Sennhiser Amperior vs HD25 vs AKGk545
May 24, 2015 at 6:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

yamdan

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Howdy folks,  after many cheap in-ear buds i've been ruining and running with,  I decided to buy my first durable HIFI headphones and finally step up to the next level. My budget is around 250-300$  
So I've been looking into buying a decent portable headphones, What I had in mind after a short online research i've made are:
 
Sennhiser HD25 aluminum edition (a little bit above budget)
Sennhiser amperior
Akg k545
 
I won't lie that I'm leaning towards on-ear headphones, but this AKG model looks rather interesting as well.
 
That said, listening to these headphones prior to purchasing is kind of difficult in my country as I don't know of such shops that allow this and have decent collections..
So I guess I'll have to make my choice basing on your suggestions and reviews..
 
The main genres in my music library are electric-and-acoustic blues, classic/southern-rock, hard rock etc.
The headphones will be plugged into my cowon z2 pmp which contain many flac music files.
 
In this opportunity , would some one just be kind enough to enlighten me and give a brief explanation of what is a headphone amp and is it necessary in my case in order to make the best of my headphones sound ?
I've came across with the terms ״dac, receiver, amp" which i was never really understood.
 
That said,
I'm not an audiophile yet, and I must say that I'm quite a novice when it comes to audio products and my knowledge is quite limited
From what I learned online, I understand that different headphones Emphasis different aspects of audio such of bass and treble, neutral etc.
So I've not gathered enough experience to decide whether I'm a bass
or a treble fan, and can't decide which one will suit better my music's taste, 
though, electric guitars sit on the mids and treble mostly. (fix me if I'm wrong)
So considering that satisfying mids are important to me.
 
But, if you think about other models that might suit my needs, please feel free.


Hope my English was alright, I'm sure you'd be forgiving for a non native speaker

 

 
May 25, 2015 at 5:36 AM Post #2 of 17

WraithApe

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Hi, and welcome!
 
I have a pair of HD25 Aluminium myself, having previously owned the Amperior. Never heard the AKG though so can't comment on that. I find both the HD25 Alu and Amperior have a relatively flat response, with perhaps a slight boost in the bass and treble (the Amperior more so - the HD25 Alu is a slightly smoother, more refined sound overall imo). For the price, I think both cans punch well above their weight: they have a detailed, clear yet punchy sound signature that I haven't heard bettered by any on ears / closed ears around the same price point or even a bit higher.  I listen to a lot of rock and guitar music as well and these headphones are excellent for that, along with all forms of electronic music - they're great all-rounders in fact.
 
As for a dedicated headphone amp, they are produced for headphones which require more power to drive properly than can be obtained from the amp inside portable devices. Having such a low impedance, the Amperior is easy to drive directly from portable devices and was in fact designed with that in mind. I can see the argument for using a dedicated headphone amp with the HD25 Alu but personally, I drive it straight from my iPod and it does a decent job. You should be aware that Sennheiser no longer make the Amperior - it was superseded by the HD25 Alu - but you can still pick up an Amperior for a good price on the used market.
 
Couple of Wiki links you might find useful:
 
Headphone amp: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphone_amplifier
DAC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital-to-analog_converter
 
May 25, 2015 at 5:53 AM Post #3 of 17

Beyakusenn

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For running I do recommend on-ears in stead of over-ears because over-ears will get more sweaty.
 
My favourite on-ears are the Beyerdynamic t51p because of their great sound, great comfort and lightweight construction. The downside is the non-replaceable, flimsy cable.
 
I do not like the HD25 myself because of the clamping pressure and the sound signature, but as far as durability goes these are hard to beat. Many people seem to like it's sound, so that might be one of the better options for you.
 
May 25, 2015 at 11:59 AM Post #4 of 17

yamdan

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Thank you everybody for the answers
Ok, looks like my list is now down to two:
1. Hd 25 aluminum
2, Beyerdynamic t51p (which looks pretty good as well, it's strange I haven't heard about these untill now)

Both headphones have their downsides.
Hd25's bad comfortability
and
Beyerdynamic's irreplaceable cable - This is quite a let down to me since most of my earbuds i had used to stop working every so often as their cables end up getting ripped and tangled in my pockets.

you'd except that such headphones who classified themselves as high end, will have more attention to details.

Regarding the Amperior - judging by your answers and most of the reviews I've came across which say that the Hd 25 aluminum are the better headphones.
Hence I removed these from the list.

Same thing goes to the AKG, despite of reading good reviews about them, they seem less renowned, so I'd rather play it safe.

I do not like the HD25 myself because of the clamping pressure and the sound signature,


Regardless of the bad comfortability.
May I ask what is not to like about HD-25 sound signature ?
tastes differ obviously, but I recall hearing mostly good things about their sound signature in reviews.

