HD201 just arrived!
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SDA

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Initial thoughts and impressions:

- 24-ohm? That's pretty low.. might be an issue for sources that can't deliver much current. Also, that guy on the packaging.. well, you just have to see it.
- This thing is LIGHT, even quite a bit lighter than the MDR-XD200. I took it inside immediately to avoid having the wind blow it away. (Yes, I open packages outside.)
- These pads smell strange. Kind of like pool float mixed with new carpet. They're also stretched more than I expect pleather to be, not that wrinkly at all. That might change.

Thoughts as t approaches now:
These seem like medium-sized headphones to me, but I think that's a perception thing, since I've lived with circumaural headphones for so long. For circumaural headphones, these have small-to-medium-sized cups. Most importantly, the cups are relatively thin, and they don't stick out on your head a lot. The color scheme and overall design are simple and easy on the eyes.

I plugged them into the headphone out onto my obsolete laptop, and was surprised to find that, with all volume settings at maximum and the laptop's integrated sound volume control (function key plus stuff) at maximum, the headphones were still bearably loud. Again with the weak sources stuff. I then plugged them into my PIMETA and played with the volume control. They're about as loud at 10 o' clock as my K501 is at 12 o' clock, with the volume control starting at, uh, 6:45. Wow.

Early impressions.. definitely bass-heavy, some mids are recessed (vocals). There's definitely roll off in the very high treble, but that shouldn't surprise anyone considering the headphone. Actually, none of this should really come as a surprise, seeing as this is a closed headphone with an MSRP of $25 we're dealing with-- and one that hasn't been burned in at all, at that.

After about an hour and a half of burn-in (physical and/or psychological), vocals are seeming less and less recessed (still a little nasal, but nothing obnoxious at all), though the bass is of course still heavy. Mids still seem a little weird compared to my K501, but that's among the most unfair comparisons I could possibly make. The boosted bass plus the recessed vocals make it sound somewhat congested. Soundstage is pretty flat. On the other hand, it's not awful flabby uncontrolled bass. It's not Grado bass, either, but it's certainly better than its predecessors (I think the bass hump starts to happen a little lower on the spectrum than it did with the 2x2), and it makes them pretty fun. The mids aren't recessed across the board, either.. most instruments are decent, excellent given that, again, this is a cheap closed headphone.

Isolation is decent. Nothing incredible, it's there, and better than the XD200. They seem better at keeping noise in than they are at keeping it out. Perhaps it's just that the noise that they try to keep out is a hell of a lot more powerful. They fail my isolation acid test (a Delta FFB1212SHE, FFB0812EHE and FFB0612EHE "Banshee" powered up simultaneously), but everything fails my acid test, even canalphones. There's a reason I keep those fans in a drawer and not in my computer. I guess it's a pretty useless test, but I have to feel like I didn't waste money buying the fans.

Overall, I feel pretty safe saying that these are quite nice for the price. Maybe you didn't get that impression from what I've said so far, but frankly, I'm just a lot better at criticism than I am at praise. These are pretty fun-sounding cans that don't seem to really do anything wrong, and even with the minimal physical and psychological burn-in I think they're excellent for what they are. (I'll admit that I haven't heard every cheap closed headphone out there, but I've heard the HD2x2 and XD200, and most cheap closed headphones suck anyway.) They look good, too.

I happen to have an HD212PRO (very similar to the cheaper HD202, if memory serves) and an MDR-XD200 around here somewhere, and I'm thinking about doing a comparison between them and the HD201 after the 201's had a little more burn-in. Battle of the cheap closed headphones, or something like that. Any interest?
 
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gshan

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Quote:

I happen to have an HD212PRO (very similar to the cheaper HD202, if memory serves) and an MDR-XD200 around here somewhere, and I'm thinking about doing a comparison between them and the HD201 after the 201's had a little more burn-in. Battle of the cheap closed headphones, or something like that. Any interest?


Yes please. I've heard all except XD200, which has been getting pretty good prraise before the 201s came rolling along. thanks for your impressions.
 
