Sennheiser's managed to impress us yet again. This time with the HD415, last seen at CES 2006. Now we can tell you if the hype was worth the deal. To introduce the headphones briefly, let's start with the supra-aural form factor. For non-audiophiles, there's a simple term used by the uninitiated: open-air. The earcups are placed on the ear, and since it doesn't have active noise cancellation, there's no need to have the whole ear covered. This makes the headphones easy to wear and doesn't heat up your ears.
The HD415 does look stunning; better than what you would expect at its price point, but promises a fully functional form factor. The underbelly of the headband is padded with a soft foam-like material, ensuring a sturdy and even form (without which I feel the weight would have been enough to throw it off your head every now and then). The earcups sit firmly, and unlike in the PXC450, your ears won't feel the pressure of the two earcups pushing them towards each other. I like!
The cable is long (about 2m) and comes with a cable winder that can be attached to your belt – no dangling business. The earphone jack is gold-plated, and for added measure a 5.5mm converter is included in the package.
Now that we are done with the form factor, I shall explain why you should go in for the HD415. For starters, you should know that these are not studio headphones; they're marketed for regular purpose. However, Sennheiser, not willing to depart from tradition, has given the HD415 some features from its high-end headphones.
The headphones feature 40mm drivers, with a frequency response of 18 - 19,000 Hz. As mentioned earlier, they are not equipped with noise cancellation, but the design does help curb some high frequency annoying noise. The bass is booming and clear, thanks to the drivers. What I like about these headphones is that they have a very laidback sound, the kind that doesn't overamplify.
I have always maintained that Sennheiser offers true sound when it comes to sound reproduction, and the HD415 reaffirmed my faith. The mids are clear and resounding, without interfering with other frequencies. For that matter, every frequency came out purer than I thought it would. The highs are very clear, and you won't have worry about damaging your precious eardrums. Of course, I can't say this often enough – do NOT listen to music at high volume, or you'll surely go deaf someday!
The Sennheiser HD415 costs Rs 4,500 and is available everywhere. Grab it while you can. I've already bought one for myself, so you can rest assured in the knowledge that I don't just preach, I also practice!
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