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Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Oct 03, 2016 at 02:08 pm
Sennheiser HD 518 Picture
Test Methodology v1.3.1
5.5
Mixed Usage
7.7
Neutral Sound
4.6
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
5.3
Office
4.6
Wireless Gaming
6.4
Wired Gaming
1.7
Phone Call
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 518 are a good, low-budget pair of critical listening headphones. They deliver a decently balanced and open sound quality. They're comfortable and somewhat sturdy but are a bit bulky and tight on the head. However, they're not casual headphones and are only meant to be used in quiet, isolated environments.

Our Verdict

5.5 Mixed Usage

Not designed for casual, everyday use. The HD 518 are critical listening headphones best enjoyed in an isolated and quiet environment.

7.7 Neutral Sound

The Sennheiser HD 518 deliver a good audio reproduction and open sound quality. They have a crisp representation of instruments and vocals and a spacious and immersive soundstage thanks to the open back ear cups. They sound a bit boomier and less evenly balanced than the HD 598 but still offer a good enough sound for most neutral listeners.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
4.6 Commute/Travel

Not meant for commuting or traveling. Their open design does not prevent noise from seeping into your audio.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.5 Sports/Fitness

Not sports headphones. They're big, bulky and a bit cumbersome. They're not designed to be used while doing any physical activity.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.3 Office

Not suitable for office use except if you work in an isolated environment.

See our Office recommendations
6.4 Wired Gaming
1.7 Phone Call
  • 5.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Neutral Sound
  • 4.6 Commute/Travel
  • 5.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.3 Office
  • 4.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.4 Wired Gaming
  • 1.7 Phone Call
Pros
  • Good and open audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Sensitive to ambient noise, by design.
  • High leakage by design, can be distracting to others.
  • Slightly bulky and cumbersome design.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Sennheiser HD 518 are not the most eye-catching or stylish open over-ear headphones. They have a similar aesthetic to the HD 598 but lack a few of the premium touches that the more expensive models of Sennheiser HD series provide. This makes them look a bit cheap at a glance, especially with the thick and plastic ear cup grills. On the other hand, the headband and ear cup padding do look and feel high-end for their price.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.54 lbs
Clamping Force
0.97 lbs

The Sennheiser HD 518, like the HD 598 and the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, are well padded comfortable headphones. The large oval ear cups fully encompass the ears and the cushioned fabric is soft and feels good on the skin. Unfortunately, they're a bit tight on the head. It's not as noticeable as some other over-ear headphones but it does make them a bit less comfortable than the HD 598.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use N/A
Feedback N/A
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control N/A
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons N/A
6.8
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 4.7 C
5.4
Design
Portability
L 8.38 "
W 6.88 "
H 3.50 "
Volume 201.8 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

Like the Beyerdynamic DT 770, the HD 518 are on the larger side for over-ear headphones. They're not designed to be very portable. They're bulky, and the ear cups do not lay flat to take less space. They also don't fold into a more compact format. They will fit into a backpack and some larger bags but are too cumbersome to carry around on your person. Sadly, they don't come with a case or pouch either.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.0
Design
Build Quality

Decent build quality. The Sennheiser HD 518 feel sturdy enough to withstand a few falls without damage. The ear cups are comparatively dense, and the headband has a thin metal frame that gives a bit more durability to the design. However, like the HD 598 the metal frame connects to the ear cups by a relatively thin swivel hinge that seems susceptible to heavy physical stress.

6.5
Design
Stability

The Sennheiser HD 518 are decently stable headphones. However, they're not designed to be used while doing any physical activities. They will sway and quickly fall off your head but do maintain a stable and comfortable fit during casual listening sessions. Unfortunately, the cable is not detachable and will yank the headphones of your head if it gets hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones
  • 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
  • Audio cable

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.82 db
Treble Amount
-3.1 db
7.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.55 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.48 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
44.26 Hz
Low-Bass
-4.44 dB
Mid-Bass
1.8 dB
High-Bass
4.55 dB
7.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.87 dB
Low-Mid
4.01 dB
Mid-Mid
2.38 dB
High-Mid
-0.79 dB
8.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.81 dB
Low-Treble
0.13 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.98 dB
High-Treble
-3.21 dB
7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.4 db
Dips
1.25 db
8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.24
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.94
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.7
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.77
7.1
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.6 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.8 dB
PRTF Distance
9.0 dB
Openness
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.0
7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.145
WHD @ 100
0.434
Isolation
1.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-3.7 dB
Bass
0.1 dB
Mid
1.37 dB
Treble
-12.2 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones have an open-back design and therefore don't isolate any sound below 2KHz. Above 2KHz, they perform poorly, achieving only 13dB of overall attenuation in the Treble Range.

2.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
59.36 dB

Poor leakage. Due to their open-back design, the Sennheiser HD 518 leak a lot of sound throughout a broad range of frequencies. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 300Hz and 20KHz which makes the leaked sound quite audible to the people around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
N/A
In-line
N/A
Boom
N/A
Detachable Boom
N/A
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
N/A
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving Feature
N/A
Audio While Charging
N/A
Passive Playback
N/A
Charging Port N/A
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
N/A
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
N/A
Playback Control
N/A
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A

No compatible app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
Yes
Detachable No
Length 9.97 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Sennheiser HD 518 Price

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