Review: Sennheiser HD 25-1
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Edit (5/2/05): Go here for the revised version.

Introduction
For me having music on the go is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Being able to listen to music while sitting on the subway is truly a great thing. Sometimes it feels like you would be prepared for anything to happen as long as you have your music, your cd player and your headphones.

On my search for a great portable headphone I have read many reviews (this one is especially good) and I have tried many portable and semi-portable headphones (among them the Ultrasone HFI 650 DVD Edition, a.k.a. HFI 700) and to make a long story short, I finally ended up getting and keeping the Sennheiser HD 25-1.
The purpose of this review is to show whether Sennheiser HD 25-1’s is capable of being an audiophile portable solution.



Specs and Facts
Sennheiser HD 25-1:
·Type: Supraaural (meaning the ear cups are resting on your ears instead of enfolding them like circumaural headphones do)
·Impedance: 70 Ohm
·Clamping force (from Sennheiser’s homepage): ca. 2.5 N
·Weight without cable (from Sennheiser’s homepage): 140g
·Headphone plug: 3.5mm (3.5mm -> 6.3mm adapter is included)
·Cable: 1.5m, one-sided (cable is on the right earcup instead of the usual left earcup), the cable is detachable
·Sensitivity / Max SPL: 120 dB / 146 dB (Note that these are very high values meaning that any player including tiny mp3 sticks can drive this pair of headphones to almost insane volumes although sound quality would be a different issue which will be discussed later)

There are 3 versions of the Sennheiser HD 25: The HD 25-1, the HD 25 silver (which according to the manual is the same as the HD 25-1 only with different looks) and the HD 25-13 (impedance 600 Ohm for studio appliances, OFC-cable, 6.3mm plug). The Sennheiser HD 25-1 is the most commonly available one out of these three and hence usually just known as "HD 25".

Attention: The HD 25-1 is not to be confused with the HD 25 SP which is a cheaper model. In order to tell one version from the other, the cable on the HD 25-1 is one-sided whereas the cable on the HD 25 SP is two-sided. Moreover, the headband on the HD 25-1 can be split which is a truly unique feature. The benefits from the split-able headband will be discussed later.

According to Sennheiser’s website the Sennheiser HD 25 was originally designed for professional monitoring and DJs as it has a rotatable ear capsule for one-ear listening.

Disclaimer
The usual disclaimer applies meaning that everything written in the sound quality analysis is according to my ears. For the protocol: I am slightly sensitive towards brightness and what I might perceive as harsh and bright could be completely ok for you (for example: I couldn’t live with the treble energy on the Sony Cd3000).

Equipment used:
·Philips CD 850 with Gilmore Lite (reference)
[size=xx-small]Philips vintage CD player with an A/B function.[/size]
·Slimx 350 without amp
·Sony D-211 without amp (my usual portable rig)
[size=xx-small]More information on this player here[/size]
·Interconnects: Oehlbach NF2, Tech+Link Rca
[size=xx-small]These are not high-end cables (both are around 30$) but good enough for the purpose of this review[/size]
·Headphones used in comparison: Koss KSC-35, Grado SR 225 (with flat pads), Beyerdynamic DT 880, Sony MDR CD 750
·All headphones including the to be tested HD 25-1 have been used / burned-in for more than 150 hours

[size=small]Part I: Sound[/size]

