For a DJ-oriented headphone priced at $149, just how good is the HD 25-SP II?

The packaging, the design, and the build of this headphone are simple enough. It's a mostly plastic affair with metal in the drivers, at least. There's the slightest amount of cheap foam padding on the thin whisp-of-a-headband, and just enough padding on the earcups to not be uncomfortable.

By all respects, the HD25-SP isn't the prettiest headphone you've ever seen. In fact, it's basically downright ugly. But when a headphone looks this rough, it's usually a good bet there's a half-decent sound behind that cover.

The sound of the HD 25-SP II is articulate, with the bass clearly evident. Mids and highs don't suffer overall, though the sum total is a bit pinched and compressed, compared other headphones in this market. For an on-ear model, the isolation is superb, and it does offer some clarity and distortion-free listening that you usually don't see at this price point. The compression, even at its worst, is still something I could wind up living with.

In fact, the longer I listen to it, the more I can forgive the cheap look and feel. This is obviously a quality headphone that's just more bare-bones than its competition. Its sound is more articulate and more accurate than its competition from Ultrasone or Koss or Klipsch. Hell, this headphone could probably beat the beefier, more popular over-ear M50x from Audio Technica.

So, if you're combing the market for a lightweight and affordable headphone that offers great sound, and your budget is anywhere around $149, check this beast out. If you're looking for that stylish headphone to impress people around you, just skip this model, okay?

Carroll Moore is a Tech lover and audiophile headphone enthusiast, photographer and writer for the likes of Audio46.