Friday, April 13, 2007

Headphone review.

Here's an edited version of a letter I sent regarding the two headphones I listen to most. The Sennheisers I use to mix on when I have to, the Ultrasone's I use for exercising:

The iPod's amplifier is actually a fairly nice sounding one. I took an iPod and played "Carry That Weight" by the Beatles -- first on the Sennheiser 580's and then on the Ultrasone HFI-15G's.

Oddly, at first listen, the Sennheisers sounded more "veiled" to me than the Ultratones. And the bass seemed "tighter" on the Ultratones.

Now, these Ultrasones actually sit right on top of the ear, which I don't like for long-term listening. But boy, they do sound pretty good. My iPod drives both with plenty of room to spare

I'm going to listen to the Sennheisers again.

Now this is hardly a scientific test. But yes, the Sennheisers are a bit darker. But in a way they feel more accurate. Paul's voice has a bit less "rasp" to it. But the top of the horns is smoother. I think that for my earlier listen I didn't have them right over my ears properly.

The music seems "bigger" with the Sennheisers. But the Ultratones have a nice top end. The low end on the Ultrasones is a bit "boxy". Ultimately I think that the Sennheisers are less "hyped" on the top end. They feel smoother and I feel that they'd be less fatiguing. Wow, I spelled "fatiguing" right the first try.

I'm listening now to a bit of Beethoven's 7th. The strings are very sweet on the Sennheisers. I'm listening to the pianissamo section. On the Ultrasones the music does feel a bit more "open" on the top in the p section. Sometimes I'm liking that more than the Sennheisers. But sometimes I'm thinking that it's "hype" more than actually sounding better. Ahh... interesting. I do feel like the high end compresses and gets... I dunno... yukky I suppose, on the Ultrasones when we go into a mf section. The Sennheisers don't do that, they remain "pure" even as we get louder.

So although the Ultrasone HFI-15G's certainly sound pretty good, their low end ain't as nice as the Sennheiser 580's. Unfortunately I couldn't do a true A/B with my new Blue Sky Mediadesk system. But the Sennheisers feel a bit more like the Blue Sky than the Ultrasone's do.

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