

They also are able to fold to a very compact size and fit in a small carrying case.​ 

And these actually do a better job of holding the sound in and not letting it leak out when volumes get higher, which is something the HD 598s needed to work on.​


They did lose a few points for comfort as well. There were many people who said that an hour was the longest they could stand to wear these headphones. Ear cups were the main source of this problem.

The over the ear fit helps with some comfort, but the drivers are set up so that the sound is punched straight into your ear, instead of resonating in the ear cup. This makes some people feel a bit claustrophobic when listening to more intense songs, it almost feels like the music is bearing down on you.​

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Cory H.

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