the new sennheiser hd 449 review feat hd 238 , hd 203 . the final verdict .
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suman134

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            this is the newest edition to the headphones from sennheiser , the last batch of hd 4xx were some of the best in class acts . the hd 448 was topper in the under $100 segment . the hd 428 were nice too , but now there is the batch to take their place . can the hd 449 replace the old good hd 448 ? i may not tell you that , cuz i dont have the hd 448 , but you guys can help me in there . now what i am gona compare it to is the hd 238 , my mp3 buddy , and hd 203 , my laptop buddy . i have others but these two are the segments where you are most likely to use these hd 449 with . but i will test it only on the mp3 player , (the legendary) cowon j3 will do my job for this , with equalizers applied at 6,6,5,5,5 , bee and mach bass at 10 , others off accept stereo enh at 3 . vol from 22-30 . all at wide .
 
         at least 15days for a 150hr burn-in for these , may be more . but the present impressions can be shared . and review will be updated with improvements i feel it made . first update is at bottom .
before that here are some pics and some present standing against the hd 238 and hd 203 . ( pics may not be the best in world , but will show what you need to see ) . i have a hd 280 , but sadly its worn out , or i would have made it feature its muscles .
 

 
its the hd 449 written , so when you buy it you know where to find it written " hd 449 " .
 

 
the supportive padding on top .
 

 
sennheiser anyone ?
 

 
its on the pouch provided with it .
 

 
the cup .
 

 
the hinge , to twist or to pull the cups out of the band .

 
the insertion plug .
 

 
the thing in action it self .
 

 
i convinced my good old hd 203 to do a cameo . it was busy at my laptop .
 

 
this guy was angry to see its replacement .
 

 
not the best pics .
 
       even from the early days its got big sound stage , even being closed its good . the bass is lower then the hd 203 for sure , but not too lower from hd 238 . notes were awesome , clearer i must say then the 203 and 238 . i get this type of music from my ultimatears 700 . but in ue 700 bass is a bit better .
 
now the benchmark being set , here we go with rating .
 
hd 203 :- bass - 7.5/10 , mids 4.5/10 , highs 4.5/10 . sound stage :- 4.5 .
 
hd 203 got things to entertain , the biggest bass phone i have . bass is huge , high volume is tackled not too goodly . mid is the missing part , its not that present neither the highs . blown by the bass of curse . the cord is looooong . 3m , and strong enough for years of use , not the most comfortable headphone , it helds too tight on head and gets heated sooner . and the moveable earcup (owner may now how it behaves ) may not be the best . and the cup is smaller then the hd 449 . hd 203 dont flush over my ears , it just presses over them , ( my ears are a bit big ) . it makes up with the bass it got . and the price is one third of hd 449 . these are the best value for money headphones in the market .
 
hd 238 :- bass 6/10 , mids 6.25/10 , high 7/10 . sound stage :- 7.25 .
 
hd 238 , the sound stage hog , open , loose and value . the bass is what you should not complain about , its good if not the best . mids are good , why you need it more ? not too may guys need mids ? its the spectrum that holds the music on its place . 500hz to 6.5 khz . hd 238 dose nicer then the 203 . the highs are the best of it . its distinct and good enough to make you hear . these are open , and wont help in noisy places . i have made mods on it by having the open back closed by a black cloth and aluminium foil . it falls off easily , not good for runners at all . its cups are the smallest . its a earpad in design . the build is not the best . but they makes me feel like there is nothing on my head .
 
hd 449 :- bass 5/10 , mids 7/10 , high 7/10 . sound stage :- 7 .
 
you may ask its not that much of an improvement from hd 238 . it is , you havent tasted its sound stage till now and its just an hour burned , bass is to open up more with other spectrum too . the fit is as good as my old hd 280 . but not that tight . it feels like god of mid range . this can comes with a nice pouch and a 1.6m extension cable with a one quarter inch adapter . its not the strongest feeling headphone at all , but strong enough for day to day use and can take some hits too . the strongest is the hd 280 as far as i have seen and the hd 203 , ear pads are a bit stiff , some may find it good and some may say it has heating problem dew to it . but its not that bad . ( use the pouch when not in use )
 
update :-
        may you guys forgive me , cuz i was not able to burn in the hd 449 for last two days , but , yesterday i burned it for some good 15 hours and up , now what i can see is you cant say there is a fault in sound quality at all , just like my hd 280 , but it still lacks some punch in the department of bass , the vocals are crystal clear and nearly par with the hd 280 , above the hd 238 and far superior to the hd 203 , now i have earphone in the no of 65 and likes , that includes , cx 400 , image s3 , ue 350 , ue 700 , she 9800 , to name the class leaders , but the only two i can say is nearly on par with vocal clarity are she 9800 and ue 700 , there is a reason for them to excel too , 9800 got big heavy drivers and 700 got dual drivers , and 9800 is like hd 238 with big sound stage .
    sound stage :-
       now its improving , the stage has grown bigger i dont know how , cuz hd 280 of mine for now dont have that big sound stage any more but the hd 238 is a champ in here . its like nearly par with the hd 238 , but its supposed to improve too . lets hope it goes over ? how big you want ? like a stadium may be . just kidding .  its like a small hall for now .
 
bass :-
      a bit more to say but cant take on the hd 238 or the hd 280 , hd 203 is too far . so this is the part where i want to see some more improvements in upcoming days , i can sacrifice some sound stage for some more bass , lets see what it can do .
 
