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Sennheiser HD 201 Headphones

  1. Southern Cross
    No-frills approach offers crystal clear sound for an almost absurd price.
    Written by Southern Cross
    Published Mar 4, 2013
    Pros - Clear and very defined sound, good separation, good isolation, very light, decent comfort, plus a courtesy gold-coated 6.5mm adaptor.
    Cons - Relatively fragile, lacks punch, low portability, somewhat unforgiving with bad recordings.
    Well, this is a product that gets a lot of praising and some bashing as well, so let's start by the obvious: they cost U$S 29, and can be found for U$S 20. They are really affordable. Audiophiles bashing them are missing the point: these are not cans for the audiophile, but for those who want to leave their as-issued earbuds in the shameful past and make a first step into a better, more defined sound. And in that way, the HD201 delivers splendidly.
    The sound is the shining point here, very crisp and clear, with very good separation of instruments. Basses are gentle and quite controlled, with no emphasis whatsoever but quite clear and, in my non-basshead opinion, not lacking, definitely there. Mids are the shining point, with a very exact and pristine sound. Trebles are again well-defined. As such, they may be quite uninteresting for a Skrillex tour de force, but they are quite good for rock, pop and vocal jazz. Both male and female voices sound very faithfully and glossy. The hour of triumph for these cans, IMHO, is classical music and, in particular, piano-centered music. Most of what I heard through them was "cool, lovely, bright, pleasant, how agreeable", until I heard a rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (mvt. 3) by Wilhelm Kampff and I was WOW!, each note shining like a perfect and crystalline snowflake. And, as in piano playing, tha't what the Senn HD201 are about: it's all about control. What it gets in, it gets out. As such, also, they are somewhat unforgiving with poor recordings or bad files. Their precise sound is also an excellent option for movies (maybe not for disaster movies) and gaming. Some say that it's a "boring" sound, I'd prefer to say it's an "exact" sound. I do think they're quite an improvement over all the obvious low-end Phillips/Panasonic/Sony options
    Then again, these are cheap headphones, and as such they're cheaply made in 100% plastic and with an unremarkable, if sober, design. They don't look exactly cheap-o or flimsy, but they doesn't fool anyone about which is their price tag and should be treated gently. The bright side of their construction, if any, is that they are quite light for their size, with a well padded headband. Comfort is average, my limit was an hour and a half of comfortable wearing, after that they get too hot and sweaty. Isolation is decent. Portability is obviously not what designers had in mind, being cumbersome, unfoldable and with a long cord; yet the light weight and good isolation make them not that bad an option for a train or bus ride... if you treat them gently, have a roomy bag, and don't mind to look like a cosmonaut.
    If you are looking for a toss-in-the-bag portable which looks stylish and cool on the street, and/or for a booming-bass and "fun" sound to blast your Ipod's nu-metal or dubstep compilations, run like hell from them and go grab Skullcandy or iFrogz.

    If you are looking for a sizable improvement of your stock gear on a shoestring budget, and your concern is sound fidelity, these are the path to follow into a brave new world of better sound. Soundwise, the Sennheiser HD201 are among the best value that can be asked for.
    And, I found the gold-coated 6-5mm. adaptor just the complimentary mint of an already great product. What a steal. 
      ggyy, Eugenio Opaxo and Bambooz like this.
    1. Kottmeier
      Agreed! I picked these up recently at the ridiculously cheap price of $13.35 CAD from Newegg.ca in Feb 2013. They are astonishingly good for what I paid. The only downside is that they have to be driven hard to get loud; far greater than the volume required by my Quart or Audio-Technica cans. The sound is very nice, albeit not jaw dropping, but still very respectable.
      Kottmeier, Mar 4, 2013
    2. streetdragon
      "Booming-bass and "fun" sound to blast your Ipod's nu-metal or dubstep compilations, run like hell from them and go grab Skullcandy or iFrogz."Nah you won't need that. Just go and get the HD202 for about $10 more, they have plenty of bass while not being too muddy with the same value of the HD201.
      streetdragon, Mar 4, 2013
    3. Southern Cross
      @Kottmeier: Thirteen Canadians!!! Now, THAT'S a steal!!! Too bad I live in Argentina, so much goodies I'll never see... My review is with no amping whatsoever, so I'd love to try them on an amp (which are expensive as hell here).
      @streetdragon: Seconded, if you dig basses and colorful sound that doesn't insult fidelity, and need something relatively portable, Senns 202 are a great budget choice.
      Southern Cross, Mar 4, 2013
  2. lajthabalazs
    Cheep and usable
    Written by lajthabalazs
    Published Dec 24, 2012
    Pros - Cheep and Sennheiser.
    The Sennheiser of the masses.
      ggyy likes this.
