We've seen several audio manufacturers joining forces with fashion brands and celebrities to come up some cool headphones, like Philips's O'Neill tangle-free cans and the Monster Beats collaboration with Dr Dre. For its latest release, Sennheiser has teamed up with German sports giant Adidas to offer an Adidas Originals version of the HD 25 headphones.
The Adidas Originals HD 25-1-II headphones are closed back cans that are intended for pro DJs, but they could also be used to add a touch of style to your commute by teaming them with your iPod or PMP. The headphones bear the telltale Adidas triple-stripe on each earcup, as well as the trefoil logo on the centre of the one of the earpieces and on the top of the headband. The blue stripes match the electric blue padding in the inside of the headphones, resuilting in a very slick look that's sure to get Adidas fans champing at the bit.
The headphones are reasonably compact and while not exactly featherlight, they're not particularly heavy either, weighing in at 162g. A cheapo storage pouch is supplied in the box which won't offer any extra cushioning, but it may prevent any scratches or scrapes turning up on your fancy cans when they're in your bag with your keys. Overall, the design feels reassuringly robust so we can't see them breaking too easily.
One of the key design elements of the HD 25-1-II, and one that awards them pro DJ status, is the inclusion of a rotatable earcup for one-ear listening. Pivoting through 180 degrees, there's plenty of room for manoeuvre so you should be able to find a comfortable position for lining up the next track on your decks.
The earcups themselves are a little on the small size and while this is good news in terms of portability, it does mean that the cushioned pads sit on your ears rather than around them which can make them feel a tad too warm. Whilst the cans don't include noise-cancelling technology, they do block out a fair bit of sound, which is obviously an important factor for a DJ at a noisy club or party. To accomplish this, the headphones sit very close to the head and we actually found that they felt quite tight so they weren't really that comfortable after a while. An alternative pair of soft earpads are also provided, with the plush finish offering a little extra cushioning but not really enough to make any huge difference to the comfort (or lack of it). Plus, the soft earpads are white, so we can see them getting grubby pretty quickly. And they don't look anywhere near as cool as the default, electric blue earpads.
The headband is quite unusual in that it's made up of two pieces of plastic that can be pulled apart to find the most confortable position, or you can just leave them in their original position for a more conventional look. Both halves of the headband include a piece of electric blue padding on the underside.
At 1.5m, the bright blue cable is a decent length and will give you plenty of room for movement. The fact that the cable is wired to one earcup, rather than both, means that you shouldn't have any wires dangling in your way, which can be the case when the cable is wired to both earphones in a Y shape. The cable sports a 3.5mm connector that's angled at 90 degrees, which is a good design choice as it tends to prevent the wire from being constantly bent over the plug and eventually wearing out and breaking. There's also a 6.3mm jack adaptor that screws neatly onto the end so that you can plug the headphones into all your DJ and AV gear.
The closed-design does a superb job of keeping noise out, making these a fine choice for DJs and those that want to block out the rush-hour drudgery on their way to work. Sennheiser has a long heritage as a maker of quality headphones and it's easy to see why. The sound performance offered by the HD 25-1-II really is superb, being both well-balanced and extremely clear. You can really hear the quality when it comes to bass performance, which is full of depth and punch even on the most bass-laden of tracks.
We found that the HD 25-1-II really didn't deliver on the promises of comfort made by the manufacturer, but then we're willing to concede that this is something that's down to personal taste. Where the headphones did impress us was with their audio quality, particularly the bass. The headphones also get the thumbs-up for the slick black and blue Adidas-based aesthetics.
If you're after a pair of slick DJ cans or you're a die-hard Adidas fan, then there's certainly enough here to recommend the HD 25-1-II, although the price may be too much for some.