Sennheiser’s Classic the HD 25-1 II, is a headphone that’s been around longer than I have been and one that’s proven its worth over two decades now! Bringing an excellent quality of sound and a rock solid build quality, the HD 25-1 II a true companion for the road Warrior in us all!
Box & Accessories
Packing for the HD 25-1 II is very simple, it came with a plastic draw string bag an a gold screw in 6.5mm adapter.
Wearing Style On Ear
Frq Response 16-22k
Transducer Principle Closed Back Dynamic, 43.1mm Drivers
Impedance 70 ohms
Build Quality [10/10]
It is built entirely out of very rugged plastic, and assembled with only two visible screws. The drivers are attached to the headband by a plastic tooth mechanism. The headband itself features a spilt function, allowing the user to further adjust comfort, by widening or narrowing the gap between each rung of the headband. The cord for the headphone rests within a space etched into the head band itself. The cable is a gold plated 3.5mm right angle at 2m length, and the ear pads are composed of synthetic leather. The headphone also exerts a lot of clamping force, so it doesn’t move around much when on your head.
Another very interesting fact is that this particular headphone has been in production for almost two decades! As such, getting replacement parts from Sennhesier is a very cheap and simple process. Meaning, if you ever manage to break any piece of the HD 25-1 II it’s a simple and cost effective to repair, that factor alone contributes to the sheer value of the HD 25-1 II. I personally purchased the HD 25-1 II for use at the gym because of it’s durability and simple cost effective repairs. After having used it many times, I’ve found it to be a wonderfully rugged, well built an easy to use headphone! It’s defiantly a product I can throw into my car, and slap around my neck without having to worry about it breaking. Personally, I love that about it! I should also note that it’s the ONLY headphone I dare take into the jungle of iron machines that is my Gym!
The HD 25-1 II is built for portable use regardless of where and how you’ll be using it. It’s tough enough to be dropped, bumped and banged around. Additionally its sensitivity allows it to achieve high volumes without a lot of power. The clamping force also helps this headphone to stay in place. I recommend it for anyone who’s wanted a headphone to listen while on the go through most public spaces, anywhere there could be accidents, drops, scuffs or spills.
The HD 25-1 II is able to be driven by a wide range of sources, and it does however benefit from scaling. While the sound out of my LG V10 was acceptable, it had a much better sound quality driven from my HM901 LineOut to my ibasso PB2.
While rugged and durable, the HD 25-1 II is rather uncomfortable for listening after an about an hour. The clamping force of this headphone can quickly fatigue anyone who is not used to On Ear Headphones. Moreover, the pads tend are sweat magnets, especially if it’s hot whereever you are. The HD 25-1 II will work flawlessly within reasonable temperatures, I’ve used them outside as low as 15 an as hot as 107. Though, at hotter temperatures it does get sweaty and at colder temperatures it can be a little painful on the ears.
Despite lack luster comfort, the HD 25-1 II has outstanding isolation! First time I put them on it scared me how… quiet everything was with them on!
Ease of Use [7/10]
The HD 25-1 II is an easy headphone to drive, though the better your source the better it will sound. When paired with entry level devices, such as cell phones or cheap Digital Audio Players, the sound will be sub optimal. It responds very well to amplification and EQ, I found it to be very enjoyable when Eq’d from my LG V10. Though, even with EQ out of the V10, the HD 25-1 II sounded it’s best driven from my Hm901 LineOut PB2. Out of all my sources, the iPod Nano Gen 3, had the worse quality of sound with the HD 25-1 II out of all my sources.
Visually, I love the style of the headphone. The split headband an the top mounted cables really command your attention, while the rounded cups ease your eyes down, till you've reached the end of the saw tooth adjustment rods. From a design perspective, I love the use of soft shapes an sharp lines!
Timbre [8/10] Sound Stage [7.5/10] Detail [8/10] Speed [6.5/10] Scale [9/10]
Overall, when driven and sourced properly it has a very dry and even sound. The bass is a touch forward but very taut with slightly recessed low mids, with a nice leading edge to the upper mids and treble. The sound stage is of average width and a little shallow however instruments are well layered within the sound stage and have good spatial cues.
However, if driven from a cheaper phone or digital audio player, the HD 25-1 II can sound sluggish, muddy, incoherent and very SHARP. With a very loose overall sound, in addition when listening to low bit rate music you will notice the artifacts that are inherent to poorly encoded music. When purchased and used right out the box with lower end gear and poorly encoded mp3s it’s nothing impressive, heck I’ll dare to say that right out of my iPod Nano Gen 3 [using 320 CBR mp3s] my Beats Solo 2 sound much cleaner than the HD 25-1 II.
Although the HD 25-1 II responds very well to EQ on low end devices and smart phones, so I recommend tinkering around with a quality Parametric EQ and DSP filters to get the best sound from these if your initial impression of them is negative. Sadly though, there is no substitute for quality hardware.
Finally, regardless of source or amp, the HD 25-1 II is on the slower side of “dry.” While it excels with moderately paced music, I do find it a little lack luster with faster pieces such as progressive metal.
In terms of music genres though, the HD 25-1 II does an excellent job with them all! Personally, I LOVE it for Electronic Dance Music. The bass is easily one of the BEST I’ve heard from a headphone in this price category and form factor! It can take a nice bit of bass boost without any distortion as well!
In conclusion, landing a final score of 81/100 with a price of $249.99, I love the HD 25-1 II. It offers unmatched durability, and an excellent high quality of sound! When paired with higher quality digital audio players, amps and properly encoded music, the HD 25-1 II can easily outpace the Solo 2!
I highly recommend the HD 25-1 II to any one looking for their first real upgrade, or to those of you looking to purchase a headphone along with a quality Digital Audio Player such as the Fiio X5.