I am a fan of the Sennheiser HD25 but there is no denying that the plastic frame it has can feel flimsy from time to time. A metal version would be great and that is what a lot of people thought they were finally getting when Sennheier released the Amperior. It looked to be a HD25, with aluminum cups and a more expensive price tag but that was not the case at all. It had a brand new driver that was rated at 18 Ohms and was made to be a consumer product that catered for people wanting to use it with portable devices. It was close to what people wanted to see but it was not and one of the problems that did follow it around was the RRP of 260 pounds. Move too more recently and Sennheiser release the HD25 Aluminum. Specs are identical to the original HD25 (minus the weight of course) with the 70 Ohm driver and a more professional outlook but we gain that better build and the aluminum housings. It was also a bit kinder on the wallet with a RRP of 210 pounds. It is worth mentioning that both of these models can be had for 200 pounds now.
Physically they do have a few differences. For a start the HD25 has leather ear pads and headband support and the Amperior has velour so this leaves me finding the Aluminums the comfier headphone. However I do not think it is a hard job to swap pads or headband supports on these so this not a big deal. The other major difference is again something that you can change and that is the cable. The Amperior cable is clear intended for portable use. It is very short to start with and you can either attach a simple extender or one with a 3 button remote and microphone. The cable starts of very thick and sturdy but the extension is thinner. The overall cable is shorter and I would go to say more practical. That being said I would just jump on an upgrade cable straight away like the Audiophile one from Custom Cans too quickly ooze a bit more performance out of the headphones. I can notice a few other completely insignificant cosmetic differences but for the rest they are very similar if not the same.
Enough of the background lets get straight to the point with the performance. I would like to talk about the effects the impedance rating have on these headphones first of all because they should be taken instantly into consideration. Ask yourself how you plan on using these, if you’re going to be using a run of the mill mp3 player such as an iPod or your phone then I think instantly the Amperior could well be more for you. It will get louder quicker and is certainly driven with more authority. This being said that does not mean by any means that the HD25 is a no go as its impedance is not that high and can still reach audible levels. If you have or plan on getting (I highly recommend you do) a portable headphone amplifier and one that actually makes a difference, the likes of the Fiio E12 or the JDS Labs C5 at the very least then I think that’s when this comparison is much more exciting.
A clear difference from the start is how clean cut the HD25 is in comparison. Everything is just better rounded and more clear, blurred lines come to mind a bit for the Amperior. The bass is also just tighter on the HD25 with a better punch to the impact. It is more satisfying and I think I feel just a bit more deep presence. I would quickly like to add the overall frequency responses for these two headphones are very similar. They are far from two completely difference sounding headphones and both just have subtle differences. Another one of these is that the HD25 sounds like the warmer, richer and lusher product and also feels thicker and more realistic in timbre. The Amperior is just a bit colder and thinner and does seem to have a tad less bass. I also find that the HD25 are airier, from a better treble extension most likely but it effects the midrange the most giving off a very nice effect. The soundstage on the HD25 has more depth and just feels the more realistic out of the two, not by a long way but noticeably.
The 2m HD25 Aluminum Cable
The short modular Amperior Cable
Every time I compare these two headphones I find myself listening to the HD25 Aluminum a lot longer after each a/b of a song. It does seem to be the better technical headphone of the two and also the more pleasant experience. The Amperior is a nice product but I think the new HD25 is the next step up and I am glad to see this. The new HD25 is a great product and good value as well and I now must say that it is my favourite in the HD25 range.
Mezzo Sompramo MS-AK100 to JDS Labs C5
I have to thanks Custom Cans for sending me these two units over so I can bring you this comparison. If you have not seen what they do then I really recommend checking them out. The customization they do to the HD25s along with a lot of other models from a range of companies is truly great, they can do pretty much as exotic as you can imagine a design and it is well worth the little extra price for that unique product!