      now some basics , what you want from your head/earphone ? bass ? vocals ( mid and submid clarity ) ? or highs ?
i think this hd 449 can be tuned to flex the driver in favors to these to some extend , tune it with bass by burning with bass tracks , but volume should be just below avg . hear them for 5 mins in every 2-3 hrs , or when ever you can , and never put them burn in for more then 18 hrs , for the safety of the drivers , cuz bass brings stress in them a bit more then the mids and lower then the super demanding highs .
 
     never burn in with wav files of pink , brown , white noise for more then 12 hrs , for bass , try the freq sweeps , low freq sweeps , 20 , 30 , 40 , 50 , 60 , 70 , 80 Hertz for 2 hrs every day for a week . white noise is the best to burn in but that will take a toll on it if its not mixed with some thing less demanding . like a soul song with nearly nothing in it .
 
      but thats how i do , and i dont like to take risks , find the way good for you or be safe and drive like me . comments please if you guys like or dont like what i say .  peace all over .
 
 
update 2 :- now after some 80 hrs of burn in , the only thing that improving is only bass . the sound stage is supposed to grow a bit more . the mid and the highs have not changed to a big extend .
      
        if you can get a tight seal it gives a nice bass , if you want more bass like from a earphone ( more bass means cracking at high volume , which , let me tell you hd 449 dont do )  try the hd 439 , 429 , 419 and let me know . one thing bothering is , its got a bit microphonic noise .
 
 
update 3 :- so this may be the final out come i think , its the bass that has come up the most then others . the mid is nearly the same as it was , and i cant see any change in highs ( change in highs can take more time , but i dont need it to change ) . the sound stage surprises me still now cuz its good and big and entertaining (its the most significant thing i came across cuz i didnt expected it ) . some of my friends are saying that hd 449 is confirmed from sennheiser that it has the same driver as the hd 448 had , but still it can be differently tuned . but it can be same at some points .
      
         so what i have been missing is isolation . im really sorry for this mistake of mine .
  so here are the bench rates , hd 203 :- 7 , hd 238 :- 3.5 , hd 449 :- 5.5 .
         the hd 449 is not the most sound isolating headphone . it dont leak much but it lets in . not bothering though .
 
         if you guys are looking for some good phones then try the new hd 4X9 series .
        
         go for hd 449 if you dont want too much bass , and want to have a nice time with the music helped by nice mids , good highs , adequate amount of bass , and wonderful sound stage . ( if you want more of sound stage then try the hd 5X8 line with better sound stage and bass too ( they are open of course ) ) .
 
         so lets see how i see the hd 449 at my bench marks now .
bass :- 5.5 , mids :- 7.5 , highs :- 7 . sound stage :- 7.5 /10 . i solation :- 5.5 .
 
as far as i can remember my hd 280 was , bass :- 7 , mids :- 7 , highs :- 7.5 , sound stage :- 6.5 . isolation :- 6.25 .
so its may not be accurate for hd 280 , cuz i assume it was like this , bass was more for sure cuz it still got it .
 
 
update 4 :-
is it a update ? really ? no , i dont think so , cuz there is nothing to update after nearly 180 hrs of burning finally , there is no big change from the 3rd update i had made ( 120 hrs burned ) .
 
   so the final verdict . the hd 449 is a 8.5/10 . it lacks a bit of bass , may be a bit more if you like bass too much , balanced sound , need a burning to get its bass come up , very good sound stage and the highs are nice too .
 
there should not be anymore update , until it get broke , or some changes are made that is significantly different .
 
 thanks for coming , have a nice day , cheers .
 
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SladeAlive

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Looking forward to hearing more about the 449 - not much out there at the moment.
 
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Swatcsi

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Looks pretty nice, might have to try it!
 
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suman134

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its the looks that got my eyes , that slant steel bar on the ear cups are the best part .
 
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suman134

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please click on the pics to have clearer views .
 
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zardak

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I have the 449's and I concur with the posters review. I have not fully broken them in yet, only used them so far for 5 hours, but they are definitely starting to improve with use. So far i perceive clear detailed midrange, adequate but accurate bass (most headphones over do bass anyway) and very good highs, plus overall a natural warmish tone. I have the AKG 240 mk II's and they are very accurate but they have even slightly less bass than these 449's, so these are actually a good mix between accuracy and a little bit extra bass, more accurate headphones don't display this much bass. These actually sound like expensive audiophile headphones from what i can tell. The only caveat is that to get the very best out of them you need good amping, otherwise they do show an overall pleasing balanced sound and a realistic open soundstage, actually I am quite enamoured with them, they have a charm due to accuracy that is irresistible and very pleasing, but out of the box they give you a false impression until a few hours of use and then they open up and shine beautifully, the transformation is quite astounding actually, so do bear with them until a few hours use. I can't really see how headphones could get much better than this to be honest, and i have used and tried a LOT of headphones, always finding fault with them, but these, well, bloody brilliant! I honestly think they will go down in modern history as a classic, and can see them being a current model for quite some time...well if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Furthermore, i am seeing a lot of people walking around the city and streets with these, they are obviously gaining a good reputation, unless people are just buying them for the looks, but either way they are definitely good sounding a nice looking headphone to boot IMO.
 
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ss2625

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agree with the review.
sounds neutral. bass in not overwhelming.
i listen mainly to classical so its great for me.
 
and yes, these cans need a lot of burn in.
 
i have to admit, contrary to many ppl, i am not a big fan of those slanted steel bars.
 
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suman134

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ss2625 , i feel that thing gives a different look to it , you own one ? you will love everything .
 
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ss2625

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i do indeed own one. and perhaps i'll dig the style later
but im just not digging it now.
 
just personal preference. i like it simple. like the cans on the cal! ^^
 
on the other hand, i bought it for $90 and sound for classical is very good at that price. :D
 
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