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Sennheiser HD 201 Headphones

  • The ideal entry into the world of powerful stereo sound: The HD 201 has good attenuation of ambient noise with outstanding wearing comfort at an affordable price.PRODUCT FEATURES:powerful stereo sound;Rich, crips bass response;Light weight and comfortable to wear;Good attenuation of ambient noise;Extremely rugged;High-quality leatherette ear pads;1D4" ((6.3 mm) jack adaptor, gold-plated.

Recent Reviews

  1. Smoothstone2002
    Great value for $25 AUD
    Written by Smoothstone2002
    Published Dec 17, 2015
    Pros - Strong mids, long cable, great price, durable, included 1/4 inch adapter
    Cons - Weak bass and highs, no case, pads cheap-feeling, poor isolation and seal against head
    I should probabally preface this review by stating that I am by no means an audiophile, however I appreciate good, accurate sound replication. I had only had experience with low end Samsung, LG and sony iem earbuds before purchasing these but I was eager to improve my music listening experience with a good pair of over or on ear headphones. After considering such models as the sony zx310, philips shl3000 and others by TDK, panasonic and a range of other reputed manufacturers i decided on the sennheiser hd201s.

    I appreciate strong mids and highs, and am not a fan of powerful, muddy bass. My preferred styles of music are Soft rock, Symphonic rock, synthpop, new wave, traditional pop (sinatra/ four seasons), rock and roll and romantic classical music. I found these quite ideal for the aforementioned styles of music although the soundstage felt a little narrow. Overall replication is good, with clear vocals and instruments not drowning out each other or sounding muddied by booming bass. However, even someone who is not a fan of hip hop or anything like that (such as myself) may find themselves wishing for a more powerful low end.

    The build quality of these headphones is generally good, with pivoting joints at the top of the earpieces being the weakest-feeling part of the unit. They are extremely comfortable, although some with larger ears may find the oval-shaped earcups problematic. They covered my small ears without any problem, and I was able to listen to the whole of Time by ELO without ever wanting to take the 201s off, although that may have been caused equally by the quality of the songs! One thing, however, that some may find frustrating is the loose fit which causes in part the relatively poor isolation and high noise leakage by the standards of an over ear model.

    The 201s came in a basic package which only included the headphones themselves along with a quarter inch adapter for older and professional equipment (this model is designed for indoor use, so it makes sense to include this just as the 3 metre cable makes sense). I found this particularly helpful as it allowed me to start listening to my old records immediately! The adapter is gold plated, and probably only worth a few pounds or dollars online, but it was helpful to find this included.

