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Sennheiser HD477 v PX100: Ok guys, I'm breaking the tie!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I read the thread "Sennheiser PMX100 or Grado SR60" with great interest, as I was thinking of getting an HD477 (until I really started looking at all those posts glorifying the PX100). I like the little tiff beteen Roger.McMurphy and nsjong, because Roger favored the HD477, and nsjong favored the PX100. That didn't help me decided though, so tonight I went out and bought both of 'em.....

First, let me say I'm an audiophile with 30 years experience and I know what sounds good. So if you try to tell me I'm on drugs because you don't like my choices, yer not gonna git very far with that....

First impressions of the HD477: It was heavier than I would have liked, both in the bass dept and in the head (the headband had more pressure than I liked, and I don't have a particularly large head). The bass was rather "in your face" at first, but pretty well defined. (With more pressure on the head, you can expect more low end). Highs were not very extended, but pretty clear and well defined all the same. Overall I thought the sound was pretty good, but overall I wasn't amazed by it, nor disappointed by it.
It's a closed type of headphone so it blocked out sounds so that you only heard the music.
Usually, these things only mean something when you start comparing it with other similar items. So....

First impressions of the PX100 (yes, it was the newer version with the "natural sound" package, color - white): On the head, it was just right! (knew it would be). Even though I'd read one review saying it put too much pressure, no way! It was perfectly fine, pressure-wise (even better than my Koss Sportapro's), I could sport it all day, and of course, it was much lighter than the HD477. Night and day difference to the HD477 as well. Now the sound completely lacked bass (despite having read one opinion saying it had too much!). But it was quite nice with its mids and highs. I found the sound more "fun" to listen to than the HD477. Tones were a little rounder, seemed they may not be quite as piercing on the leading edge. The sound seemed a lot more open than the HD477. This was coming from the fact that unlike the HD477, it is an open-back headphone type. It had more of an "its playing in the room you're in" quality.

However! The HD477 had more of a "it's playing in its own room" quality. And "in its own room", the soundstaging on the HD477 was such that musicians and instruments were larger, as opposed to smaller. The HD477 was also more detailed, and a more refined sound. But back to the PX100.... to see what its bass sounded like, I turned up the bass knob.... and then heard it pumping out glorious one-note bass until it distorted, which I then backed down on the bass knob. But around the time I was kicking up the bass, I heard it go "click", and then the sound changed! Because after I returned the bass to its flat (middle) position, the PX100 now had more bass than before! It also had less highs. Believe it or not, I managed to "break in " the phones within 5 minutes of listening time!

I wasn't sure I liked this new sound though! The highs weren't as detailed as before, more roled off. But the sound was smoother and the tonal balance more even overall. So the PX100 is capable of bass if your unit can put it out, but its bass quality doesn't compare with that of the HD477. Although the mids and highs were still "zingy" on the PX100 after the break-in, I had no real complaints about the tonal balance for most music... except that it didn't sound fun to listen to at all on opera (music I don't normally like). It was just a streaming of inoffensive sounds.

When I switched back to the HD477, it then started looking better than the PX100. The opera music was no longer flat boring to listen to, but had (some) musicality to it. To be sure, the HD477 was dark for lack of highs, but it was hard to find fault with it. I could only do so with the mids and highs sometimes on some music (bit more shrill than I'd prefer on this system).

Bottom line conclusion: Both Roger and nsjong were wrong (or right, depending on how you want to look at it). There's aspects to the sound of the PX100 and the HD477 that each one does better than the other. I fully understand why Roger thought the HD477 was better than the PX100. In many if not most respects, it is. It's a more refined and detailed headphone, with far more bass and larger imaging. The PX100/PMX100 may be more "fun" to listen to and do some things in the mids and highs better than the HD477. But it would seem its character can change a good bit after break in. It can't take as high volume as the HD477 without distorting. Its perfect for portables. The plastic headband construction of the HD477 seemed like it would be quite durable, so I dont know what the reason for the comments I read about it being cheap. Its cord looks cheap, though FWIW.

The HD477 is a home audio headphone simple as that, it isn't good for road use. The PX100 is a portable headphone, it isn't good for a home audio system (pc or gaming, okay). However, for me, I'm not crazy about either headphone, soundwise. I don't think the HD477 is usable in the end, the headphone pressure is just a bit on the much side for long term consideration (I tried bending the plastic but that doesn't work too well). That would also rule out the HD437 and maybe HD497, because I believe they all have the same headband. Why can't Sennheiser get some sense and put out a phone in their new line up that doesn't put pressure on the head?? I have a very favoured old pair of HD420SL's that put no pressure on the head at all, and are extremely durable. But while the PX100 are comfortable, they don't seem quite there at the level of "serious home audio headphone"; they seem a compromise of sorts. I briefly heard the low end Grados and for what its worth, I'd say the PX100 sounds more like the low Grado than the HD477. I don't think it has enough bass or resolution to be a serious home hifi headphone.
post #2 of 3
This is a great review! But which one do you like more? Sorry if this response is several months behind.
post #3 of 3
Nice!

Sorry to resurrect the thread...

Anyway, I'd like to make another point, I never tried the HD477 with an amp at that time (Pa2v2).

All I can say is... night and day difference

Smooooth, natural, organic, refined, impactful, extremely engaging bass....

Thick as cream...

Sexy...

Dirty yet sophisticated...



Shines with electronic music!


People should consider it as a viable option for an entry to the Hi-Fi world

Definitively better than the "funkier" KSC75

To my ears, well worth 50$

Maybe more?!

I'd like to A-B them with some HD485...

Not too far from the HD555...

You gotta love them! They're awesome! Give those a try!
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