Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Sennheiser HD25-1-II vs AKG K518 review
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sennheiser HD25-1-II vs AKG K518 review

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So today, after watching Jude's review, I went out and finally tried the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II at one of the only 2 Apple stores in Lisbon. And although I couldn't use my regular DAP as a test (Sony NWZ-A845), I used the store's iPod Nano Touch or whatever that thing was. It looked like a gumdrop. Anyway, I had already tested the K518 DJ a while ago on more than one occasion, and was very pleased. They weren't all that different at first, and after a while I noticed that in fact, they had very noticeable characteristics. I see them as being choice models for people who listen to the same kind of music, buy wanting slightly different things. Anyway, here's the frequency response graph:

 

K518 vs HD-25-1-II freq. response

Note: on HeadRoom they listed the K518 as K81, but it's the same headphone, only redesigned, since it used to have a black and silver case. The driver is the same.

 

Straight by looking at the graph I was a bit surprised, since from the two, the K518 seemed at least as dark as the HD25, which does not correspond to the image above - I did not try them one right after the other, not even the same tracks or source, so maybe my opinion here should be disregarded. My quick (liar!) impressions:

 

Comfort:

Both seemed very comfortable, although in different ways. The K518 was less clamping on your ears, while the HD-25 had plushier pads. Besides, the split headband with pads on the HD-25 would make it my first choice on this matter. No complaints on either one, though.

 

Design:

I won't comment on the durability for an obvious reason - I don't own any one of the pairs, only tried store models. However, on looks alone, both seem very attractive. The HD-25 appears to be Sennheiser's attempt on getting on the AIAIAI TMA-I train of 2010's DJ headphones -  and a successful one. They look good, not very flashy. You probably wouldn't notice them if someone would pass by on the street, unless of course if you visit the "headphone sightings" thread often tongue.gif. The K518 looks cool too, and AKG even released an LE with different flashy colors. They look nice, that's as much as I can go.

 

Isolation:

Here, I would have to say the HD-25 is the winner. While I was putting them on my girlfriend was talking to me (no, I'm not that kind of guy) and I pretty much stopped hearing her. They isolate very well, probably thanks to the clamp force and plushy pads. The K518 weren't bad, by no means, but I just prefer the HD-25.

 

Sound:

Like I mentioned, I believed the K518 to be about as bassy as the HD25, which really isn't the case. I remember the highs being good, without lacking extension, and the mids (I try vocals and sax for this, bear that in mind) were very decent from what I recall, and natural-sounding. What I imagined was pretty much what the graph showed me, apart from the obvious bass roll-off which I did not expect. They were punchy, but not as much as the HD25. A very fun pair, while keeping some neutrality, and great for a first mid-fi choice.

The HD-25-1-II was just... better. The mids were very good. I unfortunately could not try some clear vocal tracks, or some Coltrane for further impressions, but it seemed good nevertheless. As soons as I heard it, I pictured a highs roll-off. They just didn't seem very present along the tracks. As for the bass, it was not on enormous ammounts, as you would expect from a DJ headphone. It was there, and more than neutrality would require, clearly, but not a lot. It was however very punchy! Pumping-against-your-head punchy! That seems obvious by looking at that mid-bass hump on the graph, but I assure you they didn't seem that dark to me. If I had to pick a word to describe the HD-25-1-II, it would be "fun".

 

Value:

Well, I think I would be willing to pay - what is it now? 150$? - for th HD25-1-II. They would be my outdoors choice, fo'sho. But I am absolutely sure I would pay about 80$ for the K518, and you can probably get them cheaper. The Hd25 are more of a pair you would buy to use and be done with it, like if you need something that a year from now will still be there, and serve its purpose as it did originally. I'm not saying the K518 will break or screw up in that time, but I think the listener might find something lacking and seek out something else.

For me, the 70$ price difference seems a pretty obvious deal-breaker on the HD25, but after trying both, maybe some people would just want the more expensive pair that much. You would be fine with either one as a first choice, IMO. I just think the HD25 sound better, but not so much that would justify such a difference,

 

So, what are your opinions? Maybe my ear isn't that good at picking up differences in the sound, maybe my different sources were messing things up a bit too, but I just felt like I couldn't really understand both pairs that well. I'll do that when I can and post my updated impressions. In the meantime, share your thoughts.

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

Design:

I won't comment on the durability for an obvious reason - I don't own any one of the pairs, only tried store models. However, on looks alone, both seem very attractive. The HD-25 appears to be Sennheiser's attempt on getting on the AIAIAI TMA-I train of 2010's DJ headphones -  and a successful one. They look good, not very flashy. You probably wouldn't notice them if someone would pass by on the street, unless of course if you visit the "headphone sightings" thread often tongue.gif. The K518 looks cool too, and AKG even released an LE with different flashy colors. They look nice, that's as much as I can go.

 


Good stuff.  One thing to mention.. don't think Sennheiser is attempting to get on AIAIAI's TMA-1 considering HD 25-1 ii has been out for years.   It  has stand the test of time:

 

Skylab's 2007 Review tongue_smile.gif

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/250041/review-5-sub-150-sealed-headphone-compared

 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well we agreed in some aspects, not in others. His review is to be taken more seriously, since mine was not at home, had different sources, and Skylab is obviously a more experienced reviewer. I just think the K518 are very good for their price, and would definitely recommend them to a new member that has Gorillaz on his playlistsmily_headphones1.gif

post #4 of 9

I just got my 518's from UPS tonight. Paid a scant $45 for them! Sound good so far.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

That is one of the best deals ever! Where did you get them?

post #6 of 9

Got 'em from Amazon.

 

I really like them so far. I'm getting much closer to what I'm really looking for after sifting through (buying/selling) MD Tribs, PortaPro, XB500, Turbine, q460, and a few others. They remind me of the Quincy Jones q460, but the bass is fuller. Not quite as detailed, but much more useable. For 45 bucks, they really rock! Good portable size, I don't mind wearing them to the store.

 

 

post #7 of 9
great impressions, i like the graph, its what i was looking for. I think the K518 DJ is a steal for the price, but i know what you think about them lacking something in the long run. Very fun to listen to tho. And with the pads removed, much better.
post #8 of 9

Damn I really agree with you there for the HD25 is one of those to keep for a lifetime, cause I personally prefer the AKG 518 sound more, and I would buy them and use them more than my HD25's... at least for a while. I mean I don't really notice the sound quality difference, unless I look for it, and it depends on the music. I love the AKG 518 strong bass, but all in all the HD25 sounds better, still I would love if some of that sibilance power from the HD25's would be moved into the bass^^. I never had a long listen to the 518's but that's is just bassed on my impression. Oh and how's the soundstage? I though it was better than the HD25, probably a touch larger than the MS400's 

post #9 of 9

well i have velour pads on my K518 now, and the strong bass has gone, more highs and they sound very balanced. but they still lack sparkle in the highs, im hoping the Shure SRH440 with give me the treble i like

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Sennheiser HD25-1-II vs AKG K518 review