These budget Sennheiser headphones are surprisingly good value for money

ByWhat Hi-Fi?published 25 July 16


Pick these Sennheisers up and ‘cheap’ is undoubtedly the first word that springs lớn mind. The entire construction is the light & bendy sort of plastic you might associate with airplane headsets, along with thin plastic ‘leather’ on the earpads and headband.

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While that thought may not have you salivating, consider the sheer amount of abuse that those airline headphones go through on a daily basis.

The Sennheiser HD 201s are tough và will happily survive being thrown about or squashed in a rucksack. It’s an important factor, considering they don’t have hinges và cannot be folded up.

There’s no microphone or remote control on the cable, which is attached lớn both earcups and cannot be removed. It is also three metres long & prone khổng lồ tangling, so think twice before taking these out và about.

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They are comfortable, though. They are so lightweight that you can wear them for hours without your neck complaining, although your ears might get a little warm. The clamp force put upon the sides of your head is gentle enough that you’ll never feel squeezed.

On the flipside, noise isolation isn’t great. Though a closed-back design, the HD 201s bởi little khổng lồ block out background sounds.

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It would be entirely understandable lớn expect inferior sound from a pair of headphones costing £17, but while the HD 201s are far from the best we’ve heard, they are surprisingly competent performers. Their key strengths are insight & balance.

The level of clarity is such that instruments & vocals, while not as explicit as we might like, are apparent enough lớn paint a fairly detailed picture.

It’s not the sort of fine detail that lets you identify exactly what’s going on, but it’s not broad, mushy strokes, either. Leading edges are solid enough to vày the job.

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As for balance, the Sennheiser HD 201s put out a tonally even performance that is acceptable & likeable across the whole frequency range. The đứng đầu end is never hard & the midrange is fairly direct.

There’s enough bass too, even if it doesn’t reach the depths required to lớn make the most of Massive Attack’s Angel.

Then there’s the matter of timing. The HD 201s have a firm grasp of rhythm, & while we’ve heard more agile headphones, they vị a good job of conveying the snap of Prince’s When Doves Cry.

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If you’re after headphones that make you drum along on your desk, these will vị nicely.

The one area that really could vì with some work is dynamism. The HD 201s don’t make the most of the dynamic shifts so prevalent in most of Prince’s output, và the result is more flat than funky.

We want more power behind that attack, and these headphones just don’t have it in them. So while it’s a perfectly coherent listen, it’s not the most entertaining one.

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What did you expect for £17? We must admit we are pleasantly surprised. The Sennheiser HD 201 headphones are far from perfect, but they are likeable and, for the money, very competent.

Sure, there are better headphones out there, và there are a few things we would fix about these. But if you’re attracted by that low price, there aren’t many options that offer such good value for money.