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Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Professional Headphone

  1. Yonv
    Great little Headphones
    Written by Yonv
    Published Jun 8, 2010
    Pros - Wonderful sound reproduction. Good isolation, value and ergonomics in a working atmosphere.
    Cons - the fit takes some getting used to
    When I first received the HP25-1 II I was a little disappointed. They were tight on my head, to bright for my liking and bass was a little lacking. Right out of the box I was comparing them with my HD280s and felt that the 280s were better in every aspect except ergonomics. After a couple weeks of use I got used to the fit and started to notice the presentation was improving.
    I actually fell in love with these headphones at CanJam 2010. Up till this point I was driving the phones with my ipod. I had read some reviews and an amp was recommended so I was on a mission for an amp. After many amps and comparing these phones with the best of the pack I can honestly say that they hold there own with the bid dogs when they have the right source and amplification. They have nice bass response and the highs were no longer overpowering. Overall I would say the sound spectrum is very well balanced.
    There isolation is great when I use the phones at work or play. They stay on your head what ever activity you participate in, and when someone is trying to speak with you, you can easily pull them off to one side and listen. They have a rugged build and I suspect they will last for many years no matter what your activities are. Parts are readily available and the phones have a very simple construction so they are easy to work on and modify if you so desire.
    Final thoughts. These Great little phones don't come alive until they have been burned in and are given a good source and amplification. The fit takes a little getting used to so give them some time.
    Highly Recommended.
  2. ljokerl
    Still the total package
    Written by ljokerl
    Published Jun 14, 2010
    Pros - Indestructible, comfortable, well-isolating, great detail and clarity
    Cons - Fairly analytical sound, treble can be aggressive and unnatural, small soundstage
    The HD25-1 has been my favorite (trans)portable headphone for quite a few months. I spend a few nights a week away from my home rig and the HD25 works wonders with my iBasso D10 and netbook. Hi-fi on the go has never been so rugged and simple. Best of all is their sonic versatility – though my backup portables, the AKG K181Dj, excel with certain genres and recordings, the Sennheisers perform more than adequately with anything I can throw at them.


    Build Quality: When it comes to build quality, Sennheiser’s flagship portables can do no wrong. The structure of the HD25 is painfully elementary. They are neither flat-folding nor collapsible, with very simple rotating joints and removable metal hardware. The rough black plastic is resistant to cracks and scratches. A thick and sturdy steel cable, terminated in a beefy L-plug, completes the picture. The headphones are also very light and not likely to get damaged from falls. Lastly, every single part of the headphones is user-replaceable. From the detachable cabling to the headband padding to the cups and joints, the HD25 can be disassembled completely in just a few minutes.

    Comfort: The HD25 is surprisingly light compared to headphones such as the AKG K181 and M-Audio Q40. The adjustable dual headband exerts very little pressure – the majority of the force is applied by the supraaural coupling. Though clamping force is fairly strong in the HD25, the structure does a great job of distributing it over the entire surface of the pads. The cups have a good range of motion despite lacking any joints whatsoever and conform very well to the shape of one’s head. Vinyl pads come installed on stock HD25s but some versions include the optional velour pads as well. Even if that isn’t the case, at $7+shipping the velour pads are a worthy investment, providing a comfort improvement at the expense of a tiny bit of isolation. Overall comfort falls just behind the likes of the impossibly light Senn PX100s and the circumaural CAL!.

    Isolation: Though in general portable headphones can never isolate as well as IEMs, the HD25 can compete with certain shallow-insertion in-ears. While the vinyl pads isolate just a bit more than the velour ones, the tradeoff is unlikely to be worth it for most users. Even with the velour pads the isolation crown of the HD25-1 can be usurped only the hard-clamping AKGs and only if you’re lucky enough to get the AKGs to seal properly.

    Sound: Upon first hearing the HD25-1 I was absolutely convinced that I would be giving them a perfect score in sound quality. Having owned them for a while, however, I can’t help but notice that for $200 headphones they are just slightly lacking here and there. But the fact that I am still using them as my primary portables is certainly telling of the fact that they are a competitive product. They are well-balanced, have good clarity and detail, and are quite transparent when it comes to sources. The bass is tight and accurate. It’s hard-hitting in character and more punchy than powerful as opposed to something like the K181Dj or M-Audio Q40. It has impressive extension, though it won’t keep up with the M-Audios down to the lowest reaches. It is also well-textured and does not bleed into the midrange. For a portable headphone the quantity of bass is just right – a bit more than what one would expect from an analytical headphone but far from AKG K81/K181 quantity.

