Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Professional Headphone - Reviews
Pros: Sound quality, construction, spare parts available
Cons: do not fold
Old timer which is still the best.
I love its dynamic sound but can brings fatigue after some hours.
Every things is there :bass, mids & highs with good details.
Every parts can be changed to make sure it will last long,
The only complaints I have : it doesn't fold 

 
I think it is still the best on-the-go headphones
 
jollyjoggler
jollyjoggler
this thingie it is designed to be loud ... no more, no less. I hve them too, but imho they have too much bass. the frequency response is not for audiophile listening, keep that in mind. accurate playback is another matter. :wink: they are also not the most comfortable headphones ...
as dj cans they are hard to beat. I use it mainly for field recording.
cocolinho
cocolinho
I believe comfort & bass level satisfaction highly depend on every listener. I find HD25 out of my StudioV quite balanced, bass are not overpowered & they are rather clean to me. Highs can be sibilant depending on the tracks though
Reading your comment I guess you would love KRK KNS8400 headphones :wink:
Pros: Relatively cheap, indestructible, good comfort, nice bass impact, good isolation
Cons: Bad soundstage, spikey treble, annoying cable
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Review


Introduction
I bought these headphones about a year ago to enjoy my music with decent isolation, comfort and sound quality on my portable rig. I was very satisfied with them, and have been up until I got my IE80's. The IE80's are simply better in terms of sound quality and portability. However, these cans are still absolutely awesome in other aspects.

Before I'm going to do away with my trustworthy HD 25-1 II's, I thought it'd be worth the effort to write a review about them. I tried to keep this review short and clear, without leaving anything out. I'd like to think I succeeded, but like always I kindly ask for your input.


Listening setup
I wrote the sound quality impressions collectively from several setups:
Galaxy Note -> HD 25-1 II
Galaxy Note -> AMB Mini3 -> HD 25-1 II
Audio-GD NFB-12 -> HD 25-1 II
Audio-GD NFB-12 -> AMB Mini3 -> HD 25-1 II

If there is one thing I noticed from these comparisons, it'd be that this can is the furthest from picky; whatever you drive it from it'll be very near it's full potential. It has crazy high sensitivity as well, and I found myself listening to it one an airplane directly out of my phone or iPod with no need for extra volume.

I compared it to my IE80 primarily, but also did detailed comparisons with my HD650 and SR-202. I won't list the comparisons themselves, but rather what I found out through comparing them. If you're looking for the comparisons shoot me a PM.


Pictures
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Build quality
The build quality of this can is legendary -- and rightfully so. There is simply no way you're going to break them, even if you tried. And if you're particularly vandalistic, you can still replace every single part of this headphone. They feel light in your hands, and are relatively small too. This makes them perfect for chucking them in your backpack.
These are labelled as professional DJ headphones, and are in fact used a lot by (famous) DJ's all over the world. And from a durability point of view I can definitely see why.


Cable & accessories
The cable is extremely good in terms of durability. The plug is very good in this regard as well, since it's right angled and very stiff. The included screw-on 6.3mm adapter is also very nifty.
However, there are a couple things which I don't like about this cable. For instance, while the cable never ties itself in knots, it does not stay straight either. It curls up awkwardly, which is not very pretty nor practical. Secondly the plug is too well-built; it is so stiff that it has destroyed multiple jacks of mobile devices, since it put too much stress on them. Eventually I started using this can with a 3.5mm extension cord just to relieve stress from my phone's jack, but this was a far from practical solution.

I personally bought the basic version, which only came with a 6.3mm adapter, and nothing else in terms of accessories. The complete version includes a pair of velour pads and a bag as well, but I doubt these are worth the extra price.

Not really an accessory, but I should also mention the swiveling ear cup. This is a feature meant of DJ's where they can swivel back one of the ear cups to hear the music from the headphones and speakers at the same time. I personally don't think this has much added value, since tilting the headphone works just as well. It also takes a bit of effort to get the fit perfect once you're swiveling it back to its original position.


