We managed to get our hands on 3 variants of Sennheiser’s classic open design phone: the HD414 Anniversary Edition, the HD410, and the HD424. These cans prove to be an interesting find: great sound for the price at a relatively low price. I think if you are into vintage cans, and/or just liking the vintage designs of these phones, they definitely have the sound to back up the looks.
Upon first look, these cans might look lightweight, but in reality they all need quite a powerful amp to shine. The HD414 Anniversary Edition can still play out of an Ipod, but an amp will help with getting the impact. The HD410 and the HD424, however, are totally different. You might be shocked to find out that the puny looking HD410 is actually a very hard cans to drive. Both the HD410 and the HD424 need a lot more gain than the HD650 even! On the Beta22 amplifier, I had to turn the volume to 1 O’clock, and 3 O’clock for the HD424. So don’t apply unless you have some very powerful amplifier.
Fit on all three headphones quite varies. The HD414’s pads is actually very comfortable, and many Grado owners replaced their original pads to the HD414 pad for more comfort. The HD410 is about the same size as the HD414, but it comes with a different, thinner, and more uncomfortable pad. The HD424 with its big diameter and flat pad is the most comfortable of all. I also has a thicker, more comfortable headband. All three HD414, HD410, and HD424 are very lightweight, and they also have a very light clamping force, overall they feel nice on the head. The HD 424 is unique in feel because it is big, full-size circumaurals, and yet they use a flat pad so the feeling is different than other full-size headphones. Both the HD410 and the HD424 comes with a 1/4″ jack, sort of hinting at their power hungry character, while the HD414 comes with a 1/8″.
After listening to all three cans, its very clear that they don’t have the usual Sennheiser dark sound, but instead they sound brighter and more neutral. Its like the HD25-1, except with much less extension, detail, refinement, and bass. Some people commented that the HD414 is the Sennheiser that sounds like a Grado. The HD414 tends to be bright, and while it can be a fun cans to have and throw around, the only thing I can use it for is for low level listening in the office, where I want some low volume background music without any harshness in the long run.
The HD410 is a better version of the HD414, perhaps largely to their higher impedance and hard to drive nature. The HD410 is like listening to the HD414 with added bottom end. Now the sound is no longer thin, and is more involving, more musical.
The HD424 is the best of the trio. It takes that whole HD414/HD410 and improves it to the next level. With the HD424, you actually get good soundstaging, a bigger, and a much fuller sound.