It’s almost annoying how predictably reliable Sennheiser’s headphones are. In this price range, the brand offers nothing flashy. Just skillful, well-balanced sound. Now, Sennheiser has introduced two new affordable HD models, which are successors to the HD 4.20. What can you expect in terms of sound signature and performance? Let’s take a look in this Sennheiser HD 400S Review.
IN the BOX
Although you can’t call the fit luxurious, the earpads were perfectly comfortable and unobtrusive on my ears. And it’s got a snug feel, while avoiding being too tight on the head. I also wear glasses, and the cans didn’t tilt them in any direction. Sound isolation is less than fantastic, though it will kill a little ambient hum.
These efficient cans are ideally designed to be driven by you mobile device. The detachable cable has a mic and remote that allows you to play/pause, skip and answer/end calls. Another neat feature is the capability to fast forward and back. The only function that’s missing is volume control. Oh well.
Call clarity is excellent, and the mic doesn’t pick too much surrounding sound. So, call your mother, for Christ’s sake.
Like all of Sennheiser’s stuff, the build quality on the 400S looks pretty solid. And because the cable is detachable, it can easily be replaced if it eventually fails on you. Add to that a 2 year warranty, and you should be safe for a while.
The 400S folds into a nice little handful and comes with a soft carrying case.
Overall Impressions: Clean, well-balanced, versatile.
Sennheiser has taken a balanced approach to their low end here. Neither stingy nor indulgent, the bass gives nice impact to pop music, while remaining tempered enough for genres like classical music. String instruments had impressive detail and articulation for a headphone in this price range. And listening to rock, the low end doesn’t offer much warmth, but the bass is super clean and controlled, avoiding bleeding into the higher frequencies.
The midrange has a good amount of presence, with a slight emphasis in the upper mids. So, with rock and pop rock, you’ll get a full-flavored feel with vocals sitting a touch forward in the mix. The separation is also fantastic for a $70 headphone. Listening to folk, guitar strums and picks were neat and precise with no hint of muddiness even in the lower mids. Cellos is this range had a natural sounding timbre, revealing plenty substance and nuance.
The HD 400S offers great high frequency extension, bringing crispy goodness to percussion when listening to pop. At the same time, the highs steer clear of uncomfortable brightness. Testing out some violin solos in this range, there was a decent amount of transparency mixed in with a touch of smoothness. In the highest registers, there was minimal piercing or sibilance, so these cans work well for long listening sessions.
The HD 400S presents a reasonably spacious soundstage. These cans also convey a nice amount of width, height and depth for the price. And there was good precision in terms of instrument placement. You may not feel like you’re floating in a constellation of sound, but there’s definitely a sense of dimension.
Unsurprisingly, the HD 400S doesn’t disappoint. No frills, bit it checks all the boxes in terms of great balance, detail and separation. It’s also a very versatile sound signature that’s perfect for folks who listen to all types of genres. A solid deal.