    In summary, anyone on a budget looking for a good set of studio monitors to use at home would be well served by these as long as they are not a fan of boomy bass or powerful treble.
  2. Park13
    Amazing price/performance ratio
    Written by Park13
    Published Nov 27, 2015
    Pros - Balanced sound, can be used for mixing, competing with far more expensive pro headphones. long cord is good at home / In studio
    Cons - Ugly, Cheap looking, plasticky, long cord is annoing in portable use.
    I bought these as a cheap spare during repairs of my regular cans, didn't expect much but have had some good experiences with Sennheiser.
    I was very positively surprised at first use. These actually sound like they reproduce sound as intended in production. And at a silly low price.
    Cheap headphones (as well as some very expensive ones) often over-emphasize low frequencies. Which of course is worthless in a mixing situation.
    I have seen some reviews here that actually complain about the lack of bass / beats / untz. Me, I prefer cans that colour sound as little as possible.
  3. Tadgh
    The best 25$ cans
    Written by Tadgh
    Published Aug 19, 2015
    Pros - Balanced sound, no immediately apparent weaknesses, lightweight, reasonably musical.
    Cons - Somewhat easy to break, slightly recessed bass, not as comfortable as they could be.
    Hello all,
    This review is written from the perspective of somebody who has spent a lot of time looking for good, cheap, cans - and I've used these good, cheap, cans for 5 years now.  I've owned cheap IEMs, Over-ears, On-ears, Earpods, and speakers. On the other hand I own a pair of Zensor 3s and MDR-7506s, and in all of my experience I've never encountered as solid a value-for-money ratio.
    For 25 euro you can purchase a new pair HD201s in a number of retailers, I can highly recommend them. Let's start at the beginning:
    Packaging: A box, some fabric.
    As one might expect from such a cheap headset, the HD201s have very underwhelming packaging. Given that, it's perfectly acceptable - the headset sits inside a cardboard box wrapped in a soft foamy fabric. I would assume that with the lightweight nature of these cans the protection offered should be sufficient to protect them from blunt impacts, and stop the cans getting scuffed. Fine for shipping of any kind.
    Build: Bog standard, but very well thought-over.
    These headphones are built with cheap-plasticy materials, there's really no other way of saying that, they don't feel or look premium. But to Sennheiser's defense, they've committed no cardinal sins. The plastic casing is matte, making it immune to fingerprints and quite scratch resistant. The colors are plain (silver and black), and don't run or fade. There are also no points of extreme weakness anywhere through the design. Sometimes the extension struts that allow for the cans to be extended or retracted can be snapped, I've experienced this a number of times over our 5 year run, and I can offer two bits of advice regarding this weakness: 1) Don't sit on your headphones - I've done this many a-time, and each time those struts snapped it was under my own weight 2) Using hot glue or epoxy resin to reattach the cups almost always works and holds. The cable is long enough for use for just about any application, is coated in soft (but plasticy feeling) rubber that leaves it durable, easy enough on the eye, and comfortable to have pressed against your body. You can find a lot better at slightly higher price points when it comes to sheer build quality, but If you treat these nicely, they will last, and look okay too.
    Ergonomics: Not sleepers, but not in any way offensive.
    The HD201s are decent to wear, but that's it. Until worn in they clamp a little hard, which sucks because the ear cups are fairly shallow and the pads aren't fantastic. Pleather and foam. The reality is that they don't hurt, and I have sensitive ears with hella annoying ear ridges :wink:. They hold onto your head through headbanging, and I've hiked with these through rain, sleep, and snow, they're no clouds floating on the ears, but there's little to complain about.
    Sound: Best of category, by a mile.
    The sound out of these cans is what makes them so remarkable. It's balanced, with clear separation between high, mid, and low frequencies - which is a lot more than can be said of 98% of headphones at this price range, and that's not where it ends. They do sound decent, even in comparison to my Zensors and 7506s, they're much less detailed than those two offerings, with softer treble, and weaker bass.
    The mids don't provide much intimacy or subtlety, but they're reasonably musical and rounded - listening to the Gorillaz - D-Sides for example, you can still appreciate the mastery behind Spitting out the Demons, and the various remixes of Kids with Guns. Listening to low vocals, acoustic guitars, pianos, and violins such as - The National - The Alligator (A decently hard album to reproduce due to it's harmonic cacophony of instruments) once can separate, and appreciate each instrument, all of which are portrayed forgivingly. The mids aren't juicy or detailed, but they're enjoyable to listen to - and that's the primary objective of a 25 euro headset. Bang on Sennheiser, budget done right.
    The aforementioned treble is a little soft, but present - non-sibilant, and easy to listen to. It strikes that difficult to find balance in similar low-end offerings between just not having anything up top, and the "we hope we've made your ears bleed" trigger happy treble approach. In short, the top-end offers musicality and balance, and while mixes can be left sounding soft when listened to on higher-end offerings and then compared with the 201s, there's nothing there to complain about at this price point whatsoever. Probably the greatest strength of the 201s in their price point, higher frequencies that can cause some mixes to be fatiguing and sibilant are forgiven for being over-zealous, but aren't muted to obscurity. This is rare and valuable, don't overlook it.
