Which Sennheiser HD 4x9 series is right for me?
Apr 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14


Apr 2, 2012
I'm currently using a Sennheiser HD 205-II. 
I want to upgrade to a 400 series.
I was thinking about the 439, because it's a tad bassier than the 449. 449 should have better clarity, but I also want the headphone to be "fun", so I think the "neutral sound" of the 449 may be too boring for me?
I listen to Indie/Alternative/Hard Rock and Soundtracks, and some traditional spanish music. Is the 439 right for me? Also do you think I'll notice a big difference going from 205-II to 439/449?
love this forum, useful information!
Apr 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM Post #2 of 14
Yes there is a big difference.
HD 205 has a very forward sound, very focused on upper mids, with quite impressive instruments separation for this price, but it's also very tiresome on longer listening. I do not recommend it for any kind of music for this reason. As its "for professional use" class says, it works best for voice recordings, mixing, analysing.
On the contrary the HD 448 (HD 449 is the same thing with a facelift), is a much better pair. It does everything better and beyond. Comfort, sound, noise isolation, instruments and voice quality, smooth and detailed highs and not last a much wider soundstange.
Whether is HD 449 or HD 439 they will be much better suited for your music.
Apr 4, 2012 at 1:14 PM Post #3 of 14
One more thing, for fun headphones i suggest you looking at the Panasonics HTF600: http://www.head-fi.org/t/571005/the-panasonic-rp-htf600-s-headphones-more-fun-than-the-hd650
Apr 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM Post #4 of 14
Thanks for your answer and advice.
I got the Sennheiser HD439.
I can definitely hear a difference between 439 and 205-II. I'm no audiophile but here's what I noticed:
The 205 really produce some harsh treble, not comfortable for the ears, where as the 439 has a more "rounded" sound, nicer treble.
The bass is also much better on the 439, though at times it can be too much.
anyway, I should have the Fiio E5 amp and Fiio E3 LOD cable soon. Will they also make a difference in sound quality, and more importantly will I notice this difference?
Apr 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM Post #5 of 14
It can help but it's hard to say by how much. Most obvious improvement usually is increased bass response and a fuller (more round) sound, The sound signature won't change though.
Apr 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM Post #6 of 14
Ok, so I got the Fiio E5 amp and L3 LOD this morning, can't say I'm too impressed. Maybe because I'm not so experienced like the majority of users on this forum, but I don't really think there's SQ improvement. The bass boost function is noticeable, but can be too much at times, especially when the HD 439 itself is pretty bassy. The positive thing is that I didn't spend too much money on this setup.
So with this experience, do you think it's waste of money to buy a better more expensive amp to drive a headphone with 32 ohm?
Apr 7, 2012 at 11:09 AM Post #7 of 14
It's weird that you say the bass is too much.
I modded my HD448's, and at the start that's what I call too much bass. Even now it's too bassy for me, but I prefer it to stock as it's better to EQ the bass down than EQ everything else down.
Also, the 448's take to amping better than you'd think. They sound good with my O2.
It depends on what you call expensive. Since you seem to be fairly new to all this, let me tell you something I wish I'd read earlier. Source is the most important part of the set-up. **** in, **** out. Headphones will give you the best bang for buck. Know your budget.
If you're planning on continuing to upgrade, buy an amp. If you're content with the 448's, they still benefit a lot from amping, more than you'd think for such low impedance cans.
Apr 8, 2012 at 7:07 AM Post #8 of 14
Reading posts regarding 32 ohm headphones and amps, I'm beginning to think that this was a fail purchase. I don't really feel it's improving anything. Also, I don't hear the difference between the headphone jack in iphone4 and the LOD cable.
I'm a sucker for placebo effect though, and will keep the E5+L3 just to see if I'll notice the difference over time.. :/
Apr 8, 2012 at 7:26 AM Post #9 of 14
I agree that for a portable headphone the HD438 and HD439 really need an amp.