Comfort
Comfort is surprisingly good. While the clamping force is still relatively high, I can comfortable wear them for several hours. They only start getting uncomfortable after the 3 hour mark, and more quickly if it's hot. They come with a split head band, and adjustable cups. There is a relatively comfortable cushion on the head band and the pads are quite comfortable too. Make no mistake -- these are far from as comfortable as a pair of full size cans like my HD650 or SR-202, but they are definitely not bad considering they're portable cans.

One annoying thing that should be noted is that it usually takes several seconds before I've found a comfortable fit. And putting the headphones on with only one hand is difficult, especially without practice. Though that's true for most headphones.


Sound quality
Overall I find this to be the most lacking area of the HD 25-1 II. For the price I'd like the sound quality to be a bit better, although all round they are decent enough for regular use by any audiophile.

Frequency response These cans have a recessed sub-bass, probably thanks to the small driver size. They are fairly flat in the mid-bass and mids, but have a recessed upper-mids/lower-treble with a massive spike at 10kHz. Overall I would describe these headphones as having a bit loose bass with a harsh treble, but with an overall feeling of neutrality.

Bass The bass packs quite a punch in terms of volume. More so than my HD650, but less than my IE80. The bass does sound a bit loose and uncontrolled, perhaps caused by the mediocre soundstage. In my experience these are well suited for electronic music, but aren't the best for things like conveying the energy of rumbling bass guitars with heavy distortion.
They do feel fairly neutral in terms of frequency response in the bass region. And for most smooth bass guitars used in rock they perform adequately.

Mids I find the mids to be decent with male and female vocals, and in general acceptable with piano, reed instruments and horns. Not too much to say about the mids since they sound fairly normal and neutral.

Treble One of the worst factors of the HD 25-1 II. Female vocals can sound a bit harsh when high pitched, cymbals sound tinny and just weird in general, they have noticeable sibilance, and are sonically fatiguing due to their harshness. The huge 10kHz thump in the FR can probably account for all of this, and I have found that EQ'ing helps to tame this beast. It's performing sub par in this area in my experience, although I may be making it sound a lot worse than it is. It should also be noted that these do not sound bright, but rather just harsh.

Soundstage The second bad factor. The soundstage is fairly small. Instruments sound like large sound sources, and are poorly separated. In the more chaotic passages all the sound is clumped up into one big ball. There is hardly any sense of distance either.
This is probably the same for most portable cans, and perhaps I'm spoiled by comparing to my IE80 and SR-202, but I do feel that this is the can's weakest area along with the harsh treble.


Conclusion
Overall these cans are pretty neutral. They do lack in energy, soundstage and treble. For the money they are pretty decent. But I wouldn't get them just for the sound quality; I'm sure there are better alternatives at this price. The fact that it's indestructible, portable and isolating are its main selling points.
They are pretty good value, but not if you go by sound alone.
XxDobermanxX
XxDobermanxX
Zzzzzzzzz
Tilpo
Tilpo
Is it that borin?
lumberjake
lumberjake
This was definitely one of the best reviews here. A good critical but fair review that is accurate. This headphone has a legion of loyal followers...and should, but it is no longer the best sounding headphone out there, not that it ever was. Nor is it bad. Its just that people must bear in mind this is an old headphone. I agree the build is the number one feature. It is rare today to get a well made and durable headphone at any price unfortunately this is the state of todays electronics. Frankly, I think its ridiculous how fragile things are made today and I swear this is intentional. At least if you buy the HD25 you will have it working 3 years from now. Good luck with any other product. Actually, if reviewed based on what its intended use, I would give the sound better marks as its made for noisy environments on DJs to field techs. You need a forwrd sound and dont need soundstage.
I cannot believe what Amazon wants for it now.
Pros: accurate, very good imaging, portable, replaceable parts
Cons: comfort for others
The HD 25 series has been around for 15 years and this has been my 2nd purchase of the famed dual-band headphone.
 
