The new Sennheiser HD 1 Free is the most portable earphone by Sennheiser to date. It connects wirelessly via a handful of high resolution Bluetooth codecs, but is it worth the price at $199.00? I’m excited to take a listen and see how they perform.
Frequency Response: 15 Hz-22kHz
Sensitivity: 112 dBSPL
THD: <.5% (1kHz, 100dB0
Battery Life: 6 hours
Bluetooth Range: 10 m (30 ft)
Codecs: Bluetooth 4.2, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency
In the Box
Micro USB charging cable
4 silicone ear tips
Removing the earphones from their case, the Sennheiser HD 1 Free looks good. It is a clean design, feels light overall, and has a classy and sporty look. As I place them in my ears, though, I’m blown away by how well they fit. They instantly make a perfect seal, creating high reductive sound isolation.
While the earphones only have 6 hours of battery life, they are impressive in a number of other ways. They are able to connect via a handful of great sounding Bluetooth codecs including Bluetooth 4.2, AAC, aptX, and aptX Low Latency. AptX is a high resolution Bluetooth codec and aptX Low Latency takes it to the next level by playing audio seamlessly along to video. Additionally, the Sennheiser HD 1 Free has a remarkable connectivity range. It stayed connected to my phone over 30 feet. It reached about 40 feet with disruption, although it works best with line of sight to the Bluetooth device.
The most impressive quality of the Sennheiser HD 1 Free is its thick bass and low mids response. It has a smooth transition between the low frequencies and low-mid frequencies, and although it doesn’t have great separation, it is still a lot of fun to listen to!
The midrange of the Sennheiser HD 1 Free is punchy and dynamic. There is a boost around 300Hz. As a result, in some mixes, the bass guitar sits a little louder in the mix than it would otherwise. A cut around 600Hz gives the mids nice spaciousness, and as a result gives both the low mids and high mids more emphasis. There seems to be a boost right around 5kHz and vocals sit right where I would expect them to be.
The pleasant high frequencies are flatter in comparison to the other frequency ranges. There is a boost somewhere between 10kHz and 12kHz which gives cymbals a lot of energy without accumulating harshness.
Full frequency extension in the low and high frequencies give these earphones nice top-to-bottom imaging– not an easy feat for an in-ear. The left-to-right imaging is wide and accurate. The HD 1 Free has moderate depth, most of it coming from a quick dynamic response in the high frequencies.
The Sennheiser HD 1 Free performs very well! For those looking for an extremely lightweight and portable pair of Bluetooth earphones in this price range, I highly recommend checking them out– especially if you like clarity and bass.
The Sennheiser HD 1 Free is available right here at Audio 46: