We got the Sennheiser HD 419 in for review last week, and since a good pair of headphones is being more and more commonly associated with today’s mobile phones as they replace dedicated mp3 players, we figured why not take a look, or in this case a listen, to them with some of our favourite phones.
We paired up the HD419’s with an iPhone 4S, Nokia Lumia 800, Samsung Galaxy Note and even an iPad 2 to make sure our findings were coherent. Here’s what we thought.
The Design and Build Quality:-
Undoubtedly design is important for the target audience of the Sennheiser HD 419. At it’s price range, you’ll find a lot of “street” brands like Skullcandy or Beats that, in my opinion, are designed more for the general public and teens, rather than hardcore audiophiles.
When I first took the headphones out of the retail package, I was a bit disappointed not to see any kind of storage, since these are street line headphones, one would have expected some sort of pouch to carry them around. After a week of using them though, I’ve found that the build quality is good enough that you won’t have to baby them around. You can toss them in your backpack and they’ll survive just fine, though I did notice some very minor scratched appear after similar treatment on our unit.
The fit of the headphones is nice and comfortable for my big ol’ head. The soft cushioning around the ears is comfortable and helps one relax and get immersed in the music.
Worth noting is that the headband is super bendy, so it probably won’t break, unless you deliberately twist it or something extreme. If anything, these are a very durable pair of headphones.
I found the cables slightly interesting, since they were rather thin but managed to survive a fair amount of abuse at the hands of my daily travels.
The Sound Quality:-
when I said the HD419 was designed more for the general public and teens, rather than hardcore audiophiles, I meant it. I can tell you right now, If you’re from the serious audiophile group, who value sound quality above everything else, these headphones are probably not for you.
They’re just not designed to compete with ”audiophile” headphones like Sennheiser’s more expensive headphones, or the Shure SRH series. If you don’t mind giving up features for more accurate sound reproduction, isolation, or factors like leakage, there are better choices.
But if you’re looking for something toned more towards today’s mainstream music, that’s more streetwise and can survive everyday abuse, the HD419’s are most definitely worth checking out.
Today’s popular mainstream music is centered around genres like hip hop, rock, dance or pop (to name a few), which sound fine on these headphones. Classical music or jazz sounded a tad bit distorted but the HD419’s really come to life when you switch over to mainstream music.
There’s a lot of energy in lower frequencies without compromising in the mids and highs. Sometimes, just sometimes, the mids are veiled by the bass, but it’s not very often. They sounded a lot better than most Skullcandy headphones I’ve had a listen to, with a very laid back sound signature that isn’t too aggressive to your ears.
Then there’s the Bass. There’s a decent amount of bass, which should satisfy most average listeners. Bass quality is pretty good, but bass clarity isn’t quite there yet. The packaging itself states that the headphones have a ”punchy bass” which they do, but it gives off a rather muddy impact that might lack clarity but gives off a nice ”boom”.
Overall bass response is pretty good, and beats most competitors in its price range, but there was a bit to be desired in terms of clarity. Some tracks were lacking in bass drum impact though, with no driving force behind it, but it was only a few tracks.
Coming to mids, they’re clear and not drowned out by the bass. Percussions are vibrant and have a strong impact. With nice laid back trebles which sounded a tiny bit veiled. They don’t sound recessed to me, nor do they sound upfront, which is usually the way most folks prefer.
If you are looking for a budget pair of comfortable headphones with a punchy, solid low-end, with solid mids and a decent soundstage, these are a good pair especially at the price. If you want bass
(at this price, the bass is punchy, but not incredibly deep, you’ll have to step up to the higher priced models for that) and solid mids, decent soundstage, and solid comfort, these are a good pair, especially for $40 at Best Buy right now. I may add more to this after burning them in for a period of time.
The Everything Else:-
I tested the HD419 with MP3’s ripped at Loseless, which is highest quality I thought possible. I also noticed that the headphones sound quality is dependant on the device. The iPad had the best quality, followed by the iPhone, Note, and lastly the Lumia 800.
For folks who want tech specs, there’s a frequency response of 20 – 20000 Hz, an impedance of 32 Ohm, And there’s a 3.5 mm gold straight audio jack. There’s also a “single-sided OFC cable” but I have no idea what that really is.
I’m a big fan of Sennheiser, and my first pair of headphones that I ever bought was from the brand. They make some pretty great sounding, yet affordable headphones, and in a world of Skullcandy and Beats, the Sennheiser HD419 is a powerhouse. While I don’t think purist audiophiles are going to find them very tempting, it’s a good stepping stone to better audio compared to the aforementioned brands, having better details and a much better soundstage, and in my opinion better performance than most street line products with a more dynamic and balanced overall sound.
Recommended for today’s popular music.
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– Satisfyingly Punchy Bass
– Good soundstage
– Loud enough for most folks
– Sleek design
– Durable build quality
– More suitable for pop, hip hop, and other mainstream genres
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– Thin cable still worries me
– Not for strict audiophiles
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The mainstream music listeners are going to love these.