Sennheiser HD 555 Headphones Review – Reviewed

route

The cups have a large black oval mesh on the outside and removable fabric pads on the inside. removing a pad allows you to see the sound element through a thin piece of cloth and a plastic ribcage. this is the closest you will get to the sound element.

the cups tilt back and forth in a 30 degree arc and can rotate a few degrees perpendicular to the band.

Reading: Sennheiser hd555 stereo headphone

The band itself is predominantly black, stretchable plastic. the top of the band has a pad on the bottom that can be removed, but it uses an adhesive to stick on, so we don’t recommend prying unless you’re looking to replace it.

the cable extends from the left ear cup and is quite long. terminates in a 1/4-inch jack.

in the box

the sennheiser hd 555 headphones come with just one extra in the box: a 3.5mm adapter. This adapter is almost a necessity because while 1/4-inch ports are common outputs on home theater equipment, they’re rarely seen elsewhere; most portable media players and a growing number of audio systems now come with 3.5mm plugs. The inclusion of this adapter significantly increases the ease of use of the HD 555s.

durability

the hd 555 headphones seem to be quite durable, but they do have some problems. for the most part, everything is made of a fairly solid plastic. the strap is not collapsible and is made of a softer plastic so it will buckle if it is folded back. obviously this is preferable to simply snapping it in two, but this flexing could still have an adverse effect on the cables inside. additionally, folding the band will open the panel to which the padding is attached and reveal the cables.

Tilt and rotation of the cups also feel a bit flimsy. when they are fully tilted/rotated, it feels like a little more force could easily break them.

The cable is possibly the most durable aspect of these headphones. the cable itself is nice and thick, and feels incredibly strong. also, the cable protectors are exceptionally good. the bumper near the ear cups provides good flexibility and protection, and the bumper towards the jack is simply one of the best we’ve seen; this cable should last a long time.

aesthetics

Overall, we like the look of the sennheiser hd 555 headphones. they’re not particularly flashy, but they look clean and well-designed. the cloth ear cushions certainly indicate that these headphones are not a disposable pair. the width of the band and the size of the cups make the set look respectably robust. the mesh on the outside and tiltable cups keep them from looking plain. Overall, the HD 555s manage to look good without looking flashy; they have more to do with function than form.

summary

distortion

distortion is the bane of the music lover’s life; the music sounds bad when the sound is distorted because the headphones are not up to the task. although it does not seem to be with the hd 555; we saw low levels of distortion across the board in our tests.

Our system examines the distortion introduced by headphones when playing a series of tightly controlled sounds at a typical listening level of around 78 dbspl and examines the results for any differences from the original waveform. the graph below shows what is called total harmonic distortion (thd), which is the amount of distortion (as a percentage) of a frequency and the higher frequency harmonics that give the sound its texture. the graph starts with low frequencies on the left and rises to higher frequencies on the right.

See also: Sennheiser RS 120 Headphones Review – TurboFuture

Over this wide range, the hd 555 has low distortion, reaching only a slight peak at the low end, where we typically see some distortion even with the best headphones. what this means is that your music will play cleanly at all frequencies; there are no large spikes in this graph to indicate that you are having problems with particular frequencies. and distortion in the bass is not a big problem; If you’re a fan of drums and bass, the HD 555 will cleanly reproduce the big bass sound you love.

tracking

Because most people have two ears, headphones have two channels; the left and right channel. In this test, we see if there are big differences between the sound that comes through the two channels; if there is, the music would sound unbalanced. again the hd 555s work fine here – we only saw very, very small differences between the two sides. the maximum difference between the two is just 1.27 percent, which is virtually inaudible.

Our test system also outputs the following graph, showing tracking over the 80 to 10,000hz frequency range. if the line is at 0 percent, that indicates that the sound at that frequency from the two channels is identical. if it goes above that line, the left channel is stronger, and if it goes below that line, the right channel is stronger.

the hd 555 also performed well in this test; Although the tracking does turn off slightly at higher frequencies, the vast majority of the graph is near the 0 percent line, meaning the HD 555s produces a well-balanced sound for all but the most finicky audiophile, if you placed correctly on the head.

maximum usable volume

The distortion test we do above is run at a fairly normal listening level of 78 dbspl, but some people like it loud, so we also test how loud we can turn the volume up. we test this by how loud we can turn the volume up until the distortion in the sound reaches an audible (and annoying) level of 3 percent.

the hd 555s manages to hit an impressive 115.4 dbspl volume before our test system gives a complaint, which should be loud enough even for fans of loud music; that’s about the equivalent of a jet plane taking off, and it’s approaching the level that will cause permanent hearing damage. We don’t recommend doing this test yourself (we use a test system with replaceable ears; yours don’t), but it’s nice to know you can turn up the volume if you want without distorting the sound.

isolation

The flip side of the volume at which you listen to music is isolation; how well do the headphones block outside sound? the hd 555s do a poor job at this; its open design and lack of active noise cancellation circuitry means it only blocks an average of 3.2db of outside sound. in other words, they don’t block much. Contrast that with typical in-ear earphones (such as the Etymotic ER6i and Shure SE210), which block an average of 30dB of sound.