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Value: 10 years ago, if you are purchasing a $200 headphone it would've sounded absurd. Thanks to Beats by Dre, $200 headphones are now a steal. For $200, you get 2 pairs of ear pads (1) velour and (1) synthetic, also you get a nylon carrying bag, and of course the star of the show, the HD 25-1 II.
 
Audio Quality: HD25s are a favorite among DJs and broadcasters, although it is primarily designed for studio use, I rarely see this headphone used for mixing and remastering. The most common headphone, I see in studios are the ATH-M50 and SRH-840s.
 
Bass: It is there, present and just about right for a variety of tracks such as rock, hiphop, jazz, RnB, acoustic. But, if you are a basshead, this might not be for you. Bass is not deep as the ATH-M50s and the pacing is not as fast. This headphone will suffer from house music and dubstep. 
 
Mids: Now this is HD25s cream, the mids are very revealing, it is an ENG headphone after all, it will be unforgiving on bad recorded tracks as you will hear all the pops on the vocals. This is great if you like absolute precision when mixing. And, those who love vocals will definitely enjoy this.
 
Highs: Average, rolled-off in some tunes, very common in studio headphones. Purposely done, not to fatigue your ears for long listening session.
 
Design and Comfort: HD25s are a ruggedly designed headphones, they are used almost everywhere by professionals. It is a favorite among DJs because of its isolation. This headphone can cancel out 20db of noise, better than those noise-cancelling headphones with batteries. Standing right into a noisy washing machine, I can't hear a thing with only 60% volume from an iPod, that's amazing. With isolation, you lose comfort. But in my case, I find this headphone very comfortable, the padding are well-balanced to distribute the clamping force of the band.
 
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If you have a small ear, then it be uncomfortable. For medium and large ears, they'll be comfy since they will sit just on the inner side of the ear. Build quality is very good, plastics are tough, but not as polished as say Audio-Technicas. The plastics on the HD-25s are unpolished and raw. But, since I own this for 10 years, they are very reliable.
 
Split band will secure the headphone better, although, I'm not a fan of it. I use them as a single band. Also, there are a lot of aftermarket parts for this headphone, no worrying in breaking them. Replaceable ear cups, headband, cables with different flavors, ear pads and more.
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Overall: The past 10 years, nothing has changed. But, this little headphone will continue to wow new enthusiasts and it will continue on production forever. If there is something to improve, it is to polish the plastic make it look more presentable and classy. Overall, it is still a highly recommended headphone, and it is my favorite DJ headphone for the clubs and commute.
 
 
 
 
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Sweden
Sweden
I find the HD25-1 pretty comfortable, but 5 out of 5? Try a Sennheiser HD-555 or PX100 and come back and give a score : )
alvincapalad
alvincapalad
Sennheiser HD-555 and PX100 are open-type headphones which I will not even consider using as a utility headphone for DJing and monitoring. Both headphones leak tunes and has no isolation. HD-25s are designed for professional use than for everyday listening pleasures.
amateriat
amateriat
Nice, concise review of these headphones. (I've also written a review elsewhere on the site.) One thing I'm hoping for at some point is Sennheiser offering the in-line remote control that comes standard with their new Amperior 'phones separately for those of us using the HD 25-1 IIs. How about it, guys?
Pros: Kinda of OK - there are much worse out there
Cons: Too much bass, treble is an assault upon my ears
Too much bass, strident treble. I guess it could be worse. Midrange is not bad. It might sound OK straight out of my out of my cheap Android phone which lacks power and sounds kind of muddy.
 
The treble hurts me. I wouldn't keep them though, even if someone gave them to me for free. I wouldn't give them to my kids either because I don't want to destroy their high frequency hearing.
 
