325i v 225 v HD-25 v whatever else
Mar 5, 2008 at 1:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6


New Head-Fier
Feb 26, 2008
I'm looking to upgrade my Sennhesier HD-497s and have been trying to explore as many options as possible since I figure I only really need one pair of headphones and don't mind spending what, for me, is a good amount of money at $300 max.

My general use for these could be looked at as 80% through my ipod and 20% at home.

It seems like I should hold off on getting an amp as I would not like to devote more than $50-100 for that and it would need to be very portable. From the brief reading I've done here it seems like I should hold off for now.

I prefer my headphones to be open but have begun to consider closed pairs since my primary use will be on the go. It is not so much that I mind outside noise but when considering the grado's, the sound leak seems like it needs to be factored in.

I have tried out the HD-25s, 325is, and AKG 701s. Out of the three I do enjoy the 325's the most and have ruled out the 701s for the price (I did enjoy the 325is more one on one anyhow). The HD-25s do sound nice but I enjoy the grado sound more overall, the HD-25s however, are much more practical.

Since I've read from people here that the 325i's are 'bright' 'metallic' I'm curious to see what people have to say about the less expensive models as well as the HF-1.

I do take look into consideration since I don't enjoy looking like a goon on the train with these ugly Senny 497s.

Any input would be appreciated, thanks in advance!
Mar 5, 2008 at 2:10 AM Post #2 of 6
Regarding the 225 vs. HD25: I sold my SR225 for the HD25 and haven't looked back. Of course, the only reason I even considered doing that was because I scored a set of RS-1s...

My personal opinion is that open cans are just not worth it for on-the-go listening. Any sonic benefits from buying a nice headphone are somewhat negated due to outside noise. In other words, I vastly preferred the Grados indoors, but the Sennheisers kick the crap out of them on the commute. Furthermore, they allow for lower-volume listening thanks to their isolation.

I have yet to find a closed headphone that performs as well as the HD25 where commuter listening is concerned. It has great isolation, it's tough as nails, is decently portable, every major component is individually replaceable, there are pad and cable options, it has a decent head-stage and even comes close to the Grado sound signature (insofar as a Sennheiser can
). I am in love with this headphone.

The one gripe? Price. If you aren't opposed to buying used, it should be noted that you can get a second-hand pair of HD25s and SR225s for darn near the price of a new set of the Senns.

Regarding the SR325i, I'm not a fan. I'm in the camp that feels they're too bright, even for a Grado. When I bought the SR225 my decision was between it and the 325i and I'm glad I saved the money. That said, the Alessandro MS2i is a wonderful variant on the same design. It retains the performance of the 325 but is much smoother overall, to my ears anyway. Note that I've had limited exposure to both of these headphones (maybe 2 hours with the MS2i, an hour tops with the 325i).

For your reference, I have spent hundreds of hours between both the SR225 and the HD25. The (vast) majority of my listening is with Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Metal, but I do listen to quite a bit of Folk, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronic music. In my opinion, all of these headphones perform well with these genres and I'd be hard-pressed to say which is the clear specialist in that regard.

Alright, I lie - nothing can touch a Grado for Rock.
Mar 5, 2008 at 2:23 AM Post #3 of 6
If these will be used on the go, stay away from the Grados. They leak so much sound and you will seriously piss people off if you're listening to music at a normal level.

In terms of 225 vs 325i, I feel that the 325i is definitely too bright with stock pads. With flats, the 325i sounds great. I don't know if it sounds better enough to justify the price and weight difference, but it does sound a little better than the 225.

I am not impressed with the HF1 at all. I thought it was muddy, but this may be due to the fact that I listened to them through comfies. Regardless, I don't think they're worth the price in terms of sound. They are a cool collector's item, though.

Get some closed cans, or even look into IEMs maybe. I use an SR225 when I'm at home and an SF5 Pro on the go. It is a great combination and I really enjoy both sound signatures.
Mar 5, 2008 at 2:29 AM Post #4 of 6
Trls250, it looks like we might have quite similar liking. The K701's are completely not my cup of tea and I enjoy the SR325i's very much. So, if our tastes are really that close, then Alessandro MS2i's won't impress you. I had them for a couple of days and sold them happily. They have neutral midrange and quite good soundstage, perhaps more spatial than the SR325i's but it's where their advantages end. The bass is not so tight and controlled as in the SR325i's, actually a bit bloated and flabby, giving impression of fuller body in higher registers but it's the first impression only. The MS2i's highs sound flat, cold and poorly resolving. Actually they are colorless white an thin sounding. Generally - the higher, the colder. Rather warm but of average quality bass, clean, neutral and accurate midrange, and finally cold, thin and unprecise trebles. All of this results in rather uninvolving sound. The SR325i are a completely different beast - musical, impactful, lively, involving. Their brightness is a matter of matching with the rest of the equipment and might disappear allowing many hours of pure pleasure without fatiguing.
Mar 5, 2008 at 2:47 AM Post #5 of 6
Yea, I should point out for further contrast that I owned and very much enjoyed the K701 for well over a year before I sold them (at the time it was simply to fund an amp that mated well with the RS-1).
Mar 8, 2008 at 8:02 PM Post #6 of 6
Thank you for the replies.

It seems like every touched on the Alessandro MS2i's and with these four responses the verdict is split. Anyone with more input on them?

GlendaleViper I think you pointed out a good idea with the second hand option. I really can't make a decision for going with either the 225's or the HD-25's and the only resolution I'm comfortable with is getting both. I love the grado sound but its just not practical for my needs.

With that being my newest thought, what about the lower grado's, 60's - 125's, compared to the 225's. A friend of mine had the 80's and I enjoy that sound but it isn't exactly what I am looking for. A breakdown on the prestige models would be great, that must be available on past head-fi threads if anyone could point that out.

My two headphone purchase seems like it will be hard to pull off since I have yet to see a pair of second hand HD-25's for sale through here, ebay, audiogon or craigslist. Perhaps that is a good sign but does anyone have any other sources to check on a daily basis?

Thank you again for your responses, I appreciate your time.

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