Sennheiser HD 518

  1. Tiby
    Very good choice for under 100 bucks
    Written by Tiby
    Published Mar 29, 2015
    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.
  2. mattgabb4
    Great value for lovers of mids.
    Written by mattgabb4
    Published Jan 1, 2015
    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.
  3. quajaebisquiti
    Not great. Just okay.
    Written by quajaebisquiti
    Published Oct 22, 2014
    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Rem0o
      Lack of bass?  On these I found the bass to be overpresent and intrusive into the midrange.
      Rem0o, Oct 22, 2014
    3. 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
      rsdno, Dec 2, 2014
      He meant lack of subbass probably.
      PETEBULL, Mar 20, 2017
  4. 10shot9miss
    some of the best under 100
    Written by 10shot9miss
    Published Aug 13, 2014
    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
    1. Rem0o
      Amazing headphone for the price indeed.
      Rem0o, Aug 13, 2014
  5. irie
    Great Sounding Headphone
    Written by irie
    Published May 1, 2014
    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! [​IMG]
    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 [​IMG] thank you. Happy listening! [​IMG]
      arjane likes this.
  6. zanox
    Sennheiser's amazing entry level audiophile headphone !
    Written by zanox
    Published Dec 11, 2013
    Very good product for the price !




    1. vaibhavp
      did you got E6 to go with these?
      vaibhavp, Dec 11, 2013
    2. headyonch
      Are these headphones successor of HD-448?
      headyonch, Dec 11, 2013
    3. BRAVO51
      HD-449 are the successor the 448
      BRAVO51, Dec 12, 2013
  7. vaibhavp
    Entry level audiophile cans yes AUDIOPHILE
    Written by vaibhavp
    Published Oct 22, 2013
    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.
  8. bpandbass
    A Great Open Backs for Multimedia and Beginners
    Written by bpandbass
    Published Jun 4, 2013
    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.  
      egosumlux and trellus like this.
    1. 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!
      HolyCheese, Jun 5, 2013
    2. 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.
      bpandbass, Jun 5, 2013
  9. jds491r
    Written by jds491r
    Published Feb 21, 2013
    Pros - Sound, Comfort, Looks
    Cons - Plastic
    Bought refurbished and well worth the money
  10. pornstarxkr
    Immersive at least.
    Written by pornstarxkr
    Published Feb 12, 2013
    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.