Sennheiser HD 518

General Information

The HD 518 open, circumaural headphones prove that quality and affordability can go hand in hand. They are fitted with Sennheiser’s innovative E.A.R. technology to ensure accurate channeling of audio signals into your ears while their sophisticated Duofol diaphragms reduce unwanted resonances to an absolute minimum. And to amplify your listening pleasure even further, their ear pads and headband cushion provide outstanding wearing comfort, even for long listening sessions.

Latest reviews

Pros: Nice feel
Cons: Generally bad and muddy sound with lack of resolution
Another review of a product I rejected after a brief test at a store. You may overestimate some headphones at first sight and regret buying them later. But a feeling that something is very-very wrong from the start is rarely deceiving. Wouldn't have written this review if I hadn't seen most of you adore them. Muddy upper bass interfering with mids is unbearable. I really don't remember what was with the treble, but I clearly got the impression of cheap, muddy sound. Even if treble was flawless fault points limit would still had been reached.
The only reason to buy them is to try modding them into some kind of HD 598. Sennheiser just gone too far purposely debilitating sound quality to provide diversity to the market. Use it to your advantage. As they are they can't compete even in $50 category.
Every headphones should have either something good or at least special about them. These have neither. Typical thing you gonna say "will do, will have to".
Pros: Decent base, open back, comfortable
I saw an article that showed the sound output of the 518 vs the 558 and 598. I was amazed to see that the sound signature for each headphone was practically identical. So I decided to take a shot a but a pair. I have NOT been disappointed.
Comparing the three headphone for myself I can tell you they all share a very similar sound. The HD 518 have a slightly stronger bass, the 558 a bit more highs and the 598 a bit more neutral of the three. As a gamer the extra bass is welcome to my gaming experience and I find I personally prefer the sound of the 518.
The open back, teamed with solid bass results in an incredible PC Gaming experience. The reasonable pricing means these are easily within reach of any gamer. They are not the most comfortable of the three mentioned but they are still a very comfortable headphone, I easily can wear these and have for long gaming sessions. Connect these to a good gaming sound source and you have a great product at a great price for a great experience.
Pros: Treble, Soundstage
Cons: Bass- too much of it.

Sounds: FLAC 96/24, 192/24, DSD64 and DSD128

Currently own: Beyerdynamic T1, T90 (Current Favorite), Sennheiser Amperior (First headphone), Momentum 1st Gen, HD 414 Anniversary, Mr Speakers Mad Dog, Fostex T7, Aurisonics Forte IEM, Audioquest Dragonfly Red DAC
Testing Chain: Toshiba Satellite Laptop; Foobar 2000 running flac and DSD codec; amiMusik DS5 Headphone Amp.
Really was curious how this one would sound and I have to say I'm surprised. I generally rotate all my headphones and I love them all. I didnt audition this one before I purchased, I just went on the reviews of others. Fair to say this was an impulse buy- it was on sale in my local office supply store. I was buying coloured pencils, if you must know.
All plastic construction for the cups and headband- probably for the price point this is to be expected, there are a LOT of Sennheiser headphones in the '5xx' series that appear with the same aesthetics more or less. The grill looks good - it has some function being aerated and the headphone looks good on my head. 
The velour / terry towelling of the earpadding and headband is fantastic. The cups are big enough that they are true over ears. These cans do clamp tightly. I have the Amperiors which rank highly in the clamp stakes and they would be in the same intensity.The difference is that an over ear clamp creates a stuffy cupboard feel. The silver lining is that these wont fall off if you decided you wanted to headbang or walk like an chicken down the street.
Yes this has lots of it, so much that it eclipses other spectrums in the mids. The bass plays deep and thorough, and is the major contributor to the darkness in the headphone. The bass is also a little slow and sounds like a reverb. So music like Joey Purps Girls where the bass + drum need to be snappy and attack, the resulting sloppiness of that bass makes it a bit a of an energy sapping listen. Similarly, Rapture's Jealous Lovers cant afford to have the bass lag what with all its hyper jumpiness, but there it is: the bass, front and center, and late. Where this kind of bass behaviour works, is in tracks like ACDCs Let there be Rock where the bass drone accompaniment is a great benefit to the thick mids of the guitar which brings us to...
Mids and treble.
The midrange is busy. You can't pick apart the details that you could tell exactly whats happening all the time. The mids could definitely be better engineered, as tracks that are midrange busy end up sounding humid and muddy. In tracks like Radiohead's Burn the Witch, the vocals sound like they are coming from a cardboard box, and the choppy strings sound like low resolution. To my ears, the congestion created by the bass and mids is problematic only once you have heard it when you compare other headphones in the next price range up, those headphones are simply more clariffic. The treble, though I must say is pitched nicely and lets you know that the HD 518 is on the audiophile spectrum. Given the balance here, this headphone couldn't be accused of being bright,  which is actually one of the nicest aspects of this phone, as its still subtle. Tracks like the sparkly Guiding Light from Television benefit from the HD 518 voicing, elevating it from a pretty album track to an outright epic.
The HD 518 is a dark headphone (to my ears) with some rays of sun peeking over the clouds. The closest I have in my collection that sounds like it would be the Momentum. The HD 518 that has some nice aspects to it, such as the wide treble soundstage, but the muddiness of the midrange is a let down. As I write this after only playing it for 3 hours, I will report back after its burn in to see if I have changed my mind. 


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