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Headphone Sessions 3/21/2012: New Sennheiser and HiFiMan Models

This week our HeadRoom high authority headphone geek squad met to discuss some new closed-back, portable-oriented releases from Sennheiser, the HD 219 ($59.95) and HD 229 ($79.95); and the open-back HE-400, a new low-impedance planar-magnetic can from Dr.Fang Bian’s HiFiMan headphones.

Sennheiser HD 219 and HD 229

The new Sennheisers, like our last blog post about the new HD 449, are basically re-designs of the HD 218 and HD 228, and the major changes remain primarily aesthetic. The “black” version of the HD 229 now has dark brick-red accents where it used to be all-black, and where the HD 218 was a two-tone grey & black color, the HD 219 is now all-black. The general fit characteristics remains the same with oval earpad construction lending itself to providing a good on-ear seal that seems much improved versus the traditional circular ‘doughnut style’ pads found on the similarly-sized PX 200-II model. We found both the HD 219 and HD 229 to fit comfortably and provide relatively good environmental isolation given the on-ear earpad style. [caption id="attachment_2408" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Sennheiser HD 219"] Sennheiser HD 219[/caption] In our HeadRoom opinion, the HD 229 is the better sounding headphone with a fuller, more robust and dynamic presentation over the slightly thinner bass response of the HD 219. But if the price jump is too much, rest assured that you’re still getting a great sounding, well balanced, tonally warm and very listenable headphone with the HD 219. [caption id="attachment_2409" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Sennheiser HD 229"] Sennheiser HD 229[/caption]

HiFiMAN HE-400

The full-size open-back HE-400 was designed to be sensitive enough to be well-driven plugged directly into a portable mp3 player, laptop computer, or iPhone. While it has proven to be more efficient than any other planar-magnetic headphone we’ve tested and has a low impedance of 35 Ohms, its sensitivity is only 92.4 dB which puts its max volume output from an mp3 player or iPod rather low. Along with more volume output, we definitely found the timbrel presentation audibly tightens up and the sound becomes significantly more dynamic and responsive when plugged into a good portable headphone amp. [caption id="attachment_2410" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="HifiMAN HE-400"] HifiMAN HE-400[/caption] Overall, the HE-400 is yet another excellent headphone from HiFiMAN. While we thought the Sennheiser HD650 mid-range to sound a bit more natural compared to the slightly hollow mids of the HE-400, the HiFiMAN was more open and forward in the highs with a welcome added heft in the lower frequencies. At the same price point, the forward and somewhat thin-ish tonal presentation of the Shure SRH 1440 doesn’t compare to the fuller, more authoritative musical delivery of the HE-400. The cool dark indigo blue color also adds a bit of flair to the old-school HiFiMAN headphone design. For more information on the new Sennheiser and HiFiMAN headphones, or any headphones call 800-828-8184. An obsessed headphone geek is standing by to answer any questions you have.

View HD 219 Page

View HD 229 Page

View HE-400 Page


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