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My Experience With Sennheiser, AKG, Sony, Shure, Audio Technica & Ultimate Ears

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Few days ago, I was at Singapore. I wanted to make use of this opportunity to audition some good headphones that I have had heard of on this site. Here's my impression with all the headphones that I auditioned that night.

Sennheiser HD439
Design & Build Quality- Sennheiser HD439 body are made of good quality plastic & don't look like it's gonna catches damage anytime soon. The earcups looks very fancy. Earpads are made of velours & comfort are supreme on these. Overall, I find it lightweight.

Sound- Sound quality is/are my top propriety. Sennheiser HD439 didn't disappoint me in this point. The bass are there without being too strong with very tight & punchy feeling. Where as the mids are smooth. Highs don't stand out well. Details & soundstage are better than SRH-440 at a similar price range. Overall, I find it a better pair than Shure SRH- 440.

Sennheiser HD518:
Design & build quality- Sennheiser HD518 are not for those who are looking for good looking headphone like Beats. The build quality feels like HD439 but much more sturdy with bigger earpads for better comfort. The cables are more suitable for home use as it is 3m long with a 6.3mm jack at the end of it. It does come with a 6.5mm to 3.5mm plug. However, it's bulky.

Sound- I was disappointed with these sound quality. I find the HD439 sound better(this is only in my case as I am no basshead). The bass on these are too strong for my taste & it's not tight. As for the mids, it has more or less the same characteristics se HD439 but it's slightly better. Highs stand out better than the HD439 thought. Details & soundstage are good. I would recommend Sennheiser HD518 if you are looking for something that sound relaxing & a ted more bass.

Sennheiser IE800
Design & build quality- First impression? WOW! What a small IEM. It's so awesome! I mean, such a small shell the driver must be extreme small. It is made of ceramic. The audiophile there told me it's using a micro driver that is extreme small yet produce great sound.

Sound- Definitely not for basshead. The bass are nothing. Mids are good. Highs are bright! Too bright. If you prefer something with more bass & less bright, the UE900 are for you
[Didn't manage to audition long enough to make a better impression]

Sennheiser Momentum
Design & build quality- The design looks cool to me. Really cool. Build quality are no exception. With a leather headband finished with nice & smooth brown color, stainless steel that hold the earcups that has the same color as the headband. It's just fantastic. Even the earpads uses leather with brown color too. One thing lacking are the earcups size, too small for my ear. Direct comparison, smaller than Sennheiser HD439

Sound quality- Man oh man! These sound great! The bass are strong and punchy. Basshead need not apply. Mids are not at all recessed. It's real smooth & clear. Highs are sparky to me. The entire frequency range stand out really well! Details are good. Sennheiser Momentum just lack one thing in sound. The soundstage. However, it is a characteristic of a closed headphones. Overall, I am very happy with it.

Sennheiser RS220:
Design & build quality- Design are extreme. Headphone's build quality are mostly made of plastic but it feels sturdy. Sennheiser RS220 signal are not so stable. You might experience some cut in music for a second or two if there's too many wireless device running around it.

Sound- HEY! Sennheiser RS220 share the same driver as HD650! What can you expect? The bass are tight & punchy. Mids are warm. Highs are laid back a little. The sound are extreme good with great details and soundstage. Overall, I think these are the best wireless headphone you can get in sound quality. In the future, I hope Sennheiser could fix the signal issue.

Audio Technica ATH-M50:
Design & build quality- ATH-M50 are well known for it's "alternative" to Beats's flagship, the Beats Pro & other Beats product line. Design give you the feeling that they are heavy but not so in my opinion. Build quality are like tank! Everything don't seem like it's gonna break anytime soon.

Sound- As a Beats alternative, it must have good bass. Yes, these does. Bass are strong & punchy. Mids are recessed a little. Highs are clear. With slightly above average detail and okay soundstage. Overall, I would highly recommend these if you are new to headphone or upgrading from Beats.

Sony MDR-7506
Design & build quality- these, have horrible padding. It looks like 1980s headphone. Build quality are okay. Design & build quality on these ain't my cup of tea.

Sound- while it does not do my cup of tea well in design & build quality, the sound impress me. Bass are light but it's a good thing to me. Mids are neutral. Highs are crispy. I would say, these details & soundstage are much better than ATH-M50. If you are no basshead, you should give these a shot.

Sennheiser HD800
Design & build quality- Wow wow wow! These design and build quality are best of the best!

Sound- One word that can describe these headphone sound. AWESOME! I feel like I'm in a concert hall when driving these with Beyerdynamic A1. Extreme my friend, extreme! Driving with lower end amp, does not give me the "wow factor" I think, these are very picky in source. Can be annoying if you are driving it with a $400++ amp. I tried pair it with iBasso well known DAP, the DX100, it does not give me the feeling as I get from Beyerdynamic A1.

