I’ve had the chance to review several Sennheiser headphones and each time they have impressed me. From DJing to studio work they provide an excellent selection of options. In this review, we check out the HD 400 Pro reference headphones to see what this new addition to the lineup has to offer.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro
The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro has a distinct focus on the professional. Whether that is at home or the studio. With excellent neutrality and an appealing price point, it gets plenty right. Below is a snapshot of the highlights.
The HD 400 Pro is the latest entry in the Sennheiser range of headphones aimed at professionals. And as a serious workhorse pair of headphones, they deliver. Let’s get into the details.
First impressions are important. Even with headphones that can take a little time to warm up. And when it comes to first impressions the Sennheiser HD 400 Pro alludes to its thoughtful focus on quality.
The frequency range of 6Hz – 38kHz instantly points to what these have to offer. Plenty of delivery in the low end and a high ceiling for the top end. But numbers can be deceiving. Thankfully the HD 400 Pro is not in the business of leading you astray.
The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro is very lightweight.
The highs are delectable. Plenty of precision and clarity without a smidge of harshness. For serious studio work, there is nothing better than a clean top end that won’t irritate you over longer sessions. And that is exactly what the HD 400 Pro offers.
The mid-range is equally satisfying. An excellent range and depth that highlights the source without bringing it too forward. Warm and airy thanks to the open-back design. Sound stage and imaging are also better than I anticipated at this price point. This could be due to the angled transducers which are becoming increasingly common. It helps replicate the direction of studio monitors for a more transparent and accurate delivery.
The lows are punchy but as with other open-back headphones not as all-encompassing. And to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. Precise audio delivery is paramount for making critical decisions. Something the HD 400 Pro provides.
The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro is an excellent option, and at this price point quite hard to beat. If you want clear, neutral, and well-defined sound, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what these headphones offer.
Long sessions in the studio demand a comfortable fit and it appears Sennheiser agrees. Several decisions highlight this focus.
First is the cup shape. The large oval ear cups do an excellent job of providing plenty of room for even the largest ears. Plus the depth from padding to driver is ample so you won’t find your ears hitting the fabric coating. Speaking of coating the velour earpads deliver a plush and satisfying head feel.
Both the ear and headphones padding are comfortable.
The high-quality padding extends to the headband. There isn’t an excessive amount of padding, just enough for them to rest comfortably on your head.
The addition of an indent in the center of the band is also an addition I didn’t realize I would like so much. It helps alleviate any pressure on the uppermost section of your head. For someone like myself with a shaved head, it is a welcome decision.
Clamping force can make or break the comfortability level of a pair of headphones. With the HD 400 Pro, they offer a firm but not overly tight grip. Just enough to provide security without feeling like your head is stuck in a vice-like grip.
At 0.52 lbs. (236 grams) these are also exceptionally lightweight. Due in large part to the full plastic build. If you spend hours at your workstation these are a great choice for long-term comfort.
When it comes to presentation, the Sennheiser HD 400 Pro doesn’t break any new ground. The ubiquity of the all-black plastic build does make them look a little bland at first glance. Not a hint of color anywhere. Whether this is an issue for you will come down to personal preference.
The molded headband, while attractive and sleek, doesn’t offer much in terms of flexibility. There is a tiny amount of flex to adjust to your head but there is minimal to no other movement available. Either forward and back or inwards and outwards. These are also not collapsible which does make them more inconvenient to use for travel.
Open-back headphones like the HD 400 Pro do leak sound.
At 120 ohms these don’t particularly play nice with lower-powered devices. A headphone amp brings out the best in these.
At full pelt, these can reach 110 dB. A large amount of headroom plus plenty of reach for when you want to test your source at higher volumes.
The open-back design also makes these not suitable for microphone recording situations. The sound does leak but that is by design. That is the trade-off for open and airy audio quality.
If you need isolation Sennheiser does offer high-quality closed-back options that are great for studio work.
Despite a slightly lackluster appearance, the focus is distinctly on function. And for me, that is perfectly acceptable.
