Pros: Bass, soundstage, comfy, great all-arounders
Cons: Vocals in music
I would like to share my impressions of my first a bit more decent headphones - Sennheiser HD-518. I'm no audiophile, so this review will be more for a "normal" people, who want to use it not just for music, but for games and movies too.
Build quality and design
Headphones is all plastic, so no suprises where. It have strange grills that could look a bit silly, but hey, you will not go out with them outside. You could and I did it few times, but cable is just too long, you end up in wire mess + headphones are open, so no isolation from outside noise, you just don't enjoy your music with these outside.
Pads are made just for me. They just perfect, they are a bit stiff, but this is what i like, you can wear them for hours and just forgot you have headphones on your head. I usually listening for music while I'm laying in bed, no problem with these being on your head ( I fall a sleep few times with headphones still on my head, glad didn't brake them ). They fall few times from a table, still in one peace. They are ready for some brutal force.
Cable. Cable is long, 3m to be exact. I can walk around in my room with no problems at all, and I live in not that small of a room. I can see having a problem using a laptop, but these are perfect for a stationary pc use.
I must say, then I first heard hd 518, I thougt I just wasted my money. They sounded dirty and kinda bad. I was dissapointed. But I read about burn in thing, so I said I give them a chance. And my God they sound wonderful now. I had quite a journey these headphones, so read on if you wanna know that a life changing journey I had. I will talk about music, games and movies.
Music. As they advertise, sennheisers have deep bass. And yes, yes they have. The bass is thigt and pretty bad ass. If you looking just for a bass, look elsewhere, at closed headphones, because the bass is there it should and is not overwhelming. After going to sens from closed headphones it was strange at first, but i'm loving it now, it is big then should be, like in electromusic, but then listening to AC/DC for example, it doesn't overwhelm other instruments. Lets say bass knows its place . The soundstage is big and wide, if you wanna know that people talking about, then they talking about soundstage, listen for these headphones . But it took headphones(or me to get use to the soundstage) to open up, because just recently I started to enjoy my music in all different way. It was quite an exiting journey too, to rediscover all the music for the third time. As good as these headphones sound in a music department, then we talking about instruments, but they have one big flaw for me, and it is vocals. To discribe how vocals sound in hd 518, it will be if the band is all in one room with you and singer is behind the wall singing. It sounds a bit distant, a bit too quite, sometimes hard to understand. I guess you can fix it with a EQ, but I had no luck. Everything else changed in these headphones drammaticly from a day I bough it, but vocals stayed the same way, distant, and a bit hard to listen to. I read few other reviews saying the same, so it is not just me.
Games. Games sound wondifirus. You can hear everything around you. In skyrim I never got attacked from a back, because you can just tell then your enemy coming from behind. With these your oponents don't have a chance to attack you from behind. Explosions in company of hereos sounds powerful(deep) and i will never getting tired to listen to machine guns shooting at enemies. So for games, I say YES to HD 518. But keep in my mind it is not a gaming headset, if you looking just for it, look at gaming companies like razor or such. Games sound good and open design helps a lot, but I imagine on dedicated headphones it will sound even better.
Movies. Strangly enough, I don't have any problems with actors sounding bad, as singers sound in music. You can hear everything. I mean I watched scott pilgrim vs the world for the 5th time with these. I can say it was like I watching it for the first time. So many things I missed just because I watched it with cheap headphones. You can hear everything clearly, every little sound Edgar Wright placed in their. And now, with new XBMC Frodo realese and new audio-engine, that reproduce 5.1 surround in a way it should sound and opened soundstage of sens, I can hear everything so clearly it makes me cry . While watching transformes I could pin point from that side every explosion coming from and it really makes you appreciate sound in movies. For movies these headphones gets a HELL YES from me.
It was a great jorney with sennheisers and now, then they reached the point of a maximum performance(if not, edit is coming), they are just amazingly amazing. Yes, these are my first mid-fi headphones, not even high-fi, but I'm guessing I will not change my headphones for a long long time. So if you are like me, want a great quality and don't wanna cancel your christmas, get these and don't look back. For a closer, I will say a quote that made me buy these: " If you wanna buy high-fi headphones just because they are high-fi and you really don't know that are you going to do with them, don't waste your money and just buy sennheiser hd 518". Quote might not me that accurate