Really ugly too.
Anaxilus
Anaxilus
I'm pretty sure they wanted to improve the sound. That's what the aluminum cups and especially the damping foam is there for in the Amperiorioriori. Obviously source chains do have an affect on the extreme to which one might hear one part of the spectrum versus another.
scuttle
scuttle
If there's too much treble for your tastes, why not use EQ???
lumberjake
lumberjake
Had the M80s. They were actually quite nice with pretty decent mids, bass that was not overwhelming but had good impact and treble that was never harsh but perhaps a bit recessed. I found them to have decent soundstage too compared to these but they didn't seal out noise as well. However, for the money, the Soundmagic HP 100 mops the floor with both, its on another level. If you don't mind rocking big shiny cups but oh that bass.
Pros: Superb sound; portable
Cons: Unfair UK pricing; sound stage may not match orchestral music
 
I'm still burning my 25 in (and I do believe in burn in - partly because NwAvGuy says that he does, partly because I *thought* I noticed a difference with phones I burned in left connected to my PC when I picked them up a week later) but already I'm in love with them. 
 
They're often cited as being a superb rock phone and having a rather Grado-ish signature instead of the laid-back Sennheiser house style. I'm going to eschew words like "forward," "dark, aggressive" etc because they're meaningless, subjective, and subject to change by EQing. 
 
Instead:
 
- You can make the 25s sound bassy, mid-range dominated or trebleish by using your EQ. These things are very responsive to EQ!
 
- I literally heard things in tracks I'd never noticed before. Tracks I've listened to for years, often using my supposedly detail revealing Ety HF5s.
 
- For those who don't know, prAT! (I think I have the capitalization right - I didn't know the word yesterday myself, other than its English slang meaning) is a the ability handle sounds with lots of attack - ie sharp beginnings and ends - convincingly. So drums need prAT! big time, and human voices and acoustic guitar much less so. Electric guitar otoh needs it quite a bit - and so does piano. (Imo.) The 25s excel in prAT! Drums and electric guitar sound better than I've ever heard them before. And I've just switched to a Ben Folds album and the piano sound amazing.
 
 
- Soundstage is there, but it's ***tight***. You don't just feel that you're on stage instead of an auditorium seat (as people say of Grados) - you feel that the band has formed a tight cluster around you, and start wondering why can't smell Gillian Welch's breath and why you're not getting sprayed with sweat by the Replacements. You remember that story about John Cale beheading a (dead) chicken on stage and wonder if the blood will wash out of your clothes. The instruments separate out magnificently, and you have a feeling of intimacy with the performance. I love it - but you might not.
 
I didn't test with orchestral classical music - my classical tastes are more for piano and chamber music. If the Eroica is the sweet spot in your listening tastes, then I can imagine that the 25's presentation might seem rather bizarre.
 
- Vocals sound amazing. Ms Welch really does sound like she's standing beside me singing directly into my ear. From a range of about 5cm.
 
- I've heard people say that certain high end phones won't tolerate bad recordings and sound worse with them than cheap phones would. I have no idea if this is true, but to my ears it isn't the case at all with the 25. I have an awful bootleg concert recording of the Replacements and the 25s, in cooperation with the J3's EQ, let my ears cut through the fog and murkiness to hear hidden detail. The result was a recording that sounded better than my studio albums did yesterday - you can still hear a lot of the sonic flaws, but the good stuff dominates and that's what matters. 
 
- I bought the 25s looking for phones that would make music sound as exciting to me as my old Mission 70 speakers did (these things were real killers for their day...) They've done everything I hoped there, mostly by way of that prAT! thing, but they've also revealed so much I wasn't hearing before that a lot of music has changed for me - I can see myself buying a lot more jazz, for example. And some later Clash recordings have just opened up and revealed magnificent textures that I never suspected they had - stuff quite at odds with my assumptions about them.
 
- Comfort Mine are fresh and the ear clamping is a little hard - I'm feeling some real pinching at the top of my ears. I understand that it would be less if I swapped to the velour pads, and that the band will become a less aggressively springy in time. At the moment it is a small price to pay.
 
