Sennheiser HD 4.20S Review

Sennheiser HD 4.20S Review

Similar to the HD 2.30 in terms of size and fit, the new Sennheiser HD 4.20S sports a roomier fit on the ears, as well as a slightly different sound.  That being said, just what kind of sound can you expect from this $79.95 headphone?

Sennheiser HD 4.20S Review

Sennheiser HD 4.20S Review

Packaged with only a warranty booklet, the Sennheiser HD 4.20S doesn’t offer much in the way of accessories.

Utilizing a hinged, plastic design, the headphones are lightweight and portable, yet still feel strong enough to take a beating.  A modicum of rubber padding on the thin headband and thick pleather padding on the circumaural earcups make these extra-comfortable.

The 4.6 ft (1.4 m) cable features a built-in mic and single-button remote for use with smartphones and tablets.


Frequency Range:  18-20,000
Impedance:  18 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL):  118 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):  < 0.5%

As we can see from the specifications, this headphone offers a slightly narrower-than-average frequency range.  The low nominal impedance of just 18 ohms pairs well with portable players or computers, while volume and clarity are equally decent.

Low End

The Sennheiser HD 4.20S features a strong low end with good detail and resonant bass.  With plenty of impact, the bass is also well-controlled – bleed is kept to a minimum, giving me an impression of contrast and clarity.


Perhaps lacking in the slightest bit of detail, the midrange is still fairly impressive, with excellent tonal accuracy and a surprising lack of noticeable distortion or compression.  Instrumentation and vocals ring through with startling accuracy.

High End

Somewhat bright and verging at times on piercing, the high end of the HD 4.20S is sure to polarize listeners.  While strings sound just a little more vibrant, and female vocals sound just a little more sparkling, the lack of control in the highest highs can be a bit of a downer.  Suffice to say, you’ll either love or hate this sound.


The sense of soundstage on the HD 4.20S took me by surprise.  Sure, I figured this headphone would at least give me some depth, but I wasn’t counting on the sense of placement I felt when listening to more intricate pieces.  I have to say, if you’re a stickler for soundstage, this baby has it in spades.

Overall Impressions

Of all of Sennheiser’s new headphones, I think the HD 4.20S is my favorite.  Or maybe second to the HD 599.  To be sure, this affordable little headphone goes a long way in being portable and comfortable, but the sound is a thing of beauty.


If you’re after that headphone that does it all and you’re on a budget, this is the best option for under $100.  Bass?  You got it.  Mids?  You got it.  Highs?  You better believe you got it.  Of course, maybe you’re looking for something a little less dynamic, and a little flatter in terms of sound – in which case I’d recommend the AKG K92.  But if you aren’t looking to use your new headphones in a studio, you’ll get more mileage and more fun out of the HD 4.20S.

Final Analysis

It’s lightweight, ultra-portable, and sounds fantastic.  The low price only seals the deal:  this is one impressive headphone, and we’d recommend it to just about anyone. Grab it at the lowest price at Audio 46 using discount code “majorhifi” during checkout for a percentage off of your order. Also, find the Sennheiser 4.20S on Amazon at a competitive price.Sennheiser HD599 Review

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Carroll is a headphone junkie residing in Brooklyn. He's a huge fan of Grado, UK hip hop, and the English Language in general. When not testing audio equipment or writing, you'll find him taking photographs or fiddling with circuit boards. You can contact him at