Bass
The bass is one of the HD 25’s strengths. In terms of visceral impact it is not as strong as the Ultrasone HFI 700 but that thing was insane anyway. Furthermore, the bass is extremely tight and in comparison the bass on the Koss and Grado and even from my memory the Ultrasone HFI 700, they all can’t compare in terms of tightness. In one second the bass is there and the next moment it’s gone. Really sweet. The bass is not colored in any way and just sounds very neutral, just as bass should sound. On the Ultrasone I found the bass to be slightly enhanced, meaning on some tracks there was more bass then there should have been. For bass test I also tried a pair of Sony MDR CD 750. At first I thought “the Sonys have more bass” but in fact the bass was just very bloated. Imagine the amount of bass as the area under a sound sine curve. If you were to play a certain bass note (let’s say with an amplitude peak at 50Hz) then on the HD 25 the response would be from 45 to 55 Hz on the x-axis and an imaginary value of 10 on the y-axis. On the Sony 750 the value on the y-axis would only be 8 but the bass response would range from let’s say 40 to 60 Hz. That means that the bass on the HD 25 is stronger (10 compared 8) but the amount would be less (as the amount is the integral under the sine sound curve). This might not be the scientifically correct approach to explaining bass but I hope it clarified the difference between a strong, tight and clean bass (HD 25) as opposed to a bloated and seemingly bigger amount of bass.
The HD 25 can’t go as deep as the Beyerdynamic 880 but deeper than the Grados while always maintaining texture and never sounding muddy or bloated. The Beyerdynamic 880 in my system has the most musical but not the strongest bass (maybe the Gilmore Lite is not enough for them). In terms of impact even the Grado 225 have more visceral bass.
If you listen to Hip Hop you usually can’t separate the vocals and the music because sometimes everything is just muddled in a big ball of bass but with the HD 25 I can really concentrate on the vocals while the bass provides a solid foundation. This is even truer for rock music: due to the tightness and clean presence of the bass you can easily tell the drums from the bass guitar. On the Koss for example there’s just a big bass rumbling and you can’t really identify anything. To sum it up, the bass is clean and tight; it has impact yet never interferes with the midrange. This leads to a very balanced sound.
Moreover, due to a pretty high isolation you will always hear the bass even in a noisy environment and there’s no need to turn up the volume like I do on the Koss in order to hear the bass at all. Overall I am very pleased with the bass.

Midrange
This where the Grados beat the HD 25 although the difference is not as big as I expected it to be. The HD 25 simply can’t stand against the extremely sweet and (using a term many people have used before me) “liquid” midrange. The HD 25’s midrange in comparison sounds more analytical.
The amount of details is excellent and, again, the sound is extremely balanced throughout the entire midrange. There isn’t anything that would really jump at you and everything is kept in order. Depending on the source (I used the Slimx 350 for that) the upper midrange might have a metallic touch to it bordering to sibilant. However, I didn’t experience that problem on either the Philips player or the Sony D-211.

Highs
Compared to the midrange and the bass, the highs are not the HD 25’s strongest side. Sometimes the highs sound a little bit too analytical and lifeless (e.g. violin solos). The highs on the Grado, though quite protuberant, have more of an emotional character. The HD 25’s analytical character is especially revealed on a bad source. Moreover, if a recording is sibilant to begin with, you won’t be punished but you’ll hear it. Overall, the highs are not bad but just not as good as its midrange or bass. Compared to the Koss, the highs on the HD 25 are still classes better and not as harsh as on the Ultrasone HFI 700.

Overall sound character
The overall sound character is definitely not laid back or extremely smooth but rather comparable to the Grado sound signature. The HD 25, however, sound a bit more analytical compared to the Grados. The sound is extremely balanced, which means that in my ears all parts of the frequency spectrum are equally represented. I would describe the HD 25 to be neutral (not natural), which can be both good and bad depending on the specific music and recording.

Soundstage
To be frank, there is no soundstage. Maybe slightly bigger than the Grado soundstage but that is still almost no soundstage. Nevertheless, this is not necessarily something bad as the result is a gain in intimacy and immediacy. Just as with the Grados you feel like Norah Jones is really singing into your ears or the drummer is just sitting right next to you. Especially in a portable situation this feeling of musical nearness is highly intoxicating. The downside is that orchestral classical music doesn’t work as well as on headphones with more soundstage. However, I do believe that soundstage is created on the recording in the first place so a piece of music without soundstage won’t suddenly have soundstage just because you’re using different cans. Nonetheless, if your headphones have to have soundstage then the HD 25 probably aren’t for you. The music takes place in your head; you might like that or you might not.

Left Right separation
The music comes only rarely from upfront. On a few tracks the left-right separation is quite strong and always stronger than on the Grados. Crossfeed might help. If a track is recorded with left-right separation (and be it stereo) then you’ll hear it (e.g. John Scofield’s CD 'Up all Night' ). Listening to some old records where for exmaple the piano is on the right and sax on the left channel thus can be quite annoying.

Details
Detailing is very good although not as good as on the Grado Sr-225. The Grados sound more refined.

Vocals
The vocals on the Beyerdynamic 880 are unbeat but I though that in comparison to the HD 25 the vocals on the Beyer 880 are slightly sweetened. In my opinion vocals are best on the Beyerdynamic, second best on the Grado 225 and then the HD 25. Note, however, that vocals on both the Beyerdynamic and the Grado are to die for. And only in comparison to them the HD 25 just isn’t quite up there.

Instruments
Piano: The Piano definitely is one of the HD 25’s weak points, just doesn’t sound very natural. Drums are excellent and as already mentioned in the bass section, the separation between the drums and the other instruments is excellent. Cymbals may sound a little bit harsh depending on the recording. Solo violins sound a bit too analytical. Saxophones are reproduced quite well, which also applies to acoustic guitars and acoustic bass. Distorted guitars are good but too lean at times.

Different kinds of Music
As already said, the HD 25 is not meant for classical music due to the immense lack of soundstage (but I usually can’t concentrate on classical music while I’m on the go anyway). This can also apply to some kinds of jazz where soundstage is required, e.g. big band music. Most jazz music (from contemporary jazz trios to acid jazz), however, sound pretty good with the HD 25. RnB and Pop music with vocals work very well due to the intimacy and good low to midrange. Hip hop is simply excellent on the HD 25: Tight bass and most importantly, a very clean midrange paired with excellent separation and a very balanced sound. Rock music sound almost as good as with the Grados although the Grado 225 are still unbeat when it comes to this genre. Sometimes, it sounds a bit too clean and not aggressive enough. Electronica sounds ok, but not great as I don’t get sucked into the music as much as with the Beyerdynamic DT 880.

Sensitivity to Positioning
All 4 headphones are not really sensitive to positioning.

Listening fatigue
Listening fatigue is lower than on the Grado 225 but definitely higher than on the Beyerdynamic 880. As mentioned in the “Highs”-section, on some recordings the upper midrange can sound harsh which leads to listening fatigue. The lack of soundstage also contributes to listening fatigue. Nevertheless, I can listen to the HD 25 for longer periods without problem, which definitely was not the case for the Ultrasone 700, which were very fatiguing for my ears.

Sound quality conclusion
To summarize the results: Beyerdynamic DT 880 (B), Grado SR-225 (G), Sennheiser HD 25-1 (S), and Koss KSC-35 (K).

Bass: B (6.5/10), G (6.5/10), S (7/10), K (5/10)
Midrange: B (8/10), G (8/10), S (7/10), K (5/10)
Highs: B (8/10), G (7/10), S (6.5/10), K (5/10)
Soundstage: B (huge), G (none), S (almost none), K (very small)
Vocals: B (9/10), G (8.5/10), S (7.5/10), K (6/10)
Details: B (8/10), G (7.5/10), S (7/10), K (4/10)
Listening fatigue (10=low fatigue, 1=high fatigue): B (8.5/10), G (5/10), S (6/10), K (7/10)

If I were to rank them, I’d say Beyerdynamic first (8.5/10), Grado 225 second (7.5/10) followed closely by the HD 25 (7/10) and the Koss KSC-35 at the end (5/10)). On the portable Sony D-211 without amp the, HD 25 comes in first as the Grado and Beyerdynamic are slightly underpowered (not a lot of bass for example).
Although I really love soundstage, the lack of soundstage on the HD 25 doesn’t bother me at all because this intimacy is really great. You are just right there, in the music. Moreover, having a contrast to the soundstage monster Beyerdynamic 880 is pretty nice.
The Beyerdynamic 880, in my opinion, is clearly at the top, the HD 25 comes pretty close to the Grado but just isn’t as musical as the Grados. Depending on your musical taste you might find the Beyerdynamic 880 to be too soft and thereof rank them higher than the Beyerdynamic 880.
Do the Grado sound better than the HD 25? Yes.
Would I sell the Grado and keep the Sennheiser? Yes. The reason for that will be explained in the following chapter.

[size=small]Part II: Portability[/size]
Everything that has to be considered on a portable situation.

Build quality
The HD 25 is definitely made to last. The build quality is simply top notch. Mine have fallen on the floor a dozen of times (although I’m trying to prevent that from further happening) and they are in perfect working condition. There are no sensible joints (the pictures are better at explaining this issue).