As to the headphone amp, considering that my pmp (Cowon Z2) provides an impedance output of 100 ohm.
While, both headphones mentioned above requires 60-70 ohm,
I would i get any improvement in sound quality with an amp ?
 
May 25, 2015 at 12:59 PM Post #5 of 17

WraithApe

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As they always say on here, YMMV, but I don't find the HD25 uncomfortable. I guess I can see what people mean when they talk about its clamping force, but I think there are headphones out there with greater clamping force - any of the Audeze LCDs for example! Personally, comfort has never been an issue for me.
 
In terms of sound quality, I don't know what's not to like; they are widely used by audio professionals such as broadcasters and DJs due to their neutrality and slightly forward sound. I guess you can maybe find a more neutral sounding headphone in the same ballpark price-wise (perhaps the Beyer that was mentioned?), but if you like a little bass boost and a fun sounding can, I've always thought the HD25 is a good option. I'd be interested to hear the T51p, and also the DT1350.. have you considered those? I am a fan (I own a pair of T1s), but never really considered Beyer for a portable option simply due to lack of opportunities to demo them - and the fact I've been happy with the HD25 as a portable for so many years! For what it's worth, both the DT1350 and HD25 Alu appear on Innerfidelity's wall of fame and you can read more about them there.
 
I would say you might get some benefit from a portable headphone amp with either of these headphones but it's not quite as simple as looking whether the output impedance of the amp is greater than the headphones' impedance - in fact, if it's too much greater, it could cause problems. The main thing to bear in mind is that degradation of the audio signal can occur where the output impedance of the amplifier is too great for a particular headphone impedance. The 1/8th rule is an oft-quoted rule of thumb: make sure the output impedance of the amp is less than 1/8th of the headphone impedance. With small portable amps of the kind you mention, it shouldn't be an issue - this is more relevant when considering more powerful desktop amps. I could link to a good blog article on the subject but won't, as the author isn't exactly flavour of the month around here 
wink_face.gif
 
 
Incidentally, I'm not sure where you get 100 ohm from for the Z2 - I would expect the output impedance of the amp in that device to be well under 10 ohm.
 
May 25, 2015 at 5:26 PM Post #6 of 17

Beyakusenn

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Regardless of the bad comfortability.
May I ask what is not to like about HD-25 sound signature ?
tastes differ obviously, but I recall hearing mostly good things about their sound signature in reviews.

It's true most people like the sound of the HD25. That was also the reason for me to buy them and it's not that I think they are bad. The HD25 are very capable headphones, but they have certain characteristics that displease me. I'll go from the low to the high frequencies.
- The HD25 have a 'fun' slightly elevated bass, but it lacks extension. With Dave Brubeck's Take Five there is a bass (instrument) playing softly in the background, but it is completely inaudible with the HD25.
- The mids are just good. They don't sound exaggerated or exquisitely smooth. Just good (this is not a downside by the way).
- The Highs are what make these headphones unappealing to me. These headphones do not sound sibilant with good recordings, but if there is even a hint of sibilance in the recording, these headphones will make it clear. I have to say that the aluminium version is not as sensitive to sibilance as the plastic version.
- The treble dip before the treble peak at 9 kHz makes the treble sound harsher and more uneven. Most people won't mind these treble dips and peaks, but I have noticed that I do dislike them myself quite a bit. The Beyerdynamic T70p is the most extreme headphone I know regarding this 'issue'. Even though I really like Beyerdynamic, I loathe the sound of the T70p.
- Treble has a clear roll-off after the peak at 9 kHz. this might soften the sound a bit so it isn't necessarily a bad aspect for the HD25.
 
As to the headphone amp, considering that my pmp (Cowon Z2) provides an impedance output of 100 ohm.
While, both headphones mentioned above requires 60-70 ohm,
I would i get any improvement in sound quality with an amp ?

The improvement in sound will be there, but it will be marginal. You might have to turn up the volume quite a bit with the HD25, but I think it will play loud enough. The t51p is much more efficient, so it is less likely to improve with amping.
 
By the way I think you don't mean the output impedance, but the impedance it's designed to be able to drive. The output impedance of a DAP should always be as low as possible.
 
  As they always say on here, YMMV, but I don't find the HD25 uncomfortable. I guess I can see what people mean when they talk about its clamping force, but I think there are headphones out there with greater clamping force - any of the Audeze LCDs for example! Personally, comfort has never been an issue for me.

It's not that the clamping force was very large, but in combination with the non-memory foam ear pads that push on the auricles, it can be less comfortable in the long term. They were uncomfortable for me after 30 minutes even though the B&W P5 S2 took twice as long to get uncomfortable and the t51p at least 4 times longer. I usually have no problem with clamping pressure of over-ears.
 
