Today we have with us two awesome headphones that stay in the under-Rs 15,000 price category. These are the Ultrasone Performance 840 and Sennheiser HD 569. So which is better? Confused? Find out here in this post.
Ultrasone comes from the charming location of Bavaria. Each headphone is made by hand by expert craftsmen in their factory which is located near the Alps.
It is this scenic beauty that the brand has injected into each of its products to make them look so gorgeous. The Performance 840, the middle brother in the Performance series is one such beauty.
The earcups have a matte black finish with chrome accents. These are connected to the headband via silver aluminium brackets. The black headband features a silver aluminium plate with the brand name on it. You also have ‘Ultrasone’ and ‘840’ embedded on the earcups.
WHEN IT’S GERMAN VS GERMAN, WHO WINS?
The earpads and headpad have a generous memory foam cushioning. This has a leatherette covering. For the uninitiated, memory foam takes the shape of the wearer’s ears/head and stays in position so that you always feel snug and comfy.
Just like its Ultrasone counterpart, even the Sennheiser HD 569 is built almost entirely with durable but lightweight plastic. Both headphones also have oval earcups for a better fit. However, that’s where the similarities end. This headphone is bulkier and has a simpler design.
It has a matte black finish. Even the branding is subtle with the brand name just below the left hinge and the logo on both earcups. The headphone also features incredibly soft padding. Synthetic leather is used on the earpads as well as headpad. You even have a little bit of the material on the outer part of the earcups.
While the headband is a little rigid, the earcups swivel to fit perfectly and fold flat. This makes the HD 569 more compact. In the same way, you can also make the Performance 840 smaller for slipping it into the special case provided and carry it around without worrying about scratches.
Let’s start with the unboxing. The headphone comes in a grey cardboard box. Open the lid on top and you are introduced to the Neoprene bag with the headphone inside. Underneath that is a shelf. Remove it and you can see the remaining accessories in the box i.e. two detachable cables and 6.3 screwable adapter in another tiny bag. There is also a user manual in the box (with lovely pictures!)
The cables are 1.2m and 3m in length. A bayonet plug connects to the headphone securely while the 3.5mm jack connects to your audio player. The 1.2m cable has an inline 1-button remote and mic for on-the-go use.
While the ear cushions are soft and have enough room for my ears, after a few hours of listening I ended up feeling them pressing down on me, same goes for the headband’s nasty clamp.
USEFUL ACCESSORIES ALWAYS GETS A THUMBS-UP FROM US
With any of the Performance series headphones (and a few thousand bucks), you even have the choice of going wireless. This is all thanks to SIRIUS, a Bluetooth adapter that has been specially created to stream aptX-quality audio wirelessly. Simply plug it into the socket under the earcup meant for the detachable cables and you are good to go.
Now’s the HD 569’s chance for an unboxing. It has a simple black box (much like the headphone). Remove the tiny flap on top and then take the cover off. Inside is the headphone, securely set in foam. Remove it out and underneath you get 2 detachable cables as well as a user manual.
The first detachable cable is clearly meant for use on-the-go. It is 1.2m in length and terminates in a 3.5mm jack. It also has a 1-button remote and mic. The second cable is about 3 feet long and ends in a 6.3mm jack so that you can connect to any home stereo system. Unlike the Performance 840, these cables do not have a bayonet connector or any other type of locking technology. So, you may want to watch out that you don’t get too immersed in your game to yank it off.
This headphone is comfortable for long listening sessions (or at least a 3-hour movie). The lovely padding also keeps all external noise out so that no outside sound disrupts your gaming experience.
The Performance 840 is known for its rich warm bass. Sometimes, it can get a bit too rich and distort the other frequencies but otherwise, you get a well-balanced sound. While the bass is not too deep, it has a full, remarkable presence. These aren’t bass-heavy headphones though.
The mids are strong too. They are easily separated from the bass and highs. While they are not crystal-clear (yet), I somehow feel that a little more burn-in ought to do it. The treble is a bit less in comparison with the other frequencies and does sound a little rough (maybe the burn-in should help?).
Coming to the best part of this headphone—The soundstage and instrument separation. Thanks to Ultrasone’s S-Logic Plus technology, you get a super-wide soundstage. Live recordings of an orchestra sound magnificent. You can hear the sweet tune of the flute, the ring of the violin, the lows on the cello, the crash of the cymbals and so much more!
S-Logic Plus is also supposed to reduce sound pressure by a few decibels. Ultrasone’s Ultra-Low Emission (ULE) technology is supposed to reduce the ‘harmful magnetic radiation.’ Both technologies are meant to ensure that your hearing is protected. Of course, I don’t have any way of checking this, so won’t really be able to comment on it.
GET READY, IT’S THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
The HD 569 has a decent bass. While not as extended as I would like, it certainly gives a punch when needed. Loud volumes do not do this headphone any justice as the lower frequencies tend to distort a little. The only saving grace: Absolutely no bleed into the mids.
I liked the mids better. Smooth and rich, it delivered every instrument’s sound crisply. Vocals are absolutely clear and so are the dialogues in movies (even with all the action going on). The highs sound a bit recessed. While lacking in (a teeny tiny bit of) detail, they don’t sound harsh or too bright.
Coming to the soundstage, well, don’t forget that the HD 569 is competing with the Performance 840, a headphone with one of the largest soundstage for a closed-back. Even without S-Logic, the HD 569 has a really wide soundstage, though with not as much depth as I would like. It’s probably enough for an immersive experience when watching Avengers: Infinity War in 3D but not good enough for a concert hall experience.
While we are still on the topic of soundstage, let’s not forget Sennheiser’s Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement or E.A.R technology (yes, that’s not a typo, it IS ‘Eargonomic’). With this tech, the driver is designed in such a way, the sound is channelled to go directly in your ear canal. While I have no proof of this, I strongly suspect that it is this tech that is responsible for the HD 569’s soundstage.
In a nutshell: Since I’m a person who is always out and about, I prefer the Ultrasone Performance 840 due to its stylish looks and concert hall sound.
On the other hand, if you are someone who wants a headphone for gaming, watching movies or just shutting out the person next to you, I certainly would recommend the Sennheiser HD 569 due to its noise isolation, comfort and accessories.
Have you tried either headphone before? Do share with us your experience with them.