A Great Value! – Sennheiser HD400S Review

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones Sennheiser HD400S

The Sennheiser HD400S is the successor of the Sennheiser HD 4.20! And as such, it has a great build quality, is comfortable on the head, and fits within a comfortable budget. But how does it sound? Let’s take a closer look with this Sennheiser HD400S Review!

A Great Value! – Sennheiser HD400S Review

In the Box

-Sennheiser HD400S

-detachable cable with mic and remote with a 3.5 mm connector

-drawstring pouch

-documentation


Design

Headband

Best headphones Sennheiser HD400S

The headband of the Sennheiser HD400S is extremely similar, if not identical to its predecessor, the HD 4.20. Its frame is made of plastic, and its extenders are made of a sliding, detented plastic band. At the base of the headband is a hinge which lets the headphone fold up into a convenient, portable package. Finally, underneath the hinges are y-shaped yolks which attach to either side of the earcups.

Placing the headphones on my head, they have a comfortable yet secure clamping force. Additionally, on the underside of the headband is a thin piece of padding. This padding is coated in a soft rubber or silicone material. As a result, the headphones stay fixed in place.

Earcups

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The earcups of the Sennheiser HD400S have a great size. They’re not too bulky, but they’re big enough to fit totally over the ears, at least for me. They have the same oval shape and size as the original HD 4.20. Additionally, because of their size and simple matte black design, they have a low profile.

Cable

Budget Audiophile Headphones Sennheiser HD400S

The cable of the Sennheiser HD400S is detachable from the earcup. The 2.2 mm connector twists into place on the cup via  locking mechanism. The cable has a comfortable, manageable length of 1.2 m. Additionally, it has a microphone/remote built into the cable for talking on the phone. Lastly, it terminates to a 3.5 mm connector.

Sound

Low Frequencies

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The low frequencies of the Sennheiser HD400S has a sub boost around what sounds like 30 Hz. As a result, it gives lots of wonderful energy to songs that utilize sub frequencies as methods of creating emotional impact. It does a great job of making the lows sound big without getting in the way or clouding up the low-mids.

For example, when I was listening to the song I F by Lafemmebear, the low frequencies of the kick drum and of the sub synth had a sense of solidity. They created a nice big foundation on which the rest of the mix could sit, without getting in the way of the other midrangey synths and vocals.

Middle Frequencies

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The middle frequencies of the Sennheiser HD400S have a little bit of a low mid boost around what sounds like 300 Hz. As a result, bass guitars, pianos, electric guitars, and strings have a nice base. However, I wouldn’t describe this feeling as a feeling of body. On the contrary, a cut around 1 kHz followed by a boost in the high mids gives these headphones a little bit of a smiley face curve in the midrange. As a result, it doesn’t feel cloudy at all, but it skews the levels of midrange instruments in the mix. Because of the high mid boost, vocals tend to sit a bit louder in the mix.

For example, when I was listening to the song Daydreaming by Middle Brother, the stringiness of the acoustic guitar felt emphasized over its body. Additionally, while the electric guitar had a sense of midrange, it leaned a bit toward the high mids. It was able to maintain its sense of harmonic complexity, but had a particular sense of clarity. For other genres, this may have felt somewhat thin, but for this genre it worked quite well. Lastly, the vocal sounded louder in the mix than usual, and stepped forward in the soundstage as well.

High Frequencies

The high frequencies of the Sennheiser HD400S have emphasis in various places across the lower treble, upper treble, and upper octave. However, it also has a cut around what sounds like 9 kHz. As a result, the highs have a unique shape that is able to give detail to high frequency instruments while avoiding sibilance.

For example, when I was listening to the song Didn’t Cha Know by Erykah Badu, the high-hat had emphasis, but felt less chunky than usual. It was emphasized more toward the upper treble and octave. Additionally, the hand drum had a slightly different shape than usual, but maintained a good balance in the mix. Lastly, Erykah’s vocal had nice detail and had good audible air during the “oo”s and “hey”s.

Soundstage

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones Sennheiser HD400S

The soundstage of the Sennheiser HD400S had a nice feeling of contrast in the height and width domains. It had a strong phantom center, which contrasted well with instruments panned out wide. Additionally, the height felt tall and deep with the sub energy in my chest complimenting the difference in the brighter, airer parts of the high frequencies. The sense of depth was skewed a bit due to the high mid boost, but came through depending on how it the mix used soundstage.

For example, when I was listening to the song Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Miles Davis, the wide-panned electric guitars and keys contrasted well with the trumpet in the center. Additionally, the highs of the cymbals and trumpet contrasted wonderful in height from the body of the bass guitar and toms down below the head. The sense of depth wasn’t much to write home about, however came through in the song when the far off snare fills entered. These fills contrasted well with the intimacy of the trumpet.

Overview

Overall, the Sennheiser HD400S is a great value! It is durable, portable, and has a good sound for vocal centric music like pop, hip-hop, rock, folk, and indie music.

The Sennheiser HD400S is available for the best price here:

Sennheiser HD400S at Audio46

Sennheiser HD400S on Amazon – coming soon

Best affordable headphones Sennheiser HD400S