The HD 25 is all plastic except for the ears pads which are made of pleather (fake leather) The plastic is not scratch- sensitive and if there’s a scratch you won’t really see it because the surface is pretty rough hence distorting the light pretty well. The cable is pretty thin and detachable. No problems with microphonics. The connection between the cable and the earcups is at the top of the earcups and not at the bottom (as on the HD 600 for example). Therefore you’ll never have the problem of damaging the plug. The cable from one earcup to the other is hidden within the one side of the split-able headband and only slightly exposed to the outside so that it is still exchangeable.
Note that almost all parts (ear pads, cable, ear cups, headband pads) are replaceable.
The following quote by Headroom concerns the HD 25 SP but it can also be applied to the HD 25-1: “Sennheiser has an incredible materials analysis lab; they’ll be digging up the 25SP in junkyards two hundred years hence, and they’ll probably still play.”

Comfort
If comfort on the Beyerdynamic is a 9/10, then the Grados (with bent headband and flat pads) would get a 7/10, the Sennheiser HD 25-1 a 6.5/10 and the Koss KSC-35 a 9/10 (I don’t really feel them on my ears if you can get a proper positioning).
The clamping force and thus the comfort is adjustable. The more you split the headband, the stiffer it gets and the more clamping force you’ll get. By splitting the headband you will increase the clamping force but also distribute the weight on your head. For example if you get tired, just change the position of the headband. There is also pleather under the headband to increase comfort but the HD 25 is pretty light so weight isn’t really an issue.


I personally don’t have any problems with supraaural headphones and don’t find them too uncomfortable. You really get used to them after a while.
The pleather on the earcups can make your ears sweat after a while but they also keep you ears warm in the winter. I usually take a short listening break after 30min to cool my ears. However, the pleather is also pretty soft which increases the comfort compared to the Grado. You can also get ear pads made of velour.
Although I only give the HD 25 a 6.5 in comfort you have to take into consideration that this is a closed headphone which needs the clamping force to provide proper isolation and bass. I found the Ultrasone 700, the Sennheiser HD 280 and the Beyerdynamic 250-80 (very small earcups) to be less comfortable.

Isolation and Sound Leakage
Sound leakage is around zero. Isolation is outstanding and probably the best among full-sized headphones. The Ultrasone HFI 700 did not provide that much isolation and neither did the Beyerdynamic 250-80. The Sennheiser HD 280 came pretty close. Regarding isolation I can only compare them out of my memory, especially the HD 280 and the Beyerdynamic 250-80 which I have never owned but only auditioned against the HD 25 at local stores. The HD 25 SP is supposed to isolate 16 dB and though I couldn’t find any figures for the HD 25-1 I expect it to provide similar or slightly better isolation.
Fact is, the Sennheiser HD 25 isolates very well, which, however, can be a bad thing, for example when you’re riding on a bike and can’t hear the traffic noise.

Looks and Profile
They look old school and I like that. Besides that you just have to look at the pictures. Between the Ultrasone 700, the Sennheiser HD 280, the Beyerdynamic 250-80, from my point of view the HD 25 has the lowest profile – it’s just all black and nothing fancy.


Amp dependency
The HD 25 has such a high sensitivity that you don’t really need an amp. Actually this is why I bought the HD 25 in the first place. On my Sony D-211 my normal listening level is at 4/12. Even my Slimx 350 (which is not famous for its output power) can drive the HD 25 to insanely high volumes. Nevertheless, the Gilmore Lite did improve the overall sound quality, especially in the bass region.

Misc
·I can shake my head as much as I want – the HD 25 won’t fall off, especially if you split the headband a bit
·Not ideal for use with glasses. However, the same applies to almost any other portable headphone I’ve tried (exception: Koss KSC 35 works pretty good with glasses).
·Not foldable but it’s already pretty small to begin with
·Because the earcups are small and because it’s supraaural, the earcups don’t extend far back so that you can lean your head against a headrest without the earcups touching anything. The same goes for lying down in a pillow
·Unlike the Ultrasone 700 the HD 25 can be put around the neck without being a bother
·For DJs: the left earpiece can be swiveled backwards or forwards amounting to a total of 180 degrees

·I am pretty certain that the HD 25 will fit on the biggest of heads. For me the headband on the HD 280 almost reaches its limits whereas the HD 25 is only at half its headband capacity
·Current price as to 5/16/2004: $140-200 depending on where you live

