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Sennheiser HD438 - right for me?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I've been lurking here every time I've needed a new pair (as of late), but this time I'm more or less stumped as to what would fit me well.

From what I've gathered on these forums, the HD438s seem to be the way to go, but I'm wondering if it's really worth the price. Based on this quote and thread, at least:
Quote:
Originally Posted by violeta88 View Post
The 418 and 438 are targeted towards rock, hip-hop and pop listeners while the HD428 and HD448 are targeted more towards jazz, classical and country genres.
I listen to dozens of genres, but if I had to narrow it down, then it'd be Jpop and electronic music (eurobeat, most trance, and happy hardcore come to mind), but I listen to a fair bit of ballads, piano solos, and soundtracks (e.g. those of Hans Zimmer and Nobuo Uematsu). I'll mostly be listening to V0 mp3s (sadly) with a few lossless albums here and there on my PC.

I also do a fair bit of gaming, but the only thing I would "need" is decent positioning for is CS:S. That said, I can make do without it, as long as in-game sounds aren't awful, seeing as how half my game time is spent on rhythm/music games anyway. Which reminds me, I need to have minimal sound leakage...

I would love to grab a pair of HD428s for $20-30 less (woot for being a poor college student), but I'm not sure which would give me more satisfaction. Mostly wondering if the bass on the HD428s is decent for the type of music I listen to after burn-in.

As for what I already have...

Sony MDR-J10 (two of them, dead)
Bose In-Ears (dead, thankfully?)
Sennheiser HD201
Altec Lansing UHP336 (with flip mod, currently in burn-in)

I really like the sound of the UHP336; I think this is the sound I'm looking for, but as full-sized headphones for stationary listening at my computer. I was pretty dissatisfied with the bass on the HD201s, but I love the mids on it. I don't have a portable amp (yet?), but my computer does have a sound card - Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio (next part of my PC to upgrade, ugh). I'd like to keep the budget under $80... for this pair, anyway.

So basically, does it seem like the HD438s are a good match for me, or should I be looking at other brands and headphones?


Edit: Initial impressions of HD 438s here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/sen...ml#post6594093
post #2 of 68
The HD 428 and 438 should be very similar phones, with the 438 having better bass extension. I'm quite happy with my HD 428, but I haven't heard the 438.

What I can tell you is that the 428 sounds very refined, and have a good sound stage for closed cans. Bass on it suits my tastes, but may not be enough for many people.

I would love to give the HD 438 a spin though. Give us your impressions if you decide to go that route.
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soaa- View Post
What I can tell you is that the 428 sounds very refined, and have a good sound stage for closed cans. Bass on it suits my tastes, but may not be enough for many people.
What genres/artists do you typically listen to on the HD428s? My main concern is that I would be wanting more bass with electronica. I'm feel like I'd be satisfied with them for most musical genres though.

I most definitely will leave feedback on the headphones, whatever pair I end up going with. I might just go the eBay route and pick up the HD438s for slightly cheaper than Amazon, not sure; have to decide on a pair first!
post #4 of 68
I listen to Vocaloid music, mostly. :P It's mostly techno of all sorts, and some more groovy tracks, and some rock tracks... It's really a mix of melodic genres. No rap or hip hop though.

I find the bass adequate for my tastes; even though there's not a lot of it, it's very tight and it's definitely there. Your first impression might be weak, but give them some burn-in and some time for your ears to adjust too.

Don't base your expectations with the HD 438 on my impressions though. They could be similar cans, or they could be altogether different internally. I know the HD 448 is very similar to the 428, but I don't know about the 438 for sure.
post #5 of 68
At first, I wasn't happy about the bass with my HD428s but when I'm listening to DnB and PsyTrance, I still feel it. The bass is just not exaggerated. What I do love about these is the isolation and I agree with Soaa about the soundstage. About Vocaloid, Packaged by Hatsune Miku is one of my favorites.
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
Oooh, Vocaloid. Unfortunately I only have three Hatsune Miku albums as far as that goes, haha.

I think what I really would appreciate would be a comparison between the HD201 and the HD428, since the HD201 is a pair that I can relate to. I'm considering the HD428 more now though, between the price and especially your inputs. Thanks guys!
post #7 of 68
Damn, there are more Vocaloid fans with Sennheiser headphones here than I've thought. Have you guys heard Re:MIKUS? It's a wonderful album of mostly remixes of songs from Reackage, along with a few originals. We should share our tunes. (:

Regarding the HD 201, bass is definitely a weak point. I've never heard them before, but just looking at graphs, the HD 428 has more bass than the HD 201. Check this out for reference, but take it with a grain of salt.



The graph for the HD 201 should be bumped up by about 5dB for a more fair comparison. It's knocked down due to its strange 1kHz hump. The graphs seem to show that the HD 438 have a slightly darker presentation than the 428, with more bass extension but a lowered response at the 2-4kHz range.
post #8 of 68
Thread Starter 
Upon double-checking, turns out I have four albums and one single - unformed, Re:MIKUS, Re: package, supercell, and Jewel Colors.

The more I think about it, the more I imagine that the HD428s would suffice, but at the same time, my curiosity about the HD438s bothers me more and more. Oh dear.
post #9 of 68
HD428 and HD448 have pleather pads while the HD438 have velour pads. I'd stick with the latter no matter what the genre is. I chose the HD418 after listening to them and to the HD448 which didn't impress me at all. The HD438 is just more refined HD418 with the bass of better quality.
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
HD428 and HD448 have pleather pads while the HD438 have velour pads. I'd stick with the latter no matter what the genre is. I chose the HD418 after listening to them and to the HD448 which didn't impress me at all. The HD438 is just more refined HD418 with the bass of better quality.
No matter what the genre is? That's quite a statement, haha.

Right now I am indeed leaning towards the HD 438, but partially because it's a $10 difference between it and the HD 428 after shipping. I have to admit though, HD 438s have a slightly silly appearance.
post #11 of 68
You'll probably want more bass if you go for the HD428 or 448. It's just a common reaction, but I got over it in time. And apparently the HD438 don't look that outrageous in real life.

@majkel: not impressed by the HD448? Can we get some more detail on that, please? I'm only asking because of your many bygone headphones. I'm quite enjoying my own pair, but I have no better previous experience.
post #12 of 68
I dunno about wanting more bass on the HD428. I have a pair... and I didn't like them much when I first got them. I let them burn in and then decided to re-cable with Mogami W2534. Now the bass is much tighter and plenty of it along with the mids making a better presence. I actually have them in the For Sale section for $65 (I found out I don't like Supra-Aural).

post #13 of 68
I play whatever is on my mind through my HD428, from Jazz to Metal, it works fine. Sometimes a bit more bass would add to better sound but overall that's its only weak point for me regarding sound. Power helps to bring a bit more bass.

Sometimes its sound stage is too narrow, even when it's hooked up to amplification but for the price I paid, it's really good. If you want awesome sound stage more expensive and/or old headphones like the AKG K240 DF are the way to go. For their price based on what I've read and listening to my HD428, the Sennheiser HD4x8-series are very good for the price, build/construction could be better in my opinion.
post #14 of 68
Yeah, like the guys from Headroom said, these are the best price/performance headphones Sennheiser has. Considering the $80 i spent for mine and here in my country same-league cans can cost up to twice as much (ATH M50 200$, low-end grados 120$), I think they're solid mid-fi cans.
post #15 of 68
Thread Starter 
Well, after having thought about it a bit more, I went ahead with the HD 438. I'll leave my first impressions here and will likely make some more comments throughout burn-in.
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