Sennheiser HD 518
The Sennheiser HD518 is an affordable full-size 'audiophile' open-back headphone with an outstandingly well-balanced musical presentation that's amazing to hear at this price. Signature German audio ease, even-toned musical pace and transparent detail resolution in a headphone ready for home, campus or listening room. Cool looks keeps in style but its the sound quality that will keep these cans affixed to your head in pure acoustic pleasure. Huge HeadRoom favorite at the price!
- Huge "bang for the buck" headphone performance
- Comfortable elliptical full-size, circumaural design
- Features 'E.A.R' driver for maximized spaciousness and soundstage imaging depth
- Airy, vented open-back earcup construction
- Free Sennheiser 2-year manufacturer's premium warranty
What's In The Box:
- 1/8" [3.5mm] mini-plug adapter
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A very sizeable audio step-up from the HD515 model it replaces, the open-back Sennheiser HD518 has some serious audio engineering lurking behind its wallet-friendly price. Patented 'DuoFol' diaphragms and fast-response, nearly-weightless neodymium magnet drivers deliver an accurate acoustic reproduction and an immersive depth of field like few cans we've heard anywhere near this price. The HD518's musical heft and sonic body offers excellent weight in the bottom-end along with soaring extension into the mids and upper highs, making it a remarkable maximized 'bang-for-the-buck' value in full-size [circumaural] headphones. The low-end punch is pleasingly plump but not uncontrolled so bass does not bleed into or obsure mids or highs. The HD518 sound strong direct from computers and also sonically synergize well with iPad / iPod or MP3 players given their natural tonal warmth and smooth timbral delivery. The HD518 rate a fairly efficient 50 Ohm impedance and work great sans a headphone amp, but employing a quality amp adds dynamic bloom, expands transient 'quickness' and delivers a tighter-textured low-end, along with clearer definition of subtle recording nuances. Music lovers wanting the best sound possible without climbing the steep side of the 'headphone price vs. diminishing audio returns' curve should have a close listen to the HD518.
Of course, nowadays it's not only just about killer audio engineering, so the modern louvered slat earcup design on the Sennheiser HD518 provides a cosmetic hint at the slick sonic performance underneath. Proprietary Sennheiser ' E.A.R.' technology optimizes soundstaging elements through an angled acoustic baffle system within the earcups designed to focus audio waves in parallel to the human ear. The result is a wider depth of acoustic field and more correctly "layered" instruments and voices heard in the HD518's musical presentation. Fully open-back circumaural earcups with black velour ear cushions will settle comfortably around the outer part of the earlobes on most wearers. The high-quality OFC headphone cord is conveniently owner-detachable / replaceable via a locking mechnism into the headphones; the cord extends about 9 feet in length. The HD518 plug is a beefy 1/4" stereo jack and a handy adapter to the smaller 1/8" [3.5mm] 'mini' plug is included in the Sennheiser packaging. The 2-year manufacturer warranty is free with your "authorized" Sennheiser-dealer receipt, like the one you'll get here at HeadRoom, a trusted Sennheiser dealer since 1992.
- Weight: 8.6 oz (255 g)
- THD+N: <0.2% (1 kHz; 100dB SPL
- Impedance @ 1kHz: 50 Ohms
- Detachable Cable: Yes
- Cord Length: 9ft
- Cord Type: Straight Left-Side
- Coupler Size: Large
- Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Acoustic Seal: Open
- Connector Type: 1/8
- Headphone Type: Full Size
- Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years
- Sensitivity: 108dB
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Posted by alexpoli7 on 2012-12-24
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Comfortable, Good value, large soundstage, great looks, low impedance
Cons: none maybe that they are made mostly of plastic.
These headphones are great bang for the buck, especially as beginner to mid level audiophile headphones.
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Posted by Tobias from Montreal, QC on 2012-05-05
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Comfort, value
Cons: Some may not care for so much upper bass
I bought them for my son to replace his Grado SR-60s. The Grados had had the connection from the cable to the earcup repaired too often. (My son was not easy on his phones in his teens.)
He wanted headphones like my Sennheiser 580s, which are no longer available and IMHO a little too good for his MP3s and NAD amp. He's delighted with the 518s : the comfort, the smooth midrange and especially the bass.
Which is my personal problem with them. The frequency response chart (bravo to headRoom for publishing it!) tells the story. There is a lot more energy in the octave between 40 and 400 Hz than in the rest of the frequency range, and that means they impose their sonic signature on the music. To me, it works for some recordings but not all. If they were mine I would get tired of it.
Not my son, though. He declared them very sincerely "Awesome" when he first tried them out, and he uses them for hours at a time, when he's at his computer. Not sure I've ever been more successful with a gift.
51 out of 56 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Posted by MarcosRV from Brazil on 2012-05-02
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Comfort, price, design, sound quality, works great without amping.
Cons: 3.5mm adapter format, relatively cheap foam cup.
But I gotta say, right when I put these cans in my head, the first thing I've noticed was the kicking bass. Yes, in a Sennheiser. No, it still can't be compared with the lows of a Denon, but very powerful indeed.
I'm coming from a HD 201, and the difference is HUGE, even with the 201s being the greatest entry-level headphones I've ever used. Much more lows, a REAL sound stage, with absolute comfort and beautiful design.
My musical taste is kind of unrestricted, I've already listened to almost everything with them, so here's what I can say about its feedback on some musical genres: astoundingly clean with jazz, funk, soul and other old uncompressed sounds, punchy but crystal clear with electronica, totally distortion-free with rock/heavy metal at high volumes, you can hear each instrument perfectly. And it doesn't need an amplifier, even with the iPod the sound is powerful.
But a warning: as the 518 is so good it unfolds good secrets in your music, it will reveal the bad ones too. Low-bitrate MP3s and badly mixed songs will be a problem for sure, nothing will be hidden anymore. Update your song collection with high-bitrate MP3 or FLACs, it'll be necessary.
Verdict? They're AWESOME, worth every penny! :)
UPDATE: I´m using the HD 518 with a headphone amp now, and I could notice a generous increase in sound depth. Try it if you´re gonna use them with any portable player/cell phone, great results.
UPDATE 2: after almost 1 year of use, the build quality proved itself strong, and I've found out that the best EQ setting for these cans is the mid-scoop (smiley face). Some people may not like this preset because of its "fun" nature, but it's where the HD518 shines at full force, working very well with most music genres.
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