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Sennheiser HD 518

Around-the-ear headphones

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  • Sennheiser HD 518

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  • Sennheiser HD 518

    Pictured with detacheable cable

Item #: 143HD518
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Sennheiser HD 518

by Dave Bar
Sennheiser

Hear what you've been missing
No matter what you listen to, if you want to get the most enjoyment from your music, quality headphones are a must. They allow you to hear so much deeper into the mix on every recording. Sennheiser's HD 518 represents an outstanding headphone value that delivers clear, powerful sound from your home and portable audio sources. Pick up on all the exciting details in your tunes that you may not have noticed before.

The delivery is in the details
The HD 518's open, around-the-ear design features generously padded cups that softly cover your ears for hours of listening comfort. Their sophisticated drivers combine lightweight aluminum voice coils and a powerful magnet structure to deliver exceptional transparency, high efficiency, and excellent dynamic response. Your music runs wide open, with extended bass that energizes everything from rock to Bach. The grilles on the back of the earcups keep the drivers open to the outside to prevent unwanted vibrations from coloring the sound. And Sennheiser's "Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement" (E.A.R.) technology uses an advanced earcup shape to guide sound waves more directly into your ears for even greater levels of detail.

Great looks and a long life
The distinctive grille-like earcup casings gives them a cool, minimalist look. The headphone cord attaches to just one earcup, so you won't have to deal with tangles. Plus, both the earpads and cable are replaceable, which means you can simply swap them out if needed instead of having to buy a whole new pair of headphones.

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Highlights:

  • open, around-the-ear design with replaceable padded earcups
  • padded adjustable headband for a comfortable, custom fit
  • Sennheiser "Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement" (E.A.R.) design channels audio signals directly into your ears for greater detail
  • dynamic drivers with powerful neodymium magnets provides high efficiency and excellent dynamics
  • advanced Duofol diaphragms for transparency and minimal distortion
  • frequency response: 14-26,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 108 dB (1kHz/1Vrms)
  • impedance: 50 ohms
  • 10-foot detachable oxygen-free copper cable with full-sized headphone plug
  • includes stereo mini plug adapter
  • weight: 8.6 oz.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Fit Style
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Around-the-Ear
Earcup Type
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Open
Noise-canceling
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No
Bluetooth
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No
Frequency Response
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14-26k Hz
Sensitivity
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108 dB
Impedance
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50 Ohms
Weight
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8.6 ounces
Cord Length
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120"
Airline Adapter Included
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No
iPod Control
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No
Volume Control
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No
Built-in Microphone
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No
Parts Warranty
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2 Years
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Over-the-ear headphones
  • 10' Detachable cord terminated with a standard 1/4" connector
  • 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
  • Specifications on box

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.): Sennheiser's E.A.R. technology enables ideal sound channeling for an exceptional listening experience. Additionally, sound is optimized using angled acoustic baffles parallel to the listener's ear.

Elliptical Circumaural Ear Cups: The HD 558 headphones feature an around the ear design; the velour covered ear cups are adjustable on multiple axes and the headband extends to optimize fit.

Advanced Duofol Diaphragm: The diaphragms of dynamic headphones typically consist of a very thin film, moved by an attached coil. Sennheiser's Advanced Duofol diaphragm technology effectively eliminates standing waves inside the capsule by using a computer optimized diaphragm shape for purer sound reproduction.

Aluminum Voice Coils: The HD 558s utilize extremely lightweight aluminum voice coils to improve efficiency and ensure excellent transient response.

Detachable Cable: The included detachable cable features a 1/4" connector; a 1/4" to 1/8" (3.5mm) adapter is also included.