  3. MarcosRV
    You really must know what are your expectations.
    Written by MarcosRV
    Published Dec 22, 2012
    Pros - Crystal clear sound, bang for the buck, comfort.
    Cons - Cheap materials, lack of strong bass.
    I got here to see what people are thinking about these headphones, and got surprised by the variety of responses. Some hate them, some think it's just OK, and some people love them. If you're thinking of buying them, at first you need to know what you want from a good set of headphones, and align with what you'll find in the HD 201.
    First of all, if you're that guy who finds the Monster Beats AWESOME and is crazy about that boom-boom-so-dope bass approach, go away. Now. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative than the Beats, grab a Skullcandy.
    If you need unexpensive, well-balanced headphones, with great isolation and great perception even on very low volumes, your search is over. I promise you won't find a better solution inside this price range. The HD 201 is THE BEST ENTRY-LEVEL SET OF HEADPHONES IN THE MARKET. PERIOD. All those cheaper Sonys, Panasonics and Philips sound like JUNK after using a 201. They don't even get close.
    They're not perfect, sure. They lack in soundstage if compared with the open-back headphones. But the 201 is great to use at work, with low volumes and average room noise. When I'm at home, I use the Sennheiser HD 518, where I surely find a better sound experience. But I swear sometimes, because I own the 201 since 2010 and they´re completely burned-in, I discover some nuances in music that I can't find with the 518 because of its sheer power. The 201 sounds subtle, crystal-clear, there's no prevalence of any sound.
    With this price, obviously there will be cost limitations. The plastic is very cheap and full of crackling noises. The leatherette cover won't last long, it starts to peel off after some months. The wiring is thin and fragile, and keeps touching your neck a lot. It´s the weakest spot of these cans for sure. BUT my unit is getting along well, the copper wires are even exposed at some points and it's working 100% yet.
    And they're sooo comfortable. I can wear them for hours with only that slight discomfort you'll get with any headset. Works perfectly without an amplifier, but sure it gains some depth with one.
    Still not prepared to spend a lot of money on hi-fi sound but want a good reward for a handful of dollars? Buy the HD 201. You won't regret a fart.
      Chloe, Southern Cross, ggyy and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Southern Cross
      My thoughts exactly.
      Southern Cross, Mar 3, 2013
    3. Pandaxprs
      "you wont regret a fart"
      Pandaxprs, Mar 17, 2013
    4. GreatCanadian
      Sorry, but yes, you most certainly can regret a fart.
      GreatCanadian, Jun 4, 2013
  4. Gnomeplay
    Not Recommended
    Written by Gnomeplay
    Published Oct 23, 2012
    Pros - Cost effective, Reasonable sound quality
    Cons - Very uncomfortable, Poor fit
    I suppose it's unfair to give these headphones a completely bad wrap considering how low of a price that they retail for, and you can get them for even cheaper than that most of the time. The main issue I find with the Sennheiser HD201 is the complete lack of a proper fit or seal no matter how I try to position them on my head, this causes obvious issues with comfort coupled with the fact that the ultra-thin compressed pads barely keep the hard plastic drivers off of your ears.
    Sound quality is reasonable for the cost, however better can be found - I've taken a liking to the Monoprice lineup in this price range. The HD201 actually seem to respond quite well with amplification and equalization, surprisingly well; the issue here is you'd have spent three times the price of your headphones into the source piece(s) required for you to capitalize on that.
    1. nikkojames15
      Have you tried amping it? It sounds way better with an amp, especially if you use it with an iPod.
      nikkojames15, Oct 24, 2012
    2. ggyy
      I must have a different shape head because I find them comfortable enough, maybe it's my lack of hair?
      ggyy, May 23, 2015
  5. BenYC
    Can be a great or bad headphone
    Written by BenYC
    Published Sep 3, 2012
    Pros - Sound amazing when driven by a decent amp.
    Cons - Who will drive a $30 headphone with a decent amp?
    I really cannot understand what market is this headphone targeted for.  For all I know, this headphone needs power.
    If I plug this headphone to a normal portable player (no head amp), it can sound bass-less and dead because of inadequate power.
    However, if I plug it to a decend head amp/integrated with enough driving, this headphone can be very pleasing, especially for a closed can. 
    I have a feeling that this headphone can be better received by the market (at least being treated more seriously) if the price is a few times more.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. GL1TCH3D
      but they have higher end closed back like the 449?
      GL1TCH3D, Sep 3, 2012
    3. Achmedisdead
      I agree with your conclusions....with an additional amp in the picture, they just sound wimpy and lifeless from a common DAP.
      Achmedisdead, Sep 3, 2012
    4. Otrakun
      I like low priced cans that sound better with an amp.
