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REVIEW: The Sennheiser HD 215 (the HD 205's bigger brother)

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by warrenpchi, Aug 14, 2012.
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  1. exxecutor
    @WiR3D: Thanks for your reply. Good to know amping can provide something to easy-to-drive headphone. But, as Warren point out (latest post) when he amp the hd215, the result is not all positive - there are some compromise. As you have mentioned DAC, hmm, FiiO's E7 looks tempting, as it will benefit my laptop too. Just that it may sound similar to E5 when used with ipod. E17 seems to benefit both ipod and laptop, but that is way out of my current budget. By the way, generally how good is the sound card in Sony Vaio's laptop? 
     
    @Warren: Thank you so much for the preview, really appreciate it :). O2 should be a good amp, and if the hd215 lose its trademark sound with that, I'm now less positive with FiiO's E11. Maybe I just have to try it myself, at least I can keep and use it for future headphone later :)
     
  2. warrenpchi Administrator
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    Right, plus you've got an E17 anyway.  No need to "downgrade" to the E11.
     
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    You don't have any need for a CIEM atm? Already got one?
     
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    Of a Hier? Did they also provide you with free impressions?
     
  3. bowei006 Contributor
    Quote:
    I sold the E17 to get desktop units.[​IMG] This was BEFORE I became their reviewer. I needed the money for desktop units.[​IMG]
     
     
    Heir 4ai and 3ai and MAgnus Cable. Their new universal line. [​IMG]
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/625466/heir-audio-world-tour
     
    [​IMG]
     
  4. warrenpchi Administrator
    Quote:

    Sure, you're welcome!  I just have a feeling that it's going to take me a bit of time to get back to doing a full update (think a mini version of the original review).  I'm working on three new reviews ATM (three IEMs).  Soon I'll be reviewing an amp.  And who knows what else before the year is out.  Just didn't want to leave you waiting all that time.
     
    Yeah, for me, amplification seems to un HD 215 the HD 215.  That may be good or bad depending on how you look at it.  Do I like the sibilance being tamed?  Sure!  Do I like the lows being slowed?  Nope.  So mixed bag there.
     
    Having a good reference amp (by reference I mean the best your budget will allow), and later a good DAC, is always important.  I am now in the process of adding an ODAC to my O2 in that respect.  So if you would like to pick up an amp, I say do so by all means!
     
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    Aww that sucks.  Did you review it while you had it?  Because if not, maybe Fiio will replace it for your impressions.  [​IMG]
     
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    Right, the tour.  Forgot all about that.  [​IMG]
     
  5. exxecutor
    Hi. Just got the E11 amp :). I have yet to do proper listening test yet, just using it for a few hours. (Not sure whether this amp needs running-in time)
     
    Currently using setting of High Power & Low Gain. No EQ used. Connected via FiiO's L3 LOD cable.
     
    Early impression: Better separation, good clarity, more three dimensional sound, lots of power. Bass is good, unlike the E5. Overall, it sounds better than using ipod's headphone-out or FiiO's E5. 
     
    I'm happy hd215 benefits from this upgrade :)
     
  6. warrenpchi Administrator
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    It should be ready to go right out of the box.  I can't imagine that an e11 would need any extensive burn-in. 
     
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    Cool!  Yeah the increased LF response was something I noticed right away with the O2.  While the HD 215 is more than happy to work with any old DAP, it apparently gets downright giddy when you give it enough current.
     
    Thanks for the update!  [​IMG]
     
  7. exxecutor
    Hi, just a quick update:

    E11 on Low Power & Low Gain setting resulting in darker and bassy sound. Less spacious and sounds 'busier'. Good for some songs though.

    High Power & Low Gain still achieve the best overall balance, spacious, lively sound. More dynamic. The hd215 does seem to enjoy good amplification :)
     
  8. warrenpchi Administrator
    exxecutor, just one quick question... would you say that the sibilance has pretty much been eliminated via amplification (regardless of what power/gain setting combinations you used)?
     
  9. WiR3D
    Quote:
    that was always my main gripe with the HD205, haaaaaate sibilance
     
  10. Thommohawk
    I had these headphones a few years ago, and I have them on borrow right now while I wait for my headphones to be repaired.
     
    My complaint back then was there's no bass on these! And there isn't. So if you want a quality movie watching headphone these ain't those! 
     
    My main complaint right now though is my god they sound really harsh - people say the Beyer DT 990 has piercing treble but that's sweet compared to these. The harsh treble here doesn't aid clarity it just makes the whole thing difficult to listen to.
     
    So yeah in short they're fairly well built and comfy but there's much better out there irrespective of price.
     
    I'd only recommend these for first timers not looking to spend too much and looking specifically for over-ear leather cup headphones which are closed back and have a coiled detachable cable - other than that very specific circumstance I wouldn't recommend them. Not movie headphones, harsh music headphones. What's left ? 
     
  11. warrenpchi Administrator
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    I completely agree.  More than anything else - even the absence of any noteworthy LF response - sibilance is the HD 215's major flaw.  SHort of a driver swap, I'm not sure how Sennheiser would address that with a mod (since they wouldn't want to do anything to recess the mids).
     
    My HD 205 (since passed on to a friend) was well burned in by the time it got to me.  So is was decidedly less sibilant than the new HD 215 that Sennheiser sent.  Still, I could detect traces of its strident nature and wasn't exactly sad to see it go.
     
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    Well, there is a whole crowd out there that find themselves fairly sensitive to bass.  I'm not one of them per se, but I'll take their word for it when they say that even a few minutes of pronounced LF response will induce headaches.  This might just be a good option for them I think.
     
    Still, as exxecutor has pointed out above (and my own experience would lead me to concur), pairing this with an amp brings out the bass considerably.  Might want to amp your loaner pair until your real ones get back from the shop?
     
  12. Thommohawk
    Quote:
     
    I have amped them, that's how I use all my headphones. And I guess amping does help (along with bass boost on the Fiio E7) but to be honest it's not the 'lack' of bass that annoys me with these anymore it's the harshness of the treble.
     
  13. bowei006 Contributor
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    I use mine amped as well and I had the same bass qualsm still as well. Granted I am sensitive to the amount of bass unlike warren.
    Quote:
    Yeah, they do have good sonic qualities, but are fatiguing headphones.
     
    It depends on what you want, at the price there are some Fischer's, some Shure's and some Fostex's and what not. I prefer the Shure SRH440 to the HD215's
     
    What's left? Qualities and features.
     
    It has removable plug, DJ setup with flippable cups, and good sonic qualities for the price.... but yeah, not a fav of mine at any rate.
     
  14. warrenpchi Administrator
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    Yeah, I just couldn't get past that myself.  Shame though, as a simple driver switch could probably have solved that issue for them.
     
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    For the sub-$80 price range, I still love my K240 Studios.
     
    Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not very thrilled with any of the lower end Senns... it seems that they all have some kind of fatal flaw in one way or another.  Can anyone think of a sub-$100 Sennheiser that is pretty well-rounded?
     
  15. bowei006 Contributor
    Nope. They all feature one thing that some may like

    Light weight
    DJ style
    Airplane type

    But there are flaws

    In my opinion, its only that their flaws are more apparent. But not necissarily more
     
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