Pros: Small, lightweigt, solid, interchangable parts, easy to fall in love with.
Cons: minor cons. as in easy to look past, due to all the pros.
Being a non-professional, but a general music lover, My review will probably be in layman's terms, but why not. It will give the perspective from someone that observe music in a different way than the purely analytic fashion.
Once, I had a great home stereo consisting of NAD CD-player, amplifier and B&W speakers with some fancy cabling. -So I am not completely rookie regarding what sounds good and not. Neither am I a person that thinks that resonating boomboxes (cars) driving by is coolz because of lotz of basz. I like to hear all kinds of music. Anything from Mozart'ish music to music 'designed for serious PA-systems'.
Being without my stereo for the longest time and getting tired of the 'noise' rendered by my speakers integrated in the laptop, I figured out it was beyond due time to get myself some headphones. Getting a proper soundsystem is out of the question due to limited space and girlfriend.
First problem was: What am I looking for. Go for a pair that is more fitting for the stuff you listen to the most. If You only listen to classical orchestras and alike, I guess You should stop reading. You need to look for stax-phones. Very Expensive. Only worth having if you are a feinschmecker.
My playlist when trying out music is stuff like Deep Purple, Child in Time, Roger Waters Amused to Death, preferably the whole album. Nina Simone, Feeling good, Peggy Lee, Fever, Jazz, Blues. That kind.
That'll tell me wether there is bass at all, if there is decent mid-range, and also if the treble is non-offensive.
By reading a lot of reviews, these phones came out pretty good. Although! -The impression I was given by other reviews were that they were a little expensive compared to the sound given. This was when my critically inclined mental alarmbells went off. Things like being warm, 'muffled', having a 'veil' between the music and ear, making the music feel distant. I then recalled the good old days, where I built my own speakers, -the horror of screwing up the expensive hobby project, just to later have that Aha!- feeling of having to actually 'run in' the speakers before they are able to show off what they are good for.
Eventually, I decided for these ones. I know Sennheiser from before, and I have never had/heard about any real issues about them before, Not being tempted by any fancy modern bling with buttons, sliders and glossy paper/plastic, I found a dusty box pushed in the back of the shelf.
The reviews were per se correct. warm, muffled, not very precise music. -So I bought them.
Day one. One big ''Meh. I exchanged the fake skin pads with the velour ones. Much more comfy.
and playing music, wearing them for six hours, before my ears got physically tired. I have a small head by the way. If you have a full size head, perhaps consider something else. They are a little tight, but I am trying to expand the headband(s) a little by the use of something wider than my head. This is probably the only minor con i have with the HD 25-1 II.
Day two. Sleeping well, doing other stuff, going back to my headphones, turn on the music. Same repertoire as yesterday. - There is a difference already. there is actually a soundstage there now, albeit small. they veil is disappearing and it doesn't sound that warm and muffled anymore. It is not neutral sound, but on the other hand, if I were to listen to a lot of classical, I wouldn't buy 'rock-speakers' anyways. I read reviews about how the phones were lacking in the upper levels, that sounds like -'S', -'SH', -'CH' etc would be... ...not perfect. Well, day two improved from day one in this aspect too.
The bass wasn't 'fluffy' anymore, but still deep. actually plenty deep, imo. and the midrange had improved a lot. from having to 'look' for it, to get it all the way to your ear without having to notice it was missing. Six hours, before they get uncomfy. -and after six hours, anyone will get tired in their heads/ears.
The headbands are not noticeable... ...and the cable is not in the way, nor noticeable.
Day three. Hah. Even better. After a total of 18 hours, the phones are now ready to be listened to.
You could say the virginity of it is now gone, and it is ready for some proper exercise and training.
I am not going to blast the volume on max for any reason, just so its said, but now i don't mind my equally critical friends to listen to them.
Day four. time to write a review.
I can only assume the sound in them will get better and better as time goes by.
The only, and ONLY thing that would make these better, were if the sound picture was wider and deeper.
It isn't a must, but it would be nice. After listening to High-end systems with SNELL speakers, more expensive than my pants can carry the cash, an open environment, -or the lack of it iin this case -will be burnt into your mind, and one will never be completely satisfied, unless buying super expensive stax with equally expensive amplifier(s), used on an equally expensive high end stereo setup.
These are lightweight, durable, good bass, good mid-range, good treble, even for sibilant music (Beware of Justin Bieber... ...the phones can't take that. The speakers will crack and fall into a hot,deep pit where beelzebub and his minions are removing impurities from the liquids in their forges.)
Seriously, the higher areas of music are just fine in these phones. -already by day three/four.
Every part can be exchanged.
If only the Amperior was cheaper, I'd go for that one. It is better, but kinda expensive if one doesn't have the money for it, you know what i say.
All in all. You can't go wrong with these ones. -unless you have extrordinaire music taste, are analythical instead of enjoying the music, like a nice glass of brewerage. I don't taste and spit the red wine. I drink it, and enjoy it for what its worth..