 
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Sennheiser HD 518 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

15 people say:

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 "Coolness Factor"
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 Noise Reduction
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5 out of 5

Great Product

Written By Tom M, SF Bay Area on Sunday, April 13, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
didn't rate Noise Reduction because that's not what they're for. I use these to plug into my amp so I can play along with iTunes with my electric bass rather than blasting it loud and playing along with my acoustic. These really handle the lows and I like the overall sound and comfort of them.
Pros:
fairly lightweight and comfortable. reproduce what I'm listening to really well. reasonably price too!
Cons:
don't have any so far
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"Coolness Factor"
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Comfort
Noise Reduction
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5 out of 5

Great Purchase

Written By Rich, Laguna Beach, CA on Friday, January 31, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was looking for a quality headset that delivered comfort and great sound and at a reasonable price. I found the HD518 to give me what I was looking for. PLUS, they were on sale which made them more appealing.
Pros:
Great sound, very comfortable, fits around my ears well. They are also built well since I accidentally tripped over the cord and the headset fell on my tile floor with no damage. I was impressed.
Cons:
They don't offer noise reduction but not complaining.
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"Coolness Factor"
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5 out of 5

awesome headphones

Written By Ben M, State College, PA on Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
These headphones are great. After a good couple hours of breaking them in, they really are nice. They are on the larger side, so if that's a problem, I would note that, but for me they are fine. The sound is something else. All the highs are crisp, sharp, easily distinguishable sounds. The low range is also rather impressive. These definitely have the oomph you need to get what you want out of your music. They are cool looking, but I've seen better, that's why I gave it 4 stars. and the noise reduction, they don't really have noise reduction, but when you have the volume above half you cant hear anything outside the headphones anyway.
Pros:
Great sound. Comfortable. Available at a reasonable price, worth the money.
Cons:
Large size.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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"Coolness Factor"
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5 out of 5

Smooth and comfortable

Written By BobH, Lake Monticello, VA on Sunday, August 25, 2013
 
Being well into my dotage I don't really know what the 'coolness factor' is. I do know what I like, however, and I really like these cans. In the first few hours of use they have, as advertised, some bass emphasis. These have now been 'burned in' over at least twenty hours and are very smooth throughout the sound spectrum. My tastes run to the big band era, classical and Irish music and I find the reproduction of all of these to be impressive. I also own the Grado i60's and Sennheiser 280's. The thing I like about the 518 model is the way it cups the ears rather than sitting on the ears. While the Grado's are also impressive over the spectrum I found them uncomfortable in that they sit on the ear and press my glasses into my skull. Neither the 518 nor the 280 does this as both cup the ear with a soft, replaceable, covering. The build quality seems to be very good as the set seems to be quite sturdy. What I like most now they are burned in is the smoothness of the sound throughout the spectrum from low bass to the high notes. The harmony of various strings as they play together (I'm thinking of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2) is really the best I have heard through any headphones. Since these are what are called 'open' there is some sound leakage as one is listening, but it is certainly not objectionable as it is difficult to hear if one is a few feet away. I would certainly recommend these to anyone who enjoys music but needs to be available for outside calls.
Pros:
comfort and clarity replaceable coverings on headset, replaceable cord
Cons:
I haven't found anything to complain about, so I won't.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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"Coolness Factor"
Build Quality
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Noise Reduction
Sound Quality
 
5 out of 5

Sennheiser HD 518

Written By Tom, Ga on Friday, April 05, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great headphones for the money.
Pros:
Light, well fitting, good sound reproduction
Cons:
None
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"Coolness Factor"
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Noise Reduction
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5 out of 5

Quality Headphones

Written By Bolohead, Honolulu on Friday, March 22, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Quality headphones for the price. A very good buy. Another plus for Crutchfield is there is no shipping charge to Hawaii.
Pros:
I spend a lot of time on my computer & these headphones are very comfortable. Sound quality is very good.
Cons:
Only drawback is no noise reduction.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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"Coolness Factor"
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4 out of 5

Great sounding

Written By Jaime, Barryville, NY on Friday, February 08, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is an initial review; my opinion may change for the better after more hours of listening. Initially the highs were somewhat harsh and the lows were a bit "boomy", but gradually things are mellowing. I listen to classical music and I am rediscovering my collection of vinyl and finding some real gems. Overall, very pleased with these cans.
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5 out of 5

The Best!