- A nice feature is that the band consists of two arms. You can adjust the gap between these from zero to lots - the idea is that the twin arm design will cradle your head keeping the phones on under all conditions - these things are designed for news pros and DJs.
 
- Useful hint picked up from the net: you're supposed to set these so that they're slightly loose and then tighten the fit by widening the headband split.If you do this they're much more comfortable - I can barely feel mine on my head now, although they've also had 12+ hours of wearing to break-in.  If you're a DJ or in a TV news team, then someone will tell you this, I suppose. But for everyone else Sennheiser  really should have included a manual...
 
- These things have a rep for toughness - news people and DJs use their gear hard and they survive it for years. And because they're meant for pros, all the parts are user replaceable - you can buy every component from Senn and swap out broken band or a driver for a fresh one.
 
!!!IMPORTANT WARNING!!! 
There's one spot on each side of the band where the cable running between the ear cups can get trapped and damaged if you completely close the two bands together. There's a notch to prevent this, but the cable might not stay in it. If you're going to repeated close and unclose the bands completely - which is pointless - then you will want to watch this or add a dab of tape or something.
 
 
- Sounded great on the Clip+ and J3. I *think* they sound better on the J3, but I didn't do an ABX test and really don't trust my own feelings on this sort of thing. There was no problem getting them loud enough on either player. I keep them at about 22-26 of the Cowon's 40 level volume control.
 
 
 
- Looks: Industrial in the functional rather than the designer sense. These things are designed to blend into the background of TV news and sports broadcasts.
 
But... the 25s are *very*  customizable. You can change pads and cables for coloured ones, and even paint the band and shells. Or you can buy some amazing pre-customized phones from http://www.customcans.co.uk/
 
The owner of Custom Cans posts on head-fi as jfunk, btw. They also sell coloured ear cushions and what have you - including from an ebay store. They're based in the UK, but I think they ship everywhere. They customize other several phones, but the 25 seems like the core of their business.
 
- I've avoided giving numerical scores but for those who must have them, choosing some widely known comparators: if I gave the HF5 a 5 for sound quality, then the EPH100s - which are widely being compared with some of the best IEMs around - would be a 6.5 to a 7 and my Superlux 668Bs a 6 or maybe a bit more. The 25s would be, oh, a 9.5. Maybe they'll be a 10 when they're burned in. But I'd be the last person to deny that a lot of what makes a good set of phones is subjective, so ymmv. 
 
***Postcript***
- The HD25-SP has different drivers and a simpler headband; I've no idea how close it sounds to the "real" 25
 
- The Standard edition comes with a (cheap, unpadded) bag and two pairs of cushions - pleather (fitted) and velour
 
- The Basic edition comes without the bag and velours
 
- The Adidas is a slightly prettified version of the standard edition.
 
If I  was buying again I'd go for the Basic and use the money saved to buy funkier velour cushions from Mr JFunk - he also sells what looks like a very nice bag. Or I might go crazy and buy one of JFunk's special editions.
 
Finally, as so often, UK buyers get an awful deal on the price of 25s compared to Americans. So if you're in the UK and making a trip to the US, you might put buying a pair of 25s on your to-do list. But also, as mean and obsessive about US-UK price differences as I can be, I am ***really*** glad that I bought these!
 
- The estimable Mr JFunk of Custom Cans has provided a guide to tweaking the 25s acoustics here:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/590995/some-diy-mods-for-the-for-the-sennheiser-hd25-1-hd25-13-hd25-c-hd25-hd25sp
 
..And a guide to painting them here:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/573845/heaphone-airbrushing-guide-with-lots-of-pics
 
Jap
Jap
Does anyone know where I can find replacement headband pads for the HD-25-I/II? Note that I am not talking about ear pads but the pair of pads that contact the top of the head. I tried SennheiserUSA's website, but they do not list any headband pads.
Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
I bought these puppies just before Christmas and they have been a revelation.
 
I can't tell you how much they suit my listening tastes. I love close listening with lots of treble and tight bass and these deliver this in abundance.
 