Conclusion
To sum it up, in my opinion out of all the portable headphones I have tried (Ultrasone HFI 700, Koss KSC 35, Koss Porta Pro, Sennheiser PX100/200, Sennheiser HD 280, Beyerdynamic 231 / 250-80, AKG 271) the Sennheiser HD 25-1 might not be the best in all areas but, for me personally, it is the best portable headphone overall. I have not yet heard the Sony V6, Sony Eggo or the Beyerdynamic 770 which are also heavy contenders in the field of portable headphones and neither have I been able to test canalphones in a proper environment. It would be unfair to judge them based on a one-time audition as in my case.
For $140-200 you can get headphones that sound better (Grado SR-225 for example) but they won’t have all the unique features the HD 25 can call its own: Split-able headband, extremely high sensitivity (hence no compulsory need for a headphone amp thus reducing your portable rig to cd player and headphones only), high isolation, outstanding build quality, small size and lightweight, exchangeable parts, low profile, simple and microphonics-less and relatively short cable (the 3m cable on the Ultrasone 700 was a big hassle to deal with), etc. paired with very good sound quality.
Would I use the HD 25 at home? - Now that I have the Beyerdynamic 880, probably not anymore or only occasionally.
Would I use the HD 25 on the road? –You should know that by now


Music used
Musical preferences sometimes can reflect the reviewer’s attitude towards what kind of sound signature he or she likes. I personally listen to a lot of jazz, a fairly amount of pop, some hip hop and some classical music.

[size=xx-small]In the evaluation process I mainly used the following music titles:
Tracks I listened to a lot during the evaluation:
Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons – Summer – 3rd movement (played by Mutter under Karajan)
Beethoven’s 5th Symphony – 1st movement (played by the SWF Symphonic Orchestra under Michael Gielen)
Dvorak’s 9th Symphony – 4th movement (played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Kubelik)
Bach’s Goldberg Variations – Variation #15 played by Glen Gould
Liquid Soul – Threadin’ the Needle
Phil Collins and the Phil Collins Big Band – Chips and Salsa
St Germain – Sure Thing
Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Elevation of Love
Maceo Parker – The Way You Look Tonight
Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden – The Moon is a harsh Mistress
Charlie Haden and Kenny Barron – Waltz for Ruth
Charles Lloyd – Georgia
De La Soul – (don’t know the track title)
The Space Brothers – Your Space in the World
Boa – Every Heart

Cds:
Cassandra Wilson – Belly of the Sun
Black Eyed Peas – Behind the Front
John Scofield – Up All Night
The Roots – Things Fall Apart
Papa Roach – Infest
Creed – Human Clay
Paco De Lucia / Al Di Meola / John Mc Laughlin (that’s also the title)
Dido – Life for Rent
Carla Bruni – Quelqu’un m’a dit
Nitin Sawhney – Human
Some other stuff I forgot[/size]

Final Notes
Please correct me on anything that you feels is wrong, both language- and contentwise. Also, please post your own experiences on the HD 25-1 as the more opinions the better.

One reason for writing this review is that when I tried to find information on the HD 25-1 I simply couldn’t find many sources I could refer to.
More importantly, I feel obliged to give something back for what I have received from this forum.

I really love my HD 25-1 and I would really encourage you to give them a try if you are in the search for a pair of portable headphones. They are not the final word in sound quality but in terms of portable audiophile sound I yet have to find a better one.

Tao
 
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luukas

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Great review! I have to agree with most everything you wrote, except the microphonics. To me the cord seems quite microphonic, not a problem at home, but on the move the noise conveyed from it when it hits or slides across a surface can be a nuisance.
 
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Daroid

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Yes. Thanks a ton for the great review. Now I am afraid i know that Grado isn't for me, since I miss the bottom octave on the HD25, just a tad perhaps, although when running a sweep it is all as it should be. And still Grados (not to rain on their parade) costs twice as much here as in the US. I'm especially glad for the comparison to the DT880, it sounds like it is something for me. (The HD600 in sig is not mine, actually I rarely have access to listen to it)
 
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Welcome to the land of "featured full reviews". This is an excellent first effort amd is certainly worthy of being archived. Thanks a bunch. I'll add it as soon as all the thread functions come up,perhaps later today.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by luukas
Great review! I have to agree with most everything you wrote, except the microphonics. To me the cord seems quite microphonic, not a problem at home, but on the move the noise conveyed from it when it hits or slides across a surface can be a nuisance.


