Sennheiser HD 429 Headphones Black

Nero The Hero

New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound! Super comfortable ear cups! I found them on sale!
Cons: My one con about the build quality is the audio cable
These were my first pair of "not cheap" headphones, and I love them!

The plastic has been described as "cheap feeling" by other reviews, which left me a bit wary at first. However, the build quality of the HD 429 is quite nice considering the price point (by that I mean what I paid for them, not the MSRP on the Sennheiser website). The head band is flexible, I can bend them without feeling like I'm going to snap them in half and the ear cups are on a pivoting joint, providing a better fit. The plastic has a matte finish to it, with the exception of the back panel of the ear pieces, which has a grippy rubberized feel and sports the Sennheiser "S" logo.

The ear cups and head band provide padding with a leatherette material, which is very comfortable. I have pretty smalls ears, and ear buds have never been comfortable for long periods of time. I do a lot of video editing and these are replacing my primary work headphones. Since they go over the ear as opposed to on the ear like my last set, I find that I do not need to give my ears a break after hours of wearing them.

The cable is 10 feet long, which isn't really a problem for me. I don't mind a long cable, any unused length I just coil up, with a cable tie. What gets me is the thickness of the cable...for such a large pair of headphones, I would expect it to be much much thicker. To be honest I'm pretty sure this cable in the same league as many ear bud cables I've seen. This was a bummer for me, as I feel like the cable renders them slightly less durable. So I ended up paying an extra $8 for accident replacement, as the standard warranty only covers defects (does an audio cable that's way thinner than it should be count? Probably not).

For what I paid for this product, I'm satisfied. I wouldn't have paid the 70 some-odd dollars listed on the official website. At that point, I would rather pony up the extra $30 for a pair of the Pro level headphones, which offer more features.

Despite some pre-purchase issues, an uncomfortably thin audio cable, and a few misleading images, my experience with the HD 429 has been satisfactory. I can safely say that I'm now a firm believer in Sennheiser as a manufacturer. The HD 429 is definitely on the lower-to-mid level of the Sennheiser product line, and I can easily recommend them for anyone looking to try out Sennheiser for the first time. I can only imagine what kind of sound the higher end models can put out. I'll most likely end up purchasing a higher end set at some point, but I've also heard of Sennheisers are capable of having a very long life span.

I'm well on my way to elevating my content creation, and can easily recommend these to anyone who is interested in checking out Sennheiser for the first time. Long time audiophiles? Maybe not so much.


Pros: Insane sound and sturdy build quality for the price. Comfortable most of the time.
Cons: Non-removable HUGE cable. Less-than-great bass if you listen through your phone or iPod. That's about it.
For about $55-60, you can't get better headphone quality. The sound quality isn't the best ever, but for the price it is near unbeatable. The highs (4K and above) are crisp and clear. Great quality highs, and they're not too loud and overpowering. But the upper midrange (1K or 2K) sounds a bit muffled and muddy. The midrange (guitar and low vocals) are okay, but not impressive. To my suprise, the bass as advertised is pretty punchy. They are correct when they say that it's smooth and satisfying, but not too forced. HOWEVER, this is when I have them plugged up to my computer's audio, which has an onboard amp. Through an iPhone, they are lacking. You will require an amp if you want the smooth bass at a reasonable volume through your phone or iPod. 
The cable is something like 10 or 12 feet long, which is entirely too long if you listen on the go, but can easily be solved with a ziptie or a twistie-tie. Also, where the cable connects to the body is kind of awkward because it sticks out. But other than the cable and the bass, these are great for $55-60.
I think that's pretty much it! They're great if you want a cheap set of close-to audiophile quality cans. They do need a little kick if you are a bass head, but that's about their only downside, other than the awkward cable.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good sound, comfortable, well built, good value
Cons: Thin cable, poor bass and treble extension, feel a bit closed
This review was first published on 09/02/2014 and lasted edited on 09/02/2014 (DD/MM/YYYY)
Edit 1 (09/02/2014): Added photos



Everything written below is my opinion, and nothing else. You may completely disagree with everything I say. You can assume that if I’m writing a review I have spent a good amount of time with the headphones and I’ve bought them with my own money. While I have a specific set of test tracks used for reviewing, it’s safe to say that I have listened to far more than these tracks with these headphones. Overall I look for an accurate and neutral sound - I'm not a basshead.
I have had the HD429 for over 2 years (at the time of writing this review) and have probably spent 2 hours a day on average listening to them. By my maths that's well over 1400 hours.