Written By John G, Forestville,Maryland on Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I've owned several name brand headphone's,they were great for the time period that they where made,but they also where very heavy.The Sennheiser HD518's,are remarkably light,yet they cover the gamet(sound).
Pros:
Lightness, Sonic range,and they look cool.
Cons:
NONE !
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"Coolness Factor"
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5 out of 5

Great Home Listening

Written By Erik, Chicago on Saturday, December 29, 2012
 
I use these headphones strictly inside of a home environment. During these hours the listening is fantastic through many formats. I use them with my phone sparingly considering they don't receive quite the proper amount of power via this method. Still adequate for late night listening. I also use these with a home theater receiver headphone input and this seems to be where they shine. The open back design really seems to let these headphones "breath". This sonic breath ability coupled with a lightweight and comfortable design results in hours of enjoyment without ear fatigue. Cable length is fairly long for mobile use but I my intent was for stay at home headphones anyway.
Pros:
Warm sound seems to come from a peripheral sound stage thanks to Sennheiser's E.A.R. technology. Ligthweight. Headphone amp isn't required but they seem to open up moreso when connected to powered source. The price is a very affordable price range.
Cons:
If you're looking for something to ride the subway using I would look elsewhere but any other application this should be your first choice.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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"Coolness Factor"
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5 out of 5

HD 518

Written By Saize, Palm Harbor, FL on Friday, June 29, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very nice headphones, I would say they are the one of the best at this price point. They really bring out details in songs that you may not have heard before. I would recomend pairing these with a decent headphone.amplifier to really bring out more bass.
Pros:
Extremely comfortable(i forget im wearing them!) Bright crisp highs Very good midrange Long enough cable for most any use Feel very durable, most likely will last a few years at least
Cons:
The low end is slightly lacking, an amplifier helps this problem considerably (really not that bad, dont let this con turn you away unless you just NEED ridiculous bass) Sound leaks due to open design, may not be a con for some people, I use them at home so it isnt a problem for me.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent depth and clarity

Written By Patrick, Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought the Sennheiser 518s specifically to get more depth when listening to the new Silversun Pickups album: their music is characterized by many different layers of sound and my old headphones weren't up to the task. These seemed to strike a good balance among cost, specs, and positive reviews. I can confidently say that these are the clearest pair of headphones I've ever owned, particularly the often-overlooked midrange. The bass is rich without being oppressive and the upper ranges are well-defined without being harsh. They're comfortable after hours of wear and - thankfully - accommodate the large-headed among us. Being open-back, they leak sound and do not isolate; the benefit is a much more realistic sound and, to my mind, a more enjoyable experience. I strongly recommend these as a good, relatively inexpensive pair of audiophile headphones.

One additional note: I placed my order after 5 PM on a Friday. The Crutchfield staff had my order shipped and out the door within an hour and I received it early the next week. I'd expected my order to have missed the cutoff, but I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed!
Pros:
- Impeccable sound quality, - Comfortable to use for long periods, - Well-constructed, and - Very reasonably priced for the level of quality.
Cons:
- Single long cord makes portable listening a bit awkward
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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"Coolness Factor"
Build Quality
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5 out of 5

Great Product

Written By Jeff K, Dyer, IN on Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Given as a gift, I'm glad I took the time to research the product! Great priice, great quality......Just Great!!!
Pros:
Price and quality!
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5 out of 5

Great Buy

Written By Mike, Texarkana, TX on Monday, January 30, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have only used these and Bose and I think these sound better. I like the over the ear style and they are very comfortable. They have a very long cord, 10 feet. Only problem is if you are using them with ipod, phone, etc. you will have to use the converter to get the smaller connector. That makes the connector kind of large. They work super plugged into a receiver.
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Right choice

Written By DanH, Omaha, NE on Friday, November 11, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Definitely satisfied with the purchase. They're comfortable and remain so during long-term listening. Althought they sound really good out of the box, they required a break-in period before the sound was fully flat and correct. It wasn't really an inconvenience as I'd just leave the headphones playing some Diana Krall, while I was off doing other things. After about 20 hours of this, it was easy to recognize the improvement, but it may not be something everyone would hear, and definitly wouldn't hear if they were broken-in with actual use. I'm just very particular about the way my music sounds. The bass is clear, warm, and not overpowering. The mid & upper frequencies are very clear and realistic. Spacial imaging is very good. Overall, I think everyone would enjoy listening to the 518s.
11 out of 11 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Good Bass response

Written By WadeM, Raleigh,NC on Wednesday, September 07, 2011
 
These headphones give good flat response with a heavier bass end between 500 hz and 5K khz that boosts solid bass and even transitions for classical music and light rock ( James Taylor) for a joy ride of balance.
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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