There is no audiophile in this world who is unaware of the German brand Sennheiser. They are famous for their professional microphones and audiophile grade open backed headphones such as HD 650, HD 660 and the HD 800 series. Sennheiser Orpheus HE90 is generally considered to be at the apex of audiophile grade headphones, whether it be in price or performance. Even though, I cannot at this present moment make any legitimate claim of being an audiophile, my fondness for Sennheiser audio gear is something I am proud to admit.
My first wired earphone was a Sennheiser MX 170. Despite being a non in-ear beginner level earphone, it gave me a pleasant experience especially considering the rock bottom price. Later I brought Sennheiser headsets such as MX 365, CX180 and HD 429. When I decided to finally purchase an open backed wired headphone, I looked no further than the Sennheiser HD 598 SR.
Before buying the HD598 SR, I was using the universally acclaimed Audiotechnica ATHM50X. Despite the clarity of those headphones, I was never able to completely enjoy my music due to the narrow sound stage and analytical sound signature of those headphones. The weight of the headphones were an annoyance as well. HD 598 SR proved to be a much better purchase with its less analytical and more enjoyable sound signature as well as its wide open sound stage. The velour earpads and lightweight nature of these headphones added to the already enjoyable listening experience.
However, having an impedance of 50 ohm, HD598 SR needed more power than the ATHM50X to achieve the same level of volume and immersion. I soon invested in the Fiio E10K Dac, which was very affordable. That solved the problem neatly.
Overall, I will recommend HD598 SR to anyone looking to buy their first pair of open back headphones. You can later upgrade to higher end models such as the legendary HD650 and the highly expensive but excellent HD820.