If you don't have time to read the full review, read the conclusion at the end.


Equipment used for testing

Sources will include:
  1. PC with Foobar
  2. Cowon J3 (DAP)
  3. Nexus 5 (Phone)
Amps/DACs include:
  1. Onboard PC audio (rarely)
  2. Asus Xonar DG
  3. Denon AVR1912
  4. Fiio E6


Comfort, fit, isolation and build quality

These headphones are very comfy. They're large enough (just) to be considered over-ear, but there's not a large amount of space in the cups/pads.  The one downside is that they could be considered too loose, they aren't suitable in my opinion as portable headphones as they could quite easily come off due to lack of clamp. They're nice and light too, without feeling poorly made.
This loose fit also negatively impacts sound. The fit is too loose to get a good seal which reduces bass noticeably. Pushing the cups against my head improved sound quality (mainly bass) so it's safe to say the fit isn't perfect.
Build quality is generally good. They're all plastic but they feel well made and the finish is good. The only bad thing is the cable which feels too thin. For a large proportion of my two years with them they were put in a backpack and taken to school. A previous pair of headphones lasted two months of this before breaking. These managed my remaining  1.5 years and still work perfectly.
Isolation is average for a closed back design. The loose fit again causes issues here, but leak is minimal so they're unlikely to disturb others. They're not suitable for blocking loud noises though - as a drummer they weren't usable behind the kit. They'd probably be fine for monitoring vocals or quieter instruments however.




These headphones have a fairly balanced signature overall and are suitable for mixing/recording work on a budget. Extension (both lows and highs) isn't great but they are relatively accurate.



Overall sub-bass is lacking but that's really the only issue I had with the bass. It's fairly flat with no obvious peaks or dips aside from the roll-off (mainly due to the poor seal). These are not basshead cans.



Mids are fairly good. Reasonably flat with no large peaks or dips. The word I'd use is average - they're not particularly forward or hidden.



Highs are generally ok. Extension is lacking (as any measurement chart will show) - There's a strong drop off at about 10k. It's not quite as noticeable as you'd expect though since it's fairly smooth and it's common for closed back headphones to lack air and space in the highs.



Soundstage is ok. Wider than IEMs and most portables, but obviously miles away from open back cans. Overall it isn't disappointing and it's what you'd expect from reasonably priced closed back headphones.



At 32ohms with high sensitivity, they're not hard to drive. However, bass can be improved with an amp - especially if you're using a portable player or phone.  The Xonar DG was a small but noticeable improvement over onboard sound, but that may be due to the better DAC as much as the better amp, for portable use I found my Fiio E6 more than enough. Overall amping won't change them, but it can help get that little extra. Volume will be fine without amping from pretty much any source.


Test Tracks

These are tracks I know well and each one tests a variety of aspects of audio performance.


Brian Tyler – Further

From the Far Cry 3 soundtrack, this track gives a good test of everything. The HD429 handled it fairly well. The mids from the string instruments sounded good, but as usual some extension in the highs was lacking - not enough sparkle. The soundstage was adequate for this track. Mid-bass was lacking in the cello and lower frequency string instruments. Sub-bass was also not good enough for this track, but bass impact was acceptable. Drums sounded good but the cymbals really needed some more air and sparkle. In the exciting dynamic sections the bass was unclear. Overall they were ok with this demanding track, but it clearly highlighted their shortcomings.

Cipher Prime Studios – Eremial       

Another track from a video game soundtrack (Splice). This is a solo piano track and is fairly demanding - piano is often a difficult instrument to get right. The track uses the full range of the piano, so bass was handled ok (pianos don't really have sub-bass). The mids weren't great, they didn't sound particularly accurate or natural. Highs were ok, soundstage was lacking, but I would say that's more the fault of the track itself. Overall, if you're after accurate piano I wouldn't recommend the HD429.


Dire Straits - Private Investigations

This track has large dynamic range and some interesting reverb with a variety of sounds and instruments. Through these headphones it sounded good, with a nice clean guitar and 'snappy' high mids (you'll understand if you know the track). Vocals sound good - accurate and clear. The vibraphone has a nice tone - warm but accurate. The reverb is never hidden and comes through clearly and accurately without 'smearing' the sound at all. Separation of instruments is fairly good. Acoustic bass and drums sound good too with crisp hi-hats. The only downside (a clear weakness of these 'phones) is once again the sub-bass. Overall they handled the details of this track well.


