Sleek, comfortable, and durable, Sennheiser's Euro-styled HD555 headphones weigh a mere 9.2 ounces and feel luxurious. They exerted minimal pressure on our ears, which allowed us to forget at times that we were even wearing them--a big compliment for headphones.
The Sennheiser HD555s, which cost less than $150 online, have an open-backed design that makes for spacious audio, but the 'phones leak sound and may disturb others in your vicinity. The HD555s are fitted with a 10-foot cable and a 1/4-inch plug; a 1/8-inch miniplug adapter is also included.
These headphones' wide-open sound is ideal for DVDs, eliminating the inside-your-head effect common to most 'phones and providing the sort of layered depth and imaging we normally hear from speakers. Seabiscuit sounded glorious: the pounding hooves, the roaring crowds, and the sweeping musical score were all well served by the HD555s. Dialogue was perfectly clear and bass response was deep and powerful. On our reference Grado headphones, the sound was more immediate and clear but significantly less open and comfortable.
While we were impressed by the HD555s' home-theater performance, its music reproduction fell a bit short. On Jazz Descargas, a CD of passionate Afro-Cuban percussion, the HD555s sounded a little too sweet and laid back, as the 'phones softened the interplay between the drummers. Aerosmith's blues CD, Honkin' on Bobo, also sounded a tad restrained for our tastes. We preferred Sennheiser's more vividheadphones.