    The mids are neutral, clear, and detailed. Articulation is very good and sounds are well-separated. However, the HD25 is lacking noticeably in both soundstage width and depth, at least when compared to most full-size headphones. Most of the other closed portables I own don’t exactly shine in soundstaging either but I can’t help but be disappointed that the smaller and cheaper PX200-II has a more spacious sound. Sheer size aside, soundstage positioning is fairly precise and instrumental separation is excellent on all but the densest tracks. Towards the upper midrange the HD25-1 struggles to stay smooth and as a result is very unforgiving of sibilant tracks. The high end is quite present and reasonably extended but comes off a bit edgy and clinical at times. The overall sound, though, is quite pleasant and works particularly well for genres not dependent on soundstage size for the full experience. All of my quibbles aside, the HD25 is as good for use on the go as any portable headphone I have heard.

    Value. (MSRP: $299.95; Street Price: $199) By far the most expensive headphone of the bunch, both in street price and MSRP, the HD25-1 is on another level in terms of balance and detail compared to all of the other featured portables. Compared, however, to full-size cans in the price range, as it sometimes is, the HD25 can come off as dull and rather compressed-sounding because of the narrow stage. The hard treble can also be a bit fatiguing for home use. But of course such comparisons are unfair precisely because I am not comfortable wearing my full-size cans outside while using the HD25 comes naturally. It is this versatility that makes the Sennheisers well-worth the $200 price tag and one of the easiest portable headphones to recommend.

