Sennheiser HD 518

PETEBULL

100+ Head-Fier
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".

UncleGamer

New Head-Fier
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.

Saniva

New Head-Fier
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.
 
Build: 
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. 
 
Comfort:
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.
 
Sound:
Bass:
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.
 
Summary:
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. 

reggionh

New Head-Fier
Pros: Value, Comfort, SQ
Cons: I don't like the grille design; sounds muffled on low volume.
EDIT Jan 2020: The review below was written when I just got into the hobby. Needless to say after 4 years of listening to other, better phones I have to say that this headphones do leave a lot to desire. Fortunately, they respond very well to equalization and a little bit of skewed v-shape treatment pretty much close those gaps for me.

This cans are not that expensive, but I'd say the sound quality is already in or very close to the 'audiophile' range.

The first few hours will not impress you, but once you get used to it, you will understand what you've been missing all this time and you won't settle for less. You would also want to crank up the volume to actually enjoy them and to discern the differences.

The transient response is amazing. Music sounds detailed and reproduced with an agility I've never heard before on a sub-$100 set of cans.

Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, and the likes sound stellar on these.

Bass is just about the right amount, but it's a little bit sloppy and this is not the strong point of these headphones.

Comfort is very good for its size. Soundstage and instrument separation are good.

If you're really budget-conscious, don't bother buying the more expensive HD 558 and 598 since all HD5*8 use the same drivers.

If you like the sound and feel of Sennheiser's most famous full-sized open-back headphones (HD600 upwards) but are constrained by budget, these babies are able to some extent replicate the experience with a fraction of the cost and without the need for additional amplification.
peter123
peter123
Have you actually heard the 558 and 598? I've got both and the HD598 is a pretty big upgrade from the 558 in my opinion, same driver or not......
alynx
alynx
I didnt find the HD 598 to be a "big" upgrade. Switching from the 518 to the 650... now thats huge leap.
The only downside to the 518 are the earpads. I effn hate them. Other than that. Nice pair of cans.

Roy Lay

New Head-Fier
Pros: Amazon just dropped price to $50. Thumping bass and good soundstage.
Cons: There are better headphones, but you aren't likely to find them for near the price. Lacks some punch in the midrange.
I paid $65. for these, and thought they sounded as good or better than headphones I've heard that cost twice that.  Now, you can get them on Amazon for $50., which makes them a great deal.  One warning -- as these are over the ear headphones, glasses can become uncomfortable to wear with them for a long time.  When they start to bother me, I just pull them up above the earpads.  It doesn't seem to effect my ability to read, which is all I use glasses for.  Anyway, if you are looking for headphones with a lot of soundstage, that can thump on the bass, and that won't hurt your pocketbook,  you are looking for these.  When the price went down, I ordered another pair for my girlfriend.  At that price, it didn't hurt at all.  Sennheiser makes great headphones in general, and these are about the cheapest audiophile quality headphones you are going to find anywhere.  I do boost the midrange a little on my pc, to give them a little extra punch, and after I do, it's like aural candy listening to stuff that really tests them, like classical or modern electronic.  But I'm mostly a classic rock sort of guy.  Pink Floyd Echoes and CCR sound amazing.  Just listened to Big Brother & The Holding Co. live, and it sounded like you were there.  What more could you ask for in moderately priced headphones?

jthom320

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Large soundstage, Clear airy sound, Great mids
Cons: For the price - none. Fairly anemic bass however
I'm standing on the precipice of turning my in rotation headphone collection over and now seems like a good time to write a HD 518 review.  My HD 700's and 598's are in the mail and instead of listening to those I'm back on my back up pair the 518s.  These were the first open backed headphones I ever heard.  They are also the first headphones I ever did an ounce of research into and started my love of the Sennheiser sound.  I've owned them for several years and since then I've also listened to most of the rest of the HD line.
 
The amazing thing about these 518's is they truly are about 85% of anything else in the entire lineup.  After listening to the 700's precise imaging, detail and soundstage for the last month or so I'm shocked at how little is actually lost here.  These were initially bought as gaming headphone and they work excellent for that purpose.  A full wide soundstage that's not quite as good as the best in class options but certainly up there.  Bullets whizz by your head and footsteps are audible.  
 