      It means that I can recommend them to friends of mine who may be interested in upgrading in the future, and not get yelled at when they say their next headphones can't play out of their ipod.
      Otrakun, Sep 3, 2012
  6. Catchytune
    A cheap headphone that sounds quite well.
    Written by Catchytune
    Published Aug 18, 2012
    Pros - Amazing value for the price. Suitable for pop, rock and even classical.
    Cons - False leather on the ear and head cushions starts to dissolve within the first 10 weeks of use. Too long cable.
    I am using the HD 201 for over two years and in terms of sound quality/characteristics I’m quite pleased with it. Just recently I listened to a good recording of Bach’s choral BWV 115 played on a Silbermann organ. My jaw dropped. The HD 201 sounded so well it’s hard to justify an upgrade. Even the very low base was present but only in the background, where it belongs. I believe base should suport music rather than being a main part of it. Because the HD 201 has a bright sound it also unveils compression artefacts of poorly encoded mp3 files. A quality that would be expected from high end headphones with a rediculous price tag. If you are used to warm and smooth sounding headphones you will certainly find the HD 201 to have a harsh sound. If you upgrade from low quality earbuds you could well be impressed. For this price it becomes a must have in any headphone collection. The only two things I really dislike are the false leather over the ear and head cushions. It begins to dissolve quickly. The lenght of the cable is also too generous. 3m or 10ft is way too much for a product that is mostly used together with portable devices.
    1. indieman
      I completely agree. I am continually impressed by these cans. The pads and cable need improvement though...
      indieman, Aug 23, 2012
  7. AR Cascade
    First "real" headphones, going off memory here
    Written by AR Cascade
    Published Jun 9, 2012
    Pros - Very comfortable, good value
    Cons - Cord can get tangled, cheap construction
    As the title suggests, these were my first upgrade from ibuds.  They broke a while back so I'm going from memory but I did have them for a while.  First of all, they're super comfortable. The only closed back I've tried on where putting it on actually cooled down my ears instead of the opposite.  There is plenty of room for the ears and I literally fell asleep with these on a couple times.  They work well right out of an iPod, although they do come with a 1/4" adapter if you want to use them with anything more serious.  Isolation is fine, I was comfortable listening to them on airplanes or car rides without turning the volume up too much.  Unfortunately, they aren't the best choice for portable use.  The all plastic construction is lightweight but not super sturdy and the lack of a protective case means you have to be gentle with these.  Mine broke at the point where the earcup attaches to the headband, apparently a weak point because my one of my friends had his break at the same spot as well.  The cord is also too long for portable use (9 ft) and tangles easily.  Still, relatively minor complaints for a $25 phone that I used as my one and only HP (at home, portable, everything) for well over a year.  I like to recommend it to people who want an upgrade from ibuds but don't want to spend a lot. It's great as a gateway drug.  Sound-wise, I never found it to be lacking bass, and plenty of detail was there.  I don't want to go into much detail because I can't listen to them at the moment, but definitely recommended as an entry level phone for those who who favor a more even presentation. (Read: Bassheads will probably be disappointed)
  8. bonzo1959
    A surprise
    Written by bonzo1959
    Published Sep 19, 2011
    Pros - Very good sound at ridicolous price.Light weight and comfortable
    Cons - Cable...too long.
    I bought these cans one weeek ago in a megastore near home.
    I use them in my bed-room, connected via FiiO 5 amplifier and a pair of old Monster Cable interconnects to a Pro-Ject Dock Box with an I-Pod Classic 80gb on.
    Wow..they sounds very,very good and i think they get better and better with a certain amount of listening time.
    The bass is there,not so deep but articulate.Mids and Highs takes full advantage on this for a more balanced sound.
    I fall asleep with them on.Very light and comfortable.
    Great bargain.
    1. Todeon
      Good durability, nothing else...
      Todeon, Sep 19, 2011
  9. Trance88
    Great for the Price
    Written by Trance88
    Published Jun 20, 2011
    Pros - Light weight, crisp highs, pleasant bass.
    Cons - Not the most comfortable headphones in the world.
    Not sure what people are talking about when it comes to weak bass. The bass isn't weak, it's just pleasant. It's just right in my opinion for every day relaxing listening. Now, if you're in the mood for some loud pumping beats, you might want to switch to a different pair. These headphones are just fine for those who aren't a basshead.
  10. tuan0r
    Quality justified by price
    Written by tuan0r
    Published Jun 16, 2011
    Pros - Cheap, Light
    Cons - fragile, average sound at best
    I paid $15 for those headphones, and I did not expect anything great. They aren't as comfortable as you would expect, but it does the job. The sound separation is poor for Sennheiser quality. I own a pair of HD 212 pros, which can be purchase for around $20 now, and I have to say that they are much better in every aspect.
    I don't recommend HD 201s.