Sometimes luck stands by me, and other times she takes a vacation when she is needed most. Fortunately she was on the clock when I signed up to win a pair of Sennheiser Amperior headphones. I vowed to review these once I received them. So now with great trepidation and much sweating, my first review with pictures! I'll take this from a slightly less technical perspective, and approach this from a more common man angle.
Decided to take it outside for all that nice natural sunlight. The box is miles beyond the quality of any my other headphones.
This is no cheap think cardboard. This is the good stuff. Built like a tank... I honestly doubted that this would have needed the extra shipping box it came in, but better safe than sorry.
Oh goody... words with numbers alongside... Let's see... The impedance is nice and low which will likely allow just about anything short of a potato to run these babies. And it seems these things can be run quite loud as well. Parents, you might want to put in those volume limiters if you are getting them.
The oppressive summer heat has driven me indoors by this point, so I guess I'll keep going in the comfort of the A/C. Lo and behold the glory of the headphones! Extremely well packaged set with the headphones being held securely along with extra cables behind that paper portion. Now let's see exactly what I'm gonna be getting here...
Here we go. The box came with quite a few nifty extras. Taking a look up above the left flap of the box comes with a little paper envelope. To my dismay those straps aren't for decoration, but actually hold the box in. After ripping open the straps I find no government secrets, but instead the usual multi-language booklets. Good reading materials for confused people or wasting time at the DMV. Moving on to the big question: Will the Amperior cable fit through my hard cased iproduct? Do I need an iproduct to use em? Yes and no. The new cable is actually very very short. No more than a foot long, but Sennheiser has provided two extension cables with this. The user gets a nice generic (if extremely thin) cable of about 3 feet that terminate with a 90 degree plug. The body of the connector is narrow enough to accommodate just about any product. The second cable pictured is the included iproduct volume controller and call device. Nicely built as well with a nice feeling controls. The plug for this in not a 90 degree for some odd reason, but not really an issue for me.
Let us move on to the meat of the review now. The cans themselves. If you have the HD-25 series I'm sure this will all seem like a retread, so feel free to skip ahead.
Here we go. Basic breakdown. Anodized blue aluminum ear cups, and split headband pivot thingy. Feels very nice and substantial. The headphones at first touch are actually quite heavier than expected. They get pretty close to my 598s in terms of weight. This gives em a feeling of durability which I assume the predecessor had down well enough. They are marketed as "Inspired by DJs, Designed for the Streets," and they seem to meet that expectation. Along with a sturdy construction, and the metal ear cups they feel like they could be drop kicked into a train, and emerge undamaged. (Attempting this not recommended, but you get the idea.) The headband does split for adjusted comfort. A novel concept that works extremely well. Wish more manufacturers did this. The cushy bits seem to be a velour of some sort, and I believe are a departure from the HD-25s which were pleather/leather. (Can't say as I've never owned a pair.) The cable itself is quite interesting in the fact that appears to have connectors from the 580-650 series of flagships. Odd, but this can only be a boon to the cables modders who happen to own one of the series. Let's see... ear cup adjustment works very well despite feeling rather flimsy and prone to wild motion.
The issues of comfort. This might be the first major drawback of these headphones since I got them. For users with glasses there a good chance that the clamping will cause upper ear pain within half an hour of wearing. Without glass I'm happy to report they are extremely comfortable with long term wearing not being out of the question. They manage to isolate rather well, but oddly enough they seem incapable of filtering out higher frequency noises such as typing on a keyboard or tapping a pencil on the table. The headband's range of adjustment allows for comfort to be found from normal people to Klingon. The earpads seem to be filled with some kind of gel/foam material that is supremely comfortable to wear on hears. Grado could likely take a hint here. (I wonder if I could mount these on my SR60?) Overall good marks for comfort if you lack corrective lenses.
Time for every head-fier's favorite portion. The SOUND!
I'm going to avoid listing each section of the headphone's frequency range, and let this narrative guide me. The Amperior headphones are closed which has a few pros and cons when it comes to the sound stage, quality and the such. As with many closed cans the Amperiors do rather well in the bass department, but the mid-range punch seems a bit recessed. The highs can be a bit sibilant, but I'm going to write this off as yet unburned headphones. (10-15 hours of listening time.) Overall the sound quality is very nice and clear. The sound stage takes after its siblings in the fact that it is a bit congested. They are nowhere close as expansive as my 598s or HFI580s for that matter. Although the 580s are indeed closed, the driver placement does give them a slightly more airy quality than cans might. These seem to do rather well with most genres, but they truly shine with hip-hop and other more bass oriented and vocal music. Gonna let these continue burn in, and get back to you before I give any final opinion. For now they remain wonderful sounds closed headphone that rise head and shoulders above the Best Buy crowed. (Beats and the such.)
On the matter of price.
There is not denying that these are pretty expensive headphones. Are they worth the triple digit premium over their predecessors? Don't ask me. I couldn't tell you. From what I have read here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/600316/sennheiser-amperiors It is a rather debated subject matter. I personally find them to be about as good as my HD598s. In essence they might not be a worthy upgrade over the HD-25, but if they are your first set of good headphones I would recommend you take a look at them. In the end the matter of money will always be argued over. I say yes to these.
If you want a more technical review that involves a tear down of the headphones I recommend Tyll's review.
A side note on Tyll's review. It appears our respective headphones have different cables. I'm not sure if he got a different model or a pre-production sample, but I can say that mine do have a more compact 1/8" plug that should fit into the tighter spaces found on a hard cases. I have had no problem plugging them into my leather cased Zen where my other headphones have found the fit a bit too tight.
Once again I'd like to thank Rosmadi Mahmood for making this possible.
Well... Hopefully I haven't made a fool of myself, and all this doesn't seem to be the mad ranting of a lunatic. Any questions?