Thanks for your input. I just thought that in comparison to other cables this one wasn't very microphonic but pretty much your standard cable. For example the cord on the Sony CD 3000 is extremely microphonic in comparison.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daroid
Yes. Thanks a ton for the great review. Now I am afraid i know that Grado isn't for me, since I miss the bottom octave on the HD25, just a tad perhaps, although when running a sweep it is all as it should be. And still Grados (not to rain on their parade) costs twice as much here as in the US. I'm especially glad for the comparison to the DT880, it sounds like it is something for me. (The HD600 in sig is not mine, actually I rarely have access to listen to it)


Please note that the DT 880 does not have the strongest bass in my system as my Gilmore Lite might not be enough to power the DT 880. Nevertheless, the DT 880 had the cleanest and most pleasing bass in my opinion. If you are looking for a lot of bass I don't think the DT 880 would be for you unless you are willing to invest a lot of money into a headphone amp and even then I don't know how much more bass you'd have.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tuberoller
Welcome to the land of "featured full reviews". This is an excellent first effort amd is certainly worthy of being archived. Thanks a bunch. I'll add it as soon as all the thread functions come up,perhaps later today.


Thank you
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
Please note that the DT 880 does not have the strongest bass in my system as my Gilmore Lite might not be enough to power the DT 880.


I gather that even the Gilmore Lite should power the DT880s well... realize that the Beyers are NOT the most bass-heavy cans, though, in fact it borders on being weak, especially if you're used to more.

I was really interested in the HD25 but decided to go with circum-aural headphones simply because supra-aural cans don't agree with my ears. Unfortunately your former HFI-700s are still uncomfortable to me, so I'm probably going to have to grab some beyer pads.

But I'm also still curious about the DT250_80/250, so I might not even keep the ultasone, anyway.

Very good review, btw. I wish I could gather up the nerve to do one of my own, but I'd like to hear a few more headphones/go to a meet/get a bloody AMP before I think I'd be comfortable in doing so. Just haven't spent enough money yet!
 
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minya

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saint.panda,

How do these headphones look when worn in public? I realize they're not necessarily the most graceful set of cans - which is fine - but I'm worried they suffer from the horrible "C-clamp headband" look that the Ultrasones and Sennheiser 280's are afflicted with.

I'm not really concerned with how I look wearing headphones, but even I would not stoop to wearing the 280s or Ultrasones in public.

- Chris
 
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The cups on the HD25-1 are about the same diameter as the plastic Grados while sticking out a bit more. On the vast majority of heads it doesn't look too stupid.


Excellent review.


I've owned four HD25-1's so far inbetween practically every other sub-$200 closed phone on the market. The fact that I keep coming back to them (and now will stick to it unless something genuinely better comes out) should speak volumes. They're not the perfect all rounders, but for most people who listen to more rock/pop than classical, they're great. Get over the 'clampiness' and I think there's no better closed phone which is truly portable, highly efficient (i.e. compatible with any player), highly isolating and stands up to a life on the road.


I've been championing these since Headroom had the noncommital review up (one of the reasons I never bothered taking their reviews seriously until recently, although I still discount their response graphs in many situations), and I'm glad they changed it. This extended review ought to assure the HD25-1 more coverage here.
 
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saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ReDVsion
I gather that even the Gilmore Lite should power the DT880s well... realize that the Beyers are NOT the most bass-heavy cans, though, in fact it borders on being weak, especially if you're used to more.

I was really interested in the HD25 but decided to go with circum-aural headphones simply because supra-aural cans don't agree with my ears. Unfortunately your former HFI-700s are still uncomfortable to me, so I'm probably going to have to grab some beyer pads.

But I'm also still curious about the DT250_80/250, so I might not even keep the ultasone, anyway.

Very good review, btw. I wish I could gather up the nerve to do one of my own, but I'd like to hear a few more headphones/go to a meet/get a bloody AMP before I think I'd be comfortable in doing so. Just haven't spent enough money yet!



Hi ReDVision, I don't think the Beyerdynamic are bass weak but they are definately not bass-strongest either. I still think that they have more bass than the Grados.
When you get the Beyer pads note that they are even smaller than the Ultrasone pads. One thing to increase comfort on the Ultrasones with the orginal pads is to put something between the driver and the pad to increase the space between the pads and the drivers thus more space for your ears. Here is a better explanation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by minya
saint.panda,

How do these headphones look when worn in public? I realize they're not necessarily the most graceful set of cans - which is fine - but I'm worried they suffer from the horrible "C-clamp headband" look that the Ultrasones and Sennheiser 280's are afflicted with.

