Sennheiser HD 419 Impressions
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glove4

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In looking for a budget headphone, and knowing Sennheiser recently updated its 200 and 400 lines, I thought I'd take advantage of Best Buy's current sale on the new HD 419's, the lowest model, for $40.  
 
I am no expert and don't usually write reviews, but because there is nothing written about these online, I thought I'd offer something.  My ears have of recent become used to the sound signature of Soundmagic E10 and MEElectronics M21s.  So I am coming from IEMs with a slight U-shaped sound, "warmish" and relatively balanced and detailed (not a "basshead," nor do I desire cold and neutral sound signatures).  Take that for what its worth, which will undoubtedly influence my personal impressions here.  
 
These have not been burned in for any length of time.  Upon listening to them, they are not overwhelmingly bassy like I assumed they'd be, considering they are the lowest model in the budget 400 series.  They are advertised with "Punchy Bass" on the packaging, and I am happy to say that they certainly have punchy bass, quality over quantity, but this is my impression.  The overall sound on most tracks is warm and perhaps "darker" than the similarly priced MEElectronics HT-21, which I once had.  The mids don't sound recessed to me, nor do they sound upfront either, the way I usually prefer.  Can't really vouch for the highs since I usually am far more focused on the lows and mids.  
 
All in all, I can't say much about these at the moment since I am in the initial stages of use.  What I can say is that these are not muddy at all, not bass monsters in the slightest.  The mids are perfectly clear to me even if warmed up a bit, but this might just be my ears since I am used to this sound coming from MEElectronics IEMs.  If you are looking for a budget pair of headphones with a solid, punchy low-end (at this price, the bass is punchy, but not incredibly deep, you'll have to step up to the higher priced models for that) and solid mids, decent soundstage, and solid comfort, these are a good pair, especially for $40 at Best Buy right now.  I may add more to this after burning them in for a period of time.  
 
Forgot to add that I tested these with MP3's ripped at VBR 0, so highest quality possible, nothing lower than this.  Most of the music tested was very complex metal tracks, from death metal to multi-layered folk metal.  
 
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Hellbishop

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I picked up a pair today at BEST BUY which still has them on sale for 40.00. Your description is spot on with them sounding very warm with bass that is full and balanced never drowning out the treble or other sounds. The treble is also very warm without that sparkle of other headphones yet is very clear reminding me of floor speakers i used to listen to in the 1970s and 80s with their warm detailed sound where every word and instrument could be heard without the coldness of a separate tweeter as i listened through my pc connected to my Onkyo TX-8555 stereo reciever.
 
The fit is nice and comfortable for my big head and the build seems very sturdy. The soft cushions around the ears is very comfortable helping one to relax and get immersed in the music.
 
Will be interesting to see how they sound after burn in compared to my Sennheiser HD 202 headphones.
 
Thanks for the review glove4. I too was having trouble finding any reviews and was surprised they werent on sale at Amazon where i also check for reviews.
 
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Asr

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I bought a pair today from Best Buy during my lunch break at the $40 deal (thanks for the info), with the intent of at least using them at work (if not at home), as I've been looking for something I can use at work that's closed and cheap for general audio purposes (listening to voicemail, listening to streaming music clips, watching stuff on YouTube, etc).
 
Well I'll just say that these are going to be work headphones and definitely not home headphones.
 
I used my FLAC copy of Alison Krauss & Union Station's Paper Airplane on the HeadRoom Bithead, along with various YouTube vids (including game/movie trailers for sound effects).
 
Overall, not terrible, but not that great, and on my personal scale ranking of headphones this one is definitely below-average. Not clear-sounding at all, almost comes across as muddy in fact. Also has the classic Senn veil, not very much treble, and "soft" bass. Plenty of mid-bass quantity in general, but it sounds semi-muddy. Thick mid-range as well, but the semi-muddy character is a definite subtraction for me there.
 
The few game/movie trailers I watched didn't sound great either and lacked punch to the various sound effects - explosions sounded completely indistinct and machine-gun fire wasn't sharp at all (and they were shoved to the background too, which I found annoying).
 
But for the $40 paid, I guess it's not that bad, and I won't be using it for music listening anyway so it doesn't matter much. For me this was a functional purchase for something at work, which it'll do ok in, and I suspect it'd actually be hard to find something significantly better for a cheap closed, low-impedance headphone.
 
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Hellbishop

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After a few days of use the HD 419 sound a bit better but seem to sound best at lower volumes thus far. When listening to some Tchaikovsky i was surprised how distorted they got at one point when things got a bit bombastic. When listening to the same track with my Koss UR40 it was still pretty bombastic but with no distortion present. Maybe over time this will improve with more burn in which i do just by listening to them regularly at low to normal volume.
 
Listening to some heavy metal tracks by Cathedral such as The Tree Of Life & Death the HD 419 handled things well along with a few tracks by Ozzy Osbourne and some new wave by Gary Numan which sounded nice with the thick warmness. The Drums track Hard To Love sounded very full of warmth which enhanced that style of music.
 
EDIT:
Just noticed i had my bass setting all the way up on my Onkyo TX-8555 stereo reciever. Now with the bass set to a middle setting and the treble at max the HD 419 sounds totally clear with no veiled quality as i listen to Gary Numan's Down in The Park. So from the looks of it with a bit of fiddling with the bass and treble tones the Sennheiser HD 419 will sound completely different and much more clear with plenty of detail. Am also able to play it at higher volumes with no distortion.
 
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Blue Boat

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Guys, if you're not happy with the highs, try bumping up the 10kHz by 4-5 db, 8kHz by 3-4 db, 6kHz by 2-3 db, 4kHz, 1-2 db, 2kHz, 0-1db. 
 
I have my HD438s on these settings
 
4kHz == +2db
6kHz == +1.5db
8kHz == +1.5db
10kHz == +0.5db
 
 
 
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Hellbishop

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Thanks Blue Boat
 Will give these setting a try later when its headphone time

 
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Hellbishop

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After about two weeks of using these with a brief break of two days the Sennheiser HD 419 are starting to sound really good with a warm creamy texture smoothed over a very balanced almost neutral sound with my Winamp eq settings set to flat and my Onkyo TX-8555 stereo reciever tone controls in the middle setting for treble and bass. I've also noticed how the ear pads are not only comfortable but help to isolate cutting down on outside noise by dulling it so enviromental distractions dont have that knife edge "Look over here!" quality to them as if some one turned down the treble to the outside world

 
Am starting to see why these were originally sixty bucks and what a deal they are at forty dollars.
 
I tried out Blue Boat's equalizer settings but they were a bit much for me when i tried them before the HD 419 started opening up. Plus i was using Winamp where the flat setting seems to be the most satisfying to me. I'll probably try those settings again and see if they improve things even further.
 
 
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I'm considerin gettin this headphones.
Has anyone tried the 429s? they cost like 10 dollars more n they look about the same
 
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Quote:
I tried out Blue Boat's equalizer settings but they were a bit much for me when i tried them before the HD 419 started opening up. Plus i was using Winamp where the flat setting seems to be the most satisfying to me. I'll probably try those settings again and see if they improve things even further.
 

I'm a treble-head and that EQ setting makes the headphone sound a little brighter
than the dark traditional Sennheiser sound sig :)
 
@KBJAG
 
If Sennheiser didn't change the naming conventions...
 
then the HD419 and the HD439 should be the bassier versions of HD429 and HD449.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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jrkong

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i have em too, not my first choice in it's price range ($99), comfort is nice, could use bigger pads though. I wouldn't agree on the muddy part though, it's mainly because of the speed of the headphone itself. I find them clear but on really slow tracks (meaning not much activity)... wait for my review I'll talk a bit more about it.
 
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Quote:
I bought a pair today from Best Buy during my lunch break at the $40 deal (thanks for the info), with the intent of at least using them at work (if not at home), as I've been looking for something I can use at work that's closed and cheap for general audio purposes (listening to voicemail, listening to streaming music clips, watching stuff on YouTube, etc).
 
Well I'll just say that these are going to be work headphones and definitely not home headphones.
 
I used my FLAC copy of Alison Krauss & Union Station's Paper Airplane on the HeadRoom Bithead, along with various YouTube vids (including game/movie trailers for sound effects).
 
Overall, not terrible, but not that great, and on my personal scale ranking of headphones this one is definitely below-average. Not clear-sounding at all, almost comes across as muddy in fact. Also has the classic Senn veil, not very much treble, and "soft" bass. Plenty of mid-bass quantity in general, but it sounds semi-muddy. Thick mid-range as well, but the semi-muddy character is a definite subtraction for me there.
 
The few game/movie trailers I watched didn't sound great either and lacked punch to the various sound effects - explosions sounded completely indistinct and machine-gun fire wasn't sharp at all (and they were shoved to the background too, which I found annoying).
 
But for the $40 paid, I guess it's not that bad, and I won't be using it for music listening anyway so it doesn't matter much. For me this was a functional purchase for something at work, which it'll do ok in, and I suspect it'd actually be hard to find something significantly better for a cheap closed, low-impedance headphone.

 

I wouldn't call these headphones below par because if that's the only test song you used I suggest you look at pop, hip hop or some other "mainstream" "teen" genre because I find that that was the target audience of these headphones and they do fairly well with them. Keep in mind that the goal of  these headphones isn't really accuracy over enjoyment, otherwise your impressions are rather spot on. I'm not saying that the quality is that much better but the HD419 feels more toned towards those genres.
 
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Prakhar

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Would these be a good buy for less than $20 Shipped? I listen to mostly EDM.

Also how is the build quality on these?
 
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Quote:
Would these be a good buy for less than $20 Shipped? I listen to mostly EDM.

Also how is the build quality on these?

depends on your taste in music, it is only good on mainstream and it is far from analytical. build quality is quite nice
 
 
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Prakhar

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Ill end up using these when I go to the gym then :p
I look dumb enough already... I dont really mind that it isnt analytical, I prefer a more fun sound.
 
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Prakhar

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Last question.
Hows the bass extension on these?
 
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