Sennheiser HD410, HD414, and HD424

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.

senn-sixtyyears-image1Fit 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.

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  • Tjpines

    I’ve had my HD424’s since the mid-1970s, and I still enjoy them today.  I drive them from the headphone jack on my Yamaha C-55 preamp; power amp is a Marantz 15.

    • Anonymous

      Nice! I miss listening to the HD424.

  • Johnny Siu

    I have had my HD410 since 70’s.  Now my children have grown up and they love their dad’s headphone.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Amazing!

  • Chris in LA

    The 424’s you have pictured above, with black end caps, seem to be scarce as hens teeth. Nearly every pair I’ve seen on the market have silver caps (the part that says, “Sennheiser HD424″, etc.). I’ve had both and the drivers in the black version are significantly lighter. What’s the difference? Is the impedance different?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Chris,
      Looks like you’re more knowledgeable about the different HD424 versions than I am. I absolutely have no idea what the differences are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002177575907 Dominik Howland

    I have an old pair of Sennheiser HD 410’s and wonder if I could sell them. Do you think I will find somebody who buys them and how much would it be worth (if it is worth)?
    I couldn’t find any information about their price usw.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Aww I have no idea what they would be worth today.

  • Clondoner

    I love my HD 424 phones; bought them in the late 1970’s and have changed the ear pads periodically. Very light weight but must use a good amp to get quality sound….will play softly if the amp has the power to replicated the softnpassages.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      The other day I was just telling my friend who collects vintage headphones to go hunt the HD424 as I still remember how pleasant it was.

      • Clondoner

        Mike, I’ve read that the HD424 had several evolutions with each one having a different sound to it. Mine are the older ones I think; they are very flat on bass, and very bright on middle and upper tones. I enjoy all kinds of music with them but of course must use a Receiver because the impedence is 250 Ohms . I have no idea if they will respond to an mp3 or an Ipad requirements.
        Carroll A. Londoner, PhD
        Professor Emeritus
        Virginia Commonwealth University
        Adult Education & HRD
        CAPT (Ret). CHC, USN

        Sent from my iPad2

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Oh yes they definitely won’t run out of an MP3 player or an Ipad. Need a receiver or a big amp for the HD424s.

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  • Calvin Purnomo

    Curious here, is it as thin as AKG K701? One of local headphone store here was selling it pretty darn cheap. Just curious how thin-ish this little fella sounds. :D

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Ummm
      Definitely not like the K701. If you can get it cheap just go for it, it has quite a fan base and I think it’s a pretty nice sounding headphone.

      • Calvin Purnomo

        Okay, just snagged it. Let’s just hear it as soon as I get it. Thankies Mike! :)

    • Calvin Purnomo

      Just got it and made a cable for it (Hard time soldering the HPSC plug btw). A very fun sounding headphone indeed! And yes it’s far away from the AKG, much more Grado-ish. Still, got enough detail and brightness for a headphones I got at this price point! Bright enough sans the sibilance. My DT880 now sounds a lot more sibilant.
      Light enough to be driven right out of my Mac. Durable build can be seen from how solid it is.

      Best buy of my life.. :))

  • Evan Caverley

    I Actually still have a pair of the original (white) 2000 ohm impedance HD414s, while I understand you were testing newer available gear, The sound reproduction is completely different to the modern (anniversary edition pair) I have actually tested all the models tested here over the years and still opted to keep my original pair of HD414’s because to peformance was quite noticeably much better from the earlier models. So in conclusion I would seriously suggest to anyone keen on obtaining a pair of retro style earphones with outstanding sound reproduction, try second hand, And if looked after the older the better as they reduced the impedance periodically during their production run, also, the company produced of 10 000 000 pairs of HD414 from 1968 so there are still definitely great units out there to be continually enjoyed!!!

  • Yohan Seris

    I’d love to try these out for their neutrality albeit high impedances.

    I would say the best cans I’ve ever used are the Sennheiser HD25 1 ii, ATH-M50 by Audio Technica and the BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro not necessarily in that order and they are all around the same price at around the £139 mark

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      I had the original HD414 and it was awful. The 30th anniversary HD414 was much better (ca. 1998). The HD424 was much better than the original HD414, but not nearly as hi-fi as the 30th anniversary HD414. Sennheiser included printed freq. response curves with the HD414 and HD424, and they sounded exactly like the printed curves.

  • Frustrated Teacher

    Had a pair of 414’s when I was a teenager. They were the best phones I have EVER had but unfortunately they didn’t survive High School (I think I had a wire go bad and just threw them out…>DUH). NOTHING made today matches them for lightness and sound quality. It didn’t feel like you were wearing phones at all but they had a big rich sound…….sigh….

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      The 424 came with a printed response curve that actually matched how it sounded! I sure liked mine.