March 27, 2017

Whether you are all about bass or just want a simple headset that is more durable than a pair of earphones that come with your smartphone, you will need to spend a little money.

Luckily there are a lot of audio equipment makers realizing the demand for quality, yet relatively affordable headphones, and thus there is an emergence of a decent mid-range set of headphones.

Today, we have two of them from this range is the HFI 450 from Ultrasone and the Sennheiser HD 518 both of which hail right from Germany.


CUTTING THE LONG STORY SHORT

"The HFI 450 is a budget offering from very premium Ultrasone. They are great for upcoming DJ's and offer much more that many other headphones at this price point.

But, if you are a budding audiophile and don't want too much cash to be spent on your hobby, then beats Sennheiser HD 518 can be a great start."

-Raghav Somani

Ultrasone HFI 450


Headphone Zone-Ultrasone-HFI-450
DJ GRADE HEADPHONES FROM ULTRASONE


Audio Technica ATH-M40x


Headphone-Zone-Audio Technica ATH-M40x
OPEN BACK HEADPHONES FROM SENNHEISER


 


DESIGN: Ultrasone HFI 450 vs Sennheiser HD-518

Headphone-Zone-Ultrasone-HFI-450
Headphone-Zone-Audio-Technica-M40X


Ultrasone has occupied a big spot in the audio world, ever since its inception back in The in 1991. The brand is known to bring to the table, very premium headphones and the HFI 450 comes as a fresh breath with its budget price tag.

The Ultrasone HFI 450 has been built in a handsome design, that is engineered to last. Don't believe it, the astounding 5 Years warranty tag stands testimony to this statement. The headphones feature a well-built ergonomic over-ear closed-back design with the aim of ensuring maximum attenuation of ambient noise and also keep your sound sealed in.Overall it is a typical Ultrasone Model with tough plastic forks and hinges and a thickly comfortable headband. 

The Ultrasone HFI 450 too comes in plain black design. However, we are certain that colour options is not your not your wishlist of you are looking for headphones in this category. The brand hasn't emphasised too much on branding, all you see is a small logo placed on the earcups and the headband.

SUPERB OVER-EAR DJ HEADPHONES OR OPEN-BACK HEADPHONES FOR BUDDING AUDIOPHILES?

Being Sennheiser’s entry-level pair of audiophile series headphones, the HD 518 are priced just right for those who may want to dip their toes in audiophile pool but don’t want to spend too much. 

When it comes to design, HD 518 have a typical Sennheiser understated design with a bit of flair on the rim of the cups to keep them interesting. The earcups are oval in shape and sit perfectly around your ears for a comfortable binge listening session. The oval speakers are finished in a shade of gray that is mostly matte but with a hint of gloss is added around the speaker grille to make them pretty interesting. The earcups and the headband is visibly thickly padded which itself speaks volumes of its comfort. 

Unlike the HFI 450, the Sennheiser HD 518 is Open-Back in nature, and is certainly not made for outdoors. The only thing that would separate you from the outside world when you use them outside are the headphone's grilles, not aiding at all in noise isolation. =



USABILITY: Ultrasone HFI 450 vs Sennheiser HD-518

Headphone-Zone-Ultrasone-HFI-450
Headphone-Zone-Audio-Technica-M40X

When it comes to comfort, the HFI 450 does a more than great job. The oval-shaped earcups are a good change from the otherwise conventional round-shaped earcups. They comfortably conform to the shape of your ears, rendering the best comfort. However, the faux leather covering on the earcups does feel slightly warm during long music listening sessions.

The cable is 10 foot long and detachable which thereby increases its durability. The detachable cable is a nice quirk, especially if you are looking to port these along everywhere you go.The straight 1 m and 4 m cables come with gold plated jack and a gold-plated 3.5 mm screw-on adapter making apt for DJing and other high-end devices.

Ultrasone has taken care of the little things, a microfiber cleaning cloth comes packed with headphones. While, the finely crafted felt bag is good for protecting your headphones, a hard carry case would do better for portability. It does not come with an in-line mic and remote thus not very good for your long commutes.
THE ULTRASONE HFI 450 BACKS YOU UP WITH AN ASTOUNDING 5 YEARS OF WARRANTY
The headphones are made solely for home audio and its unimaginable to use it outdoors. There is no remote and mic to back you up and its open-back which again, like the Ultrasone-HFI 450 may not really help in answering your calls on the go even if you think of taking them nonetheless.

For usability, you have a cord which is non detachable to be used with your smartphones and PC's whereas a gold adapter is added to snap them on while using it with high end devices. 

With a drivable impedance of 50 Ohms, Sennheiser HD 518 can work without an Amp, but will deliver to the best of its ability with an external Amp. Thus, to showcase its full capability we suggest you bundle it with FiiO A1 or A3

When it comes to the warranty, the Sennheiser HD 518 comes with with a standard 2-year warranty, whereas the Ultrasone HFI 450 comes with a whooping 5 years warranty.


SOUND: Ultrasone HFI 450 vs Sennheiser HD-518

Headphone-Zone-Ultrasone-HFI-450
Headphone-Zone-Audio-Technica-ATH-M40X


When it comes to sound, the Ultrasone HFI 450 is Ultrasone’s entry-level DJ model andpossesses the brand's unique S-logic technology. So what does this S-logic technology do? It is a unique technology that is used only in Ultrasone headphones thereby letting you enjoy 3D audio imaging with minimal hearing damage. The3D audio imaging gives you a spectacular experience of “music around the head”. It is almost like being part of the music video, which is pretty cool! 

As common in most DJ headphones, the HFI 450 has a more emphasised bass response. The lows are tight, punchy and very impactful. You will be more than pleased to know that despite the sub-bass too is well extended. Coming to the mids, it is not over-emphasised, but sounds just as it should. However, with a few genres, you may find that the mids do get buried.  The treble is in good balance with the midrange but possessed at least one huge spiked. There is bucket loads of sibilance on certain tracks. 

Noise isolation is great, and the HFI 450 very effectively attenuates external noise. 

3D AUDIO IMAGING TO GIVE YOU A SPECTACULAR EXPERIENCE OF MUSIC AROUND THE HEAD!

When it comes to sound, we never expected Sennheiser to be so wide and airy.  But we don't state that its bass is gone with this. The HD 518 has a punchy bass response that is often lacking in an audiophile headphone. Sennheiser has tuned the low end to offer just the right amount of thump to the sound without going overboard. This results in a sound that is genuinely enjoyable without being excessively bass heavy.

All this makes these headphones a lot more approachable to those who are new to audiophile headphones, who may be coming from a bass heavy pair of headphones and will find the neutral sound of proper audiophile headphones not entirely to their tastes.

Overall, the audio quality of the HD 518 is very enjoyable with enough bass presence and clarity to keep most budding audiophiles happy but those who demand more precision in their sound should consider investing in more expensive models.


Summary


Ultrasone HFI 450

  • 3D Imaging Technology
  • Bass Emphasised Audio Response
  • Soft Carry Pouch
  • Designed mainly for DJ's
  • Astoundingly Wide Soundstage in Closed Back
Sennheiser HD-518

  • E.A.R. Technology
  • Bass Audio Response in Open Back
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Budding Audiophiles looking for an upgrade
  • Wide and Airy Soundstage in Open Back

CONCLUSION


To put in simple terms, if you are looking for some serious DJ headphones, then the Ultrasone HFI 450 Over-ears are perfect at this price point.

For those who are budding audiophiles and don't want to miss out on bass like in other audiophile gears, you should opt for Sennheiser HD 518 along with a suitable Amp.


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