With music mids are forward and very pleasent.  Treble is not harsh but the headphone seems to have a bit of sparkle to my ears at the same time.  Bass could be better but this is far from just being an HD 518 problem.  I find that all the way up the lineup Senn's open backed models lack bass punch.
 
Last piece I'll cover here is comfort.  I find these more comfortable then the 598's due to the difference in headband material.  I think the leather on the 598's can make the top of your head hot.  No complaints here.  Not as great as the HD 700's but very easy for long term listening.
 
I'm going to be trying different types of headphones going forward and getting away from the Sennheiser sound for awhile but I really appreciate where the 518's stand.  They are the first headphone that got me to care about audio quality and the now sub-75 dollar price tag makes them an excellent option for anyone in the same situation I was then.  A perfect way to dip your toe in the waters of high end audio.
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uncopy87

Head-Fier
Pros: cheap
Cons: not the best sq
If you are new to headphones this is the one to get if you also don't want to spend too much!

STRMfrmXMN

New Head-Fier
Pros: Solid highs, earpads that breathe very well, removable cable
Cons: Boomy bass, lacking mids, dumbest cable ever, cups don't turn into the shape of a "V" enough, too closed
I got these on a killer bargain from Fry's late last month. After two weeks I can say that my initial impression of them has improved but, in short, you should get the 558s and do the foam tape mod instead of buying these.
 
First thing I noticed was that these clamp HARD to the top of your head if you have the right (or, I suppose, wrong) shape of head and it's extremely fatiguing and uncomfy. After two weeks of frequent wear and about 4 hours of "stretching" with pillows they have gotten significantly more comfortable and I can say that with one of the most sensitive heads around. However I will be replacing the earcups with HD 558 earcups as they have more give and, I think (don't quote me on this) they leak a bit more bass than these do which leads on to the next thing.
 
They have a bit more bass than I would like. It's very deep and sounds great with bass guitars (listen to "Life in the Fast Lane" by Eagles if you wanna hear dat bass guitar strum) but it's a bit boomy and it drowns out the mids. Vocals are quite hard to hear without a proper EQ of the mids. Listen to "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen and you'll see what I'm talking about. Freddie's amazing tenor has no effect when wearing these without a good EQ mids boost. After messing around with an EQ these do sound much more balanced now and I like the sound.
 
As for the "closed-back" mention I made in cons - if I were to compare these to the AD500X from Audio Technica with those being a baseline 100% for openness, these would be about a 55-60% openness effect. They don't have the widest soundstage and when I'm not playing music through them I can hear my Cherry MX Green keyboard (loud) though it sounds deeper and somewhat muffled. The HD 558s are more open by design and, if you take the foam tape out of the cups they sound amazing - better than these for certain. I'm contemplating modding these cans to see if I can get a more open soundstage by doing what this guy on Reddit did. https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/2t8jtw/my_modified_sennheiser_hd518/
 
The cable is stupid and you need to use the terrible adapter to use it with most audio equipment and you can get replacements but only from Senn. Seems like a money grab to me. 
 
However, with all these negatives I listed I still like them enough to keep them for as long as possible. They were $60. Come on, hard to beat that. Would buy again but would grab a pair of HD 558 earpads on the way out.

Thymen Frederik

New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort, balanced, decent soundstage
Cons: long cable, 6.3mm plug (adapter included)
This is my second review on Head-Fi so it won't be the review you'll ever read.
I will try to use as much terms that are described in the "describing soung glossary".
Please note that English isn't my native tongue, so there will be a few grammar and spelling mistakes.
 
Build Quality:
 
These headphones are made out of plastic entirely (except the earpads of course), but they don't feel cheap. I think this is due to the fact that the plastic is high quality and has a nice finish on it.
The plastic doesn't make annoying sounds like on some headphones that are even cheaper.
 
Comfort:
 
All headphones in the 500 series are really light and the HD 518 is no exception, but unlike the HD 558 and the HD 598 the earpads aren't padded with velour. That doesn't mean that they're uncomfortable.
It just means that they aren't as comfortable as the higher end models. The HD 518 has a slightly stronger clamping force than the HD 598 and 558, but you can easily stretch them by putting them over a big pillow or just wearing them. The headband is padded with the same material as the earcushions but the foam inside seems slightly softer to me.
 