Never before have I been this sad to take a pair of headphones off.
 
I used these for traveling to work but have been using them more and more inside as my main headphone. I can appreciate that the sound may not be for everyone (no sound is) but if it is then, sweet baby Buddha are you in for a treat.
 
The build quality is exceptional and the anti urban styling spot on. I even (unlike most) like the pleather comfort!
 
I can't see me replacing them anytime soon.
GL1TCH3D
GL1TCH3D
Nice to see you like them xP
You can always get them custom painted if you don't like the plain black look, I know a person that does that...
Pros: Hardy, highly replaceable, swivel cup, long cord
Cons: uncomfortable after extended use, a bit bulky
Good value for the use I get out of them professionally and personally.. A great all rounder Can and they make my ears happy :wink:
jcotteri
jcotteri
I said a bit bulky :p but yes in comparison they are not bulky compared to the D7000.. :wink:
They are however bulky when compared to IEM's :p
GL1TCH3D
GL1TCH3D
But we're talking about headphones here xD
I'm sure most people realize headphones are bigger than IEMs
Are they bulky when compared to other portable headphones would be a good question.
jcotteri
jcotteri
Hmm I would say they on a scale of 1-10, 10 being Denon d7000 (lets stick with something familiar) and 1 being say Sennheiser PX 200-IIi (smallest I could think of). I say they sit around a 3.5 or so.
Pros: Affordable price, indestructible, comfy, and fun
Cons: Cable is a steel cable. Not perfect.
Very Grado-y sound signature, but closed. An amazing portable headphone. Very easy to "personalize" with other colored pads and also very easy to disassemble. HD650 cable fits when flipped over. Amazing phone for the price and portability.
 
Unfortunately, comfort is an issue for some (myself included). I've had to return them because they clamp my head like a vice.
I like them.
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taffy2207
taffy2207
2 words too many, could have just gone with like :p
yousakura
yousakura
Nice Review 10/10
petrovsky13
petrovsky13
best review ever
Pros: Great Clear Sound
Cons: Very Tight on My Head
I love these headphones. I just recently got these headphones for Christmas and they are AMAZING. In the past few years I have created a huge love for music and found this site when looking for some really good quality headphones. I love the sound quality of vinyl music and these headphones are great because they work with my record player which uses a 6.3mm headphone input. Hands down the sound quality of these headphones are the best. They don't have too much bass and have a nice clear precise sound. My only complaint is that at first the headphones are really tight. I am an average weight 21 year old girl and even I thought these headphones were tight at first. I do have to mention that I do have a huge scar on my head because I had brain surgery when I was 16, but even considering that I thought they were tight fitting. Despite the tight fitting design, you can't beat the quality of these headphones. Buy these if you want a truly good sound quality from your headphones.
Enter Darkness
Enter Darkness
Omg a girl with sennheiser hd 25 1 ii? I love you. Welcome to the club. These are absolutely amazing.
Pros: SQ above all else,...
Cons: Kinda tight,...but not too bad.
The above says it all, as well as numerous other reviews. I luv these supra aural cans,...and I'll keep them till I either go deaf or die!
Pros: no headphone hair, in-your-face sound
Cons: exposed wires, clamping force
Seriously, these things are built to last. When the apocalypse occurs in 2012, this Sennheiser would be left intact (maybe the wires would get destroyed). And for future generations of the human race (or whoever takes over the earth), they would be a relic of the old world.

I own two pairs, one for work and one for portable use, I treat the portable headphone with utmost care, like a baby, while the one for work gets tossed around and daily abuse, and yet both look the same. On a note of the clamping force, the frame needs to burn in, so that the force loosens and optimum comfort is achieved.

