Sennheiser HD 25-C II in comparison

June 6, 2016
Kopfhörer hängt vor Plattenschrank.

I’m a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to headphones, as I basically only own Sennheiser headphones. These include my IE 8*, which is about eight years old and is designed for everyday use, especially in the office. But the great-grandfather of my headphones is a good 17-year-old Sennheiser HD 25-1.

Every few years I consider whether it’s time for a new pair, and about a year ago I bought a pair of in-ear headphones. The reviews on Amazon were quite positive, the price was reasonable, but the performance was unusual and subjectively ‘mediocre’.

With both the IE 8 and my old HD 25, Sennheiser is really exemplary in that you can get replacements for most wearing parts. So the IE 8 was refurbished with a new cable and the newly purchased headphones ended up in the drawer.

My HD 25 has only survived 17 years in this way, with constant patching and replacement. Only the bracket and drivers are original. All the cables, and later the plugs and pads, have been replaced several times. However, I never really got rid of a loose contact on the left driver and so the question came up again recently: Which headphones could be better?

It’s a bizarre question, as I’m a creature of habit with a soft spot for Sennheiser, but I thought I’d give it a go.

After spending some time looking at what was currently on the market, a couple of headphones came into consideration. First there were the Nocs NS 900, the Pioneer HDJ-C70 and the updated version of the HD 25. Later, the Aiaiai TMA-1 appeared on my radar, but disappeared just as quickly.

The Nocs were my first choice, as a post by DJ Stylewarz convinced me that this thing could be good. As soon as I ordered them, they were on their way back to the dealer two days later. The headphones are fantastically well-made, look great and feel incredibly high quality. However, the sound failed to convince me. The strong bass made me think of the Beats, but the Nocs’ sound is not quite as bad and mushy. The bass was not the problem, but the treble and midrange were too crisp and unclean, and I did not enjoy listening to music with them.

That’s probably the point: the sound of a pair of headphones is largely a subjective judgement. A Stylewarz may work better with Nocs than I do, and the crisp highs may be more to someone else’s taste.

Now that I’d subjectively been kicked in the teeth with the Nocs, I wanted to go for the safe number. While the Nocs came to me, I read this djtechtools article and compared possible models a bit more carefully. The Aiaiai was out because of the djtechtools review, the Nocs was on its way back, and now the new HD 25 and the Pioneer equivalent were left to choose from.

The 17-year-old Sennheiser HD 25-1 (rear) and the fresh Sennheiser HD 25-C IIThe 17-year-old Sennheiser HD 25-1 (rear) and the fresh Sennheiser HD 25-C II

The decision was made relatively quickly. The Pioneer has less power than the Sennheiser, and Pioneer only gives a one-year warranty on the C70. This suggested to me that they were not confident in their product. Perhaps it was the creature of habit again, wanting to play it safe for the next 17 years. In the end, I just followed the summary of the djtechtools review. The Pioneer was already quite close to the sound of the HD 25, and why work with a copy that was less powerful when the original was simply excellent?

And so it proved! The HD 25-C IIs are unfussy, simple, professional and, in my opinion, excellent sounding headphones that not only fit well, but also have excellent support and shielding and make me uncompromisingly happy. I definitely won’t need new headphones for the next decade!

The Sennheiser HD 25-C II is available from your specialist dealer for around €175.

* IE 8 is no longer available in the version I still have. There were two successors, the IE 8i and the IE 80. The IE 80 is the closest equivalent to my IE 8.

Written By

Hi, I'm Olli, I moved to Hamburg in 2008 and have been working in the media industry there ever since. Before that, I spent many years spinning records in the Northern German club scene and writing for a few, often music-related, magazines. Now, after a break of several years, I'm blogging again and writing from the heart, which I think is a bit awesome.

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