- Better than stock headphones, great soundstage
- Boring sound, lacking mid definition, slightly uncomfortable
A headphone that will be a big improvement over most of your cheaper models, but one that is outclassed by many other models in this price range.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
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The HD515 is one of the lower points in Sennheiser's impressive array of headphones. Outclassed by lower models in the series, as well as cheaper products produced by its competitors, better value can ultimately be found elsewhere.
It is not that the HD515's sound particularly bad. They have the typical Sennheiser sound, which presents music in a laid back manner. Whilst on their higher models like the HD600 this allows you to relax and enjoy the beautiful quality and detail, on the HD515s it ultimately leads to a rather boring listening session.
We found no notable characteristics to push this model above the competition. They will still be a big step up from stock standard earbuds, but in comparison to other headphones we've seen, such as the Koss KSC-75s or the Alessandro MS-1, they ultimately feel thin and lifeless.
Sennheisers are typically quite bassy headphones, but the HD515s let us down a little in this particular department. Bass didn't have the impact we were hoping for; it was slow and missing the necessary punch to make music exciting.
The mid range was worse still, lacking the detail we've come to expect from companies like Sennheiser. Mid range is one area that is prominent in almost all music, and this its presentation is critical to a great sound signature. Sadly, on the HD515s it felt recessed and blurred in parts and is definitely a step down from something like the Alessandro MS-1,
The treble suffered from a lack of detail as well, although it sounded noticeably better than the mids. It wasn't nearly as recessed and for the most part sounded smooth and clear.
Soundstage was by far the best element of these headphones. Instruments were defined and the three dimensional space was well constructed. This means whilst the HD515s may not be the best choice for music, as a cheaper alternative for games they may fit the bill.
This model follows the standard Sennheiser design, utilising oval shaped cups with a tight, almost vice-like grip around the head. Whilst we found them comfortable in the short term, the tiny cup size and fairly tight fit made us squirm after half an hour or so. Not the worst pair of headphone we've ever worn, but certainly not the best.
What it comes down to is that the HD515s are outclassed in terms of sound quality. For the money we'd much rather buy a pair of Koss KSC-75s or Alessandro MS-1 - also meaning we'd pocket some extra cash and have a superior pair of headphones.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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