    Bass. Well, these aren't for bassheads, but they're also not lacking in a way that feels totally unfair. The bass response is well controlled, decently low-reaching, and generally proportional - but it's quiet. Recessed to just about the point of complaint, it's not rare for bass heavy mixes to sound slightly underplayed on these cans. I think people make too big a deal out of this in this one instance however as in my *considerable* experience most decent all-rounder cans in this price point have either no bass whatsoever, or bass floppier than dying carp. The bass provided by the 201s is present, audible, and controlled. This makes them head and shoulders above most other options - but it'd be nice not to have mention it's recessed nature at all. I wouldn't consider this a deal breaker at all, the bass is there, and can be enjoyed in all mixes - if you're expecting bass that leaves your jaw dropped open, you're expecting far too much out of 25 euro cans.
    Needless to say, these cans are low-impedance and will run fine with mobile devices. This review is written on experiences with a pair of 201s that have now been broken in for 500ish hours.
    These cans thoroughly trounce the majority of competitors, and some headphones far above their own price-point. The key to this isn't mind-blowing bass, jaw dropping detail, or stunning good looks. It's the fact that these cans are very well thought out, and then produced en-mass. They avoid all cardinal sins when it comes to packaging (Melt on packaging anyone?), build, or ergonomics - holding a strong 'good enough' on all of them, and on top of it they sound much much better than their price-tag would indicate (I actually had a few days back around 2013 where I got to swap between using 1st gen Beats and the 201s, the 201s beat them into the dust at a fraction of the price).
    I would happily recommend these to any man or woman who was looking to spend under 50 euro on headphones.
      dragon2knight likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dragon2knight
      Yep, I did the same, and am still doing so. I have the M30's and they are ok, built better for sure, but still not good enough IMHO. The 201's are still the "Cheap Champs" :) 
      dragon2knight, Aug 20, 2015
    3. Tadgh
      Awww that's genuinely really disappointing ;-; I was kinda hoping I could find another fab pair of cheap cans to recommend people but I guess Sennheiser win again ^-^
      Have you got a review up on the M30s? I'd like to read it.
      Tadgh, Aug 20, 2015
    4. dragon2knight
      dragon2knight, Aug 20, 2015
  4. Cobaltius
    Good for the price (I'm actually enjoying them for some odd reason)
    Written by Cobaltius
    Published Dec 10, 2014
    Pros - Plenty of detail, decent soundstaging, Dark sound signature that offers little to no edge, smooth, balanced bass response
    Cons - somewhat honky, colored sound, unrealistic sound, somewhat veiled, lacks some air, muddiness at times
    I don't actually own these headphones, but funny thing is they are actually part of my schools media art computer lab for each computer. My teacher allows us to do anything we want during this class while working on projects or assignments, so this means listening to music in class with these. 
    These headphones are actually not too bad for the price, and actually find them soothing sometimes. They of course aren't the best sound headphones in the world no doubt but I would really consider this as headphones for people who are looking for headphones along the $30 range because these do get the job done.
    They are comfortable no aches pains or anything, but do kind of get sweaty around my ears using it for to long.
    Sound Isolation: They're okay
    Sound leakage isn't an issue but there still is some but not enough to bother people around you and I'm sure the ambient noise around will overpower the sound leakage from headphones anyways...
    The Sound
    Treble: These are more of a darker sounding headphones to the point where the treble does lack just a tiny bit. There is some muddiness in certain tracks at time due to the weaker emphasis on the highs. Some tracks I actually think the treble fits well on more aggressive and brighter tracks. I notice smoothness and perfect balance between the frequency spectrum. The treble can also be pretty detailed sometimes I've noticed as well. Because of the lower emphasis on the treble I believe these headphones lack some air; cymbals kind of sound smeared in the background with most of my rock based tracks. 
    Mids: Umm.... Colored murky, bloated and muddy depending on music style. 
    Bass: Bass has great balance to the frequency response of these headphones and isn't over the top or anything. It isn't to thin or to big its just perfect where its at. Bass does sound bloated sometimes but not all the time (again depending on music style). It delivers a slight punch, but not to the point where you'll be getting severe hearing loss or brain damage. Bass seems to be more emphasized more on mid bass, bass doesn't, really run that deep.
    Sub-bass: No
    Honestly if you just give these headphones some EQ from a graphic equalizer they will sound great. Maybe just bump of the high frequency's a bit, lower the muddy spectrum of the mids which is the lower mids and if you want boost dat bass up.
    Well all in all, pretty decent pair for the price, they are a bit muddy sometimes but It doesn't really make me cringe so thats good I guess. They do offer pretty decent detail and sound for the price I'd EQ though If I were you, I wouldn't be able to live with only these headphones.
  5. LMNproyect
    very balanced sound for a cheap price
    Written by LMNproyect
    Published Oct 29, 2014
    Pros - very well balanced across all the spectrum, flat and natural
    Cons - short soundstage and not too detailed, but good overall
    I almost buy in blind the hd280 but when i tryed it in the store, i hear clearly that the HD280 in the spectrum was sub bass heavy at 30-40hz , a dip in 200hz, and a piercing peak at 2.3khz to 3.5khz, then another dip in 5khz , so it was hard for me to listen and feel it flat, i try my best to like it but i couldn´t, very far from been flat and natural. Then i try the HD201 without any spectacion and was surpriced for how balanced and natural it sounds.