Sound. How does it sound? It's a bit colored, I think. Definitely not neutral, but I've gotten over the "neutral stage" where I cared about neutral headphones, I just want to enjoy my music with clarity. The bass mids and highs are fairly even in terms of balance, but not perfectly balanced. What's very noticeable is that it has punchy bass like a Grado, not deep rumbling bass. And absolutely no soundstage, which creates intimacy, or in my case, that in-your-face-sound that you get from Grado. I use these for speed metal, thrash metal, power metal, traditional metal, etc. Metal that's fast and guitar driven. They're like a closed back Grado, but not as bright.

I got it for free from work, as this is what they use for their stuff such as recording, calibration, etc. They previously used V6's, 440's and T50RP's, but they settled for the HD 25-1 II. There is a huge increase in price to the consumer, but I'd imagine when a company purchase these, the difference is not all that great. They are the basic edition, but I wish I owned a pair of the Adidas versions. :frowning2:
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staxxx
staxxx
Depends on what you want. Joker's portable headphone thread has a review on both the M50 and the HD 25. The isolation I'm guessing is the same, I've previously owned the M50 and both blocks out a good bit of outside noise. As for sound. The M50 has more bass presence as compared to the HD 25, while the HD 25 is more punchy. As for my preference, I can't decide on both, they are both amazing.
Enter Darkness
Enter Darkness
Ath m50 isn't that good bit these are Amazing.
tds101
tds101
I luv these cans as well,...nice mini review.
Pros: Tonal balance, light weight, durability/serviceability, low-key aesthetics
Cons: Smaller/shallower soundstage than a good open-back headphone; may require some break-in time for optimum wearing comfort
The problem with having a reference-grade pair of headphones for home listening (in my case, Grado's amazing Prestige Series SR325is) is that when you start looking for 'phones to listen to away from home, just about everything you try inevitably comes up short in one way or another, and the name of the game becomes "which set of compromises am I willing to live with?"

For me, the current crop of headphones aimed toward portable listening is, at best, merely acceptable. I could drag out the usual suspects to use as punching bags, but we already know who they are; just think style-over-substance and there's no need to name names. But there are a few seriously-mediocre 'phones out there offered by outfits that should definitely know better (AKG, I'm looking at you). Really, nothing I listened to in the "portable headphones" category did the trick, which is rather astounding given the money being asked for some of the upper-end models.

Then, while grousing about this situation to a sales guy at the headphone counter at J & R the other night, I got a suggestion I should have thought of before: ignore the "portable" category altogether, and audition something a pro would use. However, one good reason why I hadn't thought of this is that most "serious" headphones also typically sport some serious size and weight, and aren't always something that's easy for something like an iPod to drive at satisfying (not ear-splitting) sound levels. Yes, wearing big 'phones on the street is apparently cool again, but I prefer being a bit more discreet in my headwear, although I'm about done with in-ear phones and their assorted anomalies.

The sales guy then handed me a pair of these Sennheisers. I listened. I looked them over. I listened again. I was sold, simple as that.

They're decidedly ordinary-looking, literally dull. Sennheiser didn't exactly go out of their way to make an unstylish headphone: this is a model that was pitched initially to people who care a lot more about a 'phone's performance and reliability/durability than about how cool they look (or think they look) while wearing them: recording engineers and producers, sound-reinforcement people for the stage and the screen, sportscasters, and, of course, DJs. Think of the '55 Chevy James Taylor and Dennis Wilson drove in Two-Lane Blacktop: not slick, not working too hard to be cool, but clearly having what it takes to do the job.

And, what a job! Riding the train or bus, or walking the streets, I get the music, full, deep and wide...or not, depending on the recording. Being more of a true "monitor" headphone, the HD 25 doesn't do much in the way of juicing or monkeying around with the signal in the name of making a grand impression; if the recording is good, you'll hear just how good it is, perhaps for the very first time while away from your "reference" home 'fi. If the recording is sub-par, you'll know that, too, but the result won't necessarily be unlistenable, just minus any sugarcoating.

