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Sennheiser HD485 Open air headphones

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mrk    203

I have posted this review elsewhere but didn't realise I didn't post it here too!

There are hardly any proper reviews out for these because they are fairly new models out but the ones out there pretty much sum up a general verdict that they are awesome for the price, awesome for build quality and nothing else in this class is better at up to double the price.

I am going to put forward my small review of them for the forum here as I have had various headphones in the "enthusiast audiophile" catagory with an average price bracket of ?25 to ?80 at a stretch.

Lets start off with some official "blurb"

Jack plug 3,5/6,3 mm stereo

Nominal impedance 32 Ω

Weight w/o cable ca. 220 g

Transducer principle dynamic, open

Ear coupling circum-aural

Cable length 3 m

Frequency response (headphones) 16.....24000 Hz

Sound pressure level (SPL) 110 dB(SPL)

THD, total harmonic distortion <0,2 %

That sums up the specs pretty much, now lets move on.

I think it's good to note what Headphones I had before these and the types I have experience with as well as the equipment I use the current ones on because it gives others an indication as to what they can expect and on a comparison level what in general is a better deal in audio quality terms and price!

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bangbang023    30

Good review. I bought my best bud a pair of the 465's earlier this year and he enjoys the quality of sound on them. I'm thinking I have to ge ta pair for myself for those times when I wish to play DoD while there's a lot of background noise. How is the headphone mode in source? Does it adequately depict location? I'm hooked on true surround sound for gaming and I'm not sure I could adjust to stereo sound again.

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RGSPro    1

I got the HD 555s, all Sennheiser products rock. Very cool

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mrk    203

Good review. I bought my best bud a pair of the 465's earlier this year and he enjoys the quality of sound on them. I'm thinking I have to ge ta pair for myself for those times when I wish to play DoD while there's a lot of background noise. How is the headphone mode in source? Does it adequately depict location? I'm hooked on true surround sound for gaming and I'm not sure I could adjust to stereo sound again.

location positioning in headphones mode is spot on for me, I play DOD:S and CS:S alot and have absoutely no trouble at all even on my santa cruz sound card which doesnt support EAX3 or above picking off where enemies are coming from and where a grenade is landing exactly!

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dropscience    1

50.00 USD? Not bad at all...I'll pick up a set with my next paycheck.

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bangbang023    30

Where the heck did you get it for that price? Sheesh, I paid much more for the 465's.

edit: nevermind. I shouldn't have trusted dropscience's conversion lol

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esco    1

I'm a Grado-head :D

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mrk    203

I'm a Grado-head :D

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: I see by your avatar!

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Waylander    1

Sennheiser make the best headphones for prolonged listening that i have tried (currently use HD-600's) my only gripe with them is that the standard 3m wire is a bit short and breaks a little easy (broke the one on my hd570's twice and the one on my 600's atm is flaky).

i also have a pair of grado sr60's (i broke the wire on these aswell but you cant replace it easily) and personally i would put them up there with the 600's for sound quality but the comfort sucks after an hour or two with the flat pads mine have, i think sr60's are now sold with "around the ear" pads though and they are supposed to be better.

re "break in" im not sure exactly how to put this argument across in text but imo the only thing that gets broken in is your ears to the new headphones, i had a chance to test my opinion when i got the 600's which i got from my father who had owned them fror a long time but didnt really use them (had them 6 months now but then he has had my cdplayer for 2-3 years :D), he is a member of the "break in" crowd and according to him they had been broken in but for the first week i would have descibed them as having poor sound and causing listening fatigue after only a few hours now i can listen all day and they sound great. the problem is its impossible to abx this as you can tell which set it is just from the feel of the padding and such on your head as you wear them.

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mrk    203

You stae he didn't really use them so that may be why, my senns are continually getting better each week when I put them on each night to watch movies and listen to music. They say the average break in period is at least 100hours for the diaphrams to reach their optimum listening level but even beyond that they canconinue to settle in and give more dynamic range and a overall greater listening experience!

By comparison thelast time my bro was round he brought my old technics cans home and i decided to compare just how vast the difference was. Now this is before I got the grados or the sennheiser and at that time I considered the technics as "awesome" quality headphones, had them 2 years straight so they were well into their life of listening quality :) - The difference was night <> day - lmao I had to take a 5 minute think on just how much of a difference there was between the 2 headphones, it wasn't double the gain on the sennheiser it was ten fold - Pretty good considering the technics cost half that of the HD485 !

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Waylander    1

he had had them a few years i think before he gave/lent them to me so i would have thought he would have used them for more than 100 hours in that time as he does listen to a reasonable ammount of music i think. i can see the break in argument but have yet to be convinced.

i was probably a little unfair on the 600's in my last post by comparing them to the grados as i have not used them in quite a while, i do still use my Sennheiser hd570's quite often and the 600's have better clarity and require less power to reach my listening volume. When he ask for them back or i finally kill the wire and have to get a replacement i will probably audition the sr60's hd650's and sr325i (i notice grado have a new set called the GS1000 above even there RS1's, i bet they have a killer price tag)

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mrk    203

high prices as usual yep.

over at head-fi it is also a natural custom foe stereophones to be broken it and it's widely regarded as best practice before putting any pair of decent stereophone under x-test compared to x-phone ! else it would not be a fair comparison!