Bass:
 
The HD 518 has the best bass quantity out of any headphones in the 500 series according to the following graph:
 
View attachment
I have listened to both the HD 518 and the HD 598 and while the 518 has more bass, the 598 has cleaner, more detailed bass.
But both headphones are not bassy or boomy at all.
 
Mids:
 
The mids on this headphone sound more forward and are more present than on most headphones that I've listened to. This is great for vocals, but it might get a little overwhelming when listening to more brutal/heavy genres of music. The mids are also very clean.
 
Highs:
 
Just like the mids, the highs are very clean. Not too bright, but I did notice some sibilance when listening to brighter records (can't remember which ones).
When listening to the beginning of "Ghost of Perdition" by Opeth, the lower highs and upper mids sounded slightly muffeled, but it is barely noticable.
 
 
Soundstage: 
 
The soundstage is not huge, but definitely noticable due to excellent seperation. When playing planetside 2 I could hear where enemies are coming from. Playing Skyrim with the HD 518 felt more immersive and just walking around the forests was awesome.
 
Pros:
 
These headphones are great for gaming and listening to classical music, jazz, metal that isn't too brutal (Opeth's latest albums, Porcupine Tree etc.) folk, and classical rock.
They are really comfortable, even so comfortable that when the music I was listening to stopped, I just forgot that I was wearing headphones.
You can also drive these headphone very easily even my old Ipod classic can drive them.
 
Cons:
 
The stock cable is the biggest problem with this headphone, because it ends in a 6.3mm. Luckily Sennheiser decided to include an adapter, but this makes the end of the cable very bulky.
Another small problem I had with these is that they're not really fit for faster and heavier genres of music like death metal and dubstep.
 
Picture:
 
 
View attachment

ajlan

New Head-Fier
Pros: good at all but stellar about mids&vocals
Cons: needs good amp/dac for real performance, slightly dark-muted soundstage, can be hot, cord is too long to use practically, too much sound leak,
Everyone here said everything that could be said about these cans. My contribution is about overall experience.. You can get good to very good performance with standard devices according to their hardwares. If you need real performace you need solid amp/dac.My Asus U3 gives very good performance and I am really satisfied indeed but this is review and to be fair with U3 it is not that stellar. If you want that you should use it with real systems.Overall V-Shape character which I prefer in most genres. It is comforty and well made even it is all plastic.It can be hot after 1 hour of usage in spring-summers. It has unnecessarily long cord and its phone connector coming from 70-80's. It is a bargain for sure. I gladly use it when I watch movies and listen classics of all sorts in my cave. Audio performance is 4,5 star (slightly dark-muted soundstage makes me uncomfortable in some genres maybe it needs more burn-in or my ears need more time to tune-in) but cons listed above prevents me using it as main monitor. 

Tiby

New Head-Fier
Pros: Nice natural sound and also very very comfortable to wear even on long periods
Cons: Long cable and the adapter
They are a very good option. The sound is natural, they are comfortable to use. 
The only con I have with it is the included cable that is too long and bulky (if you want to listen them connected to a computer). I changed it with a nice cable mod from China, but you need to take this into consideration when considering these. They are marketed by Sennheiser as audiophile grade.

mattgabb4

New Head-Fier
Pros: Really comfortable after a bit of a headband stretch, rich sound, natural vocals, above average design.
Cons: Stock cable is quite long, 3.5mm adapter is oversized and clumsy.
So I was recently in the market for a pair of open back headphones, and after hearing praise of Sennheiser for their offerings, i decided to purchase the HD 518 with my budget of about 100 dollars. 
 
I think that the design is something you love or hate, and personally i love it. The louvered sides look quite nice to me, and the Sennheiser logo in the middle just looks elegant. The earpads are made of what i can only think are some sort of cotton material, and they're exceptionally soft. They aren't the largest however, so if you have ears that stick out they might touch the drivers, but i didn't find this to be an issue. The headband is made of the same soft cotton material, and is just as comfortable as the earpads. I didn't find these headphones hot in any way (longest listening session this far being about 3 hours).
 
