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Sennheiser HD800: Spray Painted Plastic and the New Acid-Washed Jeans. - Page 61

post #901 of 902
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post

Ahh, it's been more than a year since the last posting on this thread and, boy, have things changed mostly for the better. Plastic looks like plastic (Beats headphones) and metal looks like metal (B&W P7's). The reason why I used these lower priced headphones as examples is to point out that, even at the economy end of the spectrum, headphone design has become more truthful to the materials. Here is a bit a proof from what I've gleaned. Make your own conclusions.


Written by Jude Mansilla


Since its release, Bowers & Wilkins' P5 has been a hit, in the broader consumer market, and also with many audio enthusiasts. Overall, the P5 is a very good supra-aural (on-the-ear) on-the-go headphone--comfortable for an on-ear, with a sound that's pleasant for just about anyone, even if it wasn't particularly detailed or resolving. In other words, being one of the most gorgeous headphones ever made, having a good, smooth sound signature, and bearing the name of one of high-end audio's most well-known names, all together makes for an alluring value proposition. It sucked me in, and I still use and enjoy the P5.


If Bowers & Wilkins asked me, though, how I'd improve on the P5, I'd have several suggestions:


  • Don't mess with its stunning good looks, both off and on the head.
  • I love how no matter where I touch it, I'm touching either metal or leather--please don't change that.
  • Don't mess with the awesome cable-groove-in-the-earpiece strain relief, so that it can continue to be cased up with its cable still installed.
  • Make it a circumaural (around-the-ear) design, to make it more comfortable.
  • Give it more bass control, more detail in the mids, and better treble extension. If you're feeling generous, throw in better imaging, please. High-end audio enthusiasts will thank you.


In addition to making audio products I love (I bought two of their Zeppelin Airs, and their MM-1 mini monitors for one of my main desks), I think Bowers & Wilkins can also read minds. Because they made all the changes to the P5 I was wishing for, and somehow managed to make it even better looking.


It's called the Bowers & Wilkins P7, and it's a perfectly good reason to drop 400 bucks.Thank you.


"The P7 looks fantastic, it feels fantastic, it's very comfortable and isolates very well, and it SOUNDS just beautiful. If you seek a high fidelity headphone, value both form and function and have $400 to spend on a portable, I can't think of anything I'd recommend more."

-Bjorn (Lan647)
Head-Fi Member/Reviewer


Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear

Written by Jude Mansilla


The Sennheiser MOMENTUM has been a bona fide hit. It's not hard to understand why. Everyone I show it to who hasn't seen it before ooohs and aaahs when they see it and then feel the brushed stainless steel and Pittards leather--and that's before they've heard it. Then they hear it, and the ooohs and aaahs resume. I've spent a small fortune gifting MOMENTUMs, because everyone who sees mine wants one. At an L.A. Head-Fi Meet earlier this year, someone I work closely with at Huddler was there for his first meet. I told him I'd treat him to his first Head-Fi headphone--he picked a black MOMENTUM.


With its success, it shouldn't be surprising that Sennheiser would want to release a more portable, more affordable version. They're smart people over there, and didn't mess with success. The new Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear looks exactly like what it is--a miniaturized MOMENTUM. And it retails for $120 less than the original, which means it'll probably be the version I gift from now on! ☺


To help keep the smaller headphone as comfortable as its big sib, Sennheiser chose to use copious amounts of Alcantara, a synthetic, sueded material that is sooo soft, and is one of my favorite materials to feel against my skin. Put on the Sennheiser HD 800 or Shure SRH1540--both of which use a lot of Alcantara--and you'll understand why. For the MOMENTUM On-Ear, Sennheiser chose to use it to cover the headband and earpads, in place of the Pittards leather on the full-size MOMENTUM. The headband is the same gorgeous brushed stainless steel.


Sennheiser also chose to make it available in several gorgeous colors: pink, green, ivory, blue, black, brown, and red. I saw the ivory with brown Alcantara, and had to have it--it's such a beautiful color combo, I wish the full-size MOMENTUM was also available in that color. Then I saw and picked up the red one…then the blue one…hello, black, I think you're next.


Of course, none of this would matter if the sound of the MOMENTUM On-Ear didn't live up to the MOMENTUM name, and it does a good job there. It sounds good for a closed supra-aural, but, no, it doesn't sound as good as its full-size sibling, its bass being rather thicker and less detailed, but very well extended. Its mids and treble aren't as detailed as its full-size stable mate either. Still, though, as a whole, it manages a sound signature that does evoke a familial tie to the original--it's good, but it's definitely the sonically less accomplished sibling of the two.


The Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear definitely sounds good enough to me that I often choose it as one of my regular grab-and-go headphones, pausing only to decide which color I'm taking with me that day. It's a fashion headphone that sounds good enough to be a Sennheiser.

Yes, indeed. But here is a catch; Momentum costs about $319. From the same company, you can grab HD598 for about 190 bucks, or Beyer Custom One Pro for 170 bucks, or (my god I cannot believe I am using Grado as price-per-performance debate) SR-225 for 200 bucks. The sound quality gab between P5 and ordinary good headphones is so gigantic it's not even funny.


And maybe P5 is 'hit' among non-audiophile, but you can easily search this forum how harsh the reviews of P5 (a.k.a the prime example of being overpriced) Sure, P7 is actually not only listenable, but has decent sound.... but not $400 sound. I mean, at same price, I am grab either K712 or HD650 which both blow away P7, even with unamped. And there are tons of headphones sound far better than P7 with far lower price.


Yes, this is the price we pay for those premium materials used on the headphones. This is going to be so current hi-fi market where you can hard-pressed to find any customer under the age of 30's. I am so glad there are still some people/companies left that do not chase this dangerous trend.

Edited by wnmnkh - 12/3/13 at 11:35pm
post #902 of 902
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jude View Post


First of all, davidhunternyc, I was happy to see your username pop up again! I think we'll continue to see headphone design move in a direction that you'll find more pleasing.


By the way, if you've been working on any other projects like this one, please do update that thread to share, if you have the time.


Thank you Jude for the kind comments. This has been an uphill battle for me but beautiful and functional design (no matter what discipline it is) is dear to my heart. Yes, I have seen headphone design move in a far better direction since this original posting. Funnily enough, I believe that this change in direction is due to the success of a headphone made mostly of plastic; Dr. Dre's, the Beats. The recipe is simple: You wanna make money? Make one cool looking headphone. Around this time, I decided to post a most beautiful headphone ever made thread.




To be honest, I was not very impressed by almost all of the candidates. Recently, there have been stunning headphone designs (sound quality is another matter entirely). I am aiming to update a beautiful headphone thread. I am balancing the pros and cons of making it a voter poll or just a thread that is my own opinion. 


And, yes, I have been working on other antique fan project like the one above. It has been 4 years in the making. The 1918 Emerson 24646 fan project I listed above was a project of passion but the fan was considered the Honda Civic of its time (though, perhaps, a Mercedes Benz of our time). With my latest project, I really raised the ante. Stay tuned…

Edited by davidhunternyc - 12/7/13 at 5:43pm
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