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the t.bone HD 515

Affordable closed-back all-purpose headphones with fat bass

In a nutshell

The t.bone HD 515 are closed over-ear headphones that offer a lot of sound for little money, and in our test, they proved to be a real all-rounder.

Pros:
  • Powerful bass and sub-bass
  • Aluminium earcups
  • Suitable for smartphones and laptops
  • Ear cups can be tilted 180 degrees
Cons:
  • Ear pads not suitable for large ears
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The t.bone HD 515 are circumaural closed-back headphones that have a lot to offer for monitoring, mixing, DJs and everyday use despite their low purchase price.

The t.bone range now includes a whole series of different models of headphones for a wide variety of purposes. The closed HD 515 are particularly useful for monitoring. In our test, these over-ear headphones proved that they were more of an all-rounder than they were intended to be. Find out why and discover which application areas they serve by reading this review.

Package of the t.bone HD 515

The t.bone HD 515 comes with a 3m long interchangeable cable, which has a 3.5mm jack plug at both ends. Both plugs are gold-plated to protect against corrosion. A gold-plated screw adapter to a 6.35mm jack is also included. With these features, these headphones are suitable for all typical listening situations. It would have been useful to have a small bag for transporting the headphones, but to be honest, this is hardly to be expected at this price. The HD 515’s package is therefore appropriate to their budget.

Materials and construction of the t.bone HD 515

The manufacturer has decided: “Why not go for a tried and tested design?” Thus, the design of the t.bone HD 515 is closely based on the HD 1500 and HD 1900 models. Accordingly, these headphones have an understated, classic design. The colour scheme is dominated by black and silver, while the lettering on the ear cups is white. This gives them a sophisticated look that not every affordable pair of headphones offers.

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When it comes to the choice of materials, I was surprised to find the closed ear cups that house the drivers were made of solid metal. If my understanding is correct, they use lightweight aluminium here. While the earcup arms are made of plastic, the headband contains a metal strut that makes it flexible and durable. The replaceable ear-enclosing pads and the padded headband are covered in artificial leather.

Technical values of the t.bone HD 515

If you think that inexpensive headphones can only cover the typical human hearing range between 20 and 20,000 hertz, you’d be wrong about the t.bone HD 515. Because the 45mm drivers offer a frequency range that significantly exceeds this hearing range from low 10 Hz up to 26 kHz. I was therefore curious to see if these values were noticeable in practice. With their impedance of 32 ohms, these headphones are also suitable for low-voltage headphone outputs. They can be easily connected to smart devices and laptops but also to audio interfaces and budget-range DJ monitors. However, with a sound pressure level of up to 97 dB SPL, they were still moderately loud. Our listening test will reveal whether the interaction of volume and closed ear cups delivers the right impression.

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Handling of the t.bone HD 515

At 238g without the cable, the t.bone HD 515 are one of the lighter headphone models. The feel of the ear pads was in line with the price class, and when wearing the headphones, the ear pads caused the ears to sweat slightly. Fortunately, this was limited. The ear pads just barely enclosed the ears. These headphones are, therefore, not suitable for large ears.

The mechanical handling of the HD 515 was exemplary. The size of the headband adjusted automatically when the headphones were put on, and the adjustment was made without a ratchet. However, the desired size can be precisely adjusted at any time as size markings in the form of lines and numbers are engraved on the steel strut of the headband.

The HD 515’s ear cups can be swivelled to a limited extent and tilted by up to 180 degrees. This also makes them suitable for use as DJ headphones, as it is possible to use one side as stereo while the other ear remains free to listen to the sound of a PA. Although these headphones have a comparatively low contact pressure, they fit securely, even if you make jerky head movements. Overall, they were perfectly comfortable to wear. The interchangeable cable plugs into the underside of the left ear cup, giving right-handed users freedom of movement. A cable length of 3 metres also ensured a good radius of action. However, the cable was clearly too long for use on the move or for stowing under clothing. If you want to use them like this, you need to purchase a suitable cable with a length of around 1.20 metres. But let’s not forget that the main purpose of these headphones is for use in the studio.

The sound of the t.bone HD 515

In terms of sound, the t.bone HD 515 offer more than can be expected for their low purchase price. The frequency range of 10 Hz to 26 kHz was clearly audible, especially in the lower range. Rich bass hits the ears with a pleasant vehemence. The reproduction of sub-basses was downright impressive. Here, the HD 515 showed that an inexpensive pair of headphones can still pack a punch. Fans of EDM and urban music will certainly get their money’s worth here.

The HD 515’s mids offered a concise vocal presence without making vocals and speaking voices seem too superficial. However, the sharpness of voices depends on the audio production you’re listening to. This was a good feature when using the HD 515 for mixing because the sweet spot with these headphones is professional pop productions with vocals whose mids are just on the edge of too much.

The treble response was rather soft and a little restrained. The super high-frequency range sounded just open enough to provide sufficient sonic width.

The stereo stage and bass response were also sufficient to use the headphones for everyday use, in the home studio for monitoring during recording and for mixes on the go. Even if top performance is not something you should expect from them in these applications.

In order to clarify these praises: When I write these reviews, I always bear the purchase price in mind. So, compared to higher-quality headphones, the HD 515 sounded comparatively flat and lacking in dimension – how could they be otherwise? However, if you are looking for your first DJ headphones and want to practice within your own four walls or at parties of a more modest scale, these headphones would be a good choice. The acoustic shielding provided by the circumaural HD 515 was rather moderate, but in comparison, the isolation of the earcups to the outside was stronger. Despite the closed design, I did not detect any disturbing resonances.

Conclusion

The t.bone HD 515 headphones, with their closed over-ear design, give buyers a lot of sound for little money. These headphones surprised me with good bass pressure and low bass, which was downright impressive for the price range. They can also be used for a wide range of applications. Their handling made them a good choice for budding DJs. The good sound insulation to the outside made them a good choice in recording situations. The sound profiles are helpful when they are used for mixing. The impedance allows you to listen to music in everyday life, on smartphones and laptops. On top of this, these headphones offered good wearing comfort and flexible handling. This also made them suitable for longer gaming sessions or video calls and conferences. For me, the t.bone HD 515 are, therefore, a real must-have in the lower price segment; they should make many audio fans happy and have what it takes to become a sure-fire favourite.

2 months ago by Carsten Kaiser
  • Rating: 4.38
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Measurement Results

Frequency response:

Exterior noise damping:
More measurement results

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)10 - 26.000 Hz
  • Impedance32 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)97 dB
  • Weight with cable290 g
  • Weight without cable238 g
  • Cable length300 cm

What's in the box

  • 3 m interchangeable cable (3.5 mm jack)
  • 6.35mm stereo jack

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