Navigating the budget headphone market is a challenging endeavor. Many options are available, with a distinct difference between cheap and nasty options and decently capable cans. In this review, we check out the affordable Sennheiser HD 200 Pro.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO
The Sennheiser HD 200 Pro is an affordable set of headphones that aim to be studio capable but fall short of this lofty ambition. Despite that, several redeeming qualities still make them a worthwhile addition, depending on your needs.
The marketing surrounding the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro places a lot of emphasis on these as a budget option for studio use. But this is a little misguided as I see these finding a home more for DJs or casual listening applications. Let’s dive into the details.
Perspective is everything when it comes to assessing the sound quality of a pair of headphones. Intended use is critical, especially with the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro.
The sound profile here is decidedly skewed towards a hi-fi profile, making me wonder why Sennheiser is approaching these as a pair of studio cans. These are nowhere near accurate enough for serious studio work. But just because they fall short in the studio doesn’t mean they don’t sound good. As mentioned before, perspective is everything.
The bass is front and center with a noticeable boost to give these headphones a rich rumble that will satisfy EDM and Hip-Hop lovers. It might not have the precision and punch of more expensive headphones, but there is enough grunt here to make them a suitable choice as a budget pair of DJ headphones.
The HD 200 PRO is lightweight and offers a v-shaped sound signature.
The mid-range is a little muddier than I would have liked but not to the point of distraction. Vocals are clear enough, and instrumental components aren’t lost amongst the meatier low end. For casual listening, these are enjoyable without glaring issues that pull you out of the moment.
Moving into the higher frequencies, the same emphasis is present as there is among the lows. The noticeable bump highlights the top end without making it overly sharp. Once again, this leans towards a more consumer-friendly sound than a studio-ready set of headphones.
Overall these headphones offer much more than what I’ve come across from other similarly priced headphones. Warm and pleasant without fatigue. Would I recommend you use these for music production in the studio? Only if you are well aware of the imperfections and can adjust accordingly. These are reasonable but not outstanding for monitoring, recording, and tracking.
These headphones shine when you want to kick back and enjoy some music without spending an arm and a leg on your headphones. Equally, in a DJ setting for your home studio, these offer enough punch and isolation to make them a capable set of DJ cans.
This is one area where Sennheiser rarely lets me down. They seem to have nailed the art of developing comfortable and pleasant headphones for long listening sessions.
The ear pads are plush enough to sculpt your head shape comfortably and offer enough space to ensure your ears don’t hit the drivers or the ear pads themselves.
The over-ear design also offers a tight enough fit to provide a respectable isolation level. This a crucial feature if you intend to use these for your DJing sessions but also critical for recording sessions.
Comfortable padding with enough room for your ears.
The headband offers a firm fit to ensure stability but is not too aggressive in its grip. I could comfortably bob my head to the beat without the fear that these would slide off. The strip of padding is also comfortable and will prevent uncomfortable contact points at the top of your head.
These circumaural headphones have a closed-back design, so heat build-up is inevitable over longer sessions. Despite this, I didn’t find these as sweat-inducing as other budget cans.
Whether sitting on your couch enjoying some fresh beats or practicing your DJ sets, these headphones offer the comfort you need for an enjoyable session.
The Sennheiser HD 200 Pro is a sleek and attractive pair of headphones with just enough flair to separate it from some of the more generic designs on the market.
The all-black matte finish for the bulk of the frame helps these blend in. There is some glossy plastic present which I’m not a massive fan of. Shiny plastic attracts fingerprints and scuffs easier than a matte finish, but the use of it here is relatively restrained.
The ear cups offer a unique wave-like design that adds character to an otherwise standard-looking set of cans. An extra hint of pizzaz gives the headphones their unique character.
The HD 200 PRO features a hard-wired cable.
Beyond appearance, there are some other design decisions worth highlighting. The most glaring issue I have with these headphones is the hard-wired cable. I prefer the flexibility to change cables and dislike that this is a potential point of failure. Once the cord is damaged, you’ll be out of luck and need a new set of cans.
The impedance is low, making these easy to drive even if you connect them to lower-powered devices like smartphones. The isolation is also impressive, with up to 32dB of passive isolation to help you focus on the music, not what is happening around you.
The other minor gripe I have with these headphones is that they do not collapse. There is a swivel on the ear cups for a good fit, but you won’t be able to compact these into a smaller profile for travel.
While I have a few issues with these, they are also on the lower end price-wise, so my expectations are noticeably lower than usual. For the price point, they offer a clean and attractive design while providing useful features.
Once again, perspective is critical when assessing headphones in this price bracket. I don’t expect premium materials, but I also don’t advocate buying cheap cans that you’ll have to replace sooner rather than later.
