My Sennheiser HD 25-1 II

I’ve been enjoying my Sennheiser HD 25-1 II for a month and a half now, and I wanted to share my thoughts on them. I’d been using my Audio-Technica ESW10JPN headphones a lot at the office because I like the ease of throwing them on and around the neck as I’m invariably interrupted. For this casual use case, I really appreciate the form factor of this type of small, supra-aural headphones. I also find these headphones to be extremely durable. I have no problem just throwing them in my bag whereas I need to be more careful with the ESW and its beautiful wooden cups.

One thing I really like is that the phones are so modular and user-serviceable. Perhaps in part related to how the HD 25 is 23 years old, you can buy every single piece separately. You can get replacement cables, ear cushions, cups, etc in many different colors. They also seem able to withstand much abuse without issue!

I ultimately decided that I was a fan of the blue accents on the Adidas-branded version over the straight black one. I’m not really an Adidas fan at all; I just like the blue. :) Yes, I could have gone crazy and bought a modded one or got the paints myself, but it would have been a bit more time or money than I wanted to invest. (Jfunk does some jaw-dropping work on these phones and others.)

The fit of these headphones on my head is very interesting to me. While my ESW10JPN clamp very lightly and have sort of stiffly-swiveling cups that make it possible to direct the pressure to the temples rather than the ear, the HD 25-1 II does what I feared the ESW’s would — clamp hard and non-discriminately over the whole ear. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I expected, though. I find the head clamp cozy on these phones and only after some time (maybe 1 hr+) does it begin to bother my ears a bit. Usually a little adjustment or couple-minute break is all that is needed. This nice, padded grip does give you really great isolation and I find the comfort surprisingly acceptable.

The HD 25-1 II is known for being a good choice for DJ’s and studio engineers. Apart from the left earcup flipping forward and back to allow one-ear monitoring, the sound quality is quite decent. When I compared Jude’s HD 25 vs his Beyerdynamic DT1350, the HD 25-1 II had a *much* more exciting sound with punchier bass. I was actually quite surprised. If you were purely after clarity of sound, the Beyers might do it for you, but when I casually tested these headphones, I found the Senns to sound hugely more appealing for the attributes that I wanted in them — fun sound and punchy bass with great clarity.

I still haven’t brought myself to let go of my Shure SRH750DJ for my mixing habit, though. The Shures have nice big cups that swivel to allow a quick preview of the next track while they’re around the neck, crooked-head style. I do just fine mixing with either pair, though.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with these phones. They’re robust enough that I’m not afraid to throw them in a bag or get them a bit scratched up, and they sound good enough to satisfy my inner audiophile for the casual listening I intended them for. They’re not the cheapest of their class at around $200, but I feel they were worthy of the cost.

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 Audio, Reviews, Technology

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