I’m not looking to win a fashion show when I’m deep into a project. What I want is quality performance and these provide exactly that.
When I hear all-plastic build I instantly become a little nervous. In my younger years, I experienced many catastrophic failures due to poor plastic construction. Thankfully my fears were pacified once these were in my hands. The plastic is durable and tough. Surprisingly so considering how light these headphones are.
Build quality is impressive throughout. From the replaceable velour pads to the quality of all connection points. The adjustable headband also features secure increments that retain your last position. Small attention to these types of details is always a sign of thoughtful design.
The detachable cables feature a locking mechanism.
The cables are equally great. A shorter 1.8 m (5.9 ft.) straight cable is ideal for sessions in the studio. While the longer 3 m (9.8 ft.) coiled cable is up to the task when you need a little more mobility. And most importantly of all, they are detachable and feature a secure locking mechanism. An adapter is also included.
The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro is also an appealing choice due to its price point. Studio headphones can be expensive. Many times the added investment is worth it but there is a fine line between performance and price.
The HD 400 Pro does an excellent job of balancing the two. You get great sound and solid construction at a price that is more than reasonable.
But it is lacking in one area. Most headphones come with a case or pouch. This is great for protecting your headphones. Unfortunately the HD 400 Pro doesn’t come with one.
Sennheiser was likely trying to keep costs low so that the focus would be towards the headphones themselves. And when it comes to performance, this focus has paid off. But if you do want a case you’ll have to buy one separately.
In the short time that the HD 400 Pro has been around it has already gathered a bunch of positive reviews. Comfort and sound quality are the highlights with plenty of 4 and 5-star reviews.
A Quick Guide To THD
Often when it comes to headphone specifications you’ll come across a THD rating. But you might be wondering what this means. THD or Total Harmonic Distortion is a calculation of how accurate a pair of headphones are. In other words how much distortion is introduced into the signal. A super low value illustrates that a pair of headphones is as accurate as possible.
The HD 400 Pro offers a low THD rating.
The Sennhesier HD 400 Pro offers a THD rating of < 0.05 % (1 kHz / 90 dB SPL). This means that at 90 dB there is under 0.05% distortion introduced into the signal. The result? Hyper accurate delivery. When you are working on your latest project accuracy is critical. And a low THD rating like the one for the HD 400 Pro is an excellent level to maintain accuracy. So the next time you are reviewing headphone specs it’s worth checking this often overlooked rating.
If you are looking for a reliable pair of studio headphones there are a range of options out there. Here are 3 other pairs of headphones worth considering.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X Review
One of the most obvious competitors to the HD 400 Pro is the DT 900 Pro X from Beyerdynamic. At a similar price point, they also deliver exceptional sound quality.
- Excellent balance across all frequencies for precise audio delivery.
- Large and spacious sound stage and fantastic imaging.
- Does have exposed wires which can catch on items.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X
Mackie MC-450 Review
If you are looking for a pair of open-back headphones with some more bells and whistles the MC-450 is worth considering. Good quality sound and fantastic accessories.
- Highly accurate with decent balance. Lows offer more punch and warmth.
- Fantastic accessories including a case and 3 cables.
- The clamping force might be a bit tight for some people.
KRK KNS 8402 Review
While better known for its iconic line of studio monitors KRK also offers studio headphones. These reasonably priced cans feature a sound reminiscent of their line of monitors.
- The familiar sound profile works well in tandem with KRK monitors for consistent response.
- The low impedance and add-on cable with in-line volume control make these great for on-the-go listening.
- These headphones are not the most accurate. Not ideal for detailed studio work.
KRK KNS 8402
Should You Buy?
I’ve consistently walked away impressed when reviewing Sennheiser products. There is a reason why they have cemented themselves as among the best in the business. From consumer-level gear to pro-grade they always manage to hit the sweet spot between price and quality. The HD 400 Pro is no exception. Another excellent inclusion in an already impressive lineup. If you want an accurate, comfortable, and reliable set of headphones the Sennheiser HD 400 Pro is a fantastic option.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro