Sennheiser HD 448 Stereo Headphones
A relaxing respite within the workday
During his tenure as a Crutchfield staff writer, Marshall Chase wrote about home theater receivers, sound bars, and in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.
More from Marshall Chase
When you connect quality headphones to an MP3 player, you create not just an accompaniment to what's going on around you, but an occasional escape from it as well. I'm thinking mainly about work. The Sennheiser HD 448 headphones headphones are a terrific way of getting away, while remaining seated and productive and yes, even more focused on the task at hand.
Quiet, comfortable and cool getaway
The first thing I noticed about the HD 448s when I put them on is that before I even played anything through them, they blocked outside noise nicely. This comes in handy in a busy workplace, until a co-worker approaches the unaware listener who is briefly jarred back to dialogue. Once the music kicks in, even the noisy ventilation system takes a hiatus. The HD 448s go over the ears, which I find preferable for comfort as well as listening. And they don't squeeze my glasses too hard or make my ears tired and sweaty.
I began the audition of the HD 448s with a song I've heard many times, John Lennon's classic, Number Nine Dream. The main point I was focused on was the prominence of the bass line. I wanted it there without it overwhelming John's vocals or even the tambourine in the background. I got exactly what I hoped for. An excellent balance and clarity carried throughout. Even the whispers in the track, the tinkling of the bells, the squeak of the hand on the guitar neck, all the signature points of this tune had the correct resonance, until the last faded verse of Lennon's mantra.
The approach of a birthday with a zero at the end of it always makes me reminisce. So I jumped onto my Rhapsody account and over to the Senior Year 1978 playlist. Here the Tramps set things ablaze with the bass line of Disco Inferno. Here, the bass IS the point. But this is disco bass, meant to sway the dancer not adjoining buildings.
Repeatedly, I found the HD 448s gave the bass retained the appropriate balance. Gloria Gaynor's melodic, breathy and right-on-the-beat vocal on I Will Survivepunched through without causing me any pain or discomfort.
Making work play
The last test I gave the HD 448s was a few tracks by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. These artists do amazing covers ranging from Beethoven's Ode to Joy to Wheatus's Teenage Dirtbag. The ensemble plays all sorts of ukuleles up and down the register, including, bass. Their renditions include complex charts, solo vocals and group harmonies.
I must admit a particular affinity for their performance of Ennio Morricone's classic theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The self-made sound effects, the whistling of the UOGB came through perfectly as did the layer upon layer of string instrumentation. Not a stroke or a strum went missing. This was an admirable performance both from the group and the headphones.
Excellent buy all-round
My impression of the Sennheiser HD 448 is that they are a choice, mid-priced headphone value. The sound quality is commendable. They are comfortable, block out noise, and make an outstanding set of phones to wear at the office and disappear in. They come with an extension to their single, replaceable cord. This is very handy for those who might need to run the cable to the front of a computer under the desk, or into an iPod® that sits in a purse that sits on the floor.
An included adapter converts the minijack into a 1/4" headphone plug for your home stereo. Sennheiser provides a drawstring pouch to put the headphones in when you're going from Point A to Point B and don't want to mix the headphones with your peanut butter toast. The Sennheiser HD 448 headphones deserve to go with you to the office or wherever you like to take a time out or simply lay down a soundtrack to your life.