    Manufacturer Specs:
    Frequency Response:16-22,000 Hz
    Impedance:70 Ω
    Sensitivity:120 dB SPL/1mW
    Cord:5ft (1.5m), single-sided; Angled Plug
    Space-Saving Mechanism:N/A
    To see how the HD25s compare to the other portables in my collection please see here.
      LarsHP and ScOgLiO like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. aQuickBit
      This was a great review. I have had trouble finding the ideal pair of cans for almost 2 months now and after reading this I finally pulled the trigger. I've read a lot of reviews on here that are so technical and critical that I don't believe a common consumer like myself would necessarily pick up on half of that stuff; but you made it very sophisticated yet simple. I cannot wait for these to come in the mail as they will *wink, wink* be a tid bit better than my 6 year old Sennheiser PX100's. Again thanks!
      aQuickBit, Jan 31, 2012
    3. tds101
      This review is why I bought my HD25-1 II's,...thank bro!!!
      tds101, Feb 22, 2012
    4. timaries
      Thanks for helping me picking a stunning pair!
      timaries, Mar 1, 2013
  3. jjsoviet
    Excellent Cans for Home and Portable Use
    Written by jjsoviet
    Published Jun 15, 2010
    Pros - Portable, outstanding sound quality, user-replaceable parts, rugged construction, great isolation and comfort
    Cons - Slightly sibilant, closed-in soundstage
    I have previously owned a lot of headphones, but I felt the need of an all-in-one solution that I could use at home or on-the-go. So I scoured and found that the Sennheiser HD25-1 II is the perfect headphone for my needs. It is a small, supra-aural pair of headphones with superb sound quality in its price range and category.
    The HD25-1 is a very rugged set of cans. Although lightweight and looks flimsy, it actually holds well against constant abuse and wear. The split-headband design allows for both a secure and comfortable fit, perfect for lengthy listening sessions. The earcups themselves are made of hardened plastic, and do not easily scratch or dent when hit by an impact force. Lastly, the provided stock steel cable has great tensile strength to maximize longevity. All of these parts are easily replaceable, so the headphone can last for years and years of usage.
    It may not be the best when it comes to isolation, but it does its job well in blocking out external noise like the bustling city, airplane engines, and so on. Although the clamp is fairly tight, it's not as bad as the one from the AKG K518 DJ. The pleather and velour pads also add to the HD25's comfortable fit.
    As I write this review, I have already clocked in about 200 or so hours with this pair of cans. Overall impression, the HD25-1's sound quality is excellent for a closed headphone. Although there is some slight sibilance in the high treble frequencies and soundstage is a bit closed-in, it still sounds great straight out of a DAP or from a headphone amp.
    It retains the classic Sennheiser laid-back house sound, but adds a generous bit of Grado's upfront, edgy kick to it. The result is a pleasing mix of smooth-yet-aggressive sound signature that's hard to come by in other headphones; it reproduces lush vocals, deep, controlled bass, and detailed highs for a can of this size and type. Suitable for almost all genres of music, the Sennheiser HD25-1 is a very flexible can that's sure to please a lot of people.
    Although a bit pricey at $199.99 in most stores available online, in my opinion the Sennheiser HD25-1 is a great buy in this price category. If you are looking for a portable headphone with sound quality rivaling full-sized cans, I strongly recommend getting the HD25-1's.
    PS: I have included pictures of my HD25-1 II as seen in the product photos, to better judge its design and construction.[​IMG]
  4. randomf
    My all-roud #1
    Written by randomf
    Published Sep 26, 2010
    Pros - sound quality, durability, isolation
    Cons - price, comfort
    I bought them as an upgrade for HD-215. I needed better isolating headphones because of the noisy environment. I was trying several models (Technics, Pioneer, AIAIAI,...) and I loved these the most. Sound quality is #1 reason for me. They might be not the best looker but I use them as all-round headphones while commuting, DJ-ing, at studio or at home. The only downside I found so far is they are little bit uncomfortable when wearing for a longer period of time, especially together with glasses.
  5. Zax19
    Portable juggernaut
    Written by Zax19
    Published Feb 10, 2011
    Pros - overall built quality, sound isolation
    Cons - the cable microphonics, sound quality for money
    Hi, just a quick mash-up of what I wrote somewhere about HD 25.
    *Clamping, isolation - When I'm commuting for almost 4 hours it can be quite annoying. On the other hand I was angry that my ATH-SJ5 has weaker clamping force after a year, thus less isolation, it would easily fall off, so I should be happy with what I have now. The only problem is that I have to have full-sized, cheap headphones in both places where I live during the week. Otherwise I'd have to buy 2 good home headphones, or carry one with me while commuting between those 2 places....(as using HD 25 at home is bad for the clamping and you won't be able to endure the clamping for several hours).
    *Earcup size - Circular, ca 6,7cm outer size, 2,7cm inner size. I have bigger ears so they barely cover them but the size is ideal for a portable solution.
    *SQ - It's good but a large portion of the price paid covers the build quality and such. It doesn't suit rock-crossover genre much (distortion effect on guitars etc.) but I was surprised how good Alanis Morisette's Flavours of Entanglement album sounds. I just expected more "wow effect", like when I heard BD DT 231 which has nice amount of bass, detail and great soundstage (for the money).
    UPDATE: Recently I noticed that my SH HD438 sound a lot thinner but has
     better soundstage while my ATH-SJ5 is muddier in general but has similarly pronounced bass
    . So the sound quality jump isn't that small as a thought when I was writing this review, just that SJ5 probably has similar sound signature while I was expecting even more bass (hehe).
    *The cable - Frankly, 1,5m is a little too long x). I have to fit the rest of the cable in my pocket and the microphonics still remains the biggest problem I have now. It's loud, annoying and very impractical cable, it gets very stiff in winter due to the temperature :). The jack is great, rock solid.
    *Built quality - light, flexible, small, durable, replaceable...all the things I'd personally expect from much cheaper headphones for the cost of lower SQ but this is how the market works. Since it's not as bad as mobile phones or laptops, I'm ok with that.
    I like them a lot, it's just that I'd be ok with lower SQ and lower price because for portable solutions the built quality and isolation is what I was looking for (given that the cost is higher in the Czech Republic).
  6. iVinyl
    puzzled by good reports..
    Written by iVinyl
    Published Apr 7, 2011
    Pros - small, sensitive light and good sound proofing
    Cons - overwhelming character
    I have Grado SR60, SR225i, HD650 and HD25 II's, with an iBasso headphone amplifier, fed by an ipod dock cable. I principally bought the HD25's as a monitor headphone for video use but thought I would burn them in for 100 hours and see what they do with music. The reproduction is not what one would call subtle, the extreme frequencies are pronounced and there is little impression of ambience or imaging. It is like it is trying too hard to please.  I can imagine, for that reason, it suits loud rock music, but it tramples delicate good recordings.  The cable picks up some microphony.
  7. zmd
    Written by zmd
    Published May 1, 2011
    Pros - Punchy bass, agressive, detailed sound, very quick, indestructible, light
    Cons - Can become uncomfortable for some, questionable aesthetics
    The HD25s are a legend, really, so I'll just say I love the sound. They push all my aural buttons, with a fast, agressive sound (not quite Grado-like as some would say), punchy bass and great detail. I feel these things just "throw" the music at you, making you listen. Don't know how some people could call them boring, really. They have a solid bass, a dip in the midrange which gives them a certain natural feeling, free of colorations, and somewhat sharp treble. Nothing is overdone, nothing is missing. Soundstage and neutrality might be questionable to some, the design certainly is, but these cans are something you really have to try, especially for rock, metal or rap.

