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Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect, 11 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Sennheiser HD449 Ergonomic Closed-Back Stereo Over-Ear Headphones with Incredible Sound Detail And Clarity (Electronics)
I've owned several pairs of Sennheisers over the years. My current pair was the HD570 (probably bought 8 years ago!). Due to wear and tear (and my daughter deciding she liked them) I 'upgraded' to a pair of HD449s... but I'm not sure it really is an upgrade.

Sound quality:
The old 570s give a massively open sound stage. When I use them for playing my keyboard, I've often had to briefly take them off just to check I had actually plugged them in - it is difficult to tell whether I was wearing headphones or whether the sound was coming from speakers in the room around me! In contrast, the 449s make the sound appear firmly inside your head; the overall impression is of sitting in a padded room or acoustically dead sound booth. The sound quality is good, but just a step further away from the music sounding 'real'. This is probably due to the 449s closed design which is made to eliminate outside noise. They do this infinitely better than the 570s, which do not cut out any background noise.

Comfort:
The old 570s are much more comfortable than the 449s. The 570s have large soft fabric pads which apply very light pressure around the ear. They are so comfortable (together with that open sound quality) I have sometimes stood up from my keyboard and started to walk away - I completely forgot I was wearing them! In contrast, it is impossible to forget that you are wearing the 449s, as the smaller pads apply noticeably greater pressure. Again, this is probably due to the requirement to cut out background noise, but it could affect long listening sessions. Secondly, although the 449s are supposedly circumaural (around the ear) headphones, if you have large ears they may not fit comfortably. The 449's ear aperture is right on the limit of the smallest size possible, before having to describe them as an on-the-ear design. Lastly, the 449's padding material is the slightly sweat-inducing leatherette material, instead of the 570's soft fabric.

Conclusion:
My new 449s will now stay at work, where they cut out background office noise very well, allowing me to concentrate better and listen at lower volumes too - great! The old 570s will stay at home where I can use their superior sound quality and comfort. If you are moving from crappy ear-bud headphones you'll find the 449s are amazing, but if you already own some older full-size circumaural headphones make sure you try on the 449s in a shop before buying. In my opinion, Sennheiser were making better full-size headphones in this mid-price band 10 years ago. Perhaps they now expect everyone to spend a small fortune on their 'Momentum' cans to get the full experience?
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jul 2014 21:09:42 BDT
Just a thought: I don't know what you paid for the HD 570, but to upgrade from a HD 570, I'd think of a HD 598 or the older model HD 595. If you look at the specs, in theory even the HD 558 or HD 518 could be an improvement to the HD 570. I have an HD 595 for about eight years now and am very happy with them. Just today I listened to a HD 598 and a couple of others, more expensive ones and overall, I still preferred the HD 598. I wanted to test the HD 449 but unfortunately, they did not have one open. As I want to use it exactly as you describe, for the office, I guess the HD 449 would be a good choice for me - currently I use CX 400 II in-ear in the office.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2014 07:17:41 BDT
Reaction says:
Götz, The HD 449 are quite good for cutting out office noise. Sometimes I put them on without playing any music, and they reduce the volume of nearby conversations just enough to improve my concentration! I'm sure the HD 449 will give you much better listening experience than your current in-ear models.
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