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Old 06-13-2008, 01:37 PM
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Default Three Sennheiser headphones reviewed!

Some people collect thing such as stamps, action figures… Though for me, my collection started 6 years ago, collecting headphones. Why? Because headphones are extremely practical to individuals who like music! In this review I will be sharing my favorite 3 still in production Sennheiser headphones that sound great and are efficient enough to use on most devices without an amplifier. I will be looking at a pair of EH-150’s, PX-100’s and a pair of HD-485’s.



I am going to be using an EEE PC 700 series with an external hard drive and on board audio to give you my opinion on 3 of my favorite low impedance and efficient cans from Sennheiser. I find the on board audio on the EEE to sound very good. The EEE PC uses a realtek ALC662 codec with an integrated dac and headphone amp. I tracked down the datasheet, which was a pain as the realtek site was down while writing this, so I had to look else where. The S/N on the headphone amp is 98 dB (which I am guessing is measured as full sine). The codec is capable of 96 KHz sample rate with 24bit quantization, seems good so far. It seems that they do not list headphone output wattage, though they give 1.4 volts rms as the output voltage max and using 32 ohms gives use about 60 mW rms so 30 Mw rms output… THD+N is about -75 dB as well so it looks great on paper, and sounds good in practice as well ^^, at least to my ears !

Ok now I have the listening platform out of the way, I will pick 5 songs to play on each and they will be the same songs to use on each headphone. They are all in FLAC from the original CD played with no EQ or other enhancement through winamp. The songs I will use are:

Artist: Kraftwerk
Song: Dentaku (pocket calculator in Japanese)
Album: the mix

Description: A very warm song with plenty of bass goodness, punchy and not resonant.

Artist: Bjork
Song: Joga
Album: Homogenic

Description: a very full song, with extreme highs, good dynamics…

Artist: Shiller
Song: Leben I feel you
Album: single version on maxi single

Description: strong bass but with very good high so very contrast, subtle almost non existent mids.

Artist: Rush
Song: Tom Sawyer
Album: Moving pictures

Description: strong mid and high frequency levels, very clear

Artist: Royksopp
Song: what else is there
Album: the understanding

Description: strong punchy bass, almost a tad resonant with a really powerful high, the mids are not so detailed, but very ambient in the mids (very cool mix ^^)

Last edited by yuki; 06-14-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2008, 01:37 PM
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This Is how I am going to do the headphone reviews, I will post one for now and edit later to add the next one if that is alright with the mods ^^ ?

Headphone: Sennheiser EH-150
Price: around $40
Type: Supra-aural Closed Back



Specs:

Frequency response: 18Hz – 18 KHz

Cord: 3 meter length with a 3.5 mm jack this is not detachable

Impedance: 32 ohms listed by manufacturer (1 kHz)


Packaging: The EH-150 came in a blister pack, but unlike other blister backs, Sennheiser were very easy to open. Yay a blister pack that is easy to open.

Accessories: well none really, a jack adapter is about it.

Built quality: The build quality is very acceptable, they are plastic all the way around, including the replica leather ear cups. They feel as they will last through normal abuse patterns. The plastic that is used does not feel brittle or cheap, it feels sturdy.

Comfort: This is subjective, I have larger ears, so the EH-150’s feel ok, they sit on the edges a bit but they are still comfortable for a few hours at a time. The fake leather is a bit uncomfortable in hot environments though. The do feel secure on your head but I would not want to use these while working out or times your body temperature will climb.

Noise isolation: The noise isolation of the EH-150’s is quite good, great for noisy environments like work.

Sound Quality: To start off the EH-150’s are warm, sometimes very warm depending on the audio source. The warmth does not veil the highs to much though but in some cases like in Tom Sawyer masks a bit of the mids and adds a hollow feeling to it, but ever so slightly, it can be somewhat compensated for using an EQ. Bass response is excellent, the EH-150’s are really suited for electronic music. I will take in example Dentaku, the bass on the beats is very tight, the highs of the various bleeps in the song are detailed and the vocorder and standard vocals sound great. The thing I do notice just at the low end of the vocals in most songs though is a bit a muffled resonance as you high the high mids. Now On to Joga, this song has some killer highs that come through on some headphones a pain, not on the EH-150’s, I can push the volume and it is still quite enjoyable, the same can be said for what else is there. Now on to the track that really shows what these cans are for, Schiller with Heppner performing I feel you. You get deep punchy bass, great highs and great vocal acoustics. The bass does not rattle the headphones which is a good indication of build, and it rolls with punch! Yes Mr. EH-150’s you are my choice for trance and electronic! Just stay away from upper mids, and these are great !

