Sennheiser HD-570 Headphones.

I recently rebuilt a Sansui AU-5500 amplifier. I was testing it when I realized it was getting late and not wanting to **** my long-suffering neighbors off too much I dug out the old Sennheiser HD-570s that I haven't used for a long time. (Years) Wow! is the best description I can give, I didn't realize/remember just how good these things were? I realize there are better models but these did a very good job all the same! :D


2020-01-16 12:18 pm
It's good that they didn't wear out cause they don't make replacement pads for the 570 anymore as I know of. It's a shame too that these didn't take off even more in their time, quality is almost unmatchable, in my experience. My old 570's were wrecked in a horrible incident that involved my dad and his large foot, was pretty devastated over them.
Then I had to start comparing and checking all over again to buy new ones that matched my budget and my claims. I ended up stuck for a few days on this article Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviews - 2019 Consumer Reports where I was undecided between the QuietComfort 35 and the PXC 550, but I eventually decided to switch from Sennheiser to Bose and see if one brand is necessarily better than the other. The Bose are nice indeed, no argument there, but my experience with both manufacturers was hands-down impeccable, can't say anything bad about either of them. What I don't like, however, is the fact that these things do run quite expensive, so now I'm paranoid about how I leave them around the house so that no one else accidentally wrecks them for good.
At the time, these were notorious for a very scooped-out bathtubby frequency response (think Beyer DT990) and being insensitive and hard to drive despite their lowish (nominal 64 ohm) impedance, one being a direct result of the other - if you want hyped bass and highs you have to take away sensitivity in the midrange, since you can't just add some. This series was an entirely new design at the time (1998) and people were less than happy about how much less for the money you got compared to the previous one. The HD570's effective predecessor had been the HD545, a model with an inoffensive, slightly bass-light and mid-focused sound with a slight resonance at 14-ish kHz or so (but overall substantially closer to "hi-fi") and a general construction very similar to HD580/600. You could say they went from slightly bland to super spicy. Driver quality in their midrange models has been downhill ever since.

The higher-end and slightly newer HD590 (120 ohms nominal, 100 ohms real) was substantially closer to hi-fi, with a response you might consider roughly the inverse of the older HD565's (which in effect was an HD545 with a fancy metal grille for supposedly reduced back reflections, similar to HD600 vs. HD580; the 535 used different, closed headphone pads which made it very boomy, but I think the drivers are the same). I am still using the one I got almost 20 years ago now. Possibly the lightest full-size circumaural headphones ever (if memory serves, about 210 grams plus another 40-45 for the cable), and one of the comfiest too - unless you've got a big head, that is, as headband adjustment range is a bit limited. They are also best used with low output impedance (<22 ohms), as they'll get boomy rather quickly. I used mine on a Clip+.

You can still get HD590 earpads which should also fit the HD570s on this side of the globe (Sennheiser #77906). People have, however, also resorted to slicing the plastic backing open lengthwise in the middle and restuffing similar pads like that. I've found they're holding up fairly well as-is. There is a chap on eBay who is selling new driver covers made from acoustic cloth in a few different colors for a few Euros (or at least was a while back), the oval HD600 shape will also fit these.
The headband padding is more problematic, as the foam has a tendency of just crumbling away. Thankfully it is glued together at the back with what appears to be crafting glue of days gone by (I can still remember using stuff like that, maybe 25 years ago?). Some careful prying should allow for things to come apart, be washed and restuffed - I used some cosmetic cotton wool. The black cloth will mostly obscure the innards, but you could certainly dye the stuffing material if so desired.
The cable is probably best treated gently around the plug, I'm on my third one now. #2 didn't actually last for very long, I suspect is because I had the cable tied up near the plug and this put some strain on it. I suppose you could solder on a new plug but only if you are using to working with very fine wire (it's mixed with kevlar fibers to provide some strength).

I think the HD570 drivers use a plug-in connector like the HD500's (590 drivers are soldered), so should you lose sound on one side, don't panic immediately. Opening them and taking a look is well worth a shot. I've had my 590s open at one point as the sound of one driver had gone very thin (I think instructions are out there somewhere, maybe on Head-Fi?) - didn't see anything suspicious, blew the driver out thoroughly, and what do you know, problem fixed. Probably just some debris that had gotten in there.

The basic engineering of these is definitely solid.