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Old 05-26-2009, 02:38 PM
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Default HD 25-1 II review

HD 25-1 II review

Manufactures specs:

Cable length: 1.5 meters
Contact pressure: Approx. 2.5 N (in a perfect world, feels more as they sit on your ears)
Frequency response: 16 - 22,000 Hz
Load rating: 200 mW
Impedance: 70 ohms
Weight w/o cable: 140 grams

A warning before I begin this review, the HD 25 come in multiple versions, the ones I am reviewing are the HD 25-1 II , which are the higher end of the line. The cheaper SP version has an inferior driver, different head band, and poor isolation characteristics.

The Sennheiser HD 25-1 II and its predecessor have been around for quite some time now, and are marketed as professional monitor headphones and as DJ headphones. Do not let them being DJ phones fool you they do not compromise clarity for output volume. Instead Sennheiser has made them isolating rather than “loud” this making them ideal for many applications. So are they for you? Read and find out!

At $199 USD the HD 25-1 II are placed as a middle priced pair of headphones. You get the HD 25-1 II, a vinyl carrying bag, a 1/8 to 1/4 screw on type adapter (which adds very little bulk compared to other solutions to the plug), leather and velour ear pads (leather being the most isolating and preinstalled at the factory).

Build quality is excellent, the drivers are made in Germany while the headphones are assembled in Ireland (just as the rest of the professional and higher end Sennheiser headphones are). The headband is adjustable in height as well as it is split in the middle which allows you to adjust the headband to evenly distribute the weight at two points. Comfort is passable at best if you use the included velour ear pads and take breaks about every 2 hours. In order to be isolating and on ear, they are fairly tight. Isolation is very good, not the best I have used for passive noise reduction (that goes to the HD 280’s) but still it will block noise out and allow you to use them at a low volume level (which is great since your hearing won’t magically come back from volume damage).

I have had these headphones for just about 6 months now, I have used them just about every day in both office listening and studio monitoring. Most of the time I have them connected to an echo audio fire 8, cowon S9 or cowon D2+. Even at 70 ohms they are not difficult to drive, the clip even being able to drive them at higher volumes, which isn’t really needed since they isolate well. As music sources go, the HD 25 can be driven from practically anything at a decent volume levels without a dedicated headphone amplifier.

The HD 25-1 II are designed to be monitor, in that frequency response is linear across the spectrum. For the most part the former statement is true, bass is slightly inflated but is not overpowering. Anything above 200 hz seems to be indeed linear. Given the inherent linearity of these phones, they work really well with a decent EQ or BBE. BBE being a real treat on these headphones as compared with some other closed dynamic types I have used in the past. Using BBE bass enchantment really can make these headphones rumble with bass without getting overly resonant or muddy. Sound stage in general is above average for closed cans, about the same as the hfi 780 from Ultrasone, and miles above the HD 280.

All music sounds excellent through the HD 25, from classical to metal to J-pop. Layering of instruments and placement is very good, with clarity of each being apparent. As a headphone for monitoring music mixes during recording, the HD 25 are excellent, the combined isolation and driver clarity allow you to mix levels properly at lower volumes which is a plus for my ears. I can also safely say that any mixing desk or multi track recorder will drive these phones with no issue.

With the HD 25 connected to the AF8 and using winamp without eq is a good way to test the headphones in a flat manor. Bass is very pleasant and well represented with all source tracks that I used, not once did I hear any housing vibrations or resonance, nor did I detect any muddiness that some closed headphones produce. Mids are almost perfect with excellent clarity and perceived volume and they tend to be true to the source with no bloat. Highs are also excellent, not veiled in anyway but not harsh either. The hfi 780 is the closest thing I can compare the HD 25 to in the sound quality, yet the HD 25 excel in being a bit less edgy in the highs.

In all the HD 25-1 II is one of the best closed headphones in its price range, they make music fun to listen to with still being useful for monitoring and critical listening. At $199 they are a excellent price for the quality and sound you get.
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