A few have pointed out the HD 25's nearly all-plastic construction, regarding it as "cheap." There's nothing cheap about this headphone's materials or construction: having been on the market for well over a decade, its design and build quality have been proven countless times in the professional field, where people are not known for treating gear with kid gloves. In the hands of the average consumer, these cans will easily outlast any flavor-of-the-month style-phones by an order of magnitude.

As durable as these are, they're also a damn sight lighter than your typical please-don't-drop-me bling-phones. I won't say it feels like you're wearing nothing on your head, just that it's a light touch overall. For some people, however, the pressure of the headband's "clamping" effect might be a bit much for listening much beyond an hour; this gradually eases as the headphones are broken in.

And, speaking of "broken": if by some freak event you manage to do damage to any part of the HD 25, that broken part can be replaced; Sennheiser keeps an inventory of spares if needed.

(As an aside, these headphones happen to be manufactured in Ireland. Take away what you will about that.)

That's the picture for you. I love the things. I think there's a fair chance that you'll at least like them.
 
jwcy
jwcy
Very nice review, I love these Senns, too.
JK1
JK1
It would be nice to see a good comparison between this and the less expensive HD25 SP2.
amateriat
amateriat
jwcy: Thanks!
JK1: I was curious about the SP2s as well (ever the cheapskate that I am), but the -1 II simply dazzled me too much (And I think it was the only one of the two J & R had on hand, being a few days before Christmas). The adjustable split-headband works quite well on my head.
One little bonus feature I forgot to mention in the review is the swiveling left module: DJs and engineers like it so they can keep one ear "free" while still wearing the 'phones normally; I like it because I can quickly free up an ear when my cell phone rings without clumsily ripping them off my head.
I'll be curious to hear how the sound of these phones change after having been broken in somewhat. For the moment I've next to nothing to complain about, though I do notice their being just a tad uncomfortable around the two-hour mark - hardly the worst I've endured.
Haven't had these for very long but impressed upon initial listening!
Pros: Good isolation for trains, buses, great bass, shows up clear differences in source file qualities
Cons: OK, a bit geeky but who cares
Durable - replaced pads after two years - i use case supplied with phones for storage
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Pros: Sound quality, impact on bass and drums, detailed and refined yet fun sounding, completely user customizable/ detachable
Cons: 100% plastic, light microphonics, revealing, imaging and soundstage
I bought the Sennheiser HD 25-1 (adidas) after my ATH-M50 had a loose connection and i had to return them.

Though I loved the M50's, they made me realize that a headphone is not all about sound quality.
Their isolation just didn't do it for me, and the pleather pads got my ears sweaty all the time.

The HD 25-1 finally does everything I need it to do.
The isolation is top notch, and the velour pads are more comfy then pleather while not getting sweaty.

Sound:
The sound quality of the HD 25-1 II was horrible out of the box, but they got better after a few minutes.
I didnt notice much of a burn-in process after that, and was quite disappointed with their sound, cause the only thing they did better then the M50 were drums and bass, while lacking a lot in highs, detail and especially soundstage and imaging.

After two weeks of frequent use and over-night burn-in (~200 h) they suddenly made a BIG leap in sound quality and especially detail and extension.
Compared to the M50 they sound more refined and detailed while also revealing a lot of bad recordings/ sources. the impact on drums and bass is just heavenly, like the overall bass response.

The only thing they lack compared to the m50 is imaging(not existant) and soundstage.
But since I use them as portable headphones mainly, that doesn't bug me at all.

Conclusion:
the hd 25-1 is a really decent hp and definitely one of the best portable headphones.
I especially love the user customizable style, cause i don't have to worry what might happen if my warranty were to run out.

If you find the pads to be uncomfortable, wash them in warm water. It makes them smoother and allows a better fit and comfort for the head.
No review quite yet.
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!
Ikelmonster
Ikelmonster
Yes, you are right :) thanks haha
JamesMcProgger
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.
Ikelmonster
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
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.
 
EDIT
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.
Marleybob217
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.
JeckyllAndHyde
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)
Marleybob217
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!
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!
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