Sennheiser HD 500 Fusion Stereo Headphones Review - Stepping Up the Quality: The CD Test
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Next, I decided to step up the quality of the music source,so I popped in some of my CDs. Note that the actual sound source was still the Sound Blaster Live! in my Dell. I testedthe set Jarabe de Palo's De Vuelta yVuelta, the soundtrack to The Matrix,Chumbawamba's WYSIWYG, and an ItzhakPerlman rendition of Bach's Six Partitasand Sonatas for Unaccompanied Violin. I started with De Vuelta y Vuelta, a CD I discovered in a Puerto Rican Bordersstore a couple of years back.I chosethis CD because of the qualitative variety of instruments used by this band:electric guitars, bass (acoustic and electric), piano, jazz drums, bongo drums,cow bells, guiros, jazz organ, didgeridoo, accordion, and more. Now that Ithink about it, they remind me a bit of the music of Carlos Santana. As I saidbefore, one of the great things about this headset is how it clearly revealsthe quality of the music and sound source. This was no exception; the musiccame out sounding full of texture through these headsets. I could clearly heareach instrument in its proper location, be it center, near right or left, orfar right or left. The didgeridoo at the beginning of the title piece, De Vuelta y Vuelta, vibrated beautifullyas it smoothly panned from left to right and back.
Next, I went ahead and played WYSIWYG and The Matrixsoundtrack. Both of these offer numerous crafted sounds which will takeadvantage of your speaker's full capabilities, if allowed to do so. As before,the headphones allowed the sound to pass through as was intended, creating theillusion of a musical theater in my mind, where the music seemed to come notfrom the speakers, but rather, from within me.
By far, my favorite test was that of the Perlman CD. Havingbeen a violinist for the past 14 years, I've come to know the nuances of theinstrument quite well. I've also come to appreciate the mastery with whichItzhak Perlman - arguably the best violinist alive - wields his violin and bow.This is where the headphones truly impressed me. I could hear not only theviolin's beautiful sound, but also some of the unintended parts of the music,such as the slight scratching sound a forcefully drawn bow will make when firstpulled across strings. This brought this recording, which I had for yearsenjoyed, into a whole new light; it was as if I now had Perlman himselfperforming for me.
Although my experience with these headphones was nothingshort of spectacular when at my computers, it was a different story when Iplugged these into my portable CD player, a Memorex MD6445B. I again testedusing De Vuelta y Vuelta, but alsoused Evanescence’s Fallen. Theheadset's lack of clear upper ranges became particularly obvious here. To testthis out further, I plugged the not only the headset to the CD player, but alsoplugged a CD to tape adapter from the player to my car's tape deck*.While listening to the headphones alone, allthe music played seemed very bass-heavy, something I didn't notice until Iturned up the car stereo's volume and heard what I can only describe as acompletion of the full sound; I could finally clearly hear tones across theentire spectrum. This was most obvious while playing Whisper, on the Evanescence CD. If you're not a big fan of a lot ofbass, this should be a big strike against these in your book.
*This is the kind ofstuff that I come up with when journeying across “Alligator Alley,” a bland,85-mile stretch of I-75 which cuts from east to west across Florida, right through the Everglades. Please note: I don't endorse any of ourwonderful readers doing something as unsafe as wearing headphones whiledriving.
Speaking of traveling, something worth noting is the factthat these headphones don't fold, which I would expect headphones like these todo. These headphones are simply not particularly portable. Although deceivinglystrong, they still seem more fragile than I'm comfortable with for travel.Also, these puppies suck up a lot of energy, so should you use these with yourfavorite MP3 player or portable CD player, expect a shorter battery life thannormal.
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