Where does the HD414 fall?
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:34 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

Mikenet

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I told my dad I was thinking of making a balanced Senn cable the other day, and low and behold he pulled out a pair of HD414s from the '70s. I'm wearing them right now, and [after realizing they were adjustable] actually sound pretty good. They sound quite different than the KSC75s that I've been using lately. Just out of curiosity, where does their sound signature fall on the modern scale? I'm really digging piano and cello on these.

They're white(he said the original earpads might have been blue). Is this the 2k impedance model(my dad needed some high impedance phones for a non-music application)?

Sorry if this has been answered...searching for HD414 bombards me with countless messages about HD414 pads, not the headphones. Surprisingly Google doesn't find anything other than that these are a famous piece of audio history.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:54 AM Post #2 of 5

jagorev

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Cool find. Weren't these the first open headphones in history?

I would guess the present high-end Sennheisers (580/600/650) would be the descendants of that line.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM Post #3 of 5

sgrossklass

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Those were available in white and black, and with yellow/orange and blue pads. The blue ones were known to disintegrate fairly quickly though, aggressive cyano-something dye. And yes, the HD414 was the first open headphone, produced from 1968 through 1979 (no wonder you can still buy earpads). Sonically, they should be on the somewhat thin but listenable side, with a peak at around 2.7 kHz or so that's audible when compared to later cans. I have a HD424 (1976...79), which basically uses the same drivers (those measure almost exactly 2.0 kOhm) with larger and thinner earpads (higher sensitivity, more bass). This one is rather heavy when compared to the mid-80s HD420SL, weighing in at about 160 g w/o cable vs. only 100 g, even the HD540 only weighs 180 g (kitchen scales may be off, but you get the point). From HD414 to HD580, now that's a looong way. The first ones I'd still want to use for music these days are the early-'80s cans like HD420 and HD425 (dunno 'bout the 600 ohm HD414X and HD424X models), or the later HD420SL, with the characteristic nice mids (somewhat bumped up at both ends, methinks), somewhat weak bass, recessed lower highs and some sparkle in the upper highs around 10 kHz or so; soundstaging is fairly diffuse, I guess these were free field EQ'd only. The first good-and-still-listenable-today model would probably be the HD540, though it may well be possible that one prefers the sound of the 520 and 530 without EQ.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 4:22 PM Post #5 of 5

auris

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I've got a pair of HD424X from the late 1970's. Think I paid $50 for them new. At the time, the alternative to Sennheiser was the sealed Pro AA series from Koss, which i disliked. The Senn's are listenable, but not great in comparison to what's around today. My 590's (even without their cable upgrade) blow them away (but -- they should, even after factoring in the ever-declining value of the US dollar).

They had been in their box for years, until last summer. When I pulled them out, the earpads had completely disintegrated. To my delight, Sennheiser still had replacement pads for them and I ordered a couple of pairs.

The 424X's seem to want more power than my minidisc player is capable of delivering. They sound okay and get reasonably loud enough through my computer's soundcard (SB Audigy 2 Value) though.

Guess I'll keep mine around for occasional use and their nostalgia value.
 

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