The sound, again, is something i think some people would love, but others might dislike. It's a very rich sound, not a reference type sound in any way, but it still sounds outstanding. The bass isn't overpowering, and isn't at all floppy. The highs are clear and detailed, and don't leave much (to me) to be desired, especially at this price point.
 
The mids, however, are where these headphones shine. Compared to the other frequencies, the mids are slightly elevated, which makes for a rich, warm sound, and very natural sounding vocals. Acoustic instruments like guitar and piano sound great on the HD 518, and I found myself listening to songs with these instruments more and more, because they sounded so good. Overall, the soundstage was average, but the separation of different instruments and sounds in music was better than I expected, and overall i'm very pleased with the sound on the HD 518.
 
My only minor gripe is the included cable, which is incredibly long (about 10 feet) and has a goofy 3.5mm adaptor for using on devices with that size jack. However, since the cable is removable, you can simply replace it with either a shorter cable directly from Sennheiser, or any number of aftermarket cables available on Amazon. 
 
Overall, i don't think that you can go wrong with the Sennheiser HD 518, especially if you can get it for under 100 dollars. And if you're a fan of mids, like myself, than i really don't think there's a better option at this pricepoint.

quajaebisquiti

New Head-Fier
Pros: Good overall sound.
Cons: Lack of bass, no isolation.
I bought these from Amazon about 2 weeks ago, and felt buyer's remorse when I wasn't blown away by the sound.  They aren't bad, but they do lack bass and the feel is cheap.  They were somewhat comfortable, though, and the overall sound stage was alright.
Rem0o
Rem0o
Lack of bass?  On these I found the bass to be overpresent and intrusive into the midrange.
rsdno
rsdno
I found I got the bass perfect with the Sony MP3 Equalizer or the Sandisk I think most MP3 have equalizer I just dont like the sound per dollar for IPod I thought I was going to get perfect sound but my Fiio 11 Micca keeps me going when in Hospital. But I like Meelectronics H-21 so what do I know
PETEBULL
PETEBULL
He meant lack of subbass probably.

10shot9miss

New Head-Fier
Pros: price, sound quality, build quality
Cons: ok design, the 558 and 598 look much better
Sound stage is average, but separation is awesome. Some people clam that bass is lacking, however, I think the sound signature is absolutely great.
 
Sounds good even when driven by laptop and phones. This headphone uses the same driver as 558 and 598 but the outer shell and ear pads aren’t as good, that is the only down side. But you can't expect too much for $80.
 
Edit: after 1 year of use i replaced the cushions with the 558 one (555/595), more confortable, and i have pop out the grill and replace it with a piece of very thin cloth.. so lightly modded, sounds bit more airy, if you still planning to get one of the 5 series should really jut buy the 598, pretty cheap now.. though now i prefer brighter headphones like grado 325. but I'd keep the 518 forever
Rem0o
Rem0o
Amazing headphone for the price indeed.

irie

New Head-Fier
Pros: soundstage, amazing bass and mids, non fatiguing, great all- arounder
Cons: highs are slightly veiled
I'll keep this review short, im a beginner, and this review are all my own opinions so please bear with me.  thank you!
smile.gif

 
This headphone sound so good for its price.
 
For me, its sq is almost excellent that every time i put this on, i always have a smile on my face.
Others may not appreciate this because the sound is warm or dark.
 
It really shines on its soundstage, bass and mids.
 
Soundstage- big or wide, lots of airiness, because of its open back design and the E.A.R., it makes you feel that you are in a live recording, or you are sitting in front of high end speakers.
 
Bass- Its not lacking neither overpowered. it's deep, controlled bass, also has a great mid bass, making the mids luscious.
 
Mids- It is very rich, or i would say very sexy.
 
 
Moving on,
 
the highs are slightly veiled, its there, but  for me it is lacking.
 
Overall, i think this is a great all arounder.  jazz, rock, classical etc... I would definitely recommend this headphone for all of us who loves music and cant afford high end gears
wink.gif
thank you. Happy listening!
beyersmile.png

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zanox

Previously known as xoriac
Very good product for the price !
 