  In terms of sound quality, I don't know what's not to like; they are widely used by audio professionals such as broadcasters and DJs due to their neutrality and slightly forward sound.

I wouldn't take broadcasters and DJs as the standard. Broadcasters also use the DT770 everywhere while it's certainly not a neutral headphone. They like it because of it's closed design, durability, replaceability of parts, sturdy cables and overall good sound. DJs love the HD25 because it's practically bomb proof and if something does break, it's replaced easily. It's also customizable in many ways. It isolates sound pretty well and it has an ear cup that swivels (even though not every DJ will use that feature).
 
  ...I guess you can maybe find a more neutral sounding headphone in the same ballpark price-wise (perhaps the Beyer that was mentioned?), but if you like a little bass boost and a fun sounding can, I've always thought the HD25 is a good option. I'd be interested to hear the T51p, and also the DT1350.. have you considered those? I am a fan (I own a pair of T1s), but never really considered Beyer for a portable option simply due to lack of opportunities to demo them - and the fact I've been happy with the HD25 as a portable for so many years! For what it's worth, both the DT1350 and HD25 Alu appear on Innerfidelity's wall of fame and you can read more about them there.

The DT-1350 is more neutral sounding than any of the HD-25 variants, but I wouldn't recommend them for portable use because the low frequencies drown in the ambient noise.
After hearing many on-ears, I saw a clear winner: the t51p. It's not neutral , but the only clear colouration is an elevated mid-bass. That was perfect for my portable use. They are also more comfortable than almost any other on-ear (except for the KEF M500) and I wasn't going to run with them, so I didn't need to worry about the cable.
Because of warranty, I got a special offer from B&W so I could get the P5 S2 For €150. I couldn't refuse that offer, so I owned both on-ears for quite a while, but I sold the P5 S2 because its sound was not as good as the t51p.
I used to own the T1s too :)  However, after hearing electrostatics I had to sell those wonderful headphones. Stax headphones have a unique appeal to them.
 
May 26, 2015 at 7:09 AM Post #7 of 17

yamdan

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Well, It is just that I was under the impression that the HD 25 was designed for professional DJs and recordings use rather then traveling and normal use.
most DJs I've seen usually tend to hang their headphones on their napes and pretend like they know what they are doing, lol.
I've always took this for a show appearance rather then something practical.

That said, I think my concern about the clamping pressure is derived from me having an above average head size (according to some good friends who have been felt obligated to remind me that through my entire life, lol) .
so considering that, and happening to find myself traveling every now and then.
fitting and comfortability is somewhat an issue which worries me.
It's a shame i can't try these two headphones first , though.
It'd have been much more simple.

Regarding headphone amp.
Yes, i mistaken the pmp output impedance with the impedance range it suppose to handle (apparently 16-100 according to to what I saw in another forum )
So does it make any sense that my pmp is actually less then 1 ohm
Is that a good thing ?

Considering the 1/8 rule the HD25 (70ohm) requires an impedance of 8.75 ohm from the amp,
And T51p (32ohm) requires no more then 4ohm .

While my pmp provides an output of 1ohm
Does it mean that I'm in the clear (At least for headphone amp to be a necessity) ?
Just to be clear, I'd rather avoid amps and keep everything simple and portable as much as possible.
But if an amp is necessery so my headphones would live up to their full potential, I'd rather include an amp in my purchase.

I Bought this pmp due to good reviews about its sound quality and strong internal amp, so I figured it supposed to handle various kinds of headphones well enough.

Anyway, I think I'll just end up buying the one headphones between the two with the most appealing sound signature, and features.
After all, everything comes down to fun listening experience in the end.

Right now I'm leaning towards the t51p mainly due to their comfort and specs which apparently should handle headphones good enough without being plugged to an amp.

While the HD25 on the other hand are durable, have appealing forward-sound signature and every part of this is user replaceable which is a plus as well.
 
May 26, 2015 at 8:53 AM Post #8 of 17

WraithApe

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Regarding headphone amp.
Yes, i mistaken the pmp output impedance with the impedance range it suppose to handle (apparently 16-100 according to to what I saw in another forum )
So does it make any sense that my pmp is actually less then 1 ohm
Is that a good thing ?

Considering the 1/8 rule the HD25 (70ohm) requires an impedance of 8.75 ohm from the amp,
And T51p (32ohm) requires no more then 4ohm .

While my pmp provides an output of 1ohm
Does it mean that I'm in the clear (At least for headphone amp to be a necessity) ?
Just to be clear, I'd rather avoid amps and keep everything simple and portable as much as possible.
But if an amp is necessery so my headphones would live up to their full potential, I'd rather include an amp in my purchase.

