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Sennheiser HD25-1 II Headphones
Reviewer: Gizmo • Date: May 2010 • Price: £130/$199/€179 • Link: Sennheiser

Sennheiser are especially well known for being a prime headphone purveyor. Their reputation precedes them as far as DJ headphones go. I say this because when I read "what headphones should I buy?" threads, the HD25s are a 99% sureshot answer. There are different flavours of 25s, but the industry favourite these days are the HD25-1 IIs.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

In a sea of very similar headphones, the 25-1 IIs (hereby known as 25s) are unique in so many ways, so let's break them down.

In The Box: Nothing different here - screw adaptor and a bag. A very harsh nylon bag mind you - not the usual soft touch type. And they come with a straight cable that feels quite short at 1.5m. Also included for a bit of variety as a pair of velvety style ear pieces too.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

In comparison to the rest of the group, these look like something you'd get for free in a cereal packet. The exposed wires, small cups and all black plastic components don't exactly ooze bling, but when on your head they seriously scream DJ. It's that whole minimalist cool thing.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

Build Quality:
At first glance, you'd assume that the exposed wires, wobbly cups and diminutive looks would mean flimsy. But I can assure you that everything in these headphones is solid. There are no covers over hollow components to hide ultra thin wires - everything is moulded from solid durable plastic. And here's the odd thing about the 25s - unlike the other cans in this group test, these can be pretty much broken down to a component level. And spares (albeit at a premium price) are available for just about every part as well. Sennheisers for life - literally if you like.

Sound Quality: Being a smaller driver in a small cup doesn't seem to effect the audio quality one bit. The 25s push out a lot of bass, but seem to be a little brighter in the mid to top end. And they're very good when at quieter volumes too. I do see more pedestrians using these than any other headphone in this test. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into making the most out of this small driver.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

If there's one thing I've discovered while doing this test, it's that supra-aural is better than circum-aural. Huh Gizmo? By this I mean that headphones that sit on your ears are generally more isolating that over ear ones. And this is very true of the 25s, which offer superior isolation to any other in this group. The soft cup sits right on my ear and seals like a dream. For people on public transport however, don't be pushing them too hard as sound does leak out a little, especially given the brighter audio characteristic. Ain't nothing worse than second hand Techno.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

Comfort and Stability:
Wonderful. The soft cup moulds to your ear, and the superior overall design keeps it glued to your head. You can also happily swivel one ear out of the way and still keep the stability on your head. But nothing is perfect - the compact design means that wedging between your head and shoulder is often a struggle. And these are by far the most descrete when hanging around your neck.

These also have by far the widest range of adjustment - a full 55mm per side. And let's not forget the split headband either. If you can't get these to fit your head and be comfortable, then nothing will.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

In a world of plus points, there must be a minus one. These really aren't compact at all. They don't fold, but with the cups pushed all the way up, they do take a little less space. That said, their flexibility will stop the breakages that sometimes happen with being manhandled into your bag.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphone review

Value for money:
Excellent. It's hard to compare against the others as they do things very much their own way. But given the outstanding build, sound and spare availability (at a high premium mind), it's hard to knock them in any way. Other than the short cable.


Despite the apparent cheapness of the build and almost clunky construction, the Sennheiser HD25s have a well deserved top of the food chain reputation. They're amazingly comfortable, isolate like no other and sound great. And given the fact that everything is replaceable, it's hard not to put the HD25s head and shoulders above the rest of the market.

Hype: Everything.
Gripe: The short cable.

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