I'm not really concerned with how I look wearing headphones, but even I would not stoop to wearing the 280s or Ultrasones in public.

- Chris



Hi Chris, I added some pics in the "looks and profile" chapter. In my experience, the HD 280 simply can't be overlooked because they are so huge. The Ultrasone are kind of big as well and the headband extends a bit too far away from the head. The HD 25 has a low profile in comparison to the previously mentioned.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bangraman
The cups on the HD25-1 are about the same diameter as the plastic Grados while sticking out a bit more. On the vast majority of heads it doesn't look too stupid.


Excellent review.


I've owned four HD25-1's so far inbetween practically every other sub-$200 closed phone on the market. The fact that I keep coming back to them (and now will stick to it unless something genuinely better comes out) should speak volumes. They're not the perfect all rounders, but for most people who listen to more rock/pop than classical, they're great. Get over the 'clampiness' and I think there's no better closed phone which is truly portable, highly efficient (i.e. compatible with any player), highly isolating and stands up to a life on the road.


I've been championing these since Headroom had the noncommital review up (one of the reasons I never bothered taking their reviews seriously until recently, although I still discount their response graphs in many situations), and I'm glad they changed it. This extended review ought to assure the HD25-1 more coverage here.



Thanks Bangraman. I haven't owned 4 (
) HD 25s yet but I also bought the HD 25 first, then sold them because I though there'd be something better out there, then got some Ultrasones, got some Koss KSC35, tried many others, sold the Ultrasone and got the HD 25 again because I figured that there weren't any better ones out there after all
 
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zoot2boot

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yeah, thanks for the good review. Im suprised these don't get more attention on this site because i have been looking around for ages and these seem to be the only really good solution for high isolation portable listening that dosen't involve ear cannal violation. Everything else is too big or not readily available, at least here in australia.
 
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That's exactly what I did, panda. I got them and sold them multiple times thinking x might be better... and in the end, it wasn't for my purposes. The soundstage is definitely one of the things which did prompt me to try lots of other phones. There are better, but none with the same physical and ease-of-driving characteristics (isolation, weight, throwable into a bag, ease of 'mount' and 'dismount', relatively low power requirements for a decent sound) which makes a phone truly portable on a day to day basis. A folded HFI-650 for example will make a bag bulge more than the HD25-1.


My first HD25-1 experience was a strange one. I kept thinking there was something wrong about the sound and I couldn't quite isolate it. I didn't use them a lot so this problem remained unresolved. It was solved with my second HD25-1... I discovered I had been wearing them back to front
 
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I have owned 3 pairs of HD25-1 in my life. The HD25-1 is LOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUD.
 
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A question to those who've heard both the HD280 and the HD25-1: how much better is the HD25's sound? I don't like the HD280's sound at all, but I still have a need for a highly isolating non-canal phone*.

*I love my Etys, but sometimes I need something easier to take off and put on (more interruption-friendly). And I love my K271, but it doesn't provide enough isolation for my office environment.
 
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panda,

Again, thank you for the great review and the pictures. I'm sold. The HD-25 will be my future portable phone.

Now another question for you or bangraman or whomever: what the hell is the difference between all the different HD-25's? There's HD-25, HD-25-1, and HD-25-SP. Help!


- Chris
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by minya
panda,

Again, thank you for the great review and the pictures. I'm sold. The HD-25 will be my future portable phone.

Now another question for you or bangraman or whomever: what the hell is the difference between all the different HD-25's? There's HD-25, HD-25-1, and HD-25-SP. Help!


- Chris



Hi Chris,
about the differences: The HD 25-1 is the one I reviewed, the HD 25 is the same thing. The HD 25 SP is a cheaper model. You can find a more detailed explanation in the review somewhere, I think in the "specs and facts" chapter.
I hope you'll like them


Quote:

Originally Posted by episiarch
A question to those who've heard both the HD280 and the HD25-1: how much better is the HD25's sound? I don't like the HD280's sound at all, but I still have a need for a highly isolating non-canal phone*.


Hi episiarch, I only audtioned the HD 280 once and didn't really concentrate too much on the sound quality but rather on comfort and isolation.
 
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