  8. C ee X
    Surprised the first time I put one on, and surprised every time I listen to something new!
    Written by C ee X
    Published Jun 12, 2011
    Pros - Awesome frequency responce and good isolation.
    Cons - Feels weak and fragile.
    The first song I listened to with the HD-25 (like with any new pair of heaphones) was Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers". This is the one track that I know that feels like every audible and inaudible frequency is used in the bassline... It just surrounds you and therefore can be used as a benchmark tool to test audio hardware.
    And boy was I convinced instantly, also the isolation is extremely good so all of that really set me on my way!
    Definitely recommend!
  9. Marleybob217
    Not so satisfied [EDIT]
    Written by Marleybob217
    Published Aug 2, 2011
    Pros - Isolation, durability, spl
    Cons - Tiny soundstage, Dark sounding, not very much detail, very uncomfortable
    I have had these headphones for a couple of days, and used/tested them intensely during that period.
    I have a pair of mackie mr8 mk2 studio monitors, so this is the sound I am used to.
    The sennheiser HD25-1 II are extremely populair, and this is one of the reasons i bought them, yet I was not satisfied at all.
    First of all, the sound stage is extremely small, it actually sounds more like everything I was playing was in mono instead of stereo.
    Also the headphone lacks in treble, and really does not have a lot of detail, this headphone is everything but balanced, so to call this a studio headphone is just wrong.
    Don't get me wrong, it sounds good, has a lot of tight bass, really upfront (could be your taste) and goes really loud. And maybe if you are a pro and need a headphone that is built to last, and has an extremely high spl this is the headphone for you.
    Otherwise, I think the headphone is a bit expensive.
    Alternative: I have the beyerdynamic DT770 pro, these are closed, don't go as loud (as if you would ever need 120db in your ears), still more than loud enough though and have a huge sound space. Also I got them for 130 euro's, so that's 10 euro's cheaper than the sennheiser 25-1-II.
    The only downside to these headphones is that they are quite a bit bigger than the sennheiser's 25-1-II.
    Some people act like this is the best headphone in the whole world. With this review I am trying to tell that the 25-1-II really is not the best headphone, and that there are a a lot of alternatives.
    I actually have bought these headphones again, and love them!
    My main headphone is the HD650, and I use the HD25-1 II for bass heavy music, portable uses and playing the drums. I actually don't mind the small soundstage for some reason, and love the sound.
    I bought the velour pads for extra comfort, and the fiio e6 for portable uses.
    Not sure if my first pair was falty or that my sound signature preferences has changed.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Marleybob217
      @ miceblue, I think supra-aurals can never be as comfortable as circumaural headphones. Ofcourse it does take a while before the headband becomes a bit more loose, bit it will still mildly crush the ear.
      So apart from being smaller I really don't see any advantages to supra-aural headphones.
      Marleybob217, Aug 4, 2011
    3. JeckyllAndHyde
      it all comes down to personal taste, but for me hd25 combines nice set of bonuses in one package:
      good, funny sounding + portable + easy to drive + undestructible
      i found K181 and for example HDJ1000 just as good sounding, but much less comfortable (to me at least)
      JeckyllAndHyde, Aug 5, 2011
    4. Marleybob217
      @ JeckyllAndHyde, I agree with you on the Pros, yet for the price I rather have something bigger thus les portable but with a larger soundstage. What exactly do you mean by funny sounding? And what is the max time you can have these headphones on your ears? I couldn't wear these for more than half an hour without having sore ears, but my ears stick out a bit!
      Marleybob217, Aug 5, 2011
  10. Ikelmonster
    Amazing headphones
    Written by Ikelmonster
    Published Sep 3, 2011
    Pros - Portability, ability to take any music thrown at it
    Cons - initial comfort, stock pleather pads cause sweat issues
    These headphones are great. I listen to mostly metal and have listened to Grado's mostly because of it, and these phones are really similar to the grado sound; I can see why people refer to these as the equivalent to a closed grado headphone. It's funny to me how different these phones are to the description of every other sennheiser headphones. Every review for the hd 600 or 650 talks about their laid back nature, while the hd 25's are anything but laid back. indeed, they are very forward, and for metal and rock, this is just what the doctor ordered. Bass-y music sounds great too, these headphones can really bring out the lower end of the sound spectrum. My only gripe with them is the initial comfort - it takes a bit to get used to the amount of pressure they put on the ears. After owning them for over 3 weeks now though I can say that I love this set. While its hard to argue with the portability of IEMs, these guys just sound so good I am willing to give up a little more space in my backpack when i need to store them.
    Highly recommended, especially with the velour pads!
    1. Ikelmonster
      Yes, you are right :) thanks haha
      Ikelmonster, Sep 3, 2011
    2. JamesMcProgger
      BTW thw comfort will get better, I have two pairs and the older one clamps just right for me. and I use pleater in both.
      JamesMcProgger, Sep 3, 2011
    3. Ikelmonster
      i think the sound is slightly better with the pleather due to better isolation, but right now in summer it sucks to have my ears get all sweaty, we'll see how i feel in winter haha
      Ikelmonster, Sep 3, 2011