Result and general impression …
The Sennheiser HD 599 SE headphones has neither the balanced play of an HD 600 for voices and electro/synthwave, nor the spatial development of an HD 800S for classical and jazz. With modern rock, however, it scores with an analytical resolution of the corresponding instruments in combination with an at least somewhat more prominent low frequency range.
Thus, a certain and absolutely justified diversity can be found in the portfolio of the long-established manufacturer, which should by no means only be translated as a qualitative implementation of certain price levels. Certainly, all Sennheiser products used for testing so far lack sub-bass quantity and the bass control of a Focal Elegia, but the buyer can definitely make his decision according to genre with Sennheiser apart from that.
The plastic casing of the 599 SE might not look particularly appealing, but it has proven to be stable and certainly contributes positively to the price criterion. On the one hand, the accessories are sparse, but on the other hand, headphones are not necessarily more lavishly equipped even in higher price regions. However, some buyers might miss a suitable transport option that is less clunky than the brown cardboard box.
The manufacturer’s promises mentioned at the beginning resulted in a double-edged experience. The 599 SE actually sits a bit more loosely on the ear than a 600, and the soft ear pads are also extremely comfortable. In addition, there is the low weight of the overall construction. Consequently, there is nothing to criticize about the comfort, which is why the coziness factor plays a positive role in the overall rating.
Whether the earcups are really big is relatively in the eye of the observer. That same eye will fall on the 56 mm driver and the corresponding build of an 800S and criticize the assignment to the 599 SE.
Thus, the 599 SE is not a headphone equipped with high-quality materials, not a headphone that masters all genres, but it is still interesting enough for its price to expand an existing collection during the next discount campaigns. If you want to listen to rock with a solid, but not totally drowning bass and also don’t want to spend the necessary small change for the Fostex and Meze of this world, you can dare a careful entry into the audiophile world with the 599 SE. All others should rather go up a notch in price.