This is the reason I didn't post a review of the HD485 until a good few months after ownership and listening because I knew the listening experience would change somewhat 3 months down the line :)

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Waylander    1

how can you fairly compare two diffent headphones? presumably not using an abx method as i just dont see how you could pull it off. subjective testing is affected by the bias of the tester (and all testers are biased) in situations where abx testing cant be done (or is hard enough to set up that its not worth it) the best thing is just to give your opinion and reccomend readers try the headphones in your test for themselfs.

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mrk    203

it's not a technical test by any means, I don't know what you mean by ABX testing, it is just a listening test, the phones that have a greater listening experience are obviously the better headphones and once you've had a fair number of headphones from various classes and price ranges you can eaisly tell teh diffreence between the quality of them when comparing them which is exactly what my post was all about - there is no "how is it done", it is pretty self explanatory really :/ It sounds better and continues to improve in sound quality as time goes on the more you listen to them, instruments come out to life more in music and sounds can be heard that could not be heard before in movies etc.

there is no bias either, I don't favour one brand over another or favour a type of phone over another - I just use what sounds best and is most comfortable

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bangbang023    30

re "break in" im not sure exactly how to put this argument across in text but imo the only thing that gets broken in is your ears to the new headphones, i had a chance to test my opinion when i got the 600's which i got from my father who had owned them fror a long time but didnt really use them (had them 6 months now but then he has had my cdplayer for 2-3 years :D), he is a member of the "break in" crowd and according to him they had been broken in but for the first week i would have descibed them as having poor sound and causing listening fatigue after only a few hours now i can listen all day and they sound great. the problem is its impossible to abx this as you can tell which set it is just from the feel of the padding and such on your head as you wear them.

breaking in is a real process, though. I'm not sure how one could choose not to "believe" it. Technically, it's pretty simple. The break in period allows the speaker to flex and loosen up a bit, thus removing the harshness from it. I've experienced break in in quite a few different speaker types from headphones to my computer speaker system. I actually posted a review without breaking the system in and complained about a slightly muddy bass. Two weeks later, after a bit of use, I noticed the bass had really cleaned up a lot and it wasn't just my ears adjusting to it.

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Grahnman    0

I'm another happy HD485-owner. I had ordered a cheaper pair of Sennheiser headphones online from Technistore.se and they messed up bigtime and my order was sucked into a black hole. After sending them a couple of e-mails I finally got a phonecall from their customer support department and I got to talk with an awesome support girl. This was our conversation (shortened):

Girl: I'm so sorry that we messed up.

Me: Yeah, you'd better be.

Girl: Unfortunately, we don't seem to have the Sennheisers you ordered in stock, so how about some more expensive headphones?

Me: Uh?

Girl: We'll send you a pair of HD485 instead if that's okay?

Me: Marry me?

Ahem, maybe that's not EXACTLY how our conversation went, but I got myself a pair of HD485 and I'm totally satisfied with them.

They sound great when watching movies, playing games and (most important) listening to music.

bangbang023 is right about breaking in. I let my older brother (who lives in another city) listen to them when I had just gotten them and then I let him listen to them again three weeks later when he came to visit. He could clearly tell the difference and commended me on my purchase.

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serox    0

HD555 for life :)

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SaLiVa    3

HD555's here. No turning back. Just forward (Bigger numbers with Sennheiser usually means better right?)

These headphones are amazing! It's only missing that cool Headphone holder the HD485's have... Damn... I'll make that out of play-do.

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Lazih3nri    0

What exactly does "Open Air" mean for headphones? I've noticed that alot.

That holder for the chair/desk makes me want to get it. It's like I want to buy the Holder that comes with the headphones.. not the other way around. xD

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SaLiVa    3

Open Air are headphones that allow air into the drivers (The big part of the headphones). This usually mean better and deeper bass (Since more air is allowed to be "pushed" into the ear). This sacrifices bass response and outside noise from coming in. So whatever sounds outside of the earphone can be easily heard.

Closed-Headphones (Noise Cancelling) are those used for those long aeroplane trips and DJ/Mastering stuff. I tried my HD555's in the aeroplane right after buying them... Very disappointing, but when I landed, I never heard such bliss from a pair of headphones in my entire life. These are open-air, (Can be seen by the grill behind the drivers).

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mrk    203

After dropping my HD485 on my rooms wooden floor one too many times the clips that hold the ear pads in place have started to loosen and break :(

I have however wedged in a buy for the HD555 next week :p look out for a new review coming soon!

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hunter1234    0

i have a pair of hd595, absolutely amazing sound quality. i had the hd570 before that but my mom is using it now. i gotta say though the hd570 was better for gaming than the hd595. but for everything else, the hd595 rocks. it's only about $120 on ebay (brand new) i think it's a really good price for audiophiles who don't wanna shell out too much money.

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Firefawx    0

I also have a pair of HD595s, excellent headphones. I was actually going to get HD555s but I decided it'd be nicer to have the best model in the HD5xx line with the nicer headband (and quality ofc) etc. - didn't like the idea of ending up wishing I'd spent a few quid more.

The only thing that annoys me about Sennheiser headphones (thought I know the HD650 is an exception) is the build quality - the headband adjustment is way too flimsy (on both my HD595s and HD497s) considering the price and its relative quality.

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Virtunate    0

Found a few sets of Nice Senns on eBay, (HD 202,HD 201) My headphones fried a little while ago. There's just one more thing to check, which I'll be doing tomorrow then I'll probably buy a set of those Senn's :D

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PaulCabby    2

I've got a pair of HD 201s which I use for Counter Strike + Listening to music. They're alright but really really REALLY lack bass.

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