The build quality of the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro is reasonable and in line with what I would expect from headphones at this price point. As expected, there is an abundance of plastic, which seems relatively dense. I certainly experienced better but equally experienced much worse.
The build quality is decent for this price point.
The padding on both the earcups and headband is high quality. The internal components are also excellent, with proprietary neodymium magnets within the drivers. Once again, I’ve seen better, but better cans come with a much higher price point.
The non-detachable cable is decent enough but feels a little thin and flimsy. At 6.5 ft. (2 meters), it’s long enough for most applications, but once again, I would have preferred if it was detachable to allow for greater choice in cable length and style.
I can see these headphones lasting a lot longer than some other budget cans, but at the same time, I wouldn’t expect to get years of use out of these. The ear padding is replaceable, which does earn it a few extra points, but these don’t exhibit the usual high quality I expect from Sennheiser. But at this price point, you can expect industrial strength quality.
When you line these up with other Sennheiser headphones, it’s clear these are an entry-level bargain set of headphones. Sennheiser headphones can be exceptionally expensive, but they are also much better in sound and build quality.
Comparing these to other headphones at this price point, some stiff competition exists. It all boils down to what you need out of your cans. For DJing, these provide a good value price point that is a step up from basic headphones while not sporting the hefty price tag of professional-level DJ headphones.
The 1/4-inch adapter is the only included accessory.
For serious studio work, there are more neutral and balanced options floating around this price tag that would be a better choice. But those headphones might not appeal to people that want to listen to music casually.
As for accessories, there are none to speak of. An adapter is included, but there is no pouch. I don’t expect extras at this price point, but it is still worth highlighting.
Depending on where you fall between casual and studio use will determine if these are worth picking up. If you can save up a bit more, some enticing alternatives exist. But if you are determined to stick to this price point, you can do much worse than the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro.
The reviews for the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro run the whole gamut. Many people are delighted with these cans; to be fair, they also realize that you must keep expectations in check when dealing with headphones at this price. A few people mention the flimsy feel and unbalanced profile, making these unsuitable for studio work, highlighting the misstep in Sennhesiser’s marketing of these headphones.
V-Shaped Sound Signature
Different headphones will offer different sound signatures. Some aim to reproduce the source material as accurately and faithfully as possible. In contrast, others opt for a more “fun” sound signature, and a V-shaped profile falls into the latter.
A V-shaped sound signature will emphasize the low and high end of the frequency response. A greater bass level adds punch and oomph and works exceptionally well for bass-focused genres like EDM. There is the potential for things to be a little too muddy if the drivers are not up to the challenge, but in most cases, this profile is better for casual listening.
A V-shaped profile emphasizes the bass and treble.
Likewise, the top end adds extra emphasis so that the source material sounds clearer. It’s slightly deceptive, as it doesn’t mean the headphones are clearer. It adds focus to a part of the frequency range that can often sound overly thin and hollow when heard through a neutral pair of headphones.
Both V-shaped signatures and neutral signatures have a purpose. A V-shaped profile tends to be more engaging and entertaining for DJing or casual listening. But a neutral response will always be preferable for serious studio work and analytical listening.
As I mentioned at the start of this review, there is an abundance of headphones available that won’t break the bank. Below we take a quick look at some alternatives to the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro.
Roland RH-5 Review
The Roland RH-5 is an even cheaper pair of headphones that might be better suited to your needs. With a sound profile that favors instruments, it’s a good choice for keyboards and electronic drums.
- Punchy bass response and excellent instrumental clarity.
- Clean and simple design with a relaxed clamping force.
- They are not the best headphones for music with many elements.
Shure SRH240A Review
If you need a pair of budget cans for studio work, the SRH240A is worth exploring. Its more neutral sound profile makes making educated decisions when mixing easier than the HD 200 Pro.
- Relatively consistent frequency response but does lean a little bright in the top end.
- An affordable price point for a pair of studio-focused headphones.
- The build quality is not the best. Flimsy plastic and glossy exterior.
PreSonus HD9 Review
For those with a little more to spend, the HD9 from PreSonus is a capable set of headphones well-suited for DJing and casual listening.
- Fun and lively sound profile with ample bass extension.
- These headphones fully collapse and also provide solid isolation.
- Like the HD 200 Pro, these headphones are not neutral enough for studio work.
Should You Buy?
I’ll admit that I’ve potentially been too critical of the Sennheiser HD 200 Pro headphones. But that comes from years of experience with Sennheiser cans that have consistently impressed me.
That is not to say that these headphones are bad by any stretch. When I remove my previous experiences and assess them independently, they get a lot right.
A dynamic sound profile that is engaging, punchy, and well-suited for casual listening and DJing. The slick and attractive design is appealing, and the build quality is respectable for headphones at this price point. If you don’t need headphones for studio work, these are worth investigating as an option.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO