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Sennheiser HD555, Bose AE2 or V-moda Crossfade?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by triffis, Nov 24, 2010.
  1. Triffis
    Hi guys,
    Just trying to decide between these three pairs of headphones (I know you guys hate Bose, but I listened to the AE2's in a store today and they are way more neutral and have less bass than the triports and on-ears).
    I have discounted the SRH440 and ATH M50 due to comfort issues, and I'm not keen to mod them.
    Right, here are some things I already know about the headphones, keep in mind I am not a bass head and I would prefer sound quality over bass.
    - Open style, does this affect isolation and can the headphones still block out outside noise?
    - Apparently the most "neutral" of all three pairs.
    - Doesn't come with a carry case (this sucks as I plan on travelling with them).
    - Cheapest of the three pairs ($179 NZ new).
    - Comfortale
    Bose AE2:
    - Doesn't leak any noise.
    - Super comfortable.
    - Comes with a carry bag that will probably not provide any protection.
    - Reduces outside noise.
    - The most expensive of the three ($240 NZ new).
    V-moda Crossfade:
    - I can get an awesome deal on these headphones which is the only reason I'm considering them ($200 NZ new).
    - Comes with a hard carry case
    - Apparently has quite a lot of bass... I might have to equalize?
    - Definitely the most durable of the three.
    Basically, which of these headphones has the best sound quality, and which is best used with both iPod and Laptop.
    I listen to alt rock and soft rock mainly.
  2. Jimmyz
    I have never heard the Sennheisers, and I have only heard the Bose TriPort Over-Ear Headphones, which are somewhat similar to the AE2, and I would say that the V-Modas sound much better than the Bose personally. But I am a fan of bassy headphones, so my advice may not be too helpful. Ever consider the Bower & Wilkins P5 headphones?
  3. morph2k4
    Operating under the assumption that the 555 and 595 are identical (assuming you remove the inhibitor added to the 555 to make them sound worse and differentiate them from the high end model), I have had the chance to listen to the crossfades and 555's side by side.  I can safely say that the two models are polar opposites, sharing essentially no qualities (which makes choosing a lot easier imo).
    The crossfades offer seriously mind blowing bass.  I would go so far as to say, I don't think you can get better bass in an unamped headphone, and certainly not for anything remotely resembling the price point.  The bass is simply amazing out of a cheapo DAP.  That said, if your music isn't full of high definition bass, this allocation of resources if very likely NOT worth it.  I found that the crossfades produces the best sounding electronica of any headphone I've tried in the price range.  I found that while listening to rock, I needed to use a bass reduction EQ configuration to get the sound I wanted.  Even with that, the mids and highs are nothing to write home about.  They are not BAD per say, but the performance is what I would expect out of a phone less than half the price.  Other than sound performance, the removable cable is a major plus.  The build quality is also very solid on the cross fades, and the hard case is a really really nice addition.  I would pay A LOT of money for a molded case like that capable of holding my denons.
    The 555's on the other hand offer exceptional mids and highs for the price, bringing a sharpness and detail to the table that blow the crossfades out of the water.  While very tight and clean, the bass is borderline anemic, and seriously lacking in comparison to even the more balanced options in this price range.  These cans are open, which means they will not block sound going in or out.  When my roommate has his senns pumped up, I can hear them through the wall in my room.  These are definitely not the phones for dealing with ambient noise, or a setting where you are not permitted to generate ambient noise.  As for durability, the senns seem to be built like crap.  Thats not entirely fair, since in 3 years of ownership and heavy use, my roommates 595s are in pretty good shape, but they lack the rigid solid feel that the vmodas have.  I would not feel comfortable with these if you don't take good care of your electronics.  
    Lastly, I found that the 555's were MUCH better suited to the rock in my collection than the crossfades.  Most of the rock tracks through the crossfades fail to impress, recessing the ranges that encorporate most guitar and the other sounds that I associate with rock.  Moreover, without bass reduction EQ, relatively unexciting bass lines suddenly seize control of the entire sound stage.  Not ideal in my opinion.  The Senns on the other hand do a pretty good job on rock.  The bass is nice and tight, so the lack of emphasis doesn't really bother me too much.  You may also want to consider checking out some of the low end Grados if you like rock and aren't worried about sound isolation.  They are a bit cheaper than the 555's, and offer a similar but more balanced sound.
  4. Jimmyz

    Have you heard the Beats Pro by Dr. Dre? Would you say the Crossfade has better bass than the Pro, or vice versa? 
  5. morph2k4
    Never tried the beats pro.  I did plug the cross fades into the beats comparison station at the local best buy, but I think that was the lower end model.  Bass was cleaner on the crossfades, but the massive difference in volume leads me to suspect that the station runs the beats through an amp, but not the comparison port.  Kind of a shady set up.
  6. shalingang

    I actually tried the V-moda Crossfade in the apple store. They are not bad phones as far as I can tell with good isolation and sound quality. Even the price is a little bit steep, it might be reasonable if you like their appearance and building structure.

  7. valkolton Contributor


    Yes, the other port did seem to have low volume at Fryes I noticed, not sure why.  The beats studio, remember are amped - however the SPL should be comparable on most sources.
    Compare side by side at Apple Store is best as you can use your own source... but be sure to always use the same source device and teest tracks as some headphoes are powered by iPod Nanos vs iPod Touches/iPhones/iPads.  
    -val kolton
    owner V-MODA

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