Having a pair of wireless earphones for listening to your favorite music while going through your daily routines can be a great idea. Sennheiser HD1 in-ear earphones are quite popular because of its excellent sound quality and battery life. However, the company has released a new model called Sennheiser HD1 Free. So, how are Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free different?
Below, we will discuss further about:
– The design and comfort of each pair of earphones
– The connectivity features of HD1 and HD1 Free
– The comparison of their performance and sound quality
– The battery life of Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free
– Which pair of in-ear wireless earphones that is generally better
Sennheiser HD1: Design
Sennheiser HD1 arrives in a thin black box that doesn’t have too much decoration. Inside, you will find a molded travel case which holds the headset with dangling buds, four pairs of rubber tips, a charging cable, and the user manual. See also: Sennheiser HD1 vs Bose QC35
The design is rather simple and minimalist, but it still has enough style to make you stand out. It has a neckband that is clad in black leather, and there are red accents across the wires and silver caps on the buds themselves. For sure, this is a pair of very stylish and fashionable earphones. Perhaps the only weakness is that the neckband is not waterproof, so it is not recommended for workout and going out in a rainy day.
All the buttons are located on the left side. There, you can find the power button, an LED indicator for pairing and power status, a multifunction button for playing/pausing music and answering calls, and the volume controls. Hold the volume controls down to skip songs. The end of the neckband can be popped open to reveal the Micro USB charging port.
On each side, the bud is attached to the bottom side, so it won’t get accidentally ripped out when you try to reach for the volume. The earpieces are made of metal and have been designed ergonomically to provide a secure yet comfortable fit. As noted by CNET, the four eartips pairs are of different sizes: large, medium, small, and extra small. The earpieces create a solid seal, so you won’t hear most sounds from the outside even when not playing any music.
Sennheiser HD1: Connectivity and Battery Life
Both Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free have excellent connectivity, but the older Sennheiser HD1 uses Bluetooth 4.1 while the newer Sennheiser HD1 Free uses Bluetooth 4.2. Both are compatible with aptX and AAC.
Connecting Sennheiser HD1 to a smartphone couldn’t be any easier. You enter the pairing mode by pressing the power button down for three seconds. Or, if your phone supports NFC, you can just tap the logo on the left side of the neckband to the phone.
Furthermore, Sennheiser HD1 can connect to two devices at the same time. This will allow you to work on a laptop or tablet while being able to answer calls on your phone. The Bluetooth has a 10-meter range, so you will have some freedom of movement.
Sennheiser HD1 doesn’t show any delay or lag during playback. Since this headset supports aptX and AAC, you will be able to stream high-quality audio from the source device and enjoy rich, highly detailed music.
According to the specs, these earphones can operate continuously for up to 10 hours per charge. However, that number is based on a constant playback at 75dB, which is fairly loud. If you prefer to listen to music at a lower volume, you can squeeze 30 – 60 more minutes before you need to recharge the headset. Sennheiser HD1 only takes 90 minutes to recharge from zero to full, which is pretty fast.
Sennheiser HD1: Sound Quality
So, how is the sound quality of Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free? To be honest, there is almost no perceptible difference. They both sound amazingly good. They consistently deliver warm, rich music with plenty of detail. They both are incredibly enjoyable to listen to for hours.
Interestingly, while most in-ear headphones excel in midrange and treble, Sennheiser HD1 is particularly good in the low-end. Bass lines and kick drums sound solid and life-like, creating such a beautiful sound signature. The high-end does have some shimmer without being overly sibilant. There is good sound separation so that you can distinguish different instruments easily and hear the details of each.
Although the sounds are accurate, Sennheiser HD1 isn’t flat or analytical. Sounds coming out from the earpieces tend to be warm, punchy, and dynamic. The passive noise isolation is great; you will be able to enjoy pure music without any disturbance from the outside. This headset is best for playing stereo-mixed tracks.
Sennheiser HD1 Free: Design and Features
Sennheiser HD1 Free has been introduced as an even more lightweight and portable alternative. Instead of a neckband, Sennheiser HD1 Free comes with an adjustable cable that connects the left and right earpieces directly. To be honest, it looks almost too streamlined, but it still has its appeal for people who want simplicity.
There are four pairs of silicone eartips of different sizes. So, you should be able to find a pair that fits your ears perfectly. You need a pair that provides the best fit in order to get the best sound quality, tonal balance, and noise isolation. Sennheiser HD1 Free also comes with a large leatherette carrying case and a charging cable.
