Giving me a set of $400 headphones to review is about as cruel as giving a vegetarian a porterhouse steak; tofu would never be enough again.
When I first unboxed the Sennheiser HD 25 Originals I was first struck by the branding. Adidas logos and a blue on black colour scheme were immediately offensive to my conservative tastes. Not knowing a damned thing about style I asked the fashionistas around me what they thought; all approved of the look — what do I know?
The next thing I noticed about the HD 25s was their extreme ability to be customized to the user’s tastes.
When I first put them on I was struck by how tightly they pinched my admittedly over-sized head, but after playing with the reach and width of the headband as well as its angle relative to the drivers the headphones proved to be very comfortable.
The final thing that stuck out was the length of the cord. While the three metre cord on my HD 201s is great for plugging them into an amplifier on the other side of the house, it made plugging them into an MP3 player in my pocket somewhat problematic; I either had a cord dragging on the ground, threatening to trip me, or a pocket full of wire.
At 1.5 metres the HD 25s cord is much more reasonable — as an added bonus, it’s also easily replaceable.
As for the sound, at first I wasn’t impressed. Yes, my music sounded good, but hadn’t it always sounded good? A quick changeover to my HD 201s was all I needed.
By comparison the HD 25s sounded like I was in the front row of a concert compared to my tired 201s, which sounded like I was listening to the band from the lavatory.
Highs, lows and everything in-between sounded so crisp and distinct coming from the drivers of the HD 25s.
Over the course of a week I used the HD 25s for every task I could think of: listening to music of all kinds (from Roots to Phish), playing videogames and even editing a podcast; In the end there was nothing they didn’t excel at. The only thing about the HD 25 Originals that gave me pause was the price.
As advertised on Sennheiser.ca, these headphones come in at a whopping $399.95, a full $149 more than the best price I found for the HD 25-1 IIs — which appear to be virtually identical apart from the Adidas logos and colour.
Would I pay an extra $149 for the added style of the Originals? Not on your life, but, as stated above, I have no respect for fashion.