Sennheiser, being a German company adhere to function over form. So when beats took the world by storm, the HD 418s were their conservative attempt at adding flair to their products. The result actually looks silly, flames on the side of my headphones? Predictably they didn't take the world by storm, and these have been replaced by the hd419, which is stamped from the exact same parts, just with more appropriate gray and black styling minus the silly flaming decal. That aside, let's actually review these.
When I audition headphones the first thing I do is play something like the song Stricken by Disturbed and gauge how they reproduce rhythm guitar. So many so called "studio" or "high end" headphones have a nasty peak in the upper midrange that butchers the fat, warm sound that a distorted rhythm guitar should have, resulting in a nasty edge that makes me want to rip my ears off. Sonys do this as do other brands for the sake of "detail". Baloney, a guitar doesn't sound like that in real life and neither should my headphones. Sennheiser, much to their credit never deliver that nasty sibilance and the 418s don't either. What they deliver is a perfectly pleasant experience, warmed over guitar tones and no glaring peaks.
What they don't deliver is extension in the extremes of the sound spectrum, but that isn't expected at this price. Nor are they capable of concert volumes without distortion. But they are an honestly clean and flat sounding headphone at a good price, no obscene coloration.
What makes these worth a few bucks more than the 201/202/205 range is they are much more solid feeling, although not quite the military grade feel of the 280 pros. Their strongest point is comfort. They have velour cups that are all day comfortable, little clamping force and more light weight than they look. In essence, they almost disappear on your head as opposed to the 280 pros which while delivering a far more visceral experience are always there with their weight and clamping.
Again they are veiled so detail freaks should spend more money, but they aren't clumsy sounding like beats or monster. I should also mention that they are happily driven to adequate volumes by portable devices such as the nexus 7 I'm reviewing them on right now.