Dream Theater - Space Dye Vest

This is a very intimate track with some impressive reverbs. It has a variety of instruments and it certainly isn't easy to get right. Immediately, as before, piano just doesn't work on these headphones. The intro has emphasised upper-mids which are fairly fatiguing in these headphones, but that's down to the track. The reverb comes though fairly well but the soundstage is slightly lacking. Separation of instruments is ok though. As usual, mid-bass if fine but sub-bass is lacking. Vocals come through nicely, with some slight sibilance but again I think that's the track and reverb. It sounds detailed, but I think that's just due to the emphasised highs rather than these headphones. Extension is the highs is ok but could be better, at about 3:40 in this track there's a tone at 16kHz and I noticed it every time, but only just. Distorted electric guitar comes out nicely - these cans can handle most 'rock' sounds fine. Bass impact is good, the panning drum fills sound exciting and impressive. These also show fairly good imaging. The reverb adds extra air which helps cymbals, but again that's the track rather than the headphones. I guess it shows that EQ could help if needed. Overall they work well with this very demanding track, but only most of the time.
I think I will remove this track from my test tracks in future since it's an odd mix that makes it hard to tell what's the headphones and what isn't.


Fleetwood Mac - Go your own way

This track is deceptively simple - there's nowhere to hide if something isn't perfect. Soundstage is fairly good - wide enough without seeming artificial or creating 'gaps'. Vocals sound ok, they're a bit dull but the track was never exciting to start with. The drums are similar, nothing really wrong just a bit boring. On reflection I guess it shows that these headphones are fairly neutral. The shaker once again shows the need for better extension in the highs, there's just not enough air. Impact from the drums is ok, and once again the distorted guitar comes through well. The bass and lower mids are a bit muddy. Overall they don't work well with this track, but I never really liked it anyway!

Hans Zimmer - Dream is collapsing

This track is essentially the search for bass, both sub-bass and impact in the mid-bass. And it shows that these headphones can do bass if you ask them hard enough! There's finally some sub-bass rumble. The high strings show the upper mids are still lacking some clarity and presence, but the brass instruments come out well and realistically. The lower/mid strings sound fairly accurate too. Overall this track was handled fairly well and proved that they can handle bass, even if it was lacking some impact.


Howard Shore - Concerning Hobbits

A guilty pleasure of mine, this track tests strings and woodwind nicely with some hidden details and clean reverb. The strings in the lower mids came through well, and the flute sounded surprisingly nice. The quite, almost hidden, drum to the left was only just noticeable, but that's what the track intended so these headphones can show detail fairly well. Separation and imaging was fairly good too. There was a good amount of warmth - never unclear. When the drums come back slightly louder there is some impact in the bass too. As usual the highs are fairly good, just lacking some extension and air. The woodwind and reverb comes through nicely. Overall the track works well through these headphones.


Massive Attack – Teardrop

This trip-hop track is a good test for bass but also features some unusual sounds, like a harpsichord. As usual, sub-bass is lacking, but not terribly. Bass impact is still lacking. The upper-mids of the harpsichord sound good and accurate without being unpleasant. Again, piano isn't quite right but it certainly sounds better in this track than the previous ones. Vocals sound good, natural and there's even some air! There is some sibilance, but this is again due to the track. The soundstage and imaging is good enough for this track - all parts can clearly be heard and located at all times. Overall the track sounds good, but with slightly fatiguing upper-mids.


Mozart 40th G Minor - 1st movement allegro

I don't tend to listen to classical, but lots of people do and it can be a good test of equipment due to the variety of instruments and large dynamic range. This track is mainly strings, so it's a good way to test mids. The HD429 handle this piece fairly well, all parts sound good and accurate. The soundstage is wide enough and imaging is good, but not perfect. Since there aren't any truly high frequencies the lack of extension isn't an issue here. The only downside is the closed back design, which I feel doesn't really work for a large classical performance.