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vaibhavp
vaibhavp
did you got E6 to go with these?
headyonch
headyonch
Are these headphones successor of HD-448?
BRAVO51
BRAVO51
HD-449 are the successor the 448

vaibhavp

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: open sound, sufficient bass, mids are awesome, no sibilence
Cons: not for treble fans
These cans offer great multilayer-ed sound especially in comparison to entry level headphones. As I am upgrading my gear in a linear fashion, my last cans are HD448 just a step below these.I believe you already have a decent idea of how these cans sound if you frequent here often, for variety sake, I will try to base review in context to my prior experience ie what such an upgrade brings to the table.
 
When I put these for first time, I was disappointed. After plugging in amp, they sounded as muddy as my $10 earbuds. I had heard these cans needed short break in which was absolutely spot on. In less than 10 hrs, sound started taking its place.
 
These cans are clear upgrade over hd448. Sound is 3 dimensional, multilayered, which I believe brings biggest improvement. It enables much better instrument separation, does justice to each one of them and bring in a lot more detail. A higher end can like HD650 may do a better job at doing this, but thats why you pay more for those.  HD650 are described by many as dark cans having great bass, smooth mids and good sound stage when used with right amp.
 
I will use similar adjectives to describe these except these are much more lenient in amp requirement. Sound stage and open sound is a given no matter the source. Though a portable amp must be used. Bass is punchy and mids are well rounded. So I find these to be great all rounders suitable with all genres I tried. Sibilance is  not a problem as these are dark sounding cans.
 
I think I like this sound signature so upgrade path is clearly paved unless I venture around for variety sake.
 
All in all I did'nt gave it a 5 star cause I don't wanna come back and reduce rating after hearing a much better can. 
 
Edit 1: Some observations after extended listening:
 
Moderately diffused presentation: Instruments sound like in a mid sized room and a bit distant. They don't sound close or in your face at all.
 
Slow and laid back: Really good if you listen to them to relax.
 
Smooth, not utterly detailed: Micro details are a bit of mixed bad. Some time they come out note to note, sometime it doesn't. Overall smooth sounding.
 
Tend to hide some instruments when a lot is going on.
 
Black backgrounds on my amp. Good contrast between instruments.
 
Thick sounding and rather natural mid range. Bass is extended but texture varies from song to song.
 
So not an end game headphone but extremely enjoyable. You will love what you hear if you are just enjoying music instead of looking for technicalities.
 
Edit 2:
 
After owning these for 2 years, I have very clear cut use for these hps.
 
Best hps for relaxing. Period. Nothing is better.
 
Why I say that? A no of reasons:
 
1. Relaxed treble. These are some of the darkest hps I have heard. Treble is just enough to give a them a natural and relaxed presentation.
 
2. Diffused airy presentation. Not a focused presentation. Dissipates energy in songs gives a natural presentation.
 
3. No hyper resolution. Sound is grainy, does not have very high resolution. But instruments are well defined, according to price range. imo this contributes to their relaxing character.
 
Now all these aspects may read like negatives to you, it all depends on what you are looking for. I find all these make them ideal for non critical listening.

bpandbass

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: dark, smooth treble, strong bass impact, very comfortable, easy to drive, sounds good with cheaper amps, excellent for movies and video games
Cons: annoying 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter, bass is a bit obese and undistinguished, not the best transparency in mids, vocals are a little veiled

I purchased the HD518s for a good price lightly used, and have been very satisfied with them. They are darker Sennheisers, and have the signature Senn smooth sound. I have never owned Senns before, so these were my first pair. I am fairly used to how AKGs sound, so when I first listened to the HD518s, they initially wowed me with how smooth their mids and highs were, and how strong the bass was. There definitely is a "wow" factor when you first listen to them, especially if you listen to brighter, leaner sounding headphones. They are all plastic, but feel well made. They have that Sennheiser vice grip on the head, but you get accustomed to the grip, they do not present a comfort problem. The earpads are fairly stiff, but do not munch my ears whatsoever, and the cups absolutely deep enough that my ears have never touched the drivers and never will. The headband has some cloth padding, and hasn't given me any problems. They have a detachable 10 foot cable, so that is a plus. The standard plug is a 1/4 inch stereo plug, but they come with a 1/8 inch adapter. The problem is that with the adapter on, the jack becomes absurdly long, and presents a hazard of sheering off when connected to a laptop, iPod, iPhone, ETC which use 1/8 inch headphone jacks, and require use with the adaptor.


