High-Performance DJ-Type Headphones: I know, I know, some of you would contend (and perhaps with some justification) that the terms “high performance” and “DJ-Type Headphones” don’t belong together in the same phrase. Be that as it may, Sennheiser’s new HD 25 Amperior DJ-type headphone ($349) represents an honest attempt to provide “natural, lifelike sound reproduction” in a highly sensitive, 18 Ohm headphone that “can cope with an extremely high sound pressure level.” As added bonuses, HD 25 Amperior is fitted with a mic for telephoning, and sports a satin anodized aluminum finish that looks stunning (especially in blue). Expect the Amperior to arrive around March, 2012.
High-End Headphones: Sennheiser’s essentially handmade HD800 headphones are an acknowledged high-end benchmark, but at $1499.95 they are priced well beyond reach for many music lovers. Happily, at CES Sennheiser introduced its gorgeous new HD700 headphone ($999.95), which in very many ways can be considered an “HD800 junior.” While the HD700 does not have the HD800’s huge 56mm ring radiator-type drivers, it does have very, very low distortion 40mm drivers that, says Sennheiser, are angled to “simulate a high-end speaker array’s soundstage.” The impedance of the HD700 is rated at 150 Ohms whereas the impedance of the HD800 is rated at 300 Ohms, which may explain why the HD700 seems somewhat easier to drive than the HD800. During a brief listening session, I found the HD700 was very revealing, yet was just slightly warmer sounding and more “relaxed” in its presentation than its big brother. In practice, I think this means the HD700 foregoes that elusive “Nth” degree of resolution that the HD800 can—at least when driven by top-flight amps—provide, but in exchange the HD700 seems noticeably less finicky about amplifiers and delivers a sound that I think many listeners might find more accessible than that of the flagship model. Throw in the fact that the HD700 is two-thirds the price of the HD800, and I’d say Sennheiser has a winner on its hands.