The Sennheiser HD 515 Headphones may not be for you.  I just want to state that right from the get go.  The HD 515's mark a very specific point of time in a person's appreciation of music and sound and it is a point with which many people just don't bother.  Make no mistake, these are a great pair of headphones in every way but they may be more than you're looking for

Are the Sennheiser HD 515 Headphones for me?

Sennheiser HD 515 HeadphonesCredit: CNet.comDo you ever listen to your music and feel like there must be more?  That there is a certain fullness to the songs that you aren't hearing?  Are you willing to pay the sticker price to find out?  If so, than you may have found your headphones.

The Sennheiser HD 515 headphones are the bottom floor model of Sennheiser's audiophile lineup.  Simply put these are the entry point for serious music listeners.  These are not the set of headphones you pick up because your current one has fallen apart and need a cheap replacement.  These are the headphones you buy when you want to graduate to the next level in audio enjoyment.

Why Are They Better?

Like I said earlier, if you are just looking for something to toss on your ears, than there are much cheaper options that will get the job done just fine.  It's a difference of passive listening and active listening.  Audio has a range of sound that usually isn't fully heard under usual conditions.  Music is recorded with much more detail, particularly at the highest and lowest ranges of human hearing, than most speakers can reproduce.  Ultimately it comes down to manufacturing cost.  To get those extreme ranges it takes more expensive hardware.  The mass market is perfectly happy sacrificing those notes if it means savings on the equipment.  However, some people, in the words of Queen, want it all.

This is where the Sennheiser HD 515 headphones come in.  These headphones will let you hear these missing sounds but will put a bit of makeup on it.  You will be able to hear the full range of sound but it will generally always sound good.  As you get into the extreme range of headphones you might find some of your favorite songs have some ugly imperfections that you never heard before.

What Are They Best Used With?

Since you are paying a premium price for a set of headphones than you would be best served by listening to better quality recordings.  Lets take a look at MP3's as an example.  Since most people get their digital music from iTunes we'll use a bitrate of 128k.  The smaller the bitrate the smaller the file size.  Bitrate is a concession of sound quality in exchange for a smaller file size.  If you just purchased a set of headphones for listening to the fullness of your songs, than you may need another format for your music.  If you want to keep the digital format than you can look for FLAC format which is completely lossless.  That means that whatever is put on the CD is what is put on the computer.  A lossless format will keep those extreme highs and lows that the Sennheiser HD 515 headphones were made to bring out in your music.