The E5 won't help you get the most out of it. Try a better source like a laptop or using a home receiver as an amp and you will hear a big difference. Mine sound completely different depending on my setup (iPod with LOD and PAv2 they sound distant with weak bass- or iPod with home receiver they are fuller, darker with much better bass or just staight from my laptop which gives me a much better general sound with tight full bass but it doesnt make them sound dark). The bass no matter how full and tight still lacks that impact, that thud that other headphones have.

My Sony zx500 sounds almost the same on all my setups and it is 70 ohms.

I remember first trying the HD438 at the store and it sounded bad driven only by my iPod. I bought it knowing my old HD428 sounded good with my Kenwood home stereo system.

BTW if you have the HD438 pull the chrome/plastic wheel things off carefully with a screwdriver as a lever, do not damage the grill underneath, trim and paint any left behind white stumps black, and open them up to remove the pieces that fall into the cups and the headphone looks 100 times better.
Apr 8, 2012 at 7:51 AM Post #10 of 14
I have the HD 439, so no chrome wheels :) But now I'm thinking, I've been reading on other threads here at Head-fi, and from what I can see the majority agrees that the stock iphone 4 is good enough for 32 ohm headphones. I'm really starting to regret my purchase (E5 & L3)...
I think I really need an experienced user to tell me that the E5 and LOD indeed does make a difference, even when the source is the iphone 4 (which apparently has a really good DAC).
Apr 8, 2012 at 8:49 AM Post #12 of 14
I guess it comes down to the fact that I'm no audiophile and just recently got interested in audio quality, where I went from Sennheiser CX 300 (In-ear) > Senn HD 205-II > Senn HD 439. Very satisfied with the 439. Maybe I'm at the point where further purchase is inaudible to me. The Fiio only increases the volume, not the quality. Maybe this is my fault. As a non audiophile you think that an amp "wow this must increase SQ", but no. Guess I have to research some more before buying more Hifi stuff :) 
As of now, the E5 and L3 will probably stay in the drawer, because it adds nothing but bulk to my iphone 4 (which is my main audio equipment).
I also don't want to spend too much, so a more expensive amp is out the question, unless I can actually HEAR a difference when connected my Sennheiser HD 439.
Apr 8, 2012 at 8:57 AM Post #13 of 14
The E5 is a $ 20 amp, it wont make much if any difference. Keep your LOD in case your headphone jack breaks like the one in my iPod did, it cuts out in the right channel, so now I have to use the line out.

This is an expensive hobby.

I noticed a bigger difference in sound quality between my iPod touch 2G (Cirrus Logic chip) which sounds similar to my nano 3G, a little cooler, and my Sansa Clip+ which was clearer and had better bass than I did using an E5 with my iPod. The Clip is a better source.

If you try a better amp you will notice a difference in soundstage etc, but you will need to spend some money.

Wear your headphones to your local audio store (eg Sounds Fantastic) and plug them into a high end system to see how much better they can sound.
Jan 1, 2013 at 12:36 AM Post #14 of 14
Hi Quaresma. I 've read your post and I felt obligated to post:
Don't buy another amp, just buy the HD-449 instead. This is the model you should go with from the start.
I own both HD-439 and HD-449. The 439 has less tremble, less mids, they produce a warmer sound (due to those things possibly) and give more bass to songs that lack bass compared to 449. The 449 however, give better quality bass to tracks with deep bass than the 439.
Since the 439 gave you "too much bass", you should go with 449 which never overemphasize the bass. They produce much better sound than 439 in general (it is quite audible, not just theoretically from the specs) and never too much bass. Don't get me wrong, they do have bass, just not a booming one, especially in less bassy tracks. In those, it just seem to be lacking bass, while the 439 doesn't seem to have this problem. But this is perhaps the only thing the 439 outperform the 449.
From your sayings, I get the feeling that the music you listen to goes much better with the 449, the better highs will give you a more balanced (and definitely more detailed) sound.
Hope this helps :wink:

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