    Good amount of bass extension, doesn´t kick or hit you but is there and you don´t feel by anyway the lack of bass frequencies, just dont hit hard, a little bit pillower, mids are great clear and well balanced, thing that is hard to find in most headphones that tend to be bass heavy or harsh in the high end like V shape eq, the mids was  better balanced than my ATH M50,  KNS 8400 , KNS 6400, not better than my mid foward Etymotics ER 4S and my HD600. Highs are in the soft side, softer than any of my other headphones. Its get congested and sound a little 2D with not too much instrument separation , short soundstage, but they are very flat across all the frecuencies spectrum, something that studio mixers enginer, musicians will apreciate, flat sound. The others headphones have a more refined expensive detailed sound but not as flat and true to the source like the HD201 in the spectrum. For the price you will have a very true and real representation of how the music was intented to sound but not with super high resolution, you wouldn´t hear alot micro details, reverb tails etc. I recomend it for tracking in the studio vocals , instruments and some quick mix reference checks.For musicians, if your mixes sounds balanced in this cheap HD201 headphones,i think  it will sound balanced and good anywhere.These HD201 aren´t funny exuberant sound headphones , just flat. Most people maybe wouldn´t appreciate this kind of sound ,but if you re one of the few that likes Etymotic sound signature (flat and real) you will be very satisfied for the price.
    This is without burn in. I will post an update after the burn in.
      Chloe and iansouth like this.
  6. MarcadoStalker7
    Intensely detailed and fast (HD 800 like)
    Written by MarcadoStalker7
    Published Jul 8, 2014
    Pros - Very detailed. Very deep and full bass. Natural and lifelike mids. Perfect and smooth treble.
    Cons - Requires a good amp. (Sounds best on the HDVD 800 Sennheiser amp)
    After trying the LCD-3's, SR-007 MK1 and HD-800, i find the HD-201 has better value and sound overall. But you need to pair it with the HDVD800.
    Otherwise it will sound muddy and congested like the HD-600.
    Use 24/192 for best results, and good produced music obviously.
    The setup: PC>HDVD800>HD-201>24/192 on Foobar2000.
    The HD-800 was bright and artificial, but the HD-201 was natural and has better bass (goes very low, more low than HD-800).
    Now i am hearing my entire music again, after years of living with the artificial sound of the HD-800.
    PD: I did not like the comfort and sound of LCD-3's and the Omega. The HD-800 was a favorite until i owned my HD-201, i will never go back.
    PD2: YOU NEED TO USE IT WITH THE HDVD800. In other amps it sounds like a 15$ headphones.
    Jazz, Rock, Metal, you name it, all sounded very natural and fast.
    In Metal i can hear the sparkle of the guitars, the double-bass of the drums, and the vocals perfectly smooth with great separation and soundstage. I think i'm in love with these cans *-*
    1. View previous replies...
    2. freedom04
      nice potato
      freedom04, Sep 5, 2014
    3. Mach-X
      I love potato, but I'd rather get (s)mashed instead. So I just distill it.
      Mach-X, Oct 2, 2014
    4. nuforcemmp
      you're not going back to the hd - 800 ?? can i have it??? :):)
      nuforcemmp, Jan 18, 2015
  7. pakualam
    Best Value (Balanced) Headphone under $50
    Written by pakualam
    Published Jul 8, 2014
    Pros - Balanced sound, cheap, long cables (3m), well built, thick cable, 2 years warranty
    Cons - Pleathered pads make your ears sweaty, uncomfortable after 90', long cable may be frustated, not portable
    This is my first headphone, I bought it almost 2 years ago for $24. For the price, this is the best balanced headphone you can get under $50.
    It's well built, but the cables is quite long (~3m) and sometime tangled. I don't like the plethered pads, it gets my ears sweaty.
    Things to consider to buy this headphone:
    - The sound is very good balanced and it's cheap.
    - You got 2 years warranty, and for just ~$25, that's awesome
    After 9 months from purchased date, one of the speaker dead, and got replaced :)
  8. AlfredKeppler
    Good bang for the buck beginner headphone
    Written by AlfredKeppler
    Published May 19, 2014
    Pros - Excellent value, good clearity, solid build quality (for a 20$ headphone), right amount of bass, not inconsencities in sound signature
    Cons - Fatigueing because it's overly bright, earpads are uncomfortable, lack of sound stage, may sound 'plasticy' with some genres of music, thin cable
    The Sennheiser HD201 are a surprise in the lower echolon of headphones, as they offer great sound quality for a very low price and they are a very good extention into the low end price range for the Sennheiser product sortiment, in that regards
    However, because of the cheap price, they do lack in design and comfort and overall build quality. This pair of headphones is made out of plastics entirely, the cable has too much length for me and is thin and flimsy. The cushions on the headband feel good and  comfortable, but the earpads itself are a pain in the ass because they are too stiff, not breathable and overall uncomfortable - they irritate my ears in under 20 minutes.The plastic construction of the entire headphones feel cheap overall - but the headband itself doesn't break when it's overly bend, which is a strong point. It's very light weight as well - but the clamping force is a bit on the heavy side, maybe it breaks in after a while.
    One last surprise on the build side was the gold plated connector - that's weird in this price range.
    The sound signature and presence of small details on this headphone is amazing, especially for a headphone for under 30$.The sound curve doesn't have the typical flaws of cheap headphones like bloated basss/lower mids and non-presence of mids and higher mids. Instead, the sound signature seems very bright - even more than my Beyerdynamic DT990s, which are famous for their strong treble - to the point of being fatigueing, especially with very drum set intensive music. However, it's not a unnatural brightness, but you may be EQing these cans - -2db treble seems just right on my FiiO E17 with these. On the lower end, they deliver enough bass for me to be fun headphones - with the downside that they don't extend into the lower bass sections and that they don't have quite the bass quantity reserve in hand that you would expect from a pair of closed back head phone (The DT990s deliver more). The bass loses texture compared to other headphones, too, but that is to be expected from small plastic enclosed drivers.
    For a 24 ohms headphone, they need quite a lot of power - they are quiter than my 32 ohms pair of Philips Fidelio L1.

