In looking for a budget headphone, and knowing Sennheiser recently updated its 200 and 400 lines, I thought I'd take advantage of Best Buy's current sale on the new HD 419's, the lowest model, for $40.
I am no expert and don't usually write reviews, but because there is nothing written about these online, I thought I'd offer something. My ears have of recent become used to the sound signature of Soundmagic E10 and MEElectronics M21s. So I am coming from IEMs with a slight U-shaped sound, "warmish" and relatively balanced and detailed (not a "basshead," nor do I desire cold and neutral sound signatures). Take that for what its worth, which will undoubtedly influence my personal impressions here.
These have not been burned in for any length of time. Upon listening to them, they are not overwhelmingly bassy like I assumed they'd be, considering they are the lowest model in the budget 400 series. They are advertised with "Punchy Bass" on the packaging, and I am happy to say that they certainly have punchy bass, quality over quantity, but this is my impression. The overall sound on most tracks is warm and perhaps "darker" than the similarly priced MEElectronics HT-21, which I once had. The mids don't sound recessed to me, nor do they sound upfront either, the way I usually prefer. Can't really vouch for the highs since I usually am far more focused on the lows and mids.
All in all, I can't say much about these at the moment since I am in the initial stages of use. What I can say is that these are not muddy at all, not bass monsters in the slightest. The mids are perfectly clear to me even if warmed up a bit, but this might just be my ears since I am used to this sound coming from MEElectronics IEMs. If you are looking for a budget pair of headphones with a solid, punchy low-end (at this price, the bass is punchy, but not incredibly deep, you'll have to step up to the higher priced models for that) and solid mids, decent soundstage, and solid comfort, these are a good pair, especially for $40 at Best Buy right now. I may add more to this after burning them in for a period of time.
Forgot to add that I tested these with MP3's ripped at VBR 0, so highest quality possible, nothing lower than this. Most of the music tested was very complex metal tracks, from death metal to multi-layered folk metal.
Edited by glove4 - 11/15/11 at 8:17am