Volume from EEE PC: these suckers will blow your ear drums out on the a laptop sound codec so they should do well on most portable players. Loudness comes with very little distortion which is a plus, except for you own personally safety ^^.

Conclusion:

The EH-150’s should work well with most portable players at good volumes. They are great for bass heads that need a bit of high end detail as well but can forgo the mids.

Pro:

Build Quality
Price point for quality
Good highs
Deep punchy bass
Good noise isolation

Cons:

The mids are a bit muddy, especially the upper mids
Ear pads not good for warm environments


Headphone: Sennheiser HD-485
Price: around $75-100
Type: open, circumaural (around the ear)



Specs:

Frequency response: 16Hz – 24 KHz

Cord: 3 meter length with a 3.5 mm jack, easy replaceable

Impedance: 32 ohms listed by manufacturer (1 kHz)

Many people compare the HD485 as sounding like a bass heavy version of the HD-515 cans , I am going to say I have been very disappointed with the HD-515's. For any type of bass response on the HD-515's you need to have a headphone amp from most sources, the eee pc is one of those sources. Now you can drive the HD-515's with almost all sources, but they sound lifeless unless you get them some real power. If I want to amp some headphones I will use the HD-650's thank you very much ! So I found a pair of HD-485's on clearance at a local store for about $75 with tax, so I am like ok, I will try them, if they suck not a big loss, I will give them away or use them for a neku cosplay (he has headphones that look like the hd-485s but purple)...

Packaging: Once again Sennheiser, thank you for making the package easy to open, I got to the cans in less than 15 seconds without a pair of scissors ! Every company should make easy opening packaging when it comes to headphones (looks at Sony).

Accessories: I was surprised that the HD-485's came with a headphone holder, which clamps of to let us say a boot shelf to hold them when not in use. Other wise you get a plug size changer to use them with larger jack, eg for home audio use.

Comfort: Well the 485's shine in the comfort department, slightly less so than the HD-650's but on the same level as the HD-515's or even 515's. The caliper strength makes them secure, but does not add any unneeded pressure. The cloth pads are great for hours of listening, after about the first hour you feel as they are not even on your head anymore, which is awesome for a pair of sub $100 headphones. They fit around my ear with out any issue. One thing Sennheiser needs to do on their flagship line is use one cable, I hate having both sides connected via a cable, I do not know if this helps with sound quality to have 2 interconnects, but I doubt it. Any how the HD-485's like the 515's and 555's or 595's have one cable on one of the sides which is a nice touch in comfort.

Build quality: Like most cans from Sennheiser, the HD-485 are well built. The ear cups and the cable can be easily replaced without any tools. The cable easy comes out for replacement which is a great touch. The plastic used is very nice, it is not you typical plastic feel. The paint is a nice semi glossy olive green and seems to be pretty scratch resistant. The 3.5 mmm interconnect is very well made and has a decent amount of strain relief.

Noise isolation: there is little to no noise isolation on the HD-485, they really require either moderate listening level or a quiet environment to fully hear all the dynamics. Also a major issue with open cans is that a moderate listening levels every one in the room can hear your music.

Audio quality: So they look good on paper and they look well built, I hope they sound good ! Well they sound excellent. Before hearing these I was using the EH-150s for an entire week without touching the HD-650's or other open cans. So you will need some time for your ears to adjust to the sound stage if you are accustomed to closed cans. I do not believe in burning in dynamic cans... it is bs to me, in my opinion the user has to grow accustomed to the audio style of the cans, which took a few hours for me as they have a strange sound stage for an open set of cans.

For the first song I went for what else is their, I was really surprised ! The vocals are super crisp, transparent for the most part. The bass is very well represented, not bloated but warm. The bass seems very accurate, no excessive resonance. The ambiance of the mids are also well presented and very smooth. Moving on to rock it is rush time ! Surprise again, a great unveiled mid range with excellent highs and proportional bass, though just for a few seconds a bit to warm in parts, but not in a hideous way. The drums are crisp with no excessive transient harmonics or rattle. Well its just about time for Bjork. Joga sounds almost perfect, I am going to say that the mids are bit to distant, yet they do sound great. Highs sparkle but not overly bright and bass is punchy and very dynamic. Listening to dentaku I noticed that while these headphones have nice warmth, they do not cloud mids, plus I love the punch, not quite bass head phones but almost.