Noriyuki Iwadare - The fragrance of dark coffee

As with classical, I don't tend to listen to jazz but decided I should test it anyway. This track is once again from a video game soundtrack, but the soundtrack is surprisingly good! As usual, piano is handled fairly poorly. The double bass comes out well enough despite the usual lack of sub-bass. The brass instruments have a good tone and texture, sounding realistic. The hi-hat sounds crisp, but almost fatiguing, although this is partly down to the track. The highs and upper-mids are handled well enough, but the rest of the mids are slightly congested and unclear despite the soundstage being ok. Overall the track is slightly fatiguing, and I wouldn't really recommend these headphones for laid back jazz.

Pink Floyd - Speak to me

Another bass test. As before, the sub-bass can arrive if you try hard enough. There's even some impact again. Imaging and separation are ok, and vocals are clear. Small details like the sound effects sound good and nothing is masked or hidden. The soundstage is fairly wide here to.


Pink Floyd – Money

This track has all sorts of unusual sound effects and a variety of panning techniques. The soundstage comes out nice and wide. The bass guitar riff in the intro is nice and clear and doesn't mask the other guitar. Imaging and separation are good. The cymbals seem to have just enough air here, and the highs are generally fine. The drums have some impact, but not quite enough. The mids are good with some nice texture to the vocals and brass. The sound remains clear during the busy parts and the low mids sound realistic with no muddiness. As usual the sub-bass is still lacking though. This track works much better with speakers or open headphones, but these still handled it well.


Porcupine Tree - Collapse the light into earth

Uh oh, another track with a piano. I won't talk about that, you've got the idea. The vocals and reverb are good, the slight sibilance is once again due to the reverb on the vocals. The soundstage isn't too bad but feels a bit closed-in. The mids are slightly congested occasionally masking the strings, but this is partly due to the long reverb time. The piano is fatiguing by the end. Overall they don't work well with this track, but many of the issues are partly due to the mixing/mastering of the track itself.


The Who - Who are you

Finally, some classic rock. As usual, electric guitars are handled well. The bass guitar also comes through well here for a change. The claps are bright and clear and the hi-hats are nice a smooth. The drums have some impact, but it isn't enough for this track. The soundstage is wide enough and separation is fine. Later on when things get busier the bass guitar is sometimes lost, but this track is generally lacking in lows so it's not just the cans. Overall these headphones do well with most rock tracks.



Ratings (Out of 5)


Sound (ignoring price): 3

Being closed back they're never going to match open back cans in terms of soundstage and treble response, but the sound isn't bad. There's nothing offensive there. Extension isn't great either side, but roll-off is fairly smooth so you don't notice a sudden disappearance or anything particularly uneven.


Comfort/Build: 4

Build is plastic, but what I'd call good plastic. They are tougher than they feel, as proven by them surviving many journeys crammed in a backpack. Comfort was good enough in my case to wear for ours thanks to the lightweight design and decent padding.


Value: 4

I got these for Just under £70, but they now sell for closer to £50. I think that's a fair price for what you get. At £70 I'd probably give them 3/5, since there's a lot more competition, but I don't think there's much better out there for £50.


Overall: 4

A comfy and good sounding pair of headphones that won't upset anyone. They're not life changing but for many people they're all you'd need or want.
I appreciate any feedback and will try my best to answer any questions. Please bear in mind that I no longer own these headphones so answers will be based on my memory from 2 years of ownership.


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Top cable is the short cable from my Amperiors, it's noticeably thicker. Next cable is the extension from the amperiors, it's similar in diameter to the HD429 cable below. 1/4" jack for scale.
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Comparison with smaller, more portable Amperiors. (Amperiors are the same size and design as the HD25).
  • Like
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I have owned hd429s for awhile. I found that lack of top end detail very disappointing.
Not so bad on the lows. Something that is very annoying though is that you have to be very still when listening. The unit is virtually microphonic!.Every movement results in a rustle or bang/bump. They are comfortable and pretty but that doesnt make up for the sound issues
which is the main point in headphones. They also have to be driven hard to sound any good. They are about the same price as the Technics/panasonic RP-HTF600s which leave the sennheisers for dead. Also Audio technics atm 50s are well worth having but expensive.
I bought these for a visit back to the UK a couple of years ago and found the sound to be fine for the price. It does sound a little 'plastic' at times, but my biggest gripe is that these are the hardest headphones I have to drive. Considering most consumers would buy these to use with a mobile device, they don't get very loud using any of the phones/tablets I have tried them with (V30, S6 Edge, A9 Pro, Tab S2), which is disappointing for a metalhead.