    As a final verdict: they are nice headphones for their price, I would recommend them to enyone who wants to take a  low-priced look at how amazing Sennheiser headphones are.
    I personally use them at home, the cable is too long for convenient mobile use and I wouln't want to be seen with a cheap plasticy headphone outside of my house. It's a good headphone for Classical, if you can live with the small sound stage, as it makes that sort of music really airy. I prefer warmer headphones for Jazz. It's inadequate for electronic genres (lack of low bass) and I find it a bit too bright for Metal and Rock .
    1. Achmedisdead
      You are right about them needing a lot of power....when I had mine I almost wondered if the listed 24 ohms was a mistake! When I got mine they were a nice step up from Sansa earbuds, but I don't miss them now. :)
      Achmedisdead, May 19, 2014
  9. rosseg
    Great value cans
    Written by rosseg
    Published Jan 11, 2014
    Pros - great sound quality for price
    Cons - long cord, overall nothing special
    Nothing much to say about these. You get a huge bang for your buck in sound quality, but build quality is what you'd expect from <$50 cans. They are by no means audiophile cans. Although, for the general masses, I would recommend them no questions asked if they are looking for budget headphones.
  10. Ketmeister
    Reference budget headphones. Hard to fault at this price.
    Written by Ketmeister
    Published Nov 14, 2013
    Pros - Low price. Decent mid /high balance. Good detail compared to other HPs in this price class. Easy to drive. Relatively comfortable.
    Cons - Build is on the cheap side. Heavy roll off in the lower frequencies. Overall sound leans on thin side.
    Hard to fault at its price.


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