 
Yes, <1ohm sounds more like it - it's perfectly normal for a device like the Z2. The 1/8 rule I mentioned isn't so much a rule as a guideline (probably a conservative one). I used to have an Icon Audio HP8 amp, which has three output impedance settings, from low to high, designed to match with all headphone impedances from 6-600ohm. Icon have recommended ranges for use with each setting (e.g. Low setting recommended for 6-32ohm headphones). But all this is irrelevant where your device has such a low output impedance.
 
As @Beyakusenn said, it's unlikely you'll get any noticeable benefit from using an external amp with these headphones - the amp in your Cowon should be perfectly sufficient and as you said, you chose it for that reason. I use my HD25 Alus straight out of my iPod, and that probably has a less powerful amp than the Z2. I would just focus on the headphones and forget the amp 
wink_face.gif

 
May 26, 2015 at 5:29 PM Post #9 of 17

Beyakusenn

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I completely agree with the words above.
 
For your use (lots of repetitive movements) I'm not sure whether the cable of the t51p is good enough or not. There are people who have modified their t51p to have removable cables, but you should only consider doing that if you are handy with tools and good at soldering. I'll do that if the cable on my t51p ever gets damaged.
 
May 28, 2015 at 6:47 PM Post #11 of 17

WraithApe

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  I havent tried the AKG, but i owned all the Sennheiser "HD 25 line" and still think that the original HD 25 is the best.
 
The Amperior has more forward sounding and can be harsh at times.
The HD 25 Aluminium has the smoothest sound and less punchy, but deeper bass. 
 
These are all great headphones, but...personally i prefer the punchy and detailed sound of the original Sennheiser HD 25. I havent found any other headphone which has the same sound quality. This is my favorite.

 
Yeah, I owned the original HD25 for many years and also the Amperior, and I'd pretty much go along with these impressions. The Amperior is definitely the most forward sounding of the three, but as you say, lacks a little refinement.
 
I do prefer the Alu to the original personally though, simply because I feel the aluminium cups have less resonance than the plastic ones, resulting in a bit tighter definition. They may have slightly less impact, but for me, the bass of the original HD25 sounds a touch boomy by comparison.
 
May 29, 2015 at 5:33 AM Post #12 of 17

WraithApe

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  Its strange, because i found the HD 25 Aluminium's bass more boomy than the original HD 25... Thats why i sold mine. :frowning2:
To be honest i have tried/owned so many headphones, but couldnt find any which could match the sound quality and comfort of a Sennheiser HD 25 in this price range.
 
I use mine for DJing and studio work as well. I think its very easy to spot the quality differences between tracks or during mixing with this headphone. With the other brand tried i wasnt able to make a perfect edit.
Also they are very lightweight. More lighter than the Amperior or the Aluminium. I forget wearing them after 5 mins. :)
 
Is there a headphone out there which is same good as a HD 25?

 
You pays your money you takes your choice I guess! I don't know whether it's ever been stated by Sennheiser, but I was under the impression that the HD25 Alu uses the same drivers as the original HD25 'phones and that the only significant difference is the milled aluminium cups. To my ears, this is borne out by an overall tightening of the sound, especially in the bass department. Either way, I agree with you that there aren't many better sounding headphones at this price point - I've also auditioned a fair number of contenders - although I have yet to try the Beyer T51p that was mentioned earlier.
 
May 29, 2015 at 6:12 AM Post #13 of 17

WraithApe

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  Maybe our ears are different... :)

 
I sincerely hope so - I think we'd both be hard done by if we had to share a pair of ears 
tongue_smile.gif
 
 
In all seriousness though, everyone hears differently. Whilst I think we can often agree on certain impressions, I do also read peoples' descriptions of the sound of headphones I've heard myself and wonder how they can possibly have come to those conclusions!
 
May 29, 2015 at 9:47 AM Post #14 of 17

Beyakusenn

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  Maybe our ears are different... :)
 
I have had a Beyerdynamic T50p before. I think thats kind a same like the T51p. I found it warm and bass heavy, but the build is very very nice and comfortable to.

The t50p is quite different from the t51p. They may share the same housing, but the sound of the t51p is a good improvement. I wouldn't recommend either of these Beyers for professional use, but as portable cans for just listening to music they are great.
 
The DT1350 is the headphone that I'd recommend in stead of the HD25 for music professionals, but the cable of the DT1350 is clearly less durable.
 
May 29, 2015 at 12:05 PM Post #15 of 17

Beyakusenn

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My advice would be: try before you buy.
If that is not a possibility, find comparisons where cans you know well are compared to the model you are interested in.
 
I'm not sure what you mean by 'tight' sound. If you want a closed headphone for production purposes, the Focal Spirit Pro is a good choice.
 

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