Fresh on the market from the good folks at Sennheiser, the new HD 2.30i comes with a super-affordable price tag of $89.99. But how does it sound, and is it the right headphone for you?
Sennheiser HD 2.30i Review
Nestled inside a diminutive cardboard box and plastic packaging shell, the HD 2.30i can appear a bit unimpressive at first glance. The box holds the headphones and a carrying pouch, as well as a warranty booklet.
Packaged in a folded position, it soon becomes apparent that these headphones are both portable and comfortable, with the folding design complimented by fluid extension on either earcups. The slightly-large earpads cover my large, Dumbo-esque ears with ease, and I soon forget that they’re on-ear headphones at all.
There is not much swivel to the cups, but this is hardly relevant – the thin rubber-coated headband easily twists to accommodate different head shapes.
The fixed headphone cable sports an in-line mic and remote compatible with iOS devices.
Frequency Range: 18-22,000 Hz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 115 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.5%
These specifications reveal a headphone with a decent frequency range with ample emphasis on the low end. The low impedance of 22 ohms is perfect for portable devices and low-output systems, like your smartphone or personal computer. Volume is surprisingly loud, and the harmonic distortion is nowhere near great, but fairly standard for the price range.
In the low end, detail is present, though nowhere near as clean on other, less-bassy models. Indeed, while you can easily get the gist of the low end detail in any given track, the excessive bass can sometimes overshadow finer nuances. There is some slight bleed in the low end, and some male vocals may suffer – but in general, the sound remains relatively clean.
I was afraid the mids on the HD 2.30i would suffer from distortion, and hot dog, I was right. While not necessarily horrible, the distortion does tend to mar the high mids. Vocals and some instrumentation sound tamped down and squeezed, and while it may not affect every track, it was more than noticeable on some.
It should come as no surprise that the high end on the HD 2.30i is a bit underplayed. Detail is decent, though the higher highs do seem a bit clipped. If you’re the kind of person who prefers a more relaxed high end, you might not hate the 2.30i, but if you prefer tons of detail and a bright sound signature, this headphone is clearly going to disappoint.
Surprisingly, the soundstage on the HD 2.30i featured good placement and even a little depth. Of course, it’s no match for a higher-end or open-back headphone, but it’s a nice bonus, nonetheless. The impressive soundstage is no doubt helped along by the improved low end of this headphone.
Imperfections aside, the HD 2.30i offers plenty of bass while still retaining a refreshing amount of detail. Certainly, the sound signature won’t be for everyone, but it definitely comes as a welcome addition to the Sennheiser lineup.
If you’ve been searching for a bassy-yet-detailed headphone that won’t cost more than a hundred clams, the HD 2.30i is the headphone you have been waiting for. Or, if you wanted to love the HD 461i but couldn’t get behind its sound signature, you may find a second chance with this headphone.
For those preferring a flatter or brighter sound, the HD 2.30i is an abysmal choice, and there is no way we would recommend it. Such tastes would find better pairing with the Audio Technica ATH-M40x or the Koss SP330 – though neither option offers the built-in mic and remote that comes with this headphone.
The Sennheiser HD 2.30i is priced to sell and poised to impress. While boasting some imperfections, the this bassy beaut offers portability and comfort without skimping on the sound. Definitely deserving of our MajorHifi Silver Star award.