The graph below shows the same frequency range from 80 to 10,000hz, with the line indicating how much sound is blocked at that frequency; higher is better.

As you can see, for most frequencies, it doesn’t block very much; virtually nothing in the low and mid frequencies (like airplane noise), but a little in the high frequencies (like music and speech). If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to help you hide from the world, the HD 555 is not the one for you. look at a pair of in-ear headphones like the er 6i or a pair with active noise cancellation, like the bose quietcomfort 2 or 3.

leak

Since the hd 555s don’t block out much outside sound, it’s perhaps not surprising that they let a lot of their own sound out. in our tests we found that a significant amount of sound leaked out of the earphones; I could easily hear and identify what was playing from a few feet away, even at moderate volume. HD 555s aren’t a good choice if you don’t want the person next to you on the bus to know about your unfortunate fondness for the new kids on the block.

short-term use

here we simply customize the headset to fit our heads and then wear it for an hour.

See also: Beats vs. Apple: Which of These Audio Giants Has the Best Gear In Town? – Rolling Stone

Overall, we think these headphones are really comfortable. Although we never forgot we were wearing the headphones because of their moderate weight (9.5 ounces) and the pressure on our ears, we didn’t feel uncomfortable either. they sit well and the open design means your ears won’t sweat. HD 555 headphones provide a comfortable listening experience.

long use

After about six hours of use, we noticed a little more weight and the fabric started to itch a bit. however, these sensations were very subtle and didn’t really detract from our listening experience. the main annoyance, which is very minor, is that our head movement was a bit restricted, as stretching our necks too far forward or backward would eventually cause them to slip. therefore, these headphones will not work during exercise or other vigorous activity.

wired connectivity

the hd 555 have a three meter long cable. this is approximately 9.84 feet, making these headphones a viable jump rope substitute. the cable ends in a 1/4-inch plug, but thankfully there’s a 3.5mm adapter.

customization

Apart from the headphones themselves, there’s only one other item in the box: a 1/4-inch adapter. a user only knows the basics of normal use: extend the band and rotate the earmuffs to better fit their head. the sennheiser hd 555 headphones do not offer many customization options.

portability

the sennheiser hd 555 are not laptops at all. Like over-the-ear headphones, these things take up a lot of space. They also have about 10 feet of cord, but no carrying case to keep everything organized. Granted, these headphones are made for home use, but it would have been nice if Sennheiser had included something to help transport the HD 555 from one place to another.

maintenance

the padding on the hd 555 cups can be removed, but that’s about all you’ll be able to remove without a screwdriver. under the padding there is a fabric screen over the sound element that cannot be easily removed.

While this feature will allow you to easily replace the ear pads, it will not allow you to access the sound element without tearing the fabric cover. also, the band padding cannot be removed.

other functions

battery

the hd 555 headphones do not require a battery. this ability gives them some easy points. bose’s quietcomfort series should pay attention.

value

the sennheiser hd 555 headphones cost around $179.95. while that’s not cheap, it’s not a bad deal considering the quality of sound they produce and the overall quality of their build. but you must be aware of what you are buying. these headphones are designed for a home theater setup, one where their leakage and lack of noise cancellation won’t be much of an issue. the headphones don’t come with many extras, but that’s mainly because the extras in the box are meant to improve portability. they are quite comfortable (although sometimes they are a little itchy), and the cable is a very good length. Overall, the HD 555 headphones are definitely worth considering.

conclusion

the sennheiser hd 555 headphones are clearly designed for a home theater environment. while they fulfill this role well, unfortunately they are limited to it. these headphones are not a good choice if you are looking for something you can also travel with. First of all, its cloth padding doesn’t do much to insulate you from the outside world. second, they have an open back. while this helps represent a more open and airy sound, it will also let everyone on the bus know you’re rocking a la bouche. Plus, while you could just stuff the extra six feet of cable into your pocket, it’s cumbersome to do so.

In their native environment, a home theater setup, these headphones should perform much better. sound quality should be good and distortion should be minimal, even at high volumes. The long cable allows you to easily connect to your entire room stereo system without having to rely on a sometimes spotty wireless connection. Its cloth ear cushions also provide a comfortable wearing experience, though the cloth can itch a bit over time. the only possible drawback is the lack of noise cancellation and the leakage factor. if you are looking to minimize the noise of watching action movies at 3 am. m., the hd 555s will help, but don’t expect to get away with it if you’re in the same room as someone sleeping. Similarly, if you’re looking for some peace and quiet with your roommate who plays loud music, don’t expect the HD 555s to block out much of it.

Overall, the sennheiser 555 headphones are not a bad piece of equipment. they’re not built as well as other over-the-ear or over-the-ear headphones, and they lack extras, but at $180 they’re cheap enough to consider.

See also: Windows 10 Audio Crackling: 10 Ways To Fix The Problem

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