my Sennheiser HD595 leak sound. is this normal? my coworkers are going nuts.
April 3, 2009 5:18 AM   Subscribe

my Sennheiser HD595 leak sound. is this normal? my coworkers are going nuts.

I purchased these headphones based on this recommendation and the sound is amazing. I love listening to them. my coworkers however hate it when it do.

they leak sound. not a little bit but massively so. I can't wear them without people around me complaining. I'm kind of flabbergasted that anyone would even bother to produce headphones without sealing them off (because if I were alone I'd listen to my music on speakers) and wonder if mine are just a dud. anyone know?

bonus question: recommend a different model that won't drive them nuts and still remains in a similar budget range.
posted by krautland to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yeah, those are open air headphones. Open air design can be among the best sounding headphones but the tradeoff is they "leak" sound. That's just what they do. You want sealed headphones to isolate your ears from the environment.
posted by 6550 at 5:31 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yep, totally normal. They're an open design, so while they're quieter than speakers & you can crank it up without bothering your neighbors, they're not inaudible to people nearby even at low volumes.

Unfortunately, every set of headphones that I've found to be worth listening to has an open design (sealed designs tend to have a high-frequency mode that makes them sound tinny). My beloved Grados have the same issue your Senns do, so I'll be curious what others suggest.... There are good reviews of Shure & other in-ear models out there (cf this AskMe as a starting point) which won't leak any sound, but they won't be as rich in the low end.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:32 AM on April 3, 2009

Yours are open-air headphones; those leak sound, and also let outside sound creep in. Closed ones block the flow both ways, but don't sound as nice.
posted by Gyan at 5:33 AM on April 3, 2009

You should look at a closed design like the HD-25 (there are several versions, all in your price range)
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:38 AM on April 3, 2009

Response by poster: okay, so they're not duds. that's a shame because I really like how they sound and feel on my ears.

is there a way to isolate them for my coworkers or am I stuck with replacing them?
posted by krautland at 5:55 AM on April 3, 2009

I have a similar set of Sennheiser open-air headphones and had to get a sealed set for use at work, due to the sound leakage. I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pro and they're great.
posted by Tu13es at 5:56 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can't isolate them without changing their sound, and probably drastically. The open air part is critical to the design of that style of headphone. You need sealed headphones.
posted by 6550 at 5:58 AM on April 3, 2009

Yeah, that's normal. The HD-280 is a nice sealed Sennheiser headphone. Not as nice as the 595s, but nice. They list higher, but are readily available for a little less than a hundred bucks. The Sony MDR-V6 (or the near-identical 7506) is another nice sealed headphone in a similar price range.

There are some nice in-ear monitors, too, but I don't know much about 'em. Etymotic, Shure and Ultimate Ears seem to be the big names.
has a lot more information. Check the Head-Fi and HydrogenAudio forums, too.
posted by box at 6:00 AM on April 3, 2009

If in-ear monitors hold any interest for you, the Shure SCL3 might be an option. Normally this is a $150 model but Shure is discontinuing the white ones, which can now be had for $70.
posted by jon1270 at 6:17 AM on April 3, 2009

I concur: I bought the HD 280 specifically because it's not supposed to leak sound. It's the most I've ever spent on headphones, so they still have outstanding quality as far as I'm concerned. More importantly, though, my co-worker three metres away with nothing but air between us insists he can't hear my music.
posted by spamguy at 6:17 AM on April 3, 2009

I've got those headphones and they're fantastic, but they do leak sound. It's hard to go wrong with Sennheiser, but I'd also recommend Beyerdynamic's 880 closed headphones, if you can find them cheaper than their list. They're the only closed headphones I'd buy.
posted by smorange at 7:00 AM on April 3, 2009

Beyerdynamic makes decent closed cans, but for a work situation I recommend AKG 271. Good sound, comfortable padding, comfortable headband. What makes them *really* nice for office use is the switch above the left cup that automatically mutes them when taken off. It's handy when you want to take them off for a quick conversation. They're not crazy cheap, though.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 7:23 AM on April 3, 2009

I use Audio-Technica ATH-A900s at work (with a Fiio E5 amp between the headphones and the iPod). I love them, and my coworkers never complain.
posted by Prospero at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009

My 580s also leak like crazy.
posted by beerbajay at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2009

I want to nth the HD280s. They sound amazing, have a relatively flat response, and are pretty good at keeping out the sound. In fact, they're designed to keep sound out for recording sessions (to prevent feedback/echo).
posted by spiderskull at 6:33 PM on April 3, 2009

And again for the HD280s. It's totally the sweet spot for price and quality on sealed headphones. I much prefer open ones, but when you want to block some outside noise, or don't want to broadcast what you're listening to, they're totally the way to go.
posted by bigtex at 3:24 PM on April 4, 2009

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