AKG K550
Design & build quality- Fancy design. Extreme build quality & so do durability. People with small head, don't worry. It fits my head perfectly. Does get steamy after 15min in a roughly 27 degree room. It's just look awesome and build good!

Sound- Not enough power to drive with my old iPod Nano 3rd! Push my volume to max, no sound detected. PC/Mac->iBasso D7 makes a good combo. Lows are great. Mids are natural. Highs are crisp. Details are great. Soundstage are wide. One thing that blow my mind is how clear it is! The clarity are something you can't find in it's price range. Overall, I would say, the sound are comparable to Sennheiser Momentum in some category.

AKG Tiesto K167
Design & build quality- Design look futuristic with it's awesome reflective white dots on the headband and around the earcups. Earpads are made of quality velour. Comfort are extreme.

Sound- Maybe it don't get enough burn-in or it's AKG K167's nature. Lows are strong & punchy but I can hear hisses after each bass has ended. Mids are warm. Where as the highs are bit forward. Details are not so good but soundstage are. Overall, if you are looking for fancy headphone & have enough patient for it to burn-in. I would highly recommend it.

Shure SRH-440
Design & build quality-Design are not for most teenagers. Build quality in another hand are made of plastic but then again, it looks sturdy. While it don't sit over my ear well. The pads are too thin & hard. My ears are touching the driver, without 10min I took them off. Same goes to the headband. Exposed cable on the headband are too thin, that's one thing you have to worried about.

Sound- Beginning from the lows, there's roll-off at the lowest lows. Bass relative to midrange are there but not strong yet tight. Shure are well known of it's smooth midrange. SRH-440 are no exception. Highs stand out better than Sennheiser HD439. The down side of these Shure headphone is that it sound veiled! Overall, Shure makes a good entry level studio headphone with SRH-440. It's somewhat neutral.

Ultimate Ears UE900
Design & build quality-UE900 are two times larger than Sennheiser IE800. It looks good to me. Cables are however weird to me. It's thin. Too thin that it can cause tangle but won't get damage due to over tangling. Other than the cable, I have no complains about UE900's design & build quality.

Sound- Sound wise. Ultimate Ears did a good job in tuning these quad balanced armature driver. It features triple crossover to divide the frequency into three category that is, lows mids and highs. & this technology turn out well! The lows are strong & tight. Mids are detailed. Highs are crisp. Details & soundstage are great. Direct comparison to my XBA-4. The UE900 did far much better without an amp. Despite XBA-4's metallic characteristic, it does better in instrument centric songs. Overall, I would recommend these over XBA-4 if you dislike metallic mids.

Out of all these headphones, the best I like is/are:
1) Sennheiser HD800 [Definitely]
2) AKG K550 [Extreme Clarity]
3) Sennheiser Momentum [Lacks clarity compared to K550]
4) Sennheiser RS220 [Could have be in 3rd place if it is not the signal issue]
5) Ultimate Ears UE900 [Very good balance]
6) Sony MDR-7506 [Better than ATH-M50 in most aspect except bass quantity]
7) Sennheiser HD439 [Smooth mids & none overpowered bass & tight]
8) Sennheiser HD 518 [If only it has less bass]
9) AKG K167 [Hisses. Probably don't get enough burn-in?]
10) Audio Technica ATH-M50 [Again, too much bass without being tight!]
11) Shure SRH-440 [Uncomfortable, not enough bass that causes "veiled" sound]
12) Sennheiser IE900 [Too bright for my taste]

Headphones that I am looking forward to audition from these 5 great companies are:
AKG: K267, K702
Audio Technica: ATH-WS99, ATH-AD900x
Sennheiser: HD650, HD700, Amperior
Sony: MDR-1R
Ultimate Ears: UE9000, UE4000

1) Are there any big differences between HD700 & HD800?
Edited by BillsonChang007 - 12/27/12 at 4:57pm
post #2 of 5
Thumbs up for the extreme details review. Do you think the momentum require an amp to sound good?
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by maserluv View Post

Thumbs up for the extreme details review. Do you think the momentum require an amp to sound good?

Thanks! I think pairing with one does not make much differences.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Oh...I like how the RS220 sound except for the highs. That is why I am looking at HD650 but the amp for it really stressing me up as my budget are $700 with HD650. Should I go for RS220 & then connect it to my PC with the built in soundcard or the iBasso D-Zero?

My amp/dac choice are narrow... These are the only ones that I can find: http://www.stereo.com.sg/store/nav.php?cPath=211

[Ignore this post!]
Edited by BillsonChang007 - 12/27/12 at 4:59pm
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Bumb for my question: HD700 vs HD800 smily_headphones1.gif
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