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azncookiecutter

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this sounds promising for all who loves cheap headphones (like me)
yes, please, do a comparison between these and xd200s, im sure people like me would love them
 
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sumguy_

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thanks for the review, its always interesting to see something respectable so cheap!

here is another vote of support for a comparison, it would be very cool. hehe
 
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das_bill

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I have the 212pros. So I would like to see if I should be interested in these other phones. Actually I'm not that interested really but it should be a good read at least.
 
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Albatross05

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SDA
Initial thoughts and impressions:


Overall, I feel pretty safe saying that these are quite nice for the price. Maybe you didn't get that impression from what I've said so far, but frankly, I'm just a lot better at criticism than I am at praise. These are pretty fun-sounding cans that don't seem to really do anything wrong, and even with the minimal physical and psychological burn-in I think they're excellent for what they are. (I'll admit that I haven't heard every cheap closed headphone out there, but I've heard the HD2x2 and XD200, and most cheap closed headphones suck anyway.) They look good, too.

I happen to have an HD212PRO (very similar to the cheaper HD202, if memory serves) and an MDR-XD200 around here somewhere, and I'm thinking about doing a comparison between them and the HD201 after the 201's had a little more burn-in. Battle of the cheap closed headphones, or something like that. Any interest?



Yes...I'm VERY interested to hear any and all thoughts you may have with regards to these 'phones. I'm strongly eyeballing them as one of my next headphone purchases. It would be awesome to have a set of decent sounding headphones that you don't have to wear kids gloves with to actually enjoy them.

A few questions and thoughts on what you've said so far.

Have you heard the 477, 497s? If so, how would you compare these to those?

I have the 497s and while I've always been pretty pleased with them, I do have a few complaints. First, there's a comfort issue with the way they sit directly on my ears. I don't like it. I prefer completely circumaural....even at the cost of larger size and reduced portability. So, how exactly do these compare with those in terms of comfort? Do they touch your ears at all? If so, how much pressure do they put on them? I think my 497s sound wonderful overall (considering the price) but they're so uncomfortable to me because they squish my ears that I can't properly enjoy the sound without constantly thinking about the comfort.

Second, if you have any experience with the 457, 477, 497 line - I've noticed that a lot of Sennheiser's low end headphones in the past few years seem to be based upon what appears to be, essentially the same drivers. I also have a set of 457s. Upon taking them apart and doing a direct comparison to the 497s, the drivers appear identical. Would you happen to have a set of 497s around to have a look? I know it's asking a lot for someone to take a brand new set of headphones apart but Sennheiser's 'phones are usually extremely modular and you're not likely to damage them in any way.

Next. How strong is the bass? I had the 212s and returned them almost right away because the bass was just too much. Is it so much that it vibrates the enclosures. I know you said they're really light. And being that they're plastic, that certainly doesn't bode well in the department of resonance distortion. The best sounding closed cans I've heard were almost always heavy and made with substantial materials to prevent undue resonance.

Also, midrange. I've noticed there's something about the midrange on my 497s that just doesn't quite sound natural. It's not really bad but it's definitely an issue that sorta annoys me. That sort of hollowish sound seems to be a trademark on many of Sennheiser's low end line for the past couple of years. I strongly suspect these 201s are built around the very same (or very similar) drivers.

If you do see fit to actually take them apart and see what makes them tick, I'd be interested to know what sorts of goodies you find within. Pictures would be cool but description is fine. I can't resist picking things like headphones apart. I had my 497s apart within an hour of getting them.

On a side note, if you do happen to take 'em apart, what would be your assessment of how moddable they are? The blue tack putty mod almost always gets mentioned around here with closed cans. After owning several sets of Sennheiser cans, my experience has been that (at least with the open ones) there's very little you can do to improve the sound. Of course, the 497s are already almost perfect anyway, for what they are and how much they cost. Still, it's always a bit more of an incentive to know you're going to be getting something you might be able to tweak.

at any rate, thanks for the initial impressions. It really helps a lot for people like me who don't like to buy something based entirely on manufacturer's specs and some guy who's selling them who says they sound great.
 
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amartignano

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I cannot really understand if this is a good hedphones for the price or not...
...I'm joking...

I'm also very interested in a comparison with the HD497, but also with the HD202 and 212Pro.

I will probably substitute my SONY MDR-V300 with the HD201 in the synthetizer bag.

Bye
Andrea
 
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