Just like its sibling, Sennheiser HD1 Free comes with ergonomic earpieces that are angled inwards for a snug and secure fit. Most people find that the fit is perfectly comfortable. You can go commuting and deal with your daily activities while wearing this headset without every worrying about accidentally dropping it.
One of the biggest difference between Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free is the weight. Seriously, Sennheiser HD1 Free is extremely lightweight. By replacing the neckband with a simple cable, it has managed to shed several ounces from its weight. As a result, Sennheiser HD1 Free becomes a very comfortable headset suitable for continuous wearing over long hours. You can wear it for workout or commuting without getting ear fatigue.
Sennheiser HD1 Free: Connectivity and Battery Life
Apparently, the decision to replace the neckband with a simple cable has also affected Sennheiser HD1 Free’s feature set. As mentioned above, this headset supports Bluetooth 4.2. It supports aptX, AAC, and, in addition, SBC codecs.
When streaming music over Bluetooth, a mobile device typically needs to apply some compression in order to transfer audio data quickly enough. However, compression will reduce audio quality. Sophisticated codecs like aptX, AAC, and SBC ensure fast, lag-free streaming with minimal compression, so that you will still get highly detailed music.
Sennheiser HD1 Free doesn’t support NFC. But connecting the headset to your smartphone is still very easy. Once paired, the maximum connection range is still 10 meters. It supports various protocols including A2DP 1.2, HSP 1.2, ACVRCP 1.4, and HD voice.
Compared to Sennheiser HD1, the battery life of Sennheiser HD1 Free is quite shorter. It can only last for 6 hours per charge. However, in most cases, you will get full six hours and nothing lower than that. That should be enough for workout and commuting. The recharge time is also fairly fast, about one hour.
Sennheiser HD1 Free: Sound Quality
The sound quality is awesome. Sennheiser HD1 Free can easily deliver accurate sounds with rich sonic details. The soundstage is wide and revealing.
Sennheiser HD1 Free comes with a similar frequency response range as its predecessor, which is 15Hz – 22kHz. With such a wide frequency response range, there is no surprise that Sennheiser HD1 Free can have very good sound separation. Lows, mids, and highs are properly separated, so powerful bass lines won’t muddle vocals and high-pitched instruments.
The drivers on the earpieces are really impressive. Despite the small form factor, they are able to deliver fairly loud sounds. You won’t need to crank up the volume too much to hear those fine details in your favorite music. The tight seal provided by the eartips is also beneficial for blocking outside noise, hence allowing you to focus on your music and whatever you are doing.
The angled earpieces provide precise directionality. You can play podcasts or songs, and you will get the impression that the person or band is right there next to you. The output spectrum sounds really natural.
Just keep in mind that the passive noise isolation is quite powerful. This is good when you are not waiting for something or someone, and you just want to live in your own world. However, when waiting in a train station while wearing this headset, you may be unable to hear your train announcements.
Sennheiser HD1 vs HD1 Free
- Ergonomic around the neck design features soft stitched sheepskin nappa leather neckband offering all day listening comfort.Connectivity Technology: Wireless
- Bluetooth 4.1 with AAC codec support and Apt X compatibility provides exepctional sound quality via crystal clear wireless transmission
- Up to 10 hour battery life with USB charging. Charging time:Approx. 1.5 hrs .Battery time 10 hrs (A2DP/HFP)
- Supports convenient multi connection of up to 2 devices at once, with 3 way calling capability;Pick up pattern : Omni directional
- Bluetooth 4.2 Wireless Technology, featuring Qualcomm apt X and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) delivering enhanced Hi Fi sound quality
- Premium transducers housed in machined stainless steel in ear sound tunnels deliver signature HD1 sound powerful bass response, detailed vocal projection and a great sound stage
- NFC one touch pairing for immediate connectivity to Bluetooth smart devices
- Convenient multi connection capability with up to 2 devices simultaneously (phones and computers) with voice prompts and 3 way calling support
Each model here has its own advantages. In general, Sennheiser HD1 is more recommended because of the easy NFC pairing and the longer battery life. The sound quality is exceptionally good. Not to mention that the leather neckband looks really stylish. However, Sennheiser HD1 is a better choice for workout because of the simple and lightweight design.