The Things You Don’t Normally Hear

In a somewhat random post from me, I’m going to make a comment on my Sennheiser HD215 headphones.

I bought these recently to replace my failed Creative I-Trigue 2.1 speakers I use at home on my desktop PC. More and more of late I have been turning to headphones over speakers, largely due to wanting to be able to listen movies, YouTube or good old fashioned music at a sensible volume and with my study being fairly close to the kids bedroom, the speakers weren’t the best option for volume in the evenings while the kids are asleep.

I’ve been using a pair of Sennheiser HD201 headphones at work in the office for around the last year, I like them for the £30 price tag and they are more than good enough for the office. Being a shared office with moderate background noise and the fact that I am at work and can’t rationally expect to pump out 100dB of music without disrupting others and possibly my own productivity, I’ve never really had the greatest of chances to explore them fully. That is coupled to the fact that I find them uncomfortable after more than about an hour of listening although I rarely get a chance to listen to them for that length of time in a solid block so it’s a non-issue: The pad and can size means that they sit on the ear not around it and the padding isn’t that thick so the plastic construction of the cans slowly presses into your outer ear giving you that warm ear discomfort sensation.

Giving the new HD215 cans a try at home this evening, I instantly felt the difference as due to the size of the cans, they sit around the ear, resting instead on your head leaving the ear free to move. Listening to a range of tracks from Dance and Dubstep to Vocal and Acoustic, it’s amazing some of the tones and notes you detect with decent headphones at decent volumes that you just otherwise don’t. My case example is the album Radio 1 Established 1967 which is a 2 CD album of tracks taken from the Radio 1 Live Lounge to celebrate one of Radio 1’s anniversaries and the song’s on it sound completely different. I’ve listened to the album at work before on the HD201 headphones and I remember it sounding a decent amount better that how I previously had heard it, but that is because I had only ever previously used my Sennheiser CX-300 II in ear headphones, but these HD215’s seem to take it up another level.

Let’s be straight. I’m no music expert, nor am I am audiophile with an exceptional ear for quality in headphones or music or the ability to detect the difference between a 20,000Hz tone and a 22,000Hz tone, I just like music. I’m sure that someone with deeper pockets than me could easily comment to this and say that their £500 super-duper headphones with their all singing and dancing digital music optimized listening environment and equipment will sound factors greater than these will and perhaps you are correct, but for £55, they sound incredible.

My only criticism of them is that they are supplied with a coiled lead and not a straight lead. I’m not a fan of the coiled lead as you just end up pulling against it trying to reach the length you want and not the length the cable inherently wants and I think that just adds a level of unnecessary discomfort. Luckily, QED have the answer in the form of a Jack-to-Jack 3.5mm lead, available in 1,2 or 3 metre lengths that I can replace the lead with as at least Sennheiser are nice enough to make this model of headphones with a totally detachable lead using 3.5mm standard jacks at either end.