This is my first real review on Head-Fi. Recently I was given the Sennheiser Amperior as a birthday gift and an upgrade to my trusty HD25-1 II's, which I've had for a couple of years now and use nearly every day. They are my go-to portable headphone, so I the Amperior really were aiming high in attempting to be an upgrade.
Accesories & Packaging
It's been a while since I got my HD25's, so I can't remember what the packing was like, but the Amperior packaging was simple and quite elegant. A box opens to the headphones in a foam cutout, with two envelopes: one containing the boring paperwork, and the other containing two cables. It's not too distracting and allows quick access to the headphones themselves.
As for accessories, my I bought the 'upgraded' edition (whichever one isnt the basic edition) of the HD25's, so I have both velour and pleather pads, along with the screw-on 3.5mm to 6.3mm (1/8" to 1/4") adapter. The amperior however, came with only one pair of pads, which are a strange material, like a sort of smoothed out velour (see pictures), and two cables: one straight jack with remote & mic, and one right-angled jack with neither. Neither jack comes with threading for screwing on an adapter which seems odd when you consider these are marketed at the "on-the-go DJ".
MINI RANT: Why why why sennheiser? Why would you make the cable like that? It makes no sense! The cable is replaceable anyway, so the little straggly bit is pointless, not to mention the fact that its quite chunky while the extension wires are horrible, thin and have basically no strain relief! Are you trying to make the cable as annoying as possible? You could at least have made the whole wire chunky or thin, but having change halfway is just weird. Not to mention the fact that the thicker wire seems to have quite a lot of memory, so enjoys poking my face every once in a while. I'm almost definitely going to transplant the HD25's cable onto the Amperior, or I fear I may throw it against a wall. /rant
Remote & mic.
Right: HD-25 cable. Middle: Amperior extension cable. Left: Amperior 'attached' cable.
This is simply a lie. The cables are NOT the same thickness, not even close.
Comfort & Fit
Both of these headphones clamp very tightly, in order to stay on your head when you're a headbanging DJ. However the clamp of the Amperior is slightly less, making them a little more comfortable for long periods of wear. Otherwise, the pads you choose make a small but noticeable difference to both comfot and sound. I found my got hot quickest with the pleather, then the smoothed out velour, then the classic velour pads.
As you can see, the clamping of the Amperior is a bit less.
Right: Classic velour. Left: Smoothed velour.
I must say, the Amperiors feel so solid and well built that I could throw lorries at them and they'd come out looking slightly nonchalant. That being said, the HD25's have suffered long and hard, forever being thrown about. The Amperiors are noticeably heavier, however this lends them a premium feel the HD25's don't really have.
The cable is another matter entirely. The cable on the HD25 is half-flat: two rounded cables stuck to each other. I like this method but I'm perfectly happy with a good quality rounded cable, such as that on mt GR07 BE's. Howeverthe Amperior's cable below the shorter part, i.e. the swappable cables, are thin and flimsy. I feel like i going to break them just by looking at them. I am actually using the extension cable I got with my HD448's, which works quite nicely and although it's still not the same thickness it looks and feels much better.
The termination on the attached cables are nice and sturdy, with good strain reliefs, but the terminations on the Amperior's swappable cable are lacking, to say the least.
The Amperior's aluminium cups feel solid and premium.
The termination of the HD25 (left) and attached amperior (right) cables.
Winner: HD25 for the cable, Amperior for the cups
Now for the bit you've all been waiting for!
Source: Nexus 5 with/without c&c BH2.
Songs used in testing:
Triple X - Sub Focus
Whiskers - Feed Me
Lose Yourself to Dance - Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
Pick Me - Paper Aeroplanes
Time - Pink Floyd
Death Blossoms - Rise Against
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3
All FLAC or 320kbps MP3.
Now I don't believe in burn-in, but I do believe it takes some time to get used to the sound of a new pair of headphones.
It is important to note that these are very similar headphones. Both are upfront, exciting, and warm, with deep bass, neutral mids and sparkly highs. The differences noted here are always going to be much less dramatic than when comparing either of these two pairs to any other pair.
The bass is probably the largest difference. The Amperior has more bass, and it extends deeper, however for my tastes this bleeds ever so slightly into the mids. Also the mid-bass hump (ew) covers up the lucious subbass extension that is there, but is not always audible with any presence of midbass, which is very upsetting. (i'm a bit of a subbass junkie). The subbass reverb in Whiskers is thrilling in both sets, but I have to hand subbass accuracy to the Amperior. having said that, the HD25 is streets ahead when it comes to midbass. It is far more neutral where the Amperior is warm and fluffy. In Death Blossoms and Time the bass guitar nearly drowns out the lead, while the HD25's separate the two perfectly.
Having said that, the Amperiors shine in electronic music, with a fast punch and accurate, well-extending subbass.
Winner: HD25 for rock & acoustic, Amperior for electronic & dance
The HD25's mids are in my book a little recessed, though guitars in Time do have a nice twang to them, which is a little lost in the Amperio's midbass. However with a little EQing, the Amperior's mids shine through as probably its best aspect. They are warm but flat, with a very nice timbre, but they know when to get out of the way (which is more than can be said for the bass).
The acoustic guitars in Pick Me sound lovely from both sets of cans, but after EQ the Amperiors do trump the HD25 on nearly every track, with only the Rachmaninoff sounding really better from the HD25 because of its natural linear bass. The EQ does detract a little form the Amperior's bass impact, but that is nice too as I am not too keen on the 'shaking earcups' at higher volumes.
Winner: EQ'd Amperior, not EQ'd HD25
I'm not a huge fan of the HD25's highs, i think they're its worst aspect. So how nice to find that the Amperior really cleaned up the harsh cymbals and sibilance present in the HD25. I really am verybpleased with the Amperior's highs, they're delicate when necessary, a subtle tinkle, or brash and exciting (without being harsh). Again, the bass overpowers the highs, but not nearly so much as the mids. The cymbal crashes in Triple X are a real tell of good highs, and while the HD25's make them sound quite unpleasant, the Amperior really love them.
Amperior. The End.
But seriously, the separation when the bass is toned down is much better, and the soundstage is broader, if not much deeper. Death Blossoms' different guitars are really well placed, and the shape of the orchestra in Rachmaninoff's concerto is nicely apparent.
This is a hard one. In case you hadn't realised, I hate the cable and overpowering midbass of the Amperior, but I really do like pretty much everything else. Since both can be fixed, I am going to preliminarily crown the Amperior the winner. I will however definitely be holding on to my HD25's.
If you are listening, go with the Amperiors. If you are creating, mixing or producing, go with the HD25.
PS: Amping the amperiors does very little, as they are an 18ohm can, while, amping the HD25 cleans up the treble and widens the soundstage a little, putting both slightly below the amperior.
Edited by Triple X - 6/21/14 at 7:04am