Pros:Excellent Sound Imaging and Clarity. Very revealing of artifacts and recording weaknesses.
Cons:Although velour pads are comfortable but can get really warm after hours of listening.
The Bottom Line: An entry-level Audiophile-grade headphones that have excellent sound imaging and tonal balance. Highly suited for home stereos.
After getting tired of taking my Sennheiser HD-497 out of my home stereo to use in my portable CD player, I decided to get a pair of headphones dedicated to my home stereo. Being a satisfied Sennheiser customer, I opted to try out their HD-515 model which I learned is their entry level audiophile-grade headphone.
Recommend this product?
Here is a quick list down of features (taken from the box):
* New Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement (EAR) design which channels sound parallel to the ear through an angled acoustic baffle.
* Advanced Duofol diaphragm that minimizes standing waves inside the capsule.
* Uses neodymium magnet drivers and aluminum voice coils for high efficiency.
* Exchangeable components such as headband, cable and ear pads for longevity.
* Frequency range: 14-26,000 Hz at 120 ohm impedance
First of all, the headphones come packaged in a carton box that opens like cabinet doors in the middle which is stylish and handy. I recommend you keep them for future use and storage. You don't have to cut anything and the packaging remains intact for I guess storage purposes.
Next, all the components like headband, cable and ear pads are made of sturdy materials. The headband is thick plastic that is surprisingly light. The ear pads are made of velour materials that are very soft and cushy. The cord is about 10 feet long and are Kevlar re-inforced making them resistant to scratches and nicks. The connection is of 1/4-in. standard for home stereos and is gold plated and comes with a converter to baby stereo plug since most compact home stereos that come out today have a baby headphone plug.
Although frequency response is very wide and Sound/Noise ratio is at 104 dB, I suspected these headphones are more suited for home component stereo because of the higher impedance of 120 ohm. Indeed when I tested them on my Sony discman, the sound was tinny in the sense that it was bright but almost no bass sound even when the bass was boosted. However, when I tested them on my Aiwa home stereo, the sound came alive and mesmerizing.
I listened to two CDs that covered a wide spectrum of sound. These were Annie Lennox's Medusa album and OMD's Singles collection. The Medusa album focuses on Annie's vocals and string arrangements while OMD is loaded with bass and synthesizers. The HD-515 handled both very well. The sound imaging was very expansive with tonal quality clear and silky. I attribute this to the Circumaural, open aire design. Because of the 50-mm diaphragm, the ear pads encapsulate your ears and you are able to hear sound in a natural way. Your ear lobes are great sound reflectors and provide you with wider sound imaging if made to full use and Sennheiser takes this into account with HD-515. As for the bass and low notes, they are plenty without being overpowering and boomy. I guess this maybe attributed to the duofol diaphragm design that almost eliminates bass distortion except when you get very loud. Sound spectrum is very balanced without any range overpowering the others. To simply put, these headphones will lull you to sleep because of the pleasant sound.
Note and let me caution you that what you hear is directly proportional to the quality of recording. The difficulty with a high quality headphone like this is that it is very revealing and faithful to the quality of recording. Bad recording will sound terribly bad. This also gives you a chance to hear the difference between MP3 recordings and original CDs. I would recommend that you use these headphones for CDs only and even with that, old recordings/CDs may sound harsh at times.
Overall, very good audiophile-grade headphones that are best suited for home stereo equipment. Highly recommended.