 


Sound wise, the HD518s are dark and smooth, so they are easy to listen to brighter music with for longer periods of time. Their bass impact and open back design also makes them excellent for watching movies with, as well as playing video games. Soundstage for music isn't very wide, however. The HD518s have a polished sound, but this may be problematic to some. The highs don't have the sparkle to them that I am used to with AKGs, for example. They have stronger bass, but the problem is that the bass is a little obese and loose, and tends to have its main impact in the lower mid-bass region. That makes the HD518s sound as if they have somewhat indecisive, slightly confused bass. The mids are a little too smooth and veiled, and tend to lack a lot of musicality. Vocals are fairly veiled, and tend to be a bit too thick and unemotional to my ears. They do every genre competently, but tend to excel at darker, downtempo music with a strong bass impact. RnB, Quiet Storm, Chillout, Liquid Funk (downtempo Drum n' Bass), and smooth jazz sound great on the HD518s. Genres that require a quicker, more transparent and leaner sound do not sound their best on the HD518s. 


 


Don't get me wrong. The HD518s are great headphones. They are just a little bit too veiled in the vocals and obese in the bass to be my everyday headphones for music listening. A bit too vanilla sounding for my tastes, but I can completely understand why people like the Sennheiser sound, and why Sennheiser has such a loyal customer base. I strongly recommend anyone looking for good starter open backs for a variety of genres, or want good headphones for video/computer games as well as movies, and do not have a higher end equipment to drive headphones with, check out the HD518s.  
HolyCheese
HolyCheese
But are there any other headphones sounding this great for this price? It doesn't even sound bad compared to the hd650.
This is my first headphone and I'm still baffled by the soundstage on these things, or should I say the ability to be able to focus on every instrument seperately. I currently own the X1 and while it's quality wise much better, it still isn't as easy to focus on one little thing. I feel as if alot of headphones
This probably won't satisfy you coming from 'higher quality' gear but it's and extremely good place to start. If not for these headphones i'd probably listen to hardcore and dance alot, thus missing out on all the love of music in the world!
bpandbass
bpandbass
I'm a little...jaded coming from AKGs, since their sound quality is so different. While the soundstage is decent, AKG soundstage is quite a lot better. I don't disagree with you, the HD518s are a good start for many people, but compared to higher end headphones or equivalently priced headphones from AKG, their shortcomings become more prevalent.

jds491r

New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound, Comfort, Looks
Cons: Plastic
Bought refurbished and well worth the money

pornstarxkr

New Head-Fier
Pros: mids,bass,relaxing/indirect [not inside-head]sound,equalizes however you want.
Cons: instrument separation,supressed treble, detailing.

I had to choose between this and hd 558 ,and after consideration i knew the 558 will take my expenses far ,with the requirement of amp and a new source dap to sound atleast good .Also it was very analytical,neutral ...not for me.


 


I don't know how it fares with different sources but i use it with a mobile[no amp] and it sounds good,but not so with my desktop[onboard].My motherboard is from 2009, so may be new motherboards can provide good output.


Voices ,both male and female sounds very good,  and it has bass but not the deep rich bass sound the packaging would led you to believe. .I had a denon  d310 before it and i thought it had good bass but after spending time with hd 518, the denons sound boomy[anyways they are not comparable].
 


I don't know whether to place soundstaging in pros or cons department because its a step above good, but not great,certainly not the best thing about these.You can still feel and hear it though and proper equalization helps too .


Now the treble ,its present but sounds like its being strangled by Agent 47.Its like tweeter is covered with cloth.


instrument separation is average..


Good part is u won't feel like you 're missing something and u can enjoy music [don't use <256 Kbps(min ) and with 320 u're all set..I don't think FLAC makes a difference with my mobile ] and that's  what matters and if you have dedicated source u will be happier than me.I hear few notes i didn't in cheaper HPs.


Genre wise from what i listen hip-hop/rnb/club songs sounds best >pop(very close to best)/Indian Pop>rock


u can't go wrong with these.


 


thanks everyone who read this.
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