AKG K550s v Sennheiser HD25-1 ii

Discussion in 'Full Size Headphones' started by RugbyAl, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. RugbyAl

    RugbyAl New Member

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    I’ve had a pair of AKG K550s for about a year now and although they do some things very well, I’ve not used them as much as I could have done as I don’t find them engaging to listen to – in fact they’re a bit boring!
    After doing some research, I read that the Sennheiser HD 25-1 ii are high on the fun factor with good Pace, Rhythm and Timing (sometimes referred to as PRaT!) so I ordered a pair for a good listen. Here are my findings…
    Build Quality; K550 1 HD25 0
    The HD25s look and feel a lot cheaper than the K550s despite being more expensive. I appreciate they are a DJs tool primarily and are designed to stand up to high levels of abuse but they don’t get close to the K550 in terms of perceived quality.
    Comfort and Fit; K550 2 HD25 0
    No contest; the K550s are an old leather armchair, cosseting and comfortable. The HD25s are like a park bench fit and clamp quite hard but this is not a problem as I tend to listen for only an hour or so at a time. Portability is not a requirement – home use only. The K550s have a loose fit and their sound improves enormously when a good seal is achieved and I can achieve this consistently now. This is a commonly perceived viewpoint online
    Sound Quality; K550 3 HD25 0
    Now for the nitty gritty.;
    Soundstage. Probably the biggest difference. The K550’s soundstage is almost big enough to walk around whilst the HD25’s sound is focused in the middle of your head.
    Detail. The K550s win again over the HD25s with better separation also.
    Bass. Much more even this time but with marked differences in presentation. The K550s are very even in the bass and can go very low. The HD25s don’t go so low but have considerably more punch – this really brings out the drums and really propels the music along - PRaT! This leads to;
    Fun Factor. K550 3 HD25 3
    The super sub has come off the bench and scored a hat trick in extra time! The HD25 bass drive really helps to make the music fun to listen to, especially rock, but I do miss the ‘airyness’ that the K550s bring to the party. Acoustic and slower paced music favour the K550Ss well, sounding more detailed and less constricted. I do tend to listen to rock more though…
    Conclusion;
    So it’s a tie at 3 each and a realisation that neither headphone gives me everything I want. A pair of K550s with the HD25 bass drive would be ideal so the million dollar question is ‘Does such a sub £200 headphone exist?’
    Dt770, ATH M50 or A N other? (it must be sealed to keep ‘er indoors happy! And no IEMs. Any thoughts anybody?
    If push comes to shove, I may be willing to stretch to £250 or so for the latest designs from NAD and Sennheiser (Momentum).
    Thanks Alan
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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  3. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro is worth a look. They are like the DT770s but easier to drive and they have more punch to them. I also like the Shure SRH940s - they are more like the K550 but not as flat.
     
  4. RugbyAl

    RugbyAl New Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I'm not sure if the Amperior will give me what I want, I think I would prefer a full size headphone due to the advantage they have with comfort and sounstage. I've ordered a pair of PSB M4U 1s from a certain web based retailer based on some favourable reviews. The Custom One Pros sound good with their tunable bass response _ I'll certainly keep them in mind if the PSBs don't work out.
    Either way, Ill let you know how I get on...
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Did you see the info about the new Senn HD-25 'Aluminum'?
     
  6. RugbyAl

    RugbyAl New Member

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    Hi, funnily I read about the Aluminiums over on the Headphonia website last night. It certainly has a higher quality feel about it. That and the better packaging (case included etc) would deffo be worth the extra outlay over the std HD25s in my eyes. How different is the sound tho'?
    I can appreciate the difference a decent enclosure would make to any speaker system as I've been reading about HiFi for 25 years now and have seen the lenghths some speaker manufacturers go to produce an acoustically dead enclosure. Aluminium must surely resonate less than plastic to produce a better sound - I'm seriously tempted...!
    Tried the PSB M4U 1s last night with the following preliminary observations;
    Pros
    Sound. A Good compromise between the 550s and the HD25s. Punchy and detailed and I can hear the designers aims to make them sound like a good pair of speakers in a room. I found them to sit almost dead centre between the K550s and the HD25s in most aspects of their sound. What I did notice was that for the first time I could hear the singers breath on a microphone – that almost percussive ‘Puh’ as they start to sing or purse their lips. I could live with these but for;
    Cons
    Sound. A slight rasp in the upper mid that I’ve not noticed before?
    Fit. The worst bit, a bit tight but what did it for me was the headband. I could feel this irritating my head quite quickly. Shame.
    Finish. Very plasticy but not in a practical solid HD25 sort of way. Metal sliders but the hinges were metal on plastc. Even worse was the microphony in the headphone/band. The slightest touch on the phone or lead would resonate through the ear cups – acoustically dead these are not! I sit still when I’m listening even I noticed it.
    I’m going to give these another try tonight just cause I like the way they sound – don’t think I could live with these though.
     
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I never heard the PSB's, but each time I do the research (twice so far) I come up with 'no'. I don't have the HD25 Aluminum either, but I had the Amperior for a few months.

    Innerfidelity has a good article comparing the HD25-1-II and Amperior, showing the advantages of the aluminum cups there. It should be easy to locate that article. I think Sennheiser has come up with a great idea here - making the Amperior more affordable basically, in the design of the HD25 Aluminum.
     
  8. RugbyAl

    RugbyAl New Member

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    Well, the PSBs had to go back and I bought some Cutom One Pros as suggested...
    Wow, I love these cans! so punchy and comfortable with it. I dont set the variable bass on these to much more than the linear setting and I get all the bass I like whilst keeping that punch and drive I love. Mids are a little recessed but thats closer to what my main home speakers sound like anyway.
    Looking forward to customising these as well!
     
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Good choice. The Custom One Pro is one of the best balanced headphones ever made, which is especially good since the price is really reasonable.
     
  10. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's great! I'm glad you're happy with them - they really are an impressive headphone :)
     
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