Pros: Lightweight, Durable Build Material, Smooth Bass (as in the taglines), Nice Comfort, Crisp Sound
Cons: Unnecessarily long cable, Not Enough Clamping Force (for me), Sound-staging Not as Much as Expected.
This is my first circumaural over-the-ear headphone. I've own it for almost a year by now, and I am pretty much delighted with the sound quality, pretty reasonable with the price ($80). I love this headphone.
Build Quality and Comfort
This headphone made with a polycarbonate material like, it is unexpectedly durable. I don't have any issue with any clacking part when I am moving around or shaking my head, it is very well made. This headphone even-tough big, it is lightweight. No issue with longer listening time.
This headphone comes with a leather-like material, well padded. It's kinda shallow in my ears so the drivers would touch the ears, not really comfort for longer listening period. It might sweat a lot in a warm environment. Much prefer with the wool ear-cups. The clamping force is just enough, I assume that they are built like that so they will just sit on the head, but it is quite loose so it might slide off your head if you lying down on bed. I found it hard to find a perfect 'sit' because of that clamping force, but, I have to tell that once you got the fit, you can listen to it like hours without rest. 
The cable is very thin and unnecessarily long. It pretty good in withstand regular use, but it might easily get ripped (if you have dogs perhaps). I can say that I don't have any issue at all with microphonic, not even a blip.
It is big, doesn't look so stylish, and it is not portable, so not recommended for outdoor use. There's no included carrying case. I can say that it is leaked the sound and might let ambience sounds flew in as well. I used it while commuting in train, and I have to crank it to the maximum volume while at home I can play it only half volume (I hope that would image it enough)
Sound Quality
The bass is dynamic, right in the best portion for me. I am not a bass head, so if you look for something bassy, look somewhere else. It can go quite deep. This headphone can take more advantage with the use of amplifier. Believe me, the bass can extend but it wont bleed or muddled that much. It is smooth and well-controlled. Might get a bit tubby for some people. Not as soft as 598 though.
It's kinda laid back with vocals. It might push the vocal but just a little bit behind. The detail is there, just enough. The mids are crisp and clear. The sound-staging is not as I expected from a big headphones, as well as the sound imaging, not so distinct.
The treble might get a little harsh at the very high frequencies. I don't hear much sparkle from the treble but it is still fun to hear. But it is crisp enough just like the mids. They don't sound so distinct like what happen in Momentum On-Ear or HD25.
For the price $80 this cans can pleased you, if you can get it at $60 this is really nice bargain. If you want something to use while commuting, this is not the best option since they're so big and doesn't look that stylish, also doesn't blocked out noise so well. I would much prefer it to stay at home.


New Head-Fier
I decided to do a review because i was so surprisingly satisfied with these headphones. The sound that comes out of this headphones has been amazing. I have not owned many headphones and NOT an audiophile therefore i cannot give a detailed description on its sound, and maybe some would disagree. But i love music, and am very particular about the sound! 

I mainly listen to rock for example old 80's rock guns n' roses, aerosmith, ac/dc etc. some modern rock/metal for example velvet revolver, trivium, bfmv etc. and some hip-hop. I can say for sure that for hip hop fans this headphones will be very satisfying! As for rock the headphones is a bit too much on the bass but i like it that way (nothing a good equalizer can't fix) 
As for design they look sweet as hell with the sennheiser logo at the side, and comfort wise i have worn it for 3 hours straight and didnt feel uncomfortable thanks to the awesome ear and head padding.
Overall this headphones would definitely be a good value for your money! As i live in a small town in asia my choice of headphones were limited, so i recommend do your research first! Hope my review is useful as this is my first review and my knowledge of headphones are limited.
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Good review
Do you (or anyone) know how the sound compares to the HD 598s? I'm looking for a closed back alternative to my 598s for use at work and these seem to get some pretty good reviews. Also, do they isolate pretty well: keep outside noises out and headphone music in? I listen to primarily instrumental/classical at work. I've tried a set of the ATH-M50s, but wasn't super impressed with its performance WRT my music library.
I disagree about the HD 429 being a perfect fit for bass heads. I tried coupling it with a Fiio e-11, with gain and eq set to max, but there was no bass to speak of.
For bass heads on a budget, I recommend the AKG K518 or Sony's MDR XB500.
Have fun!