On to my favorite track in the last few years, it is schiller and heppner preforming I feel you. There is distortion in this track in the beginning that has been added in and most low end cans seem to smooth it over. On the HD-485's you can hear the distortion which was awesome. Going into the song, you are welcomed by Heppners airy vocals and punchy bass. That almost non existent mid range has a slight bit of presence in this song, I was only able to hear it on the HD-595's and 650's until now.

For the heck of it I had to try I few pieces I only like using my HD-650's for, I use them as my classical music cans. So I decided to try Bach BMV 1057, which is flute and strings. It sounded great! This piece has subtle bass presence very good dynamics. Also the sound stage makes this piece sound very open and detailed on the HD-485's

Volume: these cans are very efficient and can be pushed very loud without an issue by most sources.

Conclusion: Alright so the 485's really do sound amazing for what they are, almost better than the HD-555's and much better than the 515's. They sound like a $300+ set of cans ! After trying some classical music I can say these cans are your best bet for open cans that do not require an amp and cost less than $300. They work well with practially all types of music!

Pros:

Excellent value
Great sound stage
Full sound response, though sometimes a little warm
Excellent mids
Headphone holder
No amp need in most cases
Detailed
Super comfortable
well built


Cons:

Sometimes a bit to warm but only briefly
lack of isolation, quiet environment needed for best results at low volume
lots of sound leakage

edit: whoops I meant that the 485's sound better than the 515's not the 555's, the 555's still are in a class of their own as are the 595's

Last edited by yuki; 10-29-2008 at 12:54 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2008, 03:44 PM
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Just fine Yuki, but since you're doing review, I'm moving it to the appropriate forum.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:57 PM
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Excellent review - can't wait for the next installment!!!
The addition of the 485's is great. If it weren't for the lack of isolation I'd prob
get a set myself!!!

Last edited by The DarkSide; 06-15-2008 at 05:30 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2008, 02:52 PM
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thankies ^^ updated with 485's
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:27 PM
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Next installment - PLEASE !!!
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:40 PM
bernado bernado is offline
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Maybe the 485's pounding bass has put the o/p into shock
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:58 AM
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Yeah I have been really busy at work I will try to get the px-100 review done this coming up weekend, must use closed cans at work for noise isolation so i really can not use the px-100's
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2008, 07:50 PM
Lord Froad Lord Froad is offline
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Hmmm... Should I get eh-150s... I was thinking about just getting hd 201s but...
How well do they cancel sound?
Would you get hd 201s or not...

Last edited by Lord Froad; 09-28-2008 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:56 PM
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The hd 202's and the EH-150's both have the same level of ambient isolation, the drivers are very similar as well, the eh-150's have slightly more bass.

whoops you said the 201's... the 201's need bit of driving power so they are not good for portable use...
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:25 PM
Lord Froad Lord Froad is offline
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Are they fine for home use?
How much do the 202s cost?
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:26 PM
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HD202's go for $30.00 on Amazon, & they're great for home use. Sound like headphones costing $$$'s more.
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:47 PM
Lord Froad Lord Froad is offline
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Sweet, I'll buy them then, expanding my collection of senns
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:43 AM
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The HD202's, like The DarkSide said, are great for home use, they are also very sensitive and produce a decent bass quality, nothing really compares in that price range at the moment...
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:42 PM
Lord Froad Lord Froad is offline
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Okay.
How does the sound quality compare to PX100s. I already own them but want some isolating ones. I don't really want to get something with worse quality than the PX100s.
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:50 PM
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The Px-100's are much more balanced and obviously because they are open have a better sound stage. The HD-202's have a decent about of attenuation for ambient sound, but the are not as good as other closed phones... never the less they have more bass than the px-100's
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2008, 06:45 PM
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Also remember that the two headphone have different uses. The PX100's are designed for mobile use, and the HD202's are for heavy listening w/home based system (still, I see people w/them in the city every now and then).
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:23 PM
Lord Froad Lord Froad is offline
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I want some cheap isolation phones. I don't like in ear phones. Any ideas?
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  #19  
Old 10-20-2008, 11:03 PM
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EH 150 FTW! I use these currently for a year now. They work flawlessly *knocks on wood*.

Funny, people are jealous at my school. They all think that I have subs on my ears... well they're close enough!
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:13 PM
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I got the 555's and I love them. I dont have the 485's but I can exchange my 555 for those. I am going to buy an amp for my 555's my question is if the 555 better with an amp? please answer I need to return it on saturday if u say that the 485 is better

EDIT: Answered thanks
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